The Best TV Shows Of 2023, Ranked

From kitchens to Wall Street, to outer space and back, here are 2023's best TV shows that had us glued to our screens and begging for more.


It seems like we end every December declaring that XYZ “was a great year for TV.” The assessment has sort of become its own adage, watering down its weight and beckoning a debate as to whether or not we actually had great TV this year. In hindsight, if we look back at 2023, the year was arguably triumphed by movies that took us across a kaleidoscope of worlds and invited us back into the theaters with full force. But that doesn’t negate the few gems of television that we’ve been blessed with over the past 12 months. 

While some shows returned with lackluster seasons, others returned with a storm vast enough to outdo its predecessors. While some new, original shows made zero noise, others incited enough of a battle cry to get everyone online begging for a second season. 2023 was a weird time for TV, grounded in an absolutely stunning first six months and unfortunately falling off in its latter half. As the year officially comes to a close, we’ve reflected back on everything we binged together, screamed about on our timelines, and maybe even cried over. 

Note that some of our honorable mentions include: Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story, Swarm, I’m a Virgo, Reservation Dogs, The Fall of the House of Usher, Goosebumps, and Invincible, Season 2 (despite only four episodes being out).  

Here are the 10 best shows to come out (or return) in 2023.

10. The Buccaneers

Network: AppleTV+
Seasons: 1
Genre: Period Drama, Romance 
Where to Watch: AppleTV+

It’s been awhile since a period piece has been this fun. Based on Edith Wharton’s novel of the same name, The Buccaneers twirls us all the way back to the ballrooms of 1870s New York and London, where culture clashes between the echelons of high society make for a piece simmering with scandal and ardent affairs. The show follows five American girls who arrive in England just in time for debutante season after one of their friends gets married to an English lord. The girls are young, unruly, and ready to find love, prancing their way through every party in search of a husband—but they might not be up to the task as well as they’d hoped. 

Tonally and visually, The Buccaneers is more Sofia Coppola’s Marie Antoinette than it is Pride and Prejudice, weaving in a contemporary soundtrack, vivid color scheme, and current jargon to juxtapose its modern leads against the archaic world they’ve found themselves in. Its screenplay is poignant, balancing just enough fearless femininity with manifestos on love, culminating into a show that feels like girlhood personified from every corner. It’s also just honestly a lot of fun. From the love triangles to the yearning, to the desire to frolic around a garden in a pretty dress with your friends just as the characters do, The Buccaneers is a win for all the hopeless romantics and is one of the more lighthearted offerings in a year of broken families, zombies, and claustrophobic kitchens. —Yasmeen Hamadeh 

9. Loki

Network: Marvel Studios/Disney+
Seasons: 2
Genre: Superhero, Action, Drama 
Where to Watch: Disney+

We’ve heard it all before: “The MCU is cooked.” While superhero fatigue is a very real thing in today’s pop-culture landscape, Marvel made sure to come correct with Season 2 of Loki, delivering the best piece of original TV programming for any MCU series to date. The series picks up right where Season 1 left off, with Loki grappling with the repercussions of He Who Remains’ death. As the story unfolds, the characters are faced with existential questions, moral dilemmas, and the consequences of tampering with the fabric of reality. It’s a visually stunning and thought-provoking series, one that should give fans hope that there are still more exciting stories to tell within the comic book universe. 

One of the series’ defining strengths this season was undoubtedly the chemistry between the characters. Tom Hiddleston (Loki), Owen Wilson (Mobius), Sophia Di Martino (Sylvie), and Jonathan Majors (He Who Remains) all return for their roles, alongside newcomer Ke Huy Quan (Ouroboros), who was an absolute standout in every scene he appeared in. Together, this incredible ensemble of a cast magically mixes together heart, humor, and nonstop high-stakes drama that you’d expect in a massive Disney project. It’s a series that will no doubt have a major impact on the MCU’s ever-expanding storyline down the road, but more importantly, the series stands as a reminder that Marvel can absolutely still cook if they want to. —Jacob Kramer

8. Yellowjackets

Network: Showtime 
Seasons: 2
Genre: Thriller, Mystery, Horror
Where to Watch: Hulu, Paramount+ 

Few shows have managed to blend horror and mystery as well as Yellowjackets has. Set in both 1996 and 2021, the show chronicles the past and present of a high school girls soccer team who survived a plane crash that left them stranded in the Canadian wilderness for 19 months. What transcends Yellowjackets from just another staple survival show is its exploration of how the girls’ time in the wilderness have impacted their livelihoods and psyche as adults. Across both seasons, Yellowjackets likes to play with its audience and strings along questions on what actually happened to the girls when they were stranded in the wilderness, how they actually survived, and what all of that meant for who they’ve become in the present. 

You’ll often find yourself shocked at the gorier lengths this group of teenagers take to survive, and you’ll even wonder if there are larger supernatural forces at play. What makes Yellowjackets so good is that it teases just enough clues to let the fan theories go wild, but not enough to actually give you a conclusive answer. In Season 2, the show manages to go to even wickedly wilder lengths, unafraid to get straight to the point in certain, biting areas and daring to end on a haunting finale that’ll leave you hungry for more. If you haven’t hopped on the Yellowjackets train yet, this is your sign— the show will have you going down every Reddit rabbit hole looking for answers. —Yasmeen Hamadeh 

7. Scott Pilgrim Takes Off

Network: Netflix
Seasons: 1
Genre: Anime, Romantic Comedy 
Where to Watch: Netflix

In 2010, filmmaker Edgar Wright (Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, Baby Driver) released Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, based on the graphic novel series by Bryan Lee O'Malley. It was a perfect amalgamation of video game culture, millennial angst, and comic book nerd randomness. It was also an unqualified box office bomb that didn't make back its budget. But everyone who did see it loved it. And we waited for 13 long years, while the rest of the world caught up with us

The new Netflix series, Scott Pilgrim Takes Off, has rewarded our patience. Produced by Edgar Wright—who must see the rediscovery of his work as a victory lap—the show is not so much a remake as it is a remix. We have the same characters with the same overall vibes and personalities, but they're doing different things, for different reasons, and with vastly different end results. 

The first episode lulls you into a sense of security, repeating many of the camera shots from the film. But then, in a complete deviation from the graphic novel and the film, Scott Pilgrim loses his first fight. He seemingly dies (there's even a funeral). And what follows is a meta deconstruction of the original story that fleshes out both Ramona and her "Seven Evil Exes" into three-dimensional characters. How do you reinvent an established story by moving its titular character into the background? Like this. Exactly like this. —Kevin Wong 

6. Beef

Network: Netflix
Seasons: 1
Genre: Dark Comedy, Drama
Where to Watch: Netflix

How much do you enjoy watching terrible people do terrible things to each other? That might affect whether you can binge Beef in a couple of evenings, or whether you have to spread it out over a week or more. "Anxiety-provoking" is one way to describe this show. "Disturbing" is another. There are no heroes in this story. The characters are complex, but they are largely unlikable and unsympathetic, guilty of sabotaging the people who love them out of jealousy, resentment, or plain spite. 

It feels awful to feel unnoticed. If you're Asian American, you feel this often—a surface-level acknowledgement, where people "see" you in a literal sense but do not acknowledge you with empathy. Granted, it is objectively worse to be stereotyped as a threat for the heinous crime of simply existing. But conversely, it is humiliating to be considered no threat at all. How we respond to our power, or lack thereof, determines our worth and moral constitution.

Beef on Netflix is about these power dynamics—of two Asian Americans who feel impotent in their lives. And so, when these two people have a near-collision in a parking lot, they project their misplaced anger, lack of control, and resentment onto one another. They cannot vent their rage or overstep their boundaries in their private lives. But they can do that to a complete stranger—at least until they realize how much they share in common. —Kevin Wong

5. Poker Face

Network: Peacock
Genre: Murder Mystery, Comedy, Crime
Where to Watch: Peacock

Poker Face sure is a lot of fun for a show about so much murder. The Rian Johnson–helmed, Natasha Lyonne–led series is an updated riff on open-mystery series like Columbo—a.k.a. when the audience finds out who did the deed in the opening act—that works because of the special alchemy created by all involved. Instead of focusing on an overarching story, Poker Face is inherently episodic, creating memorable standalone adventures with each installment. The only constants are the murders and Lyonne, whose performance as Charlie Cale is so captivating that it’s a joy to see her interact with other characters and to relish in the warmth she immediately radiates from the screen. Half the fun of Poker Face is seeing how Charlie’s path will intersect with the weekly cast of characters and what hijinx will ensue when she strolls into town. Endlessly entertaining, Poker Face is a show designed to run for years off the strength of Lyonne alone. The good thing for audiences is that it looks like an inherently renewable resource. Long may the murders continue. —William Goodman 

4. Gen V

Network: Amazon Prime Video 
Seasons: 1
Genre: Superhero, Dark Comedy, Drama 
Where to Watch: Prime Video 

Amidst a pool of PG-rated superhero shows, The Boys comes as an anomaly. The satire, adapted from Garth Ennis and Darick Robertson’s comic book of the same name, was instantly hailed upon the release of its first season for its darker (and oftentimes more realistic) take on superheroes in the modern world. With three seasons under its belt, The Boys has amassed a cult following; so when Amazon Prime Video announced that the show would be having its own spinoff, fans were naturally worried. 

Unlike Marvel’s disappointing streak, Gen V was a near-perfect superhero spinoff, proving The Boys’ longevity as a franchise and impressively standing on its own two feet. Set in a university for student superheroes, Gen V introduces its own stakes that still exist in tandem to The Boys’ larger story, but that also work to introduce a new roster of likable characters you’ll want to see more of. The show maintains the same tone fans fell in love with through The Boys and perfectly weaves in a new dynamic through its younger characters, not to mention an absolutely fantastic finale that beckons a second season. In a year that was arguably plagued by superhero fatigue, so much so that many render the MCU a crumbling castle, Gen V arrived as a beacon of hope for the genre and a north star for the kind of superhero stories audiences should (and want) to see. —Yasmeen Hamadeh

3. The Last of Us

Network: HBO
Seasons: 1
Genre: Horror, Drama 
Where to Watch: Max

Since the day it was announced, the HBO adaptation of The Last of Us has faced outsized expectations. The original video game is rightly considered one of the greatest works of interactive fiction of all time. It tells a bold, worthy story about broken people struggling to survive in the aftermath of a global pandemic. It’s a cautionary tale about the cost of losing our humanity, and an affirmation of the singular love between a parent and his child. How could a TV series—even a 10-hour series—capture the slow-burning suspense of a 20-hour long game?

Thankfully, HBO's The Last of Us didn't try to. Television and video games are different mediums, both in their approach and their delivery. And the show's writers and directors dialed down the plant zombie action, only inserting action sequences when they would have the most awful, gut-wrenching impact. They kept the script lines they needed to keep, while also spinning incredible side stories that enhanced the core narrative. 

Case in point: The love story of Bill (Nick Offerman) and Frank (Murray Bartlett) may be the greatest single hour of television all year. It gave us a perfect depiction of love in the worst of times, and it foreshadowed the tragic violence that Joel (Pedro Pascal) would commit in its name. —Kevin Wong

2. The Bear

Network: Hulu
Seasons: 2
Genre: Comedy, Drama 
Where to Watch: Hulu 

It’s hard to remember a time when we weren’t all swooning over The Bear. FX and Hulu’s hit series arrived with a storm in 2022, immediately catapulting its way into TV’s hall of fame and quickly claiming a spot as one of the best shows to be released in the past few years. Starring Jeremy Allen White and Ayo Edebiri, The Bear follows a former award-winning chef as he takes over his late brother’s sandwich shop and tries to revamp it into a fine dining restaurant. If we consider its unanimously praised first season, The Bear’s sophomore follow-up arrived under intense pressure. Critics and viewers alike were anxiously waiting to see whether or not the show would still be able to deliver its perfect recipe—and it did by an absolute landslide. 

Season 2 of The Bear perfectly maintained the show’s momentum, and smartly stepped out of the kitchen to dig deeper into its characters, their relationships, and their evolution as people and chefs. It also posed one of the series’ best episodes so far, helmed by star-studded cameos all across the board, that is an absolute shoo-in for many wins at this year’s Emmy awards. With its third season starting production in the next few months, The Bear has been one of the most welcomed new additions to TV in recent years, and it doesn’t take much to see why. —Yasmeen Hamadeh

1. Succession

Network: HBO 
Genre: Drama 
Where to Watch: Max 

The cheese stands alone. HBO’s Succession claimed the top spot for our midseason ranks and remained largely unchallenged throughout the year. Any conclusion is a next-to-impossible task to execute, doubly so with a series as prolific as this, and yet Succession found a way to defy the odds—taking Logan (Brian Cox) off the board in the third episode of its fourth and final season, while showing the lengths by which the Roy kids would debase themselves to win their own familial throne game. 

Every week felt like a constant back-and-forth about ethos in television watching. Did we empathize with Kendall (Jeremy Strong), Roman (Kieran Culkin), and Shiv (Sarah Snook) when Logan passed? Or were they so far gone by that point that they weren’t worth our pity? The fact that Succession could elicit these questions, and then find new depths to mine in those questions, is a testament to Jesse Armstrong’s captivatingly sharp writing, which made the series such a compelling (and unbelievably funny) drama to begin with. Rarely is a show this good and this defining. And in a landscape marked by an oppressive number of things to watch, Succession rose above it all to become a monocultural show—something not seen since HBO’s last major hit, a little indie called Game of Thrones.

Succession’s final moments felt poetic. We’re whisked away from the internal politics of it all, just like Kendall is as he sits on a bench overlooking another body of water. The Roy kids were never serious people, playing a game fixed from the start. Like another classic, era-defining HBO series, we don’t know what comes next and don’t need to. The story is over. And what a triumph it was to behold. —William Goodman 

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