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

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Shows like "Breaking Bad" and "The Wire" consistently won over critics, and their best seasons have set a standard for what great TV looks like.

"Breaking Bad" (Season 5). play

"Breaking Bad" (Season 5).

(AMC)

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.

Check out the 50 best TV-show seasons of all time, according to critics:

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

6. "The Handmaid's Tale" (Hulu) play

6. "The Handmaid's Tale" (Hulu)

(Hulu)

Metacritic score: 92/100

User score: 7.8/10

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



49. "Homeland" (Season 1)

49. "Homeland" (Season 1) play

49. "Homeland" (Season 1)

(Showtime)

Metacritic score: 92/100

User score: 8.3/10

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



48. "Rectify" (Season 2)

48. "Rectify" (Season 2) play

48. "Rectify" (Season 2)

(SundanceTV)

Metacritic score: 92/100

User score: 9.1/10

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



47. "The Simpsons" (Season 2)

47. "The Simpsons" (Season 2) play

47. "The Simpsons" (Season 2)

(FOX)

Metacritic score: 92/100

User score: 9.0/10

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



46. "The Americans" (Season 3)

46. "The Americans" (Season 3) play

46. "The Americans" (Season 3)

(FX)

Metacritic score: 92/100

User score: 8.5/10

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



45. "The Staircase [2018 version]" (Season 1)

45. "The Staircase [2018 version]" (Season 1) play

45. "The Staircase [2018 version]" (Season 1)

(Netflix)

Metacritic score: 92/100

User score: 7.6/10

Notable episodes: "Looking for Closure," "Flawed Justice"



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

44. "Halt and Catch Fire" (Season 4) play

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

(AMC)

Metacritic score: 92/100

User score: 8.0/10

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



43. "The Shield" (Season 1)

43. "The Shield" (Season 1) play

43. "The Shield" (Season 1)

(FX)

Metacritic score: 92/100

User score: 9.3/10

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



42. "Mad Men" (Season 4)

42. "Mad Men" (Season 4) play

42. "Mad Men" (Season 4)

(AMC)

Metacritic score: 92/100

User score: 9.0/10

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



41. "The Americans" (Season 6)

41. "The Americans" (Season 6) play

41. "The Americans" (Season 6)

(FX)

Metacritic score: 92/100

User score: 8.1/10

Notable episodes: "Jennings, Elizabeth," "START"



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

40. "The Larry Sanders Show" (Season 3) play

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

(HBO)

Metacritic score: 93/100

User score: 7.2/10

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



39. "Bleak House" (Season 1)

39. "Bleak House" (Season 1) play

39. "Bleak House" (Season 1)

(BBC)

Metacritic score: 93/100

User score: 9.1/10

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



38. "Curb Your Enthusiasm" (Season 3)

38. "Curb Your Enthusiasm" (Season 3) play

38. "Curb Your Enthusiasm" (Season 3)

(HBO)

Metacritic score: 93/100

User score: 8.8/10

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



37. "Louie" (Season 4)

37. "Louie" (Season 4) play

37. "Louie" (Season 4)

(FX)

Metacritic score: 93/100

User score: 8.7/10

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



36. "Deadwood" (Season 2)

36. "Deadwood" (Season 2) play

36. "Deadwood" (Season 2)

(HBO)

Metacritic score: 93/100

User score: 9.2/10

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



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

35. "The Office: UK" (Season 2) play

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

(BBC)

Metacritic score: 93/100

User score: 8.9/10

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



34. "The Americans" (Season 5)

34. "The Americans" (Season 5) play

34. "The Americans" (Season 5)

(FX)

Metacritic score: 94/100

User score: 8.3/10

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



33. "Louie" (Season 3)

33. "Louie" (Season 3) play

33. "Louie" (Season 3)

(FX)

Metacritic score: 94/100

User score: 8.8/10

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



32. "Transparent" (Season 2)

"Transparent" — Amazon, five seasons play

"Transparent" — Amazon, five seasons

(Amazon)

Metacritic score: 94/100

User score: 6.7/10

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



31. "Battlestar Galactica" (Season 3)

31. "Battlestar Galactica" (Season 3) play

31. "Battlestar Galactica" (Season 3)

(Sci-Fi)

Metacritic score: 94/100

User score: 9.1/10

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



30. "Game of Thrones" (Season 4)

30. "Game of Thrones" (Season 4) play

30. "Game of Thrones" (Season 4)

(HBO)

Metacritic score: 94/100

User score: 9.2/10

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



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

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

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

(NBC)

Metacritic score: 94/100

User score: 8.5/10

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



28. "The Wire" (Season 2)

28. "The Wire" (Season 2) play

28. "The Wire" (Season 2)

(HBO)

Metacritic score: 95/100

User score: 9.2/10

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



27. "The Americans" (Season 4)

"The Americans" — ended May 30, after six seasons on FX play

"The Americans" — ended May 30, after six seasons on FX

(FX)

Metacritic score: 95/100

User score: 8.9/10

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



26. "The Staircase [2004 version]" (Season 1)

26. "The Staircase [2004 version]" (Season 1) play

26. "The Staircase [2004 version]" (Season 1)

(Netflix)

Metacritic score: 95/100

User score: 7.8/10

Notable episodes: "Crime or Accident?," "The Last Chance"



25. "Enlightened" (Season 2)

25. "Enlightened" (Season 2) play

25. "Enlightened" (Season 2)

(HBO)

Metacritic score: 95/100

User score: 7.6/10

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



24. "Catastrophe" (Season 3)

24. "Catastrophe" (Season 3) play

24. "Catastrophe" (Season 3)

(Amazon)

Metacritic score: 96/100

User score: 8.0/10

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



23. "Planet Earth II"

23. "Planet Earth II" play

23. "Planet Earth II"

(BBC)

Metacritic score: 96/100

User score: 9.3/10

Notable episodes: "Islands," "Cities"



22. "Fargo" (Season 2)

22. "Fargo" (Season 2) play

22. "Fargo" (Season 2)

(FX)

Metacritic score: 96/100

User score: 9.3/10

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



21. "Better Things" (Season 2)

21. "Better Things" (Season 2) play

21. "Better Things" (Season 2)

(FX)

Metacritic score: 96/100

User score: 7.2/10

Notable episodes: "Graduation," "White Rock"



20. "The Sopranos" (Season 6)

20. "The Sopranos" (Season 6) play

20. "The Sopranos" (Season 6)

(HBO)

Metacritic score: 96/100

User score: 8.9/10

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



19. "Breaking Bad" (Season 4)

19. "Breaking Bad" (Season 4) play

19. "Breaking Bad" (Season 4)

(AMC)

Metacritic score: 96/100

User score: 9.5/10

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



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

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

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

(ESPN)

Metacritic score: 96/100

User score: 9.5/10

Notable episodes: "Parts 1-5"



17. "Twin Peaks" (Season 1)

17. "Twin Peaks" (Season 1) play

17. "Twin Peaks" (Season 1)

(Showtime)

Metacritic score: 96/100

User score: 9.3/10

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



16. "Homeland" (Season 2)

16. "Homeland" (Season 2) play

16. "Homeland" (Season 2)

(Showtime)

Metacritic score: 96/100

User score: 8.3/10

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



15. "The Sopranos" (Season 3)

15. "The Sopranos" (Season 3) play

15. "The Sopranos" (Season 3)

(HBO)

Metacritic score: 97/100

User score: 9.4/10

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



14. "Atlanta" (Season 2)

14. "Atlanta" (Season 2) play

14. "Atlanta" (Season 2)

(FX)

Metacritic score: 97/100

User score: 7.9/10

Notable episodes: "Alligator Man," "Helen," "Teddy Perkins"



13. "Planet Earth: Blue Planet II"

13. "Planet Earth: Blue Planet II" play

13. "Planet Earth: Blue Planet II"

(AMC Networks)

Metacritic score: 97/100

User score: 8.1/10

Notable episodes: "One Ocean," "The Deep"



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

12. "The Larry Sanders Show" (Season 5) play

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

(HBO)

Metacritic score: 97/100

User score: 5.6/10

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



11. "The Sopranos" (Season 2)

11. "The Sopranos" (Season 2) play

11. "The Sopranos" (Season 2)

(HBO)

Metacritic score: 97/100

User score: 9.3/10

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



10. "The Wire" (Season 4)

10. "The Wire" (Season 4) play

10. "The Wire" (Season 4)

(HBO)

Metacritic score: 98/100

User score: 9.6/10

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



9. "The Wire" (Season 3)

9. "The Wire" (Season 3) play

9. "The Wire" (Season 3)

(HBO)

Metacritic score: 98/100

User score: 9.5/10

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



8. "The Leftovers" (Season 3)

8. "The Leftovers" (Season 3) play

8. "The Leftovers" (Season 3)

(HBO)

Metacritic score: 98/100

User score: 9.1/10

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



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

7. "The Office: UK" (Season 1) play

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

(BBC)

Metacritic score: 98/100

User score: 8.5/10

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



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

6. "The Office: UK" (Season 3) play

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

(BBC)

Metacritic score: 98/100

User score: 8.3/10

Notable episodes: "Christmas Special Parts 1 & 2"



5. "Breaking Bad" (Season 5)

5. "Breaking Bad" (Season 5) play

5. "Breaking Bad" (Season 5)

(Ursula Coyote/AMC)

Metacritic score: 99/100

User score: 9.7/10

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



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

4. "The Larry Sanders Show" (Season 6) play

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

(HBO)

Metacritic score: 99/100

User score: 5.3/10

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



3. "Murder One" (Season 1)

3. "Murder One" (Season 1) play

3. "Murder One" (Season 1)

(ABC)

Metacritic score: 99/100

User score: 6.3/10

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



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

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

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

(HBO)

Metacritic score: 99/100

User score: 5.7/10

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



1. "Rectify" (Season 4)

1. "Rectify" (Season 4) play

1. "Rectify" (Season 4)

(SundanceTV)

Metacritic score: 99/100

User score: 8.8/10

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



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