Best TV dramas of 2023

Catch these TV shows that left theGrio feeling the wildest rollercoaster of emotions — which is what quality television dramas have a tendency to do — before the year's end.

This year, Hollywood premiered some of its most prestigious and entertaining television dramas. Both new and returning shows captivated their viewing audiences and took them on unforgettable rides while navigating a historic strike, post-pandemic precautions, a difficult streaming market and more. 

Among 2023’s small-screen offerings, FX’s “Snowfall” made waves with its final-season ride, while Peacock’s “Bel-Air” left us on the edge of our seats with its dynamic second season. Disney continued its brand of excellence with the premieres of “Secret Invasion” and “Ahsoka,” and Shonda Rhimes proved once again why she’s the queen of television with the release of Netflix’s “Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story.”

As the year winds down, theGrio is taking a look back at the TV productions that left us feeling the wildest rollercoaster of emotion — which is what quality television dramas have a tendency to do. From “Black Cake” to “Godfather of Harlem,” here are the very best TV dramas you have to check out before the year’s end. 


The hit FX series ended its run in 2023, and we are so sad to see it go. The sixth season of “Snowfall” shows the heavy cost of Franklin’s (Damson Idris) drug empire and all who are impacted by the decisions he’s made, including his family, friends, his South L.A. community and himself. Along the way, we conclude the journeys of many of our favorite characters, including Aunt Louie (Angela Lewis) and Uncle Jerome (Amin Joseph). Idris gives the best performance of his career in this critically acclaimed final season, one worth every minute of viewing. 

Secret Invasion’

Samuel L. Jackson is back and better than ever in this Disney+ Marvel TV Series. “Secret Invasion” sees Jackson return in the now-iconic role of Nick Fury. When shapeshifting aliens invade Earth and threaten the planet, it is up to Fury and his crew to save the day and humanity as we know it. The six-episode miniseries has all the action scenes you’ve come to love from Marvel, plus heartfelt storytelling and humorous dialogue that will keep you invested from start to finish. 

Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story

Calling all “Bridgerton” fans: This one’s for you! TV titan Shonda Rhimes expands the Bridgerton universe with the release of “Queen Charlotte,” a spin-off series that follows the young queen (India Amarteifio) as she navigates her marriage with King George of England (Corey Mylchreest). Anchored by a standout performance from newcomer Amarteifio, “Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story” will take you on a ride of love, heartbreak, anger, affection and everything in between. Grab some tissues, and try not to text your former flame with sweet nothings.


Sure, that streaming series you love may be all the rage, but let’s not forget that network TV has provided Hollywood with some of the best shows this year, including NBC’s “Found.” The dramatic series is centered on Gabrielle “Gabi” Mosely, a kidnapping survivor who has devoted her life to finding other victims society has forgotten about or deemed unimportant. “Found” is filled with surprising twists and turns, while also providing the comfort of a procedural series where the good guys ultimately win. This winning formula, combined with Shanola Hampton’s incredible performance, makes for an unbelievably good time.


Our favorite ‘90s reboot series returned with its sophomore season this year, and we can’t get enough. The Banks family is battling quite a few challenges this season, including an unexpected basketball drama for Will (Jabari Banks), social justice protests, simmering tension between Will and Carlton (Olly Sholotan), engaging character arcs for Ashley (Akira Akbar) and Hilary (Coco Jones), plus more. “Bel-Air” truly hits its stride this season and speaks to several real-world issues without being condescending or too preachy. The cast is gearing up to film Season 3 next year, and we can’t wait!

Black Cake’

“Black Cake” has been on our TV screens for only one month, but this drama has already left its audience reeling. The Hulu miniseries follows Eleanor Bennett, played by Chipo Chung. Knowing she will soon die of cancer, Bennett decides to leave her children, Byron (Ashley Thomas) and Benny (Adrienne Warren), a flash drive that contains her shocking, extraordinary, previously untold story. The series takes us from the beautiful beaches of the Caribbean to the streets of the United States, and it’s a ride you won’t want to miss. 


This list would be incomplete without mentioning one of the most buzzed-about shows of the year: “Swarm,” in which Dominique Fishback shines as deranged, obsessive super fan Andrea “Dre” Greene, who is consumed with her love of pop superstar Ni’Jah (Nirine S. Brown). After an encounter with foster sister Marissa “Ris” Jackson (Chloe Bailey), Dre finds herself falling into a very dark place with only her growing obsession to give her comfort. Based loosely on the fandoms that dominate Hollywood — looking at you, BeyHive, Barbs and Lambs! — “Swarm” is entertaining, shocking, hilarious, dark and a memorable swirl of it all.


The “Star Wars” universe has expanded in recent years to include a host of Black actors, and we are so here for it! “Ahsoka” cast one of our all-time faves, Rosario Dawson, to play former Jedi apprentice Ahsoka Tano. In the Disney+ series, Tano, who trained under Anakin Skywalker during the Clone Wars, must stop Grand Admiral Thrawn from coming into power after the fall of the Empire. Dawson breaks out some of her best action moves in this critically acclaimed fantasy thriller that both “Star Wars” super fans and casual viewers love.

Top Boy’

One of television’s best British dramas concluded its historic run in style after a third season on Netflix and fifth season overall (the show originally aired on Channel 4 before making the jump to the streamer): Faithful “Top Boy” viewers found Sully (Kane Robinson) dealing with the aftermath of Jamie’s shocking murder, while Dushane (Ashley Walters) figures out his next move. “With something as great as this, you should end on a high, and that’s what we’re doing,” Walters told Tudum in September 2022. “We’re all battling on a daily basis to make sure we give our audience the most amazing ending that we can.”

Godfather of Harlem’ 

Forest Whitaker, stunning mid-century set design, powerful Black moments reenacted beautifully on-screen, mafia flair and gorgeous costume design … what’s not to love? “Godfather of Harlem” debuted its third season on MGM+ this year, and we were obsessed from start to finish. In Season 3, we find mob boss Bumpy Johnson dealing with a power play from the Italian Mafia while also exploring a new lucrative business: cocaine. Stuck between his desire to be a standup family man and his insatiable need to be New York’s most powerful mob boss, Bumpy is very much stuck between a rock and a hard place. The hit series was recently renewed.

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