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15 Best TV Shows of 2023


Level up your binge-watching game in 2024 with the ultimate cheat code: Man of Many’s guide to the shows that ruled TV in 2023. Despite the industry facing its share of turbulence, the past year treated us to an impressive and explosive lineup of TV shows, ranging from side-splitting comedies to new adaptations and great original series. Whether you found yourself on the edge of your seat with HBO’s post-apocalyptic odyssey, The Last of Us or doubling over in laughter with Abbott Elementary, this year served up a buffet of TV shows that redefined “must-watch.”

Who could forget the greasy thrills of Chicago’s finest sandwich haven in FX’s The Bea‘ or the intense family secrets darker than the Kendall Roy power grab in Succession? As we reflect on the year gone by, we at Man of Many have distilled the best TV shows of 2023 for you, those that truly shined in a year of incredible content. These are the shows that stirred our emotions, sparked our imaginations, reminded us of kindness and a good laugh and defined the small screen in 2023.

Best TV Shows of 2023 at a Glance

Succession: Season 4

  • IMDB Rating: 8.9
  • Cast: Hiam Abbass, Nicholas Braun, Brian Cox, Kieran Culkin, Peter Friedman, Natalie Gold, Matthew Macfadyen, Alan Ruck, Sarah Snook, Jeremy Strong, Rob Yang, Dagmara Domińczyk, Arian Moayed, J. Smith-Cameron, Justine Lupe, David Rasche, Fisher Stevens and Alexander Skarsgård
  • Where to Watch: Foxtel, BINGE
  • Number of Seasons: 4

Succession season four went full nuclear family. And we mean literally. HBO’s darkly comedic chronicle of the media dynasty of the Roy family concluded its four-season run with a bang – and more than enough things for us to ramble on about. As the Roy siblings reached new lows in backstabbing and desperation this season, we got a real look at just how vulnerable and desperate power and greed can make someone. The power vacuum left by Brain Cox‘s Logan demise triggered a chaotic scramble for control, pushing the Roy siblings to their limits.

HBO’s Succession isn’t just this year’s best TV show; it might be the best TV show of the streaming era. A modern masterpiece of sharp writing, stunning performances, and masterful direction, the show effortlessly combines savage humour with unflinching social commentary, offering a darkly comedic yet honest exploration of family dysfunction and the insidious effects of unchecked ambition.

The Last of Us: Season 1

  • IMDB Rating: 8.8
  • Cast: Pedro Pascal and Bella Ramsey
  • Where to Watch: BINGE
  • Number of Seasons: 1

HBO’s The Last of Us isn’t just one of the best new TV shows in 2023; it sets a new standard for video game adaptations. Period. The show masterfully captures the first game’s essence – the ever-present fear of the infected, the struggle for hope in a decaying world, and the constant threat of violence. Yet, it goes beyond that, delving deeper into the characters’ psyches, the moral choices they face in the face of extinction, and the enduring human spirit that won’t give up.

Pedro Pascal delivers a brilliant performance as Joel, a smuggler burdened by past regrets, while Bella Ramsey brings a perfect mix of defiance and vulnerability to Ellie. But the show is more than about two people navigating a Cordyceps-ravaged landscape. It explores the emotional challenges of a broken world, forcing you to confront the tough moral conundrums that arise when faced with extinction. Are there truly “good” choices in this desolate reality?

Whether you’re a die-hard fan of the games or an absolute newcomer, HBO’s TheLastofUs is a must-watch. It’s a masterclass in storytelling and a brutal love letter to the source material.

The Bear: Season 2

  • IMDB Rating: 8.6
  • Cast: Jeremy Allen White, Ebon Moss-Bachrach, Ayo Edebiri, Lionel Boyce, Liza Colón-Zayas, Abby Elliott and Matty Matheson
  • Where to Watch: Disney+
  • Number of Seasons: 2

FX’s culinary dramedy The Bear roared back with a vengeance, proving some things age like vintage Cabernet – better with time. Season one’s grit-and-grease realism got a gourmet upgrade, transforming from Chicago’s greasy diner to a high-stakes Michelin dream. Season two saw Jeremy Allen White’s Carmen “Carmy” Berzatto grappling with the ghost of his past and the crippling weight of unfulfilled potential.

While the frenetic energy of the kitchen remained, it was now underscored by a melancholic introspection. This season’s pivot towards character development is a gamble that pays off in spades, elevating The Bear from a kitchen dramedy to an emotional powerhouse. We saw our draughty chefs battling with their own issues and past choices, all while trying to rebuild their new life and restaurant.

The Bear is that perfect blend of culinary intensity, family drama, and dark humour that’ll leave you saying, ‘Okay, just one more episode’. When season three finally hits screens, we’ll be waiting.

Hijack

  • IMDB Rating: 7.4
  • Cast: Idris Elba, Neil Maskell, Eve Myles, Christine Adams, Max Beesley, Archie Panjabi, Ben Miles and Kate Phillips
  • Where to Watch: Apple TV+
  • Number of Seasons: 1

Apple TV+‘s latest thriller miniseries, Hijack, throws you into a full-blown aviation mosh pit. The series is a seven-episode cocktail of hostage drama, corporate espionage, and Idris Elba’s steely charisma, served at 30,000 feet. It takes viewers on a pulse-pounding journey inside a hijacked commercial flight. Idris Elba stars as Sam Nelson, a corporate negotiator thrust into the role of hostage saviour when Flight KA29 is overtaken mid-air.

While the show occasionally stumbles with plot inconsistencies and some twists feel predictable, the fast-paced editing and claustrophobic camerawork effectively capture the fear and uncertainty gripping the passengers and crew. Elba commands the screen as Sam, navigating the tense situation with a mix of calm authority and calculated risk-taking.

The show really nails how Elba’s Sam grapples with the moral ambiguity of his choices and the emotional toll the situation takes on him. For fans of Idris Elba and those seeking a gripping, character-driven thriller, Hijack is definitely worth boarding.

Beef

  • IMDB Rating: 8.0
  • Cast: Steven Yeun, Ali Wong, Joseph Lee, Young Mazino, David Choe and Patti Yasutake
  • Where to Watch: Netflix
  • Number of Seasons: 1

Netflix and A24’s series Beef takes a seemingly mundane road rage incident and dissects it with dark humor and unsettling realism. Amy (Ali Wong) and Danny (Steven Yeun), two strangers from different walks of life, collide (literally) in a parking lot, sparking a resentment that escalates into a full-blown revenge war. What starts as passive-aggressive notes and petty pranks quickly spiral into increasingly dangerous and destuctive acts.

Through their escalating conflict, Beef explores the fragility of mental health, the corrosive power of resentment, and the dark underbelly of our seemingly civilized society. It’s a show that’s both deeply funny and profoundly unsettling, forcing viewers to confront the potential consequences of their own anger and the thin line between everyday annoyances and life-altering consequences. So if you’re tired of saccharine TV and crave a show that punches you in the gut, Netflix’s Beef is highly recommended.

The Lazarus Project: Season 2

  • IMDB Rating: 7.2
  • Cast: Paapa Essiedu, Anjli Mohindra, Tom Burke and Caroline Quentin
  • Where to Watch: Stan
  • Number of Seasons: 2

TheLazarusProject’s second season is back with even more of the mind-bending time loops and existential dread that made the first one a cult hit. This time around, the Lazarus team confronts the brutal consequences of their actions, their memories fractured across countless timelines. Janet (Vinette Robinson) finds herself marooned in the past after a malfunctioning time machine abandons her there, while the present-day team battles a rival time travel organization, the Time Break Initiative, determined to build their own time machine and trigger the apocalypse, led by the unpredictable Colin Salmon.

Now, not only is our protagonist George (Paapa Essiedu) alone and trapped in Groundhog Day hell, but his loss of faith in the Lazarus Project’s mission means he’s untethered from a set of protocols and losing the will to go on. This season is a darker, more introspective chapter for the series, but it doesn’t skimp on the thrills. Expect high-octane action sequences, mind-bending paradoxes, and emotional gut punches that will leave you questioning everything you thought you knew about time travel and its consequences.

The Curse

  • IMDB Rating: 6.7
  • Cast: Emma Stone, Nathan Fielder and Benny Safdie
  • Where to Watch: Paramount Plus
  • Number of Seasons: 1

The Curse, Nathan Fielder and Benny Safdie’s latest brainchild is both hilarious and unsettling in equal measure. The satirical black comedy thriller centres around a married couple, Asher (Nathan Fielder) and Whitney Siegel (Emma Stone), as they try to launch their reality TV show, called “Flipanthropy.” However, their quest for reality TV stardom aboard their self-titled show takes them down a hilariously bizarre rabbit hole of greenwashed renovations and social media meltdowns.

Both Fielder and Emma Stone’s performances are tour de forces, embodying with brutal precision the self-absorption and delusion of two individuals desperately grasping eco-conscious relevance. While Benny Safdie’s portrayal of the reality TV puppeteer Dougie is a grotesquely captivating study of manipulation. TheCurse is a raw portrait of modern dysfunction, disguised as a cringe-fest reality show with a sharp wit and a mischievous glint.

I Think You Should Leave With Tim Robinson: Season 3

  • IMDB Rating: 8.0
  • Cast: Tim Robinson
  • Where to Watch: Netflix
  • Number of Seasons: 3

While season three of I Think You Should Leave With Tim Robinson might not be the second coming of the “funeral home sketch,” it’s still a wild ride through the human experience. The show’s genius lies in its commitment to uncomfortable cringe and Season 3 dials up the awkwardness factor, keeping the show’s signature formula intact with hilarious sketches like “Darmine Doggy Door” and “Silent Actor.” Robinson the show’s creator and star, expertly plays characters trapped in social quicksand, digging themselves deeper with every desperate denial.

The show’s unconventional humour, heavy on cringe and absurdity, might alienate some viewers. But for those with a taste for the subversive and the uncomfortable, I Think You Should Leave is a comedic revelation that will make you want to laugh and look away at the same time.

Lessons in Chemistry

  • IMDB Rating: 8.3
  • Cast: Brie Larson, Lewis Pullman, Aja Naomi King, Stephanie Koenig and Patrick Walker
  • Where to Watch: Apple TV
  • Number of Seasons: 1

Apple TV+’s Lessons in Chemistry offers a compelling blend of historical drama and social commentary, all cleverly hidden beneath the familiar veneer of a 1960s cooking show. This miniseries, loosely based on Bonnie Garmus’s novel, beautifully combines a cooking show format with deeper themes, using Elizabeth Zott’s journey as a brilliant chemist trapped in the domestic sphere to spark social commentary and intellectual rebellion. Brie Larson takes the reins as Elizabeth Zott, a smart chemist, relegated to hosting a 1960s cooking show called “Supper at Six.”

Larson shines in the role, brilliantly portraying Zott’s scientific acumen, frustrated ambition, and moments of quiet vulnerability. The series deviates from the book’s sharper satire, opting for a warmer, episodic approach. While some may miss the bite, the show compensates with clever humour and a heartfelt portrayal of Elizabeth’s struggles. The supporting cast, including Lewis Pullman’s charming neighbour and Aja Naomi King’s fellow scientist, offers a well-rounded perspective on the era’s social dynamics.

Poker Face

  • IMDB Rating: 7.9
  • Cast: Natasha Lyonne
  • Where to Watch: Stan
  • Number of Seasons: 1

Peacock’s PokerFace takes you on a gritty road trip through rural America’s hidden corners, revealing the desperation and danger behind the dusty neon signs and gas station pumps. Natasha Lyonne shines as Charlie Cale, the sharp-tongued casino worker with a knack for spotting fibs from afar. This talent becomes Cale’s compass as she gets tangled in a web of small-town mysteries, each episode a self-contained puzzle waiting to be cracked. Unlike traditional whodunits, PokerFace subverts expectations. We know the culprit from the outset; the real suspense lies in unravelling their motives and witnessing Cale’s relentless pursuit of truth.

The series excels in its nuanced portrayal of human nature. Each character, from quirky guest stars to unsuspecting townsfolk, grapples with moral complexities and hidden desires. The show’s deft writing avoids simple archetypes, instead opting for a tapestry of individuals facing difficult choices in often unforgiving circumstances. This depth lends itself to moments of dark humour and genuine pathos, keeping viewers intellectually and emotionally engaged.

Beyond its captivating mysteries, PokerFace offers a poignant commentary on contemporary American society, delving into themes of economic hardship, societal divisions, and the allure of quick fixes.

Dead Ringers

  • IMDB Rating: 6.5
  • Cast: Rachel Weisz, Britne Oldford, Poppy Liu, Jennifer Ehle and Michael Chernus
  • Where to Watch: Prime Video
  • Number of Seasons: 1

Prime Video‘s DeadRingers, a miniseries based on David Cronenberg’s 1988 film, is a masterclass in Cronenbergian chills, delivered with a fresh, feminist perspective that will leave you shaken, stirred, and utterly enthralled. Delving into the ethically fraught world of fetal genetic engineering, the series follows identical twin gynecologists, Elliot and Beverly Mantle (both portrayed with nuanced complexity by Rachel Weisz), as they push the boundaries of science and sanity in their quest to revolutionize childbirth.

Their work challenges the distinction between medical miracle and ethical monstrosity, raising unsettling questions about the future of parenthood. If you’re a Cronenberg devotee, prepare to be both delighted and disturbed. This masterful remake retains the director’s signature blend of clinical precision and visceral unease, amplifying it with a feminist twist that flips the script on the original’s male-centric narrative.

Barry: Season 4

  • IMDB Rating: 8.4
  • Cast: Bill Hader, Stephen Root, Sarah Goldberg, Glenn Fleshler, Anthony Carrigan, Henry Winkler, Sarah Burns and Robert Wisdom
  • Where to Watch: BINGE
  • Number of Seasons: 4

The fourth and final season of HBO’s critically acclaimed dark comedy, Barry, arrived with an even darker edge, delving deep into the complexities of morality and mortality. The season picks up six years after the events of season three, with Barry in jail, all thanks to Gene. He’s still trying to leave his hitman past, but his old life keeps catching up with him. Meanwhile, Sally is struggling with her own acting career and dealing with the fallout of Barry’s actions.

Hader’s hitman-turned-actor continues to impress, wrestling with inner demons while trying to build a new life for himself. The supporting cast is equally stellar, from Sarah Goldberg’s Sally to Carrigan’s naive mafia. This final act not only closes the loop on Bill Hader’s Barry; it also cements the show’s evolution from ‘underrated’ to essential viewing.

Gen V

  • IMDB Rating: 7.8
  • Cast: Jaz Sinclair, Chance Perdomo, Lizze Broadway, Maddie Phillips, London Thor, Derek Luh, Asa Germann and Shelley Conn
  • Where to Watch: Prime Video
  • Number of Seasons: 1

Spinning off from the critically acclaimed TheBoys, GenV had much to prove. Superhero fatigue is real nowadays, and replicating the success of a show that thrives on subversion and satire seemed like a near-impossible feat. However, GenV not only succeeds (and is as gory and twisted as you would expect), but it also expands the TheBoys universe in unexpected and exciting ways.

The spin-off takes place after the events of season three set in Godolkin University, the Vought International-run college for Supes, which as we know now is a front for something much more shadier and darker. Though violence and gore remain signature elements, GenV isn’t simply a gory echo of the main series. Instead, it flips the perspective, unveiling a darker side of the superhero world and how Vought manipulates young Supes for their own ends.

One Piece

  • IMDB Rating: 8.4
  • Cast: Iñaki Godoy, Emily Rudd, Mackenyu, Jacob Gibson, Taz Skylar, Vincent Regan, Jeff Ward and Morgan Davies
  • Where to Watch: Netflix
  • Number of Seasons: 1

Netflix’s OnePiece has shattered expectations, proving to be a compelling live-action adaptation of the beloved manga. This pirate adventure dives deep into the beloved manga, bringing its wacky world, lovable characters, and thrilling quests to life in a way that’s both exciting and heart-warming. The series centres around a mischievous crew of pirates called the Straw Hats, led by the stretchy and enthusiastic Luffy.

They sail the vast Grand Line, facing crazy challenges and weird villains on their quest for the legendary One Piece – a treasure beyond compare. Netflix’s OnePiece strikes a golden balance between honouring the manga with clever narrative tweaks for the live-action format. Iconic story arcs are faithfully depicted, while subtle additions and character expansions deepen the emotional impact and enhance the viewing experience for both longstanding fans and newcomers.

The Fall of the House of Usher

  • IMDB Rating: 8.0
  • Cast: Carla Gugino Bruce Greenwood, Mary McDonnell, Henry Thomas, Kate Siegel, Rahul Kohli, Samantha Sloyan, T’Nia Miller, Zach Gilford, Willa Fitzgerald, Michael Trucco, Katie Parker, Sauriyan Sapkota Matt Biedel, Crystal Balint, Ruth Codd, Kyliegh Curran, Carl Lumbly and Mark Hamill
  • Where to Watch: Netflix
  • Number of Seasons: 1

Mike Flanagan’s The Fall of the House of Usher reimagines Edgar Poe’s gothic horror as a modern family saga, unveiling the gilded rot of the Usher empire. Set against the backdrop of a morally bankrupt pharmaceutical dynasty, the series unfolds a chilling saga of corporate greed, familial disintegration, and supernatural retribution. The narrative weaves its way through the family’s history, exposing the Usher family’s rise to wealth through the morally dubious pharmaceutical empire they control.

As secrets unravel and tragedy strikes, the Ushers confront not only external forces but also the demons within themselves. Led by Bruce Greenwood’s captivating performance as the patriarch, Roderick Usher, the cast delivers powerful portrayals, including Carla Gugino as Verna, a mysterious figure with equally mysterious motives. Flanagan’s meticulous direction and intricate script seamlessly blend gothic horror with elements of psychological drama and science fiction. The result is an engaging narrative that is as intellectually stimulating as it is emotionally resonant.

Best TV Shows of 2023 FAQs

What were some of the other best TV shows which were released this year?

2023 has been a stellar year for television, bringing forth a diverse array of compelling shows. Some of this year’s best and standout TV shows include FX’s ‘Fargo‘, ‘RainDogs‘ on HBO, ‘Cunk on Earth‘ on Netflix, ‘ReservationDogs‘ on FX, and ABC’s ‘AbbottElementary,’ among others.

Which TV show won the most awards in 2023?

HBO drama series ‘Succession’ received the most Emmy nods in 2023, nabbing 27 nominations. Second was fellow HBO series ‘The Last of Us’, followed by fan favourites ‘The White Lotus’ and ‘Ted Lasso’.