The year 2023 started off with a bang as some great new TV shows like Poker Face made their debut and popular series like Succession returned with new seasons. While not every show is a hit, some have taken off, exploding in popularity and becoming immediate favorites with fans and critics alike. In some cases, shows that made the biggest waves were a surprise, while others that were wonderful didn’t get the recognition they deserve.
We’re only a few months into 2023, but a group of shows is already emerging as the best of the year so far. Some are existing shows enjoying incredible new seasons while others are brand new shows that are sure to delight with new seasons to come.
Note: This article contains spoilers for the shows on the list.
The Last Of Us season 1
The series adaptation of the popular video game of the same name is arguably the biggest new show launch of the year to date. The Last of Us is set in a postapocalyptic world where a virus has taken out almost all of humankind. It stars Pedro Pascal (The Mandalorian) as Joel, a hardened survivor simply going through the motions and still grieving the death of his daughter 20 years earlier. When he is tasked with transporting a teenage girl named Ellie (Bella Ramsey of Game of Thrones) to safety, believing she might hold the key to a cure, the unlikely duo embark on a dangerous and emotionally charged journey together.
Already renewed for a second season, The Last of Us has received critical acclaim. Fans of The Last of Us video game love moments that are faithful to that story, with some dialogue and scenes that look like they’re straight out of the game. But it’s a story that stands on its own, and anyone can watch and enjoy without ever having played the game.
Stream The Last of Us on HBO Max.
Shrinking season 1
From the creators of Ted Lasso (including Brett Goldstein, who plays Roy Kent on that series), Shrinking is one of the more underrated series of the year. The comedy-drama stars Jason Segel (How I Met Your Mother) as Jimmy, a therapist and single father who is having a tough time grieving the sudden death of his wife. Frustrated with his job (and patients), he resorts to unconventional methods to treat them, which doesn’t sit well with his colleague, Dr. Paul Rhoades (Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny‘s Harrison Ford). Jimmy tries new, unorthodox methods that would surely have him stripped of his license in the real world. Some appear to work, while others prove dangerous, but through it all, Jimmy himself begins to finally heal.
With a wonderful supporting cast that includes Jessica Williams (Fantastic Beasts) as the upbeat coworker, Michael Urie (Ugly Betty) as the hilarious best friend, Lukita Maxwell (Genera+ion) as the angry teenage daughter, and Christa Miller (Scrubs) as the nosy neighbor, Shrinking will have you laughing, crying, and enjoying every last minute, all the way through. A second season is forthcoming.
Stream Shrinking on Apple TV+.
The Night Agent season 1
A massive surprise hit for Netflix, The Night Agent is a corny action thriller that has plenty of twists and turns, heavy action scenes, and mysteries behind its thrilling storyline. Peter (Gabriel Basso, Hillbilly Elegy) is an FBI agent who sits in a windowless room waiting for a phone to ring when secret night agents are in danger. It never does. But one day, he gets a call from a terrified young woman who has no idea who he is or why she’s calling him. Her aunt and uncle were just killed and there’s an assassin hunting her down.
Peter helps save the woman, Rose (Luciane Buchanan, Filthy Rich), but the two find themselves investigating a potential cover-up and looking into a possible mole in The White House. Already ensconced in Netflix’s top 10 most popular shows ever list, The Night Agent is slightly predictable, sometimes unbelievable. But the cast, which also includes Robert Patrick (Fear the Walking Dead) and Hong Chau (The Whale), intense scenes, and layered stories make it the ultimate escapist guilty pleasure.
Stream The Night Agent on Netflix.
Succession season 4
With one of the most talked-about episodes on television this year so far, Succession is pulling out all the stops for its fourth and final season. Following a shocking death, the Roy children are fighting for power of Waystar Royco, the billion-dollar global media and entertainment company their father Logan (Brian Cox) founded. They not only need to battle greedy outsiders, but also one another.
With Emmy buzz already surrounding the lead characters, including Jeremy Strong as Kendall, Kieran Culkin as Roman, and Sarah Snook as Shiv, Succession will go down in history as one of the best TV shows of this decade. Fans are on edge waiting to find out how the story will end.
Stream Succession on HBO Max.
You season 4
Not since Dexter has there been such a captivating and charming serial killer that fans love to hate and hate to love. Joe Goldberg (Penn Badgley) fits the bill in the psychological thriller You, which sees the Gossip Girl actor play an obsessive stalker who rationalizes his heinous acts through an internal monologue as fans follow along, hearing his every thought. Each season, Joe falls for a new woman — and each season, the woman, and often other individuals in Joe’s life, end up in danger from his delusions.
In season 4, which debuted in two parts in 2023, Joe is now living in England under the assumed identity of a college professor named Jonathan Moore. He unwillingly becomes part of an elite group of socialites, and the situation quickly becomes murderous, though Joe is seemingly a victim this time. Season 4 pack in more twists and turns than any of teh previous ones, and fans will eventually get full closure since You was renewed for a fifth and final season.
Stream You on Netflix.
Yellowjackets season 2
While the show’s first season received numerous Emmy nominations, Yellowjackets still largely flies under the radar. A Showtime series, it has only recently been integrated into the premium tier of Paramount+. Set in two different time periods, a group of women in present day are forced the relive the trauma of a time in high school when their plane crashed, leaving them stranded in the remote wilderness for 19 months.
The ladies resorted to troubling behavior in order to cope and survive, much of which they refuse to talk about. But 25 years later, the past is coming back to haunt them. With a star-studded cast that includes Melanie Lynskey, Tawny Cypress, Christina Ricci, and Juliette Lewis as the present-day women, along with an impressive cast playing the younger versions of their characters, Yellowjackets is a psychological thriller that will make you cringe. The show has already been renewed for a third season.
Stream Yellowjackets on Paramount+.
Ted Lasso season 3
With 20 Emmy nominations for its first season, Ted Lasso set the record for the most nods ever for a comedy in its debut season. What makes the current third season so important to fans is that it’s still unclear if it will be the show’s last. Jason Sudeikis shines as the title character, an American football coach who is called on to coach an English soccer team. He doesn’t know anything about soccer (i.e., English football), but the owner Rebecca (Hannah Waddingham), a jilted ex-wife, thinks he’s the perfect person to tank the team and get back at her ex.
However, Hannah and others find it difficult not to love the charming Ted, especially when the mental health struggles he hides beneath his jovial façade become apparent. A sports comedy-drama, Ted Lasso has been praised for tackling the topic of mental health, especially among men and particularly men in sports, with grace and humor. Ted Lasso is an uplifting series that, when you dig down, isn’t actually about sports at all.
Stream Ted Lasso on Apple TV+.
Unprisoned season 1
Unprisoned has been receiving rave reviews since it premiered in March 2023. Kerry Washington (Scandal) stars as Paige, a therapist and single mother whose life is upended when her estranged father, Edwin (Delroy Lindo, The Good Fight), is released from prison. He moves in with her and her teenage son, and hilarity ensues.
Ostensibly a comedy, Unprisoned is also full of heartfelt moments about acceptance and love. Even though it’s a show about healing from trauma, Unprisoned still maintains a lightness in tone. There are no shocking twists and turns, just a relatable story about a family coming together. The series has yet to receive a second-season pickup, but fans are hopeful the delightful characters will return soon.
Stream Unprisoned on Hulu.
Star Trek: Picard season 3
The latest episodes of Star Trek: Picard have given fans all they asked for — and a little more as well. Now in its third season with talks of a potential spinoff or continuation series to follow, the series features admiral Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart) returning to the Starfleet. Set in the year 2399 with Picard long since retired, he is drawn back in when he meets a woman claiming to be the daughter of his old friend Data. He must fight to protect the rights of the synthetic beings and honor his old pal, whom he continues to grieve.
In Picard‘s season 3, Patrick Stewart’s venerable captain, now with his consciousness in a synthetic body himself, faces a new enemy hunting his command crew. With plenty of new and returning characters, Star Trek: Picard, the eighth series in the franchise, is one of the most exciting shows of the year thus far.
Stream Star Trek: Picard on Paramount+.
Beef season 1
Steven Yuen (The Walking Dead) and Ali Wong (Always Be My Maybe) are a formidable pair in Beef, a new Netflix series about a road rage incident that is blown completely out of proportion. An exaggeration of the lengths people will go to for petty revenge, it focuses on Danny (Yuen) and Amy (Wong), who live completely different lives in completely different economic classes. When they have a violent road rage incident and discover one another’s identities, however, they do ridiculous things to get back at one another. The end results, however, wreak havoc in the lives of their friends and family members as well.
Beneath the surface, Beef is also about mental health, accepting your flaws, and finding meaning in an otherwise painful existence. Beef goes deeper and even more violent than some fans might expect, but it will keep you riveted to the story and sympathizing with (or loathing) the characters the entire way through.
Stream Beef on Netflix.