The 13 Best Shows to Binge, According to Critics

Updated 06/22/19
The 9 Best TV Shows of Summer 2018 Streaming Now
Because I'm Addicted

Summer, traditionally devoid of television premieres, now boasts some of the most anticipated shows of the year. Without a doubt, we can thank streaming platforms like Netflix, Hulu, and HBO Go for the recent rise of blockbuster summer shows, like Game of Thrones and Stranger Things.

In search of binge-worthy shows to stream this season, we turned to the review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes to find out what the critics have to say. After sifting through the site's ratings and considering the critics' reviews, these are the shows that stood out from the rest. Spanning a gothic crime thriller with an unexpected twist to a refreshingly thoughtful addition to the superhero genre, here are the shows that are actually worth your time.

Insecure

Insecure

Issa Rae's beloved HBO series Insecure is thought-provoking, tear-jerking, and laughter-inducing. It tackles the hard-to-face issues of growing up, from facing career setbacks to navigating romantic relationships.

Critics Score: 100% liked it (with an average rating of 7.9/10)

Audience Score: 61% liked it (with an average rating of 3.6/5)

Stream It: HBO

Glow

Best tv shows of summer 2018: Glow

Glow, Netflix's original series about a women's wrestling TV program from the '80s, lives up to the hype. According to NPR television critic Eric Deggans, "Glow is that rare series that builds on an impressive debut season to achieve even more."

Critics Score: 98% liked it (with an average rating of 8.9/10)

Audience Score: 87% liked it (with an average rating of 4.3/5)

Stream It: Netflix

Vida

Best tv shows of summer 2018: Vida

After a death in the family, two Mexican-American siblings are forced to reckon with their mother's true identity and confront their pasts in this six-episode, 30-minute drama. Felix Contreras, host of NPR's Alt.Latino, writes, "Vida deftly takes on themes of sexual identity in communities of color, assimilation, fraught sibling dynamics, discrimination, and gentrification."

Critics Score: 100% liked it (with an average rating of 7.97/10)

Audience Score: 69% liked it (with an average rating of 3.7/5)

Stream It: Starz

Sharp Objects

Best tv shows of summer 2018: Sharp Objects

The show, based on the book by Gillian Flynn, follows Camille, a self-destructive journalist, as she returns to her hometown to cover the murder of one young girl and the disappearance of another—and confronts her own demons in the process. Sharp Objects "is not the gothic crime thriller you might first suspect—at least not mainly," writes James Poniewozik, chief television critic for The New York Times. "Instead, the show's attention is drawn backward to Camille's injuries, emotional, physical, and self-inflicted."

Critics Score: 93% liked it (with an average rating of 8/10)

Audience Score: 70% liked it (with an average rating of 3.8/5)

Stream It: HBO

The Bold Type

The Bold Type

If you've been longing for a series akin to the move The Devil Wears Prada, then check out Freeform's The Bold Type. The network's breakout series has earned glowing reviews from critics and viewers alike, making it a must-watch show.  

Critics Score: 100% liked it (with an average rating of 8.7/10)

Audience Score: 77% liked it (with an average rating of 4.1/5)

Stream It: Hulu

Younger

Younger

TV Land's Younger has amassed a cult following for its hilarious yet heartfelt portrayal of a 40-something single mom re-entering the workforce as a 20-something millennial to land her dream job. If you have yet to tune in, do yourself a favor and binge-watch this series stat. 

Critics Score: 100% liked it (with an average rating of 7.87/10)

Audience Score: 77% liked it (with an average rating of 4.1/5)

Stream It: TV Land

Queer Eye

Best tv shows of summer 2018: Queer Eye

Netflix's reboot of Bravo's beloved series Queer Eye offers "more than a makeover," as the show's tagline professes. "Ever-so-gently, the Fab Five tests out how anyone can possibly try to construct their 'best' selves once the social prescriptions for how to dress and act have been lifted," writes Spencer Kornhaber for The Atlantic.

Critics Score: 90% liked it (with an average rating of 8.36/10)

Audience Score: 76% liked it (with an average rating of 3.8/5)

Stream It: Netflix

Pose

Best tv shows of summer 2018: Pose

Set in New York City, Pose delves into the drag ball subculture during the '80s. "For those of us new to that world, Pose introduces us to its rituals, language, and spirit effortlessly and enjoyably," writes Matthew Gilbert for The Boston Globe. The show also has the "largest trans cast and crew ever on a scripted series," reports Gilbert.

Critics Score: 97% liked it (with an average rating of 7.67/10)

Audience Score: 82% liked it (with an average rating of 4.2/5)

Stream It: Hulu

The Handmaid's Tale

Best TV shows of summer 2018: The Handmaid's Tale

The Handmaid's Tale isn't your typical feel-good summer show, but despite its serious subject matter, it should be considered required viewing—and critics agree. "The most compelling scenes ... are the ones that explore how, exactly, Gilead took over America, and that draw on contemporary events and figures with eerie relevance," writes Sophie Gilbert for The Atlantic.

Critics Score: 91% liked it (with an average rating of 8.31/10)

Audience Score: 79% liked it (with an average rating of 4.1/5)

Stream It: Hulu

The Affair

Best tv shows of summer 2018: The Affair

Binge-watching The Affair is the equivalent of tearing through a great beach read. "Growth happens, here and there, but there's always another emotional crisis just around the corner, bringing with it shouting, revenge sex, and possibly a drunken arrest," writes Mike Hale for The New York Times. "Which is exactly what draws us back to The Affair. It's the show that's figured out how to have all of its characters in the middle of midlife crises, all the time."

Critics score: 100% liked it (with an average rating of 7.8/10)

Audience score: 76% liked it (with an average rating of 4/5)

Stream it on: Showtime

Westworld

Best tv shows of summer 2018: Westworld

Entertaining and thought-provoking, Westworld is a sci-fi drama set in a futuristic amusement park where guests interact with robotic yet realistic "hosts." "It plays out across multiple jumbled timelines, extending the show’s discussion of autonomy, freedom, and personal authenticity," writes Josephine Livingstone for The New Republic.

Critics Score: 86% liked it (with an average rating of 7.98/10)

Audience Score: 73% liked it (with an average rating of 3.9/5)

Stream It: HBO

Marvel's Cloak & Dagger

Best tv shows of summer 2018: Marvel's Cloak & Dagger

Marvel's Cloak & Dagger is a soapy teen drama with substance. "Far from light-hearted like Hulu's Runaways, however, Cloak & Dagger is full of the grit and dark color of Marvel's Netflix offerings like Daredevil and Jessica Jones," writes Ira Madison III for The Daily Beast. "Which is to say that it's definitely a good show, but don't expect too many superheroics or comic-book-inspired camp just yet." A refreshingly thoughtful addition to the genre, the show touches on themes of redemption and self-discovery.

Critics Score: 90% liked it (with an average rating of 7.7/10)

Audience Score: 74% liked it (with an average rating of 3.8/5)

Stream It: Hulu

Better Call Saul

Better Call Saul

The Breaking Bad prequel spinoff series Better Call Saul stars Bob Odenkirk as a loveable lawyer descending into a world of criminality. Although the series is a spinoff, don't worry if you never tuned in to Breaking Bad—you don't need to be up on Albuquerque's most notorious drug manufacturer to enjoy this show.

Critics Score: 99% liked it (with an average rating of 8.82/10)

Audience Score: 96% liked it (with an average rating of 4.7/5)

Stream It: Amazon

This story was originally published on July 30, 2018, and has since been updated.

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