Want to keep track of the highest-rated and maybe even best shows premiering or returning to Netflix in 2023? This is the list for you.
There’s no denying that since it made the move into producing original television series of its own in 2012, Netflix has changed the way we watch, consume, and experience television.
Most Smart TVs now come with a button that instantly gives us access to it through our televisions, and its binge model has become an era-defining one that other streaming services, and even conventional television networks and broadcasters, have used to keep up with audiences consuming more and more television shows.
Having said that, going into 2023, the streaming giant has faced mounting and legitimate competition from the likes of Disney, Apple, Paramount, and Prime Video, while its eagerness to cancel series before they have even found an audience has also seen it come in for widespread criticism from television analysts and subscribers.
As the streamer goes into 2023 with a large amount of series premiering every week, Ready Steady Cut will keep track of Netflix’s best and highest-rated series that are either debuting for or releasing new episodes in 2023 and which manage to make something of a critical and commercial impact.
Using Netflix’s Global Top Ten to see what it is that is drawing in the largest audiences to its platform and beginning with the five shows mentioned below, this list will no doubt grow in size as the year continues.
Last Updated: June 7th, 2023
Best and Highest Rated Shows in Netflix 2023
The Law According to Lidia Poët
There are many ways to pitch Netflix’s stylish Italian concoction of period drama, heightened history lesson, and procedural; Jane Austen’s Ally McBeal and R-rated Enola Holmes come to mind.
It’s rare to see Netflix dabble with a series that has a case-by-episode format, but The Law According to Lidia Poët makes it work and then some to dazzling effect. The central mysteries of each episode are frequently engaging, and the casting of The Undoing’s Matilda De Angelis in the central role helps ground the series with a central character that is enchantingly complex and charming; we root for her to win the day, but the series makes it clear that the patriarchal obstacles in her way will not be easily vanquished.
The combination of mystery and romance in a period drama will no doubt help draw in a large international audience, not to mention the brilliant use of a modern soundtrack that includes Florence in the Machine, Thom Yorke and FKA Twigs.
OFFICIAL PREMISE: “Turin, late 1800s. A ruling by the Turin Court of Appeals declares Lidia Poët’s admission to the bar association unlawful, thus preventing her from practicing law simply because she is a woman. Penniless but full of pride, Lidia secures a job at her brother Enrico’s law firm while she prepares an appeal to overturn the court ruling. In an approach that’s ahead of its time, Lidia assists criminal suspects by searching for the truth behind outward appearances and preconceptions. Lidia’s brother-in-law, Jacopo, a mysterious journalist, passes her information and introduces her to the hidden worlds that lurk beneath a flamboyant Turin. The series is a light procedural drama, reinterpreting the true story of Lidia Poët, Italy’s first female lawyer.”
CAST: Matilda De Angelis, Eduardo Scarpetta, Pier Luigi Pasino, Sinéad Thornhill, Sara Lazzaro, Dario Aita
With Sex/Life having been canceled shortly after the premiere of its second season, anyone wanting to seek out another Netflix-produced erotic drama will have found a suitable replacement with its remake of the 1992 film Damage, itself based on Josephine Hart’s novella.
The combination of character drama framed against a story of eroticism and infidelity has pulled in a pretty sizable audience for the streamer, indicating that erotically charged stories still have a place, especially when structured as a serialized television drama, meaning that it wouldn’t be a surprise to see the streamer turn towards the genre more in future.
OFFICIAL PREMISE: Obsession is a thrilling and seductive four-part limited series about erotic obsession and forbidden desire. A contemporary adaptation of Josephine Hart’s novella, Damage, the story centres around a dangerous love triangle that emerges when the enigmatic Anna Barton embarks on a passionate affair with her fiance’s father, William. Whilst Anna fights to sustain both relationships, William is drawn into an obsessive spiral. But how long can they keep their secret hidden before someone gets hurt?
CAST: Richard Armitage, Charlie Murphy, Indira Varma, Sonera Angel
That ’90s Show
With nostalgia being a prime factor in so much pop culture and media, there’s a snake-eating-its-own-tail component to That ’70s Show, a 1990s television series that reveled in 70s nostalgia, returning in 2023 as sequel series That ’90s Show looking back at the decade that the original series premiered in.
A rare studio-set sitcom in an era of single-camera shows, That ’90s Show retains the overt comedic stylings of the original, is dotted with some audience-pleasing cameos from old faces, makes excellent use of its new generation of cast members, and reminds one that the real stars of the series were always Debra Jo Rupp and Kurtwood Smith.
OFFICIAL PREMISE: “Hello, Wisconsin! It’s 1995 and Leia Forman, daughter of Eric and Donna, is visiting her grandparents for the summer, where she bonds with a new generation of Point Place kids under the watchful eye of Kitty and the stern glare of Red. Sex, drugs and rock ’n roll never dies, it just changes clothes.”
CAST: Kurtwood Smith, Debra Jo Rupp, Callie Haverda, Ashley Aufderheide, Maxwell Acee Donovan, Sam Morelos, Mace Coronel, Reyn Doi
Lockwood and Co.
Based upon the novels by Jonathan Stroud and adapted for the screen by Joe Cornish, Lockwood and Co, at first glance, looks as if it could easily fall into the remit of so many Netflix YA fantasy and horror-flavored series.
However, the involvement of Cornish means this has a considerable amount of charm and dramatic heft, and it’s no surprise that it was top of Netflix’s top ten a few days after it premiered. It might look one of a piece with the likes of now-canceled series such as Warrior Nun and Fate: The Winx Saga, but like Wednesday, this is coming from a director who knows how to tackle fantasy horror led by teen protagonists with storytelling smarts.
While on a visual level, the cliches and tropes are all present and correct, it’s so charmingly well done that one hopes that it doesn’t get struck down by Netflix’s increasingly busy axe.
OFFICIAL PREMISE: “In a world plagued by ghosts, where giant corporations employ psychic teens to battle the supernatural, only one company operates without adult supervision, and its name is Lockwood & Co. Run by Anthony Lockwood, a rebellious young entrepreneur haunted by his mysterious past, his brilliant but eccentric sidekick George and a newly arrived, supremely gifted girl called Lucy, this renegade trio are about to unravel a terrifying mystery that will change the course of history.”
CAST: Ruby Stokes, Cameron Chapman, Ali Hadji-Heshmati, Ivanno Jeremiah, Jack Bandeira, Morven Christie, Rhianna Dorris, Paddy Holland
It’s been a busy few months for Netflix and audience-grabbing thrillers and dramas with a political side, and in the same month as The Diplomat, the Korean political drama Queenmaker has proven an international success, also following on the heels of The Glory earlier in the year.
The combination of female-driven drama in a Korean political setting proves an engrossing one and has unsurprisingly been another Korean hit for the streamer showing that the country is maybe amongst the best makers of television dramas anywhere in the world right now.
OFFICIAL SYNOPSIS: After a tragic accident, a powerful fixer uses her skills to transform a civil rights lawyer into the next mayor — and take down her former employer.
CAST: Kim Hee-ae, Moon So-ri, Ryu Soo-young, Seo Yi-sook
The Snow Girl
Netflix’s batch of Spanish originals have been quietly impressive over the last few years, with its long-running teen mystery series Elite, not to mention other compulsive mysteries such as The Mess You Leave Behind, proving very effective thrillers. The Snow Girl, adapted from the novel of Javier Castillo, provides a dark journey into what is unflinchingly, at times, very grim subject matter, but it’s also one of those shows many won’t be able to turn away from.
Well-chosen cliffhangers, shocking plot twists, and magnificent central performances from its cast, especially Milena Smit, ensure that audiences won’t be able to resist the next episode option when the end credits roll.
OFFICIAL PREMISE: “Malaga, 2010, Three Wise Men parade. The most magical moment of the year turns into a nightmare for the Martín family when their daughter Amaya disappears in the crowd. Miren, a trainee journalist, begins an investigation parallel to that of Inspector Millán that will awaken aspects of her past that she would have liked to forget. With the help of her journalist colleague Eduardo, Miren will not stop until she finds the girl. Where is Amaya Martín?”
CAST: Milena Smit, José Coronado, Aixa Villagrán, Tristán Ulloa, Loreto Mauleón, Raúl Prieto
The Marked Heart: Season Two
Spanish thrillers have frequently proven a big draw for Netflix, and The Marked Heart is another to add to a growing list that includes Elite and this year’s The Snow Girl. On paper, The Marked Heart sounds preposterous, but like the best of so many Netflix thrillers from Spain, it manages to grip like a vice with a dedication to its thriller elements and nail-biting plot twists.
OFFICIAL PREMISE: Zacarías Cienfuegos has discovered that his wife, Camila, faked her death to disappear from his life. Obsessed, he hatches a master plan to get her back and execute a monumental revenge on Simón, the man Camila fell in love with, who has the heart of his murdered wife inside her chest. Now, as the right hand of the President and with the support of The Organization -the sinister organ trafficking gang- Zacarías will make Simón live exactly the same hell that he suffered. His intention is clear: to show that sometimes becoming a murderer for loving someone is the only possible option.
CAST: Juan Fernando Sánchez, Moisés Arizmendi, Jacqueline Arenal, Sebastián Martínez, Margarita Muñoz
Firefly Lane: Season Two
The second half of Firefly Lane’s second season continued to be a big draw for Netflix over the spring months, leaving one questioning the wisdom of it being the final season so soon. Effectively three seasons since both halves of its final run ran for eight episodes apiece, the central friendship of its two characters and the surprisingly complex timeline proved irresistible to viewers.
OFFICIAL PREMISE: What could possibly have ended the tight-knit thirty year friendship of Tully and Kate, our “Firefly Lane Girls Forever?” We’ll learn the answer this season — but first — Kate grapples with the painful aftermath of Johnny’s ill-fated trip to Iraq, while Tully faces a lawsuit after walking away from her talk show, and must start her career over from the bottom.
CAST: Katherine Heigl, Sarah Chalke, Ali Skovbye, Roan Curtis, Ben Lawson, Beau Garrett, Yael Yurman, India de Beaufort, Greg Germann, Jolene Purdy, Ignacio Serricchio
Sweet Tooth: Season Two
Initially in development at Hulu before putting it into turnaround, Netflix has continued to benefit from a large number of viewers drawn to Jim Mickle’s adaptation of Jeff Lemire’s DC Comics tale, managing to be a big draw for family audiences drawn to its fantasy world and fearlessness in exploring complex themes.
OFFICIAL PREMISE: Gus and his fellow hybrids are held captive by the Last Men in order to find a cure for the Sick. To save his friends, Gus must find new strength as he uncovers the origins of The Great Crumble.
CAST: Nonso Anozie, Christian Convery, Adeel Akhtar, Stefania LaVie Owen, Dania Ramirez, Aliza Vellani, James Brolin, Will Forte
Shadow and Bone
Netflix’s adaptation of Leigh Bardugo’s best-selling series of fantasy novels proved a big draw during its first season, so it wasn’t a surprise that it returned for a second run.
As always with Netflix and the fantasy genre, one might be left questioning if this will go the way of Fate: The Winx Saga or Warrior Nun as opposed to The Witcher, but so far, the number of hours viewed has proven quite impressive perhaps indicating that like the books it’s based on, it’s gained itself something of a fan following.
OFFICIAL SYNOPSIS: Alina Starkov is on the run. A beacon of hope to some and a suspected traitor to others, she’s determined to bring down the Shadow Fold and save Ravka from ruin. But General Kirigan has returned to finish what he started. Backed by a terrifying new army of seemingly indestructible shadow monsters and fearsome new Grisha recruits, Kirigan is more dangerous than ever.
CAST: Jesse Mei Lei, Archie Renaux, Freddy Carter, Amita Suman, Kit Young, Danielle Galligan, Daisy Head, Calahan Skogman, Lewis Tan, Anna Leong Brophy, Jack Wolfe, Patrick Gibson, Ben Barnes
Similar to The Night Agent and Paramount Plus thriller Rabbit Hole, there’s a pleasing sense from the success of The Diplomat that there is an eager audience for thrillers that straddle the line between classy and pulp, and that the art of constructing a television show rather than utilizing the “eight-hour movie structure” is still one that can function in this day and age.
Debora Cahn cut her teeth on The West Wing and Homeland and brings a similar flavor of thrills to her classy political thriller here, coupled with another in a long list of great lead performances from Keri Russell
OFFICIAL SYNOPSIS: Kate Wyler (Keri Russell) is the new US Ambassador to the United Kingdom. She was supposed to go to Afghanistan. She’s great in a crisis zone. In a historic home… less so. War is brewing on one continent and boiling over on another. Kate will have to diffuse international crises, forge strategic alliances in London, and adjust to her new place in the spotlight — all while trying to survive her marriage to fellow career diplomat and political star Hal Wyler (Rufus Sewell).
CAST: Keri Russell, Rufus Sewell, David Gyasi, Ali Ahn, Rory Kinnear, Ato Essandoh
Although it has since had to deal with controversial comments made by one of its supporting actors, that hasn’t stopped Beef from being a sizable hit for Netflix.
A compulsively thrilling combination of comedy, drama, and vast emotional stakes, there is a lot of wit on display and committed performances from both Ali Wong and Steven Yuen, but it’s when it shows a side of itself that slides towards pathos that one can see why this has proven to be an engrossing watch for audiences.
OFFICIAL PREMISE: Beef follows the aftermath of a road rage incident between two strangers. Danny Cho (Steven Yeun), a failing contractor with a chip on his shoulder, goes head-to-head with Amy Lau (Ali Wong), a self-made entrepreneur with a picturesque life. The increasing stakes of their feud unravel their lives and relationships in this darkly comedic and deeply moving series.
CAST: Ali Wong, Steven Yuen, Joseph Lee, Young Mazino, David Choe, Patti Yasutake
While its tricksy ‘watch-in-any-order’ format, in the end, doesn’t quite add anything substantial to its plethora of heist tropes, Eric Garcia’s thriller is nevertheless a very compulsive watch.
A great cast that includes Giancarlo Esposito, Paz Vega, Rufus Sewell, and Tati Gabrielle, not to mention an entertaining scumbag performance from Jai Courtney, ground the twists and turns on display here in a very engaging manner and being a heist thriller means that it revels in some very entertaining set-pieces.
Premiering on New Year’s Day, it was a memorable start to Netflix’s branch of programming for the year, and being a limited series means one doesn’t have to worry about it falling onto the service’s busy and now notorious chopping block.
OFFICIAL PREMISE: “Spanning 25 years, Kaleidoscope (previously titled Jigsaw) is an all-new anthology series following a crew of masterful thieves and their attempt to crack a seemingly unbreakable vault for the biggest payday in history. Guarded by the world’s most powerful corporate security team and with law enforcement on the case, every episode reveals a piece of an elaborate puzzle of corruption, greed, vengeance, scheming, loyalties, and betrayals. How did the crew of thieves plan it? Who gets away with it? Who can be trusted?”
CAST: Giancarlo Esposito, Rufus Sewell, Paz Vega, Tati Gabrielle, Rosaline Elby, Jai Courtney, Peter Mark Kendall.
Following the successful launch of its first eight episodes in December of 2022, The Glory returned for the second half of its run to critical acclaim and a massive international audience awaiting the resolution to its complex revenge narrative.
With a career-best performance from Song Hye-kyo and an unflinching sense of brutality to go with its drama and plot twists, this proved to be a massive hit with audiences worldwide who were eager to see how it would resolve.
OFFICIAL PREMISE: Years after surviving horrific abuse in high school, a woman puts an elaborate revenge scheme in motion to make the perpetrators pay for their crimes.
CAST: Song Hye-kyo, Lee Do-hyun, Lim Ji-yeon, Yeom Hye-ran, Park Sung-hoon, Jung Sung-il
You – Season 4
A slight tweak of format to the fourth season of Sera Gamble and Greg Berlanti’s adaptation of Caroline Kepnes’ book series sees Penn Badgley’s Joe and his famous hat (this time with accompanying beard and longer hair) making a home for himself in London as university lecturer Jonathan.
Still, Joe being Joe, it’s not long before the body count rises, and he’s finding himself in the middle of an ‘Eat the Rich’ murder mystery while being stalked himself.
It’s proven once again to be a massive draw for audiences, with its London setting and newly arrived cast that includes Ghost’s Charlotte Ritchie and Downton Abbey’s Ed Speleers, not to mention the portrayal of a group of supporting characters that feel like they’ve walked out of a deranged Made in Chelsea episode, giving the season another different vibe compared to previous years even if at times it feels like the wheels have buckled a little in terms of the series’ longevity.
OFFICIAL PREMISE: Now living in London, Joe tries to lay low and resist the old habits…until he’s forced to tie up loose ends and bond with a circle of wealthy socialites.
CAST: Penn Badgley, Tati Gabrielle, Charlotte Ritchie, Tilly Keeper, Amy-Leigh Hickman, Ed Speleers, Lukas Gage
Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story
The Bridgerton lore and story continue to be a big draw for Netflix audiences. The elegance of a period drama complete with classical renditions of modern pop classics continues to once again be a blockbuster success for the streamer, and wonderful dual performances of the younger cast in the roles of the parental and monarchy figures from the ‘present day’ of the series proved engrossing, wonderful and occasionally poignant at the same time.
It’s not a surprise that only a few weeks after its premiere, it’s on course to be one of the streamer’s biggest hits of the year.
OFFICIAL PREMISE: Centered on Queen Charlotte’s rise to prominence and power, this Bridgerton-verse prequel tells the story of how the young Queen’s marriage to King George sparked both a great love story and a societal shift, creating the world of the Ton inherited by the characters in Bridgerton.
CAST: India Amarteifio, Corey Mylchreest, Arsema Thomas, Golda Rosheuvel, Adjoa Andoh, Ruth Gemmell, Michelle Fairley, Hugh Sachs
The Night Agent
Action thrillers with a political side have always proven a big draw for audiences, and Shawn Ryan’s The Night Agent proved no exception.
Already renewed for a second season only a week after premiering, the compulsively watchable thriller recalls the likes of 24 and Homeland and drew in a very large audience for Netflix, becoming the most-watched new series for the platform since the debut of Wednesday last November.
As always, the mix of action and political smarts, not to mention cinematic production values, proved irresistible to audiences looking for a very compulsive binge.
OFFICIAL PREMISE: Based on the novel by Matthew Quirk, The Night Agent is a sophisticated, character-based, action-thriller centering on a low level FBI Agent who works in the basement of the White House, manning a phone that never rings — until the night that it does, propelling him into a fast moving and dangerous conspiracy that ultimately leads all the way to the Oval Office.
CAST: Gabriel Basso, Luciane Buchanan, Fola Evans Akingbola, Eve Harlow, Phoenix Raei, Enrique Marciano, D. B Woodside, Hong Chau
And that completes our Best and Highest Rated Shows in Netflix 2023 list. What’s your favorite series on Netflix so far in 2023? Comment below.
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