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  • Writer's pictureS.J.

The 10 Best TV Shows Of 2023

A collage of characters from the shows discussed
Hulu | FX | HBO | Peacock | Apple TV+ | ABC

It's so over, guys. Well, not everything, of course, but a significant number of big hitters certainly ended their runs in 2023, which coupled with industry shutdowns perhaps marked the end of both ''peak TV'' and a beloved era of television. Some of those final seasons are featured on this list as well in addition to a few new ongoing or limited series that give us slight hope that there's still light at the end of the tunnel, and a few that still have plenty of gas left in the tank, it seems. Drama, comedy, horror, sci-fi, crime, different combinations of those... You love to see it.

Personally speaking, due to filling in some blind spots from previous years, I didn't quite reach the goal of 50 shows from 2023 but there's still a healthy crop of 39 that competed for the 10 spots on this list. Seven more from 2022 competed for a special mention and I also managed to get a head start on 2024 with one ('Monarch: Legacy Of Monsters'; we'll see if that sticks around for next year). Big titles still on my watchlist and therefore not represented here include 'The Last Of Us', 'A Murder At The End Of The World', 'Gen V' and 'Fellow Travelers'. My television watching is after all mostly dictated by access and review opportunities.

Anyway, these are my favourite TV series of 2023—key word again is favourite, don't forget. As usual, you can find reviews for some of them on the site, just click the ''Read our review'' when you see that below.

Special Mentions

Best 2022 Catch-up

THE ENGLISH (miniseries)

Possibly the best example of a classic situation called ''absolutely no one watched this banger except me'' but that doesn't stop me from recommending it to you. Showrunner and director Hugo Blick's western drama thrills you and chills you despite the setting as two great lead performances by Chaske Spencer and Emily Blunt take you on a ride whilst gorgeous cinematography and a bleak score provide a backdrop for their characters' destinies. It's great, innit?

Chaske Spencer holding distraught Emily Blunt
Prime Video

And now... here are the 10 best TV series of 2023


Horror hasn't admittedly been as prevalent on these lists as other genres so that alone is worth celebrating. Mike Flanagan and Trevor Macy's gothic storytelling not only earns that honour but the creators also would deserve a Most Improved-award if we were handing out those, elevating the frights from the underground to skyscrapers with strong production values, a tricky adaptation of several different works and charismatic performances (Bruce Greenwood, Carla Gugino). I won't be going to secret raves any time soon either.

Bloodied Bruce Greenwood holding a blue box


Don't mind the lower placement compared to the last year's list because the show didn't lose any of its enjoyment factor despite jumping from 13 to 22 episodes and featuring some filler that is to be expected. The workplace comedy helmed by Quinta Brunson (also the lead actor), Justin Halpern and Patrick Schumacker is just a delight to tune into, letting the tremendous cast (Sheryl Lee Ralph!) and the charming characters to pave the part in a way that even might make maths lessons enjoyable. Well, maybe not maths per se but everything is possible, I guess.

Abbott's teachers in a gym


Speaking of delightful, this bloodsucking and DNA-mixing vampire comedy (also maybe a workplace comedy?), showran by Paul Simms, continues its hot streak, which is impressive considering that the season might lack a standout episode like previous seasons have had. Still, consistency is a beautiful trait as well and the humour and absurdities that come out of the actors'—especially Matt Berry—mouths are always a treat. Its sixth season will be its last and I, for one, mourn that reality.

Kayvan Novak and Matt Berry picking up white stuff whilst Harvey Guillén stands on a chair

7. RESERVATION DOGS (season 3)

Audiences growing alongside characters can sometimes sound overly poetic but it's been quite gratifying to see the trajectory of Sterlin Harjo's dramedy. This third and final season (yes, one of those aforementioned swan songs) felt purposeful, emotional and focused in a way that I had noticed others feeling about the previous two. Instead of chasing motivations and storylines done better elsewhere, the season re-imagined the show's mission statement as the main quartet found meaning in their community, relationships and sense of belonging. A special shout-out to Devery Jacobs and [redacted] for 'Elora's Dad'.

The main quartet smiling and sharing side hugs

6. POKER FACE (season 1)

You could consider this as the most classic form of TV on this list, seeing how any of the episodes can invite a viewer in no matter what they know, but that doesn't mean that it lacks modern sensibilities either. With contributions from writer-director Rian Johnson, showrunners Nora Lilla Zuckerman and Lilla Zuckerman as well as actor-director-writer Natasha Lyonne, the murder-mystery-of-the-week solves its own dilemmas with clever screenwriting, stylish photography and a fantastic group of guest actors working with an equally fantastic Lyonne in the centre of it all.

Natasha Lyonne looking shocked and holding papers

5. SLOW HORSES (season 3)

Another show that both has an impressive trajectory so far and feels like a show that doesn't get made too often these days. There's no recognisable padding, no complex world-building; there's just your disgustingly loveable 'Slough House' crew, witty writing led by Will Smith, Gary Oldman devouring the material and a great mix of humour and tension along the way. It's great to know that there are still so many books to adapt, there's no reason to stop and slow down now.

Gary Oldman standing next to a river, not Cartwright
Apple TV+

4. SILO (season 1)

Sometimes complex world-building can however yield excellent results when it is done right, such is the case with this dystopian drama, headlined by Graham Yost and a captivating performance by Rebecca Ferguson. The series' first episode already teases an interesting structure for the adaptation before being rather ruthless when it comes to the life and death of its characters. Not only does the mystery hold water but everything around it also happens to look and sound superb, whether that's the production design, musical score or even tattoos. Plenty of potential here.

Rebecca Ferguson looking worried in a cornfield
Apple TV+

3. BARRY (season 4)

From a few promising shows to another one that's ending its run with grace. Actor-director-writer Bill Hader and Alec Berg's brainchild tipped the scale from comedy to dark tragedy as it winded down, although Anthony Carrigan notably never lost the ridiculousness or physical comedy with his character Hank. Still, Barry Berkman's story managed to entertain and find new layers throughout, guided by Hader's best-of-the-year direction, Sarah Goldberg's sincerity and time jumps that shook the house down before the last few episodes paid homage to all these rich, well-realised characters.

Bill Hader at a doorstep

2. THE BEAR (season 2)

Every now and then you get a very good incentive to turn these lists into alphabetical ones rather than ranked, meaning that there's really no difference this time around between this and the number one spot. Truly spectacular acting, writing and character moments are also some of the achievements of 'The Bear', cooked up and then put on display by the terrific cast that includes Jeremy Allen White, Ayo Edebiri and Ebon Moss-Bachrach. Best of all, showrunning duo Christopher Storer and Joanna Calo's restaurant is able to turn up the heat as (mostly) a 30-minute drama, which shouldn't be as rare as it is.

One thing that can solidify a series' placement up top is having a flawless episode that is one of the all-timers—both of the top two shows have that. 'Forks' is quiet yet emotionally explosive, tender and raw, simply a reward for your investment in a character. That's why we must let them cook more. I can't wait to discover the flavours of the next dish.

Jeremy Allen White sitting inside a freezer

1. SUCCESSION (season 4)

The other side of the same best-of-the-year coin is yet again a show that is saying its farewell and one that you couldn't get enough of. Satirical drama shepherded by Jesse Armstrong never took the easy route as it shifted a viewer's perspective on the characters constantly, which is a feat considering that very few of us can find them ''relatable'' in a conventional sense. 'Succession's' successes also stem from world-class writing and acting, specifically the latter where you have Jeremy Strong, Sarah Snook, Matthew Macfadyen, Kieran Culkin, Alexander Skarsgård... Well, you catch the drift. It's all great and everyone delivers.

Episode three, 'Connor's Wedding', is one more all-timer that you can add to the list, while episodes eight and nine aren't far behind as all of those episodes bring out the best qualities of the show, underlined by elegant music, direction and editing. As the credits roll for the last time, character arcs feel satisfying, the themes rattle you and the show has earned its name in a brilliantly disgusting manner. Even ending up as a billionaire somehow seems like a defeat. The series itself is a winner, though.

Kieran Culkin, Sarah Snook and Jeremy Strong making a filthy smoothie

That's a lot of great television for you to watch. See you in 2024.
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