We’re halfway through 2023 and Consequence is looking back at the best pop culture has had to offer so far this year. Check out our list of the 15 best TV shows of 2023 below, and also take a look at our ranking of the best albums, best films, best songs, and best metal albums of the year to date.
What a year in television it’s been, and we’re barely halfway through it. The conversation online about the best TV shows of 2023 might have been dominated by HBO, which followed up the first season of The Last of Us with two thrilling final seasons of its Emmy series, but there was a pretty impressive amount of unique shows that captured our attention on a weekly (or binge) basis.
The industry might be in a moment of upheaval, as Writers’ Guild of America members strike for fair working conditions in the face of an increasingly complicated and brutal media landscape; the existence of these series is one of the best arguments possible for encouraging the studios to pay the writers what they’re worth.
There are some traditional comedies, dramas, and mysteries on this list, but there are also two series that blend unscripted and scripted comedy for a mind-bending take on reality, while shows about Hollywood itself made our list for the keen perspective they offered on this business of show.
There’s never any shortage of stuff to watch, these days. But maybe prioritize the below, if you haven’t already.
— Liz Shannon Miller
Senior Entertainment Editor
15. Grand Crew (Season 2)
Created by: Phil Augusta Jackson
Cast: Echo Kellum, Nicole Byer, Justin Cunningham, Aaron Jennings, Carl Tart, Grasie Mercedes
The inclusion of Grand Crew on this list comes just as NBC officially announced its decision to not renew this great friends-hanging-out comedy. More fools they, as we have so few of them these days. So I’ll very much miss finding out what happens next to Noah (Echo Kellum) and his east side L.A. wine bar pals, but at least we got two seasons. The series, created by Phil Augusta Jackson, dug more into character relationships and the drama that comes with dating within one’s friend group this year, but rarely took the expected path for some of its most impactful moments. — L.S. Miller
14. Daisy Jones and the Six
Network: Prime Video
Developed by: Scott Neustadter, Michael H. Weber
Cast: Riley Keough, Sam Claflin, Camila Morrone, Suki Waterhouse, Will Harrison, Josh Whitehouse, Sebastian Chacon, Nabiyah Be, Tom Wright, Timothy Olyphant
Similar to another very successful Amazon Prime Video show (The Marvelous Ms. Maisel), Daisy Jones & The Six delights in hypotheticals: What if the band from Taylor Jenkins Reid’s novel was real? What would they sound like? How would the band and the rest of the book’s characters fit into the lore of the 1970’s music industry? Luckily, the show’s creators attempt to go above and beyond to answer these questions. The band’s fictional LP Aurora, helmed by Blake Mills, is as real as it gets; the music in the show, and the context these songs take on during their interpersonal spats, feels akin to watching a gripping Broadway musical. Besides the excellent tunes, perhaps the most surprising and compelling aspect of Daisy Jones is a breakout performance from Camila Morrone as Billy’s wife Camila — she carries significant weight throughout the story and does it with subtlety, empowered gazes, and an instant command of the room. — Paolo Ragusa
13. Party Down (Season 3)
Created by: John Enbom, Rob Thomas, Dan Etheridge, Paul Rudd
Cast: Adam Scott, Ken Marino, Jane Lynch, Ryan Hansen, Martin Starr, Megan Mullally, Jennifer Garner, Tyrel Jackson Williams, Zoë Chao
Yes, the industry is relying too much these days on revivals and remakes, but every once in a while, the trend leads to something magical: the return of a TV show that was canceled too soon. And the return of fan-favorite Party Down did not disappoint creatively, as the creators found brilliant ways to update the series for these wobbly and uncertain post-COVID times. Plus, the show’s already top-notch original ensemble only got better thanks to new players like Zoe Chao, Tyrel Jackson Williams, and a promising young talent named Jennifer Garner (seriously, such a pleasure to see Garner getting to be a part of a show like this). Season 3 was great, and the only thing that could make it greater is Starz renewing it for a fourth season — because what those six episodes did was prove that Party Down could run forever, if given the chance. — L.S. Miller
12. A Small Light
Network: National Geographic
Written by: Tony Phelan, Joan Rater, William Harper, Ben Esler
Cast: Bel Powley, Liev Schreiber, Joe Cole, Amira Casar, Billie Boullet, Ashley Brooke
The notion of an eight-part miniseries about the Holocaust may not sound all that appealing, but Nat Geo’s A Small Light is buoyant and powerful enough to rise above the miserablist pack. It’s the story of Anne Frank, but told from an unexpected lens: Miep Gies (Bel Powley), the Dutch secretary to the Frank family who helped them hide in the Secret Annex for two years, evading Nazi discovery. Even as the world grows darker, Miep’s courage and unexpected humor keeps everyone around her at ease, and the show itself light on its feet. Like the best stories of this era, what matters is not the grim ending we all know is coming: It’s the powerful resilience we see in those who chose to fight against such darkness. – Clint Worthington
Network: Apple TV+
Created by: Bill Lawrence, Jason Segel, Brett Goldstein
Cast: Jason Segel, Jessica Williams, Luke Tennie, Michael Urie, Lukita Maxwell, Christa Miller, Harrison Ford
After years of avoiding TV, Harrison Ford spent the first part of 2023 as a series regular on two TV shows, which is pretty mind-blowing. But we don’t need to talk about his involvement with the Yellowstone Cinematic Universe, though. Instead, let’s talk about Shrinking, the Apple TV+ dramedy that was perhaps a little wobbly in its early episodes, but, anchored by Jason Segel as a therapist and father trying to do better at both things, quickly found its footing as a heartfelt character story. It’s thus hardly a surprise that two of the show’s creators, Bill Lawrence and Brett Goldstein, come from Ted Lasso, a show fueled entirely by heartfelt characters. — L.S. Miller