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Our picks for the best streaming shows of 2023

If you missed out, we're taking a look at all the best new and returning streaming shows of the previous year.
By
January 10, 2024
The Last of Us show on smartphone in nature stock photo (3)
Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority

In recent years, streaming platforms have consistently dominated network TV by offering excellent exclusives, and 2023 was no exception. There were many great returning shows and the debut of several big hits last year. If you missed out, here’s your chance to catch up on the best ones.

We have divided this list into two sections: new and returning series. We will highlight the top five in each category and provide brief honorable mentions. Everything on this list is either a streaming exclusive or debuts on broadcast and streaming simultaneously. 

The best streaming shows of 2023

Shrinking (Apple TV Plus)

Harrison Ford and Jason Segel might not sound like a conventional pairing for a comedy-drama, but it’s a duo that surprisingly works well together. Shrinking tells the story of a psychiatrist who is grieving over the loss of his wife to the point of neglecting himself and his relationship with his teen daughter. Out of the blue, he decides to take an unorthodox approach to how he handles patients, a move that not only appears to benefit his patients but also helps the doctor in his own healing process. However, this change in direction also has a dark side, something his mentor, Ford, attempts to shield him from.

The show expertly balances sweet comedy with occasional raunchy moments, while also weaving in drama around the many captivating characters you’ll genuinely care about. Bill Lawrence, one of the creators, is also responsible for beloved shows like Scrubs and Ted Lasso. Whether you’re a fan of Lawrence or not, this fact alone will likely give you a better idea of what to expect here, albeit with a slightly more somber tone.

  • Release date: January 27, 2023
  • Genre: Comedy/drama
  • Rating: TV-MA
  • Creators: Bill Lawrence, Jason Segel, Brett Goldstein 
  • Cast: Jason Segel, Harrison Ford, Jessica Williams, Luke Tennie, Lukita Maxwell, Christa Miller

Poker Face (Peacock)

 

I’ve always been drawn to the typically gruff, street-smart characters that Natasha Lyonne tends to portray, so I was quite excited about the concept of Poker Face. It turned out to be even better than I had anticipated. Lyonne plays a woman with a built-in BS detector that’s almost supernaturally accurate. When she accidentally uncovers that her boss is involved in a murder, she finds herself in deep trouble, leaving her no choice but to go on the run. Along the way, she strangely encounters a series of random murders that she helps solve through her meddling and curiosity.

While Poker Face has a darker comedic tone, it still reminds me a bit of Monk, partly due to its case-of-the-week format but also because you know who the killer is from the beginning, and the focus shifts to figuring out the how and why. Each episode introduces an almost entirely new cast, except for Lyonne, yet Poker Face excels at making these characters feel real and important in each episode’s 48 to 67 minute runtime.

  • Release date: January 26, 2023
  • Genre: Crime comedy-drama
  • Rating: TV-MA
  • Creator: Rian Johnson
  • Cast: Natasha Lyonne, Benjamin Bratt (recurring)

Beef (Netflix)

I’ve been somewhat underwhelmed by Netflix this year, but Beef pleasantly surprised me. This 10-episode comedy-drama starts with a straightforward premise: two people are both stressed out to the point of losing it, so when they cross paths, what should have been a minor road rage incident escalates into a massive feud that threatens to unravel their lives, careers, and relationships.

Ali Wong and Steven Yeun shine with their natural chemistry, making their feud all the more enjoyable. There’s an abundance of talent both on screen and in the writer’s room. In an era where fans and critics often disagree, it’s noteworthy when a show maintains a rating of around 99% on Rotten Tomatoes and an audience score of approximately 95%.

  • Release date: April 6, 2023
  • Genre: Dark comedy
  • Rating: TV-MA
  • Creator: Lee Sung Jin
  • Cast: Ali Wong, Steven Yeun, David Choe

Silo (Apple TV Plus)

 

Set long after the end of the Earth as we know it, Silo tells the story of ten thousand people living miles deep in a massive silo that shields them from a deadly, toxic world capable of quick death. No one knows what caused the world’s demise, why the silo was constructed, or the history of the world itself. It’s believed that over a century ago, an evil rebellion led to the destruction of all previous records. It becomes evident from the outset that the Silo is controlled by an oppressive government with its secrets. However, when a Sheriff breaks a rule and several residents die under mysterious circumstances, an engineer named Juliette begins to realize that everything she knows about the Silo and its history is a lie. 

Silo stands out as one of the best apocalyptic-themed series to emerge in years and evokes a Fallout vibe due to the vault concept, though this show is undeniably more grounded by comparison.

  • Release date: September 2, 2023
  • Genre: Sci-Fi / Drama
  • Rating: TV-MA
  • Director: Graham Yos
  • Cast: Rebecca Ferguson, Tim Robbins, Rashida Jones, Common

Gen V (Amazon Prime)

While I admit The Boys wasn’t my cup of tea, I can’t deny that it is a well-done show with a strong following, so it’s no surprise that the spin-off Gen V is making its way onto our list of the best shows of 2023. This newer series revolves around a university dedicated to crimefighting, founded by Thomas Godolkin. You can expect the same moral ambiguity and dark secrets that you’d find in The Boys, just shifted to a college setting.

If you found the superpowers in The Boys to be somewhat lacking, you’ll be pleased to see that Gen V takes a more creative approach, introducing much more unique (and sometimes gory) abilities and exploring them in much greater detail. Given the school for superheroes setting, it’s not surprising that the show would place more emphasis on training and the development of these distinctive abilities.

  • Release date: September 29, 2023
  • Genre: Dark comedy
  • Rating: TV-MA
  • Creators: Craig Rosenberg, Evan Goldberg, Eric Kripke
  • Cast: Jaz Sinclair, Lizze Broadway, Maddie Phillips

The shows might be our top five picks for new streaming shows but everything on this list is so close in quality that it is almost impossible to pick. There were many other great shows that came very close to officially making it onto this list, such as Scott Pilgrim Takes Off, Frasier, Fellow Travelers, and Rain Dogs, but we couldn’t include them all, or this list would have quickly become overwhelming!

Below are just five more that we felt deserved to be on this list, even if just as a shorter mention: 

  • The Irrational (Peacock/NBC) Technically a network and streaming show simultaneously, this crime drama focuses on a behavioral scientist who is often called in by the FBI or police to help with unusual cases. 
  • The Fall of the House of Usher (Netflix) This horror drama follows Usher, the corrupt CEO of a pharmaceutical company as his children start to die suddenly and horrifically. Soon he must face his own dark past, as someone is clearly out for revenge. 
  • Primo (Amazon Prime) A coming-of-age story about a Latin American teenager balancing home life, his college plans, and trying to find himself in our crazy world. 
  • A Murder at the End of the World (Hulu) Essentially this series is a modern retelling of Clue, centering on an amateur detective invited to participate in an isolated retreat in Iceland by a reclusive billionaire. After a guest ends up dead, Darby sets out to solve the murder before the killer strikes again.
  • The Last of Us (Max) — The show that proved video game adaptations could make for good TV isn’t as high on the list as you might think but that’s simply because the latter part of this year saw a lot of great new entries. Still, if you’ve yet to watch this, we highly recommend it. 

The best returning streaming shows of 2023

That was a look at all our favorite new shows, but quite a few good shows were returning for new seasons as well. Below we’ll take a more detailed look at our top five and then will briefly look at five others in quicker bullet format.

Fargo, Season 5 (Hulu)

By the name alone, you might assume this is just a straightforward adaptation of the 1996 movie, but that’s not the case. Fargo is inspired by the film and is also written by the Coen brothers, but it takes the action out of Fargo, North Dakota, and spreads it across a variety of different Midwestern towns. This anthology series features almost entirely new characters every season, focusing on different murder investigations that are seemingly unrelated but connect in unexpected ways.

Whether you have ever watched the movie or not, this is a great show for those who love the idea of a black comedy crime drama in the anthology format. There are also five seasons to watch, making this a perfect show if you’re looking for something to binge.

  • Release date: Nov 21, 2023
  • Genre: Crime/drama
  • Rating: TV-MA
  • Creators: Coen Brothers
  • Cast: Juno Temple, Jon Hamm, Jennifer Jason Leigh

The Bear, Season 2 (Hulu) 

The Bear was undoubtedly one of the standout shows of 2022, so it’s no surprise that the second season holds a prominent spot on the list of returning shows. The second season introduces a different tone compared to the first, shifting its focus from the somber and gritty atmosphere to one centered more on character development and a slightly less chaotic overall narrative. This time around, the restaurant is in the midst of a massive renovation and new dramas are about to unfold.

If you haven’t watched either season yet, you can find both of them available on Hulu. It’s worth noting that the first season may start a bit slowly, but it gradually hooks you a few episodes in.

  • Release date: June 22, 2023
  • Genre: Comedy/drama
  • Rating: TV-MA
  • Director: Christopher Storer
  • Cast: Jeremy Allen White, Ebon Moss-Bachrach, Ayo Edebiri

Killing It (Peacock)

The first season of Killing It follows the story of Craig, a man who has always dreamed big but has yet to find success. When he finds himself in need of quick cash, he teams up with an eccentric woman named Jillian to participate in a python-hunting competition. There’s a lot more drama and nuance beyond that, but you get the idea.

In season two, the competition is over, and the two are now successful saw palmetto farmers. However, life isn’t any less complicated as new threats arise, and old ones attempt to resurface. You can watch both seasons on Peacock now.

  • Release date: August 17, 2023
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Rating: TV-MA
  • Creators: Dan Goor, Luke Del Tredici
  • Cast: Claudia O’Doherty, Craig Robinson, Scott MacArthur

The Righteous Gemstones, Season 3 (Max)

This black comedy focuses on a family of televangelists and megachurch pastors led by patriarch Eli Gemstone. Despite their claims to be people of God, the family lives a life of luxury funded by church donations and is very corrupt at its core. In its third season, Eli has scaled down from his involvement in the church, handing greater control over to his children. 

The Righteous Gemstones takes a hard yet comedic look at the kinds of corruption often at the root of megachurches with strong ministers with almost cult-like followings. Even better, there’s a lot of great talent here, including John Goodman as Eli and actors Danny McBride, Adam DeVine, and others. 

  • Release date: September 22, 2023
  • Genre: Dark comedy
  • Rating: TV-MA
  • Creator: Danny McBride
  • Cast: Danny McBride, Adam DeVine, Edi Patterson, John Goodman

Barry (Max)

Barry is a unique black comedy crime drama featuring Bill Hader as a former US Marine turned hitman. Sent to Los Angeles to eliminate a target, Barry finds himself joining an acting class as he stalks his victim, only to develop a passion for the theater. He makes plans to become an actor, all while trying to distance himself from his secret past life as a paid killer.

Without revealing too much, Barry’s plans ultimately unravel at the end of season three. Picking up from the events of season three, the current and final chapter of the show shifts the action to life in prison and serves as the perfect conclusion to one of HBO’s best shows in years.

  • Release date: July 21, 2023
  • Genre: Black Comedy
  • Rating: TV-MA
  • Creator: Alec Berg
  • Cast: Bill Hader, Sarah Goldberg, Anthony Carrigan, Henry Winkler

That’s just five returning shows and honestly, we took a look at dozens. We can’t mention every one, but here are five more we felt deserved to be on this list, even if in shorter form:

  • Succession (Max) — The fourth season of Succession debuted to rave reviews in 2023, continuing the story of the Waystar Royco and the powerful family behind it. 
  • Reservation Dogs (Hulu) — Reservation Dogs follows the lives of four Indigenous teens and features all Indigenous writers and directors, as well as an almost entirely native cast and crew. The series is now in its third season. 
  • Only Murders in the Building (Hulu) — This is a series that continues to get better with each season, centering around two older men and their unlikely much younger friend. Together the trio solve murders via their true crime podcast.
  • Party Down (Hulu) — The return of Party Down wasn’t something I knew I wanted, but I’m glad it happened. While the third season isn’t quite as charging as the quirky original, it comes close to the same magic. 
  • The Wheel of Time (Amazon Prime) — The first season of Wheel of Time debuted with mixed reception, partially due to tons of changes from the books. Season two made even more changes and yet in doing so established itself as its entity and became a much more enjoyable series in the process. 

What’s the best streaming show of 2023?

25 votes

Looking for even more to watch? Check out our guide to the best original streaming shows on Netflix, Max, Hulu, and other platforms.