The 25 Best TV Shows of 2024 (So Far)

TV Lists Best of the Year
The 25 Best TV Shows of 2024 (So Far)

Based on both the shows that have hit our airwaves so far this year and a quick glance back at 2023’s Best of the Year (So Far) list, it seems undeniable that 2024’s TV offerings are off to a slow start. We are feeling the effects of last summer’s dual strikes in full-force, but that doesn’t mean that there weren’t still a ton of shows worth loving so far this year. From the biggest stand-out hits like Shōgun and Fallout to surprise break-outs like X-Men ’97 and Baby Reindeer to under-the-radar favorites like Girls5Eva and Renegade Nell, TV in 2024 is slightly less Peak-y than in previous years, but still filled with worthwhile watches and must-see catch-up binges.

So far this year, Netflix has continued to rule our airwaves, with seven series ending up on this list, leaps and bounds ahead of the streamer with the next highest number (four from Prime). Max and HBO continue to be solid bets for great series, whether it be teen horror from the former or underrated war dramas from the latter. And while Apple seemed to be making strides towards being a major player last year with hits like SiloShrinking, the end of Ted Lasso, and the delightful Schmigadoon!, it has completely fallen off the map so far this year, despite putting out a large number of originals in these first six months. Palm Royale, Constellation, and the endless barrage of historical biopics (Franklin, Manhunt, The Big Cigar) all failed to make this list, with the sole Apple entry being the star-studded, Spielberg-produced Masters of the Air. I guess even us TV obsessives (the Paste writers, editors, interns, and staffers that voted on this list) are guilty of letting Apple fly far under the radar.

But no matter what streaming service they hail from or how many eyeballs gleaned each series throughout the year so far, there have truly been some incredible shows. Whether you’re looking for your next binge or want to see if your taste matches up with ours, there is something for everyone on our list of the 25 Best TV Shows of the Year (So Far).

25. The Second Best Hospital in the Galaxy

the second best hospital in the galaxy

Created by: Cirocco Dunlap
Network: Prime Video

Watch on Amazon Prime

The Second Best Hospital in the Galaxy follows Dr. Sleech (Stephanie Hsu) and Dr. Klak (Keke Palmer), two surgeons who are pushing the envelope for what can (and should) be done in the medical profession. After a new anxiety-eating parasite arrives on the scene, the two must make a choice: destroy it entirely or use it as the foundation for a new mental health drug. The latter option sounds great. But at what cost? Despite the temporary mental respite the parasite provides, the experiments are going terribly wrong, and ultimately may result in much more harm than good. Like Rick and MortySecond Best Hospital takes on significant themes alongside its attempts to make us laugh. Among the deep issues addressed (which include the passage of time and the ethics of medicine, for example), the one that is at the center of the series is something that is not unfamiliar to people on this planet (or others, it would seem): mental health. It’s a hilarious and heartfelt out-of-this-world-journey with a much larger message at heart. —Josh Sharpe

24. Masters of the Air

masters of the air

Created by: John Shiban, John Orloff
Network: Apple TV+

Watch on Apple TV+

A spiritual successor to HBO’s award-winning World War II miniseries Band of Brothers and The Pacific, Apple TV+’s Masters of the Air trades the U.S. Army and Marine Corps for the Air Force and tells the story of the Hundredth Bombardment Group as they carry out dangerous missions over Europe well ahead of the Allied invasion. The nine-episode limited series, which is based on Donald L. Miller’s book of the same name and stars Austin Butler, Callum Turner, and Barry Keoghan, hails from the same producing team of Tom Hanks, Steven Spielberg, and Gary Goetzman. Although it isn’t always on par with its predecessors, the show equals them in size and scope, while the action sequences are some of TV’s best. However, the show really stands out for its compelling tale; it honestly and sometimes painfully displays the trauma soldiers at war endure through heartfelt and genuine stories of camaraderie, determination, and sacrifice. —Kaitlin Thomas and Terry Terrones

23. Renegade Nell 

renegade nell

Created by: Sally Wainwright
Network: Disney+

Watch on Disney+

Sally Wainwright, the dynamo British writer behind Happy Valley and Gentleman Jack, has done it again. Disney+’s Renegade Nell is a winning blend of highwayman legend, heartfelt historical drama, and, surprisingly, martial arts choreography. Over eight brisk episodes, we’re treated to the story of Nell Jackson (Louisa Harland), daughter to a Tottenham pub landlord and widow to an English soldier, who returns from the grave (it was the 18th century, if you didn’t send a letter, people assumed you were dead) to her father (Craig Parkinson) and younger sisters Roxy (Bo Bragason) and George (Florence Keen). But the local “toff,” the landowning aristocrat heir Thomas Blancheford (Jake Dunn), is causing havoc, imposing classist tyranny onto his tenants. When he tries messing with Nell, however, he quickly realizes what we learned from an electric opening scene: Nell has a new faerie protector, Billy Blind (Nick Mohammed), that imbues her with incredible Matrix powers.

When the unthinkable happens, Nell and her sisters are forced to go on the run. They must make unlikely allies, commit to fabricated identities, and do their fair share of highway robbery to win back their freedom. It’s a new bright spot in British period fare, one that invites you to enjoy it as much as it enjoys itself, and an unexpected pivot for Wainwright’s dramatic career. With its rich adventure and superpowered heart, Renegade Nell deserves your money and your life. —Rory Doherty

22. Ghosts 

ghosts season 3

Developed by: Joe Port, Joe Wiseman
Network: CBS

Watch on Paramount+

Ghosts, the CBS comedy based on the equally delightful British TV series, is peak comfort TV. The series follows Rose McIver’s Sam, who can see and speak to the dead after suffering her own near-death experience, and her husband, the very much not clairvoyant Jay (Utkarsh Ambudkar) as they experience the hijinks of the spirits, for some strange reason, that are shackled to the couple’s sometimes-floundering bed and breakfast. But even in its comforting vibes and familiar haunts, going into its third season, it also brings about interesting theological and metaphysical debates. Can ghosts feel sadness, love and loss? Can they experience trauma and frustration and anger? Do these traits that make us human go away when we die? Not bad for a comedy series that’s rife with sexual innuendos and a character who perpetually smells like farts. —Whitney Friedlander

21. Bridgerton 

Bridgerton Season 3 main

Created by: Chris Van Dusen
Network: Netflix

Watch on Netflix

Yes, “Polin” season has finally arrived on Bridgerton and fans of the friends-to-lovers relationship between Colin Bridgerton (Luke Newton) and Penelope Featherington (Nicola Coughlan) have much to celebrate. Penelope, chafing at life under the Featherington roof with her mother, her two sisters, their new husbands, and no hope that Colin will ever return her feelings, decides it’s time for her to finally start seeking a match in earnest. But finding that match and keeping her Lady Whistledown identity a secret proves to be much more difficult than originally thought, especially with the oblivious Colin insisting on helping Penelope secure a betrothed. Bridgerton‘s third outing is swoon-worthy and deeply romantic, full of earned moments and heartfelt emotional beats. The show grounds these episodes in our years-long emotional investment in these two characters and their future together, even as it busily reshuffles the larger scope of the series around them. A blend of the familiar and the new, Season 3 feels like a true ensemble piece, one that is centered firmly on Penelope’s emotional journey even as it introduces a bevy of new relationships and characters in supporting roles. —Lacy Baugher Milas

20. Ripley

ripley netflix

Created by: Steven Zaillian
Network: Netflix

Watch on Netflix

Adapted from the novel The Talented Mr. Ripley, Netflix’s take on the classic follows Thomas Ripley (Andrew Scott), a down-on-his-luck conman paid to bring a wealthy businessman’s son, Dickie (Johnny Flynn), back home from his hiding place in Italy. Ripley jumps on the opportunity, traveling across the globe where he meets Dickie and his girlfriend Marge (Dakota Fanning), and the three strike up an uneasy relationship. At first, our swindler finds his new living situation quite agreeable, but the good times living off Dickie’s fortune can’t last forever. As the situation breaks down, Ripley hatches up a plan with deadly consequences, envisioning a future where he takes on the other man’s identity and riches. The show is bathed in lavish black and white cinematography, delivering eerie monochromatic visuals that perfectly complement both the subject matter and the ‘60s setting. —Elijah Gonzalez 

19. One Day

One Day book feature main

Created by: 
Network: Netflix

Watch on Netflix

One Day, based on the novel of the same name by David Nicholls, follows two almost-college graduates as they meet on their last day of university, only to be separated by distance and time the very next day. The series chronicles their friendship and romance on the same day year after year as they grow together and apart across their vastly different lives. The series lives and dies by the chemistry between Dexter (Leo Woodall) and Emma (Ambika Mod), who perfectly grasp the heartache and joy of growing up. One Day manages to be both heartwarming and heartbreaking, thoughtfully bringing this book to the screen where other adaptations have failed, capturing the hearts of audiences everywhere. —Anna Govert 

18. Ted


Created by: Seth MacFarlane
Network: Peacock

Watch on Peacock

Set in the ‘90s as a prequel to the films of the same name, Peacock’s Ted is a surprisingly delightful watch. Following the titular bear in the aftermath of his Hollywood stardom, Ted showcases the blossoming friendship between Ted and a 16 year-old John Bennett (once played by Mark Wahlberg, now by Max Burkholder) as they navigate high school, family, and the pains of growing up. Coming from creator Seth MacFarlane, the series is filled to the brim with inappropriate humor (of course), an exorbitant amount of weed (naturally), and a walking, talking teddy bear that has the voice of Peter Griffin and the personality of your parents’ worst nightmare (what else did you expect?). But, when Ted allows its heartfelt moments to shine, especially when scene-stealer Blaire (Giorgia Whigham) is on screen, the series balances its juvenile humor with a beating heart, all culminating in a comedy that is ultimately a breezy and fresh binge watch, perfect for those that have seen the original films, while still being accessible to a new audience. —Anna Govert

17. Extraordinary 

extraordinary season 2

Created by: Emma Moran
Network: Hulu

Watch on Hulu

Set in a world where everyone gains a superpower when they turn 18, the story follows Jen Regan (Máiréad Tyers), a twenty-something underachiever who has yet to manifest any sort of special ability at all. Frustrated and embarrassed by this very obvious lack, Jen spends most of the series’ first season trying to find a way to afford a visit to a special clinic meant to help those struggling to access their abilities. In its second, Jen begins treatment at the Discovery center, determined to get the superpower she’s craved for so long. But, unsurprisingly, Jen’s Season 2 journey has much more to do with her emotional growth than any potential power she might or might not possess by the end of it. And, as a result, Extraordinary is better than ever in its second season, as a relatable, genuinely charming exploration of the challenges and triumphs of young adulthood that confidently expands both its world and our understanding of its characters in complex and unexpected ways. —Lacy Baugher Milas 

16. 3 Body Problem 

3 body problem netflix

Created by: David Benioff, D.B. Weiss
Network: Netflix

Watch on Netflix

3 Body Problem, which adapts Liu Cixin’s Hugo Award-winning novel of the same name, pushes past traditional sci-fi barriers that usually befall loaded adaptations. Over its eight-episode run, it introduces a non-stop procession of reality-bending imagery and well-delivered twists that capture the wonder and horror of what may be waiting for us in the stars. It’s an absolute page-turner that confidently switches modes and genres, acting as a strong comeback for Game of Thrones showrunners David Benioff and D. B. Weiss. From the jump, this series takes massive high-concept swings, the vast majority of which cleanly connect. We watch as the laws of physics seemingly break down, glowing digits plague researchers, improbably realistic virtual reality games surface, and the universe blinks. It’s a rare mystery that becomes more interesting as its secrets are revealed, and the type of sci-fi yarn that will leave you looking at the night sky with a mixture of curiosity and consternation. —Elijah Gonzalez

15. Interview with the Vampire 

Developed by: Rolin Jones
Network: AMC

Watch on AMC+

Based on the Anne Rice novel of the same name, Season 2 of this AMC series picks up right where the first left off: Vampire Louis de Pont du Lac (Jacob Anderson) is still attempting to tell his life story (for the second time) to reporter Daniel Molloy (Eric Bogosian). Now joined by his longtime vampire lover Armand (Assad Zaman)—who spent most of last season pretending to be Louis’ manservant—he recounts his journey to Europe alongside Claudia (Delainey Hayles, admirably taking over the role from Bailey Bass) on a search for other vampires like them. Having (sort of) killed and abandoned their maker Lestat de Lioncourt (Sam Reid), the pair fear they only have each other in the world, and their initial trek across a continent torn apart by the horrors of war and human cruelty is a bleak one. Interview with the Vampire’s second outing is ambitious, layered, and feels like nothing so much as a natural extension of its first. A mix of high-camp melodrama and thorny philosophical questions about memory and the stories our lives inevitably become, Interview with the Vampire remains the best sort of genre series—one that’s not just a cracklingly good story in its own right, but one that still manages to reflect genuine truths about the human experience of the world we live in now. May it be immortal. —Lacy Baugher Milas

14. Pretty Little Liars: Summer School

pretty little liars summer school

Created by: Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, Lindsay Calhoon Bring
Network: Max

Watch on Max

Picking up six months after the recapture of last season’s mysterious “A” Archie Waters following his grand escape in the final moments of Episode 10, Max’s Pretty Little Liars: Summer School welcomes us back to the sleepy town of Millwood, where our favorite Little Liars are now facing a fate worse than death: summer school. Turns out, being stalked and tortured by a masked madman for the majority of your sophomore year of high school will cause your grades to slip (who would’ve thought?), so Imogen (Bailee Madison), Tabby (Chandler Kinney), Noa (Maia Reficco), Mouse (Malia Pyles), and Faran (Zaria) are forced to do morning summer school sessions if they want to move on to junior year. But, of course, it wouldn’t be Millwood without something going bump in the night: Bloody Rose Waters—a mythological bastardization of Archie’s real-life mother—has been seen stalking around town, and has her sights set once again on these poor final girls. As they attempt to balance summer school with new jobs, new flings, and an even more rock-solid friendship between the five of them, these Liars are ready to face the new horrors head on, together. Colored by summertime horror homages and an absolutely killer soundtrack, Summer School is a teen drama dream you can’t miss. —Anna Govert

13. Invincible 

invincible season 2 part 2

Created by: Robert Kirkman
Network: Prime Video

Watch on Amazon Prime

Prime Video’s Invincible Season 2 hits the ground running, picking up a few months after the aftermath of Omni-Man’s brutal beating of his own son and the partial destruction of Chicago. To say that no one is doing well would be an understatement. Mark (Steven Yeun) is constantly crushed by the guilt he feels over the thousands of deaths his father caused trying to defeat him, Debbie (Sandra Oh) has had her entire reality flipped on its head and run through a woodchipper, and the two of them are both trying to cope with the fact that Nolan Grayson’s (J.K. Simmons) entire identity was a lie. Invincible continues to earn its well-deserved flowers this season, as a superhero triumph that packs a big punch. —Kathryn Porter

12. Dead Boy Detectives 

Created by: Steve Yockey
Network: Netflix

Watch on Netflix

Set in the same universe as Netflix’s Neil Gaiman adaptation The Sandman, Dead Boy Detectives follows the story of Edwin Payne (George Rexstrew) and Charles Rowland (Jayden Revri), two ghosts who became best friends after their deaths. Now, they refuse to part from one another, even if staying together means spending most of their time avoiding and running from Death (Kirby Howell-Baptiste), the member of the Endless charged with escorting souls to whatever afterlife is meant to come next for each of them. Rather than move on, they’ve founded the Dead Boy Detectives, an investigative agency meant to solve supernatural mysteries and help ghosts find the answers that could give them a shot at peace. The series’ eight episodes are largely framed around a series of case-of-the-week-style investigations, with a handful of overarching plots tying them all together. Entertaining, often quite weird, and strangely charming by turns, Dead Boy Detectives doesn’t quite reach the emotional and narrative heights of The Sandman. But it’s a good time in its own right, and its existence serves as an important reminder that there is (so much) more to this fictional world than Tom Sturridge’s Dream, and plenty of hidden corners worth exploring. Here’s hoping this adventure is just the first of many. —Lacy Baugher Milas

11. Baby Reindeer 

Created by: Richard Gadd
Network: Netflix

Watch on Netflix

Based on Richard Gadd’s real-life experience with his own real-life stalker, Netflix’s Baby Reindeer catalogs the very beginnings of a nightmare, and how quickly one single person can turn your life upside down. The series follows comedian and bartender Donny (Gadd) as a woman he offered a single free drink to one night becomes so enraptured by him that she begins to stalk him. She shows up to his sets to laugh louder than everyone else, she hangs around his place of work to learn more about his life, and she sends thousands upon thousands of emails, all without end for years. As Donny’s life continues to spiral out of his control, Martha (Jessica Gunning) becomes the one person responsible for all the chaos, destruction, and turmoil he faces on a daily basis, with the police and those around him unable to understand the depth of this experience. It’s a terrifying, heartbreaking, and maddening watch that will stay with you long after the credits roll on the final episode. —Anna Govert

10. Under the Bridge 

Developed by: Quinn Shepard
Network: Hulu

Watch on Hulu

Based on the novel of the same name written by the late Rebecca Godfrey, Hulu’s Under the Bridge tells the harrowing true story of the brutal murder of Reena Virk (Vritika Gupta), a 14-year-old who became the undeserving target of something more horrifying than anything that goes bump in the night: teenage girls. Through multiple timelines, the series catalogs Reena’s life and death, the relationship she shared with a group of wayward girls—Josephine (Chloe Guidry), Kelly (Izzy G.), and Dusty (Aiyana Goodfellow)—and the efforts of both author Rebecca (Riley Keough) and officer Cam (Lily Gladstone) to bring the perpetrators of this truly disturbing crime to justice. In an era where convicted killers in TV adaptations become meme fodder for social media managers and satirical takes on the genre don’t feel that far removed from reality, Under the Bridge respectfully weaves this tragic tale, elevating it above all other true crime series. Instantly gripping and filled with phenomenal performance both from the marquee names and the stellar young cast, Under the Bridge is a true crime dramatization tour de force. —Anna Govert

9. Abbott Elementary 

abbott elementary season 3

Created by: Quinta Brunson
Network: ABC

Watch on Hulu

It was a long break (nearly 10 months!) without our favorite Philly public school and its teachers in one of the finest (if not the finest) currently airing mockumentary sitcoms on television. But Abbott Elementary is back, baby! With only 14 episodes ordered post-strikes, Season 3 immediately jumps right in, showcasing that a lot has changed since we last saw Janine (Quinta Brunson) and the bunch. But fear not, the goofy humor, heartfelt one-on-ones, and the cute, touching moments we love the series for have remained very much intact. Though comedy is its heartbeat, Abbott has always been incisive about pointing out the flaws in the American education system and public schools, and Brunson’s ambitious approach to highlighting (and perhaps fixing) some of those issues doesn’t seem ready to flicker out any time soon. With the laughs and the heart maintaining perfect attendance, we’re certainly in for another intriguing and funny season in our dearest school on television. —Akos Peterbencze

8. Mr. & Mrs. Smith 

mr and mrs smith

Created by: Francesca Sloane, Donald Glover
Network: Prime Video

Watch on Amazon Prime

Helmed by Donald Glover and Francesca Sloane of Atlanta, Prime’s eight-episode Mr. & Mrs. Smith take arrives less as a follow-up or even a remake of the 2005 film (staring Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt) and more as a full-fledged expansion of its thin—though undeniably clever—basic concept. Whereas the movie hinged on the premise of an embittered couple discovering their partner belongs to a rival spy firm, the show centers on the relationship dynamic of two strangers-turned-spies-turned-spouses. John (Glover) and Jane Smith (Maya Erksine) are matched by a mysterious agency that requires that they forfeit everything from their past lives in exchange for a day job with killer perks—namely, a swanky Brooklyn brownstone, new sets of passports, and an armory that would make the NRA swoon.

Each episode (with a couple of notable exceptions) is framed around a high-risk mission the pair must complete or face the cryptic consequences. Too bad the only thing more formidable than international espionage is domestic marriage. The show works precisely because, even as it maintains its foothold in that same wobbly genre mashup, it pins down a style that manages to pay homage to its originator while also cultivating a distinct tone that heightens, rather than mitigates, each of its generic components. In a TV landscape filled with rip-offs and repeats, Mr. & Mrs. Smith forms its own (secret) identity. —Michael Savio

7. Girls5Eva

Created by: Meredith Scardino
Network: Netflix

Watch on Netflix

The Girls5eva bubblegum pop theme song is a straight-up serotonin rush (no, Netflix, I will not be skipping the credits), and so is the sitcom’s third season. Season 3 kicks off with pop group Girls5eva—Dawn (Sara Bareilles), Summer (Busy Philipps), Gloria (Paula Pell), and Wickie (Renée Elise Goldsberry)—wowing crowds in Fort Worth as they attempt to make a comeback. Each of the six episodes follows the friends as they hit different stops on their tour, with the final show at the legendary Radio City Music Hall. On the way, Gloria is slutting it up with every woman she can to see if her kinda-sorta-ex Caroline is the one, and Summer is trying to discover who she is without a significant other to base her personality on. Meanwhile, Wickie and Dawn are preoccupied with how to sell out Radio City Music Hall. The writing is as sharp, bonkers, and laugh-out-loud funny as ever. Girls5eva possesses a comic rhythm that definitely shares its DNA with 30 Rock and The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (read: fast), but that still feels distinct. Let’s hope Netflix listens to viewers and gives us plenty more of this joyously zany sitcom, rather than another paltry renewal of half-a-dozen episodes. —Clare Martin

6. The Sympathizer 

the sympathizer

Created by: Park Chan-wook, Don McKellar
Network: HBO

Watch on Max

Co-created and partly directed by Korean filmmaking maestro Park Chan-wook and based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by Vietnamese-American professor Viet Thanh Nguyen, HBO’s The Sympathizer follows a North Vietnamese spy, named only “the Captain” (Hoa Xuande), who’s been embedded in enemy territory throughout the Vietnam War, and is ordered to continue his double life as an expatriate in Los Angeles after it finishes. Throughout its runtime, The Sympathizer becomes something intimate and piercing, looking into the souls of Vietnamese countrymen who feel bound to duty in an uncaring Western space. The winning sardonic humor of the series washes away into something sincere and probing, an ultra-specific look at identity that feels both searching and resolute, and a crisis to determine the Captain’s future, all tied together by Hoa Xuande’s performance. —Rory Doherty

5. True Detective: Night Country 

true detective night country review

Created by: Issa López
Network: HBO

Watch on Max

After a five-year break from this series, we finally have the next season of True Detective, titled Night Country. It’s the first time the series creator Nic Pizzolatto isn’t handling the script, with Issa López acting as the showrunner, director, and lead writer. We follow Liz Danvers (Jodie Foster) and Evangeline Navarro (Kali Reis), detectives in Ennis, Alaska who find themselves sucked into an intertwined pair of unsolved deaths. The first is a cold case where a local indigenous woman, Annie K, was murdered after protesting against the local mine, while in the second, a group of scientists from a nearby research station were found frozen in the ice amidst perplexing circumstances. As the duo start digging, they’re forced to face elements of their own pasts as they unearth hidden truths about their community. Through its cast of compelling and flawed characters, supernatural undertones, and chilling setting, it convincingly conveys the frigid dread of endless arctic nights and the ghosts that haunt this tundra. —Elijah Gonzalez

4. Hacks

Created by: Lucia Aniello, Paul W. Downs, Jen Statsky
Network: Max

Watch on Max

We’ve waited two long years for Hacks Season 3, but thankfully this new run of episodes more than makes up for lost time. At the end of the last season, Deborah (Jean Smart) fired Ava (Hannah Einbinder) on the heels of the special’s success, urging her to be a “shark” and pursue her own work. Fast forward a year later, and Deborah’s on top of the world. She’s cut off Ava in the meantime, not answering any of her texts until the pair unwittingly bump into each other at Just For Laughs Montreal. Ava is, ostensibly, doing well without Deborah. But the moment the two cross paths again, it’s clear that they miss each other. Ava finds her way back on Deborah’s payroll as they push for the latter to achieve her dream of hosting a late-night talk show, and we’re off to the races. Smart and Einbinder’s chemistry, and the writers’ keen plotting, make Deborah and Ava the most compelling pairing on television. Meticulously plotted and boasting some of the show’s best jokes, Season 3 of Hacks will have you panting for the next series as the final credits roll. —Clare Martin

3. X-Men ’97

x-men 97

Created by: Beau DeMayo
Network: Disney+

Watch on Disney+

Nearly 30 years after that infamous cliffhanger, X-Men ’97 has finally arrived, and with it the weight of anticipation and expectation from an entire generation of adults who grew up watching the now-iconic X-Men: The Animated Series, alongside a slew of new fans just waiting to discover this classic team. X-Men ‘97 aims to thread a very tight needle, picking up the story of a series that ended a full 27 years ago but being innovative enough to write a new chapter that is true to that beloved saga, while also being interesting enough that it’s actually worth telling in the first place. Picking up a few months after the death of Charles Xavier, the premiere of X-Men ‘97 is a true love letter to the original series, with plenty of homages to that first adventure that introduced fans to these characters and their world. That original series had an outsized influence on everything Marvel would become all these years later, and this is a fitting tribute to the series that started it all. The X-Men animated series was Marvel at its best, and X-Men ’97 is thankfully more of the same. —Trent Moore

2. Fallout


Created by: Graham Wagner, Geneva Robertson-Dworet
Network: Prime Video

Watch on Amazon Prime

Helmed by Lisa Joy and Jonathon Nolan, the co-creators of HBO’s Westworld, Fallout is an eight-part series based on the videogame franchise of the same name. Within it, we follow the exploits of Lucy MacLean (Ella Purnell), a Vault Dweller forced to leave the safety of her subterranean bunker, Vault 33, and journey into what’s left of Los Angeles 219 years after the bombs fell. She’s searching for her father (Kyle MacLachlan), who was abducted by raiders, and her only means of locating the kidnapper is a dangerous quest that involves delivering an item that could change the balance of power in the Wasteland.

But of course, she’s not the only one after this prize. Maximus (Aaron Moten) is in on the hunt, a squire in the band of feudal-cosplaying assholes known as the Brotherhood of Steel. He wants to use this opportunity to become anointed as a knight and nab the T-60 power armor and respect that comes with it. The Ghoul (Walton Goggins) is also in the scrum, a gunslinger who has been around since The Great War thanks to mutations caused by nuclear radiation. As Lucy leaves her sheltered life behind to save her dad, she faces harsh truths about the state of the world outside her bubble. Through its excellent emulation of the franchise’s vibes and a strong understanding of its underlying ideas, the Fallout TV series doesn’t only imitate the games, but meaningfully expands on them in a way that radiates confidence. —Elijah Gonzalez

1. Shōgun


Created by: Rachel Kondo, Justin Marks
Network: FX

Watch on Hulu

Set during a time of political upheaval when Japan’s powerful Taiko has died and left behind a child who isn’t yet old enough to rule, Shōgun is an ambitious adaptation of James Clavell’s popular novel of the same name. Though a Council of Regents has been established to ostensibly hold power until the heir comes of age, competing factions—led by aging war hero Lord Yoshii Toranaga (the great Hiroyuki Sanada), former right hand to the Taiko, and the scheming Lord Ishido (Takehiro Hira), who has plans of his own—are already on the brink of shattering the tenuous peace. So when a mysterious ship arrives, Toranaga sees an opportunity in both the ship and its leader, the English sailor John Blackthorne (Cosmo Jarvis), who becomes an unwilling but invaluable element of Toranaga’s plans as their fates become increasingly intertwined.

Each element of the show’s world, from its gorgeous costumes to the detailed rituals it frequently depicts, is treated with meticulous care and obvious respect. The breathtaking landscapes and bloody battle sequences are undoubtedly some of the best you’ll see on television, and its international cast is truly next level, led by Sanada’s magnetic and quietly emotional performance at its center. The result is a genuinely remarkable achievement, the sort of epic, sweeping saga many might have wondered if television as a medium was still capable of creating. A bold, ambitious update of a classic that finds genuine humanity in its tangled, sprawling tale of politics and betrayal, Shōgun certainly aims high—and more than hits its target. —Lacy Baugher Milas

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