Thursday, January 4, 2024

Rick's Top Ten TV shows of 2023 (Modern shows, that is)

I don't want to disillusion anyone, but, yes, I do watch current TV shows as well as vintage ones! Here is a list of my top 10 favorite modern shows from 2023 (All are Season 1/only season unless specified):

1) The Last of Us: No other TV show hit me as hard as this one did. It gripped me from the beginning and kept me--thrilling me but sometimes devastating me. This is an easy choice for #1.

2) Poker Face: Columbo 2023 is about as good as it gets in this day and age for this type of show. I would scale back on serialized elements next season, but I really do admire how Rian Johnson and Natasha Lyonne raised expectations and met them. A lot of shows these days have natural endings or shouldn't go on forever. This is the one program on the list I most wish had like 50 episodes. It's an easy choice for #2.

3) Jury Duty: I was skeptical of this premise, but, wow, did they pull it off, and they gave us maybe the best finale of a reality show ever. If you don't know anything about the series, watch it now before you find out.

4) Bad Batch Season 2: People love to complain about the Star Wars shows, and there have been disappointments, but hiding in plain sight on Disney Plus is an accessible, enjoyable, emotional program that delivers everything you want from Star Wars. People ignore it because it's a cartoon. The top 4 is pretty solid for me, but the next 6 could be shuffled around. Honorable mention to Star Wars: Visions Season 2 (another fine animated effort) and Mandalorian Season 3 and Ahsoka Season 1, which were not quite what I hoped but were still solid.

5) Only Murders in the Building Season 3: It managed to keep things going and entertaining despite what would appear to be a fairly limiting premise. Will a fourth season be pushing it? Probably, but I will be there for it.

6) Loki Season 2: The Marvel shows often disappoint in the endings, but I thought this one nailed it after a satisfying, loopy set of episodes that proved again how much Tom Hiddelston owned the character.

7) Hijack: Apple Plus' action thriller with Idris Elba is often ridiculous--it reminds me of 24--but I don't know if I had more fun watching anything week to week this year (with the exception of (Poker Face). Honorable mention to Apple shows Shrinking (I can't believe Harrison Ford was in a series and it wasn't a bigger deal) and Lessons in Chemistry (a satisfying sleeper that I hope more than a handful of us watched).

8) What If...? Season 2: Let me pay the show what I mean as a compliment: It is not in any way the kind of What If series I want nor that I expected Marvel to make. I wish it had more one-off episodes and less emphasis on the MCU and maybe a touch less humor. Yet the series is very entertaining and delivers in all 9 of these episodes.

9) Winning Time Season 2: Not as spectacular as the first season, but it is still a fun and compelling watch. Unfortunately, this batch feels rushed. Even more unfortunate: It's rushed because the show was canceled. and this wild ride looking at the 1980s Lakers is over. Honorable mention to ESPN 30 for 30's The Luckiest Guy in the World miniseries about Bill Walton. The sequence with Bill and Larry Bird talking smack about each other 30-some years later justifies it by itself.

10) Abbott Elementary Season 2: A solid season, not as sharp as its first, but still something to enjoy. Just don't watch the finale, which is so bad and ill conceived that it almost ruins what came before it.

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