9 great limited series from 2023 for a short Christmas binge, on Netflix, Prime Video, Max and more

Carla Gugino's Verna stands in a nightclub with a skull mask on in The Fall of the House of Usher
(Image credit: Eike Schroter/Netflix)

The short time off people get over Christmas and New Year tends to fly by quicker than Santa’s reindeer, so while you might have aspirations to watch something like The Sopranos, the reality dawns as you near the second season that you might actually not have time. 

Instead, maybe it’s better to focus on a limited series of just one season – a complete story that's manageable even in the busiest moments of festive season. We've chosen nine that arrived during 2023 on the best streaming services, you’ll have something from (relatively) recent to discuss when back at work again in January. 

Whether it’s a supernatural series, a horrifying true-crime dramatization, or a weird show from a modern auteur; here is our list great limited series to binge-watch on Netflix, Max, Prime Video and Apple TV Plus.

High Desert

Available on: Apple TV Plus worldwide

Apple TV Plus should be applauded for taking risks in its original series this year – case in point, High Desert. Patricia Arquette absolutely shone in this eight-parter about Peggy, an addict who’s mom dies and who decides to move to Yucca Valley, California and become a private investigator. ‘90s heartthrob Matt Dillon also made a comeback in the show, playing Denny, Peggy’s lovable rogue ex-boyfriend, as well as star turns from Weruche Opia and Rupert Friend. However, it’s a short and sweet series of cases, as this show wrapped after just the one season.

Lockwood & Co

Available on: Netflix worldwide

Imagine if Harry, Ron and Hermione were to leave Hogwarts and set up an agency in  London hunting down supernatural beings. You’re halfway to Lockwood & Co, where three gifted ghost-hunters – Lucy (played by Bridgerton’s Ruby Stokes), Anthony and George – single handedly run the night-time business of chasing down various ghouls to a fun goth-rock soundtrack. Adapted from the Jonathan Stroud books of the same name (and created by showrunner Joe Cornish into an eight-part season), despite being rated at 92% on Rotten Tomatoes and being called a “delight” by reviewers, Netflix left it at just one season.

The Fall of the House of Usher

Available on: Netflix worldwide

Mike Flanagan is the master of the Netflix limited horror series (see also: Midnight Mass and The Haunting of Bly Manor), and his latest series was another huge hit, described as "a gleefully terrifying take on Edgar Allen Poe," by The Guardian and "a literary orgy of death" by Rolling Stone (in a good way). Like a horror take on Succession, it's about a wealthy old man worrying about who'll inherit his world. The problem for Roderick Usher is that all his adult children died, and he's telling the grim tale to Auguste Dupin. Packed with a great cast and a fun-yet-dark core, it's a superb binge.

Dear Edward

Available on: Apple TV Plus worldwide

Maybe you’re in the mood for a tear-jerker, in which case Dear Edward – adapted from Ann Napolitano’s novel – should give you the cathartic watch you need. Headed up by Orange Is The New Black’s Taylor Schilling and The White Lotus’ Connie Britton, it tells the story of a plane crash, the soul survivor being a young boy named Edward, and the impact the loss has on the victims’ families lives. Apple ended the series after one season.


Available on: Netflix worldwide

Netflix transported us back to wartime, and in particular, the border of France and Spain in the 1940s, where a couple of Americans and their allies work to help artists, writers and other refugees flee the Nazis. Based on a true story – and featuring Gillian Jacobs and Cory Michael Smith – this glossy, seven-part series was light in tone as a welcome counterpoint to the weight of the events, and well worth the watch for the location, setting and costumes alone.

I’m A Virgo

Available on: Prime Video worldwide

This surrealist tale by Boots Riley – creator of the excellent Sorry To Bother You – might be one of the weirdest watches of the year, but also the best. Jharrel Jerome plays Cootie, a giant, 13-foot teenager who loves burgers, but has been kept at home, out of the public eye from his aunt and uncle since he was a kid. But, one night he gets discovered by a gang of new friends who expose him to the real world, and all the strangeness that comes with it, in this allegorical tale. The first four episodes of the seven-part season premiered at the cool South By Southwest festival, flagging it as a one-to-watch for many people, and its high approval ratings – 95% on Rotten Tomatoes – mean that it's sure to be an ideal binge. 

The Crowded Room

Available on: Apple TV Plus worldwide

Like it or loathe it, Netflix’s true-crime dramatization Dahmer dominated the streamers in 2022, and it was Apple TV Plus’ The Crowded Room that had a similar success in 2023. Tom Holland starred as Danny Sullivan, a young man who finds himself in the heart of murder case in New York in the ’70s, but as the investigator (Amanda Seyfried) interviews him, she uncovers an even darker secret than ever imagined. It’s an expansive (10 episodes) and often dark series that delves fully into the psyche of Sullivan, and a case that dominated headlines when it happened for real back in 1979. This was always due to be a limited series, and the case has now been firmly closed.


Available on: Netflix worldwide

The real-life ills of Purdue Pharma and the Sackler family have already been covered in the Emmy-award winning Dopesick, which is another one-season series definitely worth tuning in for, but Netflix created their own version of the opioid-crisis story in 2023. Matthew Broderick steps up as Richard Sackler, while Uzo Adube plays Edie Flowers, the investigator who fails to give up when she realises the extent of harm the drug Oxycontin is wreaking on the country. The story is tied up in a neat, six episodes; unfortunately the damage of the real-life scandal is still ongoing. 

White House Plumbers

Available on: Max in the US, Sky in the UK, Binge in Australia. 

This satirical, political-based mini-series took viewers back to the real-life paranoia era of Nixon’s presidency in the ’70s. Fronted by an all-star cast, Woody Harrelson and Justin Theroux won plaudits for their roles as E. Edward Hunt and G. Gordon Liddy respectively, two hapless government workers brought on to orchestrate a whole host of far-from-legal activities in the hope of saving the President, only to watch his reign all come crashing down because of their interference. At a swift five episodes, this is the shortest of all the bunch of our suggested binge-watches, but will definitely satisfy any history buffs in the house.

Laura Martin
Freelance Writer

Laura Martin is an entertainment journalist who covers TV, film, and music. She's written for numerous big publications, including TechRadar, Esquire, BBC Culture, The Guardian, and The i newspaper. Her favourite stories usually involve prestige TV drama, reality TV, or true-life documentaries. Basically, the more obscure, the better!