Best and Highest Rated Shows on Netflix in 2023

By Eamon Hennedy
Published: September 9, 2023 (Last updated: April 29, 2024)
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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. 

Best and Highest Rated Shows in Netflix 2023

Black Mirror: Season Six

The long-awaited sixth season of Charlie Brooker’s now-iconic anthology series saw what was for many a return to form following the disappointments of season five. Season six has, so far, proven to be another blockbuster success for the series and Netflix, showing how far it has come since its early days on UK broadcaster Channel 4 and that Brooker himself hasn’t lost his darkly humorous and even distressing touch. 

OFFICIAL PREMISE: Expect the unexpected. The long-awaited return of Charlie Brooker’s dark, satirical anthology series, which reinvents itself with each new episode. The sixth season of Black Mirror is the most unpredictable, unclassifiable, and unexpected yet. The series is created and written by Charlie Brooker.

CAST:  Aaron Paul, Annie Murphy, Daniel Portman, Clara Ruggard, Zazie Beetz,  Anjana Vasan, Paapa Essiedu

Bloodhounds

Netflix continues to attain considerable commercial and critical success with their Korean dramas as the year goes on (if they had actually commissioned it, King the Land would be featuring quite highly on the list). Like with The Glory, D.P. and My Name, Bloodhounds is a darker and more violent concoction in comparison to the many entertaining romantic comedy dramas on offer, and has seen audiences gripped by its mixture of social commentary, class drama and propulsive thriller plot. 

OFFICIAL PREMISE: Two youngsters mired in a ruthlessly cutthroat money lending business risk their lives to bring down an evil loan shark.

CAST: Woo Do-hwan, Lee Sang-yi, Park Sung-woong, Huh Joon-ho, Kim Sae-ron, Yoon Yoo-sun 

Dear Child

Despite the somewhat dark and grim subject matter, the German thriller Dear Child drew a high number of viewers and collated many viewed hours for Netflix. Once again, the lure of an unsettling crime thriller from Europe proved that language is no barrier for the streamer and success. 

OFFICIAL PREMISE: Lena lives in complete isolation in a highly secure home with the two children Hannah and Jonathan. They eat their meals, go to the toilet and to bed at precisely prescribed times. As soon as he enters the room, they line up to show their hands. They do everything he says. Until the young woman manages to escape. After a near-fatal car accident, she is hospitalized, accompanied by Hannah. Dear Child starts where traditional thrillers end: with redemption. But the true extent of this nightmare is revealed with the arrival of Lena’s parents at the hospital the same night. They have been desperately searching for their missing daughter for almost 13 years…

CAST: Kim Riedle, Naila Schuberth, Sammy Schrein, Hans Low, Haley Louise JOnes, Justus von Dohnanyi, Julika Jenkins, Christian Beermann, Seraphima Maria Schweiger, Ozgur Karadeniz 

The Diplomat

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

Virgin River – Season Five

Virgin River is that rarity for Netflix with its now five-season run. Proving to still have a hold on a devoted audience, the romantic drama returned to the streamer and once again drew in an audience eagerly anticipating a return visit to its mixture of small-town charm and romantic dramas. 

OFFICIAL PREMISE: Season Five of Virgin River features surprising new relationships, a shocking break-up, a difficult court trial, a heartbreaking goodbye, and a wildfire that threatens the town, bringing some people of Virgin River together while tearing others apart. Issues of motherhood push Mel to make a big decision about her future at the clinic while her pregnancy unexpectedly sparks an emotional connection to her past. To further prove himself to Mel, Jack squares off with some long-overdue confrontations–with his own demons, and of course, Charmaine. And as Doc and Hope’s respective impairments throw their identities into question, the doctor and the mayor must find solace in their community, in their young new family, and in each other.

CAST: Alexandra Breckenridge, Martin Henderson, Tim Matheson, Annette O’Toole, Colin Lawrence, Benjamin Hollingsworth, Zibby Allen, Sarah Dugdale, Marco Grazzini, Mark Ghanimé, Kai Bradbury, Kandyse McClure

XO, Kitty 

Given the popularity of the To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before films, it was no surprise that its television spin-off concentrating on the increasingly complex romance of Kitty, the sister of lead character Lara from the films, became an instant hit. Like the films it spun off from, XO, Kitty proved just how effective in dramatic stakes the rom-com can be, not to mention an audience pleaser. 

OFFICIAL PREMISE: Teen matchmaker Kitty Song Covey thinks she knows everything there is to know about love. But when she moves halfway across the world to reunite with her long-distance boyfriend, she’ll soon realize that relationships are a lot more complicated when it’s your own heart on the line.CAST: Anna Cathcart, Minyeong Choi, Gia Kim, Sang Heon Lee, Anthony Keyvan, Peter Thurnwald, Yunjin Kim, Sarayu Blue, John Corbett, Michael K Lee, Jocelyn Shelfo, Regan Aliyah

Beef

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

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

The Witcher: Season Three

The third season of The Witcher arrived on our screens with a slight air of controversy given the high-profile exit of Henry Cavill and the knowledge that this would be the last season to feature the actor in the role of Geralt. Despite that, The Witcher still proved something of a considerable draw for the streamer, indicating that perhaps the loss of the actor from the franchise won’t hurt the series from remaining a flagship series for Netflix, although the jury might still be out until season four arrives.  

OFFICIAL PREMISE: As monarchs, mages, and beasts of the Continent compete to capture her, Geralt takes Ciri into hiding, determined to protect his newly reunited family against those who threaten to destroy it. Entrusted with Ciri’s magical training, Yennefer leads them to the protected fortress of Aretuza, where they hope to uncover more about the girl’s untapped powers; instead, they discover they’ve landed in a battlefield of political corruption, dark magic, and treachery. They must fight back, put everything on the line – or risk losing each other forever.

CAST: Henry Cavill, Anya Chalotra, Freya Allen, Joey Batey, MyAnna Buring, Mahesh Jadu, Anna Shaffer, Royce Pierreson, Lars Mikkelsen

Kaleidoscope

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.

Fake Profile

Although somewhat salacious and pulpy in its narrative and subject matter, Netflix’s Columbian thriller has proven another popular international production, showing once again that language is really no barrier to success, not to mention stories that combine pulp with hard-edged thrills.

OFFICIAL PREMISE: Camila opens her sexy profile on the dating app, looking for the man of her dreams. She finds a really handsome named Fernando. However, he is not single nor named Fernando. Camila falls into a trap, and everything becomes a nightmare. Willing to do anything to find out who the man she met really is, the young woman desperately seeks the cheater’s real identity and makes him pay one by one for each lie he told her and each promise he made. Little does Camila know that she is entering an intricate labyrinth of appearances that deceive, dragged into forbidden sex and powers that kill.

CAST: Victor Mallarino, Lincoln Palomeque, Juliana Galvis, Mauricio Henao, Manuela Gonzalez, Jacques Toukhmanian, Jair Romero

Who is Erin Carter? 

A mixture of British and Spanish crime series, Who is Erin Carter? became something of a surprise hit for Netflix, but its mixture of British and Spanish thrillers may be the reason it held such wide audience appeal. A combination of thriller and mystery, with a touch of action, Jack Lothian’s series proved to have a considerable hold on audiences. 

OFFICIAL PREMISE: Amidst sun-drenched Mediterranean vistas, a mother with lethal combat skills must fight to protect her daughter from her midden past. 

CAST: Evin Ahmad, Sean Teale, Denise Gough, Douglas Henshall, Indica Watson, Pep Ambros, Susannah Fielding, Charlotte Vega

The Lincoln Lawyer

A welcome return for David E. Kelley and Ted Humphrey’s adaptation of Michael Connolly’s best-selling novels. The vibe is pleasingly slick once again as the second season of The Lincoln Lawyer proved another massive audience draw for the streamer with its propulsive mix of serialization and law firm procedural. 

OFFICIAL PREMISE: Mickey Haller (Manuel Garcia-Rulfo), an iconoclastic idealist, runs his law practice out of the back seat of his Lincoln, as he takes on cases big and small across the expansive city of Los Angeles. Based on the series of bestselling novels by renowned author Michael Connelly, the second season is based on the fourth book in The Lincoln Lawyer series, The Fifth Witness.

Cast: Manual Garcia-Rulfo, Neve Campbell, Becky Rulfo, Jazz Raycole, Angus Simpson

FUBAR

While the television remake of his iconic 90s film True Lies quickly found itself on the cancellation pile, Arnold Schwarzenegger’s first time as the lead of a television series quickly became something of a popular hit for the streamer this year, combining high octane action and audience-pleasing comedy to what was very clearly audience pleasing effect. 

OFFICIAL PREMISE: A CIA Operative on the verge of retirement discovers a family secret. Forced to go back into the field for one last job, the series tackles universal family dynamics set against a global backdrop of spies, action, and humor.

CAST: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Monica Barbaro, Milan Carter, Gabriel Luna, Fortune Feimster, Travis Van Winkle, Fabiana Udenio

The Surrogacy 

While the number of television episodes has gotten shorter, usually going for six, eight or even ten episodes, audiences weren’t put off by the twenty-four episodes offered up the The Surrogacy if the number of hours it was viewed for is anything to go by. The Mexican thriller definitely had a hold on audiences for several weeks, no doubt pulled in by the number of twists and turns the series had to offer. 

OFFICIAL PREMISE: A woman rents her womb to a powerful family of Mexican business people to save her father’s life. After her delivery, she wakes up in a hospital where she is given a baby who was born with a physical disability. Years later, her life will confront her again with that moment to discover the truth.

CAST: Leticia Calderón, Luis Ernesto Franco, Shaní, Minnie West, Alejandro de la Madrid, Marcela Guirado

The Glory

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 Four

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 finds 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

One Piece

After having stumbled with their previous live-action adaptation of a popular anime, Netflix rebounded with their adaptation of the manga One Piece. Right away, the series struck a chord with audiences, giving the streamer a considerable hit in September, with a second season renewal following not long after. 

OFFICIAL PREMISE: Based on Japan’s highest-selling manga series in history by Eiichiro Oda, One Piece is a legendary high-seas adventure unlike any other. Monkey D. Luffy is a young adventurer who has longed for a life of freedom since he can remember. Luffy sets off from his small village on a perilous journey to find the legendary fabled treasure, One Piece, to become King of the Pirates! But in order to find the ultimate prize, Luffy will need to assemble the crew he’s always wanted before finding a ship to sail, searching every inch of the vast blue seas, outpacing the Marines, and outwitting dangerous rivals at every turn.

CAST: Iñaki Godoy, Mackenyu, Emily Rudd, Jacob Romero, Taz Skylar

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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