The Best Television Shows of 2023

The Best Television Shows of 2023
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2023 was another great year for television. Despite streaming beginning to show some wear and tear and the delays caused by the WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes, we got a ton of new series and returning favorites over the last twelve months. We could barely watch everything from event series to revivals, comedies, dramas, and genre offerings. With hundreds of shows to choose from and thousands of hours of programming, here is our list of the best TV shows of 2023.

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Being the entertainment gluttons that we are, we put together a nice video of the Top 10 series of the year, while the full-text list of the 25 best is ranked below.

Honorable Mentions

Perry Mason (HBO), Yellowjackets (Showtime), The Power (Prime Video), Citadel (Prime Video), The Righteous Gemstones (HBO), Star Trek: Strange New Worlds (Paramount+), The Witcher (Netflix), Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan (Prime Video), The Afterparty (AppleTV+), Foundation (AppleTV+), Archer (FXX), One Piece (Netflix), Gen V (Prime Video), Goosebumps (Disney+), Ahsoka (Disney+), Invincible (Prime Video), Lawmen: Bass Reeves (Paramount+), Party Down (Starz), Silo (AppleTV+), Monarch: Legacy of Monsters (AppleTV+), Platonic (AppleTV+)

Even keeping this list to just twenty-five titles was challenging. Here are the good shows this year, but maybe they are not good enough to crack the top of this list. All honorable mentions above are worth checking out if you have not seen them. We have reviews for all of them on JoBlo.com, so check out details about each show and what we thought.

Now, onto the Top 25.

25 The Crowded Room (AppleTV+)

Tom Holland turned in one hell of a performance in The Crowded Room. The series, which banks on a substantial twist involving multiple personalities, may have been heavy-handed and melodramatic, but it also allowed Holland to channel multiple facets of a broken mind. Amanda Seyfried is great here, as is Jason Isaacs and the rest of the cast, but Holland commands the screen in a heartbreaking fashion. That alone makes this a must-watch series.

24 Dead Ringers (Prime Video)

Remaking David Cronenberg would be a daunting task for anyone, but this reimagined take on the novel by Bari Wood is a manifesto of empowerment. With Rachel Weisz giving two very different performances as identical twin OB/GYNs, this series looks at body horror tied to pregnancy and the God-like power that doctors hold. Without any sense of superiority or overt callbacks to the feature film, Dead Ringers is no homage but a fully original take on the story of the Mantle siblings. Britne Oldford and Poppy Liu are excellent supports for Rachel Weisz’s career-defining turn.

23 Sweet Tooth (Netflix)

The second season of the comic book adaptation from producer Robert Downey Jr manages to amp up the action while maintaining a family-friendly adventure in this tale of Gus, a deer/human hybrid captured by evil soldiers looking for a cure to a plague that decimated the globe. Echoing post-apocalyptic epics while forging a unique voice of its own, Sweet Tooth veers away from the source material and delves into the characters as three-dimensional people. Nonso Anozie, Christian Convery, Adeel Akhtar, and Dania Ramirez are fantastic, as is the legendary James Brolin as the best narrator since Sam Elliott.

22 Bupkis (Peacock)

Pete Davidson is an acquired taste… ask the hottest women on Earth. His brand of comedy was underutilized on SNL, but this metafictional take on his life blends the brilliance of Louis CK series Louie with the heart of Davidson’s The King of Staten Island. This series is surreal, weird, and brilliant, with Edie Falco taking over from Marisa Tomei as Pete’s mom and Joe Pesci portraying his terminally ill grandfather. From the shocking first scene of the premiere through one of the oddest car races, Bupkis is a fun and funny look inside Pete Davidson’s brain.

21 Scott Pilgrim Takes Off (Netflix)

I was expecting the reunion of Edgar Wright and the entire cast of Scott Pilgrim vs The World in this animated series to be a curiosity. Instead, I was blown away by this completely new story that starts out the same but then goes down an alternate narrative. With a stronger focus on Ramona and the supporting characters, this is a fun and new take on the fan favorite manga series through the anime lens it was written. Everyone is great, including the new characters. I hope this series has a new future now that the story has changed.

20 A Murder at the End of the World (FX on Hulu)

Brit Marling and Zal Batmanglij series The OA was canceled too soon, but the creative powerhouse has gone in a new direction with this whodunit led by the great Emma Corrin. Evoking a Gen Z twist on the classic Agatha Christie genre, this series brings together an ensemble cast in a story that is at once a look at the hazards of technology but also a showcase for talented actors from across stage and screen, including Harris Dickinson, Clive Owen, Joan Chen and more. This is a twisted tale that brings parallel timelines together in brilliant fashion. There is a satisfying conclusion, but I hope there are more mysteries for Darcy to solve for years to come.

19 Mrs. Davis (Prime Video)

Tara Hernandez and Damon Lindelof’s series is a blend of everything from comedy to science fiction to romance and drama. Led by the fantastic Betty Gilpin as a nun on a path to destroy a world-controlling artificial intelligence, Mrs. Davis is as scary as it is hilarious. With great turns by Jake McDorman, Elizabeth Marvel, David Arquette, Margo Martindale, and Chris Diamantopolous, this series reminds me of so many unique comic books and novels that never got the adaptations they deserved. As it stands, I loved this limited series as I unpacked each complex episode. There is so much here, much like Lindelof’s The Leftovers, that this series should be seen multiple times to take it all in.

18 Loki (Disney+)

Fans have been down on the Marvel Cinematic Universe in recent years. Loki is another project that got blasted by critics and fans for not living up to their expectations. Still, the second and final season of the series redeemed Tom Hiddleston’s iconic character in a haunting way that I did not see coming. It is entirely possible that with all of the Jonathan Majors news going around, something that unfortunately overshadows his excellent work here as multiple characters, many will not give this season its due. Nevertheless, I hope that Kevin Feige and his team figure out a way to use Loki’s fate to replace the big hole left by Kang in the developing Multiverse Saga.

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17 Lucky Hank (AMC)

It is a shame that this AMC series was recently canceled after just one season. Bob Odenkirk followed up his acclaimed Breaking Bad spin-off, Better Call Saul, with this dark comedy about a nihilistic college professor who stops giving a crap. As he deals with a mid-life crisis, Hank must deal with his wife’s burgeoning success, insane coworkers, and a mean goose. It is ridiculous and high-brow but still very relatable. The issue viewers may have had was just how different it was from Odenkirk’s prior work, but Lucky Hank was still a great story I wanted to see continue.

16 Black Mirror (Netflix)

There will never be a year where a new season of Black Mirror does not make this list. This season, comprised of five episodes, played like a group of feature films. Charlie Brooker came up with satires of Netflix itself, horror films, paparazzi, and much more in this diverse collection of stories. With big stars like Salma Hayek and Aaron Paul along with the stunning movie-length Demon ’79, this was a great run of the anthology series released in a post-COVID and post-Trump era in which telling dystopian tales is beginning to hit really close to home.

15 Barry (HBO)

Bill Hader’s hitman comedy-drama was a story I never expected to last more than one season. Thankfully, we have gotten four runs of solid storytelling featuring Hader stretching his talents as an actor, writer, and director. We also got stellar turns from Stephen Root, Sarah Goldberg, Anthony Carrigan, and the amazing Henry Winkler in a career-defining role as Gene Cousineau. Audiences were torn over the time jump this season, but Hader and co-creator Alec Berg went out on top with a pretty shocking conclusion to Barry Berkman’s odyssey.

14 Swarm (Prime Video)

After the conclusion of Atlanta, Donald Glover teamed with Janine Nabers on this horror limited series that was part satire and part psychological thriller. Dominique Fishback headlines the series as Dre, a woman obsessed with the Beyonce-esque Ni’Jah. Dre goes on a murder spree as part of the pop star’s swarm of fans, echoing some real-life scary obsessives. With turns from Kiersey Clemons, Billie Eilish, Rory Culkin, and Paris Jackson, this series ventures into some dangerous storytelling territory that enhances the narrative to levels equal to Donald Glover’s own Atlanta. This is a crazy story for crazy times and does a far better job of satirizing pop stars than The Weeknd’s The Idol ever could dream to.

13 Shrinking (AppleTV+)

Ted Lasso producer Bill Lawrence co-created this series with Brett Goldstein and Jason Segel to tell a beautiful and hilarious story about loss, grief, and mental health. Jason Segel headlines the series alongside the great Harrison Ford in the legendary actor’s best project in decades. This series will be back for a second season to continue the laughs, tears, and more that were setup in the great first run. With Ted Lasso leaving the airwaves, this is a great successor series if you like your comedy with a heaping dose of drama.

12 The Fall of the House of Usher (Netflix)

In the height of the SAG-AFTRA and WGA strikes, Mike Flanagan’s final Netflix series debuted. Hewing closer to The Haunting of Hill House‘s scares mixed with The Midnight Club‘s greatest hits approach to adapting source material, The Fall of the House of Usher may be the definitive Edgar Allan Poe adaptation. Using many stories and characters from the legendary writer’s entire bibliography, Flanagan brings his repertory cast including Henry Thomas, Carla Gugino, Bruce Greenwood, and more along with newcomers like Mark Hamill for a shared cinematic universe of gothic tales that was perfect Halloween fare. What a great story told in a completely original way.

11 Star Trek Picard (Paramount+)

The first season of Star Trek: Picard was a wonderfully mature return for Patrick Stewart to his signature role. The second season messed with time travel and ended up a messy, disjointed run. But, the third and final run of the show brought back the entire main cast of The Next Generation for the most satisfying revival of all time. Full of great potential to continue storylines in a new series led by Jeri Ryan, Picard brought us a finale for The Next Generation that eclipsed the original final episode and cemented itself as the single best season of any Star Trek series, ever.

10 Ted Lasso (AppleTV+)

Ted Lasso ran for a brief three seasons, but each was packed with more positive humor about dealing with our own inner struggles than any television show ever. After the first two seasons were a rollercoaster for the underdog soccer team who echoed the film Major League, we saw a rift form between Ted and Nate Shelley just as the rest of the characters pulled together. It even made it more magical that Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney’s purchase of Wrexham echoed this series’ narrative arc. While reception was more mixed this season than in years past, the show managed to bring storylines around for all of the main characters. There is still hope that we could see spin-offs centered on Richmond AFC, Coach Beard, Roy Kent, or any number of characters we came to love. Even if this is the end of the road, Ted Lasso gave us Hannah Waddingham, Brett Goldstein, Brendan Hunt, Nick Mohammed, and all of the brilliant ensemble players who made this series enjoyable.

9 I’m A Virgo (Prime Video)

Boots Riley’s first series is a surreal and odd fairy tale focused on Cootie, played by Jharrel Jerome. A thirteen-foot tall Black teenager, Cootie has been sheltered by his aunt and uncle, who do not want the world to know about their nephew’s secret. When Cootie goes into the world and makes friends, he discovers there are others with powers as well as a superhero named The Hero (Walton Goggins). I’m a Virgo blends animation, creative production design, and a moralistic fable to create an immersive world unlike anything else on television. This is certainly not a show for mainstream audiences, but it manages to suck you in from the first chapter and never lets go. I’m A Virgo is an emotionally-packed series full of fantastic performances.

8 The Curse (Showtime)

Nathan Fielder, best known for his reality-based comedy, teamed with Benny Safdie to craft a series that is at once a send up of home renovation shows and also a satirical horror story. Fielder and Safdie star alongside Emma Stone, who delivers a great performance to parallel her big-screen turn in Poor Things. As a married couple trying to get a pilot made for an HGTV series, Fielder and Stone deal with a curse that throws their lives upside down. What follows includes a micropenis, Native American rites, mirrored houses, viral videos, and one of the most unexpected final episodes in television history. Nathan Fielder has stepped up his creative output here and may be the next Jordan Peele with his uncanny balance of terror and humor. The Curse is an intense and uncomfortable watch that will have you anxiously trying to figure out what is going to happen next.

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7 Justified: City Primeval (FX on Hulu)

Do I really need to explain why this series is on this list? Timothy Olyphant was a badass on Deadwood and carried that over to this adaptation of stories by Elmore Leonard. When the original Justified finished its run, I never thought we would see Raylan Givens again, but this sequels series shifted the story from back country of the American South to the urban jungle of Detroit. With standout performances from Aunjanue Ellis and Boyd Holbrook as well as Olyphant’s daughter, Vivian, as Willa Givens, Justified: City Primeval delivered a self-contained mystery that combined the western elements of the original Justified with a new world for Raylan to explore. The finale left the door open for even more Justified with the return of Walton Goggins as Boyd Crowder which means this series will be on this list next year as well.

6 Beef (Netflix)

Netflix has always been hit or miss with their original series, but Beef is an absolute hit. Starring Steven Yeun and Ali Wong as Danny Cho and Amy Lau, Lee Sung Jin brought utter anxiety and intensity to this comedy-drama about a road rage incident that sends two strangers on a spiral in their lives. As their vengeance collides, their worlds are turned upside down in a hilarious and profound way. With a predominantly Asian-American cast, Beef transcends ethnicity to tell a universal story that we can all relate to about relationships, family, success, greed, and sex. This is a fantastic series that does not end the way you think it will but that is why this story is so damn good. Ali Wong and Steven Yeun should continue to make stories together, especially if they are as good as Beef.

5 Fargo (FX on Hulu)

Without fail, Noah Hawley has once again proven that he understands Joel and Ethan Coen as well as the iconic directors themselves. What other series could reference The Nightmare Before Christmas without a single line of dialogue? The fifth season of Fargo shifts to a contemporary setting and pits Juno Temple opposite Jon Hamm as former spouses. Echoing elements of Home Alone, this season is violent, eerie, and bizarrely connected to medieval England. It is a stunning season of twists, turns, and great performances from a supporting cast that includes Dave Foley, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Joe Keery, Lamorne Morris, and Richa Moorjani. While the last couple of seasons were a bit more divisive than the first, this season of Fargo ranks at the top of the anthology’s stories.

4 Succession (HBO)

The final season of Succession was something to behold. Going out while on top, the Jesse Armstrong-created series set the stage for a massive family feud between patriarch Logan Roy and his children as the vyed for control of the Waystar Royco fortune. With fans consuming each episode with bated breath, wondering who would be crowned the new king of the Roy family, Succession pulled the rug out from under everyone by killing off Brian Cox’s Logan three episodes into the season. It was a shocking decision that set the stage for an unexpected final seven chapters to the saga including one of the most brilliant finales in television history. On a network where series have killed off main characters with abandon, Succession kept the body count low while murdering countless with the best insults and one liners ever scripted. Jeremy Strong, Kieran Culkin, Sarah Snook, and Matthew Macfayden all delivered awards-worthy performances and left us wanting more even as the final credits rolled.

3 Poker Face (Peacock)

Rian Johnson reinvented the whodunit with his Knives Out movies, but he brought another take on the mystery genre with this anthology-esque series. Taking inspiration from shows like Columbo and The Rockford Files, Poker Face features Natasha Lyonne in a standout role as Charlie Cale, a woman on the run who must rely on her uncanny skill at detecting liars. Each episode serves as a standalone tale while factoring into the season-long narrative. Full of famous guest stars, including Ron Perlman, Adrien Brody, Hong Chau, Lil Rell Howery, Ellen Barkin, Nick Nolte, Tim Blake Nelson, Jameela Jamil, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt. With Rian Johnson directing three episodes and writing two, the filmmaker leads a creative team that manages to make this series feel like a retro throwback and something refreshingly original all at once. Poker Face is a must watch if you have not seen it yet and is sure to keep bringing us original tales for seasons to come.

2 The Last of Us (HBO)

The track record for video game adaptations has been woefully uneven over the years. Still, as films have improved in quality, the small-screen version of The Last of Us transformed mainstream audiences into fans of a horror story involving a post-apocalyptic world with monsters. With an episode focused on Nick Offerman and Murray Bartlett as a couple struggling to live in the new world to Pedro Pascal and Bella Ramsey turning in top-notch performances as a father-daughter dynamic without compare, this series was both faithful to the narrative game that inspired it while taking creative license that enhanced the experience for non-gamers. Opening the door for adaptations like Fallout, The Last of Us instantly replaced The Walking Dead as the definitive “zombie” series, making us all terrified of mushrooms.

1 The Bear (Hulu)

The first season of The Bear was our second-best series of last year, and the sophomore run earned the top spot by keeping the recipe the same. The first season of the Chicago-set series focused on a core group of characters, led by Jeremy Allan White as chef Carmy Barzatto, returning to run the restaurant left by his deceased brother. Season two shifts to Carmy and his crew closing their original restaurant and reopening as the series’ namesake. With stellar performances from the main cast and guest stars including Jamie Lee Curtis, Will Poulter, Sarah Paulson, John Mulaney, and Olivia Colman, The Bear continues to be a drama focused on realistic characters navigating grief and persevering in pursuit of a dream. The result is one of the best series in television history.

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