In with the new
Dive into some promising debuts while awaiting the return of established small-screen faves
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Already, 2023 is shaping up to be a banner year for the small screen.
This year will see the return of several big hits that have reached the echelon of cultural phenomenon. The Mandalorian — the series that gave the world Grogu (a.k.a. Baby Yoda) — finally returns for its third season on Disney+ on March 1. Succession, HBO’s satirical ink-black dramedy about a dysfunctional media-empire family, comes back with its fourth season in the spring, while Apple TV’s feel-good fave Ted Lasso, a fish-out-of-water tale about a football coach with a heart of gold (Jason Sudeikis), will get a third season this year.
But there are plenty of new debuts on the schedule that are worth a place on your to-watch list. From prestige adaptations to unapologetically nostalgic fan service, here are five new shows we’re anticipating in 2023.
The Last of Us
Premières Jan. 15
It’s going to be the year of Pedro Pascal. The title star of The Mandalorian is also leading this post-apocalyptic drama alongside British actor Bella Ramsey (who was an utter delight in the title role of Lena Dunham’s adaptation of Karen Cushman’s YA classic Catherine Called Birdy). The pair star as Joel and Ellie, survivors of an outbreak who must journey across a post-apocalyptic America. (It’s actually very The Mandalorian-meets-Station Eleven in that it’s a story about a gruff man tasked with taking care of a young foundling at the end of the world.) The Last of Us is based on the bestselling 2013 action-adventure video game of the same name, and is the first HBO series to be based on a video game.
That ’90s Show
Premières Jan. 19
Say what you will about sequel series, but this streaming sequel to the Fox sitcom That ’70s Show actually looks pretty good. Set in the summer of 1995, Leia Forman (Callie Haverda) — daughter of Eric Forman (Topher Grace) and Donna Pinciotti (Laura Prepon) — is going to stay with her grandparents, Kitty (Debra Jo Rupp) and Red (Kurtwood Smith), ushering in a new generation of kids to inhabit the basement in Point Place, Wis. That ’90s Show will feature many of the original cast members — except, obviously, for Danny Masterson, who is awaiting a new trial for three rape charges — and is helmed by the original That ’70s Show creators, Bonnie and Terry Turner. (Speaking of nostalgia: Clone High, the truly bonkers early 2000s animated series from Phil Lord, Christopher Miller and Bill Lawrence, is also returning this year, on HBO Max.)
Daisy Jones & The Six
Premières March 3
This 10-episode miniseries is based on Taylor Jenkins Reid’s bestselling 2019 novel of the same name, about the rise and fall of a messy, 1970s-era rock band (loosely inspired by Fleetwood Mac) called the Six, and their beautiful lead singer, Daisy Jones. The novel is written as an oral history — and is so convincingly done that it sent people to Google asking “is Daisy Jones & The Six a real band?” — and it’s that behind-the-music quality that lends well to a screen adaptation which, of course, will be done documentary style. Riley Keough (daughter of Lisa-Marie Presley and granddaughter of Elvis and Priscilla) stars as Daisy Jones.
Première date TBA
This comedy-drama starring Bob Odenkirk will fill the Better Call Saul-shaped hole in your heart. Odenkirk returns to AMC to star as a misanthropic English department chair at a struggling college in this adaptation (lotta adaptations this year) of Richard Russo’s 1997 novel of the same name. (Speaking of people navigating midlife crises at universities, pregame this show by revisiting the 2021 Netflix sleeper The Chair, starring Sandra Oh. It only has one season and is, sadly, unlikely to get a second.)
American Born Chinese
Première date TBA
Based on the landmark 2006 graphic novel by Gene Luen Yang, this coming-of-age action-comedy is about a boy named Jin Wang (Ben Wang), the first-gen American child of Chinese immigrant parents who is struggling to fit in at his suburban American high school — until he befriends a new exchange student and becomes, unwittingly, embroiled in a battle of Chinese mythological gods. American Born Chinese also features Michelle Yeoh, Ke Huy Quan and Stephanie Hsu, who starred as the family at the heart of 2022’s masterful multiverse-jumping epic Everything Everywhere All At Once.
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Jen Zoratti is a Winnipeg Free Press columnist and author of the newsletter, NEXT, a weekly look towards a post-pandemic future.
Updated on Monday, January 9, 2023 8:28 AM CST: Adds web headline
Updated on Monday, January 9, 2023 10:01 AM CST: Corrects photo cutline