TV in 2023 - A Recap

Linda and I together, or me by myself, watched a good number of shows last year, finishing 13 seasons of 13 shows. Now, these days TV shows in the US follow the British pattern of short, limited seasons (6-8+ episodes per season) versus the old default of 20+ episodes. Even so, there were some fantastic television seasons we finished, and some pretty good ones. For the list below, if there was only one season, I didn't bother labeling them as such.

The absolute best shows we watched in 2023 were:

Ted Lasso (season 3, 2023): Ted Lasso, the most positive show ever aired. So uplifting and so well done. They went out on a very high note and every episode of all three seasons was near perfect. In a world and time where anger and rage are the accepted norms of "civilized" society, being nice is a unique and much needed message. Wonderful show. It's worth getting Apple TV+ even for a short term just to be able to see this one. And you must see this show.

The Chosen (season 3, 2022-2023) - Wow, wow, wow. A crowd-funded series, the production values are at par or exceed any other show out there. Add the acting, which is tremendous. Staying "biblical" and "historical" even when embellishing what life might have been like for the apostles and Jesus himself, Dallas Jenkins' 7-seaon epic bringing the Gospels into such a real, and human, perspective while never losing the wonder and awe - and frustration - it must have been like following the Messiah, wrapped up its third season on a huge note (Season 4 debuts in February 2024). You'll never read the story of Peter (still called Simon in this season) stepping from the boat the same way again. As long as Jonathan Roumie, who plays Jesus, can hold it together until the end (he's under a ton of pressure on so many levels), this series will no doubt go down as the best depiction of the Bible, ever, not to mention one of the best TV series, period.    

Cunk on Earth (2023) So funny. Awkward and uncomfortable at times, you just don't care because it is so bleeping funny. A fake historian interviewing actual experts on various points in human history and asking the most awkward questions, like, "King Arthur came a lot, didn't he?" and the expert having to explain the word is "Camelot." I think it's Netflix. So far only one season but worth it.

Shrinking (2023) - Jason Segel's Apple TV+ series caught me, and I'll wager a lot of people, off guard. Not that I didn't expect it to be good, his costar was Harrison Ford, but wow, was this a smart, funny, very unexpected series. You never knew where it was going to go, and halfway through the series Ford began to get more airtime and he gave his best performance ever in this series than anywhere else. The rest of the cast was as stellar. Great show (and very adult, be warned, don't have it on with the kiddies around). 

Rings of Power (2023) - Was excited and skeptical at the same time when this series came out on Prime. Aside from a couple of cast members who seemed a bit CGId to look like their older Lord of the Rings movie counterparts, and a very slow burn story, it grows on you quickly. A good balance of male and female main characters, too - I point that out in this era of action shows with mostly female protagonists, especially on Disney (I know, "Now you know what we had to put up with for the last century," says every woman, and rightfully so). By the time the season ended I was very into the storyline and the performances. Looking forward to the next.    

Schmigadoon (season 2, 2023) - If you love Broadway and showtunes in general, you probably loved season 1 (a parody of Oklahoma-style old musicals). In season 2, our modern-day couple returns to the town, discovering it's morphed into a Chicago/Sweeny Todd/Cabaret/Hadestown-style musical world, with such a wonderful, classic Broadway cast, and an obviously pregnant Cecily Strong hiding this fact, because her main character can't get pregnant, is an added amusement. They covered so many styles, including Godspell and Jesus Christ Superstar, not sure what's left if they ever make Season 3.  

Jury Duty (2023) - watched this surprise reality show because someone suggested it. A man is picked for a jury populated by all actors, presided over by an actor, with actor lawyers and everyone knows everyone else is an actor except for one man who has to navigate through one of the strangest, funniest jury trials ever. Kudos to James Marsden who plays a hilariously narcissistic version of himself for the show. 

Other shows had some promise, and some were quite good, just not quite the level of the above list. In order of enjoyment:

Daisy Jones and the Six (2023) - good music, great acting, seriously, this fictional homage to the 70s music scene went on a wee bit long (a couple of episodes seemed thin plot-wise), was an enjoyable trip along the musical bars of the best decade for rock and roll music.  

Loki (season 2, 2023) - I enjoyed how the season (and series) ends, clever storyline, but not quite as good as the vastly original first season. Maybe Loki - this Loki at least - was too good too soon. But overall, Loki was a great series. Visually stunning, too.

Star Trek Discovery (season 2, 2019) - I wanted to finish this series, at least through season 2, because it introduces Spock and Captain Pike, and I'm glad I did because now that I'm watching Strange New Worlds the first couple of episodes made more sense. Discovery was a bit much at times, and a couple of really annoying characters (her "boyfriend" and his old Klingon "girlfriend" and former captive), but very ambitious, which is always a good thing.

Mrs. Davis (2023) - exhausting but very original series where a woman, who is a nun, battles an all-knowing, all-powerful AI which has taken over the world, but with everyone's permission, much like Apple. Very unique, interesting "dream" sequences of the character visiting her husband, Jesus, weaves in and out of the storyline. Another show that went on one or two episodes too long, feels like, but still well done.

Ahsoka (2023) - had high hopes for this, and if you watched the animated series Clone Wars, a lot more of this show, and its characters, would make sense. I didn't. On that note, most of the characters themselves looked and seemed very cartoon-ish. Best performances by Rosario Dawson and the late Ray Stevenson. A lot of the other performances were, unfortunately, more than a bit stilted.

Night Sky (2022) - love the cast, but the story, well, it moved at such a snail's pace. Even knowing we'll never learn the true secret of the portal under the couple's shed, we stopped watching after a while. 

For the blah shows, we didn't get far into before moving on. Life is too short. 


Popular Posts