The Best TV Shows of 2024 (So Far)

A struggling stand-up comic with a deranged stalker. A beef shop breaking into the world of high-end dining. A period drama set in feudal Japan. A wild video-game adaptation. John Mulaney, telling jokes. Our queues may have freed up a bit thanks to last year’s Hollywood strike — protests that effectively put the kibosh on streaming’s show-per-week release schedule — but the handful of series we did get proved good TV can survive (and thrive) away from a crowded landscape.

There’s still more to come, but for now, TV has given us plenty to talk about in 2024, from bingeable comedies with edge to prestige dramas on a global scale, and a reinvention of the stale talk-show format. These are our picks for the best TV shows of the year (so far).

Abbott Elementary

Abbott Elementary Season 3 Quinta Brunson

Summer break lasted a bit too long for Abbott Elementary fans but the return to the classroom after an extended hiatus and multiple Hollywood strikes didn’t disappoint. The show’s third season went heavy on the heart and surprisingly light on the laughs as it pushed its main cast to some difficult places. Quinta Brunson’s Janine left her beloved school for a time, Tyler James William’s Gregory pined for her from afar (and finally invested himself in his students), Jacob (Chris Perfetti) survived a breakup, and Melissa (Lisa Ann Walter) and Barbara (Sheryl Lee Ralph) weather big institutional changes. Despite the lack of a joke-per-minute format, Abbott still churned out some GIF-worthy jokes – almost all courtesy of the show’s reigning MVP, Ava Coleman (Janelle James) – but it excelled in deepening our love for its characters, proving its biggest strength is in its stories, not its punchline set-ups. — Jessica Toomer

Baby Reindeer

Ed Miller/Netflix

Richard Gadd’s semi-autobiographical tragicomedy is the cringiest bit of television you’ll watch all year, made all the more unbearable because of its real-life ties. Gadd plays a version of himself in Donny Dunn, a struggling comedian tending a local pub to make ends meet. His self-indulgent act of kindness to a blubbering woman named Martha (a transcendent Jessica Gunning) sets off a chain reaction that destabilizes his already troubled existence in unexpected ways. Over 41,000 emails, 106 letters, and 350 hours of voicemails later and Donny’s nightmare forces all of us to confront the ugliest parts of human nature. This is a story of trauma, abuse, obsession, and the worst ways in which people use each other to excuse and escape their own realities. — Jessica Toomer



Netflix won big with the addition of British TV series Champion to its library at the beginning of the year. Champion won the heart of viewers thanks to a relatable Black story that opted against glorifying the trauma they experience. Instead, we have the mental health struggles of Bosco Champion, played by Malcolm Kamulete, who battles the effects from a stint in prison as he attempts to reclaim his best rapper title in London. The wrinkle in the show that makes it a binge-worthy watch is Bosco’s sister Vita is a talented songwriter and singer who wants a career of her own rather than living in Bosco’s shadow as his ghostwriter. Vita’s pursuit of her dreams, against Bosco’s wishes, erupts into an emotional and passion-filled battle that divides their family, exposes secrets, and forces everyone to take a hard look in the mirror — perfect ingredients to create the thrilling drama that Champion is. It’s just unfortunate that there won’t be a second season of the show. — Wongo Okon


prime video

In the post-apocalyptic backdrop of Fallout, the only thing scarier than the fall of modern civilization and the rise of over-the-top violence is Walton Goggins without a nose. In the Amazon Prime series, Goggins shines as the shifty Ghoul, a former Hollywood hotshot whose nose did not survive the nuclear war. Now he acts as a lonesome bounty hunter lurking on the surface. Unfortunately, you kind of have to root for the guy, despite his soulless actions. He crosses paths with vault dweller Ella Purnell as the overly optimistic Lucy and Aaron Moten as an anxious squire named Maximus who are each trying to uncover the truth about what really caused the nuclear war.

The characters clash over their own internal morals, which makes for a surprisingly human story set in a nuclear wasteland. The series seamlessly interweaves familiar concepts from the source material while separating itself enough with a new crew of characters that can stand on their own, including Kyle MacLachlan as Lucy’s quirky dad who has his own hidden agenda and Johnny Pemberton as the Squire Thaddeus. While the first season only scratches the surface (pun intended) of the alternate history of the Fallout franchise, it surely laid the groundwork for a fascinating second season, which is already in the works. — Nina Braca


Hacks Season 3

Hacks wrapped up in a neat little package in season 2… so how is season 3 still so good? Well, to begin with, stars Jean Smart and Hannah Einbinder have the kind of mutual-respect boss/subordinate relationship that brings to mind Don Draper and Peggy Olson or — in deference to Deborah Vance’s generation — Mary Richards and Lou Grant. Hacks also has killer guest stars (including Christina Hendricks and Christopher Lloyd), a strong ensemble cast, and a spicy-but-sweet tone that stands out among HBO comedies. You’re a hack if you’re not watching Hacks. — Josh Kurp

Jerrod Carmichael Reality Show

jerrod carmichael

Jerrod Carmichael has reached the rarefied air of comedy fame where people demand more than just laughter. Congratulations?

Sometimes that means jokes are expected to inform and elevate the discourse and, quite possibly, save the world. Sometimes it means being a part of a parasocial relationship with fans where life must be lived in a fishbowl with every relationship and development fully felt (from miles away) and dissected. Carmichael could have run away from all that or built up walls, but instead, he took a camera and decided to have some fun, occasionally making the audience uncomfortable — as with some of his interactions with his parents, stealth evicting a friend, and cheating on his boyfriend. Is it all wholly unscripted? Is Carmichael f*cking with us to create mystery about what is real? And if so, is taking control of the narrative in that way the only way to keep the public at bay? Regardless, Carmichael’s show demands attention. — Jason Tabrys

John Mulaney Presents: Everybody’s In LA


John Mulaney’s Everybody’s In LA is the closest thing we’re ever going to get to the magic of the original Muppet Show. It’s an old-school variety show with Mulaney as Kermit The Frog, a well-meaning conductor trying to keep everything together while chaos ensues. Drive-by robots, sunglass night, John Carpenter, call-in guests that nobody is really interested in save for questions about what car they drive, and conversations about ghosts and palm trees. Oh, and a lot of laughs. But not fake laughs. Genuine, take-you-by-surprise generated laughs with people almost falling off the couch. It’s the goddamn best! A complete and total antidote to the political overload and the stuffy template of standard late-night.

Its magic was partly in its ephemera, but nobody (including Mulaney) seems to want to let it go and now it’s in the running for an Emmy. If it ever comes back, I just hope it’s as pure and disorderly as the original and that it doesn’t get run into the ground. — Jason Tabrys

Masters of the Air

Masters Of The Air
Apple TV+

“New A-List” member Austin Butler headlines this worthwhile Band Of Brothers followup from Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks. The series isn’t perfect — especially given the well-founded criticisms of how the Tuskegee Airmen get the narrative shaft — but it’s a solid effort to showcase daring and emotional missions by the 100th Bomb Group who carried out perilous bombing raids “on Hitler’s doorstep.” The ensemble is overall strong as well, and even though Butler is (at times) distractingly handsome, several standout performances emerge. Barry Keough, as always, is an Irish delight, even while perhaps taking on the most “normal” character of his career. Anthony Boyle also delivers another historically compelling performance (he’s an Apple TV+ darling these days), but the real MVP is Nate Mann as Rosie Rosenthal, whose near-miss with becoming a POW sends him on a heartbreakingly human journey to take in the most harrowing portions of the story. — Kimberly Ricci

Mr. & Mrs. Smith

mr and mrs smith
amazon prime video

There was plenty of skepticism around the television remake of Mr. And Mrs. Smith and it wasn’t totally unwarranted. In today’s era of remakes, spin-offs, and revivals, it’s expected that the Donald Glover and Maya Erskine-led Mr. And Mrs. Smith faced doubts from critics. But, boy did they prove people wrong. Through eight episodes of the inaugural, Glover and Erskine were nothing short of impressive in their mission as secret agents launched what initially seemed like a promising relationship, all for it to crash, burn, and get riddled with a flurry of bullets and other weapons as the season finale displayed. Mr. And Mrs. Smith was exciting, thrilling, and gripping as it tasked Glover and Erskine’s characters with completing high-risk missions in the face of their crumpling relationship or face extreme consequences like death. Now we just need them to set the record straight on who will be Mr. and Mrs. Smith in season two. — Wongo Okon



Netflix’s adaptation of Patricia Highsmith’s lauded crime novel is about as far removed from the homoerotic threesome of 90s-era Matt Damon, Jude Law, and Gwyneth Paltrow as it could get. Instead of dreamy, sun-soaked vistas and youthful joie de vivre both praised and preyed upon, this series goes full bore on the noir, giving us a chilling character study shot exclusively in black-and-white. What it lacks in sexual tension and ambiguity it makes up for with Andrew Scott, firmly back in his villain era and determined to slowly scale all the steps of Europe as Thomas Ripley, a New York con-man tasked with bringing an aimless heir to heel. A smooth sociopath with a petty sense of humor and a hunger for a life that doesn’t belong to him, Scott’s Ripley is magnetic and menacing at every turn, eating up the screen as he machinates a new identity for himself at the expense of everyone around him. — Jessica Toomer



FX really did the thing here. Series creators Rachel Kondo and Justin Marks pounced upon an intricate slice of James Clavill’s Asian saga with an infinite supply of maneuvering characters, endless motives, and freaking subtitles, and they emerged with a fully absorbing series that felt accessible for everyone, not simply those who have read the book. That’s no tiny feat, and the show was so resoundingly successful that a pair of additional seasons was greenlit. Hiroyuki Sanada will continue his reign as Lord Toranaga, and yup, Cosmo Jarvis and his TV-invisible manhoodwill be back as John Blackthorne because — let’s face it — Toranaga cannot live without him. The soap-opera factor of this show is too delicious, and the audience clamored for more. — Kimberly Ricci

The Bear


The individual pieces – specific standout performances and episodes like Tomorrow, Napkins, and Ice Chips – may be worth more than the assembled package, but The Bear’s third season still stands out as one of the most ambitious and expertly executed shows on TV. That’s how far ahead of the field it is.

Messy and meandering? Sure, but that’s part of life, same as the occasional heartful or horrifying moment, the shouting, lessons learned through hardship stubbornly received, and the drive and bond of these characters around their aspirations and their found family. Plenty of shows purport to being “real,” but The Bear delivers an authentic seeming run through the minefields of expectations, guilt, and trauma, finding absurdity and small laughs along its big journey. — Jason Tabrys

The Sympathizer


Seriously, is Robert Downey Jr. going for EGOT status? He recently won an Oscar and has already demolished the Golden Globes a few times. He will soon make his Broadway debut, and in this series, he embodies four gleefully eccentric roles: CIA operative, film director, congressman, and professor. This darkly comedic show is a riveting viewing experience that anchors itself in historical events while following Vietnam War-era communist spy (Hoa Xuande), who encounters RDJ’s pivotal characters during this successful adaptation of Viet Thanh Nguyen’s same-named Pulitzer Prize-winning novel. Another Emmy for RDJ, perhaps? We shall see. — Kimberly Ricci

X-Men ’97


For the most part, the art we loved as children is best left in the past. Star Wars fans have to deal with this idea often, as Disney struggles to make new installments that both capture the way Star Wars made generations originally feel while adding something unique to the increasingly robust catalog. Marvel could have faced equally shaky territory with their plan to continue their X-Men cartoon series, a landmark Saturday morning tradition for ‘90s kids. But the animated nature of the show avoids the pitfalls of aging characters and time gaps, instead picking up right where the original left off. The show manages to feel both small and big at the same time – something Marvel has struggled with in both film and TV of late – while delving into central issues of prejudice that have driven the comic franchise since the beginning and haven’t lost their relevance. X-Men ‘97 proved to be a transportive experience for fans, back to their youth, back to a time where connected universes, market oversaturation, and superhero fatigue were as unfathomable as the concept of streaming itself. — Philip Cosores