Let's be honest, when we think of 2023, in regard to television shows, most of us will probably remember two things: the Writers and Actors Strikes and the long list of shows that were canceled. On the positive side, 2023 did deliver a lot of new television shows, some of which completely exceeded expectations, including ours.
Today we wanted to take a look at 5 television shows that surprised us and why. From science fiction to horror, these shows made a huge impact and may have even paved the way for others, who otherwise, might not have stood a chance.
1. Silo - Apple TV+
Based on the first of several books written by Hugh Howey, Silo takes place in an underground silo in the distant future. It has been some time since the apocalypse, with this most recent generation living in the silo as intended...that is until some begin to notice the cracks in the infrastructure.
Why can't anyone own a 'relic' of the past? What exactly caused the apocalypse?
Why aren't they allowed to know what lies outside the silo? Some of those questions slowly become answered thanks to the new sheriff Juliette Nichols, but at what cost?
As far as science fiction goes, this truly impressed us as it avoided all the usual bells and whistles by telling a thrilling story from beginning to end. We are excited to see what happens in season 2.
2. The Walking Dead Universe - AMC
The Walking Dead may have concluded but that didn't stop the release of two spinoffs this year: The Walking Dead: Dead City and The Walking Dead: Daryl Dixon. While both are two totally different shows, they made our list proving that TWDU is far from dead.
Starting with Dead City, here we have a very common setup: Maggie still hates Negan but needs his help to save, once again, her son. What we didn't expect was an epic that takes place in New York City, where the Negan and Maggie arc reaches a new height, which included a plot twist, followed by the establishment of new communities and, of course, new walkers.
Daryl Dixon, meanwhile, washed ashore in France and finds himself becoming the reluctant hero once again. In this spinoff, we learn of a new threat who acts similarly to the CRM in the US and is probably trying to weaponize walkers.
Both shows have been renewed for season 2.
3. Yu Yu Hakusho - Netflix
Much like video game adaptations, anime adaptations can either succeed or fail. Although the Yu Yu Hakusho live adaptation was released this month on Netflix, it easily took us by surprise as we were preparing for it to be a disappointment.
Earlier this same year the streaming platform released the live adaptation of One Piece, which proved successful. However, Yu Yu Hakusho made our list for multiple reasons, including the fact that it was based on an anime released back in the 90s.
Considering this is an anime and manga that hasn't had a resurgence since, except for cases like the brief airing during Cartoon Network's Toonami, we were blown away! Although the live adaptation seemed to combine multiple story arcs into 5 episodes, it did so with such flourish from the casting choices, effects, choreography, and story.
We enjoyed it so much that we'll be disappointed if we don't see a continuation soon. Out of the many television shows that were canceled or ran for one season, Yu Yu Hakusho should not be included on that list.
4. The Last of Us - HBO
Speaking of video game adaptations, HBO's The Last of Us had huge shoes to fill and it did to near perfection. We've seen countless video game adaptations come and go, with a majority of them flopping.
The Last of Us thankfully did not follow that path and instead produced one of the arguably greatest shows to be released this year! Based on the video game of the same name, the story follows two characters, Joel and Ellie, traveling the post-apocalyptic landscape so that Ellie can help save the remains of the world.
In this apocalypse, the 'zombies' are due to a fungus where the infected victim will go through several stages before its completed and most unstoppable form. What starts as a mission turns into something more as both Joel and Ellie become a powerful and relatable father-daughter duo.
Season 2 is on the horizon, which both excites and terrifies fans who are familiar with games. Will the next season follow the game or take a different route?
5. Gen V - Amazon Prime Video
Last but not least is The Boys spinoff which did surprisingly well. If The Boys already establishes how everyday superheroes can be corrupt and cruel, which posing as role models, then Gen V establishes how some of these heroes get their start.
Gen V follows several young humans with superpowers who attend Godolkin University. There they learn how to control their powers, as well as uncover secrets the university wants to keep quiet.
As each character tries to figure out themselves, while creating relationships, both romantically and platonically, they come to find that not everyone likes those with powers. The result can easily affect both good and bad supes, which we will see in the upcoming new season of The Boys.
The acting and story take the forefront of this spinoff, following a formula both similar and unique to The Boys. Truthfully, the season 1 finale left us craving more!
Like most television shows on our list, Gen V will return for season 2 but we hope to see some of the characters appear in The Boys season 4.
What did you think about our list? Which TV shows were you most surprised to see succeed?
Let us know in the comments below!