The Best TV Shows of 2023

“Boring” is not a word critics are supposed to use. For one thing, it’s a crutch. Claiming to be bored by a show is typically a refusal to engage with it in the first place. If you’re bored, why are you bored? Is it the show’s fault, or your own? Is it a bad show where nothing happens and nothing is expressed, or are you burnt out from too much TV, tired from a rough night’s sleep, or otherwise disinclined to give your full attention to the story right in front of you? But labeling something “boring” is also entirely subjective. Millions of people are bored by professional sports, but millions of people also live and die with their favorite teams. Saying something is boring tells us something about you, but it tells us very little about what you’re watching.

So yes, “boring” is a no-no word for critics, and yet it’s the word that kept springing to mind as I reflected on the year in TV. Franchises dominated the landscape, and most played it far too safe. Marvel’s first foray into second seasons, “Loki,” was a repetitive dud. Star Wars lost the luster gained from “Andor” with the sluggish “Ahsoka.” And then there was something called “Citadel,” which I’m told we’ll get more of. Revivals (like “Frasier”) and prequels (like “The Continental”) made us long for the days of “Better Call Saul” and, well, “Better Call Saul.” Once renowned series fell off a cliff, led by “Ted Lasso” and carried through by “The Crown.” “The Idol” happened. So did “Secret Invasion.”

But like most first thoughts, this one proved deceptive. Was there a lot of uninspired television in 2023? Absolutely. Was there a bounty of brilliant work, too? You better believe it. “The Last of Us” proved I.P. could still be put to good use in its breakthrough first season. “Dead Ringers” is the kind of savvy remix that gives hope to all future remakes. “Succession,” “Barry,” and “Reservation Dogs” ended in spectacular fashion, and “The Curse” will still be telling its unfathomable story well into the new year.

“Boring” is in the eye of the beholder. Look a little harder, and you’re bound to find plenty worth your attention. And with that, I give you IndieWire’s Top 10 TV shows of 2023 (plus 10 more, just to prove our point).

Want more? Check out our list of the Best New TV Shows of 2023 and the 25 Best TV Episodes of the Year.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *