Despite a few months without new television shows due to the recent writers' strike in Hollywood, 2023 was a phenomenal year for great television to debut or return to screens worldwide. From horror to comedy to suspense, many series brought new perspectives and storylines, captivating audiences everywhere.
With the year almost reaching its end, here are the best five television series of the year:
"The Bear" - Season Two
In late June, "The Bear" returned for its second season on Hulu and FX after gaining overnight success for depicting the restaurant industry and family trauma. Starring Jeremy Allen White as Carmy, a struggling cook trying to re-open his late brother's former sandwich shop in the heart of Chicago, its second season focused more on his character's struggles with his relationships and anxiety.
This season was so good because each episode focused on a different character. For example, episodes "Sundae" and "Forks" detailed the past and present lives of characters Sydney and Richard, played by Ayo Edebiri and Ebon Moss-Bachrach, proving the show's range in themes and character exploration. Overall, "The Bear" Season Two was an impressive follow-up to this year, and fans are already excited to see what Season Three holds.
"The Last of Us"
Based on the video game of the same title, the HBO adaptation of "The Last of Us" was a breakout hit this year for its stunning performances from Pedro Pascal and Bella Ramsey. Playing characters Joel and Ellie, the two are forced to battle against extreme elements after ruthless killers begin to mutate during a post-outbreak in the U.S.
Similar in theme to other successful series like "The Walking Dead," the show used suspense, emotion and horror, making fans of the game and of the two actors fall in love with the series overnight. Spot-on to the plot of the video game, the show had a shocking end to the season, but Season Two has already been confirmed, proving its legacy as a drama series.
"Daisy Jones & The Six"
The Amazon Prime mini-series "Daisy Jones & The Six" dropped in March, with many television viewers enthralled by the show's intricate plot. Based on the novel by Taylor Jenkins Reid, the series follows a group of struggling musicians who come together to create the band Daisy Jones & The Six during the 1970s. However, the band's tension is clear throughout the series, as members Daisy Jones (Riley Keough) and Billy Dunne (Sam Claflin), enemies to friends to lovers storyline causes the music-making process to falter under pressure.
A possible parallel to bands during the time like Fleetwood Mac, the show had impressive live performances by Keough and Claflin, and it made for a fun and exciting watch to see the two's chemistry throughout the show. It's one of the best series of the year for its successful attempt to not make a cliché out of musicians, appropriately addressing serious topics like mental health, substance abuse and domestic abuse.
"Heartstopper" - Season Two
Another season of the beloved Netflix series "Heartstopper" returned earlier this summer, with characters Charlie (Joe Locke), Nick (Kit Connor) and others like Elle (Yasmin Finney) and Ben (Sebastian Croft) navigating Charlie and Nick's budding relationship. However, newcomers come into play to deter the two from being in a stable relationship, and each character struggles with navigating the new changes in their friend group.
The new season also dove into Nick's struggles with his sexuality, discussing how the pressures of coming out can cause one to try and suppress their desires for others, which fans saw with his interactions with Charlie. Luckily, the two reach a consensus, embracing their feelings for one another, making it a heartfelt and important season.
"Succession" - Season Four
The final season of "Succession" premiered on HBO in March, seeing the downfall of Logan Roy and his children after all this time. After Logan's tragic and unexpected death at the beginning of the season, Kendall (Jeremy Strong), Shiv (Sarah Snook) and Roman (Kieran Culkin) fight to become the next CEO of Waystar Royco, causing the season to be extremely stressful and tense throughout its 10 episodes.
With many twists and turns throughout, the three siblings begin to realize their father did not have them in mind to lead his company, even after three seasons of promising each of them they would have an important role in it. From Kendall's manic breaks to Shiv's bitterness towards her siblings and husband Tom (Matthew Macfadyen), the season was one of the most talked about this year for Tom's rise to CEO, which no one saw coming.