best shows

Top 15 Best Shows in 2023: Top Series on TV and Streaming

Here are your top-notch shows to binge-watch right now!

by Todor Ivanov
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It’s hard to say who were the best shows of 2023. There was a rich plethora of top TV series and shows on streaming platforms that garnered the attention of an even more affluent fan base.

Whether it is The Witcher (Henry Cavil is our Witcher!), The Last of Us, Sex Ed, or The Bear – audiences are up for a real treat! The abundance of streaming platforms provides greater competition in the market. So, producers need to produce better quality. And they know it!

Here are the best shows of 2023… at least until now. Expect a lot of thrill, action, comedy, family, and some of the best TV shows on streaming and TV!

The Bear

The Bear

The second season of Christopher Storer’s acclaimed tragicomedy “The Bear” invites viewers into Chicago, where the characters are forced to confront profound loss. Each individual grapples with the pain of their bereavement and the daunting question: Is the pursuit of greatness, the relentless chase for almost unattainable perfection, truly worth the sacrifices it demands?

This poignant exploration begins in an unexpected manner, with the first episode opening on a tranquil note. Marcus (portrayed by the talented Lionel Boyce) finds himself as a devoted son, caring for his ailing mother.

Meanwhile, Carmy’s cousin Richie (masterfully portrayed by Ebon Moss-Bachrach) struggles desperately to preserve the essence of The Original Beef, even as its very walls crumble around him.

The Second Season

In the second season of one of the best TV shows in 2023, Storer delves deep into the complexities of ambition, sacrifice, and the human condition. As the characters navigate the intricate web of their lives, audiences are taken on an emotional rollercoaster, prompting reflection on their desires, ambitions, and the price they are willing to pay.

“The Bear” Season 2 is not just a show; it’s a mirror reflecting the intricate tapestry of the human soul, urging viewers to ponder the profound questions that define our existence.

Star Trek: Strange New Worlds

Star Trek: Strange New Worlds

The second season of this heartfelt homage to the beloved Star Trek series is one of the best series at the moment. Fans are greeted with a sense of anticipation as unresolved narratives take center stage.

Christina Chong’s La’an Noonien-Singh, who embarked on a humanitarian sabbatical from the Enterprise, finds herself drawn back into the fray due to a mysterious distress call, leading to a thrilling escapade reminiscent of the classic “Search For Spock.”

With these loose ends neatly tied, the second installment of Strange New Worlds boldly ventures into unexplored territories while preserving the winning formula that endeared audiences in Season 1.

The Star Trek nature

Embracing its episodic nature, the series skillfully explores the dynamic chemistry among its perfectly cast ensemble while weaving a captivating tapestry of classic sci-fi elements — from enigmatic planets erasing memories to aliens communicating through dreams. Amidst these intriguing sci-fi tropes, the characters develop meaningfully, enriching the overall narrative.

In this second season, Strange New Worlds continues to honor the legacy of Star Trek while boldly charting its own course, inviting viewers on a thrilling journey through the cosmos, filled with excitement, mystery, and the timeless spirit of exploration. Strap in, fellow fans, for another exhilarating chapter in the ever-expanding Trek universe!

Dead Ringers

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In 1988, David Cronenberg unleashed “Dead Ringers” upon the world, a dark and peculiar masterpiece that delved into the eerie tale of twin gynecologists meeting a tragic end together. It’s being helmed by the maestro of body horror, Cronenberg, renowned for his works like “The Fly” and “Videodrome.”

Fast forward 35 years, and we find ourselves on the brink of a new adaptation: Amazon Prime’s miniseries also titled “Dead Ringers.” This rendition is one of the best TV series to watch because it takes a bold step, intensifying the very elements that made viewers uneasy in Cronenberg’s classic.

A slight change

The Mantle twins, Elliott and Beverly, are portrayed by women this time, and the exploration of gynecology is even more explicit and prominent. It’s a daring move that promises to challenge societal norms and provoke strong reactions.

“Dead Ringers” may dwell in the realms of niche storytelling, shrouded in mystery. Still, it offers a deliciously disturbing experience for those willing to venture into its enigmatic depths. For anyone intrigued by the unconventional and the unsettling, this series promises a dark treat that will linger in the mind long after the credits roll.

Barry

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HBO’s fourth season of “Barry” might not have reached the heart-pounding intensity of its third season. Yet, the final eight episodes serve as a testament to Bill Hader’s directorial prowess in this concluding chapter. Still, the glorious (or should we say – gruesome) finale is one of the must-watch TV shows of 2023!

Although occasionally stepping back to allow emotionally charged scenes to shine, Hader orchestrates powerful moments for the ensemble cast, with Anthony Carrigan stealing the spotlight multiple times. The pinnacle of Carrigan’s brilliance occurs in the closing episode, where the series’ core philosophy is laid bare, an epiphany surprisingly delivered by Fuches.

This confrontation transcends physical power, delving deep into the incessant human need to acknowledge their own truths. “Barry” steadfastly adheres to a fundamental belief system throughout the series.

The beloved yet crooked characters

The underlying message echoes loud and clear: you can’t escape your true self. Attempting to do so is destined for failure, a lesson Barry Berkman, NoHo Hank, and Sally (played by Sarah Goldberg), the love of Barry’s life, must confront. Their destinies are entwined with their capacity (or incapacity) to face the monsters within and the demons that haunt them. This realization becomes the pivotal turning point for each character.

Perry Mason

Perry Mason

HBO’s gripping reboot of “Perry Mason” is one of the best shows on TV right now! It carries the essence of classic noir and takes center stage, celebrating the resilience of American outsiders determined to survive despite being relentlessly beaten down by the unforgiving world.

This rendition of Perry Mason isn’t the polished defense attorney we know; he’s a struggling private investigator barely clutching onto his license. Della Street, his associate, finds herself overworked and undervalued, hindered in her climb to success solely due to her gender, and compelled to hide her true self because of her choice in partners.

Then there’s Paul Drake, a Black beat cop whose authority is often disregarded, especially in the presence of a white officer — sometimes, his authority doesn’t even matter.

The show vividly depicts characters existing in the shadows of polite society, revealing their struggles and aspirations. Co-creators Ron Fitzgerald and Rolin Jones meticulously weave the established “Perry Mason” lore elements, crafting a narrative that resonates deeply with today’s audience. While the series might not adhere to the rapid pacing of typical procedural dramas, its deliberate storytelling adds depth and authenticity to the characters and their struggles.

The Last of Us

The Last of Us

“The Last Of Us,” which debuted on PlayStation in 2013, is an indisputable video game masterpiece. It revolutionized the zombie-thriller genre with its innovative approach, combining profound themes, seamless gameplay, performance-captured cutscenes, and exceptional writing.

Its excellence was reason enough for fans to be wary of any adaptation attempts. Why take the risk of tarnishing something so flawless? Why potentially diminish the legacy of the original? Especially considering the notorious track record of video game adaptations in the realm of films and television, it begged the question: Why even attempt such a daunting task?

An equally great adaptation?

The response to these concerns arrives with striking assurance, thanks to the collaborative brilliance of co-showrunners Neil Druckmann, the mastermind behind the game’s original concept, and Craig Mazin, the talented writer and producer known for his work on the critically acclaimed series Chernobyl.

Their live-action adaptation of The Last Of Us is a shining illustration of how to execute an adaptation successfully. It masterfully preserves the essence of what made the game exceptional while displaying the confidence to venture into uncharted territory. The series fearlessly explores innovative pathways, expanding the universe and crafting a narrative that stands firmly on its own merits.

In their capable hands, The Last Of Us becomes more than just an adaptation; it transforms into a creation that confidently asserts its presence and significance in the world of storytelling. And most certainly one of the best TV shows in 2023 and amongst the best series ever!

Sex Education

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When “Sex Education” made its Netflix debut in early 2019, it felt like a breath of fresh air amidst the political tumult of the Trump and Brexit era. Positioned in a retro parallel universe, the show expertly straddled the line between the past, with its abundance of 80s music and fashion, and the present, marked by iPhones and contemporary pop culture references.

At its core was the story of Otis (played by Asa Butterfield), a teenager who, thanks to his sex therapist mother, Jean (portrayed by Gillian Anderson), acquires an unusual talent for giving advice.

Empowerment!

Empowered by his friendship with the tough yet compassionate Maeve (Emma Mackey), Otis initiates an underground counseling service for his fellow students at Moordale Secondary School. This service delves into a plethora of intimate challenges, offering explicit advice on an array of carnal topics.

“Sex Education” is one of the best TV shows on Netflix at the moment. It has transformed into more than just a TV series; it has become a symbol of resistance against the forces of repression and a beacon of sex positivity and inclusivity in a world where these values are increasingly under threat.

What We Do In the Shadows

What We Do In the Shadows

In the quirky realm of “What We Do in the Shadows,” the offbeat and delightfully queer vampires of Staten Island – Nandor, Laszlo, Nadja, and Colin Robinson, along with their seemingly human familiar Guillermo, continue to charm audiences in the show’s fifth season.

Despite the passage of time, their sharp wit and eccentricity remain as vibrant as ever. Move aside, Pete Davidson; these undead residents are the true monarchs of Staten Island.

Previously

When we last encountered this eclectic crew, their lives seemed to have returned to their peculiar normalcy: Nadja’s vampire club venture, “Nadjas,” went up in flames; Baby Colin reverted to his original energy-sucking self; and Nandor found himself single again after Marwa’s departure. Frustrated and dissatisfied, Guillermo takes matters into his own hands, declaring, “Nothing in this house changes. Nothing’s ever going to change unless I change it.” With determination in his eyes, he pilfers money from Nadjas’ remains, bribing his vampire friend Derek to turn him into a vampire.

In this new season, the series promises more supernatural misadventures, unexpected twists, and the signature humor that made “What We Do in the Shadows” one of the best TV shows to binge-watch ever.

Foundation

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A mere decade ago, the idea of adapting Isaac Asimov‘s monumental work “Foundation” for television seemed like an unattainable dream. Traditional TV networks wouldn’t have had the patience, BBC couldn’t have justified the budget, and even HBO, renowned for bringing epic book sagas to the screen, might have hesitated at a high-budget science fiction drama that required significant time to unfold its intricate narrative.

However, in the age of streaming platforms with deep pockets, Apple TV+ took the audacious gamble with “Foundation.” Even amidst the era of exorbitant budgets allocated to series like “The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power” and “The Crown,” Apple’s persistence with “Foundation” was a risky venture.

The second season

Yet, by the end of its second season, the gamble seems to be paying off, as Foundation is one of the best drama TV shows currently out there. The question looms: Could “Foundation” not only become one of the best sci-fi TV shows based on books but also one of the greatest sci-fi series of all time?

For those who might have forgotten since its debut in late 2021, “Foundation” is set in a distant future where a Galactic Empire, distinct from the more famous one in a galaxy far, far away, is ruled by a Genetic Dynasty of Clones, descendants of the original Emperor Cleon, for centuries.

As the series delves deeper into this intricate universe, viewers are left wondering if “Foundation” is not only a masterful adaptation but also a contender for the pantheon of all-time great science fiction television.

Inside No. 9

Inside No. 9

“Inside No. 9” stands apart from other top TV series and anthologies by not just reinventing itself with each episode but by embracing a multi-genre approach that offers viewers an unpredictable and thrilling ride.

The show’s creators and stars, Steve Pemberton and Reece Shearsmith, use each episode as a canvas to experiment, seamlessly transitioning from science fiction to comedy and beyond.

That way, they leave viewers guessing what’s in store next. This thrill and suspense make Inside No. 09 one of the top TV shows.

This season, Pemberton and Shearsmith have crafted a collection of tales predominantly rooted in thrills and suspense, a departure from their usual variety of odd stories. The show’s sporadic holiday specials have always been memorable, with immersive experiences like “Dead Line” and shocking twists in “The Devil of Christmas.”

Defying and meeting expectations

“Inside No. 9” continues to defy expectations, with episodes like “Mother’s Ruin,” which may initially seem reminiscent of past stories but takes an unforeseen turn, challenging viewers’ perceptions and leaving a lasting impact. Even amidst its signature gallows humor, the show doesn’t shy away from moments of graphic violence, reminding audiences of its ability to shock and captivate.

Hijack

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“Hijack,” created by George Kay (known for the recent Netflix adaptation of “Lupin”) and directed by Jim Field Smith (“Butter”), takes flight with a gripping narrative.

The story unfolds as the final passengers board a seven-hour flight from Dubai to London, including Sam Nelson (played by Idris Elba), who’s exchanging texts with his ex-partner, hinting at personal troubles. Little does he know that this flight will become a nightmare when five hijackers, led by the stoic Stuart (Neil Maskell), seize control of the plane.

As the plot of this top TV series unfolds, much of the drama revolves around Sam’s attempts to de-escalate the hijacking, showcasing Elba’s nuanced performance. Sam, drawing on his background as a business negotiator, understands the delicate balance between resisting the hijackers and ensuring the safety of everyone on board.

The tension intensifies as he grapples with the possibility of a 9/11-like scenario, forcing him to make difficult decisions to maintain calm among the passengers and prevent a tragic outcome.

Silo

Silo

When Hugh Howey’s self-published novel “Wool” took the literary world by storm in 2011, its immense popularity was almost eclipsed by the remarkable story of its rise. Howey, an industry outsider, became an icon for Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing, and “Wool” was even dubbed “the sci-fi version of Fifty Shades of Grey,” a comparison that, while rude, highlighted its unexpected success.

As readers eagerly anticipated the adaptation, their world underwent significant changes. Howey released the third novel in the series, “Dust,” and Netflix, a fledgling platform when “Wool” first emerged, evolved into a powerhouse, inspiring a wave of imitators. “Game of Thrones” captured the cultural zeitgeist, leading to a surge in demand for epic fantasy dramas.

Streaming services, including Apple TV+, invested heavily in sci-fi and fantasy epics to replicate HBO’s success. This surge in similar content made the path to originality more challenging for any new dystopian adaptation.

Silo on Apple TV+

With Apple TV+’s “Silo” finally making its debut over a decade after the first adaptation attempt, it faces the daunting task of standing out in an oversaturated market. The challenge lies in distinguishing itself from the crowd in a landscape teeming with dystopian tentpoles.

Had it premiered during the early days of streaming, the competition would have been less fierce. But now, audiences are well-versed in navigating the intricate landscapes of futuristic hellscapes, raising the bar for any new entrant in the genre.

The Witcher

The Witcher

Two years after the thrilling second season, one of the best TV series ever returns with a magical, monstrous upgrade in its third installment. This season immerses fans once again into the chaos of the Continent, where the powerful Princess Ciri of Cintra, portrayed by Freya Allan, finds herself relentlessly hunted by various forces.

Split into two volumes and led by showrunner Lauren Schmidt Hissrich, the third season propels our beloved characters—Ciri, Geralt of Rivia (played by Henry Cavill), and Yennefer of Vengerberg (portrayed by Anya Charlotra)—on a high-stakes run.

Run, Witcher, Run

Across eight episodes, the show amplifies its gruesome monster encounters, delves deeper into intricate politics, explores a wealth of magic, and showcases Ciri’s newfound strength as she navigates her world-saving or world-ending magical abilities.

In Season 3, “The Witcher” thrusts Geralt, Yennefer, and Ciri into a harrowing escapade, forcing them to flee from threats spanning the entire Continent. The series kicks off with a surprisingly mild opening scene featuring a group of seemingly inept “hunters,” which belies the genuine peril that lurks ahead.

As the trio navigates their way from one remote refuge to another, the initial episode exudes a palpable aura reminiscent of the forest-wandering escapades in “The Deathly Hallows.”

The Wheel of Time

The Wheel of Time

Adapting a cherished fantasy book series is delicate, balancing between pleasing existing fans and captivating new audiences. The challenge intensifies in the second season of this adaptation of Robert Jordan’s epic saga, “The Wheel of Time,” as minor alterations from the source material snowball into significant deviations. Fortunately, showrunner Rafe Judkins adeptly treads the fine line between honoring Jordan’s original vision and carving out his unique path for the series.

A cast for the future

The young cast members are increasingly settling into their roles, and the series maintains its intricate and visually captivating design. Amidst a sprawling and diverse cast, including newcomers like Elayne Trakand (Ceara Coveney), a novice Aes Sedai of great importance, and Verin Sedai (Meera Syal), a remarkably affable magic user, Judkins and his team skillfully manage the pacing and tone.

They introduce new characters and elaborate on the world’s intricacies at a measured pace, preventing the narrative from becoming overwhelming for both existing fans and newcomers alike.

Ted Lasso

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Evaluating a new season of a beloved TV series often involves unavoidable comparisons to its predecessors. When a show as brilliant, fun, and meaningful as Ted Lasso debuts, expectations run high for each subsequent season.

Season 3 is amongst the best TV shows for families. However, it might leave fans feeling conflicted. It’s not a bad season by any means—it’s still entertaining, heartwarming, and induces laughter. But for a series that has previously delivered the best, “good” might not suffice.

Many of the issues with Season 3 stem from the writing. Seasons 1 and 2 had clear directions, even within their standalone episodes; everything was building toward a singular destination. In contrast, Season 3 sprawls with storylines meandering in various directions. And there are a lot of storylines.

This season attempts to distribute the spotlight among its characters—Ted’s personal struggles, Rebecca’s quest for love, Sam’s restaurant venture, Colin’s coming out, and Nate’s redemption arc, to name a few.

While having multiple plot threads is common for shows with ensemble casts, the challenge lies in integrating these threads cohesively. Unfortunately, in Season 3, these storylines often feel disjointed, as if they are pieces of a jigsaw puzzle belonging to different pictures.

Be a goldfish

While individual episodes boast standout moments, the season as a whole leaves much to be desired. Ted, the heart and soul of the show, spends a significant amount of time preoccupied with his personal life, leading to less focus on coaching the team. His character, crucial to the show’s spirit, takes a backseat more than ever before.

While his personal journey is important, a more nuanced exploration could have filled the void left by his absence from the coaching forefront. The season’s overall impact feels diminished as a result.

Shows that are to be released in 2023 and 2024

Currently, several series can be ranked as the best TV shows on Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime. At the time of the writing of this article, Gen V was just released, while Ahsoka was just about to end. The story about Anakin’s padawan receives mixed to positive reviews from fans and critics, mostly for Grand Admiral Thrawn’s debut in live-action and the brilliant acting from the late Ray Stevenson.

The Boys’ spin-off Gen V has big shoes left to fill. So far, three episodes have been released, and it certainly isn’t for the faint of heart. Several major cameos are announced, and if it is remotely close to the original series, it would most certainly deliver.

What to expect in 2024

The upcoming 2024 promises to be exciting. So far, several all-time favorites of the editorial team have announced dates. Season 2 of House of The Dragon will be released sometime in the summer, while Season 5 of Stranger Things will be announced soon.

Other notable shows that we can’t wait to binge in 2024 include:

Daredevil: Born Again
Moana: The Series
The Walking Dead: The Ones Who Live
Spider-Man: Freshman Year
The Penguin
Squid Game (Season 2)

The list can go on and on and remains open for new titles that can be announced anytime!

In conclusion

It is hard to narrow the list to just 15 of the best TV shows binge-watched ever, not only in 2023. Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, and other streaming platforms constantly release series that can rank as the best TV shows.

These top TV series will keep you entertained for the rest of 2023 until the best TV shows of 2024 get released on screen. So, grab some popcorn (or any snack of your choosing) and prepare to binge great TV shows!

FAQ:

Which shows have stood out regarding character development and storytelling in 2023?

“The Last of Us” and “The Wheel of Time” are praised for their complex characters and intricate storytelling this year.

What sets Foundation apart as a sci-fi series, considering the current competitive landscape of streaming platforms?

Foundation distinguishes itself with its intricate world-building, exploring complex political dynamics and futuristic themes, making it a standout sci-fi series in the streaming landscape.

What makes “The Witcher” Season 3 special for fans of the fantasy genre?

The Witcher Season 3 enhances the fantasy elements, introduces new characters, and maintains a balance between source material adaptation and fresh storytelling.

What distinguishes “The Last of Us” TV series from the video game it’s based on?

The TV series explores a new narrative within the world of “The Last of Us,” featuring unique characters and storylines while still honoring the game’s essence.

How has “The Wheel of Time” adapted the complex fantasy world from the books to the screen?

“The Wheel of Time” has balanced the intricate world-building from the books while keeping the storyline engaging for viewers.

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