Welcome to a special 2023 Staff’s Choice episode where Rotten Tomatoes’ very own recommend their favorites of the year that we haven’t yet covered on What to Watch. That means some of these are going to be off the beaten path, including some you may have never even heard of, so open up your notes app, because you’re going to want to type these down.
In this final week of 2023 we have an Australian rom-com series, an action/thriller flick from India, a Japanese superhero film, a reality competition show from South Korea, and a reality hoax sitcom that’s even more intriguing than it sounds.
First up is the reality hoax sitcom Jury Duty. This Amazon Freevee original follows a guy named Ronald Gladden who shows up for jury duty, except that everyone there other than him is an actor, and everything is being staged. With that, they plan unexpected events to test Ronald, which makes for some unpredictable storylines and is a great first reason to actually show up for this jury duty.
The second reason to watch this wholesome show is that it introduces a diverse cast, each with their own quirks and some of whom Ronald makes unexpected bonds with. There is one familiar face, though, in James Marsden, who plays a fictionalized version of himself, using impeccable comedic timing to do it.
The first season is Certified Fresh on the Tomatometer with an even higher Audience Score. Plus, it’s up for a couple of Emmy awards, including Outstanding Comedy Series and Outstanding Supporting Actor for Marsden.
Rotten Tomatoes Media Coordinator Emily Catlett summoned this recommendation and here’s what she has to say about it:
“This sitcom turns the mundane experience of jury duty into a riotous comedy, serving up hilarious antics and quirky characters, and it shows you the authenticity and simplicity of being a human. Once you start the show, you can’t stop!”
Where to Watch: Prime Video
Also available for your viewing pleasure is the South Korean reality competition series Physical: 100 on Netflix. And reason No. 1 to watch this show is that it features an eclectic mix of 100 athletes of all different types – from Olympic champions and bodybuilders to military soldiers and fitness YouTubers – who compete in a series of physical challenges in order to determine who has “the most ideal physique.”
Reason two is that Physical: 100 is a fascinating, if somewhat flawed, experiment that plays out like a real-life Squid Game, but instead of impending death and betrayals, it focuses on the more positive and honorable sides of fierce competition.
And unlike American reality TV – which doesn’t always bring the A-listers – a lot of this show’s competitors are well known and respected in their fields, and they’re all super encouraging. Sorry, no sore losers on this reality show. Shocking, right?
If you now all of a suddenly feel guilty about everything you ate on Christmas, you can thank Rotten Tomatoes Sr. Editor Ryan Fujitani – here’s what he had to say about his choice:
“It’s a fascinating experiment that offers a generous dose of gripping drama and a refreshingly earnest depiction of genuine sportsmanship, somehow managing to be both wholesome and intense at the same time.”
Where to Watch: Netflix
Next is the action/thriller flick on Netflix Jawan. This Hindi-language Indian film is led by India’s most famous movie star, Shah Rukh Khan, aka “SRK” or our favorite “King Khan,” who plays a jailer at a woman’s prison trying to fix societal corruption.
Jawan is Fresh on the Tomatometer with an audience score in the high 80s to match, and the general vibe from viewers is that this is a treat for SRK fans, delivering action, drama and romance while also making room for some serious social commentary.
The movie has set box office records as the highest-grossing Indian film of 2023. Naturally a sequel is already in development as well, so you might as well get out ahead of it all right now. You’re welcome.
This one was chosen by Rotten Tomatoes Supervising Video Producer Edricdale Silla, who had this to say about Jawan:
“If you have yet to witness the great King Khan, this will be a good start. Driven by a powerful, moving story, and garnished with incredible action set pieces, Jawan is worthy to be placed above most action films put out in the West this year.”
Where to Watch: Netflix
Next up is an Australian comedy series you can find on Paramount+ called Colin From Accounts. The first reason to try this one out is if you already love shows like Crashing and You’re the Worst, this 30-minute rom-com falls right in that same vein with two top-notch comedic performances.
The show was created by and stars the husband and wife team of Patrick Brammall and Harriet Dyer, whose real-life chemistry and inspirations fit nicely into the story, including their age gap and the fact that they really did name their dog Colin From Accounts. Gotta love it.
Another reason to watch this series is that it became a hit down under and then in the UK before making its way to the US in November. And with a Certified Fresh Tomatometer score hovering around 100%, it’s no surprise to find this one in the top 5 of our best TV of 2023 list on Rotten Tomatoes.com, and to know that a second season is in production.
Colin From Accounts comes from Rotten Tomatoes Producer Anthony Alicea, who says:
“If you want another traditional ‘meet-cute’ series with characters with upstanding morals, you shouldn’t watch this. But if you’re looking for one of the best shows of the year that will make you laugh out loud and features two refreshingly comedic performances, this is for you.”
Where to Watch: Paramount+
The final recommendation of 2023 is the Japanese superhero film Shin Kamen Rider. First off, this movie is about a man and his female cohort who are trying to take down the evil organization that turned him into a mutant cyborg.
It was written, directed and co-edited by Hideaki Anno, best known as the creator of the highly celebrated anime Neon Genesis Evangelion. Plus, his 2016 movie Shin Godzilla is a highly acclaimed reinvention of the iconic monster, much like this year’s Godzilla Minus One.
Besides its strong Tomatometer and Audience scores, it’s also based on the Kamen Rider franchise, which spans 53 years and includes anime, live-action, and other multimedia series. If you know, you know.
This rec comes from Rotten Tomatoes Review Curator Rob Fowler, who says:
“Stylistically aping anime action with inventive filmmaking rather than a bottomless budget, Shin Kamen Rider is a wholly unique and surprisingly moving piece of entertainment.”
Where to Watch: Prime Video
Hopefully our recommendations helped you fill up your entertainment calendar this weekend. Be sure to let us know in the comments what you watched, whether it was on this list or not!