The year 2023 has seen some incredible scripted television, with new shows making a huge splash and returning series continuing to impress both critics and audiences. As the year comes to an end, it’s time to look back on the very best scripted TV shows that 2023 had to offer.
From high-octane dramas to clever comedies, intricate sci-fi worlds to moving character studies, this year’s slate of programming showed the incredible breadth of storytelling possible on the small screen. Several shows with perfect 100% scores on Rotten Tomatoes stand as testaments to the top-tier quality that was achieved.
Top New Shows
Some of the most talked about and acclaimed shows of 2023 were brand new series in their inaugural seasons. These instantly iconic freshman shows wasted no time in making their mark and landing on year-end “best of” lists:
The Last of Us
This video game adaptation on HBO, starring Pedro Pascal and Bella Ramsey, has enthralled audiences and stunned critics. With harrowing writing, direction, and performances, it has brought the beloved PlayStation game to life in live-action while also standing alone as one of the year’s most gripping new shows. It currently sits at a perfect 100% on Rotten Tomatoes.
A spinoff of the hit Prime Video series The Boys, this college-set companion show has matched the subversiveness of its predecessor. Exploring the lives of supes-in-training, it has expanded the show’s universe in endlessly creative ways while tackling timely themes.
This Apple TV+ workplace comedy has Jason Segel stepping away from his usual manchild persona in a new role – a grieving therapist who starts telling his patients exactly what he thinks. Surprisingly heartfelt and hilarious, Shrinking has won universal acclaim for its balance of laughs and emotional honesty.
In addition to brand new series making their mark, 2023 also saw the return of some of TV’s most beloved shows. Several of these returning favorites hit new highs in their latest seasons:
|Where to Watch
|Why It’s One of the Year’s Best
|The saga of the despicable Roy family is more biting than ever in its fourth season. The writing and performances continue to be second-to-none.
|This mind-bending sci-fi series upped the stakes to devastating heights in a sophomore season that retained all the eerie excellence of the first.
|One of last year’s biggest word-of-mouth hits returned for an equally stressful and cathartic second outing.
Many of these hits have already been renewed, while critical darlings still awaiting official pick-ups are fully expected to score additional seasons. So while 2023 offered no shortage of brilliant scripted programming, the next couple years seem poised to deliver even more top-tier television.
Several shows left off on tantalizing cliffhangers that have viewers desperate to see what happens next. The Roy family power struggle will surely only intensify in a potential Succession Season 5. The fate of mankind remains up in the air heading into a likely third season of The Last of Us. And Severance’s Season 2 finale shocker begs innumerable questions about Lumon Industries and the worlds of the innies and outies.
Plus, additional seasons for newer shows like Shrinking and Gen V have so much story left to explore within their compelling premises. Not to mention the slew of other promising 2023 freshman shows like The Patient, Interview with the Vampire, and Reservation Dogs that have only scratched the surface of their potential.
So while everyone compiles their 2023 year-end “best of” lists, they can take comfort knowing there are still plenty of great scripted TV options yet to come. The mediums continued its hot streak with a slew of fantastic shows over the past year, and the hits are poised to keep on coming.
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