Every now and then, we all need a good laugh — and what better way to relax and unwind at the end of a long day than switching on a tried and tested sitcom? After all, there’s always something comforting about tuning into a show that has familiar characters and predictable storylines. And even if you don’t watch a sitcom in order, you can still enjoy a standalone episode once you know the characters; we’ve all watched a random episode of “Friends” or “Seinfeld” in the past!
Looking for a new show to enjoy? We’ve taken a look at the top rated sitcom seasons based on the ratings of Metacritic. These are the programs that both critics and fans could not get enough of. With hilarious, endearing characters, ridiculous situations, and snappy dialogue, everyone is bound to love these hilarious series. Ready to start laughing? Here are the best sitcom seasons of all time, according to Metacritic.
Season 2 of Murphy Brown has a perfect score on Metacritic
The 1980s American sitcom “Murphy Brown” aired on CBS from 1988 to 2018. The show told the story of Murphy, a reporter for a news magazine show called “FYI.” With a lovable cast of characters and some wild storylines, it’s easy to see why viewers loved this show. And they weren’t alone — critics were also blown away. In fact, the second season of “Murphy Brown” boasts a perfect score of 100 on Metacritic. One writer for The New York Times noted that, “The sitcom doesn’t get any better than this … Over the last year … ‘Murphy Brown’ has evolved from a clearly promising idea … into a landmark series.” With Season 2, Murphy and the rest of the gang clearly hit their stride.
As the team behind the show explained to Entertainment Weekly back in 1992, it was clear from early on that “Murphy Brown” would be special. “We did make it to the top 10 — but we knew we would,” Diane English, the show’s creator proclaimed. “That sounds really arrogant. Classic? By the end of the first season, yeah.” Well, with confidence like that, it’s no wonder critics responded well to the second season!
Season 4 of The Larry Sanders Show was considered hilarious by critics
“The Larry Sanders Show” was a 90s sitcom that took the world by storm. The show isn’t actually all that popular today, but at the time, critics were super enthusiastic about it. The fourth season is the show’s best rated season with a score of 99 on Metacritic.
The program follows Larry, played by Garry Shandling, a talk show host as he juggles his various guests from week to week. It became famous for featuring stars playing exaggerated, humorous versions of themselves. In Season 4 of “The Larry Sanders Show,” the cast kept delivering the wry, biting wit that had made the sitcom famous. As The Washington Post wrote at the time, it was “bitterly, brutally, blatantly hilarious.” The Philadelphia Inquirer said, “The sharpness of the writing and the crispness of the acting demonstrate that cable’s best situation comedy has lost none of its bite as it begins its fourth season” (via Metacritic).
As one of the program’s stars, Jeffrey Tambor, told Roger Ebert, what made “The Larry Sanders Show” so good was the approach. “I come from the theater and it was very, very much approached like theater,” he explained. “It was rehearsed and Garry took a long, long time in casting and putting that particular unit together.”
Season 6 of The Larry Sanders Show was another critical success
Like Season 4, the sixth and final season of “The Larry Sanders Show” was another huge success. While some shows lose their bite and electricity as they go on, this was certainly not the case with “The Larry Sanders Show.” In fact, it seems to have gotten better and better with age, with a score of 99 on Metacritic.
As Entertainment Weekly wrote at the time of the final season, “Fearlessly, [Garry] Shandling and his co-writers are pushing Larry to the edge” (via Metacritic). The Washington Post said, “For Garry Shandling, it’s a triumph, a masterwork, a pinnacle.”
As actor Jeffrey Tambor later told Penguin Random House, filming the final season of “The Larry Sanders Show” wasn’t easy. In fact, it was quite different. “Believe it or not, I don’t know what it was but Garry … wanted to cut the scene. And we said, ‘You can’t cut the scene, it’s what the whole series was about,'” he recalled. “So believe it or not we did that whole scene in one take.” He added, “It was devastating” to say goodbye to the show. Based on the reviews, it seems like they did everything right for their last season.
Season 3 of The Office: U.K. was a huge winner on Metacritic
Most of us know about the American version of “The Office,” but as it turns out, the U.K. version was a bigger success with critics. In fact, the third season has a staggeringly high score of 98 on Metacritic.
“The Office: UK” follows a self-important manager at a dull workplace complete with bored employees, hideous small talk, and fluorescent lighting. By Season 3, the final season, the show had really hit its stride. As one critic wrote for the San Francisco Chronicle, it was “quite possibly the finest closing chapter ever for a TV series.” Newsweek agreed, writing that the show “gets to quit while it’s way, way ahead” (via Metacritic).
Star Ricky Gervais explained the show’s satisfying but open ending to The Guardian, saying, “There’s not complete closure, like a film ending, but it does give you a flavour of where they all might be now. The ending couldn’t be perfect and neat because that wouldn’t fit in with the spirit of the show.” We won’t give away what happens at the end of “The Office: UK,” but let’s just say, it’s well worth watching.
Season 1 of The Office: U.K. was another almost perfect sitcom season
While the final season of “The Office: UK” was rated highly by critics, the first season was also a smash. According to Metacritic, it has a rating of 98. Apparently, the sitcom found its feet pretty quickly. As one writer for The Star-Ledger gushed, it was “a scream, in the biting Britcom tradition of ‘Fawlty Towers’ and the best depiction of middle management hell since Mike Judge’s cult classic ‘Office Space'” (via Metacritic).
As the program’s creator and star Ricky Gervais explained to NPR, a lot of the early success of “The Office: UK” was due to just how real every situation felt. As he explained, he had based a lot of the show on his own experiences having worked in an office for eight years. “Well, the episode four in series one, where we had the guy come in train people, I remember the first training session I went to, and I remember they did role-playing,” Gervais recalled. “And I remember at the time thinking this is ridiculous.” Luckily, these painful office experiences eventually led to an iconic TV show!
Season 5 of The Larry Sanders Show made critics laugh
Unsurprisingly, “The Larry Sander Show” lands another spot on our list with its penultimate fifth season. This season boasts an impressive score of 98 on Metacritic. Reviewers, yet again, could not get enough of the program. The New York Times noted, “When a series starts off great and just keeps getting better, it’s television-classic time,” and The San Diego Union-Tribune wrote, “It’s never been more deliciously caustic or more viciously on-target about Hollywood insiders’ egos and insecurities,” (via Metacritic).
It’s pretty amazing that “The Larry Sanders Show” continued to wow audiences and critics for its full six years. In fact, by the fifth season, star and creator Garry Shandling was already exhausted. As he told GQ, his schedule was pretty insane. “I would come home every Friday morning at 2 a.m. from shooting, and I’d have to get up to meet the writers at noon Saturday to go over the script for Monday,” he revealed. “I would give them notes, and then they’d go and write a draft and come back on Sunday, and then I’d give notes on that. And get up and go to the table reading Monday.” Wow, we’re impressed that Shandling managed to give consistently flawless performances for so long.
Season 2 of Better Things was a giant hit on Metacritic
The show “Better Things” was created by Louie C.K. and Pamela Adlon, and was about a divorced actress raising her children on her own. The show’s second season has an impressive Metacritic score of 96.
Critics praised “Better Things” for its portrayal of the everyday trials and tribulations of being a working parent. As one reviewer wrote for Vox, “It’s mostly about getting through the day … it feels a little like magic.” And Time commented on the strength of the second season, writing, “This is a huge leap forward for a show that was already quite strong … Adlon comes as close to a pure auteur as TV gets.”
Alon, also the star of “Better Things,” spoke to The Hollywood Reporter about her experience on the show. As she explained, she had decided to direct every episode of the second season. While some people thought this was quite a feat, Adlon said, “I am a single mom of three girls, and I’m getting through that. If I can get through that, I can direct a whole season of television that I star in.” A truthful portrayal of single motherhood with a female creator, director, and actress who’s done it all herself? Sign us up.
Season 3 of Catastrophe was the show's best season, according to critics
The British sitcom “Catastrophe” starred Sharon Horgan and Rob Delaney as a couple who get together after a one-night stand that results in a pregnancy. The show also stars Carrie Fisher and Ashley Jensen. According to Metacritic, the third season is the show’s best, with a rating of 96.
As Entertainment Weekly explained, the third season of “Catastrophe” added “great depths” to an already wacky comedy. As IndieWire put it, “‘The ending of Season 3 is impactful, to say the least. After a season of examining the constant awareness of responsibility outside oneself, each episode carries a potency beyond its length, dialogue, or content.” In other words, this comedy will also make you think.
As Delaney explained to Channel 4, Season 3 of “Catastrophe” was an opportunity to make things a little darker. “I remember in Season 2 having to saccharine it up a bit. Our natural inclination is not usually to be too saccharine,” he shared. “You’d rather have your audience come away saying ‘I think I just noticed that they’re in love’ rather than hitting them over the head with it.” Sounds like this comedy just got more and more mature with age.
The final season of Schitt's Creek will make you laugh and cry, says Metacritic
“Schitt’s Creek” started slow, but it was a gigantic hit by the time the series came to an end with season 6. The show followed a wealthy family who lose everything but a small, hick town that they once bought as a joke. Over the course of the six seasons, the family of four learn about relationships, empathy, and compassion as they shed their old habits and soften into kinder, more likeable people. According to Metacritic, “Schitt’s Creek” ended on a high, with the final season getting a score of 95. As TVGuide summed it up, the “final season might not be self-conscious, but it is self-aware; as the series prepares for one last goodbye, it’s interested in how endings become new beginnings.”
Indeed, “Schitt’s Creek” ended on an emotional, bittersweet note for the characters and actors alike. As the show’s creator and star Dan Levy told Deadline, “It’s moments like that where you just realize we had a really great team and we had a collection of actors who loved each other so much and loved what they were doing and cared so deeply for the work — and you don’t get that often,” he gushed.
Season 3 of Better Things was another huge success on Metacritic
While the second season of the L.A. single parent sitcom “Better Things” is considered to be the best, the third season comes in a close second, with a rating of 94 on Metacritic. As The Atlantic noted, this season saw things developing and shifting for the characters. “[The Season 3 episodes] seem to think about the inevitability of change, and what it means to handle change with grace,” they wrote. Additionally, the Daily Beast commented, “We get little snapshots of moments in Sam’s life, yet each glimpse is so fully realized and emotionally rich that you see whole story lines immediately — whole lifetimes, really.” It sounds like this season, while bringing the comedy we all crave from a sitcom, also brought some deep truths about life as an adult.
As “Better Things” star and creator Pamela Adlon told Variety, it wasn’t easy to make this season after her collaborator, Louie C.K., Was accused of sexual misconduct. “It’s really hard to function when you’re in shock and in grief. I’d lost my passion,” she confessed. Fortunately, in the end Adlon continued with the show on her own, and though it was difficult, it was clearly a success.
Season 2 of The Office: U.K. was also voted almost perfect by critics
Season 2 of “The Office: UK” may be the worst rated, but it’s still got a high score of 93 on Metacritic, which just goes to show how great the show was. Some critics even thought this season was better than the first. The Star-Ledger noted, “The six-episode first season of ‘The Office’ was so dark, so wicked, so brilliant that it was hard to imagine Gervais and Merchant topping themselves. But they have.” Of course, some publications didn’t agree. As one critic from Newsday wrote, “It’s the sort of comedy that only certain people can get, like the way dogs can hear sounds human can’t” (via Metacritic). It’s safe to say, if you like “The Office: UK,” then you love it, but it isn’t for everyone.
Plus, as the program’s creator, Ricky Gervais, noted in an interview with Times Radio, some modern audiences may struggle to get the humor today. “I think if this was put out now, some people have lost their sense of irony and context” (via ScreenRant). If you like brutal, uncomfortable British humor and you don’t mind a few politically incorrect references, this season may be for you.
Season 3 of The Larry Sanders Show ranked highly on Metacritic
It’s clear that “The Larry Sanders Show” is a real critical hit. In fact, all of its seasons have almost perfect ratings over 90. And while the third season may not be as highly rated as some of the other seasons, it still boasts a Metacritic score of 93. Most critics found that this season of “The Larry Sanders Show” was just as good as the ones that came before. As the Los Angeles Times wrote, “As always, the acting is so artfully straight-faced and the scripts so full of in-the-know nuance that ‘The Larry Sanders Show’ seems to reek of behind-the-scenes television reality.”
According to TVLine, season 3 of “The Larry Sanders Show” contains what is “probably the most hilarious ‘Larry Sanders’ episode of them all.” Apparently, the episode “Hank’s Night in the Sun” shows off Jeffrey Tambor’s comedic skills when his character has to step in for Sanders as the host.
Season 2 of The Simpsons was the show's best rated season on Metacritic
It’s safe to say that just about everyone has heard of “The Simpsons.” The long-running animated sitcom follows the often ludicrous adventures of the oafish Homer Simpson and his characterful family. Of all of the dozens of seasons of the show, critics seem to agree that the second season of “The Simpsons” is the best. On Metacritic, it boasts a score of 92. Entertainment Weekly wrote at the time, “It’s becoming obvious that ‘The Simpsons,’ now in its second season, isn’t just a product of media hype: Matt Groening’s cartoon family is one of the few current words of popular art that possess wit and integrity” (via Metacritic). By the second season of the program, everyone was hooked.
In 2021, Groening spoke to USA Today about the three decades of “The Simpsons.” As he explained, in the early days, the show was less about the animation and more about the content. “I thought I’ll never be able to do good animation, but I’ll be able to control the writing, the music and acting,” he explained. Even though the animation has since improved, back then, he said, “it did have a lot of heart.”
Season 4 of "Catastrophe" was anything but a catastrophe
While the third season of “Catastrophe” is considered to be the best season, viewers also loved the fourth and final season. On Metacritic, it has a score of 91. Critics were largely impressed with the mixture of comedy and honesty in this season. As IndieWire noted, “Rob and Sharon’s relationship, for all its heartache and flaws, is enough. That’s the honest truth, and it’s felt through to the end.”
As Sharon Horgan told Channel 4, the final season of “Catastrophe” was actually the hardest. “It gets more difficult [to write], if I’m honest. You definitely know the characters better, so you’re definitely drawing less on your own life, and more on what has gone before for those characters,” she revealed. “There’s more texture there.”
While “Catastrophe” Season 4 may have been more complicated to write, the complexity of the characters definitely paid off. Horgan also added that after four years, it was “hard to say goodbye to all of [the characters],” but added that the series had come to a natural conclusion. One thing’s for sure — this show ended on a high.
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