The 34 best shows of 2023 to stream on Netflix, Max, Disney Plus, Prime Video, and more

A collage image made up of stills from The Fall of the House of Usher, The Last of Us season 1, Invincible season 2, and Loki season 2
We think you'll agree with our best shows of 2023 collection. (Image credit: Netflix/HBO/Amazon Studios/Marvel Studios)

2023 has been an eventful year for the entertainment industry – and the world's best streaming services have delivered plenty of top-tier TV shows for us to enjoy.

To celebrate the year that was, we've rounded up 34 of the most highly-rated and/or popular series of the past 12 months. Below, you'll find individual sections for each of the eight biggest streamers, including our top picks of the last year. There's also 'honorary mentions' at the end of each section for shows that we considered including but, for whatever reason, weren't as successful or acclaimed as the chosen few.

So, whether they're a fan favorite returning for their latest season or a brand-new series that stole our hearts, here are the best streaming TV shows of 2023 (read our best movies of 2023 guide, too, if you're looking for something of a film-based variety instead). 

Best Apple TV Plus shows of 2023

Foundation season 2

After an up-and-down first season on Apple's streaming service, Foundation improved in its sophomore year to deliver a stunning follow-up that was as dramatic, action-packed, and mind-boggling as any sci-fi show we can remember.

In our Foundation season 2 review, we said it "rights every wrong from the Apple TV Plus show’s first season in cosmically dazzling fashion". Anyone who sat down and watched its latest 10-episode run agreed with us, too, with season 2 landing a rare 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Read our Foundation season 2 ending explained article to see what it sets up about the highly-anticipated Foundation season 3.

Monarch: Legacy of Monsters

The first MonsterVerse TV show, which is set between 2017's Godzilla and 2019's Godzilla: King of the Monsters, drew quizzical looks from fans upon its announcement, especially with it debuting on Apple TV Plus and not Max (the super streamer owned by Warner Bros. Discovery, which distributes the MonsterVerse movies).

And yet, here we are, including Monarch: Legacy of Monsters in our 2023 best shows guide. With its engrossing human character-driven plot and expansion of (and nods to) the MonsterVerse, Monarch proves there's a place for kaiju-starring TV shows alongside their theatrical brethren.

Shrinking

With some of the brains behind the supremely successful Ted Lasso (namely, Bill Lawrence and Brett Goldstein) involved behind-the-scenes, we should've expected Shrinking to be a tragi-comedy worth streaming.

Its clever twist on the patient-therapist dynamic, laugh-out-loud moments, and brilliant performances from its cast – most notably legendary actor Harrison Ford, whose grouchy persona seemed tailormade for his specific role – made Shrinking must-see TV. With season 2 on the way, now's as good a time as any to catch up on one of the best Apple TV Plus shows (and there have been many recently) of modern times.

Silo

Apple TV Plus has become the best platform for sci-fi aficionados, with Foundation and For All Mankind paving the way for it to dominate this particular genre space. Yet it was Silo, which debuted in May, that confirmed Apple's current positioning as the best sci-fi TV show developer, with its dystopia-led drama and believable cast of characters helping it to become one of the most acclaimed shows of 2023.

Of course, it was also helped by a captivating mystery that we unravlled alongside Silo's uninformed individuals, which was solved in a barnstorming finale that sets the scene for a grander second season, although it's a long way from making its Apple TV Plus debut, lead actor Rebecca Ferguson exclusively told TechRadar.

Ted Lasso season 3

After countless awards, humorous anecdotes, surprisingly emotional moments, and more than a dollop of actual soccer, 2023 was the year we bid a fond farewell to everyone's favorite mustachioed sports coach.

Ted Lasso season 3 brought the curtain down on Apple's critically acclaimed show, and there wasn't a dry eye in the house when it ended in poignantly heart-warming fashion. In our Ted Lasso season 3 review, we called it "a title-winning triumph for the best Apple TV Plus show" and, while the chances of a fourth season and/or spin-off project are as slim as Jamie or Roy's chances of ever getting back together with Keeley, we're OK with how it drew to a close. The best shows know when to go out with a bang, and this one certainly did.


Honorary mentions: For All Mankind season 4, Lessons in Chemistry, Platonic, Slow Horses season 3, The Big Door Prize, The Buccaneers

Best Disney Plus shows of 2023

Loki season 2

In a year that Marvel will want to forget in a hurry for many reasons, two MCU projects – Loki season 2 and Guardians of the Galaxy 3 – were beacons of light in a pretty glum year for the Disney subsidiary.

It's the former that ended 2023 on something of a high for Marvel, too, with Tom Hiddleston's trickster god (and his TVA allies) delivering a second season full of dramatic twists and turns, plus plenty of funny moments. In our Loki season 2 review, we called it "a spellbinding and subversively clever sequel to Marvel’s best Disney Plus show". Its moving ending – read our Loki season 2 ending explained article for more – also did more for the studio's burgeoning multiverse-centric story than any other Marvel Phase 4 and Marvel Phase 5 movie or series to date. A sophomore season burdened with glorious purpose that fulfilled its destiny.

The Mandalorian season 3

OK, it wasn't as narratively strong as its predecessors, but The Mandalorian season 3 was still a huge hit for Disney Plus upon release in early 2023.

Indeed, there were entries that felt scattershot in their storytelling approach, while it wasn't until the season's latter half that Din Djarin and Grogu's latest adventure really kicked into gear. Still, it was watched by millions around the globe every week, meaning one of the best Disney Plus shows was popular among Disney Plus users. The Mandalorian season 4 hasn't been greenlit yet but, with showrunner Jon Favreau confirming the scripts have already been written, we'd be amazed if Disney doesn't renew its most successful Star Wars show.

Star Wars: Ahsoka

Many fans consider this live-action series to be Star Wars: Rebels season 5 in all but name, but that's doing a disservice to Star Wars: Ahsoka.

The Rosario Dawson-fronted production has many ties to Lucasfilm's aforementioned animated TV show, but it's nonetheless a compelling watch, even if its narrative pacing is on the ponderous side. It was riveting to see Rebels' main players appear in live-action form – even better, you didn't have to be a Jedi Master to understand Star Wars: Ahsoka's story or eclectic cast when it eventually debuted.

That said, it'll be more fascinating to see what role they'll play moving forward, especially with Ahsoka setting up plot threads to come in a Star Wars crossover movie event that'll see the gang team up with Din (and others) to likely thwart Grand Admiral Thrawn's return to that galaxy far, far away. Read our Star Wars: Ahsoka ending explained piece to get the lowdown on what we think will happen.


Honorary mentions: American Born Chinese, Doctor Who 60th anniversary specials, Ed Sheeran: The Sum of It All, Percy Jackson and the Olympians

Best Hulu shows of 2023

Moving

With superhero fatigue becoming a very real thing for many viewers, this superpower-centric Hulu series was a breath of fresh air when it arrived in August.

Based on Kang Full's South Korean webtoon of the same name, Moving quickly drew widespread acclaim for its wholly original take on the superhero genre. Indeed, just seven days after it premiered, Moving was the most-watched Disney Plus original series internationally and on Hulu stateside. Of the 11 awards it's been nominated for, it's won eight, too, proving its heroics on the overstuffed superhero landscape. A worthy entry in our best Hulu shows list, we think you'll agree (once you watch it, anyway).

Only Murders in the Building season 3

Like The Mandalorian, Only Murders in the Building's third season suffered a slight dip in the critical acclaim stakes, but it was still surprising and fun-filled enough to keep audiences entertained.

With a new comedy-laced whodunit at the forefront of its story, Only Murders 3 continued to make the most of the natural chemistry between its intrepid trio of Steve Martin, Selena Gomez, and Martin Short – all of whom excelled once more this season. Throw in scene-stealing supporting performances from the likes of Meryl Streep and Paul Rudd, and it's pretty clear why the show's latest outing had to be included on this list.

The Bear season 2

One of the best shows of the past few years ever, let alone on just Hulu, The Bear season 2 continued the absolutely terrific show's hot-streak with another delectable 10-episode run.

We could wax lyrical about the series' second season for many paragraphs, but our words simply wouldn't do justice to how good it really is. It's just an absolute titan of the TV landscape right now, with an all-star cast at the top of their game (not to mention their characters that you'll love or love to hate), a primary storyline and multiple subplots that are indisputably engrossing, and enough food porn for your eyes to feast on for days on end. Binge watch this show immediately and then get the lowdown on The Bear season 3.


Honorary mentions: A Murder at the End of the World, Solar Opposites season 4, The Other Black Girl, UnPrisoned

Best Max shows of 2023

Our Flag Means Death season 2

Things haven't been great for Taika Waititi on the movie front recently – Thor: Love and Thunder and Next Goal Wins weren't good, in our view. But at least this queer romance-based pirate show, which Waititi co-developed for Max (and co-stars in), continues to deliver laughs and heartfelt moments aplenty.

Our Flag Means Death season 2 proved the Rhys Darby-fronted series' first entry wasn't a fluke from a critical acclaim perspective. Indeed, it doubled down on the high sea hijinks of its predecessor with aplomb, all but confirming it's a pirate's life for us if we ever fancy a career change. Now we just need to get ourselves a ship, a motley crew, enough empty chests to fill our bountiful amounts of treasure in, and a few cannons to protect our seafaring vessel.

Scavengers Reign

It's a rare occurrence to see an animated series earn a 100% Rotten Tomatoes rating – there's only one other anime-style offering that did likewise this year, which we'll get to – but Scavengers Reign is more than deserving of its perfect critical score.

A mind-boggling, horror-tinged, and dramatically explosive sci-fi series, Scavengers Reign shows what happens when you let creators' vivid imaginations run free. You get a top-tier, wholly original property whose narrative is as sharp and tight as its gorgeous (and occasionally grotesque) visuals. Expect it to join our best Max shows guide (if it hasn't already) imminently.

Succession season 4

One of many terrific shows that ended in 2023, the multi-award-winning Succession went out with an almighty, drama-filled bang with its fourth and final season.

It was a pity to see the Roy family's jaw-dropping interfamilial melodrama brought to a close this year, but what sets a great show apart from good ones is they know when it's time to call it quits. With Succession season 4, creator Jesse Armstrong knew it was time to supply an explosive but fitting end to the battle for control of Waystar Royco. Suffice it to say, Armstrong and Succession's supremely talented cast gave it the necessary send-off it deserved. 

The Last of Us

It doesn't feel like 11 months (at the time of writing) have passed since The Last of Us season 1 premiered on Max, but here we are. HBO's live-action adaptation of Naughty Dog's multi-award-winning and beloved videogame series had the creative team and talented cast to be a success, but there were murmurings that it wouldn't be able to live up to its gaming namesake.

Pleasingly, The Last of Us' first outing proved those naysayers wrong in spectacular fashion. A series that expanded upon the story, lore, and wider universe of its videogame cousin – we'll never get over that stunningly poignant third episode – while also bringing the dystopian action game franchise's most iconic moments to life. Little wonder, then, that our review of The Last of Us season 1 said it was "an undeniably faithful adaptation of developer Naughty Dog’s era-defining PlayStation title". Find out what we know about The Last of Us season 2 while you're here.


Honorary mentions: Adventure Time: Fionna and CakeBarry season 4, Bookie, Doom Patrol season 4, Gremlins: Secrets of the Mogwai, Harley Quinn season 4, Rap Sh!t season 2

Best Netflix shows of 2023

Beef

The first of two unbelievably good shows Steven Yeun starred in this year, Beef is a prime cut comedy-drama that deserves a lot more attention and acclaim than it's received.

A commanding series where esteemed comedian and Yeun's co-star Ali Wong shines as bright as her contemporary, Beef is a masterfully constructed (it was written by Lee Sung-jin and directed by Jake Schreier) microcosmic insight into two strangers who become locked in a comedically tragic spiral of mutually assured destruction. A show as zany and thematically horrifying as any we've seen in a long time, which will make you reconsider the depths of depravity humanity will sink to get one over a supposed foe. An absolute must inclusion in our best Netflix shows guide.

Blue Eye Samurai

We teased another 100% rated animated show in our Scavengers Reign entry, and here it is. Blue Eye Samurai season 1 is, to be frank, a stupendous piece of television. It's gratuitously violent, visually dazzling, 18th-century-set Kill Bill-style thrill ride of a TV series that exudes a swagger and badassery we've not felt from an animated Netflix show since 2021's Arcane. Honestly, we can't overstate how good this visionary show is.

If you don't own a Netflix subscription, you can check out its gorgeous first episode on YouTube (for free!) right now. Once you've watched it, we'd be amazed if you don't immediately stump up the money to watch the rest of its nine-episode first season run, too. Netflix has already confirmed Blue Eye Samurai season 2 as well, so get on season 1 now before you forget to do so.

Heartstopper season 2

If you're in the market for a more heart-warming and less full-on TV show to stream on Netflix, your best bet is season 2 of Heartstopper.

The coming-of-age rom-com show's sophomore entry built on its debut season's superb showing with an equally earnest follow-up that's as humorous as it is emotional. It's beautifully scripted and acted, isn't afraid to place its queer romances front and center, and tackles big themes that few other series have done with reams of authenticity. A joy-filled romp that, with season 3 on the way, isn't going to end any time soon. Watch these six feel-good comedies while we wait for Heartstopper season 2's sequel to arrive.

One Piece

It might have royally messed up its adaptation of Cowboy Bebop, one of the best anime ever made, but Netflix wasn't going to make the same mistake with its live-action remake of One Piece.

A genuinely fantastic take on Eiichiro Oda's iconic manga series, One Piece season 1 was everything Cowboy Bebop wasn't – authentic to the source material, meticulous production design that brought every aspect of the Straw Hats' world to life, and an accomplished cast who embodied everything great about Luffy and company that made us fall in love with them upon the manga's initial release 25 years ago. Find out everything we know so far about One Piece season 2 or, if you weren't as big a fan of Netflix's adaptation, watch one of these five other swashbuckling pirate shows instead.

Sex Education season 4

Another show we bid farewell to in 2023, Sex Education graduated from Netflix with a fourth season that, in our estimations, was as bittersweet as it was satisfying.

Season 4 wasn't as strong as what came before, admittedly, but that doesn't mean it was a terrible installment – far from it, in fact, with Sex Education's final act landing a 91% critical score on Rotten Tomatoes. A sweet, empathetic, and gender/sexual orientation inclusive series that shone bright during its four-year run. We're sad to see it go, but hey, at least Ncuti Gatwa – one of its biggest stars – will continue to charm us as the 15th iteration of the world-famous Time Lord in his first Doctor Who season very soon (go and watch the 2023 Christmas special right now if you haven't!).

The Fall of the House of Usher

Mike Flanagan's last TV original for Netflix – he penned a first-look deal with rivals Prime Video in late 2022 – is arguably his best work to date.

Taking its cues from Edgar Allen Poe's short story namesake, The Fall of the House of Usher is essentially a gothic horror-tinged version of Succession. If you loved the latter and you adore terror-fuelled stories with buckets of gore, this series should be added to your watchlist ASAP. Few Netflix shows have been as stunning as this one (including the aforementioned quintet) in so many areas – indeed, we couldn't find a single fault with Flanagan's last hurrah on the streaming giant, and we're sure you'll agree once you've seen The Fall of the House of Usher in its entirety.

The Night Agent

There'll be some raised eyebrows at The Night Agent season 1's inclusion on this list, especially when you consider some of the shows, which sit in the honorary mentions section below this entry, are arguably more worthy of a spot.

True, it isn't one of the most highly-rated Netflix series this year, but The Night Agent proved to be an absolute powerhouse in early 2023. It accrued an eye-watering 168.7 million hours viewed in its first week alone, becoming Netflix's new TV show darling in the process. By the year's end, 812 million hours had been sunk into its first season, too, proving it wasn't just one of the most-watched Netflix series in early 2023, but one of the most popular shows of the year, period. Little wonder, then, that The Night Agent season 2 is on the way.


Honorary mentions: Everything Now, FUBAR, Neon, Squid Game: The Challenge, Scott Pilgrim Takes Off, The Crown season 6, The Diplomat season 1, You season 4, Yu Yu Hakusho

Best Paramount Plus shows of 2023

Star Trek: Lower Decks season 4

In a section top-heavy with Star Trek projects – they're all worthy of their place – Lower Decks season 4 continues the series' ascent from rank outsider to one of the best animated shows of the modern era.

There's plenty to like about it, too. With endearing and multidimensional characters, storylines augmented with laugh out loud humor (a rarity in the Star Trek universe), universe-spanning capers, and its delectable, whimsical cartoon animation style, Lower Decks' fourth outing is the show's tightest and most refined entry yet. Beam it onto your TV screen ASAP.

Star Trek: Picard season 3

A show that really took its time to find its feet, Star Trek: Picard goes out with a sci-fi-laden bang with its third and final season.

The serial's final installment owes much of its success to its nostalgia-centric elements, with Jean-Luc Picard reunited with his former command crew on the USS Enterprise. But Picard season 3 isn't solely about the nostalgia porn – indeed, it's an entry that boldly goes where other Star Trek shows have feared to tread, with unexpected and complex plot twists, a greater exploration of the relationships between Picard and his crew, and a fitting finale that gave closure to The Next Generation fans as much as Picard ones. After a poor second season, its successor finally gave Picard the right to join our best Paramount Plus shows list.

Star Trek: Strange New Worlds season 2

The third and final Star Trek entry in our Paramount Plus section, Strange New Worlds season 2 doesn't just cement it as a fantastic Trekkie series, it also confirms the franchise should focus all of its efforts on making top-tier TV shows instead of underwhelming big-budget flicks.

A show that recaptures the classic sci-fi adventure vibe of those early Trek days, Strange New Worlds feels like a series out of time, but it's all the better for it. Its cast is terrific, the writing cohesive and nostalgically experimental, and the creativity of its elaborate locations extraordinary. Oh, and true 1990s flashback style, it gave us a brilliant musical-based episode that needs to be seen to be believed. Good fun all round.

The Curse

General audiences haven't taken to it as much as critics have, but Showtime's The Curse is a skin-crawlingly dark comedy- thriller that fans of Nathan Fielder, the Safdie brothers, and Emma Stone won't want to miss.

A satirical take on the reality TV boom of the 21st century, The Curse is, like Beef, excruciatingly enjoyable to watch. You'll regularly want to cut away from its discomforting and cringe-inducing moments but, due to how engrossing its unlikeable characters and unsettling plot are, you won't be reaching for the remote. A pin-sharp, genre-bending series that continues to put Fielder and Benny Safdie on the map, and reconfirms our view that Stone is one of this generation's most talented performers.


Honorary mentions: Colin From Accounts, Lawmen: Bass Reeves, Rabbit Hole, School Spirits

Best Peacock shows of 2023

Mrs Davis

An absurd series that draws parallels between spirituality and technology, Mrs Davis is a wild ride that keeps its entertainment value high amid its unusual premise.

Led by Betty Gilpin's sharp-witted titular character – one who uses her faith to combat artificial intelligence (AI) – Mrs Davis is at times surreal, others surprisingly funny and action-packed, and occasionally all three lumped together. It's a wildly imaginative show that, like a few of its contemporaries on this list, are more deserving of your attention. Read our Mrs Davis review, in which we say it likens AI to magic, if you need further convincing.

Poker Face

Like The Last of Us, this crime-comedy Peacock show came out at the start of 2023, meaning it might have fallen off (or never crossed) your radar. Poker Face, though, is definitely one of the best exclusive offerings available on the NBCUniversal-owned streamer, and with good reason.

Created by whodunit obsessive Rian Johnson and starring underrated actor Natasha Lyonne, Poker Face is a delightful revisionist take on the murder mystery formula. Each episode, viewers find out who the culprit is within the first 10 minutes, before Lyonne's reluctant amateur sleuth Charlie Cale – who is on the run in a season-spanning narrative for, well, spoiler-filled reasons – spends the next 40 minutes determining who said criminal is. In our Poker Face review, we called it a "seminal moment for Peacock" and "one of the most surprising (and best!) shows of 2023", and it's certainly befitting of that acclaim and much more.

Twisted Metal

A show that, like The Night Agent, was far more popular among casual TV fans than critics, Twisted Metal became the most-streamed Peacock show of all time upon its July 2023 debut.

A live-action, modernized take on the Sony-owned videogame series of the same name, the Anthony Mackie-starring post-apocalyptic action-comedy is fast-paced, fun, and fabulously over-the-top. It won't win any big prizes on the 2024 awards circuit, but that won't concern its cast and crew. The fact that audiences adore its bold and color-popping aesthetic, cheesy one-liners and plot, eclectic characters, and relentless violence is enough for them. With a second season on the way, you can expect Twisted Metal to turbocharge its TV dominance of Peacock, too.


Honorary mentions: Based on a True Story, Bupkis, The Traitors season 1