For the third consecutive year, the Television Critics Association has polled its membership to select their favorite article from the past 12 months. The below pieces represent a wide swath of journalism and criticism, as well as spotlighting an impressive range of television, from long-running series to the latest releases. Check out all of our stories below!
Abbie Bernstein (for Assignment X): BS High: Filmmakers Travon Free, Martin Desmond Roe on New HBO documentary – Exclusive Interview
Of everything I covered this year, I found this to be the most startling. I had no idea about this story before I saw the documentary and interviewed the filmmakers - I was horrified and fascinated.
Alec Bojalad (for Den of Geek): Reservation Dogs Season 3 Episode 5 Explained: What Is House Made of Bongs Really About?
It was a pleasure to do an analytical deep dive into one of the best episodes of one of my favorite shows.
Alexis Gunderson (for Paste Magazine): High School Musical: The Musical: The Series: The Finale: The Retrospective
Following HSMTMTS from its unexpectedly bold debut to its boldly mature finale has been one of the joys of my TV criticism career. Dream show, for real.
Amy Amatangelo (for Los Angeles Times): Donkey Hodie Returns With a New But Familiar Friend From Mister Rogers’ World: Trolley
I love writing about children's television and I especially loved getting to write about a beloved character I remember vividly from my own childhood.
Andy Dehnart (for Reality Blurred): 50 Years Ago Today, TV Changed Forever. That Change Is Still Necessary Today.
This piece celebrates a milestone in reality TV history—the 50th anniversary of An American Family—but it's also a personal reflection about why representation matters so much.
Ani Bundel (for Telly Visions): Desserts Week Doesn't See Justice for Anyone in The Great British Baking Show Season 14
After years of covering GBBO, I finally have had it with Paul Hollywood
Anna Govert (for Paste Magazine): In an Era of Deepfake and AI Porn, Buffy the Vampire Slayer's Buffybot Is a Terrifying Reality
It was a really interesting experience to recontexualize this 20+ year old episode for our modern day AI issues.
April Neale (for Idaho Press): Reservation Dogs Ends With the Hope for More Tales From the Rez
I loved Reservation Dogs and the casting agent is their unsung hero behind the scenes.
Aramide Tinubu (for Variety): Matt Bomer and Jonathan Bailey’s Fellow Travelers Entwines an Erotic Love Affair With a Sharp Historical Epic: TV Review
TV criticism is so vast, I chose my review of Fellow Travelers not only because of the scope of the show, but because I think it's brilliantly written.
Belen Edwards (for Mashable): Scavengers Reign's Alien Ecosystems Are Things of Beauty
Scavengers Reign quickly became one of my favorite shows of 2023 thanks to its stunning world building, so I loved getting to explore the show’s alien ecosystems with co-creator Joe Bennett.
Christine Champagne (for Emmys Magazine): Timothy A. Good Makes the Cut
Interviewing The Last of Us editor Timothy A. Good for Emmy this year was special. As a member of the LGBTQ+ community, I never take for granted when one of us gets the chance to tell our stories on the small screen. And Timothy's work is exceptional.
Claire Spellberg Lustig (for Primetimer): Ted Lasso Season 3 Was a Cautionary Tale in Streaming Excess
This piece grapples with both the Ted Lasso finale and, on a larger level, the sort of conflict-free, comfort food TV it represents.
Danette Chavez (for Primetimer): This Fool Upends Aspirational Stories With Abundant Style
This Fool continues to surprise and impress me, so I'll take any chance to write about it. Season 2 is a stylish rejoinder to the industry's demand for aspirational Latinx stories above all else.
Danielle Ryan (for Slashfilm): The Strange New Worlds/Lower Decks Crossover Episode Is a Beautiful and Hilarious Tribute to Star Trek Fandom
I love writing about how fandom and art intersects, and Star Trek: Strange New Worlds delivered an episode that's a love letter to fans while also interrogating what it means to be a fan. It's brilliant stuff and I really enjoyed breaking it down.
Diane Gordon (for What's the Hook With Diane & Andy): Comedy Legend Paula Pell Talks Writing & Performing Comedy
Talking to one of my comedy heroes was a genuine thrill as Pell's perspective of comedy & TV is smart & informed by decades of experience.
Diedre Johnson (for Paste Magazine): Over Three Years After The 1619 Project Debuted, What Does Nikole Hannah-Jones Think Now?
The 1619 Project gathered a lot of controversy from scholars and others discrediting Critical Race Theory (CRT), especially after her book was published. I wanted to ask the questions that people wanted to know and to write them in her words.
Eric Deggans (for NPR): Streaming Broke Hollywood, But Saved TV — Now It's Time for You to Do Your Part
During the Hollywood strikes, a saw a lot of blame going around carping at streaming services and recent changes in media. I also heard from a lot of TV fans who felt powerless. So I wanted to write something to remind us all how much value streaming TV has brought to the industry, while laying out some important truths about our current moment, suggesting ways the audience could push the industry in the right direction. This was published a little while before the WGA settled their strike, and readers seemed to enjoy the ideas I was batting around.
Eric Goldman (for Fandom): Why Filming Yellowjackets 'Edible Complex' Episode Made One Cast Member Puke
I love Yellowjackets and, let's face it, this was the episode we were all waiting for, as dark as that may be. I really enjoyed the humorous stories and reactions the cast and producers shared when I asked about this event finally occurring. As Liv Hewson put it, “Well, ya can’t not eat her!”
Erin Qualey (for Den of Geek): Why The Bear's Most Important Meal Is the Feast of the Seven Fishes
As an Italian-American who watched a gaggle of nanas and aunties lovingly collaborate in the kitchen every Christmas Eve, the "Fishes" episode of The Bear hit me, hard. Delving into the context of the dish within the episode as well as the season as a whole was incredibly gratifying for me, both personally and professionally.
Hanh Nguyen (for Salon): The West Can't Keep Up With the East in Telling Mainstream Queer Love Stories in TV and Movies
While K-dramas got a lot of media love out of the pandemic, I wanted to spotlight the queer Asian dramas that are watched worldwide, in light of the popularity of Red, White & Royal Blue and Heartstopper this past summer. I interviewed 6 queer individuals about the genre of Boys Love, its evolution and how it's creating change
Jacqueline Cutler (for The Daily Beast): The Woman Who Kept Anne Frank Alive Steps Into the Small Light
I rarely write personal pieces, and remain deeply grateful that I had the chance to do so with this. Given the spike in hate crimes against Jews, A Small Light feels hideously timely.
Jason Tabrys (for Uproxx): The Last of Us May Have Just Delivered the Last Great Pandemic Love Story
TV has moved away from pandemic stories, but The Last Of Us delivered an emotionally devastating episode about love, loss, and how companionship can hold the world up in a time of isolation.
Jay Bobbin (for Journal Gazette): Final Payday: Billions Rings Up Its Last Season
Billions was one of my favorite shows throughout its run, and Maggie Siff was one of the last actors I interviewed before the SAG-AFTRA strike began. She had been a great interviewee for me previously as well, and I appreciated this "exit conversation" about a smartly written, beautifully cast series that I'll really miss.
Jeanne Wolf (for Saturday Evening Post): 3 Questions for Ken Burns on His New Documentary, The American Buffalo
I'm especially proud of this piece because of the way Ken Burns provides perspective on how important past history is to our future.
Josh Bell (for New Scientist): Mrs. Davis and Class of '09 review: AI Anxieties Abound in TV Sci-Fi
Some deeper analysis than a straightforward review, looking at two shows with very different tones that engage with increasingly relevant concerns about AI, while telling engaging sci-fi stories.
K. L. Connie Wang (for Parade): Star Trek: Strange New Worlds Crossover With Lower Decks Drops Early to Fans' Delight
The articles I most enjoy writing are of shows or episodes that I most enjoy watching! This was the case for the Star Trek: Strange New Worlds crossover episode with Lower Decks, an animated series in the Star Trek universe.
Kat Moon (for TV Guide): For Adoptee Peter Thurnwald, Art Imitates Life in Netflix's XO, Kitty
This is one of my favorite interviews of the year because XO, Kitty's Peter Thurnwald openly shared about parallels between his and his character Alex's lives—they are both adoptees searching for their biological families. I was very moved by our conversation, and especially when Peter talked about how one scene in the show played out similar to how he imagines a meeting with his birth mother may play out.
Kristen Baldwin (for Entertainment Weekly): Farewell to Riverdale — and The CW as We Know It
Having covered the debut of The WB/UPN and then the creation of The CW from the latter's ashes, it was a bittersweet honor to pay tribute to the end of an era of Teen TV.
Lacy Baugher Milas (for Paste Magazine): The Good Omens Season 2 Finale Is a Test of Faith
If you've ever wanted to watch a television critic work through their real time response to a season-ending cliffhanger they didn't know was coming, this is the piece for you. It also turned into a rather cathartic meditation about faith, scripture, and the idea that everything will be okay in the end (and If it's not okay it's not the end).
Lauren Puckett-Pope (for Elle): Bella Ramsey, Star of The Last of Us, Wants Much More Than Survival
It was a privilege to interview Bella Ramsey in the days before The Last of Us became a phenomenon for HBO, when she was still figuring out not only the importance of the story she wanted to tell, but how it would impact her relationship with the public—and with herself. I tried to capture the narrative power of the video-game adaptation, particularly within Ramsey's own life, and I'm proud of the resulting piece.
Leah Marilla Thomas (for Cosmopolitan): Did Anyone Else Notice the Daisy Jones and How I Met Your Mother Endings Are Basically the Same?
I enjoyed revisiting a series finale I historically hated, and felt was not earned, in order to compare and contrast it to one I surprisingly loved and thought was earned.
Lissete E. Lanuza Sáenz (for Primetimer): Timeless Brought Unprecedented Levels of Fun to the Procedural
In looking back at what shows inspired Loki, short-lived NBC time-travel series Timeless stood out as a show that brought fun to the procedural.
Liz Shannon Miller (for Consequence): The Bear’s Best Episode Is a Beautiful Mind-Fork
Like anyone dealing with the gripping horrors of getting older, I've been finding myself drawn to stories that make me really think about big questions, like when is a fork truly polished? Writing about The Bear Season 2, specifically the episode "Forks," thus meant a lot to me, as it offers up a whole new way of looking at the world, and our individual roles in it.
Luaine Lee (for Tribune Media Service): Celebrities Remember Their Mothers
This was in celebration of Mothers' Day, revealing what an important influence mothers had on celebrities who succeeded in a cutthroat business
Marc Berman (for Forbes): George Schlatter Is ‘Still Laughing’: Legendary Laugh-In Creator Reflects On His Seven-Decade Career
I think it is imperative that we honor and remember the TV shows that helped shape the landscape. Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In is certainly one of them. George Schlatter shares the memories in his memoir, Still Laughing: A Life in Comedy.
Marina Fang (for Huffpost): Background Actors Sound Off on Alarming AI Future and What’s at Stake in the Actors Strike
On the first day of the SAG strike, I got to talk with a number of background actors on why winning AI protections was so crucial. A lot of the conversation around the WGA and SAG strikes had been around AI, but this piece was one of the first I noticed that really laid out what was at stake. Reporting this also gave me a much greater appreciation for the valuable work of background actors on our favorite shows.
Marisa Roffman (for Give Me My Remote): The Simpsons Matt Selman Reflects on the Show’s Big Swings From ‘Lisa the Boy Scout’ to ‘Not It’
The Simpsons is still good!! The show has taken some really big creative risks in recent years & breaking down some of the most unconventional episodes with showrunner Matt Selman was a delight.
Maureen Ryan (for Vanity Fair): Farewell to Reservation Dogs, TV’s Most Unpredictable Comedy
Reservation Dogs is one of the best shows I've ever written about, and I feel fortunate to have been able to craft a few words about its many great qualities.
Meredith Jacobs (for TV Insider): Inside Star Trek: Strange New Worlds Musical — Plus, About That [Spoiler] Mention
I got to dig deep into Strange New Worlds making history with Star Trek's first-ever musical episode with EPs Akiva Goldsman and Henry Alonso Myers, director Dermott Downs, and choreographer Roberto Campanella.
Michael Schneider (for Variety): Inside The Amazing Race High-Wire Act and the Scramble Behind the Scenes Making TV’s Most Ambitious Competition Show
This isn't my best piece of the year, but it is perhaps my most dangerous. Yes, this is the one where I literally walked on a tightrope, over downtown Los Angeles, all for a story.
Murtz Jaffer (for The Star): Sex, Steroids and a Whole Lot of Blood
For those of us who grew up in the early 90s, the glitzy ridiculousness of American Gladiators remains a nostalgic staple. I first caught this ESPN documentary at a film festival in Toronto (prior to its public release on ESPN) where I was shocked to learn about the power struggle and ownership disputes behind the program. Ben Berman’s interpretation of the show is vastly different from an unrelated Netflix miniseries that followed the release of The American Gladiators Documentary. It was also fun to catch up with Wesley ‘2 Scoops’ Berry who was one of the most accomplished athletes of my childhood.
Myles McNutt (for Episodic Medium): Why an Inclusive Take on Project Greenlight Was Doomed From the Beginning
I have a long history of obsessive interest in attempts to turn the filmmaking process into a documentary, and HBO's inclusive take on Project Greenlight was no exception—it might not have made a huge cultural impact, but it's a cautionary tale in how to integrate DEI initiatives into Hollywood and the privileging of appearances over reality when it comes to the motives underpinning the entire project.
Paulette Cohn (for Parade): Titus Welliver Talks Bosch and Working With the 'Inordinately Intelligent' Ben Affleck
Bosch is the best book to TV series adaptation on the screen and Titus Welliver is the perfect embodiment of Harry Bosch. I was a fan of the Michael Connelly books long before the TV series came along, so I was relieved when the series stayed so true to the novels. Plus, my interview with Titus is the best -- and most enjoyable -- I've had this year.
Randee Dawn (for She Knows): Arrested Development: Relive Every Moment of Benson & Stabler’s Law & Order: SVU Relationship
It's an article 25 years in the making and required extensive knowledge of the show and the characters in it. Plus, it shows the Law & Order universe doing a 180 from its origins of "just the facts" to having a devoted fan base hoping for a Benson/Stabler relationship. What a difference a quarter-century makes in TV.
Rick Ellis (for All Your Screens): Exclusive: An Apple TV+ Executive Talks Streaming, the Strike and Global Television
I broke a lot of exclusives during the strikes, but this piece was the one that received the most attention and it led to speaking to some other streaming execs.
Rob Owen (for TribLive): Fifth Fargo TV Installment Explores ‘Minnesota Nice’ in Uncivil Society
Enjoyed the show and was happy with how the column, encompassing both review and interview, turned out.
Ronda Racha Penrice (for Ebony): Get Lifted: The Cast of Showtime's The Chi Tell All
I chose this story for several reasons: one is it's a beautiful cover and spread for the long-running series The Chi created by Emmy winner Lena Waithe which hasn't received this kind of attention and treatment it deserves for such longevity. Then EBONY EIC Marielle Bobo, photographer Keith Major, and the rest of the team did a beautiful job; second I interviewed these five cast members -- Jacob Latimore, Luke James, Yolonda Ross, Birgundi Baker, and Curtiss Cook -- from the ensemble show set in my native Chicago in Chicago; and third I think it's a really good conversation that covers a lot of ground. It's definitely one of my most unexpected standout moments from 2023!
Roxana Hadadi (for Vulture): Rami and Ramy
I have written about both Ramy, the series, and Rami Kashoú, the Project Runway contestant, before, but found that in light of the recent Israel-Hamas war, the two shared a perspective that is barely explored in American television but now has particular urgent timeliness and emotive relevance. Thank you to all who take the time to read this piece and consider Ramy and Rami's perspectives.
Ryan Berenz (for TV Insider): Mrs. Davis Director Alethea Jones Talks British Knights Renaissance and Her Vast Vegemite Supply
Director Alethea Jones worked on several of my favorite shows in recent years, and her talent was on display again in Peacock's Mrs. Davis, the best show of 2023.
Tara Bennett (for Paste Magazine): Toon In: Animated TV Highlights for July 2023
Paste TV allowed me a monthly column to focus on all the amazing adult animation on TV right now. I’m proud it’s a space to allow greats from the medium to discuss their art and highlight what often gets overlooked.
Terry Terrones (for Paste Magazine): Has the Latinx TV Renaissance Finally Begun?
As a Mexican-American who’s seen significantly more negative and stereotypical representations of Hispanics on TV than positive ones, 2023 was the year I’ve long been waiting for.
Vanessa Armstrong (for Vulture): Outlander Used to Be About Desire. Now It’s About Survival.
I enjoyed delving into how a long-running show changes over several seasons but still remains true to the core tenets we see in the first minutes of the pilot.
Whitney Friedlander (for LA Times): Lois & Clark at 30: How the Superman Series Led to a New Era of Superhero TV
One of the saddest aspects of the prolonged SAG-AFTRA strike is that I couldn't speak to my supposed celebrity doppelgänger for this piece.
Will Harris (for Decider): Praise Petey Star Stephen Root Has a Frightening Prediction for What Happens to Fuches in a Post-Barry World
Stephen Root is always a great interview, and this might be the only idea we ever get about the King of the Hill revival, which now seems in doubt after the death of Johnny Hardwick, a.k.a. Dale Gribble.
Zhanna Slor (for Channel Guide Magazine): Stellar Cast and Writing Bring New Perspective to WWII in A Small Light
I absolutely loved this show, and I enjoyed writing about it as well because of its unique perspective and profound, timeless themes.