Top 5 Series of 2023
Some say that series are the new books. Once upon a time, it was hard to imagine a decent person without a well-read library, but today video content is becoming a source of new knowledge and a simulator of emotional intelligence. Research by London Business School professor Patrick Barwise and senior researchers Steven Bellman and Virginia Beal from the University of South Australia shows that watching videos satisfies our basic psychological needs for relaxation and distraction, is an easily accessible way to fill time, and is much cheaper than other forms of entertainment.
Today, in the heart of summer and the holiday season, we have plenty to do outdoors. But nothing brightens up the evening like a new thrilling story that will make you laugh, cry and wait with bated breath for the final credits. We recommend 5 of the best TV series of 2023 that you can watch today.
Barry (HBO) last season 4
Disillusioned with his life, veteran Marine Barry Berkman is hired as a contract killer and accidentally discovers a passion for acting while completing a job. His new vocation fills Barry's life with unexpected meaning, but his former underworld employers are not happy.
Over the course of four seasons, Barry’s tale of misadventures has evolved from a black comedy about show business to an increasingly dark and ambitious drama.
The main character begins the fourth season in prison.
The Hollywood Reporter writes as saying:“Those who used to like this show for the droll jokes might be turned off by the finale’s existential searching.”
However, this evolution of the story seems to critics to be organic for the show, which, instead of satirising, “has become an earnest attempt to wrestle with the impossibility of redemption, and a sharp piece of self-reflection from a machine more used to churning out easily digestible Mask Collectors. Barry knows well what kinds of stories we tell to comfort ourselves. In its final half-hour, it refuses to become one itself.”
Showrunner, director and star Bill Hader managed to turn a seemingly absurd idea into a poignant and critical story about the showbiz industry with an anti-hero at its centre. Since 2018, the series has received 44 Emmy nominations, winning nine of them, including two for Bill Hader for his role as Barry. The fourth season will be the last.
Mrs Davis (Peacock)
In a world where Artificial Intelligence is the new God and people's lives are controlled 24/7 by technology, a desperate nun named Simone decides to challenge digital tyranny in order to free humanity.
The setting: a near-future world in which “rational and unbiased" computer algorithms run the major social, political and economic aspects of people's lives. Naturally, understanding people’s needs better than they do.
An artificial intelligence called Mrs Davis collects and analyses data on everyone on the planet, with round-the-clock access via a headset. Communicating directly with its subjects, the AI can easily plant the right narratives in people's heads, manipulate them and force them to cooperate.
The nun, Sister Simone, played by Betty Gilpin, ignores technology, does not recognise the supremacy of artificial intelligence and eventually enters into an unequal battle with an AI called Mrs Davis, who wants to enslave the entire planet.
This absurdist ‘blasphemous’ series not only debunks religious dogma and church excesses, but also raises issue about the power of technology that can be used in toxic ways.
The project is being developed by Damon Lindelof, writer of the political satirical thriller The Hunt and the cult series The Leftovers and Watchmen, and The Big Bang Theory screenwriter Tara Hernandez.
The Diplomat (Netflix)
In the midst of a global international crisis, career diplomat Kate Wyler is appointed to the prestigious post of US Ambassador to the UK. The heroine will have to quickly adapt to her new role, resolve geopolitical tensions, build strategic alliances in London and, most importantly, save her marriage to fellow diplomat Hal Wyler.
We look behind the scenes of the diplomatic profession and see a world full of intrigue, manipulation, cynicism and painfully familiar associations.
A conflict between states that threatens to escalate into a global war. The United States is seeking to balance its own long-term interests. Unprovoked war launched by Russia in Ukraine, the city of Mariupol destroyed by Russian missiles, war crimes by a Russian private military company, sanctions, oil and gas.
The play is a blend of satirical comedy and realistic drama. The authors make a mockery of the conventions of diplomacy when the most serious global crisis since the Cold War is of secondary importance to the height of the protagonist's heels for a glossy photo shoot.
In addition, the creators of The Diplomat successfully flirt with the trendy theme of gender equality, with a woman getting the job her husband has applied for. The show was created by Deborah Kahn, whose credits include Homeland, Vinyl and Grey's Anatomy. The series stars Keri Russell, the star of the spy series The Americans.
In the midst of a crisis, pop star Jocelyn, played by Lily-Rose Depp, meets a spiritual guru, a Los Angeles club owner, played by one of today’s most exciting pop artists, The Weeknd. Then, over the course of five episodes, Lily-Rose Depp’s character tries to come to terms with her own stellar career and build a complex romantic relationship with a man who turns out to be the leader of a secret cult with a criminal past.
Idol, created by Sam Levinson, showrunner of the legendary Euphoria, promised to be the major work of 2023. The film premiered at the Cannes Film Festival. Afterwards, fierce discussions began.
Initially, the HBO series was accused of excessive nudity and sexualisation. It was called ‘sexual torture porn’, lacking in artistic merit and even plot. The Hollywood Reporter wrote: “Rarely does a scene go by without the camera showing flashes of her breasts or ass.” The director of Idol, however, sees the critics’ attention as publicity. And Lily-Rose Depp herself says the nudity in Idol is ‘really revealing’.
“We know that we’re making something provocative and we are not shying away from that. That’s something I knew I was setting out to do from the beginning. I was never interested in making something puritanical. It’s okay if this show isn’t for everyone and that’s fine – I think all the best art is polarising,” Lily-Rose Depp said in an interview with Australian Vogue magazine.
The Last of Us (HBO)
The Last of Us is a feature film adaptation of the video game of the same name, executive produced by Craig Mazin (Chernobyl). The creators of the series have set themselves an ambitious goal: to change the way people think about video game adaptations. Based on one of the best video games in history, the series follows the odyssey of smuggler Joel and 14-year-old Ellie, who may hold the key to saving humanity from a deadly pandemic.
Sometimes it looks like a classic action film about a zombie apocalypse caused by a parasitic fungus, sometimes it looks like a drama about the choice between saving humanity and saving one person, and sometimes it looks like a story of tragic love and friendship. Starring The Mandalorian’s Pedro Pascal and Game of Thrones’ Bella Ramsey.
Right now, some of these and many other exciting 2023 series are competing for the historic 75thEmmy Awards.