From the Couch Hole: Best of TV/Streaming 2023 – Every Day Here Is the Freakin’ Super Bowl

From 2005-2013 and 2017-2020, I punctuated each year with an ever increasingly complex Best Of List. In 2021, I returned to the weekly blogging with FTCH. The fact is that I watch things, read things, and eat things, and above all, I love making lists. Over three weeks (see last week for Best of Movies), I’ll pull from a year’s worth of notes and spreadsheet entries to put together a personal summary of my 2023 experience.


If I thought that the Best of Movie lists were difficult, that was just a walk in the park. These series are culled from cable television, Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, Max, Paramount+, Disney+, Peacock, and more (I’m not part of the Apple+ if you find a favorite of yours missing from that source). In fairness, I’m including shows where I may only have a sampling but haven’t finished the series yet. There’s no good way to keep track of everything new coming out and I feel like while I’m putting this list together they probably just released five new quality series. Best Show of 2022: Better Call Saul (AMC).


  1. The Bear (FX): It’s set in Chicago. It stars Jeremy Allen White. It has a wonderful supporting cast that feel fully realized even with little screen time. It had the best written episode of any show this year with “Fishes”. It had what could be the second best written episode of any show this year with “Sundae”. The second season took it to a new level with the supporting cast stories that gave depth to the final couple episodes of the season. In many ways it is Richie (Ebon Moss-Bacharach) that drives this season.
Yes, Chef.

2. Beef (Netflix): Ali Wong and Steven Yuen have the best chemistry (or is it anti-chemistry?), and this show feels as dialed in to current society as any other show I watched this year. I knew that Ali had the acting chops, but while I love Steven, I was taken with his abilities to create such a complex character.

3. Poker Face (Peacock): Charlie Cale (Natasha Lyonne) might be creator Rian Johnson’s Detective Columbo, but she’s been operating most of her life on the other side of the law. Most series on this list can only be watched as a whole from start to finish, Poker Face has an ongoing storyline, but it is closer to the old NBC Mystery Movie format that plays just as well as a standalone episode. Cale’s bullshit detector is the best “superpower” on a television show. I can’t wait for this to return (albeit delayed because of the Writer’s Strike).

4. The Fall of the House of Usher (Netflix): Director Mike Flannagan has been building towards this since The Haunting of Hill House (2018). He started with what I thought would be a series of shows not unlike American Horror Story (FX), and he’s turned in a fun-filled horror that’s also a interesting mystery. It’s full of Easter Eggs for fans of Edgar Allan Poe and classic horror films of the 1950s and 1960s.

5. What We Do in the Shadows (FX) (2022 #4): Still one of the guaranteed laughs in my week when it’s airing. Part of this list was identifying the shows that I had to watch same day or the following day when they aired. I feel like I need to watch the season again because of all the great one-liners they throw out per episode. Guillermo’s quest to find his vampire powers gave the show new energy this season.

“I am running for Comptroller” – Collin Robinson

6. Bob’s Burgers (FOX) (2022 #6): Staying steady for the third year in a row as the Sunday Night Animation Domination show that I don’t let go until Tuesday before catching up on. Are they breaking any comedic ground? Not a bit. It’s comfort comedy.

7. Daisy Jones & the Six (Prime): If it hadn’t come out in the summer, I might not have found it half as enjoyable. It isn’t the most artistic of the shows on here. It isn’t even the best acted on here. Yet there’s something endearing about the show that’s a mirror of about five different musical groups from the ’70s and echoes some of the best “story of a band” movies. It’s fun summer fare.

8. Only Murders in the Building (Hulu) (2022 #3): This season took a few left turns from what we’ve come to expect for the first two seasons. Some of the turns were dead ends. In the end, it is the core three that make or break the show. They showed up just how I wanted them over the last couple episodes.

9. The Curse (SHO) (2022 The Rehearsal #8): Nathan Fielder is back with the natural evolution of his two previous shows. The cringe factor is again very high but without the relief of the other shows. Not everything they are trying to parody works. He has found simpatico actors with Benny Safdie and Emma Stone. This isn’t for everyone.

10. The Righteous Gemstones (HBO): I knew I would love this and it’s been everything I’d hoped for and more. I’m not caught up with the most current season. I want to make it last.

11. Fargo (FX): It’s a late entry into the list as we’re just barely halfway through this season. So far it earns a solid ranking for casting and plot. I reserve the right to make final judgement in January when it ends because story is so key in this show that a bad ending can spoil the ten previous hours.

A quick list of older shows that also played well in 2023 for me include Samantha Who?, Spaced, and Star Trek: TOS.

This next list is where I usually take it in the shorts. Don’t “I can’t believe . . . ” @ me, bro. I already watch so many shows and I fully realize that some of them are Riverdale and Nancy Drew but there are only so many hours in a day. This list is on my radar and often just one long weekend away from getting started. I did a better job last year of attacking some of the shows on the 2022 list like Euphoria, The Bear, and The Righteous Gemstones. There were still shows like Atlanta and Severance that I haven’t tapped at all yet.


  1. Reservation Dogs (FX): How did three seasons of this Sterlin Harjo and Taika Waitititi produced show come and go without me starting it yet? I love shows like this that look like it defies convention at every turn.
“Are we watching baby bear cub become a man before our eyes?”

2. The Last of Us (HBO): I didn’t start this when it came out and then it got super popular and I had to just distance from it to avoid spoilers. Enough time has passed that I should be back on this and I have no doubt it would have made my “Best Of” list this year.

3. Succession (HBO): This is on the list because of reputation. Based upon the trailers, this isn’t something I would have sought out without all the positive reviews

4. Dead Ringers (Prime): I love the original film. I fault the marketing folks at Amazon for not figuring out that I’d love to watch this reimaging of the story with two female twins this time around.

5. Barry (HBO): This might be the show that surprises people the most that I haven’t delved into yet. I have no opinions on the show either way. I trust that it is quality based upon reviews and staying power.

6. Scavengers Reign (HBO): Does science fiction animation still exist outside of Japan? HBO brought the former Adult Swim short over to the deep pockets network and the trailers look amazing.

7. A Murder at the End of the World (FX): Should I just automatically add every show on FX to my “to watch” list? I’d have more successes than failures if I did that. This one is well loved among those who I trust to know what I like to watch. I love a good mystery. As a bonus, the trailer is pretty engrossing.

“I sometimes wonder if it would have been better not to go.”

8. Jury Duty (Prime): There just aren’t enough straight-up comedies on this list. I’ve heard this compared multiple times to Parks & Recreation (NBC), so I’m willing to try.

9. Star Trek: Strange New Worlds (Paramount+): I never thought 2023 would be the year that Star Wars shows couldn’t find traction and Star Trek shows are on the rise.

10. Mrs. Davis (Peacock): I still don’t completely have a feel for what this AI-generated character as “detective” (?) is really about. But I see the trailers and I’m curious.

You remember the way I like trailers almost as much as movies?  Ads are even more intriguing.  One, there are fewer actual old-time commercials anymore and for fewer and fewer products.  Two, where do you even sit still for them anymore?  For me, it’s mostly during sporting events or the moments before the movie starts in the theater. Once you watch a few over and over, YouTube and Google will start to deliver some quality product in your algorithm.  So many ads are unimaginative and derivative. It might be Toyotathon or Lobsterfest and that’s important but not creative. Best Ad of 2022: Gatorade “Love Means Everything.”


1.  Chevrolet “A Holiday To Remember”: “Let’s make today a good day.” It’s just the type of advertisement / short film that keeps me coming back to the power of the advertisement. It’s not over the top here and just well balanced. Put John Denver on top of all of that and I’m a mess.

“The love is always there.”

2. The Farmer’s Dog “Forever”: My favorite Super Bowl commercial in a long time really tugs the heartstrings. I love some of the dog p.o.v. shots and the music fits perfectly. Not every ad needs to make me laugh or cry but it helps when I can do a little of both.

“I’ll always take care of you.”

3.  Stella Artois “The Artois Probability”: This documentary-style case study that show most beers from famous paintings are probably a Stella Artois. It’s fun and sure to make fans of other beers who have no sense of humor upset and defensive.

“By connecting all those variables . . . “

4.  Nike “What the Football”: Nike is typically a standout with the music video style ads, so I was surprised that football and a banana peel would create such an entertaining ad.

“They just brought it home and they’ve got a secret weapon.”

5.  McDonald’s “Grimace’s Birthday Milkshake”: Of course, Grimace has always celebrated his birthday at McDonald’s. I am sad that I never made it to McDonald’s this summer to get the Grimace meal to celebrate his birthday. The throwback to these characters are great when done seriously with that little wink.

“With a special shake to celebrate.”

6.  Meow Wolf “Come Find Yourselfs at the Mall”: It’s an ad for an “experience” at a mall just 25 minutes from my house. I’m hard pressed to tell you that I understood anything of what I just saw in this ad.

“I found what I didn’t know I needed.”

7. Amazon “Saving Sawyer”: This one hit home too as the good boy doggy just wants attention as his family goes back to school and work as the Pandemic winds down. Once again, hard to go wrong with cute dogs.

“Good boy.”

BONUS #1 – Chicago Bears “2023 Schedule Reveal”: This is the type of crossover that we need more of in pop culture. The Chicago Bears reveal their 2023 schedule with a parody of The Bear on the actual set. Very clever.

“If you’re with the Vikings, get to hiking.”

BONUS #2: Apple Music “Run This Town”: Not really an ad in the traditional sense. It was more of a hype video for the Rihanna Halftime Show for the Super Bowl. The tribute to her home town in Barbados and the young girls are a nice touch.

SUPER DUPER LONG BONUS: Nissan “Enjoy the Powerfully Peaceful ARIYA”: Props to Nissan for dropping a four-hour long ad with lo-fi girl driving through the Japanese countryside. There are some fun Kaiju touches and random billboards for the Nissan ARIYA. I’ve passed two hours with this in the background and it’s nice and relaxing.


Television in 1973 was simply ABC, CBS, and NBC. Elvis Presley’s Aloha From Hawaii – Via Satellite is seen by one billion people in January. From March through August, the Watergate hearings aired during daytime television, rotating between ABC, CBS and NBC every day so as not to disrupt all of the soap operas. Shows like Columbo (NBC), Gunsmoke (CBS), and Marcus Welby M.D. (ABC) are still going strong. Saturday nights on CBS in 1973 is arguably one of the best nights of television ever. All In The Family, M*A*S*H, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, The Bob Newhart Show, and The Carol Burnett Show. Best Debut of 1972: M*A*S*H (CBS)

1.  Schoolhouse Rock (ABC): Not technically a show in the traditional sense. It was the reason I turned my television to ABC on Saturday mornings even if I wasn’t watching a show there. “Three Is A Magic Number” was the first to air and it’s easily in my Top Three. These songs stay embedded in the heads of my generation as a testament to how learning and music should go together.

“The past and the present and the future”

2. Kojak (CBS): I barely remember anything about this show other than Telly Savalas. He was such a force-of-nature actor that I don’t think it survived based upon any unique quality of storytelling but just on seeing Savalas chew up scenery. I loved his fedora.

“Who loves ya, baby?”

3. Super Friends (ABC): The cast was everything I wanted from a show in 1973. The theme song is a funky bonus. This show was on the never-miss list for a couple years because it was going to be the most talked about on the playground on Monday.

“There are assembled the world’s four greatest heroes.”

4. Sigmund & The Sea Monster (NBC): Sid and Marty Krofft really hit a home run for young Shawn in 1973-1974. Poor Sigmund always getting picked on and so misunderstood.

5. Barnaby Jones (CBS): Buddy Ebsen is a retired investigator who comes out of retirement to solve crimes with his widowed daughter-in-law, Lee Merriweather. These Quinn-Martin productions follow a pretty standard pattern but I liked it because my grandfather liked it.

This concludes the second part of the year-end finale. Next week, we ring in the new year by celebrating all of the odds and ends that didn’t make the first two parts. Thanks for keeping your focus this far, faithful reader.

“It’s about consistency and being consistent. We can’t operate at a higher level without consistency.” – Carmy (The Bear)

Stay Hard.


Shawn Bourdo

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