In a few years, we will look back at 2023 and see that it was one of the better years of television. This year, I consumed more TV than any previous year, and it was rather hard to come up with a list of the ten best TV shows of the year.
We've had a healthy balance of returning and new series this year that delivered one of the best years of TV in recent times. But one of the biggest things we did in 2023 was say goodbye to some of our favorite series. We had the final seasons of hit shows like Succession, Ted Lasso, Reservation Dogs, and Letterkenny.
Before diving into my top 10 TV shows of 2023, I want to shout out a few series that just missed the cut. First, the Paramount+ series School Spirits took me by surprise with its twists and turns, led by an outstanding performance from Peyton List. Next, Apple TV+ delivered a period drama with The Buccaneers that was so addicting you couldn't stop watching. Last, Prime Video had a happily-ever-after marriage turned deadly with its murder mystery Wilderness.
10. Bel-Air Season 2
I know that Bel-Air hones in on Will's character, but Olly Sholotan stole the show in season 2 as Carlton. It's crazy how great Bel-Air has become, but what the writers do is allow the show to stand out on its own and away from the original. Because of that, the show continues to be one of the best on TV.
9. The Diplomat Season 1
Is anybody really shocked that Keri Russell's return to the TV world would be one of the best of the year? I know I am not. The American's actress returned to play Ambassador Kate Wyler, who lands a high-profile job she might not be suited for. The political drama was funny and charming but, more importantly, kept you on the edge of your seat. Russell's counterpart, Rufus Sewell was equally as great in the series. I can't wait for season 2.
8. The Righteous Gemstones Season 3
If you aren't watching a very funny takedown of the mega-church with The RIghteous Gemstones, you are missing out on one of the best series on TV. I said in my review, "The writing of the siblings Jesse, Kelvin, and Judy continues to be some of the best on TV. They are grown-ass adults that fight like they are still in their diapers, and it’s comical. Denny McBride, Adam Devine, and Edi Patterson soak up every moment in these roles with that banter. I can only imagine that this show has so many bloopers cause I don’t know how I’d be able to keep a straight face."
7. The Lincoln Lawyer Season 2
Manuel Garcia-Rulfo had big shoes to fill when it came to stepping into the role of Mickey Haller, as Matthew McConaughey played the same role in the 2011 film. However, Garcia-Ruflo has not only made the character his own but delivered one of my favorite performances. I was a massive fan of season two and can't wait for more courtroom drama.
6. The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart Season 1
Rarely do we see a show deconstruct abuse in the way that Prime Video's The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart did. This was easily one of the most profound pieces of television we had this year. The writers never shied away from showing us how generational trauma can affect us or how hard it is for abuse victims to get out of their relationships. I will warn you the show can be triggering, so only watch if you can handle this type of show.
You won't find a better performance by a lead actress in any TV show this year than Dominique Fishback's in Swarm. This series is a haunting look at how an obsession with a superstar can turn really ugly, really fast. There are scenes from this show that are still stuck in my head. If you haven't watched this series, turn on Prime Video and thank me later.
4. Succession Season 4
It's wild to think I sat there after the first few episodes of Succession season 4 and was slightly disappointed. By the end of the season, you come full circle and learn to appreciate those earlier episodes as you understand what the build of the show was heading for. I am sad to say goodbye to the Roy family because Succession has firmly planted itself as one of the greatest TV shows ever.
3. The Bear Season 2
Like Succession, I was skeptical of what The Bear was bringing to us in the second season. I wanted more of the restaurant dynamic that the first season brought us. However, as the season progressed, we got these character studies on these characters that ultimately led them to come back together, and it was beautiful. I need them to start filming because I NEED season three right now.
2. Heels Season 2
It breaks my heart to know that Heels is ending after two seasons. Starz canceled one of the best shows on TV shows, especially after it ended with such an insane cliffhanger. Throughout the second season, we saw the attention to detail in character development that few shows ever do. Kelli Berglund broke out as Crystal Tyler, with the character going from the bottom of the card to the main event. Top to bottom Heels is one of the best-written TV shows with an electric cast that delivers in and out of the ring.
1. Shrinking Season 1
Shrinking debuted in January of this year, and nothing I have seen since has topped what this show brought to the table. A series that tackles aging, mental health, divorce, and going to therapy wrapped up in a powerfully written comedy series is a rare combination. The series was created by Brett Goldstein, Bill Lawrence, and Jason Segel, and along with their team of writers, they wrote not only one of the best series of 2023 but also one of the best shows of the last decade.