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The best original streaming shows on every major service in 2023
With a growing number of streaming sites offering huge libraries of new and old content, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by the wealth of options. Each service rolls out new and exciting streaming shows and movies every week. So, let’s break it down and start slow. What are the best original streaming shows?
Below, you’ll find our top picks, organized according to where you can watch them among the massive number of streaming services currently on the market.
Best original streaming show: GLOW
Netflix has been in the game for a while now, launching its first original streaming series, House of Cards, in 2013. Since then, it has put out a slew of hits like Orange Is the New Black, The Umbrella Academy, Stranger Things, BoJack Horseman, The Crown, and a string of Marvel shows. But of all of them, the women’s wrestling comedy GLOW takes the cake. The series follows a group of women in the 1980s finding strength and solidarity as the Glamorous Ladies of Wrestling. The all-female wrestling crew lights up the local airwaves before a move to live performance in Vegas. Despite being canceled ahead of its fourth season, GLOW remains one of the very best original streaming shows on Netflix.
- Ozark: When a white-collar criminal angers the wrong people, he moves his family to the Ozarks to start fresh, while not exactly leaving his criminal past behind. What sounded like a Breaking Bad knockoff at first has proven to be a great crime drama.
- Sense8: The Wachowskis’ and J. Michael Strackzynski’s sci-fi series is one of the most ambitious Netflix projects, spanning the globe and following eight characters who suddenly find themselves bonded mentally and emotionally. The show was canceled after two seasons, but thanks to fan outcry, there’s also a film that wrapped up the sprawling narrative.
- Stranger Things: This 80s genre throwback sees the kids of a small town in Indiana squaring off against various supernatural threats and the government agents trying to cover it all up.
- Sex Education: The teen son of a sex therapist starts giving relationship advice at school for cash, leading to various misadventures and a sexual revolution among the student body.
- The OA: A woman who has been missing for seven years reappears with mysterious new abilities. She recruits five strangers to help her on a surreal mission that challenges the laws of reality in this brilliant sci-fi series cancelled far too soon.
Best original streaming show: Hacks
This comedy-drama has taken home six well-earned Emmys. That includes two for the incomparable Jean Smart who co-leads the series with the Emmy-nominated Hannah Einbinder. When a 25-year-old comedian is cancelled, she’s desperate for work. Her search leads her to Las Vegas, to help write new material for legendary comic Deborah Vance. As the two spar over their generational divide, they develop a reluctant camaraderie, with Vance serving as an unlikely mentor. With stiff competition from other top-notch Max original series, Hacks takes the top spot for its blend of laugh-out-loud comedy and thoughtful human drama.
- The Sex Lives of College Girls: This comedy series follows a group if roommates in college, navigating the ins and outs of academic life and the sexual experimentation that comes with it.
- Search Party: Originally on TBS, this sleeper hit has found a second life as an HBO Max original. A group of friends in New York gets entangled in a possible missing persons case in this satirical dark comedy.
- The Other Two: A brother and sister struggling to get their careers off the ground find themselves at an existential crossroads when their little brother becomes an overnight pop sensation.
- Our Flag Means Death: This swashbuckling comedy adventure follows a pampered aristocrat as he turns to a life of piracy on the high seas. Based very loosely on true events, this queer fan-favorite series is a top choice on Max.
- Station Eleven: After a pandemic wipes out most of humanity, survivors do their best in a new and transformed world, recreating civilization through art.
Best original streaming show: Andor
Easily the best of the live-action Star Wars series on Disney Plus, Andor looks at the early days of the resistance, zeroing in on Cassian Andor’s political awakening before the events of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. Diego Luna returns as Andor, with Rogue One writer Tony Gilroy serving as showrunner. The series offers one of the most stripped-down and compelling portraits of fascism and political action so far in any Star Wars title, with moving, human stories about the people fighting off tyranny. Luna is joined by Star Wars newcomers Adria Arjona, Stellan Skarsgård, Denise Gough, Fiona Shaw, and more, as well as returning actors Forrest Whitaker, Genevieve O’Reilly, and Alan Tudyk.
- Ms. Marvel: This series follows Kamala Kahn, a teen Avengers superfan trying to fit in when she discovers a family heirloom that gives her superpowers. The coming-of-age story is funny, exciting, and moving, and it feels refreshingly like its own adventure, not tied too tightly to the rest of the MCU.
- The Mandalorian: Just five years after the fall of the Galactic Empire, lone bounty hunter Din Djarin gets a mission that changes his life. Tasked with capturing the Force-sensitive Grogu, he chooses to protect him instead, earning them a relentless pursuer in Moff Gideon.
- Daredevil: Technically, Daredevil started out as a Netflix original, but when the rights reverted back to Disney, the series moved to Disney Plus. That’s where you can watch the dark and gritty adventures of Blind lawyer and superhero Matt Murdock.
- The Beatles: Get Back: Peter Jackson’s three-part docuseries is a fascinating and intimate glimpse into the recording sessions of one of the best rock bands of all time/
- High School Musical: The Musical: The Series: A coming-of-age comedy-drama-musical based on the popular film series, this Disney Plus show features high schoolers putting on stage musicals.
Apple TV Plus
Best original streaming show: For All Mankind
One of Apple TV Plus’ flagship shows, For All Mankind explores an alternate American history. What if the Soviet Union had put a man on the moon before NASA? What if the moon landing became the central battleground in the Cold War, with both sides investing more heavily in space exploration? The show follows a group of astronauts and other NASA employees as they adjust over many years to a vision of American ingenuity that cleverly pushes back against the reality we know. With sharp writing and top-notch performances, For All Mankind is Apple TV Plus’ best show. Frankly, it’s one of the best shows on any platform.
- Servant: M. Night Shyamalan‘s Servant is a slow-boiling horror story about a live-in nanny to a couple whose child died and was replaced by a life-like replica. But with the new addition to the household, something strange is happening. The child may be alive and well after all.
- Dickinson: This historical drama refigures American poet Emily Dickinson’s youth with some modern twists.
- Severance: In the near future, employees at a mysterious company undergo a procedure separating their work and personal memories from one another. When one employee encounters another outside of work, he begins looking into his employer’s motives and practices.
- Silo: In an apocalyptic future, survivors of an unknown event live in an underground silo, following strict rules meant to protect them from the toxic world outside. But some begin to realize there may be more to the story.
- Ted Lasso: A classic fish-out-of-water comedy, Ted Lasso is about an American football coach who relocates to England to coach a soccer team, even though he knows nothing about the sport.
Best original streaming show: Castle Rock
It’s hard to go wrong with adapting stories from Stephen King’s brain. Castle Rock is a town with an ancient history and a dark present. Mysterious and sinister events are happening. A mysterious prisoner is found in Shawshank Penitentiary and Henry Matthew Deaver has to figure things out before it’s too late. The second season focuses on a young Annie Wilkes, a character from King’s novel Misery, and her daughter as they become stranded in Castle Rock. Annie takes a job as a nurse at the local hospital, and her deteriorating mental state, combined with the town’s eerie occurrences, sets the stage for a terrifying conclusion.
- Only Murders in the Building: A hilarious send-up of America’s obsession with true crime, this series follows a trio of huge fans of a Serial-like podcast as they come together to investigate a murder in their own Manhattan apartment complex.
- The Great: The Great is a black comedy about the early days of Catherine the Great as she acclimates to life in Russia with her new husband. Pitch-perfect performances by Elle Fanning and Nicholas Hoult make this essential viewing for Hulu subscribers.
- The Bear: A world-class chef returns home to Chicago when his brother dies to take over the family sandwich joint. With his high standards, he struggles to keep the place afloat while elevating its menu and perfecting a kitchen system with his new team.
- Reservation Dogs: This coming-of-age comedy-drama, created by Sterlin Harjo and Taika Waititi, follows four Indigenous teenagers in rural Oklahoma as they steal to save up for a move to California.
- The Handmaid’s Tale: Based on the novel by Margaret Atwood, this Hulu original imagines a dystopian future where women are treated as property and follows a group who resist against the totalitarian regime.
Amazon Prime Video
Best original streaming show: Citadel
Mason Kane is living a quiet life as Kyle Conroy, his memories of being a spy wiped clean. Until an old colleague shows up, asking for help to fight the Manticore, the very reason Mason had to start a new life in the first place. Orlick, the colleague, informs him about his past life as a spy and tells him that Dahlia Archer, a Manticore agent, is on the hunt for a top-secret Citadel X case. Orlick abducts Kyle and his family and persuades him to come out of retirement to help retrieve it.
- The Underground Railroad: A stunning miniseries that literalizes the historical network of abolitionists who worked to help secure freedom for individuals escaping slavery, here depicted as a genuine railroad built underground, tracks and all.
- The Expanse: Cancelled after three seasons at Syfy, The Expanse has been an Amazon original since season four. In a future where space is being colonized, different factions fight for resources and self-determination.
- Reacher: Based on the Jack Reacher novels by Lee Child, Reacher follows the titular drifter as he accidentally gets himself into trouble, solving crimes and killing bad guys along the way.
- Fleabag: Co-produced with the BBC, Fleabag is a dry, dark, and witty look at one woman’s journey of healing as she faces modern life in London.
- The Peripheral: The Peripheral centers around Flynne Fisher, a young woman who lives in a near-future rural America that has been left behind by technological progress. She takes over her brother Burton’s job beta-testing a mysterious new game for a tech company. However, she quickly realizes that she’s not merely beta-testing a game — she’s remotely operating a security drone in an alternate future version of London.
Best original streaming show: Succession
HBO Max replaced older HBO streaming services, but the premium cable channel still has its own library of original titles, so it seems fair to single a few out, even though you’ll be finding them over on HBO Max. One of the top titles you’ll find at HBO is Succession. The family drama premiered in 2018 and follows the Roy clan, a family of spoiled rich kids vying to take over the family media conglomerate from their father. Succession feels like it captures everything that’s wrong with the world, all condensed into one over-privileged family. And somehow it’s still tremendous fun to watch.
- Watchmen: This adaptation of Alan Moore’s classic superhero deconstruction feels less like a new take on the original comic and more like an engagement with its core concepts, updated for the current day. It’s a brilliant piece of television and well worth checking out.
- I May Destroy You: Michaela Coel’s I May Destroy You, co-produced with BBC, is a raw look at a woman taking stock of her life, relationships, and career after she’s sexually assaulted in a nightclub. It’s smart, moving, devastating, funny, and brilliant.
- The Leftovers: A devastating and beautiful look at a world where 2% of the world’s population mysteriously vanishes, leaving the surVivors to pick up the pieces of their lives without any answers as to why they lost their loved ones.
- Barry: A hit-man having an existential crisis finds a new calling when he follows a mark into an LA acting class. His old life won’t stay behind him though, and he has to balance two conflicting worlds.
- The Righteous Gemstones: A hilarious satire of televangelism, The Righteous Gemstones follows a famous preacher and his kids, who fight over who will inherit the family business.
Best original streaming show: Yellowjackets
A high school girls soccer team is stranded in the wilderness in 1996 when their plane crashes on the way to a national tournament in Showtime’s breakout hit. Through jumps in time, we learn that the girls eventually descend into Lord of the Flies-esque group madness, with more than a few hints of the supernatural. Within the first episode, we get glimpses of ritual killings and cannibalism months after the crash. In the present day, we catch up with surVivors. As they work to put the past behind them, reminders of the woods creep into their lives, bringing them back together. With huge spikes in viewership from episode to episode and a well-earned season renewal in 2021, Showtime’s Yellowjackets is a major win for the cable network and its streaming division.
- Homeland: The show kicks off with the premise that Brody, who returns to the US as a war hero, may have been turned by the enemy and poses a terrorist threat. Carrie, who comes across information that an American POW has been turned, puts her career and reputation at risk to prove that Brody is now working for al-Qaeda.
- Ziwe: Absurdly talented and wickedly clever writer, comedian, and internet star Ziwe brings her unique brand of comedy to a hilarious variety show featuring celebrity interviews, musical numbers, and sketches.
- Billions: U.S. attorney Chuck Rhoades wages war on a hedge fund billionaire in this high-stakes drama about the haves and the have nots, and about who really gets to live the American Dream in a country rife with economic inequality.
- The Chi: The residents of the south side of Chicago are brought together by an act of police brutality in the coming-of-age drama about growing up Black in America.
- Dexter: Dexter leads a double life. By day, he helps the police solve crimes and put killers behind bars. By night, he is a serial killer who targets other murderers who have managed to evade the justice system.
Best original streaming show: Poker Face
From Knives Out and The Last Jedi director Rian Johnson comes a mystery-of-the-week whodunnit in the style of Columbo and Murder, She Wrote. Natasha Lyonne stars as Charlie Cale, who is gifted with the uncanny ability to tell when someone is lying. When she angers some dangerous people in Vegas, Charlie hits the road. But she can’t seem to avoid trouble. At every stop along the way, she encounters new mysteries and uses her unique skills to help solve them. Poker Face is refreshingly episodic, with new characters introduced each week. It’s clever, dark, and engaging, and it’s the best original show on Peacock.
- Mrs. Davis: A nun wages war on a sophisticated artificial intelligence in this bizarre, existential action-comedy.
- Dr. Death: One of Peacock’s prestige dramas, based on a true story and the podcast of the same name, Dr. Death tells the story of a star neurosurgeon whose colleagues begin to notice disturbing patterns among his patients’ health outcomes.
- We Are Lady Parts: A hilarious and thoughtful series about an all-female Muslim punk band in England. The show presents the band finding their voice together, navigating cultural differences, and rocking out.
- Girls5eva: When a rapper samples their biggest hit, a 90s girl band sees it as their chance to get back in the game with a comeback tour in this hilarious buddy comedy.
- The Amber Ruffin Show: Late Night with Seth Meyers alum Ruffin hostsa huge critical hit that blends monologues and sketch comedy.
Best original streaming show: Star Trek: Strange New Worlds
Paramount Plus’ streaming-only Star Trek: Lower Decks takes place before the events of the original series and spins off from Star Trek: Discovery. The show blends the aesthetics of modern Star Trek shows with the fun, episodic adventures of Treks of yesteryear. Each week, the crew of the storied USS Enterprise goes on a different mission, under the command of Captain Pike. The old-school format leaves room for sillier one-off episodes and the deeper philosophical explorations that have always defined Trek. When all those pieces come together, Strange New Worlds is quite simply the best Star Trek show currently on Paramount Plus.
- Younger: Originally on TV Land, the clever Younger has been a Paramount Plus original since its seventh season launched this year. The show follows a 40-year-old woman who pretends to be in her 20s to avoid the ageism of her publishing industry job.
- 1883: This prequel to the Paramount Network’s hit western family drama Yellowstone sees the Dutton family in its early days before they founded the Yellowstone Ranch.
- The Good Fight: A sequel series to The Good Wife, The Good Fight sees Diane Lockhart fighting her way back up the ladder at a new law firm with new challenges and conflicts.
- Mayor Of Kingstown: Two brothers act as go-betweens for prison inmates wanting to communicate with the outside world in this gritty crime drama.
- Star Trek: Lower Decks: A delightful animated Star Trek show about the folks who keep ships running without ever touching much of the glory and praise that the main casts hog for themselves.
That’s just a sampling of the best original streaming shows you can catch up with on all the major streaming services. Click through to our longer pieces on each site for a more complete list of available content.