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The Best TV Shows Of 2023 So Far

2023 has already been packed with more great television shows than you can shake a stick at; most of it coming from the various streaming services rather than traditional network TV. With plenty of new series hitting the air and even more series returning with strong new seasons, there are dozens of shows worth watching this year. Trying to keep up with all of 2023's best TV shows is a tall order and a major time commitment, so it's important to prioritize which series deserves your time and which can wait until later or be left off your rotation altogether.

Plenty of good shows were left by the wayside when making room on the list for the best of the best, and there was an especially high number of impressive third seasons that just barely missed the cut. Some quick honorable mentions include the critically-praised third seasons of "Dave," "The Other Two," "Star Trek: Picard," "Godfather of Harlem," "I Think You Should Leave with Tim Robinson," "Wu-Tang: An American Saga," "Ted Lasso," "The Mandalorian," and the long-belated third season of "Happy Valley," the British cop show that made its return after a seven-year hiatus. Now without further ado, these are the best TV shows of the first half of 2023.

Yellowjackets: Season 2

Upon premiering in late 2021, "Yellowjackets" became Showtime's hottest new show. The series was mostly quiet throughout the following year but returned for its acclaimed second season in 2023. "Yellowjackets" employs a non-chronological structure that allows the series to jump back and forth across the span of about 25 years. The farthest back part of the plot follows the girls of a high school soccer team who are left stranded in the middle of nowhere after a harrowing plane crash. The modern-day part of the narrative follows those same characters now as adults 25 years later and dealing with the ramifications of their actions during that earlier time of intense hardship.

One of the biggest new additions to the cast for Season 2 was Elijah Wood as an outsider probing into what really happened in the aftermath of the plane crash. The split timelines of the show mean that many of the main characters are played by two different actors, one as a teenager and one as an adult. Both Simone Kessel and Lauren Ambrose joined the cast of Season 2 as the adult versions of teenage characters that viewers of Season 1 will already be acquainted with. The show's first season earned seven Emmy nominations but didn't take home any wins but Season 2 is expected to earn a few more nominations at the next Emmy Awards.

Dead Ringers

One of the most peculiar new television shows to debut in 2023 was the Amazon Prime original mini-series, "Dead Ringers." The show is a bold new take on the excellent David Cronenberg film of the same name from 1988. Cronenberg's film was itself an adaptation of the book, "Twins," from 1977, but the new Amazon limited series is a clear re-imagining of Cronenberg's film more than it is an alternate adaptation of the original source material, right down to the blood-red surgical gowns that would never find use in a real hospital setting.

Just like Jeremy Irons had back in 1988, Rachel Weisz now takes on the roles of both halves of a pair of twin OBGYNs. Weisz's dual performances are as impressive as the technology used to marry the two halves together, and viewers are sure to forget that they are watching just a single actor before long as Weisz performs expertly opposite herself. Fans of the original "Dead Ringers" film will likely be perplexed as to how the premise could be spun into a prolonged television series, but series creator Alice Birch — who previously worked on "Succession" — managed to find a unique angle to make the show feel fresh with an increased sense of energy and humor over the course of six episodes.

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel: Season 5

In the first few years of its existence as a streaming service, Amazon Prime Video found a handful of winners amongst its large slate of original content. One of the Prime original series to find the most success and longevity was "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel." The show tracks the life and times of a single mother who begins an unexpected career as a comedian in the 1950s. Since 2017, the show has won an incredible 20 Emmy Awards in various categories and has been nominated for dozens of others.

With the show's fifth season released in 2023, "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel" has finally been brought to a close. Even if a series manages to avoid the ever-present risk of cancelation, ending it on the right foot is still always a huge challenge. Luckily, by all accounts, "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel" managed to stick the landing and deliver a worthy closing season. Beyond living up to the quality of prior seasons, the show's conclusive outing was also considered a bit of a return to form after the previous two seasons had displayed a bit of a dip in critical reception.

Party Down: Season 3

For over a decade, "Party Down" was remembered as a short-lived comedy series that met a premature end but had a cult following. After 13 years off the air, the series made a triumphant return for its third season. The show was revived by its original network, Starz, and the original cast members all returned even though many of them had graduated to far large projects in the intervening years.

The original series followed the comedic exploits of a group of wannabe actors in Los Angeles who pay the bills by working for an event catering service. Season 3 rejoins these characters many years later to find them working in other professions, but the show wastes no time bringing them back around to their original catering roles. Just as funny as ever, "Party Down" didn't miss a beat in all of its years off the air and has fared better than many other TV show revivals.

In a review for The New Yorker, critic Inkoo Kang wrote, "The revival does not disappoint, setting a new standard for series resurrections by being unafraid to tackle the low-grade dismay of financial precarity and middle-age failure." The only downside was that this belated installment of the series clocked in at just six episodes as opposed to the prior seasons' standard ten-episode length.

Servant: Season 4

M. Night Shyamalan has had quite a wild career trajectory. After being the toast of the town after big hits like "The Sixth Sense" and "Unbreakable" early on in his career, he eventually hit a rough patch of poorly received movies like "The Happening" and "Avatar: The Last Airbender" that lasted for several years and sent his Hollywood status into a tailspin. The modern phase of his career has proven to be a successful comeback with box office hits like "Split" and "Old." He has also tried to break into television a couple of times in recent years. His first show, "Wayward Pines," never really found its footing and was canceled after two seasons. His latest TV effort, however, has been a big success.

Shyamalan executive produced the AppleTV+ original series, "Servant," and has directed multiple episodes of the show across all four of its seasons. After a debut season that was a bit of a mixed bag erring on the side of good, "Servant" has improved in ratings with its subsequent seasons. The fourth season became the show's highest-rated installment and also brings the series to a close. Shyamalan and series creator, Tony Basgallop, always planned for the full series to run a total of 40 episodes, and they were able to execute that plan to the letter and deliver a trademark Shyamalan twist to seal the deal.

Poker Face: Season 1

"Poker Face" is a Peacock original series about a woman who is essentially a human lie-detector (Natasha Lyonne) and travels from place to place getting caught up in murder mysteries. The show released its debut season in 2023 and was already renewed for a second season before the first batch of episodes had even finished airing. In addition to the star power of Lyonne, "Poker Face" also has the draw of being the creation of Rian Johnson, hot off the success of his two "Knives Out" movies.

These days, Johnson is a big-name filmmaker with the likes of "Looper" and "The Last Jedi" in addition to the aforementioned "Knives Out" movies, but he also has a bonafide background in television. "Poker Face" is the first series that Johnson has created, but he previously directed an episode of "Terriers" and three memorable episodes of "Breaking Bad," including "Ozymandias," the show's final episode before the big-time jump for the conclusion. In addition to creating and writing "Poker Face," Johnson also directed multiple episodes, defining the style of the series. Fans of "Knives Out" are in for more compelling and comedic crime solving.

Snowfall: Season 6

After debuting on FX in 2017, "Snowfall" aired its sixth and final season this year. Even though the series was always well-received by critics and was able to complete its full storyline on the air, "Snowfall" always seemed to fly a bit under the radar as it lacked the marketing push of higher-profile shows and was never acknowledged at the Emmy Awards. The last season might finally get Emmy voters' attention now that the entire story is done and dusted.

Created in part by John Singleton, "Snowfall" is set in the 1980s and tracks the introduction and proliferation of crack cocaine, the manipulation tactics of the CIA, and the residents of South Central Los Angeles who adapt to the changing environment as the drug takes hold. The ensemble cast of "Snowfall" was comprised largely of relatively unknown talent, but much acclaim has been made for these fresh actors, especially Damson Idris in the lead role of drug kingpin, Franklin Saint.

The Great: Season 3

"The Great" felt like one of the freshest shows to hit television when it premiered as a Hulu original series in 2020. With Season 3 now in the books, the show has managed to keep up its impressive momentum, wit, and stunning use of extravagant locations and costumes. The series is set in 18th-century Russia and centers primarily around the fascinating dynamic between the volatile and childish emperor Peter The Great (Nicholas Hoult) and his new wife (Elle Fanning), who is tempted by power. What could be a stuffy period drama is instead a fast-paced and often hilarious show that barrels forward with a hefty dose of comedy and surprising moments of violence and conniving schemes.

The series is created by Tony McNamara, who co-wrote 2018's "The Favourite," directed by Yorgos Lanthimos. Fans of that Oscar-winning film are sure to love "The Great" too as they share similar tones and comedy styles, and the two were even shot in some of the same regal locations. A fourth season of "The Great" hasn't yet been confirmed, but the story remains open-ended, and Season 3 wrapped up by presenting a drastic new direction to take the future of the series if Hulu does end up renewing it.

The Last Of Us: Season 1

With the largely unfavorable history of video game adaptations throughout the years, there was a lot of pressure on "The Last Of Us" to prove all of the doubters wrong. Luckily, the show succeeded in that goal and provided an excellent adaptation of the beloved video game of the same name. The creator of the game, Neil Druckmann, remained heavily involved in the television adaptation and was joined by Craig Mazin as the TV series co-creator hot off the heels of his massive success with HBO's "Chernobyl." Together, the two managed to craft a TV show that was at once a faithful adaptation of the source material and a major revisioning as the focus was shifted and supporting characters were deepened in key ways.

More of "The Last Of Us" is inbound for HBO. It had previously been understood that there were only plans in place to adapt the two "The Last Of Us" video games with one season each and bring the series to a close after the end of Season 2. Those plans ended up changing and evolving with the widespread acclaim the show has garnered.

Mazin and Druckmann haven't given any firm answers in regards to how they plan to divide up the material from "The Last of Us Part II" or how many seasons the show will run in total, but they have confirmed that "Part II" will span across more than one season. With many years passing between the timelines of the two video games, it could make sense for the series to explore what happened in those intervening years as well as adapt the second game.


The best new Netflix original series of 2023 was undoubtedly "Beef." Throughout 10 episodes, "Beef" tracks the escalating feud between Danny (Steven Yeun) and Amy (Ali Wong) as they spiral out of control after becoming enemies through road rage. The show is full of surprises and provides its two leads with complex characters to sink their teeth into.

It remains up in the air if "Beef" has finished forever or if it will remain ongoing with a second season. The show was originally positioned as a limited series, and creator Lee Sung Jin has publicly said that the story of the main characters was brought to a complete close by the end of the season. At the same time, Jin has said that "Beef" could continue by adopting a seasonal anthology format, which would find a potential second season following different main characters engaged in another feud; and the season finale also offered a glimpse of a potential future for the series if it does end up continuing.

Somebody Somewhere: Season 2

"Somebody Somewhere" hasn't received anywhere near as much press as the flagship HBO series but has quietly proven itself to be one of the prestige network's best modern shows. With a small-town Kansas setting, "Somebody Somewhere" tackles family drama, loss, comedy, and music with a penchant for highlighting the little moments in an affirming slice-of-life kind of way.

The series is a perfect vehicle for the multi-hyphenate talents of star Bridget Everett, who also executive produced and co-wrote the series. Though she isn't playing herself on the show, the series is set in Everett's real hometown and pulls a great deal of influence from her own life. Music and comedy have always been a large part of Everett's life; she can be heard both singing and performing comedy in music videos, her album, "Pound It," her comedy special, "Gynecological Wonder," and the indie rap movie, "Patti Cake$."

Everett previously attempted to headline her own series blending comedy, drama, and music for Amazon Prime, "Love You More," but the show never made it past the pilot stage. Luckily, she found great success the second time around with "Somebody Somewhere." Season 2 was even more highly-praised by critics than the impressive debut season, and the show has already been renewed for a third season.

Rain Dogs

"Rain Dogs" was one of the biggest surprises of the 2023 television season. Set in London and named after the Tom Waits album of the same name, the show stars Daisy May Cooper and Fleur Tashjian as a mother and daughter trying to work their way out of poverty as well as Ronke Adekoluejo and Jack Farthing as their atypical found family. With an effective blend of dramedy and an insightful look at its subject matter, "Rain Dogs" greatly impressed critics and became one of the year's highest-rated television shows. Time Magazine critic Judy Berman wrote of the series, "Like any great album, the show's eight short, thrilling episodes demand to be played on repeat."

"Rain Dogs" airs as a BBC production in the U.K. but streams in the U.S. as an HBO original. A second season hasn't been confirmed by either party yet, but the overwhelming critical adoration makes a compelling case to keep the show going. Series creator Cash Carraway has said the overall goal is to release a trilogy of seasons that will bring the full story to a close. The series started out as an autobiographical series adapted from Carraway's own memoir, "Skint Estate," before morphing into its more comedic and fictionalized final form as "Rain Dogs."

Barry: Season 4

After three critically acclaimed seasons, Bill Hader and Alec Berg's "Barry" was brought to its conclusion with the fourth and final season. While retaining its black comedy streak, "Barry" continued to grow darker and darker with each subsequent season. Season 4 continued the trend with more violence and intensity than ever before as Barry (Hader) and Fuches (Stephen Root) head to prison, Noho Hank (Anthony Carrigan) and Cristobal (Michael Irby) amass their criminal empire, and Gene Cousineau (Henry Winkler) continues dealing with the fallout of his and Barry's actions, with plenty of twists along the way.

The first three seasons of "Barry" earned nine Emmy wins, and the final season is likely to bring in at least a few more nominations if not wins. In a season of television that refuses to make any easy choices, "Barry" goes in unexpected directions but sticks the landing and brings the series to a satisfactory ending. Some viewers may find the season's biggest narrative swings to be a bit divisive, but most will find the outcome rewarding and a fitting payoff to the extensive buildup throughout the prior seasons.

Succession: Season 4

"Succession" reins as the top dog television show for the first half of 2023, and it would take a lot to dethrone it in the second half of the year. This HBO series managed the impressive feat of starting out exceptionally strong in its first season yet somehow managing to only get better and better each time. With a pitch-perfect blend of comedy and drama, "Succession" tackles the explosive family drama of the uber-wealthy Roy clan with staggering performances across the board from the ensemble cast of Brian Cox, Jeremy Strong, Sarah Snook, Kieran Culkin, Nicholas Braun, and Matthew Macfadyen, who have all been nominated for or won Emmys for their performances.

Delivery surprising character revelations and outcomes every step of the way, the final season of "Succession" perfectly succeeds in paying off the show's overarching Shakespearean-tragedy-esque storyline while still delivering plenty of laughs and emotional thrills. With its feature-length finale episode, the show nailed its denouement as well as it possibly could have and ensured that "Succession" will go down in history as not just one of the best shows of 2023 but as one of the best TV shows ever made.