The 50 best TV show seasons of all time, according to critics

John Lynch
Friday 02 February 2018 16:43
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The most critically acclaimed TV shows in history have earned their praise by repeatedly producing innovative and memorable seasons.

Shows like "The Wire," "Breaking Bad," and "The Larry Sanders Show" consistently won over critics, and their best seasons have set a standard for what great television should look like.

To find out which series have been the most influential, we turned to the review aggregator Metacritic for its list of the all-time best TV seasons, which ranks shows by their composite critical reception. We used audience scores to break any ties.

50. "The Hollow Crown" (Season 1)

The cast of The Hollow Crown

Metacritic score: 91/100

User score: 6.5/10

Notable episodes: "Richard II," "Henry IV," "Henry V"

49. "Louie" (Season 5)

Metacritic score: 91/100

User score: 8.4/10

Notable episodes: "Pot Luck," "A La Carte," "Bobby's House"

48. "Transparent" (Season 1)

Transparent season 1- trailer

Metacritic score: 92/100

User score: 7.5/10

Notable episodes: "The Letting Go," "Best New Girl," "Why Do We Cover the Mirrors?"

47. "Halt and Catch Fire" (Season 4)

Metacritic score: 92/100

User score: 7.8/10

Notable episodes: "Ten of Swords," "Search"

46. "The Handmaid's Tale" (Season 1)

Metacritic score: 92/100

User score: 7.8/10

Notable episodes: ""Nolite Te Bastardes Carborundorum," "Jezebels"

45. "Homeland" (Season 1)

Metacritic score: 92/100

User score: 8.3/10

Notable episodes: "The Weekend," "Crossfire," "Marine One"

44. "The Returned" (Season 1)

Metacritic score: 92/100

User score: 8.5/10

Notable episodes: "Camille," "Simon," "Adele"

43. "The Americans" (Season 3)

Metacritic score: 92/100

User score: 8.5/10

Notable episodes: "Do Mail Robots Dream of Electric Sheep?," "March 8, 1983"

42. "My So-Called Life" (Season 1)

Metacritic score: 92/100

User score: 8.9/10

Notable episodes: "Life of Brian," "Self-Esteem," "Betrayal"

41. "The Simpsons" (Season 2)

Homer Simpson isn't going anywhere until at least the 28th run of The Simpsons

Metacritic score: 92/100

User score: 9.0/10

Notable episodes: "Bart Gets an F," "Homer vs. Lisa and the 8th Commandment"

40. "Mad Men" (Season 4)

Metacritic score: 92/100

User score: 9.0/10

Notable episodes: "Public Relations," "The Summer Man," "Tomorrowland"

39. "Rectify" (Season 2)

Metacritic score: 92/100

User score: 9.1/10

Notable episodes: "Mazel Tov," "The Great Destroyer," "Unhinged"

38. "The Shield" (Season 1)

Metacritic score: 92/100

User score: 9.3/10

Notable episodes: "Pilot," "Our Gang," "Circles"

37. "The Larry Sanders Show" (Season 3)

Metacritic score: 93/100

User score: 7.2/10

Notable episodes: "Montana," "Hank's Divorce," "End of the Season"

36. "Curb Your Enthusiasm" (Season 3)

Comic miserablist Larry David in 'Curb Your Enthusiasm'

Metacritic score: 93/100

User score: 8.8/10

Notable episodes: "Chet's Shirt," "Krazee-Eyez Killa," "The Grand Opening"

35. "Louie" (Season 4)

Metacritic score: 93/100

User score: 8.6/10

Notable episodes: "Back," "Model," "Pamela Part 1"

34. "The Office: UK" (Season 2)

Metacritic score: 93/100

User score: 8.9/10

Notable episodes: "Merger," "Party," "Charity"

33. "Bleak House" (Season 1)

Metacritic score: 93/100

User score: 9.1/10

Notable episodes: "Episode 1," "Episode 2," "Episode 15"

32. "Deadwood" (Season 2)

Metacritic score: 93/100

User score: 9.2/10

Notable episodes: "A Lie Agreed Upon (Parts 1 and 2)," "Requiem for a Gleet"

31. "Transparent" (Season 2)

Metacritic score: 94/100

User score: 6.7/10

Notable episodes: "Kina Hora," "Oscillate," "Grey Green Brown & Copper"

30. "The Americans" (Season 5)

Metacritic score: 94/100

User score: 8.3/10

Notable episodes: "The Soviet Division," "Darkroom"

29. "Homicide: Life on the Street" (Season 1)

Metacritic score: 94/100

User score: 8.5/10

Notable episodes: "Gone for Goode," "Ghost of a Chance," "A Dog and Pony Show"

28. "Louie" (Season 3)

Metacritic score: 94/100

User score: 8.8/10

Notable episodes: "Something Is Wrong," "Miami," "Dad"

27. "Battlestar Galactica" (Season 3)

Metacritic score: 94/100

User score: 9.1/10

Notable episodes: "Occupation," "Precipice," "Exodus Part 2"

26. "Game of Thrones" (Season 4)

Jon Snow in Game of Thrones

Metacritic score: 94/100

User score: 9.2/10

Notable episodes: "First of His Name," "Mockingbird," "The Children"

25. "Enlightened" (Season 2)

Metacritic score: 95/100

User score: 7.6/10

Notable episodes: "The Key," "Higher Power," "All I Ever Wanted"

24. "The Americans" (Season 4)

Metacritic score: 95/100

User score: 8.8/10

Notable episodes: "Glanders," "Pastor Tim," "Chloramphenicol"

23. "The Wire" (Season 2)

The Wire - trailer

Metacritic score: 95/100

User score: 9.2/10

Notable episodes: "Ebb Tide," "Bad Dreams," "Port in a Storm"

22. "Better Things" (Season 2)

Metacritic score: 96/100

User score: 7.0/10

Notable episodes: "Graduation," "White Rock"

21. "Catastrophe" (Season 3)

Metacritic score: 96/100

User score: 8.2/10

Notable episodes: "Episode 6," "Episode 5"

20. "Homeland" (Season 2)

Metacritic score: 96/100

User score: 8.3/10

Notable episodes: "Broken Hearts," "In Memoriam," "The Choice"

19. "The Sopranos" (Season 6)

Metacritic score: 96/100

User score: 8.9/10

Notable episodes: "Soprano Home Movies," "Kaisha," "Made in America"

18. "Planet Earth II"

(PA

Metacritic score: 96/100

User score: 9.3/10

Notable episodes: "Islands," "Cities"

Planet Earth II - trailer

17. "Twin Peaks" (Season 1)

Metacritic score: 96/100

User score: 9.3/10

Notable episodes: "Pilot," "Traces to Nowhere," "The Last Evening"

16. "Fargo" (Season 2)

Metacritic score: 96/100

User score: 9.4/10

Notable episodes: "Waiting for Dutch," "Fear and Trembling," "Palindrome"

15. "Breaking Bad" (Season 4)

Metacritic score: 96/100

User score: 9.5/10

Notable episodes: "Box Cutter," "End Times," "Face Off"

14. "O.J.: Made In America" (Season 1/1)

Metacritic score: 96/100

User score: 9.5/10

Notable episodes: "Parts 1-5"

13. "The Larry Sanders Show" (Season 5)

Metacritic score: 97/100

User score: 5.6/10

Notable episodes: "Everybody Loves Larry," "Ellen, Or Isn't She?," "The Roast"

12. "The Sopranos" (Season 2)

Metacritic score: 97/100

User score: 9.3/10

Notable episodes: "From Where to Eternity," "Bust Out," "Funhouse"

11. "The Sopranos" (Season 3)

Metacritic score: 97/100

User score: 9.4/10

Notable episodes: "Mr. Ruggerio's Neighborhood," "Second Opinion," "Army of One"

10. "The Office: UK" (Season 3)

Metacritic score: 98/100

User score: 8.3/10

Notable episodes: "Christmas Special Parts 1 & 2"

9. "The Office: UK" (Season 1)

Metacritic score: 98/100

User score: 8.5/10

Notable episodes: "Downsize," "New Girl," "Judgement"

8. "The Leftovers" (Season 3)

Metacritic score: 98/100

User score: 9.1/10

Notable episodes: "The Book of Nora," "Certified"

7. "The Wire" (Season 3)

Metacritic score: 98/100

User score: 9.5/10

Notable episodes: "Time After Time," "Straight and True," "Mission Accomplished"

6. "The Wire" (Season 4)

Whitlock Jr. as Senator Clayton 'Clay' Davis in The Wire

Metacritic score: 98/100

User score: 9.6/10

Notable episodes: "Boys of Summer," "That's Got His Own," "Final Grades"

5. "The Larry Sanders Show" (Season 6)

Metacritic score: 99/100

User score: 5.3/10

Notable episodes: "Another List," "I Buried Sid," "Flip"

4. "The Larry Sanders Show" (Season 4)

Metacritic score: 99/100

User score: 5.6/10

Notable episodes: "Roseanne's Return," "Hank's Sex Tape," "Eight"

3. "Murder One" (Season 1)

Metacritic score: 99/100

User score: 6.3/10

Notable episodes: "Chapter One," "Chapter Twenty-Two," "Chapter Twenty-Three"

2. "Rectify" (Season 4)

RECTIFY season 4 - trailer

Metacritic score: 99/100

User score: 8.8/10

Notable episodes: "All I'm Sayin'," "Happy Unburdening"

1. "Breaking Bad" (Season 5)

Metacritic score: 99/100

User score: 9.7/10

Notable episodes: "Ozymandias," "Granite State," "Felina"

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