Paste Power Rankings: The 10 Best TV Shows on Right Now

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<i>Paste</i> Power Rankings: The 10 Best TV Shows on Right Now

The rules for the Power Rankings are simple: Any current series on TV qualifies, whether it’s a comedy, drama, news program, animated series, variety show or sports event. It can be on a network, basic cable, premium channel, Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, YouTube or whatever you can stream on your smart TV, as long as a new episode was made available within the past week (ending Sunday) —or, in the case of shows released all at once, it has to have been released within the previous four weeks.

The voting panel is composed of Paste Editors and TV writers with a pretty broad range of tastes. Happy viewing!


For the Week of June 27th:

Honorable Mention: Hotel Portofino (PBS), Irma Vep (HBO), Love, Victor (Hulu), This Is Going to Hurt (AMC+)

10. Peaky Blinders

Network: Netflix
Last Week’s Ranking: Honorable Mention
This Week: Cillian Murphy is criminally underrated.

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The final season of Netflix’s Peaky Blinders marks the end of an era: One of the last members of Peak TV’s original antihero boom, Tommy Shelby’s story remains bombastic in tone, operatic in scale, and grandiose in its ambitions. Full of explosive set pieces, tension-filled, intricately plotted escapes that shouldn’t work at all but do, and the occasional moment of genuine catharsis, Season 6 is certainly never boring. Though the show struggles to find its emotional bearings without the incomparable Helen McCrory (who sadly passed away in early 2021), it does its best to honor Polly’s legacy throughout this final season. But perhaps its most fitting tribute to McCory is the way it allows several other key female characters to step forward in these six episodes and finally give them the chance to drive the narrative on their own terms. —Lacy Baugher-Milas [Full Review]

9. Becoming Elizabeth

Network: Starz
Last Week’s Ranking: 9
This Week: “Raise your hand if you can’t wait for Thomas Seymour to get what’s coming to him!”

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With Starz as our guide, we have marched through the years among the Wars of the Roses through three compelling historical miniseries, and now the fourth, Becoming Elizabeth, has introduced Tudor Queen Elizabeth I. But while the other shows focused on women found only in footnotes, here is one of the most well-documented monarchs ever. What new perspective is there to see?

Becoming Elizabeth creator Anya Reiss has managed to find one by spotlighting an Elizabeth who has not yet started her reign and is still very much finding herself. When we meet her here, her father Henry VIII has just died, leaving an enormous power vacuum in the English court. Like the series that came before it, Becoming Elizabeth has a lot of table setting to do and a lot of ground to cover to explain who everyone is, what their motivations are, and who is trying to backstab who, when, why, and how. Though Wikipedia is often a helpful resource when watching dense historical series, Becoming Elizabeth does an admirable job of eschewing that need by having characters speaking plainly (if in hushed whispers) in a way never feels like rote exposition. The thing about court intrigue is that it is intriguing—there’s a reason why George R.R. Martin took this time in English history and its many political twists as the basis for his Game of Thrones saga.

But as Elizabeth begins to fulfill her destiny (while trying to not get to caught in her feelings), we start to see just how the world the Tudors fought to control changes to create one of their most powerful, and final, leaders… who at this point, is still just a teen with dreams of her own. —Allison Keene [Full Review]

8. Obi-Wan Kenobi

Network: Disney+
Last Week’s Ranking: 10
This Week: No stakes, sure, but still emotionally satisfying.

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This isn’t the Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor) you’re looking for. This one is better. Much like the Sith, Obi-Wan Kenobi is much more complex than initially believed, but in a good way. While Star Wars fans were likely expecting Obi-Wan Kenobi to revolve around the Luke/Ben dynamic, the limited series takes a hard right and focuses on the young Princess Leia instead. It’s a brilliant move, particularly because young actress Vivien Lyra Blair channels the sassy, smart, and stubborn Leia to perfection. This makes her not only an immensely likable character immediately worthy of a spin-off but also a natural and diminutive piece of kindling for a Jedi without a purpose. —Terry Terrones [Full Review]

7. Players

Network: Paramount+
Last Week’s Ranking: 4
This Week: Why do I care so much about these fictional kids?

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When your premise is “the guys from American Vandal make a mockumentary about a dysfunctional Esports team in a sort of comedic hybrid of Drive to Survive or The Last Dance,” there is almost no conceivable way the final product can be anything but spectacular. Spoiler: Players is spectacular. From the wounded, egotistical brilliance of Misha Brooks as a gamer legend named Creamcheese to the up-and-coming rookie Organizm to the long-suffering coach Braxton to the tertiary characters who embody the sports doc style, everything here works. The key to the show’s success is that the story is every bit as engaging as the comedy, and this is really @$#*ing funny. What felt like a can’t-miss prospect to begin with fulfills the hype; Dan Perrault and Tony Yacenda have another winner. —Shane Ryan [Full Review]

6. Dark Winds

Network: AMC
Last Week’s Ranking: 6
This Week: The show is really coming into its own.

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Set within the Navajo Nation, Dark Winds is the story of a bank heist and a double murder viewed through the eyes of Lt. Joe Leaphorn, played by the excellent Zach McClarnon. He and his junior officer Jim Chee (Kiowa Gordon) set about solving both cases while the FBI lingers and their own people look on with suspicion. The supernatural elements are subtle enough to contribute rather than subtract; they fit the atmosphere, and never become so egregious or important that it delegitimizes the actual crime story. In fact, it’s necessary to depict a culture that was almost erased; there is still power here. As the mystery deepens, Leaphorn is the prism through which we see the lingering effects of the conquest that is still resonant for the people who ended up on the wrong side of it; just because a murder takes place in 1971 doesn’t mean it cannot trace its dark lineage back through the painful decades. —Shane Ryan [Full Review]

5. Rutherford Falls

Network: Peacock
Last Week’s Ranking: 3
This Week: “Genuinely heartwarming and funny without glossing over important issues. And Michael Greyeyes is a babe.”

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Not only is Rutherford Falls an enjoyable watch, but the Peacock sitcom thoughtfully dissects American culture and centers Native stories. There’s no dearth of excellent television right now, but this heartwarming, funny, and boundary-breaking show (now in its second season) is a must-see.

In the new set of eight episodes, the writers exceed the expectations set by Season 1, treading the same delicate line of packing in jokes and addressing serious issues. We last saw Reagan (Jana Schmieding) preparing for exciting new ventures as the manager of the cultural center and Nathan (Ed Helms) grappling with the fact that his family lineage isn’t quite what he thought it was. The former ends up becoming more of a focal point, and this season shines primarily because Reagan takes center stage instead of Nathan. (Thankfully, Nathan has also grown up a good bit, making his scenes less cringeworthy.)

In a world so rich, Rutherford Falls could get away with solely exploring character moments, with little or no plot to speak of. Nevertheless, the show is incredibly story-driven, right through to the Season 2 finale. All this to say, Rutherford Falls keeps the momentum going up until the credits roll. —Clare Martin [Full Review]

4. The Boys

Network: Prime Video
Last Week’s Ranking: 2
This Week: “Herogasm” lived up to its name.

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The Boys Season 3 is as audacious as ever, continuing to effectively mine shocking scenes from Garth Ennis and Darick Robertson’s controversial comic source material (Does the word “Herogasm” mean anything to you? It will). The acting and characterization are top-notch, both in regards to the oddly moving found family bonds between The Boys and in the twisted tragedy of The Seven, and the gory fight scenes remain thrilling. The satire is a downgrade in sharpness from Season 2, straining to cover every topical reference it can with a mixed bag of results, and the season’s new big villains are relatively weak links in the cast at this point, but this is still an adult superhero story worth watching. For all the attempts at topicality, this season’s most effective capturing of the zeitgeist is in the narrative’s celebration of standing by your friends when the world at large is unfathomably awful. —Reuben Baron [Full Review]

3. Ms. Marvel

Network: Disney +
Last Week’s Ranking: 1
This Week: Great fun, but how are we halfway through the season already?

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Ms. Marvel is probably going to end up being the best of Marvel’s Disney+ shows so far. Iman Vellani shines as Kamala, and it is without question that she’ll be able to make the jump to the big screen when The Marvels comes out next summer. There is no way to explain how great she is in this other than to say that she embodies the true spirit of Kamala Khan. Vellani’s real-life status as a Marvel superfan truly serves to enhance her performance, because Kamala is the exact same way—but it doesn’t rest on that, either. She excels in hitting every single emotional note with aplomb.

While Ms. Marvel would be nothing without Vellani’s glittering show of talent, it would also be lost without the way art is used in the series. While Kamala writes Avengers fanfiction in the comics, her fandom work is expanded into her being an artist as well. Kamala’s drawings are constantly integrated into the visuals of the show, sometimes becoming animated to add a little flair. There is a lot of street art that is seen as well, often supplemented by the same type of animation that we see with Kamala’s art. That, plus all of the lighting work and the needle drops make for a really well-rounded and lighthearted coming-of-age story. Anyone who has a problem with Marvel movies looking like muddy concrete will be greeted with a vibrant show that isn’t afraid to used color to its advantage. — Kathryn Porter [Full Review]

2. Star Trek: Strange New Words

Network: Paramount+
Last Week’s Ranking: Honorable Mention
This Week: Silly and heartbreaking all in one—a masterclass in balance.

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Star Trek: Strange New Worlds is an absolute blast, and a big reason for its success is that it’s deeply rooted in the DNA of the Star Trek mythos. It’s full of compelling characters, and its episodic format serves as one of several bridges that link it to The Original Series. Allowing viewers to see the action aboard the Enterprise from multiple perspectives is refreshing. Smart, addictive, and flat-out fun, Strange New Worlds is the best Star Trek series since The Next Generation, and acts as a faithful love letter to the original. Old fan or new, this is a trek you’ll certainly want to take. —Terry Terrones [Full Review]

1. The Bear

Network: Hulu
Last Week’s Ranking: Not Eligible
This Week: “I do not understand why Jeremy Allen White doesn’t have a gazillion Emmys already for Shameless.” He deserves them here, too.

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The Bear puts us on the back of Carmen “Carmy” Berzatto (Jeremy Allen White), an accomplished chef who cut his teeth in the fine dining world who has returned to Chicago to take over his family’s grungy sandwich shop after his brother’s tragic death. He immediately butts heads with his brother’s best friend Richie (Ebon Moss-Bachrach) who detests Carmy’s pretentious attitude, but finds common ground with Sydney (Ayo Edebiri), an accomplished chef in her own right who wants to learn from Carmy. Still, there are a slew of line workers who aren’t interested in wearing matching aprons or following orders from a relative newcomer.

The Bear certainly shares some tonality with stereotypical culinary shows like Gordon Ramsay’s Hell’s Kitchen to Kitchen Confidential, but also subtly pokes fun at the idea that every kitchen has to be an aggressive atmosphere. The frenetic energy is a byproduct of Carmy taking this role too seriously and trying to transform the sandwich shop into something much bigger than it’s ever been destined to be, and the clash of the two worlds is fascinating to watch in real time.

Shows like The Bear—with its fully formed tone, presentation, and performance—don’t come around often. It’s a chef’s kiss of a show, and definitely worth the binge —Radhika Menon [Full Review]

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