The best English TV shows of 2023: From ‘Succession’, ‘Bear’ and ‘The Last of Us’ to ‘Gen V’

From panic-inducing sandwich shop dramas to splendidly adapted post-apocalyptic thrillers, here are our favourite English TV shows — new and returning — of 2023

Updated - December 31, 2023 08:39 pm IST

Published - December 31, 2023 05:36 pm IST

Stills from ‘Succession’, ‘The Bear’, ‘The Last of Us’ and ‘Gen V’

Stills from ‘Succession’, ‘The Bear’, ‘The Last of Us’ and ‘Gen V’

2023 in television was phenomenal, despite the turmoil of the writers’ and actors’ strikes simmering beneath it. A number of high-profile outings saw cancellations, though streaming numbers and revenues were off the charts. Prestige television came gloriously to the fore with some all-timers, while some other hyped projects (and stars) disappointed, as both returning and debutant titles thrilled equally. In no particular order, here’s our pick of the best English shows of 2023:

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What more can be said about Jesse Armstrong’s corporate saga that rightfully stakes its claim to be in contention amongst TV’s greatest-ever dramas? For four stunning seasons, we waited with bated breath to see who would ascend the throne to the Roy family empire, and after every plausible theory was floated, the show still managed to shock and surprise us in equal measure. Be it killing off patriarch Logan Roy suddenly, reviving Kendall and destroying him all over again, or Roman’s predictable yet magnificent U-turn, the final season was as funny, tragic and entertaining as it always has been while wrapping up the lives of these complicated characters we have grown to adore and hate. Succession was television royalty at its finest. - Gautam

The Last of Us

This post-apocalyptic thriller based on a video game of the same name is a splendid adaptation. Craig Mazin and Neil Druckmann (who created the game) serve as writers on the show. The Last of Us tells of a harrowing journey undertaken by a tough and tender smuggler, Joel (Pedro Pascal), and a sparky, snarky teenager, Ellie (Bella Ramsey). The world has been ravaged by a fungus that turns people into mindless, ravenous, rage-filled zombies. Joel and Ellie have to negotiate hostile terrain dodging cannibals, autocratic quarantine zones, the infected and scary preachers who have found God. The acting, writing and production design are spot on as is the chemistry between Pascal and Ramsey. - Mini

The Bear

A still from ‘The Bear’ Season 2

A still from ‘The Bear’ Season 2

This year, The Bear managed to accomplish a feat most modern dramedies struggle with; it not only lived up to the unreal expectations that the near-perfect first season raised, but even surpassed them. Wisely taking the action out of the kitchen (for a while at least), the sophomore season focused on the different chefs’ coming-of-age journeys — from Marcus’ delectable Copenhagen jaunt to Richie’s apprenticeship at one of the world’s best restaurants — but returned to Chicago for a spectacularly crafted series of panic attacks/ subplots towards the finale. Jeremy Allen White, Ebon Moss-Bachrach and Ayo Edebiri all deliver career-defining performance arcs, while Forks and Fishes rank among the best individual television episodes of the year. Just let this show cook forever. - Gautam


This relentless, tense drama from Netflix and first-time creator Lee Sung Jin takes a seemingly random road-rage incident and deliciously spirals into a devilishly dark exploration of class differences, repressed resentment and Asian-American immigrant identity. Featuring phenomenal turns from Ali Wong and Steven Yeun, whose characters self-sabotage their own lives while going up against each other, Beef was often hilarious and awkward but always empathetically so. - Gautam

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A Murder at the End of the World

Guests at an isolated resort, further cut off due to a snowstorm and sudden violent death in the midst of it all bring to mind the Agatha Christie classic And Then There Were None. A Murder at the End of the World from Brit Marling and Zal Batmanglij is a millennial take on the story, which by scrupulously following the conventions of the genre, offers something both radically new and comfortingly familiar. Set in two timelines, the series in the present follows hacker Darby Hart (Emma Corrin) trying to make sense of the deaths at tech titan Andy Ronson’s (Clive Owen) retreat in Iceland. The other timeline is six years in the past when Darby and a fellow hacker, Bill Farrah (Harris Dickinson), were on the trail of a serial killer. With thrills, suspects and red herrings galore, A Murder at the End of the World is bingeable crime telly at its best. - Mini

Invincible (Season 2 Part I)

A still from ‘Invincible’ Season 2 

A still from ‘Invincible’ Season 2 

The second season of the adult animated show is split in two parts. The four episodes of Part 1 pick up from the events of the season 1 finale where the powerful Nolan/Omni-Man (J. K. Simmons) and his son, Mark/Invincible (Steven Yeun), engage in an epic battle that leaves Chicago in ruins and countless lives lost. With eye-popping animation, and excellent voice work (Sandra Oh as Debbie, Mark’s mum and Nolan’s wife, is outstanding), Invincible is a worthy addition to the roster of content exploring aspects of what it means to be a hero. - Mini

The Curse

Nathan Fielder, known for his uncanny ability to place ordinary people in crazy situations in docu-reality shows like The Rehearsal and Nathan For You, joined hands with Benny Safdie to give us what is, surely, the most awkward watch of all time. Starring himself alongside a superb Emma Stone (who is having one hell of a 2023 with Poor Things as well), Fielder’s scripted series takes a look at everything that is wrong with modern-day reality television in a deeply cringe-inducing yet genius creation that could well go down as the most original television outing of the year. You can’t take your eyes off it, but will never want to revisit this ever again. - Gautam

Dead Ringers

Rachel Weisz in a still from ‘Dead Ringers’

Rachel Weisz in a still from ‘Dead Ringers’ | Photo Credit: Prime Video

David Cronenberg’s 1988 film Dead Ringers, which the show is based on, is inspired by the lives of two twin gynecologists who died under mysterious circumstances in July 1975 in New York. Dead Ringers, while being an uncomfortable watch, is anchored by Rachel Weisz’s dazzling performance as the gynecologist twins, Beverly and Elliot Mantle. The mini-series follows the twins, with their very different personalities; the voracious Elliot with her cocaine habit and risk-taking behaviour, and the sensitive Beverly who desperately wants to have a child. The gender-swapped (Jeremy Irons played the twins in Cronenberg’s film) show with the predominance of red, signifying the battleground that is the childbed, is a fascinating psychological study of rivalry, jealousy, fear, mental illness, longing and loathing. - Mini

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Scott Pilgrim Takes Off

Scavengers Reign and Blue Eye Samurai cut it close, but ultimately, this anime adaptation of the Scott Pilgrim graphic novels (with the voice cast of Edgar Wright’s hit 2010 film Scott Pilgrim vs. the World reprising their roles) was the pick of animated streaming debuts in 2023. This slick addition to the franchise stays true to its nostalgic identity, but also gives us the chance to examine everything we know about the narrative from different perspectives, along with an enjoyable, frenetic style of animation and a killer soundtrack. Apart from an in-form Michael Cera throwing it back, Mary Elizabeth Winstead’s Ramona Flowers and Ellen Wong’s Knives Chau make this one of the most delightful surprises of the year. - Gautam

Gen V

A still from ‘Gen V’

A still from ‘Gen V’

Diabolical innit, this school for supes? The superhero spin-off to The Boys, based on the ‘We Gotta Go Now’ comic book arc by Garth Ennis and Darick Robertson, is fun from every angle. There are the sudden bouts of gore, a thrilling mystery, needle drops and cameos from The Boys. Gen V is set in Godolkin University, a kind of Hogwarts for supes. Though Marie Moreau (Jaz Sinclair), who can manipulate blood, sees Godolkin as a way out of her tragic past, evil Vought International and circumstances come in the way of her escape. From the Carrie-esque opening to the shocking finale, Gen V offers up unlimited thrills and spills. - Mini

Honourable mentions: Jury Duty, Silo, Blue Eye Samurai, Party Down revival, Poker Face, Slow Horses

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