News

The Ultimate Binge Guide: 296 Must-See Shows that Changed the Way We Watch TV

Discover the best shows ever made – and witness the evolution of TV (seriously, we're going big) – in our upcoming book, releasing this November.

by | July 26, 2021 | Comments

Ultimate Binge Guide

(Photo by Running Press / Rotten Tomatoes)


PRE-ORDER YOUR COPY OF THE ULTIMATE BINGE GUIDE NOW!


So… much… damn… TV. Where… do… I… even… start? Ugh, fine… I guess I’ll just re-watch The Office again.

World, we hear you.

Call it the Golden Age of Television, the era of Peak TV, or any other grandiose-sounding thing, it is a moment of intense delight for the TV fan – all those awesome shows – but also, frequently, intense struggle. Because, well: all those awesome shows!

We’re here to help. For more than two decades now, our trusty Tomatometer and Audience Scores have been there for you when choosing what to watch at the movies and at home; now, we’re continuing that mission with a brand-new book that will help you move through our saturated TV and streaming world like a Fresh-focused ninja. (And it will look very pretty on your coffee table, too.)

The Ultimate Binge Guide is just that: a bingeable bucket list of the shows you need to see before you die. They’re the best shows; the most influential shows; the funniest and scariest and most tear-jerkiest shows; the game-changers and classics; and the shows that broke molds and pushed the form forward.

They’re the shows you need to watch – period.

The guide is broken down into 10 sections that speak to the genres of the series featured as well as their place in TV history. Each recommendation comes with a sharp and insightful writeup from a member of the Rotten Tomatoes editorial team and other great writers that explains why it’s a must-see; a select few get the deep-dive treatment. (Want to know, in delightful detail, how The Boys is revolutionizing superhero TV? We got you.)

Our chapters include:

  • Classics That Made the Molds (And Those That Broke Them):​ The Jeffersons, All in the Family, Sanford and Son, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Get Smart, Cheers, Golden Girls, Happy Days…
  • Tony, Walt, Don, and the Antiheroes We Loved and Hated​:  Oz, Mad Men, The Sopranos, Breaking Bad, The Americans, Peaky Blinders, Ozark, The Shield, Boardwalk Empire, How To Get Away With Murder…
  • Game-Changing Sitcoms and the Kings and Queens of Cringe:  Insecure, Community, 30 Rock, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Fleabag, Black-ish, Party Down, Veep, Catastrophe, Fresh Off the Boat, Tim and Eric, Schitt’s Creek, Better Things, It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia, Pen15, Freaks and Geeks, Broad City, Black Lady Sketch Show…
  • Grown-Up Genre:  Buffy The Vampire Slayer, The X-Files, Battlestar Galactica, The Expanse, Supernatural, The Walking Dead, American Horror Story, Star Trek, Watchmen, The Witcher, Stranger Things, Game of Thrones, Westworld, Doctor Who…
  • Mysteries and Mindf–ks:  Twin Peaks, Lost, Sense8, Mr. Robot, Broadchurch, The Leftovers, Fargo, Top of the Lake, Killing Eve, Wilfred, True Detective, Hannibal, Mindhunter…
  • Reality TV and Docuseries That Captured the Zeitgeist: The Last Dance, Making A Murderer, Planet Earth, RuPaul’s Drag Race, Wild Wild Country, Queer Eye, The Jinx, Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown…
  • And many, many, more…

As well as guiding you through our era of Way Too Much Choice with expert recommendations, The Ultimate Binge Guide also offers a fascinating look at how TV has evolved, with sections of the book digging into the impact of major industry changes (the rise of HBO and Netflix, for example); introducing you to the super producers shaping the biggest hits of today, from Greg Berlanti to Shonda Rhimes; and exploring the rise of the “binge” and what it’s doing to our brains.

The Ultimate Binge Guide is available this November as a hardcover or ebook. Pre-order your copy now.

oThe Ultimate Binge GuideRunning Press / Rotten Tomatoes

Check out some pages from inside the book.

The guide is broken up into 10 chapters that speak to genres and the evolution of TV storytelling, such as our chapter focusing on the rise of antiheroes.

Anti Heros - Binge Guide

(Photo by Running Press / Rotten Tomatoes)

Throughout, you’ll find “Binge Battles” in which we finally settle the hottest TV debates and competitions, like which really is the best Office series: The US or the UK version?

The Office

(Photo by Running Press / Rotten Tomatoes)

For a selection of influential shows and hidden gems deserving of the spotlight, we’ve written insightful deep dives on why they’re must-sees and how they’ve pushed TV forward.

The Boys - Ultimate Binge Guide

(Photo by Running Press / Rotten Tomatoes)

Insecure - Ultimate Binge Guide

(Photo by Running Press / Rotten Tomatoes)

Between chapters, we feature illustrations and punchy breakdowns that trace the evolution of television – both in terms of technology and storytelling – and spotlight some of the most innovative creators in the game.

Comic Strip - Ultimate Binge Guide

(Photo by Running Press / Rotten Tomatoes)

Sometimes, a picture helps you move through the streaming landscape more than a thousand words would. In some sections, you’ll find infographics to navigate subgenres (teen dramas!) as well as TV universes like Star Trek and The Arrowverse.

Back to School - Ultimate Binge Guide

(Photo by Running Press / Rotten Tomatoes)


The Ultimate Binge Guide is available this November as a hardcover or ebook. Pre-order your copy now.

Tag Cloud

marvel comics Action Film Festival unscripted psycho Alien Winners casting zombie Western finale 4/20 TV renewals BBC One Lucasfilm video japanese hispanic heritage month CW Seed 007 new star wars movies Rock E3 robots ABC Family Nickelodeon X-Men FX on Hulu comiccon olympics Trivia best nbcuniversal Hallmark Christmas movies emmy awards Netflix hispanic Horror BAFTA Tomatazos stand-up comedy disaster Walt Disney Pictures Elton John feel good posters universal monsters Cannes Freeform VH1 harry potter Warner Bros. Captain marvel adaptation SundanceTV Columbia Pictures 24 frames Broadway CBS All Access biopic monster movies sequel Year in Review 21st Century Fox Mary poppins Hear Us Out Travel Channel gangster RT History Marathons justice league Music sag awards YouTube Red rotten movies we love animated royal family cops dexter jamie lee curtis Pride Month Amazon MSNBC cars talk show asian-american Comedy Central Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt theme song vampires Tokyo Olympics joker 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards discovery Crackle historical drama WarnerMedia toy story YouTube Premium Amazon Prime chucky Peacock Interview saw godzilla adenture streaming ITV See It Skip It game show laika stoner FXX ESPN children's TV cats Disney streaming service Crunchyroll Nominations Netflix Christmas movies mockumentary TCM doctor who PBS rotten Quiz movies political drama Television Critics Association FOX Sony Pictures 1990s Emmys based on movie what to watch social media Certified Fresh anime name the review kong spider-man psychological thriller Paramount new zealand 2018 GLAAD Mary Tyler Moore nature zombies romantic comedy YA nfl Disney Channel franchise Comics on TV Spectrum Originals Rocketman Chernobyl rt labs critics edition cancelled A&E TCA Winter 2020 Fox Searchlight Discovery Channel facebook toronto spanish festivals dogs Country slashers Spring TV Christmas SDCC TV One know your critic renewed TV shows GIFs NYCC Star Wars Shondaland CNN Comic Book lord of the rings DirecTV serial killer quibi south america Universal Drama Nat Geo travel Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Pixar PaleyFest criterion cancelled TV shows basketball SXSW rt archives king arthur heist movie spy thriller ABC Signature OWN AMC Vudu Superheroes fresh target boxoffice spain Musicals IFC 45 directors comics Stephen King FX concert HBO Go San Diego Comic-Con award winner spanish language Brie Larson slasher strong female leads canceled cancelled TV series 2015 hollywood DGA The Witch french First Look APB prank Apple TV Plus scorecard Family space 90s Black Mirror CMT The Walt Disney Company mcc Character Guide Mudbound TV movies Epix LGBT worst movies Anna Paquin Musical foreign cults Image Comics History Women's History Month Reality Competition dceu Binge Guide Teen comic ratings El Rey Star Trek 99% Adult Swim book Turner Showtime Emmy Nominations pirates of the caribbean breaking bad suspense Kids & Family Endgame Pop documentaries popular crime drama action-comedy Fantasy RT21 Calendar sitcom supernatural cartoon USA golden globe awards Oscars 93rd Oscars Film Tumblr adventure obituary MTV a nightmare on elm street news period drama Mary Poppins Returns Mystery films italian PlayStation The Arrangement Ovation movie dc American Society of Cinematographers Sneak Peek Logo satire revenge Apple politics OneApp President australia teaser Spike GoT E! Tubi mission: impossible The Purge TV telelvision binge Pet Sematary Watching Series thriller CBS Super Bowl Sundance Now green book Disney Comedy Schedule boxing crime thriller new york aliens singing competition Syfy football spinoff high school BET Polls and Games ABC Heroines natural history tv talk medical drama 2016 anthology indie witnail child's play Paramount Network blockbusters Rom-Com docudrama 20th Century Fox archives Hulu TruTV zero dark thirty women blockbuster Britbox TCA 2020 legend TNT latino debate technology The Academy NBC The Walking Dead Turner Classic Movies science fiction Lifetime series National Geographic razzies trailers live action Arrowverse dramedy comic book movie worst Funimation Animation screenings Sci-Fi Exclusive Video Bravo Fox News crossover Amazon Prime Video Election Holiday Academy Awards deadpool television international Marvel Opinion diversity black dragons classics Martial Arts festival Trailer YouTube wonder woman police drama streaming movies Red Carpet Writers Guild of America First Reviews A24 comic book movies biography marvel cinematic universe independent true crime ghosts BBC America 73rd Emmy Awards TCA 2017 Infographic NBA WGN critic resources king kong Pop TV Comic-Con@Home 2021 LGBTQ mutant HBO hidden camera japan Shudder Classic Film ID Television Academy Sundance DC streaming service game of thrones james bond canceled TV shows TIFF war docuseries crime Set visit Paramount Plus Starz jurassic park TBS scene in color Premiere Dates Apple TV+ sequels scary movies remakes DC Comics TCA Awards reboot Creative Arts Emmys Masterpiece Winter TV cooking Acorn TV DC Universe Trophy Talk kids 71st Emmy Awards Lifetime Christmas movies cinemax golden globes twilight hist Cartoon Network Baby Yoda die hard Mindy Kaling Amazon Studios Grammys stop motion HBO Max richard e. Grant rt labs composers free movies young adult 72 Emmy Awards superman Black History Month werewolf reviews cancelled television Best and Worst rom-coms documentary Lionsgate MCU Thanksgiving BBC dark sports Legendary Summer BET Awards versus Marvel Studios Food Network Song of Ice and Fire halloween Box Office Holidays romance Dark Horse Comics Reality critics Fall TV Tarantino 2021 Extras Rocky Hallmark Biopics comedies New York Comic Con kaiju 2017 Podcast Video Games Wes Anderson fast and furious VOD Photos screen actors guild Awards Tour IFC Films transformers parents indiana jones Ghostbusters Disney Plus Toys video on demand all-time Pacific Islander superhero TV Land 2019 Cosplay Marvel Television Superheroe Valentine's Day TLC miniseries elevated horror Avengers halloween tv batman book adaptation venice Disney+ Disney Plus aapi Sundance TV Awards comic books Countdown The CW blaxploitation Esquire Pirates VICE USA Network Ellie Kemper ViacomCBS christmas movies