One of the conundrums we’re all faced with, regardless of our stage of life, is just how much good TV there is, and there’s more appearing all the time.
Between Netflix, HBO Max, Hulu, Prime Video, Disney Plus and the myriad of more conventional broadcasters, we’re being served with lavish new dramas and movies every single week. Just how do you narrow this vast selection down?
One of the easiest ways to decide is to get some help, from those whose job it is to watch TV and sort the wheat from the chaff – the critics. And helpfully, all their responses are collated and averaged out by Rotten Tomatoes.
It’s common for a show to do well, and rank in the 80th or 90th percentile of critical reactions, but some are rarer beasts; the shows no-one can find a flaw in: the 100% club. There have been seven new additions to this club in recent times, and you can find out more about all of them below.
Comedian Bridget Everett takes center stage in the first of our 100% rated shows. Everett plays Sam, a middle-aged woman who’s plunged into a midlife crisis after the death of her sister.
Having moved back to her former home of Kansas to care for her sister and taken a job at a test-grading center as she struggles with her grief, Sam, who’s a gifted singer who once dreamed of going pro, finds a measure of salvation, and a new lease of life, by reconnecting with her voice as part of a choir.
Already renewed for a second run, the show has won plaudits for its dark humour and subtle handling of the grieving process, with critics praising Everett’s performance.
Another show with a flawless rating on Rotten Tomatoes that’s now heading for a second season is gruesome drama Yellowjackets.
The story alternates between 1996 and 202?. In 1996 a team of New Jersey high school soccer players is traveling to Seattle for a national tournament when their plane crashes deep in the Canadian wilderness. The surviving team members have to fend for themselves for 19 months, during which time the group splits into rival clans and descends into savagery, going full Lord of the Flies in the process. In the present day, the survivors have made new lives for themselves, but the ordeal they endured as teenagers is about to come back to haunt them.
Sharp, witty, and with a killer soundtrack, Yellowjackets is great TV, but a word of warning: the critics, desensitized bunch that they are, adored the show, but it’s gruesome stuff, and not for the faint-hearted.
A four-part documentary series, Prime Video’s Lula Rich chronicles the unraveling of clothing brand LuLaRoe, which was billed as a new way to sell mass-market fashion but turned out to be a good old-fashioned pyramid scheme.
The series interviews retailers, employees and the company's founders, Mark and DeAnne Stidham, as it reveals how a clothing empire that was once valued at over a billion dollars became buried under a mountain of lawsuits.
Critics loved the show’s slightly surreal feel, and praised its grounded approach to what made LulaRoe appealing in the first place.
Where to stream it: Prime Video
Blindspotting began life as a 2018 movie starring Daveed Diggs and Rafael Casal.
Diggs played Collin, a convicted felon, who is in the last three days of his probation. While counting down the hours, he witnesses a police shooting that threatens to ruin a lifelong friendship with best friend Miles and scupper his probation.
Diggs and Casal have created the spin-off, with Casal appearing occasionally, and with Jasmine Cephas Jones, who played Ashley, the partner of Casal's Miles in the movie, taking center stage.
The show picks up six months after the events of the film, with Miles suddenly finding himself incarcerated. This leaves Ashley and her young son in a crisis and they’re forced to move in with Miles' mother and half-sister, a situation which proves both problematic and full of comedy.
Critics were full of praise for the transition from film to TV series, and the show’s perfect blend of comedy and drama. The show has already been booked for a second season.
Jean Smart, who has been a superb supporting presence in everything from Frasier to Mare of Easttown, finally gets to enjoy the limelight in this new comedy from HBO.
Smart plays Deborah Vance, a once hugely successful stand-up comedian, who’s unhappy to discover that the head of the Las Vegas casino where she performs wants to pare back her performance schedule.
Desperate to win over new fans, Smart is introduced to Hannah Einbinder’s Ava, a young comedy writer who’s found herself unable to find work after being fired from her job over an insensitive tweet.
As you might imagine, the two don’t get along initially, but as both Vance’s material and her attendances begin to improve, they find a way of working together.
The Lady and the Dale
Another acclaimed documentary series, this four-episode run is a deep dive on Elizabeth Carmichael, who rose to prominence in the 1970s when she released a fuel-efficient three-wheeled car, which she named The Dale.
Executive-produced by the Duplass Brothers, the series examines Carmichael's life, delving into her mysterious past and how her identity as a transgender woman became linked to her business dealings.
A fascinating subject, critics praised the show’s pace and how it handled Carmichael’s story with intrigue and sensitivity.
Where to stream it: HBO Max (US)
With a classic sitcom set-up for a sitcom – a high school, a group of passionate but complicated teachers, and their tone-deaf l principal, Abbott Elementary might feel familiar, but critics have adored it.
Starring Quinta Brunson, Tyler James Williams and Janelle James, the mockumentary won praise for its unflinching look at the demands of day-to-day life as a teacher in America’s schools, all the while finding light and laughs in the process.
Unsurprisingly, with a 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, another season of Abbott Elementary is locked in.
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Tom Goodwyn was formerly TechRadar's Senior Entertainment Editor. He's now a freelancer writing about TV shows, documentaries and movies across streaming services, theaters and beyond. Based in East London, he loves nothing more than spending all day in a movie theater, well, he did before he had two small children…