Top Ten TV of 2023

David Dylan Thomas
5 min readMar 16, 2024

This year challenged the idea that it is impossible to do a good final season of television.

10. Our Flag Means Death

In its final season, Our Flag Means Death continued to be one of the warmest, funniest, and most joyful shows on television.

9. Poker Face

Rian Johnson induldges his love of Columbo and other detective shows of old with this amazing series of mysteries starring the peerless Natasha Lyonne as a woman with the uncanny talent to sniff out lies. With an unbelievable supporting cast including the likes of Ron Perlman, Stephanie Hsu, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt (just to name a few) and a fantastic 70’s aesthetic (slow zooms!) Johnson shows he’s just as good at TV as he is at cinema.

8. The Last of Us

They said a video game could never be converted into quality filmed entertainment much less prestige TV, but Chernobyl mastermind Craig Mazin proved them wrong with this gut-wrenching, beautifully realized, incredibly well acted adaptation of the eponymous video game.

7. The Fall of the House of Usher

I have long been a fan of the work of Mike Flanagan, but I watched Midnight Mass to late to praise it for the masterpiece that it is in one of these countdowns. Thankfully he’s still cranking out bangers like this super-takedown of capitalism specifically through the lens of Edgar Allan Poe inspired shenanigans in the lives of what is, effectively, the Sackler family. Also, some of the best monologues ever committed to series, especially this one.

6. Doctor Who

After a questionable run with Chris Chibnall as showrunner, (we’ll not get into it now except to say it was NOT Jodie’s fault!) OG showrunner Russel T. Davies returned with a series of knock it out of the park specials giving us a re-run of my personal favorite of the new Doctors (David Tennant) and a taste of the new, extremely promising Doctor in the form of the infectuously joyful Ncuti Gawa. And I can watch Neil Patrick Harris do truly over the top German accents and Spice Girls dance routines all day.

5. Fargo

Just when I think Noah Hawley can’t possibly have anything more to say using the vehicle of this particularly satirical crime anthology, he has hella-lots to say, especially setting this season at the height of Trump-dom and using it as a launching point to explore misogyny, spousal abuse, and that particular brand of toxic masculinity embodied by MAGA extremism. Again, great monologues and truly outstanding performances from Juno Temple and I-knew-he-could-play-a-villain-but-GODDAMN! Jon Hamm.

4. The Bear

I missed season one when it came out but I damn well caught up for season two in 2023 and it was incredible. The Christmas episode alone was worth the price of admission. This may very well be the best directed show on television. Also includes my favorite needle drop on TV maybe ever (see the season finale and Pearl Jam).

3. Reservation Dogs

It is SO hard to say goodbye but I’m glad that Reservation Dogs went out while it was still awesome. In a year of not fucking around series finales (see our next two entries) this one held its own.

2. Succession

How did Succession just keep getting better? For four seasons? It’s unreal. But in an impossible to land final season it landed. Again and again. With one of the best episodes about [spoiler] I’ve ever seen as just one of a seriees of standout episodes. And, yes, again, a satisfying series finale for a series that could not possibly satisfy.

Also wins this year’s award for all too real depiction of current events. I’ve never been more in knots about a fictional election.

1. Ted Lasso

Rounding out our trio of impossible to land final seasons we have ANOTHER of my favorite shows of all time sticking the landing. Delivering on the drama and arcs set up over the last two seasons (seriously, this is one of the best structured shows of all time) in ways that are both gratifying and, to some degree, unexpected (a very hard trick to pull off), Ted Lasso brought home the emotional trauma of its heroes in a way that gives hope in a hopeless time.

Honorable mentions: Abbott Elementary, Loki, Rick and Morty, Good Omens, Perry Mason

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David Dylan Thomas

Big fan of treating people like people. Author, Design for Cognitive Bias. Founder, CEO, David Dylan Thomas, LLC. Speaker, Lots of Places.