While 2022 was a banner year for prestige TV, genre releases may reign supreme in 2023. Sparking off the year is HBO's highly-anticipated video game adaptation of The Last of Us, which follows two survivors — played by Pedro Pascal and Bella Ramsey — of a zombie apocalypse. There are also new seasons of fan-favorite shows to look forward to, as well as the final chapter of M. Night Shyamalan's eerie horror series Servant on Apple TV+.
The sophomore season of Netflix's fantasy smash Shadow and Bone looks to introduce a spread of new characters and locations from Leigh Bardugo's bestselling YA series. And, of course, for the franchise fans, there's new Marvel, Star Wars, and Star Trek series galore. With all these ambitious debuts and exciting returns on the horizon, we've put together a guide to the best genre TV to look out for in 2023.
Premieres January 14
M. Night Shyamalan's eerie and effective domestic horror series has flown largely under the radar but hopefully that'll change when the final season hits this year. Rupert Grint, Toby Kebbell, Lauren Ambrose, and Nell Tiger Free star in this psychological nightmare about a family, their young son, and the unusual young woman they hire to care for him. Unabashedly weird and atmospheric, this is a legitimately spooky show that explores trauma, parenthood, and the horrors that come with through the lens of a supernatural cult thriller. It helps that the core cast are all fully committed to the nightmarish tale they're telling, and the stylish direction constantly adds to the feeling that the brownstone where most of the show takes place is throbbing with a nefarious danger that's always slightly beyond our view.
Premieres January 15
HBO Max is coming out swinging with what could be one of the biggest shows of the year. Adapting the beloved and multi-award-winning game of the same name, this post-apocalyptic drama stars Pedro Pascal as Joel and Bella Ramsey as Ella, two survivors of a fungal zombie plague that has wreaked havoc on civilization. Their slowburn story enchanted gamers, making The Last of Us a true cultural phenomenon. But video game adaptations have long been hard to get right, so if the team behind this one (Chernobyl's Craig Mazin and The Last of Us creator Neil Druckmann) can make this a hit, it could become just as beloved as the game it's based on.
Premieres February 16
Breaking out of the story of the week structure that has long defined Star Trek, Picard brought back Patrick Stewart as the (now) elderly Captain who was dragged back into his space-faring adventures after the unexpected appearance of a young woman with a connection to his past. Three seasons in, the show has become one of the most interesting and complex sci-fi shows on TV, filled with emotional character-driven storytelling, stunning effects, and beloved returning characters from throughout Star Trek history. If you've always wanted to get into Star Trek but were overwhelmed by the sheer scope of the series, this is a great jumping-on point — and you have time to catch up before the new season hits screens.
Star Wars: The Bad Batch premieres January 4; The Mandalorian Season 3 premieres March 1; other dates TBD
One of the biggest releases coming to Disney+ in 2023 is the third season of The Mandalorian. The roving galactic mercenary with a heart of gold has captured audiences thanks to his unexpected relationship with his one-time bounty, The Child a.k.a. Baby Yoda. Aside from the return of everyone's favorite space dad, Disney Lucasfilm is also bringing back the animated drama of the rogue clone troopers known as The Bad Batch, who'll return in their second season in January. 2023 will also bring back the streamer's critically acclaimed anime anthology Star Wars: Visions. But some of the biggest additions will be new series like Skeleton Crew, which will follow a group of young kids as they try to survive alone in the galaxy, and the highly anticipated live-action Ahsoka series about the fan-favorite Clone Wars character.
Premieres March 16
Adapted from Leigh Bardugo's bestselling Grishaverse series, this Netflix original fantasy became one of its biggest hits when it released the first season in 2021. It's set in a slavic-inspired world where magic is studied under the name of "the small science" and powerful magic users known as Grisha fight in service of the crown. Jessie Mei Lei leads the cast as Alina, a young orphan who discovers she has unbelievable powers and swiftly becomes embroiled in court politics, love triangles, and a war to save the world from evil. Filled with lovable characters, incredible action, and beautiful production design, Shadow and Bone Season 1 garnered a passionate fanbase, and the second season should grow it even larger as it introduces popular book characters and expands the world and mythology of the on-screen Grishaverse.
Premieres Fall 2023
While it might seem unusual to include an animated continuation of a kids cartoon from the '90s on a most anticipated list, the legions of fans who've been waiting over two decades would disagree. X-Men '97 follows the titular mutant heroes as they go about their daily lives at Charles Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters. In the '92 iteration, episodes would often adapt classic comic book arcs, but this series looks to directly continue the canon of the fan fave cartoon. Taking on the beloved X-Men animated series and crafting a new story for an entirely different age is an interesting challenge, especially as the audience for the series has grown from kids watching on Saturday mornings to a global fanbase of all ages who will happily watch anything connected to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Speaking of which, another reason that this is on our must-watch list is it'll be the first major X-Men project that Disney/Marvel has created since regaining the character rights from the Fox merger. So, a huge moment for the franchise.
Premiere dates TBD
If you've been hooked on the Marvel Cinematic Universe and their recent televisual offerings, you'll be happy to know that there is a ton of new series hitting Disney+ next year. (But if you're suffering Marvel fatigue — it happens — then feel free skip to the next entry.) Aside from returning seasons of the surreal sci-fi adventure Loki and animated anthology What If...?, there are also a selection of high-profile new series with as-yet-unannounced air dates that'll be joining the streamer.
Secret Invasion will loosely adapt the popular comics arc of the same name, introducing viewers to a more nefarious side of the shape-shifting aliens known as the Skrulls. Echo will take the badass anti-hero of Hawkeye and give her a headlining role of her own, likely alongside Daredevil and Kingpin. Ironheart brings Black Panther: Wakanda Forever's Riri Williams back to Chicago in a highly-anticipated solo series. And Agatha: Coven of Chaos will bring back Kathryn Hahn as the fan-favorite witch alongside recently announced cast members Aubrey Plaza, Joe Locke, and Emma Caulfield, who'll be reprising her WandaVision role.
Premiere date TBD
Prime Video's The Boys has gone from strength to strength each season as the searing superhero satire gets bloodier and more brutal both in its violence and cutting humor. It's no surprise then that the streamer wants more from the world of Billy Butcher and Co., which leads us to Gen V. Like The Boys, it's loosely adapted from the comics by Garth Ennis and Darick Robertson. The series is set in a college in The Boys' universe, centered on a group of young heroes training to be Supes. While most other shows would have likely gone for a YA tone shift, Gen V looks just as grim and gruesome as its predecessor. The impressive cast also boasts an exciting Chilling Adventures of Sabrina reunion as both Jaz Sinclair and Chase Perdomo star.
Premiere date TBD
Mike Flanagan and Trevor Macy have carved out an excellent niche at Netflix adapting the works of iconic horror authors through the lens of the haunted house. Their third series in that vein will also be their last project at Netflix before they move over to their new creative home at Amazon. After taking on Shirley Jackson and Henry James, the duo will adapt the works of Edgar Allen Poe in The Fall of the House of Usher. Just like The Haunting of Hill House and Bly Manor, the story centers around an echoing and strange home. After being called there by the owner, a young man becomes consumed by horrors within. The Fall of the House of Usher will star many of Flanagan and Macy's recurring creative collaborators like Kate Siegel, Rahul Kohli, Carla Gugino, Zach Gilford, Carl Lumbly, and T'Nia Miller alongside exciting new additions, including Mark Hamill.
Premiere date TBD
Adapting Gene Luen Yang's seminal award-winning graphic novel is no easy feat, but while Disney might seem like an unexpected home for the radical YA text, a Mouse House budget means that the creative team are going to be able to really bring the fantastical story to life. Jin Wang is a young Asian-American student at a predominantly white school. While he's coming of age in that scenario, Yang also tells us the story of two other apparently unconnected characters: Chin-Kee, the Chinese cousin of a white American student; and famed Chinese folkloric figure, the Monkey King. All three stories collide in an unexpected and brilliant way as Jin Wang grows to love himself and his culture. From what Disney has shared so far, the American Born Chinese series will lean heavily into the fantasy, introducing global viewers to many of the famed characters from the classic Chinese novel Journey to the West. If it's even half as great as the comic book it's based on, this could be one of the best shows of 2022.
Premiere date TBD
After the success of the first season of its six-episode Leaphorn & Chee adaptation Dark Winds, AMC promised viewers the gritty mystery series would return in 2023. The talented Zahn McClarnon leads the series as Lt. Joe Leaphorn, a Navajo Tribal policeman who is drawn into a series of strange crimes that threaten to unravel his life and harm his tight knit community. Along for the ride is Kiowa Gordon as his new deputy Jim Chee. This long gestating on-screen version of Tony Hillerman's novels was produced by Robert Redford and George R.R. Martin, but its real power comes from the terrifyingly taut enigma at its center, and the nuanced, authentic representation of Native American life that it delivers at every turn. After the first six episodes made a splash in 2022, it'll be interesting to see where Season 2 goes.
Rosie Knight is an award-winning journalist and author who writes about TV, Films, and comic books. You can hear her each week as she co-hosts Crooked Media's flagship pop-culture podcast X-Ray Vision.
TOPICS: Genre TV, Amazon Prime Video, AMC, Apple TV+, Disney+, HBO, Netflix, Paramount+, Agatha: Coven of Chaos, American Born Chinese, Dark Winds, Echo, The Fall of the House of Usher, Gen V, Ironheart, The Last of Us, Loki, Secret Invasion, Servant, Shadow and Bone, Star Trek: Picard, Star Wars: Ahsoka, Star Wars: Skeleton Crew, Star Wars: The Bad Batch, Star Wars: The Mandalorian, Star Wars: Visions, What If...? (Marvel series), X-Men ’97