2023 has been a pretty big year for TV so far, and — as always — the British contribution has been a solid one.
From the bleak closing chapter of crime drama Happy Valley to the regal romance of Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story, the sugary sweet crushes of Heartstopper to the comedy prowess of Dreaming Whilst Black, we’ve been treated to an impressive array of shows both new and old. Though the new seasons of returning favourites like Top Boy, Doctor Who, Sex Education, We Are Lady Parts, and The Crown are still on the way, there’s already been a flurry of top notch TV this year.
The 17 best TV episodes of 2023 (so far)
Here are our favourite British TV shows of 2023 so far, and the year’s not even over.
1. Heartstopper Season 2
Credit: Netflix / Samuel Dore
Netflix‘s adaptation of Alice Oseman’s beloved webcomic and graphic novel returned for a second season, reuniting you with Charlie (Joe Locke) and Nick (Kit Connor), who decided to make it official at the end of Season 1. Season 2, which aligns with Oseman’s third and fourth volumes, feels like a natural maturation of its characters. Charlie, Elle (Yasmin Finney), Tao (William Gao), and Isaac (Tobie Donovan) are no longer the “borderline outcasts” they felt like in Season 1, but are now part of a larger group of LGBTQ buddies, a gorgeous, supportive found family that make up the core cast. And together, they explore new relationships and crushes, dreaded school exams, an overseas excursion, the end of year prom, endure their complicated home lives, and navigate the complexities of coming out.* — Shannon Connellan, UK Editor
How to watch: Heartstopper is now streaming on Netflix.
2. Dreaming Whilst Black
Adjani Salmon and Dani Moseley in “Dreaming Whilst Black”.
Credit: BBC/Big Deal Films/Domizia Salusest
Co-created by and starring Adjani Salmon, Dreaming Whilst Black is one of the sharpest comedies of the year, honouring the slog of independent filmmaking in a predominantly white industry while skewering microaggressions in the workplace. First a web series, then an award-winning pilot commissioned by BBC Three, it’s a co-production between the BBC, Big Deal Films, and A24.
The 17 best TV shows of 2023 (so far)
Over six episodes, Salmon shines in the lead as Kwabena Robinson, whose jobs in recruitment surrounded by horrendous coworkers and delivering food aren’t exactly his dream — making movies is, especially his short film Jamaica Road. When he reconnects with his film school pal Amy (Dani Moseley), she gives him the in he needs to get it off the ground, but he still needs funding (and rent money). The whole cast is superb, from Moseley as Amy enduring her own colleagues’ loaded bullshit and white fragility to Kemi Lofinmakin as the effervescent Aunty Lola, to Demmy Ladipo as Kwabena’s melodramatic cousin Maurice and Rachel Adedeji as his grounded wife Funmi going through pregnancy. The writing in this series is so perfectly excruciating and real you might gasp out loud, and there are moments of moving drama. And as this is a A24 project, there’s surrealism afoot. — S.C.
How to watch: Dreaming Whilst Black is now streaming on BBC iPlayer in the UK, U.S. release TBC.
3. Happy Valley, Season 3
Sarah Lancashire in the final season of “Happy Valley”.
Seven years since the events of Season 2, Sally Wainright’s bleak crime drama draws us back into the lives of Sergeant Catherine Cawood (Sarah Lancashire) and the man responsible for her daughter’s death, Tommy Lee Royce (James Norton), currently in prison but still hanging over her family like a shadow.
“If you’ve seen the first two seasons, you’ll probably already know that Happy Valley isn’t for everyone,” I wrote in my Mashable review. “The combination of Wainright’s unflinching scripts, the raw emotion in the acting, and the dark themes being dealt with mean that Happy Valley can be a tough watch at the best of times. It’s a depressing and disturbing show, and Season 3 — with its themes of domestic violence — is no exception.
“But, like the first two seasons, there is light in there too. Wainright does an impressive job of sprinkling in moments of humour and levity throughout her scripts, and the actors have no problem introducing a few laughs alongside the tears and the pain. Ultimately, despite how heavy it is overall, the show’s core message is one of durability.” — Sam Haysom, UK Deputy Editor
How to watch: Happy Valley is now streaming on BBC iPlayer in the UK, Acorn TV, AMC+ and BBC America in the U.S.
4. Am I Being Unreasonable?
Daisy May Cooper and Selin Hizli in “Am I Being Unreasonable?”.
Credit: Alistair Heap/BBC Studios/Boffola Pictures
Daisy May Cooper and Selin Hizli’s dramedy tells the story of Nic (Cooper), a mum balancing her difficult home life with intrusive memories of the sudden death of a man she was having an affair with. It’s tense, it’s funny, and there’s a healthy dose of mystery thriller and psychological horror mixed in there too for good measure.
“Am I Being Unreasonable? is juggling a lot of plates,” I wrote in my review for Mashable. “But it juggles them well, with the script weaving seamlessly between jokes and foreboding, heartfelt moments, as well as twists you don’t see coming. There are very few TV shows I’ve seen where I’ve laughed out loud and been hit with a genuinely unnerving jump scare in the same episode, but this is the kind of story Am I Being Unreasonable? tells.” — S.H.
How to watch: Am I Being Unreasonable? is now streaming on BBC iPlayer in the UK and Hulu in the U.S..
5. Black Mirror Season 6
Anjana Vasan in the “Demon 79” episode.
The sixth season of Charlie Brooker’s Black Mirror characteristically filled us with even more existential dread than ever, with five episodes mainly flipping the bird directly at Netflix itself. From the streaming service satire “Joan Is Awful,” to the true crime tale “Loch Henry,” the space thriller “Beyond the Sea,” fantasy horror pivot “Mazey Day,” and apocalyptic slasher “Demon 79,” the series once again turns our obsessions with tech and entertainment back on us.
Notably, the timing of the series release was everything, as Mashable’s Kristy Puchko wrote in her review, “As screenwriters are waging war against studios and streamers that would underpay them and undercut them with AI, Black Mirror Season 6 hits Netflix with a middle finger pointed firmly at a Hollywood studio system that doesn’t give a shit about humanity.” — S.C.
How to watch: Black Mirror is now streaming on Netflix.
6. Good Omens Season 2
David Tennant and Michael Sheen in the second season of “Good Omens”.
Credit: Amazon Studios
Good Omens, Amazon’s adaptation of Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett’s co-written 1990 fantasy novel, returned for a second season of apocalyptic escapades this year — and it was just as excellent as the first. Created, written, and executive produced by Gaiman, the series sees David Tennant and Michael Sheen return as eternal frenemies: the demon Crowley and angel Aziraphale. This time, they’re not chasing the antichrist child around the world, but instead, a returning Jon Hamm as the overtly pompous angel Gabriel, who turns up stark naked, memory-less, holding an empty box, and needing to be hidden from Heaven and Hell.
Frances McDormand is back as the voice of God and our glorious narrator, as is Miranda Richardson as new demon Shax, Hell’s new representative on Earth (Richardson played Madame Tracy in Season 1). It’s a rollicking script in absurd circumstances and a bloody good time as always. — S.C.
How to watch: Good Omens is now streaming on Prime Video.
7. Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story
India Amarteifio and Corey Mylchreest in “Queen Charlotte”.
Credit: Nick Wall/Netflix
A prequel looking into a young Charlotte’s (India Amarteifio) life and the early days of her marriage with King George (Corey Mylchreest), Queen Charlotte is by far Bridgerton‘s best love story and I can’t imagine a future where it isn’t. (Shonda Rhimes, I challenge you to outdo yourself.) Their relationship is one for the ages, brimming with the Bridgerton yearning and courting we all adore, and topped with a strangers-to-soulmates arc that’ll tug at your heartstrings. Although Charlotte and George may be the brightest diamonds of the season, Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story also shines with a whole cast of characters that are deliciously divine and in their own equally infatuating relationships — special shout-out to a young Lady Danbury (Arséma Thomas) and Brimsley (Sam Clemmett) for being the real G.O.A.T.s of the season.
Come for the corsets, stay for the slow-burn romance, and waltz your way into Bridgerton‘s best ball yet.* — Yasmeen Hamadeh, Contributing Entertainment Writer
How to watch: Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story is now streaming on Netflix.
Idris Elba in “Hijack”.
Credit: Apple TV+
Set over seven real-time hours, Hijack is something you could finish on a flight but should absolutely not watch on one. With Jim Field Smith and Mo Ali directing, and Idris Elba in the lead, this Apple TV+ series is about a plane hijacked on its way to London. Elba plays Sam Nelson, a corporate negotiator who tries to bargain with flight KA29’s villains all the way to the final humdinger of an episode. As Mashable’s Belen Edwards writes in her review, “Hijack is the perfect show to watch if you want to get sucked into a mildly ridiculous, yet totally engrossing scenario. You’ll squeal as our heroes brave danger, swoon at Elba’s charisma, and even chuckle at some choice one-liners.” — S.C.
How to watch: Hijack is now streaming on Apple TV+.
9. The Gallows Pole
Credit: BBC/Element Pictures (GP) Limited/Objective Feedback LLC/Dean Rogers
Whenever writer/director Shane Meadows is involved in a project, you know two things: 1) The quality is going to be high, and 2) The contents are probably going to be bleak. The Gallows Pole, adapted by Meadows from Ben Myers’ 2017 novel of the same name, ticks both of these boxes but adds in plenty of humour too, telling an 18th-century tale of a gang of coin clippers (people who create new coins by “clipping” the edges off old coins) who pull off a heist in an attempt to save their poverty-stricken village. The writing is top-notch, the acting — including performances from Meadows’ regulars Michael Socha and Thomas Turgoose — is raw, and the direction is beautiful. — S.H.
How to watch: The Gallows Pole is now streaming on BBC iPlayer in the UK, U.S. release TBC.
Genesis Lynea and Déja J. Bowens in “Champion”.
Credit: BBC/New Pictures Ltd/Ben Gregory-Ring
Queenie author Candice Carty-Williams helms the BBC/Netflix drama series Champion, “a love letter to Black British music set in south London,” following rapper Bosco Champion (Top Boy‘s Malcolm Kamulete), who just got home from prison ready to rebuild his life and career. While he’s reestablishing himself in the music industry, his talented sister and manager, Vita (the incredible Déja J. Bowens in her TV debut), is scouted by his rival, Bulla (Corey Weekes). Tension in the Champion family rises, and the siblings find themselves at odds, along with the rest of their nearest and dearest. The cast also includes singer-songwriter Ray BLK, Small Axe‘s Nadine Marshall, His Dark Materials‘ Ray Fearon, Doctor Who’s Jo Martin, Everything I Know About Love‘s Adeyinka Akinrinade, Genesis Lynea, and many more. And the music in this series? The work of champions. — S.C.
How to watch: Champion is now streaming on BBC iPlayer, U.S. release TBC.
Máiréad Tyers in “Extraordinary”.
Credit: Natalie Seery/Disney+
Disney’s Extraordinary is a wildly fun take on superpowers, in a world where everyone’s kind of rubbish at using them. Created by Emma Moran and directed by Toby McDonald, Jennifer Sheridan, and Nadira Amrani, Extraordinary follows the plight of Jen (Máiréad Tyers), a 25-year-old who didn’t get her superpowers in a world where everyone else got theirs at the age of 18. The show’s brilliance, beyond its playful special effects and overarching hypothetical, is the cast. As Mashable’s Caitlin Welsh writes in her review, “Extraordinary earns its place among the best of the millennial romcom sitcoms — and stands well above certain other eight-or-so-episode-long shows about people with superpowers on Disney-owned streaming platforms — thanks to its whip-smart writing and lived-in performances.” — S.C.
How to watch: Extraordinary is now streaming on Disney+ in the UK and Hulu in the U.S.
12. Jerk Season 3
Tim Renkow, Sharon Rooney, and Rob Madin in “Jerk”.
Credit: BBC/Roughcut TV/Olly Courtney
Written by and starring comedian Tim Renkow, Jerk is a hilarious comedy all about dalliances with discomfort. Renkow plays a version of himself as Tim, an American in London who has cerebral palsy and loves to make others squirm while getting himself into ridiculous hijinks. Co-written by Stu Richards, the series follows Tim, his eye-rolling friend and nonchalant carer Ruth (an excellent Sharon Rooney), his tough and adoring mother (the impeccable Lorraine Bracco), and his buddy Idris (a wonderfully geeky Rob Madin). Three seasons in, Jerk is still as face-palm funny as ever. — S.C.
How to watch: Jerk is now streaming on BBC iPlayer in the UK, U.S. release TBC.
Leila Farzad as DI Lou Slack in “Better”.
Credit: Sister Pictures
If you’re after a solid crime mystery, Better hits the mark, with its script full of believable banter and well-developed character relationships. This Leeds-based BBC thriller is written by Spooks’ and Humans‘ Jonathan Brackley and Sam Vincent. I Hate Suzie‘s Leila Farzad is a truly compelling lead as revered detective inspector Louisa Slack, who’s keeping a few possibly unlawful secrets while dealing with her son’s suddenly changed health. Broadchurch‘s Andrew Buchan takes on the other side of the law as Slack’s old friend, Col McHugh, whose criminal activity benefits them both. However, as the mystery unravels their connection becomes more and more unbalanced, and the concept of morality and doing the right thing brings them both to the brink. — S.C.
How to watch: Better is now streaming on BBC iPlayer in the UK, U.S. release TBC.
14. Lockwood and Co.
Cameron Chapman, Ali Hadji-Heshmati, and Ruby Stokes in “Lockwood and Co.”.
Based on Jonathan Stroud’s young adult supernatural novels, Netflix’s Lockwood and Co. brought the teen ghostbusting, haunted house energy we needed in deep, dark winter from Attack the Block director Joe Cornish. As seen in his alien invasion favourite, Cornish’s series again puts young people at the forefront of a threat, the best fighting chance we have against malevolent forces. That’d be Anthony Lockwood (Cameron Chapman), who runs his own wraith-hunting agency in London, battling ghosts with his trusty sidekick George Karim (Ali Hadji-Heshmati), and psychic teen Lucy Carlyle (Ruby Stokes).
Lockwood and Co. appears to sit in a very specific target age demographic, taking back scary spaces for older teens in a way that would delight one Wednesday Addams. One thing I would caution is that every episode of Lockwood and Co. is haunted by many dark causes of death, so it’s pretty intense for younger teens. But Lockwood and Co. is the kind of show useless grown-ups might also enjoy: a ghost hunting detective story that involves psychic powers and personal secrets to be uncovered. Grab a big cuppa and a blanket and settle in.* — S.C.
How to watch: Lockwood and Co. is now streaming on Netflix.
Freema Agyeman and Lily Allen in “Dreamland”.
Credit: Sky Group
One of the most productive people in the business, Sharon Horgan helmed another marvellous series this year. The Bad Sisters creator and star’s latest project, Dreamland, stems from her 2018 BAFTA-winning summer short, with Horgan executive producing with Sarah Kendall, Emma Jane Unsworth, and Gabby Best on the script. A black comedy about sisterhood and family set in the seaside town of Margate, the series sees Lily Allen’s TV debut as Mel, who arrives at her sister Trish’s (Doctor Who‘s Freema Agyeman) baby shower processing more than a few things from her past. Boasting bright and kaleidoscopic visuals alongside its dark humour, Dreamland features a wonderful cast of characters, each with their own quirks and moving moments. — S.C.
How to watch: Dreamland is now streaming on NOW TV in the UK, U.S. release TBC.
17. Red Rose
Don’t install that app.
Credit: Eleven Film
After you watch Red Rose, you’ll probably hesitate before installing your next app. The British teen horror drama series follows a group of school-leavers terrorised by an evil app, which makes demands of its users with deadly outcomes. First aired by the BBC in August 2022, the series has now made its way to the U.S. with Netflix. It’s made by the same production company as Sex Education, but let’s be clear, this is not that.
Written by Paul and Michael Clarkson, who co-produced Mike Flanagan’s horror series The Haunting of Bly Manor, and boasting a talented young cast, the series goes beyond its Skins meets The Ring meets Black Mirror premise. Red Rose takes the time to examine serious themes of grief, death, class, family, friendship, and early adulthood, all while our protagonists endure a tech–fuelled nightmare that will make you want to throw your phone in the sea.* — S.C.
How to watch: Red Rose is now streaming on Netflix.
18. Black Ops
Hammed Animashaun and Gbemisola Ikumelo in “Black Ops.”
Credit: BBC/Ricky Darko
Created by Famalam‘s Gbemisola Ikumelo and Akemnji Ndifornyen, Black Ops is six 30-minute episodes of chaotic buddy cop comedy. Ikumelo and Hammed Animashaun play Met Police officers Dom and Kay, bumbling partners on a secret undercover mission to infiltrate East London’s Brightmarsh gang, led by Tevin, played by Ndifornyen. But when something goes down with their handler (His Dark Materials‘ Ariyon Bakare) everything gets messy and extremely fun. — S.C.
How to watch: Black Ops is now streaming on BBC iPlayer in the UK, U.S. release TBC.
It’s Matthew Macfadyen! And Keeley Hawes!
If you’re missing your weekly dose of Matthew Macfadyen in Succession, he shines with political pomposity in ITV’s Stonehouse. Directed by Stan and Ollie‘s Jon S. Baird, the three-part series is a dramatisation of the life and times of Labour MP John Stonehouse, who suddenly vanished in 1974, faking his own death by swimming into the sea. Why? Although the series itself is a wild ride, fuelled by a Pink Panther-style score, the truth is actually stranger than fiction. “What happened to John Stonehouse is the stuff of legend,” McFadyen said in a press statement. “I’ve always been intrigued by what motivated him to fake his own death, and leave behind the family he loved and doted upon and a promising political career. John Preston’s script truly captures the man and his colourful life.” McFadyen shares the screen with his wife, Keeley Hawes, as Barbara Stonehouse.
How to watch: Stonehouse is now streaming on ITVX in the UK, BritBox in the U.S..
20. Then You Run
Worst holiday ever.
Based on Zoran Drvenkar’s thriller novel, You, and adapted by Ben Chanan, Then You Run boasts one of the best cold opens of the year. And we mean cold, involving the worst possible traffic situation ever. This eight-part Sky Original series sees four 18-year-old Londoners hit the road from Rotterdam, running from a group of dangerous drug dealers after they end up embroiled in a storm of murder, fast cars, and kilograms of heroin. Plus, there’s a Fargo-esque killer only known as The Traveller on the hunt.
But a meek quartet they are not. Rye Lane’s Vivian Oparah is hilarious as the confident Stink, becoming a Pablo Escobar before her friends even know what’s happened. Newcomer Isidora Fairhurst is fittingly dramatic as the more practical but reasonably rebellious Nessi. Yasmin Monet Prince is level-headed as Ruth, the responsible one you’ll most likely agree with, and Normal People‘s Leah McNamara is intense and cold as Tara. They’re making it up as they go along, sparking many an argument, but they’re also wildly underestimated by the men hunting them.
How to watch: Then You Run is now streaming on NOW TV in the UK, U.S. release TBC.
21. Blue Lights
Katherine Devlin in “Blue Lights.”
Credit: BBC/Gallagher Films/Two Cities Television/Steffan Hill
If you’ve ever felt out of your depth at work, watch Blue Lights. The Belfast-set BBC crime series follows three probationary constables, Grace Ellis (House of the Dragon‘s Sian Brooke), Annie Conlon (The Dig‘s Katherine Devlin), and Tommy Foster (newcomer Nathan Braniff), who are flailing in their trial periods. Hazed by their colleagues, reprimanded by their superiors, and intimidated by locals, they’re all finding their feet on the job. Meanwhile, they’re dealing with gang leader James McIntyre (John Lynch) and territory boundaries, following protocol, and tension rising with both the community and undercover operations from English police forces.
How to watch: Blue Lights is now streaming on BBC iPlayer in the UK, U.S. release TBC.
Helena Bonham Carter as Noelle Gordon in “Nolly”.
Russell T. Davies. Any new show from the creator of It’s a Sin and Years and Years is reason enough to be excited, but when you combine that with a lead role from Helena Bonham Carter and the strange story of famous ’70s soap star Noelle Gordon, things get even more intriguing. A three-part miniseries, Nolly follows Gordon (Bonham Carter) during her rise to massive UK stardom as Meg Richardson in the popular Crossroads soap, before her sudden and mysterious axing in 1981. Augustus Prew is delightful as Nolly’s co-star Tony Adams, as is Mark Gatiss as TV presenter Larry Grayson.* — S.H.
How to watch: Nolly is now streaming on ITVX in the UK, U.S. release TBC.
23. Everyone Else Burns
Credit: Channel 4
A comedy win for Channel 4 this year, Everyone Else Burns introduces you to Lewises: a Manchester family heavily wedged in a puritanical religious congregation, the Order of the Divine Rod, and sticking to every rule in the very, very old book. With doomsday on the horizon, there’s no time to waste in securing heavenly brownie points, starting with nightly apocalypse drills barked by patriarch David, played with melodramatic stubbornness by The Inbetweeners‘ Simon Bird.
Written by Dillon Mapletoft and Oliver Taylor, the series’ script is sharp, leaving little scene space without quips. Landscapers‘ Kate O’Flynn is brilliant as dead eyed matriarch Fiona, slowly realising she wants more than the order’s strict gender roles, something shared by their teen daughter, Rachel (Amy James-Kelly) who is “on the brink of moral hazards” (thinking about going to university). Meanwhile, their young Pugsley Addams-channelling son Aaron (Harry Connor) has secular bullies to deal with. Beyond the Lewises, the supporting cast are a highlight, from Lolly Adefope as teacher Miss Simmonds to Morgana Robinson as the Lewises’ neighbour Melissa, This Way Up‘s Kadiff Kirwan as order fav elder Andrew to Red Rose‘s Ali Khan as shunned order member Joshua.
How to watch: Everyone Else Burns is now streaming on All4 in the UK, U.S. release TBC.
24. Rain Dogs
Fleur Tashjian and Daisy May Cooper in “Rain Dogs”.
Credit: BBC/Sid Gentle/HBO/James Pardon
We’re big fans of Daisy May Cooper’s work, from This Country to Am I Being Unreasonable? (already in this list), and this one is yet another must-watch. The BBC teamed up with HBO and the production company behind Killing Eve for Rain Dogs, penned by author Cash Carraway. Filmed in Bristol, the series follows the wonderfully named Costello Jones (Cooper), a single mum who bloody loves her daughter Iris (Fleur Tashjian), her Brett Easton Ellis-loving soulmate Selby (Jack Farthing), and Iris’ chaotic godmother Gloria (Ronkẹ Adékoluẹjo) more than anything. The four of them are the titular Rain Dogs and they’ll do anything for each other. — S.C.
How to watch: Rain Dogs is now streaming on BBC iPlayer in the UK and Max in the U.S.
25. Best Interests
Michael Sheen and Sharon Horgan in “Best Interests”.
Credit: BBC/Chapter One/Kevin Baker
If you want to watch two of Britain’s best actors absolutely obliterate your heart, watch Best Interests. Sharon Horgan and Michael Sheen are at the top of their game in Jack Thorne’s BBC series, following the devastating experience of parents whose child’s health depletes considerably. Set in Cheltenham, the series hinges on Nicci (Horgan) and Andrew (Sheen), whose daughter Marnie (Niamh Moriarty) has muscular dystrophy. From their other daughter Katie (Alison Oliver) to Marnie’s doctor Samantha (Noma Dumezweni), Best Interests‘ brings complexity and humanity to the characters as they navigate the awful practicalities ahead. Horgan gives one of the most profound performances of her career, as does Sheen, as the series keeps one unimaginable question at its heart: When your child’s illness reaches unfathomable depths, who decides what happens? — S.C.
How to watch: Best Interests is now streaming on BBC iPlayer in the UK, U.S. release TBC.
Ella Lily Hyland and Harmony Rose Bremner in “Fifteen-Love”.
Credit: Amazon Studios
Written by Hania Elkington (The Innocents, The Essex Serpent) and directed by Eva Riley, Fifteen-Love delves into the world of elite tennis and 16-year-old prodigy Justine Pearce (Ella Lily Hyland) whose Grand Slam dreams are cut short by injury — and subsequently, so goes her playing career. Five years later, working at her former academy Longwood, she comes forward with allegations against her former coach Glenn Lapthorn (Poldark‘s Aidan Turner). Foregrounding the complexity of speaking out, the show examines the deeply harmful culture of victim blaming and looking the other way within an industry that cares more about success than the wellbeing of its athletes.
The series flashes between the past and present, examining a world in which a culture of predatory grooming is allowed to flourish. Hyland is exceptional as Justine, a complex character constantly gaslit, judged, and told it’s “all in her head,” accused of having “delusions, fantasies that have gotten out of control,” while Turner is chillingly believable, though almost upstaged by Manon Azem in a superb performance as Glenn’s wife Khalida. As the series progresses, Fifteen-Love builds a familiar world in which male entitlement, manipulation, and abuse is protected by people with full knowledge of what’s going on. It’s infuriating to watch, but far from the truth it ain’t. — S.C.
How to watch: Fifteen-Love is now streaming on Prime Video in the UK, U.S. release TBC.
Suranne Jones and Eve Best in “Maryland”
As far as drama goes, Maryland is one of the year’s standouts. Created by and starring Suranne Jones with screenwriter Anne-Marie O’Connor, the series centres on two estranged sisters, Becca (Jones) and Rosaline (House of the Dragon‘s Eve Best) reunited through the death of their mother on the Isle of Man. Here, they’ll need to piece together their mother’s final days, in a place she had a deeper connection to than her daughters’ knew. Over three episodes directed by Line of Duty‘s Sue Tully, Maryland examines both the emotional upheaval and awful practicalities of losing a loved one, and questions how much we really know about them. Jones and Best are truly outstanding in this series as very different sisters dealing with their grief in their own way, reconnecting with one another, and trying to understand a person they’ll never get answers from directly. Their search for clues will lead them to the wonderful Stockard Channing as Cathy, who might be able to shed some light. — S.C.
How to watch: Maryland is now streaming on ITVX in the UK, U.S. release TBC.
28. The Rig
Iain Glen plays rig boss Magnus.
Credit: Amazon Studios
It’s not exactly John Carpenter’s The Fog but there’s plenty of it in David Macpherson’s six-episode Prime Video series. Set entirely on the Kinloch Bravo oil rig in the North Sea, the series is a tense mystery survival thriller with a strong set-up and nail-biting scenes. The titular rig’s communications are on the fritz and a power malfunction means the crew’s return to land is delayed, sparking unrest. But they’ve got bigger problems, as a mysterious fog rolls in, engulfing the structure and leaving it stranded. As supplies dwindle, tensions rise among the crew, and people start turning up dead, it becomes apparent there’s something afoot in the mist and the drilled depths below. It’s like an extreme workplace-based Poseidon Adventure meets 1899 and it’s deeply compelling.
The Rig‘s cast is strong too, from Schitt’s Creek‘s Emily Hampshire as Rose, the rep for the rig’s overlord, Pictor Energy Company, to Game of Thrones‘ Iain Glen and Owen Teale, as practical rig boss Magnus and aggressive, mutinous head driller Hutton, respectively. There’s Line of Duty alumni Martin Compston and Rochenda Sandall as communications operator Fulmer and medic Cat. Meanwhile Calvin Demba carries the mystery as shit-talking crew member Baz, whose experience connects the practicalities of the rig’s plight with something more sinister. — S.C.
How to watch: The Rig is now streaming on Prime Video.
29. The Sixth Commandment
Credit: BBC/Wild Mercury/Amanda Searle
Written by Sarah Phelps and directed by Saul Dibb, The Sixth Commandment is far from the exploitative style we’ve come to associate with true crime, especially for a case so recent. Instead, this four-part BBC series centres the lives of the victims, Peter Farquhar and Ann Moore-Martin, who were murdered in the Buckinghamshire village of Maids Moreton in 2014 and 2017. Timothy Spall is impeccable as Farquhar, as is Anne Reid as Moore-Martin, brmaug humanity, nuance, and insight into their lives. The series follows the sinister, tragic circumstances involving their deaths, the web of manipulation, control, and deception police would need to untangle in their investigation, and the court case, when revelations would be made.
How to watch: The Sixth Commandment is now streaming on BBC iPlayer in the UK, U.S. release TBC.
30. Ted Lasso Season 3
Plenty to celebrate.
Credit: Apple TV+
Yes, Ted Lasso is technically a U.S. Apple TV+ production, but it’s filmed in the UK, written by Brett Goldstein and has a largely British cast, so you’d better believe we’re counting it. With AFC Richmond in the Premier League, Ted Lasso Season 3 marks the beginning of its final season with the Greyhounds as the subject of derision and taunts. Ted Lasso (Jason Sudeikis), Coach Beard (Brendan Hunt), and the team are pitted against West Ham United and their new coach Nate (Nick Mohammed) — but let’s not declare Nate the real villain of the season, alright? That’d be his co-conspirator, all-round jerk Rupert (Anthony Head), whose ex-wife Rebecca (Hannah Waddingham) wants to finally claim her own victory. You’d better believe all your favourites are here for the final round, including Keeley (Juno Temple) and Roy Kent (Goldstein). — S.C.
How to watch: Ted Lasso is now streaming on Apple TV+.
31. The Witcher Season 3
There’s a whole trippy desert episode in Season 3.
Credit: Jay Maidment
Two years after The Witcher‘s second season made a magical, monstrous upgrade to the series, Season 3 plunges fans right back into the turmoil of the Continent, where the powerful Princess Ciri of Cintra (Freya Allan) is being relentlessly hunted by…everyone. Released as two volumes and with showrunner Lauren Schmidt Hissrich back at the helm, The Witcher‘s third season sends our heroes Ciri, Geralt of Rivia (Henry Cavill), and Yennefer of Vengerberg (Anya Charlotra) on the run. Over eight episodes, the show severely ups the gruesome monster game, delivers those complex politics and way more magic, and lets Ciri kick some serious ass while developing her potentially world-saving/world-ending magic. Throw in two season-stealing episodes (one entirely set at the Met Gala of the Continent, and one entirely following Ciri through what feels like a bad acid trip in the Korath desert), and parallels to the most popular Witcher game, and you’re in for a treat on Cavill’s last ride.* — S.C.
How to watch: The Witcher is now streaming on Netflix.