Top 23 Shows of 2023

This is based somewhat off of a consensus after a lot of really fun conversations. After forming the list, I can also see that we might have at least subconsciously added something for everyone as well. One thing is for sure, there were better shows than movies last year, and we expect that trend to continue.
In no particular order, here are the Top 23 of 2023.
  1. Season 4 of “The Morning Show” had a great cast, great acting, thought-provoking dialogue making wonder from time to time just who the good guys were, and another great soundtrack if that means anything, which we think definitely helps with tie-breakers. Yes, it was cringy at times, but it really built to a solid season finale, leaving us excited for more.
  2. Season 1 of “Gen V” is a spin-off of “The Boys,” and it was right on brand with all the crazy anti-hero storylines, highly visual violence, and sex acts that showed things never before seen in any show to date. Lots of twists and turns, shocking moments, and characters you love to hate. This is not for the faint of heart, but most things at their best.
  3. Season 1 of “1923,” which is another prequel to “Yellowstone” but falls after “1883,” stars Harrison Ford and Helen Mirren, to name only a few of the well-known actors. The best thing out of the whole show might just be the romance storyline starring the couple that gets the Chemistry of the Year award, characters Spencer Dutton and Alexandra. Actually, all the couples were quite impressive, but they stole the show.
  4. Season 1 of “Tulsa King,” starring Sylvester Stallone playing an NYC mob felon released after 25 years only to be sent to Tulsa to explore opportunities, is quite the setup for the +70-year-old star. It has everything you would want from Stallone on screen. There are fun lines, thoughtful speeches and pep talks, and plenty of entertaining action. He just carries the show with ease, even though there are some great supporting actors lightening the load for sure.
  5. Season 1 of “Lioness” stars Nicole Kidman, Zoe Saldana, newcomer Laysla De Oliveira (who steals the show, especially in the finale), and even a few lines from Morgan Freeman. Each episode is good, but the finale really comes through in a way few shows ever do.
  6. Season 4 of “Succession” was the finale but could have easily continued. Looking around, I often see this show at the top of a lot of lists. To me, it’s kind of like “Yellowstone” in the City (or maybe Yellowstone is Succession in the country), regardless of a patriarch steering his legacy with family in tow. The highs and lows are insane, and there are no good guys, only imperfect people who somehow deserve each other’s abuse that is acted in out in a “can’t look away” kind of fashion.
  7. Season 2 of the surprise hit “The Bear” somehow managed to do it again with more brilliant writing and even more masterful acting. Everyone is good, but this season made it especially clear that the real scene-stealer was Cousin Richie, played by Ebon Moss-Bachrach. His transformation in season 2 is something to root for, cheer for, and ultimately celebrate in a very rewarding way.
  8. Season 1 of the “Blue Eye Samurai” is adult animation but should not be overlooked as quality filmmaking. The storytelling, the artistic animation, and all the surprise twists really break the mold in so many ways. It’s brutal and ruthless with what almost every good production needs: a truly horrible bad guy you will absolutely hate.
  9. Season 1 of “Silo” was something that pulls you in right from the start and keeps you hanging on to the very end with plenty of mystery and suspense. Just as much as the beginning hooks you, the final cliffhanging scenes have you begging for more. I rarely go in search of books that inspire film, but this one has me looking around.
  10. Season 1 of “Jury Duty” is pure magic that seems almost impossible to capture. It’s “Hidden Camera” meets “Parks and Rec” meets “Night Court,” only better. It’s a docu-series reality show with everyone as a paid actor except one person who thinks it’s real, and it’s so entertaining! As much as you laugh throughout, don’t be surprised if you cry in the end.
  11. Season 1 of “Last of Us” is the zombie-like end-of-the-world show you never knew you needed after so many that have come before it, but you do. It’s “The Walking Dead” meets the “Mandalorian,” and a couple of its episodes could stand alone as a start-to-finish story all in of themselves worth watching.
  12.  Season 1 of “HiJack” is Idris Elba at his best, or at least close to it. The show is exactly what you think it is: a story about a plane being hijacked, except they really manage to create some new in-air mystery and action sequences that you wouldn’t have thought possible at this point in the genre. Edge of your seat twists and turns right up to the very end.
  13. Season 1 of “Reservation Dogs” has great characters, entertaining scenes, and just enough real-life drama to help you fall for the characters and root for their success.
  14. Season 1 of “Poker Face” starts strong and finishes almost as strong, with some ups and downs along the way. Still, when it’s at its best, it’s a very effective spin on the old quirky character murder mystery genre that includes shows like “Monk” and “Psych.” (Even “Columbo” and “Murder She Wrote” if you really want to go back)
  15. Season 3 of “Bridgerton” is called “Queen Charlotte,” and although not as good as the first two, it has the “Bridgerton” universe on full display in this prequel. If you even just liked Bridgerton, you will really enjoy “Queen Charlotte.”
  16. Season 3 of “Picard,” and I know season 2 was a big let but some of the episodes and scenes were like watching the “Avengers” assemble except with “Star Trek the Next Generation” Characters. I have to admit this would mostly only appeal to Star Trek fans but might have launched more shows than even the original, and that’s really saying something.
  17. Season 2 of Star Trek’s “Strange New World,” I know but hear me out. Not only have they totally reinvented the characters, no longer trapped by old themes and traits, but they have brought in some truly great new characters altogether. If that wasn’t enough, there are new cutting-edge effects bringing to life old aliens and monsters to boot, plus a rock opera episode before the grand finale. You heard that right. There is a full-blown musical episode that has Spock singing and Klingons straight-up rapping. Whether you love musicals or Star Trek, you have to see this episode. It might be the must-see episode of 2023 for any level of Star Trek fan. After all the shows and all the seasons and all the episodes over the course of 60+ years, it has to be arguably one of the most stand-out episodes of all time, and that’s really saying something.
  18. Season 1 of “Murder at the End of the World” has its problems but is still a star-studded cast with highly engaging characters that create a who-done-it style murder mystery worth watching. It’s really two shows in one, with one mystery unfolding in the present as another unfolds through flashbacks in the past.
  19. Season 5 of “Fargo” will have its finale in 2024, but most of it aired in 2023, which is another hit after a poor showing for season 4. This latest installment has actors like Jon Ham from “Mad Men” (who also starred in “Morning Show” on this list) plus a list of other actors you might not know by name but would recognize in a heartbeat.
  20. Season 2 of “Invincible,” which, like the previous two entries, aired most of its episodes in 2023, had another strong showing. This is another adult animation show with real writing and storytelling. Someone less sophisticated might call this a Rated R cartoon, but it is so much more. It’s very similar to “The Boys” and “Gen V,” all made by the same network, Prime, with very real anti-hero and hero messages for anyone burning out of the typical Marvel and DC or at least looking for something a little different.
  21. Season 1 of “Daryl Dixon” is a spin-off from “The Walking Dead” that is driven by a strong character in an entirely new place, France. It has a supernatural element or religious possibilities that create some fun new questions with a strong lead that keeps any zombie apocalypse fans engaged.
  22. Season 1 of “Ringer” is a great way to finish this list strong. Rachel Weisz plays both roles of twin sister doctors experimenting outside the lines of ethical medicine. The acting is worthy of nominations, and the story has just the right amount of sexy horror to keep you wondering where it’s all going and how it will all end.
  23. Season 1 of “Fall of the House of Usher” is a spin-off and or celebration of Edgar Alan Poe’s greatest works with easter eggs and all. Although it’s not perfect as a whole, each episode has a way of really horrifying you in all kinds of unsettling ways. This was made by Mike Flannagan, who also did Midnight Mass, The Haunting of Hill House, and Doctor Sleep, which was the long-awaited sequel to The Shining.
Honorable mentions to season 2 of “Mayor of Kingston,” “Atom Eve,” “Castlevania’s” latest season, the “Billions” final season, “Dave” season 3, and season 1 of “Mrs. Davis.” On any given day, some of us could have just as easily swapped out these last titles for titles in the top 23. With a gun to our collective heads, our favorites might be “1923,” “Gen V,” “Blue Eyed Samurai,” “Jury Duty,” “Star Trek: Strange New Worlds,” “Tulsa King,” and “The Last of Us.” Damn, we love our jobs!

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