The TV Blog's Best- And Worst-Reviewed Shows Of 2023

Choosing “Poker Face” as the TV Blog’s best-reviewed new show of 2023 was a no-brainer.

While there were any number of thumbs-up reviews for both dramas and comedies this year, none came close to the warm welcome that this great Peacock mystery series received here.

The TV Blog review way back on January 25 essentially said the same thing, and the new year had hardly even begun.

“With all due respect to the good and even great shows that sometimes pass before my eyes around here, ‘Poker Face’ soars high above them in some TV stratosphere where the population is sparse,” I wrote then.

The show is superlatively written and produced by a team overseen by the series’ creator, Rian Johnson, who is also known for the “Knives Out” mystery movies.



But the biggest reason why this show is so irresistible? Two words: Natasha Lyonne (pictured above). ’Nuff said.

Unlike so many other dramas that “pass before my eyes,” “Poker Face” was smart, not sad.

The TV Blog has written often that TV sometimes seems like the saddest place on Earth. 

Exhibit A from the past year: “The Lost Flowers Of Alice Hart” on Amazon Prime, about a girl who is repeatedly beaten for years by her father until the day he and the girl’s mother, who is 25 weeks pregnant, die in a fire. That’s entertainment? Answer: No.

Other dramas that came in for negative reviews here included Peacock’s “John Wick” prequel series “The Continental” and “Based On A True Story,” a drama series also on Peacock.

“The Continental” was missing one key ingredient: John Wick. “Based On A True Story” was promoted as lighthearted, but nevertheless opened with one of the most hideous scenes of violence I saw all year.

A number of cop and action dramas received thumbs-down here for various lapses in plot, plausibility and police work.

These included “The Night Agent” on Netflix, “Alert: Missing Persons Unit” on Fox, and “Class of ’09” on Hulu.

This year’s end-of-the-world dramas ranged from the superlative -- “The Last Of Us” on HBO -- to the ludicrous -- “The Lazarus Project” on TNT. It’s what I always say: Beware of TV shows and movies with the word “project” in their titles.

Other dramas that fared well in the TV Blog in 2023 were “Archie” on BritBox, about Cary Grant, “Justified: City Primeval” on FX, the fifth iteration of “Fargo,” also on FX, and the incredible “Mrs. Davis” on Peacock, about a butt-kicking nun.

This year, a number of comedies vied for “best-reviewed” honors. The TV Blog loved Bob Odenkirk’s “Lucky Hank” on AMC, Pete Davidson’s “Bupkis” on Peacock, Rob Lowe in “Unstable” on Netflix (about an eccentric billionaire modeled on Elon Musk), and Sebastian Maniscalco in the title role of “Bookie” on HBO.

The TV Blog also liked “Not Dead Yet,” the ABC sitcom about a newspaper obituary writer, and the revivals of “Night Court” on NBC and “Frasier” on Paramount+.

Comedies that came in for negative reviews included NBC’s “Extended Family,” reviewed just this past Monday and premiering Saturday, and Fox’s overly sarcastic “Animal Control.”

“Such Brave Girls” on Hulu -- reviewed earlier this month -- was about as sad as “The Lost Flowers Of Alice Hart,” despite being billed as a comedy. 

Another “comedy” that was more sad than funny was “The Big Door Prize” on Apple TV+, starring Chris O’Dowd.

The TV Blog particularly liked this year’s new animated shows, including “Agent Elvis” on Netflix, “Krapopolis” on Fox, and “Digman!” on Comedy Central. 

From the unscripted, non-fiction universe, the TV Blog gave thumbs up to “MerPeople” on Netflix, about amateur mermaids; President Obama’s latest Netflix series, “Working: What We Do All Day”; “Telemarketers” on HBO, “American Masters: Jerry Brown” on PBS, and “The Secret Life Of Dancing Dogs” on Hulu.

By contrast, the unscripted world served up some of the year’s worst shows, including “House of Villains” on E!, featuring former White House aide Omarosa Manigault; and “Swiping America,” an app-based dating show on Max.

The worst unscripted, non-fiction show to be reviewed here in 2023 was PBS’s idiotic documentary about the horrors of the Monopoly board game, “Ruthless: Monopoly’s Secret History.”

What’s next in the “Ruthless” series about the evils of board games? Checkers?

Next story loading loading..