The Year’s Best TV (According to Me)

Star Wars gets gritty as The White Lotus flowers again

The White Lotus

In the relatively short history of television, there have never before been so many shows, spread across so many platforms. The watercooler is close to Babel-esque, with common ground hard to come by and consensus a statistical impossibility. Any list like this is as much about the listmaker as what's on it. (Turns out I like shows about British people and grief. This is not news to me.) Somebody else filing a year-end list could plausibly come up with 10 totally different titles, and I think we'd both be right: It was an exceptional year for television.

In alphabetical order:

Abbott Elementary (ABC) "The only network show anybody under 40 fucks with" is a lot to put on a show, but Quinta Brunson's zesty, never mean-spirited Abbott Elementary is up to the task.

Andor (Disney+) The first Star Wars property with real dirt under the nails, Andor felt like a radical act – and a real-deal work of art.

The Bear (FX) So the internet collectively lost its mind indulging chef zaddy fantasies, which was fun if a little cheap for a show that cut to the bone.

Heartstopper (Netflix) All is kindness on this tiny, tender British import about queer teens figuring out first love.

Industry (HBO) Do I find the financial shenanigans in this show about hot-shit, soul-sick investment traders utterly inscrutable? Have sex and drugs onscreen ever looked so joyless? Is Industry still somehow totally addictive? Yes, to everything.

Mo (Netflix) Creator and star Mo Amer mined his own refugee origin story for this searching comedy presenting a textured picture of working-class, multicultural Houston and a brilliant season finale at once slapstick and operatic.

Reservation Dogs (FX) We already knew from season 1 that this show about lovably shitass kids had layers, but season 2 dug even deeper in its exploration of loss.

Slow Horses (Apple TV+) Gary Oldman reimagines George Smiley as a fat, farty bastard in this scampering spy show adapted from Mick Herron's book series. We were gifted two seasons in one calendar year. Keep 'em coming.

This Is Going to Hurt (AMC+) Ben Whishaw showed off a rarely deployed nasty edge in this bleak, battering-ram-to-the-heart short series about an overworked and underfunded OB-GYN ward in London.

The White Lotus (HBO) For all the gajillion-dollar IP spectacles unleashed this year, Mike White's relatively modest prestige drama smuggled big ideas about sexual currency and shifting gender roles into a whodunit murder mystery-slash-Sicilian travelogue. Bravissimo!

Honorable Mentions

Best show about food porn: Julia (HBO Max)

Best show about porn porn: Minx (HBO Max)

Best Ally McBeal reboot: She-Hulk: Attorney at Law (Disney+)

Not great but enjoyably hammy: The Offer (Paramount+)

Best case for firing Kenneth Branagh and giving all the Agatha Christie adaptations to Hugh Laurie instead: Why Didn't They Ask Evans? (BritBox)

Best show for my mental health: The divinely silly Taskmaster (available for streaming purchase, or just poke around YouTube)

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

More Top 10s 2022
We Have an Issue:
We Have an Issue: "My God, It's Full of Stars"
The Top 10s Issue

Kimberley Jones, Dec. 16, 2022

More by Kimberley Jones
Abya Yala: The Story Behind the Photos
Abya Yala: The Story Behind the Photos

Sept. 29, 2023

Fair Play
Office romance and intrigue intersect for tension with little weight

Sept. 29, 2023


Top 10s 2022, Abbott Elementary, Andor, The Bear, Heartstopper, Industry, Mo, Reservation Dogs, Slow Horses, This Is Going to Hurt, White Lotus, ABC, AMC+, Apple TV+, Disney+, FX, HBO, HBO Max, Netflix

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Keep up with happenings around town

Kevin Curtin's bimonthly cannabis musings

Austin's queerest news and events

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle