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Scott Pilgrim, Gen V & More: Bleeding Cool's 2023 Top 10 TV Series

From Scott Pilgrim, Succession & Gen V to Star Trek: Strange New Worlds and more, here's a look at Bleeding Cool's Top 10 TV Shows for 2023.

When we shared our top five new television shows yesterday, we began with a sobering look at how the television industry was ending what was a very Jekyll/Hyde 2023. On the business side of things, this year was a brutal one – and that's aside from the WGA & SAG-AFTRA strikes that shut down productions across the board for a good chunk of the year. Long before the once-in-a-lifetime dual strikes, studios & streamers had been unleashing some brutal moves to course-correct some really bad streaming decision-making that had finally come home to roost with Wall Street. It was on longer about shows being canceled – we're now in a time when a series or season green light is only as good as the press release it was announced on. As if completed seasons left in limbo without homes weren't bad enough, we continued to see programming not just disappear from streamers but also be used as tax write-offs & financial boosters, essentially "scorched-earthing" them for the sake of the bottom line. Thankfully, none of that translated to what hit our screens in 2023 as television continued to prove its untapped potential as a medium for some truly bold & unique storytelling – which brings us to Bleeding Cool's 2023 Top 10 TV Series. Voted upon by the site's writers, this year's lineup is an impressive mix of themes & genres: Netflix's Scott Pilgrim Takes Off & The Fall of the House of Usher, HBO's Succession & The Last of Us, Prime Video's Gen V, Hulu's Only Murders in the Building, ABC's Abbott Elementary, Paramount+'s Star Trek: Strange New Worlds, FX's What We Do in the Shadows, and Showtime's Yellowjackets.

scott pilgrim
Images/Screencaps: Netflix, HBO, Prime Video, Hulu, ABC, Paramount+, FX Networks, Showtime (Scott Pilgrim, Scott Pilgrim, Scott Pilgrim)

Bleeding Cool's 2023 Top 10 TV Series:

(10) "Abbott Elementary" (ABC): Series creator & star Quinta Brunson's sitcom continued to prove that the sitcom format is alive and well. Finding the right mix between strong laughs and important social messages isn't an easy task, but Brunson, the writing team, and one of the best ensemble cast on television (including Tyler James Williams, Janelle James, Lisa Ann Walter, Chris Perfetti, Sheryl Lee Ralph, and William Stanford Davis) stick the landing with every episode – reminding us that laughing & thinking shouldn't be separate concepts.

(9) "Yellowjackets" (Showtime): Series creators Ashley Lyle & Bart Nickerson may not be comfortable reading this, but as a fan of the David Lynch series, it needs to be said. With their addictive thriller, Lyle & Nickerson have "out-Twin Peaks" Twin Peaks with a tale that pulls from the best that soap operas, horror, thriller, and teen dramas have to offer and then puts their own unique spin on it. We've seen other series attempt to go down this route and burn out after one season – but the Melanie Lynskey, Juliette Lewis & Christina Ricci-starring series left us more anxious than ever about what's to come.

(8) "Star Trek: Strange New Worlds" (Paramount+): I can think of no bigger compliment to give the Anson Mount, Rebecca Romijn & Ethan Peck (along with a number of other amazing actors)-starring "Star Trek" universe series from Akiva Goldsman, Alex Kurtzman, and Jenny Lumet than this. I wasn't a big fan of prequels since I knew where the story was going. Well, that's definitely changed. After spending so much time with shows with over-arching, season-long storylines, I wasn't sure what I would feel about a season of one-and-done episodes. Turns out I love them. As someone who is old enough to have been around when "The Next Generation" was coming out, "Strange New Worlds" is the first "Star Trek" series that I need to watch pretty close to when it drops.

(7) "Succession" (HBO): Jesse Armstrong's satirical comedy-drama is the kind of series that will be studied in semester-long media classes for years to come – and rightfully so. The series shuffled off HBO's mortal programming coil earlier this year, but fans continue to debate whether or not the "crown" landed on the right head – and over just how tarnished that crown is after the smoke settled from one of the nastiest, heart-wrenching family feuds ever committed to film. Props to the writing team for four seasons of greatness, brought to life by an all-star cast that included Jeremy Strong, Kieran Culkin, Sarah Snook, Matthew Macfadyen, Nicholas Braun, Alan Ruck, and Hiam Abbass – all led by Brian Cox's powerhouse portrayal of family patriarch Logan Roy.

(6) "The Last of Us" (HBO): Craig Mazin and Neil Druckmann's Pedro Pascal & Bella Ramsey-starring HBO adaptation was one of those series that wasn't supposed to work. To many, the beloved video game franchise was one of those things that television could never do justice to – that too many changes would need to be made. Oh, how they were wrong – with Mazin & Druckmann maintaining the emotional truths of the game and the core dynamic between Joel (Pascal) & Ellie (Ramsey) while making the changes necessary to fit a video game storyline into a serialized series format. While expectations are high for Season 2, Mazin & Druckmann should be credited for some bold decision-making that made it possible for a conversation about the second season to be happening.

(5) "Gen V" (Prime Video): Showrunner/EP Eric Kripke's The Boys proved that you can be in the superhero series business and succeed by being different from what Marvel and DC were doing – and doing it well. Showrunner/EP Michele Fazekas' Gen V proved that there's no such thing as "superhero fatigue" if you're offering viewers compelling storylines and characters that they can care about – even if they don't exactly always like them or the things that they do. While threading itself just enough to the flagship series to keep things interesting, Gen V establishes itself very early on as its own show – and we can't wait for class to be back in session.

(4) "The Fall of the House of Usher" (Netflix): Created by Mike Flanagan and serving as Flanagan & fellow EP Trevor Macy's final bow for Netflix, the gothic horror drama continues Flanagan's horrifically wonderful & winning ways with a stunningly impressive "remix" of a number of author Edgar Allan Poe's works. While we could easily list the entire cast for their winning across-the-board efforts, special props are owed to Carla Gugino, Bruce Greenwood, and Mark Hamill – each presenting some of the best work of their already impressive careers.

(3) "What We Do in the Shadows" (FX): Kayvan Novak, Matt Berry, Natasia Demetriou, Harvey Guillén, Mark Proksch, and Kristen Schaal have become more than just an amazing ensemble cast. They've become family. Which is why it was tough to hear that the series will be ending with its upcoming sixth season – especially coming off of a season in which the Jemaine Clement-created series had positioned itself to move in some interesting storyline directions. Now that Guillén's Guillermo has chosen humanity over becoming a vampire – what does that mean for his future? Will he embrace his "Van Helsing" side? How will this impact his relationship with Nandor (Novak" and the rest of his vampire family? To be five seasons in and still have fans asking those kinds of questions is a testament to the excellence that the show continued to unleash this season.

(2) "Only Murders in the Building" (Hulu): Can you think of a better way for Steve Martin & John Hoffman's Martin, Martin Short & Selena Gomez-starring series to up its game in the third season than by having Meryl Streep and Paul Rudd join the cast? But while lesser shows might falter under the weight of having so many big names in play, OMITB reminded us that it's always about the story & characters first. Once again, there are a number of moments that would demonstrate how the series earned its spot on this year's list – but you don't have to look any further than those special moments between Short's Oliver and Streep's Loretta Durkin. And don't sleep on how difficult it is for the writers to keep coming up with reasons for our trio to be back on the case for another season – especially with that cliffhanger ending.

(1) "Scott Pilgrim Takes Off" (Netflix): Why so "greedy," Bryan Lee O'Malley? You weren't content to have an influential graphic novel series that blew our minds on a number of levels, so you had to go and have Edgar Wright whip up a big-screen adaption in 2010 that is still discussed, debated & appreciated – even 13 years later. But that wasn't enough, so you, BenDavid Grabinski, and Wright had the "audacity" to reunite the cast from Wright's film (including Michael Cera, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Kieran Culkin, Chris Evans, Brie Larson, Aubrey Plaza, Brandon Routh, Jason Schwartzman, and more) to voice an anime series adaptation. And then… just when you think you know where everything is heading… O'Malley & Grabinski knocked us on our collective asses by offering us a take on "Scott Pilgrim" that takes our title character off the playing field in the first episode – and Ramona Flowers & the rest of the ensemble cast are better for it. By allowing the spotlight to shine on Ramona and the others, we gain a better appreciation for Scott – failings and all. And it worked in ways that demand repeated viewings, as the characters you thought you knew gain some interesting (and surprising) new layers.

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Ray FlookAbout Ray Flook

Serving as Television Editor since 2018, Ray began five years earlier as a contributing writer/photographer before being brought onto the core BC team in 2017.
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