The Best TV Shows of 2023

Our choices for the best TV shows of 2023 feature fungi, falls, fake juries, and fishes (seven of them to be precise).

Photo: Art by Lucy Quintanilla

With each passing year, cataloguing the best TV shows of the previous 365 days becomes harder and harder. That which we call “television” is such an enormous, broad concept that it seems impossible to even categorize it, let alone rank it in a neat fashion. Basically any TV show you could ever dream of can be found with the right combination of cable packages and streaming subscriptions.

Want the best video game adaptation ever? Boom. It’s done. Feel like watching a bespoke eight-episode saga that brings the works of Edgar Allan Poe to the present day for a political horror satire about the opioid epidemic? Off to Netflix you go. What about a cartoonish dramedy featuring a nun overcoming the trauma of losing her Las Vegas magician father by finding the literal holy grail to turn off a world-ruling artificial intelligence? You’re gonna have to try harder than that to trick the algorithm.

So why even bother with a “Best TV Shows of 2023” list? Same reason we want to go to the moon, as For All Mankind could tell you: because it’s there. As long as TV is around we’re going to make the attempt to celebrate the best of it. With that in mind, please enjoy our selections for the best TV the year had to offer.

25. Mrs. Davis

Available on: Peacock (U.S.)

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Mrs. Davis is one of those shows that feels impossible to describe to someone who hasn’t seen it yet because parts of it are so wild and unexpected that watching it almost feels like a fever dream. Created by Tara Hernandez (The Big Bang Theory) and Damon Lindelof (Lost, Watchmen), the show follows Simone (Betty Gilpin), a nun who has a personal vendetta against the popular, all-knowing Artificial Intelligence known as Mrs. Davis. This A.I. claims to have rid the world of war and suffering by convincing users to do good for others in exchange for virtual reality wings. 

When the opportunity arises to take out Mrs. Davis once and for all, Simone goes on a quest to find the Holy Grail with the help of her ex Wiley (Jake McDorman) and his merry band of resistance fighters led by JQR (Chris Diamantopoulos). But this description barely scratches the surface of what Mrs. Davis is about and how good it is. The show has secret cults, Hot Jesus, a zany bromance, magicians, and arguably the best surprise reveal of any show I’ve seen this year. Trust me, this one is worth the watch. – Brynna Arens

Lee Pace in "Foundation," now streaming on Apple TV+. Laura Birn in "Foundation," now streaming on Apple TV+. Ben Daniels in "Foundation," now streaming on Apple TV+. Dino Fetscher in "Foundation," now streaming on Apple TV+. Leah Harvey in "Foundation," now streaming on Apple TV+. Lou Llobell and Rachel House in "Foundation," now streaming on Apple TV+. Terrence Mann in "Foundation," now streaming on Apple TV+. Kulvinder Ghir in "Foundation," now streaming on Apple TV+. Lee Pace and Laura Birn in "Foundation," now streaming on Apple TV+.

24. Foundation

Available on: Apple TV+ (U.S. and U.K.)

Apple TV+’s Foundation is a particularly maddening victim of this era of TV saturation. Here is a show that: 1. Has seemingly an infinite budget thanks to its trillion-dollar studio. 2. Is based on one of the Western canon’s most important sci-fi stories. 3. Features Lee Pace shirtless extensively. 4. Is really good. Foundation has all of that going for it and yet the weekly episodes in its first and now second seasons seem like they come and go with little-to-no fanfare or attention.

That’s a shame as this David S. Goyer-created series remains profoundly entertaining in its second season. Foundation takes what should be a prohibitively confusing storyline (“Ok so there’s this mathematician, right? Actually he’s more of a ‘psychohistorian.’ Do you know what the word ‘interregnum’ means because that’s gonna be really important later”) and dresses it up with compelling characters, great performances, and lush action sequences. By the time you find yourself invested in the identities of the Galactic Emperor’s three co-equal clones (one of whom is the handsome Lee Pace), you know Foundation has you in its clutches and won’t be letting go anytime soon. – Alec Bojalad

Party Down_Episode 302_Jack Botty’s Surprise Party_Left to Right: Adam Scott ("Henry Pollard"), Jennifer Garner ("Evie")

23. Party Down

Available on: Starz (U.S. and U.K.)

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Ever since Netflix began its original streaming era with the (bad) fourth season of Arrested Development, the “re” prefix has gotten a lot of work on television. Whether it’s a reunion, reboot, reimagining, or just a simple return, TV has increasingly liked to bring shows back from the dead in recent years. None of those resurrections, however, were less likely than Party Down season 3. A critical darling when its first premiered in 2009, Party Down‘s first two seasons on Starz were watched by approximately no one. Thanks to the magic of streaming though, the comedy about caterers in Hollywood eventually got the recognition it so richly deserved. And that recognition led into this superb third season.

Party Down season 3 doesn’t strive to be a reunion or reboot but merely a long-delayed third season of the show. Almost the entirety of the original cast returns including Adam Scott, Ken Marino, Jane Lynch, and more. (Only poor Lizzy Caplan had to be left out due to a prior engagement). Everyone is still at the top of their game and complemented by new characters played by Jennifer Garner, Tyrel Jackson Williams, and Zoë Chao. There’s a satisfying bittersweetness at the center of this third season as the group’s dreams for Hollywood stardom, or at least something approaching happiness, remain deferred. But it’s all still just so, so funny. – AB

Star Wars: Ahsoka Episode 8 Review

22. Star Wars: Ahsoka

Available on: Disney+ (U.S. and U.K.)

Serving as a live-action sequel of sorts to the animated series Star Wars: Rebels, Ahsoka took us to new corners of the Star Wars universe this year and gave fans a long-awaited reunion between characters. Reuniting with old friends Hera Syndulla (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) and Sabine Wren (Natasha Liu Bordizzo), former Jedi Ahsoka Tano (Rosario Dawson) continues her quest from The Mandalorian and sets out to find Ezra Bridger (Eman Esfandi) who disappeared with Grand Admiral Thrawn (Lars Mikkelson) at the end of Rebels, bring him home, and stop Thrawn from returning. 

Throughout their journey, they uncover an Imperial conspiracy helmed by Lady Morgan Elsbeth (Diana Lee Insosanto) and the mercenaries Baylan Skoll (Ray Stevenson) and Shin Hati (Ivanna Sakhno) that takes them to an entirely new galaxy. Ahsoka is an overall great time that features Hayden Christensen returning as Anakin Skywalker for a powerful sequence in the World Between Worlds, the late Ray Stevenson giving an impeccable performance as a conflicted former Jedi with his own plan for power, the potential for a queer relationship between Sabine and Shin (if WolfWren fans get their way at least), the return of the witchy Nightsisters, and have I mentioned zombie stormtroopers? – BA

The Smith-Sanchez family eating breakfast at the table in Rick and Morty.

21. Rick and Morty

Available on: Max, Hulu (U.S.) and Netflix (U.K.)

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When it comes to animation you either die a hero or live long enough to see yourself become the villain. While shows like The Simpsons, South Park, and more are often regarded as creative and fresh in their early-goings, the nature of the medium (no aging actors to deal with, revolving writers rooms, relatively cheap production costs) all but ensures they’ll eventually overstay their welcome. Following its frankly mediocre sixth season, Adult Swim’s biggest animated hit Rick and Morty looked to be on a similar track. But then something unexpected happened: a very good season 7.

Rick and Morty season 7 began the year by jettisoning its co-creator and the voice actor behind its two leads, Justin Roiland. With a fresh Rick (Ian Cardoni) and Morty (Harry Belden) in place, the show suddenly found its best self again. Thanks to brilliant and unnerving standalone episodes (“That’s Amorte”) and superb continuations of the show’s lore (“Unmortricken”), Rick and Morty once again fired on all sci-fi cylinders. Who knows if the series can continue this winning streak going forward but right now it looks like creative decline isn’t inevitable. – AB

20. The Other Two

Available on: Max (U.S.), Available for purchase on Apple, Google Play, Amazon (U.K.)

As sad as it is to say goodbye to The Other Two, the final season is a near perfect sendoff for the Dubek family. Season 3 sees Cary (Drew Tarver) and Brooke (Heléne York) reckon with becoming the worst versions of themselves despite achieving everything they’ve ever wanted, Chase (Case Walker) deal with the consequences of becoming an adult in the public eye, and Pat (Molly Shannon) struggling with just how much her family’s lives have changed since Chase was discovered.

But as serious as these arcs may sound, The Other Two season 3 still features some of the funniest moments of the series, like Pat dating Simu Liu and Cary becoming an LGBTQ+ icon for voicing a “proud queer sack of mucus” in a Disney movie. The show continues to be a pitch perfect satire of the entertainment industry, and no one quite does it like The Other Two. – AB

19. Silo

Available on: Apple TV+ (U.S. and U.K.)

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Based on Hugh Howey’s Wool series of books, Apple TV+’s Silo is set in a world where all of humanity lives in an underground silo to protect them from the toxic wasteland the Earth has become. But it’s not just the dangers of the outside world that the silo inhabitants have to worry about – after silo mechanic Juliette (Rebecca Ferguson) becomes sheriff under mysterious circumstances, she starts to uncover a conspiracy that puts her and everyone she loves in danger.

Not only does Silo have an intriguing mystery and great performances from its actors, but it also features impeccable production design that emphasizes both the vastness and claustrophobia of the silo. Even though Silo is set in the future, its production design looks both futuristic and set in the past, just like Loki and The Hunger Games. We don’t yet know why the Earth is toxic and humanity is forced to live underground, but that doesn’t make the world of Silo feel any less real. – BA

18. Barry

Available on: Max (U.S.), Available for purchase on Apple TV+ and Amazon (U.K.)

Barry, ostensibly, is a comedy. A dark comedy, albeit, but a comedy all the same. Or at least that’s what its Wikipedia entry and its classification at awards shows would have you believe. In its fourth and final season, however, this half-hour HBO series starring Bill Hader as the titular hitman-actor truly dug into the darkness of it all. This was a bleak, dismal, upsetting, and near joyless season of television. It was also pretty great!

Not only does Barry season 4 conclude the story of Barry Berkman with aplomb, it also serves as one of the most compelling directorial sizzle reels you’ll ever see for Hader, who helmed all eight episodes. While at times the show indulged in style over substance, that style alone was so riveting that it made Barry season 4 one of the best TV comedies/dramas/whatever of the year. – AB

17. Dave

Available on: Hulu (U.S.), Disney+ (U.K.)

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What started as “that dark comedy about rappers on FX that wasn’t Atlanta” has slowly blossomed into one of TV’s best shows full stop. Dave Burd a.k.a. “Lil Dicky’s” sort of autobiographical effort has gotten better in each of its three seasons and became the fully self-actualized version of itself this year.

Dave season 3 excels at what the show usually excels at: plumbing the neurotic depths of its increasingly complicated lead character. This fictional Dave remains a compelling, thorny mess of narcissism, white guilt, insecurity, ambition, and dick jokes. But where this batch of 10 episodes really shines is in its visual artistry. Lil Dicky’s “Looking for Love” tour takes Dave across the country to appreciate diverse landscapes and equally diverse storytelling potentialities. It’s a classic season of television and that’s before you even get to the season’s last few episodes and they’re absolutely mind-blowing cameos. – AB

Masha Mashkova and Joel Kinnaman in For All Mankind

16. For All Mankind

Available on: Apple TV+ (U.S. and U.K.)

The Apple TV+ sci-fi series For All Mankind has been consistently great since it premiered, and season 4 is no different. Set in an alternate reality where the Soviet Union were the first to land on the moon and the space race never really stopped, this season of For All Mankind jumps ahead to 2003 and focuses on the growing tensions on the world’s shared Martian base. Despite all of the technological advancements that this world has compared to ours, they still fall prey to the same pitfalls.

Classism and worker rights are a growing source of conflict between the contractors hired to maintain the base and the higher ups who think that they should just be grateful for the opportunity to work on another planet. The political turmoil caused by a violent coup in the Soviet Union back on Earth certainly doesn’t help things either as the already shaky M7 agreement comes under renegotiation. As disappointing as it is to see advancements for the good of humanity once again being threatened by struggles for power and control, even in an alternate history, it does make for some damn good TV. – BA

15. The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel

Available on: Prime Video (U.S. and U.K.)

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The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel doesn’t get nearly enough credit for how marvelous it really was. As shepherded by Amy Sherman-Palladino (Gilmore Girls) this Prime Video dramedy entered into its first season fully formed and only got better. By the time its fifth and final season rolled around, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel was ready to take its biggest swing yet.

Season 5 takes place in both the 1960s when Midge Maisel (Rachel Brosnahan) is still a struggling comic and the 2000s when she and Susie (Alex Borstein) can reflect upon the wild half-century that was. This framing narrative was a controversial choice but ultimately provided satisfying closure to a sprawling story about divorce, comedy, America, and the supremacy of Tony Shalhoub. – AB

London Thor (Jordan Li), Derek Luh (Jordan Li), Chance Perdomo (Andre Anderson), Jaz Sinclair (Marie Moreau) on Gen V episode 8.

14. Gen V

Available on: Prime Video (U.S. and U.K.)

Gen V does an impeccable job of feeling like a part of The Boys world while still doing its own thing in this universe. This show could have easily fallen into the trap that other superhero spinoffs have and neglected its characters in favor of throwing in as many connections as possible to the greater universe, but it doesn’t. Gen V does serve as a connective tissue of sorts between seasons 3 and 4 of The Boys, but that’s more of a bonus than a condition of its existence. 

The first season stands well on its own with its cast of young supes, and shows another perspective in the growing conflict between supes and the humans that want to control them. Whereas The Boys focuses on the impact that Vought and corrupted supes have had on humanity, Gen V argues that things haven’t been all that great for supes either. Their very existence has been commodified thanks to Vought, often at the expense of their own well-being. With an intriguing mystery at its core, compelling characters, and an effortless queerness, Gen V stands well on its own and as another chapter in The Boys universe. – BA

13. Poker Face

Available on: Peacock (U.S.), Sky and Now (U.K.)

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Inspired by Columbo and other mystery-of-the-week shows, Poker Face is another reminder that episodic storytelling slaps and still has a place in the streaming world. Poker Face follows Natasha Lyonne’s Charlie Cale, a human lie-detector whose skills get her on the wrong side of a powerful mob boss. She spends most of the season on the run, doing her best to avoid being caught and calling attention to herself, but as she keeps coming across suspicious murders, she can’t help but use her skills to help the people she meets and uncover the killers.

While Poker Face isn’t the traditional whodunnit style of mystery that Rian Johnson has become known for, the series proves that he’s a master of the mystery genre. Even though we know who the killers are from the beginning of each episode, it’s still so much fun to watch Cale interact with the show’s stacked cast of guest stars as she works to solve the mystery for herself. – BA

12. Swarm

Available on: Prime Video (U.S. and U.K.)

Despite a paltry seven-episode order and relatively simple premise (“pop star superfan goes on murder spree”), Prime Video’s Swarm was one of the most unexpectedly ambitious series of the year. Creators Donald Glover (Atlanta, Childish Gambino, et. al.) and Janine Nabers envisioned the story as a “post-truth Piano Teacher mixed with The King of Comedy” that incorporated elements of TV antiheroes like Tony Soprano for lead character Dre Greene (Dominique Fishback). On top of that already gonzo premise, the show’s writers combed social media for examples of real life Stan culture extremism.

The end result is a hallucinatory blood-soaked journey through the American south that’s hard to take your eyes off of. So much of the reality of Swarm is up for debate. Is Dre really doing this? Is the Beyonce-esque object of her obsession Ni’Jah even real? Wait, is that Billie freaking Eilish? What isn’t up for debate, however, is that Swarm is an endlessly inventive narrative experience that’s undoubtedly one of 2023’s best TV shows. – AB

11. Jury Duty

Available on: Freevee (U.S. and U.K.)

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Prank shows usually aren’t my thing due to the overwhelming secondhand embarrassment I feel for the participants that don’t know what’s happening to them or why. Despite this, I decided to give Jury Duty a chance because it seemed different from other prank shows, and as a fellow Oklahoman I try to support James Marsden whenever I can. And boy, am I glad I did.

Jury Duty is about a regular guy, Ronald Gladden, who thinks he’s participating in a documentary about what it’s like to be on jury duty. However, what Ronald doesn’t realize is that the court case is fake and everyone else is an actor. James Marsden plays himself, but Ronald believes that everyone else is a regular, normal person. Ronald is thrown into increasingly bizarre scenarios as part of this court case, and yet he never loses his cool. Ronald is such a cool dude despite everything, that it never feels like the jokes are happening at his expense. What starts off as a potentially cruel joke turns into a pretty wholesome experience for everyone, and it’s hard to imagine anyone else handling this situation with the same grace as Ronald. – BA

10. Star Trek: Picard

Available on: Paramount+ (U.S. and U.K.)

Star Trek: Picard got off to a bit of a rough start with its first season on Paramount+. As the early episodes depict Jean-Luc (Patrick Stewart) mostly moping around a vineyard, some fans began to wonder “why does this even exist?” The answer, it turns out, was “to give you a most face-meltingly awesome The Next Generation reunion in season 3.”

Yes, the TNG gang all return for Star Trek: Picard season 3 and we mean like the whole gang: Geordi La Forge, Worf, William Riker, Beverly Crusher, Deanna Troi, and even Data. Through 10 episodes, Picard season 3 does the impossible and recaptures the excitement of one of Star Trek‘s most beloved iterations. – AB

9. Beef

Available on: Netflix (U.S. and U.K.)

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Beef. It’s not just what’s for dinner. It’s what’s the driving force behind Netflix’s lean, mean miniseries of the same name. Created by Lee Sung Jin, Beef tells the story of two disaffected individuals who cross paths in an unassuming road rage incident that they then let fester, destroying themselves and each other.

Ali Wong and Steven Yeun are equally superb as beefers Amy Lau and Danny Cho. Amy is a small business owner preparing to sell off her dream while Danny is a smalltime contractor trying to make up for the collapse of his family. Beef has a lot to say about Asian-American identity, the death of the American dream, and the all-consuming power of pure petty rage. It’s a bit long but a great, worthwhile watch. – AB

8. What We Do in the Shadows

Available on: Hulu (U.S.), Disney+ (U.K.)

Only so many things are guaranteed in life: death, taxes, and What We Do in the Shadows turning in a great season of comedic television. Maybe you’re sick of seeing FX’s vampire mockumentary in the top 10 of our list year after year – but what are we supposed to do? The show deserves it!

What We Do in the Shadows season 5 presented yet another set of bangers from the Staten Island vampires learning to love a “Pride Parade” to “A Weekend at Morrigan Manor” gone haywire. Through it all, the undercurrent of Guillermo’s (Harvey Guillen) botched vampiric turn and sure death at Nandor’s (Kayvan Novak) hands if he found out brought tremendous comedic energy. Year after year since it’s first season, What We Do in the Shadows simply shows up, pronounces things weird, makes you laugh, refuses to elaborate, and leaves. God bless it. – AB

Wunmi Mosaku as Hunter B-15, Owen Wilson as Mobius, Tom Hiddleston as Loki, Eugene Cordero as Casey, and Ke Huy Quan as O.B. in Loki Season 2

7. Loki

Available on: Disney+ (U.S. and U.K.)

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Loki is currently the only live-action Disney+ MCU series to get a second season, and from the outset it had some high expectations to meet. The first season of Loki is still regarded as one of the best of the MCU series thus far, with its worldbuilding, writing, performances, and overall cohesion outdoing so many of the other shows that have come after. Thankfully, season 2 of Loki has continued the show’s tradition of being one of the best in the MCU by taking the God of Mischief’s story even further by guiding him toward becoming the God of Stories and the new caretaker of the Temporal Loom.

Tom Hiddleston once again proves that he was made for this role, carrying the gravitas of Loki’s desire to save the world and his friends while still maintaining his darker sense of humor and hijinks. Ke Huy Quan also makes an excellent addition to the cast, with O.B. and Casey’s (Eugene Cordero) budding friendship helping to cut through the tension of the impending Loom explosion. Loki has once again paved a path forward for the MCU’s multiverse, and maybe even introduced a villain more terrifying than Kang. – BA

6. The Fall of the House of Usher

Available on: Netflix (U.S. and U.K.)

Adapting not just one, but multiple works by the legendary Edgar Allan Poe into one cohesive narrative was certainly not an easy task, even for someone as adept at telling stories that are both haunting and beautiful as Mike Flanagan is. And yet, The Fall of the House of Usher manages to do just that as the show weaves a plethora of both obvious and more hidden nods to Poe throughout its compelling story of the Usher clan’s fall from grace and the increasingly horrific deaths that followed.

The Ushers certainly aren’t a benevolent group, and it’s clear that their greed and unchecked ambition have played a part in their downfall, but that doesn’t make their deaths any easier to watch, nor does it mean that the series is lacking the emotional depth of Flanagan’s other work. The Fall of the House of Usher is a wonderful tribute to Poe’s work and further proves Flanagan’s skills as a maestro of horror television. Unfortunately, this was Flanagan’s last series with Netflix (at least for the foreseeable future), but I couldn’t imagine a better way to go out. – BA

Cheese (Lane Factor), Elora (Devery Jacobs), Bear (D’Pharaoh Woon-A-Tai), and Willie Jack (Paulina Alexis) on Reservation Dogs season 3 episode 10.

5. Reservation Dogs

Available on: Hulu (U.S.), Disney+ (U.K.)

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There’s magical realism done for magical realism’s sake and then there’s magical realism done for your, the viewer’s, sake. Reservation Dogs is decidedly the latter. In its third and final season, this FX coming-of-age comedy about indigenous teens in their small Oklahoma hometown has evolved into something special on damn near the level of pure American myth. 

Always happy to dip its toe into the fantastical (largely thanks to the presence of Bear Smallhill’s affable but ineffective spirit guide William Knifeman), Reservation Dogs has now fully embraced the larger picture with episodes flashing back through a vibrant Native American history filled with dumbass Spanish conquistadors, unimaginably cruel American Indian boarding schools, and of course: our old friend The Deer Lady (Kaniehtiio Horn). As our core four of Bear (D’Pharaoh Woon-A-Tai), Elora (Devery Jacobs), Cheese (Lane Factor), and Willie Jack (Paulina Alexis) mature, so too does the brilliant show around them. – AB

A massive Cordyceps infected creature known as a Bloater stands menacingly with fire glowing in the background

4. The Last of Us

Available on: Max (U.S.), Sky Now (U.K.)

For years, fans of the Naughty Dog game The Last of Us have been eagerly awaiting HBO’s adaptation of the same name, hoping that it does justice to the emotional story that so many have connected with since the game’s release in 2013. Thankfully, the series does just that – and so much more.

With Chernobyl creator Craig Mazin and video game co-creator Neil Druckmann at the helm, The Last of Us maintains the heart and soul of the game’s story while making necessary and worthwhile changes that help translate Ellie and Joel’s journey to find a cure for the zombifying fungal infection that’s ravaged their world to a new medium. Pedro Pascal and Bella Ramsey, in addition to a talented cast of guest stars, bring this world to life in a way that feels familiar and fresh at the same time. The Last of Us is so much more than just a beat for beat rehash of the game’s story.

It’s a well-crafted addition to this universe that welcomes in newcomers and devoted fans alike with open arms. Whether you’ve played the game ten times and know every stage of the Cordyceps infection like the back of your hand or you have no idea what to expect from this story, I recommend keeping a box of tissues handy, you’re gonna need them. – BA

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THE BEAR— “Pop” — Season 2, Episode 5 (Airs Thursday, June 22nd) Pictured: (l-r) Jeremy Allen White as Carmen “Carmy” Berzatto, Ebon Moss-Bacharach as Richie Jerimovich.

3. The Bear

Available on: Hulu (U.S.), Disney+ (U.K.)

One of the most incredible things about FX’s The Bear is how little energy it puts into explaining itself. Does “FX’s” The Bear air on FX? Nope. It’s on Hulu in the U.S. and Disney+ everywhere else. This is a show about a restaurant, right? Why is it called The Bear? Because lead character Carmine “Carmy” Berzatto sometimes goes by “The Bear.” Wait, isn’t “The Bear” also like the name of the restaurant? Yes, but not for the first 15 or so episodes. All due respect to Disney Television’s marketing efforts, but The Bear is clearly a show that relies on its own quality and word of mouth to find viewers. 

Thankfully, the quality is absolutely there for The Bear. Season 1 of this restaurant drama (ludicrously labeled as a “comedy” for awards show purposes) was a grueling crucible of stress about letting something you love destroy you. Season 2 was more of the same…but even better. Not quite as cringeworthy but still plenty cathartic, The Bear season 2’s 10 episodes included standouts like hour-long family drama “Fishes” and one man’s story of self discovery is “Forks.” The Bear is more than just the show of the summer. It’s quickly becoming the show of the decade. – AB

2. Star Trek: Strange New Worlds

Available on: Paramount+ (U.S. and U.K.)

After a stellar first season, expectations were high for the second season of Star Trek: Strange New Worlds, but to no surprise these expectations were well exceeded. Continuing to embrace a more episodic format, Strange New Worlds season 2 gave us the franchise’s first musical episode, a time travel romance, more Spock hijinks, and a season finale that has me hoping that the AMPTP will agree to SAG-AFTRA and the WGA’s reasonable terms sooner rather than later. 

The series isn’t afraid to tackle heavy material like PTSD and the aftermath of war in one episode and do a zany crossover in another, and they manage to do it without too much emotional whiplash. Whether you’re a die-hard Trekkie, casual fan, or this is the first Star Trek thing you’ve ever seen, it’s hard not to find something in Strange New Worlds for everyone. – BA

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1. Succession

Available on: Max (U.S.), Sky Now (U.K.)

A simple fact of life is that TV is just better when a great HBO drama is on. Ever since The Sopranos first premiered in 1999, great HBO dramas have had a way of dominating the pop cultural conversation like little else. Still, even in the hallowed canon of great HBO dramas, few ever saw as perfect a run of episodes as Succession‘s fourth and final season presented this year. From its brilliant first episode to its shocking third episode twist and all the way through its gutting finale, Succession season 4 brought its A-game every week.

At first one might want to dismiss Succession‘s overrepresentation among this years’ Emmy award nominees as Emmy voters asleep at the wheel. But on closer inspection we defy you to find someone in this cast and crew who should be left out of award consideration. Succession season 4 was simply a group of ultra talented people operating at the absolute height of their powers. It’s no wonder then that they turned in an all-time season of television. – AB