2023 marks another year of my affectionate relationship with cinematic and televisual. I traveled around the globe chasing film festivals, producing more academic nonsense for my beloved Cinema & Media Studies classes, and inevitably falling in love with the many worlds behind the screen over and over again. I believe that film and television are all about worldmaking: They have an unparalleled capability to help us imagine strange people, unconventional lives, and alternative experiences that are by no means trivial to our existence on Earth. All film and television, for me, are realistic, because what is our perception of reality but the very boundary of our imagination?

This year, we're seeing the glorious return of established auteurs like Martin Scorsese and Wes Anderson, and the emergence of new blood like Jonathan Glazer and Bas Devos. We're also saying farewells to the anime series about a perpetual war against Titans that spans over a decade, the drama of the Roy Family, or John Wilson's incisive commentary on the very nature of being human in New York. Through traversing space and temporality and mixing genre and convention, the film and televisual art of the year is an absolute ride beyond expectation. Finally, I hope to selfishly bring your attention to my personal favorite, that after all the wonders, thrills, and tears, we can always rest in our present and just be Here. But without further due, here's Street's pick of film & TV of the year.

– Weike Li, Film & TV editor

The Gilded Age: Season Two

The Gilded Age is everything that’s wrong about prestige television in the year 2023. It’s overproduced (with a budget as exorbitant as its main characters’ dynastic fortunes) and yet deeply underwritten (a main plot point of the first season featured Christine Baranski crossing a street). The show is also an unofficial entrant into the peak reboot era, built on the same formula as creator Julian Fellowes’ Downton Abbey with a Fortnite reskin of 1880s New York City. It’s one of the best things I’ve watched all year. 

Chalk that up in part to actresses actressing: Baranski, Cynthia Nixon, and especially Carrie Coon all capture The Gilded Age’s precipitous social nuances, where a wrong word or even glance can spell doom. I’m also convinced that 90 percent of that budget went right to the costuming department: Our leading ladies get decked out in feathers, crystals, and entire bolts of fabric, and it’s literally crack for my gay brain. The whole show is kind of like that—a comfort watch that, instead of being an “absolute money corrupts absolutely” cautionary tale à la Succession, just lets rich people be rich. And I think that’s beautiful.

–Walden Green, editor–in–chief


The first rule of Fight Club: be gay, do crime. To cite Reece Feldman on Letterboxd, “If you thought Barbie was the best whimsical satire about feminism and the harms of the patriarchy, featuring music from Charli XCX, with a massive choreographed fight scene between warring factions, crafted specifically for lesbians, made in the year of our lord 2023… well guess again!” Bottoms revives not only the classic sex–crazed teen movie genre of the '90s and early '00s, but it marks the greatest (and probably the only) campy lesbian comedy since 1999’s But I’m A Cheerleader. Basically, it’s been long awaited—and it lives up to the hype. At no point during the movie did I know what to expect next, but with Emma Seligman and Rachel Sennott at the helm, my wildest expectations were consistently exceeded for an hour and a half of laughter, shock, and ogling at Ruby Cruz.

–Arielle Stanger, Print editor

Spider–Man: Across the Spider–Verse

It’s been a pretty rough year for the superhero flick. While it’s not uncommon to see a headline prophesying the end of the genre any day now, one movie in 2023 still managed to capture audiences, critics, and the zeitgeist in one fell swoop—and do it all in spandex. Spider-Man: Across the Spider–Verse is a dazzling, thrilling, and surprisingly emotional sequel to the 2018 phenomenon. If the first film showed us what superhero stories could be (multi–faceted and for everybody), this sequel shows us what they should be. In a genre that is built on “super” and “special” people but generally tells boring stories in a sea of CGI, Across the Spider–Verse dares to be visually–innovating and striking, with a well–written story about the growing pains of young adulthood, parenting, and a genre straining at the seams of its source material. In this context, Across the Spider–Verse is more than the only superhero movie of the year worth seeing—it’s a also a plea for the genre to grow up.

–Catherine Sorrentino, Assignments editor

Attack on Titan: The Series Finale

After a three–year–long “Final Season” and a manga ending that divided the entire community, this series spanning over a decade long culminated in an epic of a feature–length finale.

The series started with the simple premise anime fans are all too familiar with: a young protagonist with the mission of killing Titans. However, as the series progresses, further information is revealed, complicating the simple premise. The finale delivers a stunning conclusion to the multitudes of emotions and revelations revealed throughout. No previous character story is left unresolved, not even something as small as Eren’s mother’s untimely death in episode one. 

Even those who felt unsatisfied with the ending could not deny the impact of the breathtaking animation. The fluidity of movement between characters zipping in the air to Titans of unimaginable heights and the dynamic choreography of fight scenes all made expert use of seamless CGI integration. Furthermore, the use of color and lighting added depth to the storytelling, fully tying in all the lessons the author sought to teach with the series. From grayscale to blood–soaked representations of the brutalities of war, the series was gory, impactful, depressing, and left me staring blankly at the wall when the ending soundtrack played for the final time. 

If this blurb convinces you to watch the series but you feel as if it is too late, it isn’t, as I know for a fact that many others and I are already planning to dedicate our hearts and rewatch the entire series to relive all the awe–inspiring moments that initially captivated us.

– Fiona Herzog, Film & TV beat

Killers of the Flower Moon

Many of history’s great filmmakers falter in their later years. Their best work is mostly behind them, and their final films never live up to the rest of their filmography. Martin Scorsese, at age 81, is proving to be the greatest exception to this rule. His new film, Killers of the Flower Moon, is a three–and–a–half–hour epic adapted from David Grann’s book of the same name. The story tracks the brutal and malicious slayings of members of the Osage tribe in Oklahoma during the 1920s. It is a powerful and painful story to watch unfold, but the craftsmanship and performances make it a thrilling experience (and one that should be seen on the big screen). Leonardo DiCaprio and Robert DeNiro are exceptional as always, but it is Lily Gladstone, in her breakout role, that is the film’s heartbeat and most compelling figure. The cinematography by Rodrigo Prieto and production design by industry legend Jack Fisk are also top–notch. It is a heavy film, and you feel the runtime, but it is a breathtaking viewing experience and a film that lingers, particularly its deeply moving final scene.

– Emma Halper, Film & TV beat


The Zone of Interest

The Zone of Interest, Jonathan Glazer’s fourth feature film, is unlike anything I’ve ever seen before. The film, adapted from but largely ignoring many of the plot details of Martin Amis’ novel, centers on the commandant of Auschwitz, Rudolf Hoss, and his family. And right away, both the avant–garde nature of the film and its unique perspective become clear. Technically, the film is as audacious as anything released this year. Mica Levi’s borderline unmusical score and Lukasz Zal’s inventive cinematography make this film feel unique and terrifying. (The cinematographer placed 10 stationary cameras within the Hoss house used for the film in order to allow the actors and Glazer 360-degree use of the location). However, it’s ultimately the narrative conceit that makes this film the best of the year: you never, ever get to see within Auschwitz itself. Instead, the audience is merely resigned to watch the Hoss family go about their daily lives on the very brink of the prison. In this sense, The Zone of Interest is also one of the best depiction of Hannah Arendt’s famous concept of the banality of evil.

– Aden Berger, Film & TV beat 

Succession Season Four

Everyone knows Succession was good. Many a piece has been written on how masterfully it married drama, comedy, business–y bullshit, and soap opera levels of messy family drama. It held tension and drove across four seasons, never dragged, and ended with an incredibly solid finale. But what I really love about Succession was its weekly release dates. In a media landscape where the binge format is increasingly the norm and week–by–week releases seem to be going far too gently into yesteryear’s good night, Succession was a breath of fresh air. I will forever have fond memories of going to my friend’s house to watch the newest episode every week, the two of us clutching each other as we reacted to the show the way a pair of frightened kids might react to a slasher, cuddling their cat to relieve some of the delicious stress the show induced. Succession was fantastic television, and being able to enjoy the final season’s drama over the course of weeks instead of as a single–night binge made it all the better.

– Isaac Pollock, Film & TV beat

Asteroid City

Going into Asteroid City, I was pretty much tired of Wes Anderson’s schtick. So imagine my surprise when I found myself completely moved and amused by his newest feature film. As usual, you see a vibrant color palette (with black and white sequences sprinkled throughout), perfectly sculpted symmetrical framing, and many of his usual cast and long–time collaborators. But this time, Anderson’s world is even more existential than what he has explored before. In a film that deals with extraterrestrial forces and the grief of a family, existential crisis doesn’t seem like a totally unlikely point, but this theme is elevated more still by the film’s meta story–inside–a–story aspect. It questions cinema and general storytelling in a way that is so profound yet absurd. I have yet to see anything else like it this year and in Anderson’s entire filmography. If you watch Asteroid City for the typical Wes Anderson antics, please stay for its heart and existential exploration.

– Mollie Benn, Film & TV beat

How To With John Wilson Season 3

John Wilson traverses the streets of New York City with a camera, showing us what he sees, the people he talks to, and his journeys through his daily life and to places far away. He weaves these together with voiceovers to turn the mundane into the extraordinary and the strangers, many who might be dismissed as crazy or weird, into deep and compelling characters. Like all truly original works, How To lacks easy comparisons. Its documentary style, use of strangers, and comedic tone certainly follow the leads of Borat and Nathan For You (Nathan Fielder is the executive producer), but its aims are much more humanistic. Strange people are to be understood, not mocked. The comedy comes from the absurdity of human behavior itself and the world that we create. 

This final season spends more time on John Wilson’s interest in atypical communities: while in season two there’s a support group for people with post–Avatar depression, season three has a vacuum cleaner enthusiast convention, a town of electrosensitive people, and a cryogenics company selling immortality. It also has the now–expected people–watching and New York City antics that defined the first two seasons. This season has the same quality as the first two seasons, with the added sadness knowing that there won’t be any more. Thankfully, the true genius of the show is that it is all of our lives. We can choose to go through the world like John Wilson, to see the beauty and the comedy in the mundane, to talk to strangers and learn their stories, and to be more empathic to those around us.

– Aaron Visser, Film & TV beat

The Holdovers

There’s something innately human about the holidays: the spirit, the dysfunction, the ritualistic cheer. Directed by Alexander Payne, The Holdovers is a nostalgia–driven tribute to this unique time. The film transports us to Barton Academy, a New England all–boys boarding school on Christmas break in 1970, where the sarcastic, moody Classics teacher Paul Hunham (Paul Giammati) and the cafeteria lady Mary Lamb (Da’Vine Joy Randolph) have been tasked with chaperoning the kids with nowhere to go over break: the “holdovers.” We’re immersed in an exploration of human connection through a faux–grain lens, riddled with sentimentality, emotional depth, and tongue–in–cheek wit. I’d liken it to the feeling of a warm winter fire. It’s a classic holiday bildungsroman fitted in '70s fashion.

– Amy Luo, Film & TV beat


Here is a film about mosses, city corners, and a transient relationship between two immigrants, a Chinese botanist and a Romanian construction worker, who seem to always forget about asking about each other’s name in modern Brussels. After his stunningly quiet yet powerful last film Ghost Tropic that documents a nighttime walking journey home from the bus station, Belgian director Bas Devos turns his keen eyes to even more unnoticeable corners of modernity: a delicious soup made from leftovers in a fridge, the mosses that grow on bare stones in a garden on the brink of the city, and an inconspicuous Chinese restaurant in rain. The Chinese (translated) name of the film is “Little World," and as the film really zooms in on the action of intensely watching and observing, Here is comforting us that there is always a huge world of wonder for discovery in even the most mundane moment of our life.

– Weike Li, Film & TV editor