The best TV shows of 2024 so far – as decided by our critics

Discover the best TV shows of 2024 so far, as reviewed by ScreenHub critics.
An older woman wearing dark glasses, gold jewellery, expensive clothes and an enigmatic expression sits back in her seat in a private jet.

Another winter means another mid-year round up of the best the small screen has to offer. From political history to dark, semi-autobiographical comedy, vampires, comedians, secret assassins and more, we’ve watched a lot of great TV this year.

In chronological release order, here are the best TV shows of 2024 so far, as reviewed by the critics of our sister site ScreenHub.

The best TV shows of 2024 (so far)

Nemesis (ABC)

Review by Anthony Morris

The big appeal with what is basically a history lesson covering events most of us remember all too well is that the politicians are supposedly giving their frank and uncensored opinions on events and their colleagues. If you’ve ever wanted to hear Malcolm Turnbull say ‘f**k’, here’s your big chance.

So there are plenty of big names on camera here, though the first episode is hamstrung by a lack of heavy hitters from Tony Abbott’s Government. There’s no Abbott, no Joe Hockey, no Bronwyn Bishop, no Julie Bishop. Not even Peta Credlin (presumably her take is already available on Sky News), who’s so firmly established now as a right-wing media commentator it’s easy to forget she got her start as Abbott’s chief of staff.

Also missing from this series is a narrator. Rather, historical footage and reports are used to provide background and fill in the gaps. This leaves Nemesis feeling more like news than editorial, positioned as an impartial look at agreed on facts, rather than the ABC giving its verdict on the recent past. Considering the somewhat browbeaten relationship the ABC’s had with the coalition government in the past decade, this ambivalent approach is less surprising than it should be.

That said, this is clearly designed to be a greatest hits collection of the LNP government’s public trips, stumbles and bungles (it’s not titled Steady As She Goes: A Decade of Good Government), and as such it definitely hits all the high notes.

Read Anthony Morris’ full review of Nemesis

Mr & Mrs Smith (Prime)

Review by Silvi Vann-Wall

The chemistry between Glover and Erskine (who replaced Phoebe Waller-Bridge in the role of Jane in 2022) is incredible. The ‘will-they, won’t they’ sexual tension works so well in the early episodes as a narrative companion to the ‘will they/won’t they f**k up this spy mission?’ series arc. We get to see a relationship form in real time as these two self-described ‘losers’ become pro spies and start kicking some serious butt.

Both actors are seasoned comedians, Glover coming from Community and Atlanta, and Erskine from teen cringe-comedy PEN15, and here they show off their enviable ability to keep the laughs coming even as some truly devastating things are happening on screen.

Their comedic instincts also keep the characters grounded and relatable. If you strip away all the high-risk espionage stuff, you’ll find Jane and John to be, at their core, a really authentic modern couple. They watch TV, go to the farmers’ market, have awkward conversations about the future, fight, make up and (eventually) share their deepest secrets with each other.

The whole series is a truly entertaining and binge-worthy achievement, but it’s at its best when it’s exploring the deep similarities between modern marriages and navigating a mysterious career with limited instructions and no manual. I mean, no one actually knows what they are doing, do they? You just sort of go by instinct and hope for the best.

Read Silvi Vann-Wall’s full review of Mr & Mrs Smith

3 Body Problem (Netflix)

Review by Mel Campbell

Game of Thrones creators David Benioff and D B Weiss squandered a lot of public goodwill in the way they ended their era-defining show. So, talk of Netflix’s new eight-episode drama 3 Body Problem has focused on whether Benioff and Weiss could successfully adapt a sprawling, cerebral novel by Chinese sci-fi author Liu Cixin, which explores a hostile invasion of Earth from an alien planet tossed between three suns.

It’s not as if The Three-Body Problem had never been filmed; last year it was very faithfully dramatised as a 30-episode Chinese series. But ‘unfilmable’ is often industry shorthand for a dizzyingly vast story-world that is dense with esoteric scientific, cultural, historical and philosophical concerns.

People also doubted the filmability of Frank Herbert’s Dune and Isaac Asimov’s Foundation, which both went on to succeed on big and small screens. Like those adaptations, 3 Body Problem won’t be for everyone – but it’s an elegant solution.

The show’s key motif is the eye. ‘When we see a pair of eyes, it means the object can see us, and this means the eyes have become a symbol of the sentient Other,’ author Liu Cixin said in a 2020 interview.

Read Mel Campbell’s full review of 3 Body Problem

Such Brave Girls (Stan)

Review by Stephen Russell

Such Brave Girls opens with Josie in the car with her mum, Deb (Sherlock’s Louise Brealey), as they go to pick up Billie (Davidson), who inexplicably works in a soft play centre for kids while dressed as the green-skinned Wicked Witch of the West from The Wizard of Oz.

En route, Deb thrusts her irksomely pinging phone into Josie’s hand so that she can read out whatever message demands attention. Excruciatingly, it’s Deb’s latest date, Dev (Paul Bazely), announcing that he’s in the toilet thinking of her, setting a low tone that regularly plumbs deeper in a show that’s unafraid of getting ickily sexy.

‘He’s got a massive house. Massive. Massive,’ Deb offers, establishing that this is also a working-class drama in which debt collectors hound their tenuous situation. Deb’s husband and the girls’ dad went out to get teabags 10 years ago and never came back, with the bills stacking up since. ‘I can only afford one daughter having a breakdown at a time.’

Reeling from this psychic wound, both Josie and Billie threaten to end it all so alarmingly regularly that Deb barely blinks when they say it, instead castigating them for affecting her chances with Dev – a widower – and the financial anchor he offers, even if he is as emotionally available as a stone. ‘Can you not drag everyone into your vortex of misery?’

Read Stephen Russell’s full review of Such Brave Girls

Hacks – Season 3 (Stan)

Review by Stephen Russell

Jumping forward one year, Ava has it all in this spectacularly finely emotionally tuned show from Broad City brains trust Lucia Aniello, Jen Statsky and Paul W Downs.

Technically, she has it all. Ava is a well-respected member of the writing room on a sitcom (one nobody seems to watch, mind you) and has moved back in with her ex, Ruby (Lorenza Izzo), now a fast-rising Hollywood star. But Ava appears to be going through the motions. The symbolism is clear when she rear-ends a bus while gazing longingly at Deborah on a billboard. With the older woman’s sphere of influence still writ large over every aspect of her life, a car crash is inevitable.

Ruthlessly ambitious Deborah may be, and she’s on top again, but she is hopeless at acknowledging how much she needs those who hold her up.

While an amusing bait and switch that opens the season sets up that Deborah is too big for Vegas now, baby, not to mention Los Angeles’ iconic and not inconsequentially-sized Bourbon Room ‘this is so intimate’, it’s in the dark of 3am at home (mostly) alone that the truth will out.

The aftermath of Deborah mucking around with the placing of a battalion of tchotchkes at silly o’clock is brutally assessed by ever-dry housekeeper Josefina (Rose Abdoo) in the cold light of day. She stares in despair at Deborah’s handiwork alongside business boss Marcus (Carl Clemons-Hopkins, sidelined in this run).

‘It’s chaos,’ Josefina says. ‘She’s obviously not sleeping again. I might have to slip Ambien in her coq au vin.’

Read Stephen Russell’s full review of Hacks – Season 3

Swift Street (SBS)

Review by Anthony Morris

Elsie (Tanzyn Crawford) is well-versed in the ways of low-level scams and hustles. When she’s not making fake IDs for her bestie Aisha (Bernie Van Tiel), she’s sneaking out the door of her day job with a bag full of off-the-books stock to resell elsewhere. These crimes aren’t lucrative earners, but every bit of profit gets her closer to her dream of having her own – legit – bike stall.

Working on the shady side of the law runs in the family. Her father Robert (Cliff Curtis) is laundering cash for a local loan shark (Eliza Matengu), and she is the kind of crime figure you don’t want to let down (owning a gym full of thugs is rarely a good sign). Which is bad news for Robert, as he’s just lost $26,000 of her money and she wants it back.

You get the feeling that if Elsie was in this situation, she’d find a way to steal the cash out the back of some dodgy local business. Her father? Robert puts on a suit and tie and tries to get a loan. A master criminal he’s not; he’s not even able to handle the household finances, which is causing a bit of friction between him and his daughter. And right now he could really use her skills, because the only way he’s going to get out of the hole he’s in is if they work together.

Set in a world of street hustlers and heavy hitters, Swift Street‘s propulsive storytelling is the blast of fresh air Australian crime drama needs. Propulsive doesn’t just refer to the pace, though this is a series that doesn’t waste time.

Read Anthony Morris’ full review of Swift Street

Interview With The Vampire – Season 2 (AMC+)

Review by Stephen A Russell

American playwright and TV showrunner Rolin Jones (WeedsUnited States of Tara) grasps the inherent riches of an unreliable narrator by the throat in his deliciously wicked AMC+ TV series, sinking his teeth deep into exploring how immortality might further complicate the lies, deliberate or otherwise, told by the coven of vampires at its no-longer-beating heart.

This is the twisted tale of too-good-for-this-vamps-life Louis de Pointe du Lac (Game of Thrones actor Jacob Anderson) and his savagely narcissistic maker Lestat de Lioncourt (Australian Sam Reid); of their broken ‘child’ Claudia (Delainey Hayles, replacing Bailey Bass in season two) and the ‘boy’, San Francisco-based reporter Daniel Molloy (Eric Bogosian in the present and Luke Brandon Field in flashback) to whom Louis relays his story once more with feeling.

And then there’s Armand. Introduced in season one as butler-cum-acolyte Rashid (Assad Zaman), he unmasked himself as Louis’ controlling boo number two in the finale. A Days of our Lives-style reveal, it was exactly as campily fantastic as the late Rice surely intended, setting the scene for season two with a moustache-twirling wink. 

Picking up in the dying days of World War II-riven Europe, Claudia and Louis have ditched New Orleans after she double-crossed her bad daddy, poisoning Lestat with the laudanum and arsenic-laced blood of the mayor that slighted him during a chaotic-good Mardi Gras murder ball conclusion.

Read Stephen Russell’s full review of Interview With The Vampire – Season 2

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