🎵 “These are a few of GGA’s favorite things…” 🎵

Can you believe the year is almost over? If you’re like us, this time of year always elicits nostalgia. To celebrate what 2023 gave us on the entertainment/pop culture front, we invite you to join us as we reflect on some of our favorite things from the past 12 months. It’s our Best of 2023 list, and we’ll cry (and laugh and gasp) if we want to. 

Julia 

Best of 2023 -- Julia Child wears a robin's egg blue dress while standing in a kitchen and looking serious in Season 2 of Julia.

JULIA Season 2. Photo courtesy of Max.

One of my most unexpected favorite things this year is Max’s show Julia about Julia Child. Now in season 2, the show follows Julia as she begins her show, The French Chef, on public television. It’s so charming and delightful, and I find myself smiling and laughing with every episode. And when I realized Julia is played by Sarah Lancashire from Happy Valley? Mind blown! I may have a new favorite actress. — Alex Faccibene 

Star Trek: Lower Decks 

Best of 2023 -- Boimler, Tendi, Rutherford and Mariner sit in a ship while flying into Ferenginar in Star Trek: Lower Decks Season 4 Episode 6, "Parth Ferengi's Heart Place."

L-R Jack Quaid as Boimler, Noël Wells as D’Vana Tendi, Eugene Cordero as Rutherford and Tawny Newsome as Beckett Mariner in episode 6, season 4 of Star Trek: Lower Decks, “Parth Ferengi’s Heart Place,” streaming on Paramount+, 2023. Photo Credit: Paramount+

In Star Trek: Lower Decks season 4, beta shift boldly gets promoted to Lieutenant J-G! This season might utilize Star Trek continuity more thoroughly than previous seasons, but it also digs deeper into the elements of the world specifically introduced through Lower Decks.

RELATED: Check out our Star Trek: Lower Decks recaps!

Featuring the addition of T’Lyn (Gabrielle Ruiz) to the roster, the chance for D’Vana Tendi (Noël Wells) to begin to bloom and further development for Bradward Boimler (Jack Quaid) and Beckett Mariner (Tawny Newsome), it’s no wonder this series garners more acclaim with each passing year. And shout-out to Samanthan Rutherford (Eugene Cordero) for the funniest line of the season from “The Inner Fight”: “That’s not a puppet. He’s got all sorts of internal organs!” — Avery Kaplan 

Elemental 

Ember Lumen and Wade stand next to each other. Ember looks like a walking flame while Wade looks like a water droplet in a button-down shirt with a tie in the Disney-Pixar animated movie Elemental.

ELEMENTAL. Photo courtesy of The Walt Disney Company.

One of my absolute favorite things from 2023 is the movie Elemental. Being a major horror nerd, I never would have guessed that the best film I’ve seen all year would be a cartoon. It has everything — incredible animation, an excellent story, relatable characters and fun music. I can’t think of a single thing I would change. I have never watched a movie more than once during its original theatrical run, but I did for this one. Twice, in fact. Once in a traditional theater and once at a drive-in. I cannot praise Elemental enough and will watch it again soon. Check it out! — Becca Stalnaker 

Twisted Metal 

Quiet and John Doe stand outside while a red car sits behind them in Twisted Metal Season 1 Episode 10, "SHNGRLA."

TWISTED METAL — “SHNGRLA” Episode 110 — Pictured: (l-r) Stephanie Beatriz as Quiet, Anthony Mackie as John Doe — (Photo by: Skip Bolen/Peacock)

Twisted Metal delivered a much-needed shot of nitrous to my 2023 watchlist. I have precious metal memories of playing the game with my little brother for hours at a time, so my expectations were high. As a practically lifelong fan of the video game series, I wholeheartedly enjoyed this show. The series features iconic characters from the game expertly played by an all-star cast (everyone delivers). Seriously, Joe Seanoa and Will Arnett tag-teamed the hell out of Sweet Tooth. Clever new twists on old plotlines and character backgrounds give the franchise a fresh feel.

RELATED: Check out all of our Twisted Metal recaps here!

A must-watch for anyone who loves guns, fast cars and explosions. You will laugh, you will cry and you will be on the edge of your seat the entire freaking time. Lead role and executive producer Anthony Mackie recently announced a second season is coming in hotter than Sweet Tooth’s hair. Twisted Metal Season 1 is now streaming on Peacock. —Cassie Holguin

Foundation 

Hari Seldon embraces Gaal Dornick while both sit outside in Foundation Season 2 Episode 10, "Creation Myths."

FOUNDATION Season 2 Episode 10, “Creation Myths.” Photo courtesy of Apple TV+.

This year gave us the highly anticipated second season of Foundation. Apple TV+’s adaptation of Isaac Asimov‘s novels has been one of our favorite science fiction series in the last few years. With incredible performances from Jared Harris, Lee Pace, Lou Llobell and Leah Harvey, we spent much of this year in anticipation. They absolutely rocked season 2. However, our shining stars from the sophomore season are Isabella Laughland and Dimitri Leonidas. Leonidas gave us so many memorable moments to enjoy.

RELATED: Read our Foundation recaps!

A lot happened in season 2 (and we promise we won’t spoil it here) that had us cheering, crying, and questioning everything we knew. The adaptation is something longtime fans of Asimov are sure to love and a great intro to sci-fi for newbies to the franchise. Now, we get to spend another year or so in anticipation as we wait for season 3 to hit the streaming service. — Julia Roth 

Andrew Scott 

Best of 2023 -- Paul Mescal leans heavily on Andrew Scott as they are bathed in purple light.

Andrew Scott and Paul Mescal in ALL OF US STRANGERS. Photo by Parisa Taghizadeh, Courtesy of Searchlight Pictures. © 2023 Searchlight Pictures All Rights Reserved.

For some, Andrew Scott will always be Fleabags Hot Priest. For others, he is the cunning and evil Moriarty opposite Benedict Cumberbatch in Sherlock. We are long-standing Andrew Scott stans. So, it was certainly a joy to be given a cinematic Andrew Scott treat on the big screen this holiday season. We bought in hook, line and sinker.

Scott stars in All of Us Strangers, a stirring drama that satiates the soul in the most beautiful, emotional ways. It’s a must-see for this holiday season, featuring a vital and complex Andrew Scott performance worthy of awards season love. Yes, it will be a snub if his name isn’t mentioned come Oscar time. In a year of many beautiful performances, Andrew Scott stands apart as our clear favorite and here’s to much more goodness from him. — Kimberly Pierce 

RELATED: Movie Review: All of Us Strangers

Law & Order: Special Victims Unit 

Olivia Benson played by Mariska Hargitay smiling slightly.

Law & Order: Special Victims Unit remains one of my favorite shows of the year (and in general). I started this show with my mom when I was nine and have watched every episode with her ever since. As I navigated my pregnancy this year, I spent every Saturday watching the show on ION. Those days constantly reminded me why Olivia Benson is so special to me and an important character in TV history. Although not everyone may agree with the way the show handles certain storylines, we cannot deny it has been incredibly important for survivors to have a show that brings awareness to sexual abuse, harassment and domestic violence. — Lara Rosales 

Reservation Dogs 

Elora Danan, Willie Jack, Bear and Cheese lean on each other while standing outside and smiling in Reservation Dogs Season 3 Episode 10, "Dig."

RESERVATION DOGS — “Dig” — Season 3, Episode 10 (Airs Wednesday, September 27th) Pictured (l to r): Devery Jacobs as Elora Danan, Paulina Alexis as Willie Jack, D’Pharaoh Woon-A-Tai as Bear, Lane Factor as Cheese. CR: Shane Brown/FX. Copyright 2023, FX Networks. All Rights Reserved

All good things must come to an end, but this one kinda hurt. Hurt feelings aside, Reservation Dogs gave us another great season with a heartfelt and satisfying resolution to the series. While at the same time, leaving it open to revisit later… *nudging Sterlin Harjo.* Bear (D’Pharaoh Woon-A-Tai), Elora Danan (Devery Jacobs), Cheese (Lane Factor) and Willie Jack (Paulina Alexis) started the series as “sh*t*sses” and ended the series as “sh*t*sses,” but with purpose.

But the show became more about how the community affects us as we grow up and move on through life. We don’t forget the traumas of the past, but we learn from them and remember those who suffered the most. Even in times of grief, as a community, we find the laughter and joy in those we lost and cherish the times with those who remain. So thank you, Reservation Dogs, for reminding us that community is family. And catfish is life. — Noetta Harjo 

RELATED: Check out our Reservation Dogs recaps!

The Bear 

Sydney Adamu stands in a kitchen over a boiling pot on a stove while wearing an apron in The Bear.

Pictured: Ayo Edebiri as Sydney Adamu. Photo courtesy of FX/Hulu.

Is there anything more triggering for a recovering restaurant industry worker than seeing an influx of takeout orders or a bustling dinner service when short-staffed? I’d rather 86 myself from those situations than endure that level of stress again. FX’s The Bear (decidedly not a comedy) is one of the most realistic depictions of restaurant life I’ve ever seen. Bolstered by blistering and bold performances from Jeremy Allen White, Ayo Edebiri and Ebon Moss-Bachrach, this series delves into the isolation of grief and what happens when we put ourselves on the back burner for our art. 

Season 2 is a tour de force, taking the narrative to dizzying new heights with deliciously dark character moments. “Fishes” is an absolute triumph, bringing in an impressive guest cast roster that knocks it out of the park, including the masterful Jamie Lee Curtis, Bob Odenkirk and Jon Bernthal. It’s a tense, high-stakes hour of television. 

At least we have Richie belting out “Love Story” in his car during “Forks” to soften some of season 2’s razor edges. I’ll say “Yes, chef” to that. — Melody McCune 

RELATED: Yes, Chef: Check Out This Gift Guide for Fans of The Bear

Futurama 

The Planet Express crew sits at a table while waving at something off-screen in Futurama Season 11 Episode 10, "All the Way Down."

Futurama — “All the Way Down” – Episode 1110 — The crew investigates whether the universe is a simulation. (Photo by: Matt Groening/Hulu)

Futuramas back, and so well-preserved you’d think it’d been cryogenically frozen since the previous series finale aired a decade ago. Focusing on the core crew closely, Futurama season 11 delivers the goods more effectively than Planet Express. After hitting the ground running with “The Impossible Stream,” the season featured instant-classic episodes like “How the West Was 1010001,” “Rage Against the Vaccine” and the egregiously underrated anthology episode “The Prince and the Product.”

But nothing could prepare this decades-long fan for the season finale, “All The Way Down” — not just a perfect episode of Futurama, but a great piece of science fiction. No wonder Hulu has already ordered seasons 13 and 14. And then maybe a movie, please? — Avery Kaplan 

The Legend of Vox Machina

Percy, Keyleth, Vex and Vax surrounded by guards.

Another year, another season of The Legend of Vox Machina on Prime Video. There is never a dull moment when you put Matt Mercer, Travis Willingham, Laura Bailey, Marisha Ray, Taliesin Jaffe, Liam O’Brien, Ashley Johnson and Sam Riegel in the same room. The group of nerdy-ass voice actors returned with the second season of their animated adventure, and we never stopped laughing. Unless we were sobbing — because that happened, too.

RELATED: Read our recaps for The Legend of Vox Machina!

The second season took us back into Critical Roles campaign one as the legendary heroes, fresh off their win in Whitestone, face the horror of the Chroma Conclave. There are dragons. There are tons of fire-breathing terrors (and acid and ice and so much more) that want to level Exandria. The team does what they do best, providing us with an incredible story while also hitting all our heartstrings. Hopefully, season 3 is right around the corner. — Julia Roth 

The Walking Dead: Daryl Dixon 

Best of 2023 -- A still of Norman Reedus as Daryl Dixon in The Walking Dead: Daryl Dixon.

Norman Reedus as Daryl Dixon – The Walking Dead: Daryl Dixon _ Season 1, Episode 1 – Photo Credit: Stéphanie Branchu/AMC

It’s interesting to see a character get his own show. You never know if it will be something new or the same story as before but with a new twist here and there. You know? With The Walking Dead: Daryl Dixon, it’s fresh and new. The established and obviously favorite The Walking Dead character was thrown into a new adventure in a different country. France has the same walker issues as America, but these walkers are a bit more aggressive. A group in France is experimenting with walkers, probably to make an army they can control.

Despite the jacked-up walkers with acid blood and the language barrier, Daryl (Norman Reedus) was able to adapt quickly and find a good group of allies. It will be interesting to see what the TWD Universe content creators will come up with next, especially when they throw Carol (Melissa McBride) into the mix for season 2. I’m super excited for that! — Noetta Harjo 

RELATED: Check out our recaps for The Walking Dead: Daryl Dixon!

The Other Two 

Best of 2023 -- Cary and Brooke Dubek sit in the kitchen of their family home in a flashback scene from The Other Two Season 3 Episode 9.

THE OTHER TWO Season 3. Photo credit: Greg Endries/Max.

The Other Two is the 30 Rock successor I’ve always wanted, and season 3 proved that in spades. It somehow one-upped itself from its predecessors, getting increasingly over-the-top and bizarre in the best way. While some might complain about this departure from realism, I want my comedy to be as fast-paced, wacky and surreal as possible (I also got Community vibes from this season, which is a plus). 

Whether it’s Brooke (Heléne Yorke) driving a giant armpit across America, Cary (Drew Tarver) voicing Disney’s first openly gay character, Globby (a literal blob), or the show spoofing the Romeo + Juliet fish tank scene, The Other Two became sharper and funnier in season 3. 

This season also boasted more heartfelt moments as the series came to an unfortunate close. Brooke and Cary finally acknowledged their selfishness and eventually sought redemption. I’ll miss this hilariously clever show that blessed us with some of 2023’s best comedic performances. — Melody McCune 

RELATED: Looking Streets Behind: Ranking the Community Christmas Episodes

What are your favorite things from 2023? Did anything from this article make your Best of 2023 list? Sound off in the comments below! 

Ranking the Christmas Episodes of BROOKLYN NINE-NINE

Melody McCune
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