Series to Watch: 2023
DQ looks ahead to 2023 and picks out 20 new dramas expected to air over the coming year, from a unique police procedural and a Danish prison drama to a Bridgerton spin-off and a pair of music dramas.
Bay of Fires
Original broadcaster: ABC
Producers: Archipelago Productions and Fremantle Australia
Starring: Marta Dusseldorp, Kerry Fox, Toby Leonard Moore, Rachel House, Yael Stone, Tony Barry, Oscar Redding, Bob Franklin, Roslyn Hammond, Kim Ko and Rhys Muldoon
Set on Tasmania’s rugged west coast, Bay of Fires tells the story of Stella (Dusseldorp), who is unexpectedly dropped into a small community with her children. But it’s not the kind of place they put on postcards – it is instead rife with simmering feuds, crime and, sometimes, murder.
Original broadcaster: BBC
Producer: Chapter One Pictures
Distributor: Fifth Season
Starring: Sharon Horgan, Michael Sheen, Noma Dumezweni, Chizzy Akudolu, Des McAleer, Mat Fraser, Gary Beadle, Jack Morris, Pippa Haywood, Shane Zaza, Lucian Msamati and Lisa McGrillis
Written by Jack Thorne (Help), Best Interests follows married couple Nicci and Andrew, whose daughter Marnie has a life-threatening condition. When they are told by doctors that it would be in Marnie’s best interests to let her die, against the wishes of the family, a fight begins through the courts as they struggle to contemplate this huge decision.
Original broadcaster: Netflix
Producer: Moonage Pictures
Starring: Jacob Fortune-Lloyd, Shira Haas, Amaka Okafor, Kyle Soller and Stephen Graham
A crime procedural with a twist, based on the graphic novel by Si Spencer, Bodies follows four detectives in four different eras of London who find themselves investigating the same murder – an unidentified body in Whitechapel – and uncovering a conspiracy spanning 150 years.
Original broadcasters: BBC (UK), Netflix (worldwide)
Producers: Balloon Entertainment and New Pictures
Starring: Déja J Bowens, Malcolm Kamulete, Ray BLK, Nadine Marshall, Ray Fearon, Jo Martin, Kerim Hassan, Adeyinka Akinrinade, Tom Forbes, Genesis Lynea, Karl Collins, Francis Lovehall, Corey Weekes and Rachel Adedeji
This eight-part music drama, described as a love letter to black British music is written by Queenie author Candice Carty-Williams in her first television project. Rap sensation Bosco Champion is home from prison and ready to dominate the music industry once more. But when his dutiful younger sister Vita’s own talent is discovered by Bosco’s rival, Bulla, she steps out of her brother’s shadow to become a performer in her own right, setting the Champion siblings against one another and tearing apart the whole family in the process.
Original broadcaster: Netflix
Producer: byNWR Originals
Starring: Angela Bundalovic, Lola Corfixen, Zlatko Buric, Andreas Lykke Jørgensen, Jason Hendil-Forssell, Li Ii Zhang, Dragana Milutinovic, Mikael Bertelsen and Mads Brügger
Described by Netflix as a “poetic, thrill-inducing neon-noir” from director Nicolas Winding Refn (Drive), this six-part series follows young heroine Miu (Bundalovic), who travels through Copenhagen’s criminal netherworld.
Daisy Jones & The Six
Original broadcaster: Prime Video
Producers: Amazon Studios and Hello Sunshine
Starring: Riley Keough, Sam Claflin, Camila Morrone, Will Harrison, Suki Waterhouse, Josh Whitehouse, Sebastian Chacon, Nabiyah Be, Tom Wright, Timothy Olyphant
Based on the novel by Taylor Jenkins Reid, this musical drama series details the rise and precipitous fall of a renowned rock band. In 1977, Daisy Jones & The Six were on top of the world. Fronted by two charismatic lead singers – Daisy Jones (Riley Keough) and Billy Dunne (Sam Claflin) – the band had risen from obscurity to fame. And then, after a sold-out show at Chicago’s Soldier Field, they called it quits. Now, decades later, the band members finally agree to reveal the truth.
Original broadcaster: Sky
Distributor: NBCUniversal Global Distribution
Starring: Freema Agyeman, Lily Allen, Kiell Smith-Bynoe, Gabby Best, Aimee-Ffion Edwards, Frances Barber and Sheila Reid
Based on a Bafta-winning short film and produced by the makers of Motherhood and Bad Sisters, Dreamland is a comedy-drama about secrets, lies, loves and aspirations within a family of four sisters living in the British seaside town of Margate. Eldest sister Trish (Agyeman) is pregnant for the third time with her partner Spence (Smith-Bynoe), while her two sisters Clare (Best) and Leila (Edwards) rally around her with their mum (Barber) and their nan (Reid). But when their other sister, Mel (Allen), makes an unexpected reappearance, it threatens to destabilise the entire family.
Drops of God
Original broadcasters: France Télévisions, Hulu Japan
Producer: Dynamic Television
Distributor: Legendary Television
Starring: Fleur Geffrier and Tomohisa Yamashita
This television adaptation of the celebrated Japanese manga of the same name is set in the world of gastronomy and fine wines. Alexandre Léger, creator of the famous Léger Wine Guide and emblematic figure in oenology, has just passed away in Tokyo. When his estranged daughter Camille flies to Japan for the reading of her father’s will, she discovers he has left her an extraordinary wine collection – but to claim the inheritance, Camille must compete with a brilliant young oenologist, described as Léger’s spiritual son, for the prize.
Original broadcaster: Disney+
Producer: Marvel Studios
Starring: Alaqua Cox, Chaske Spencer, Tantoo Cardinal, Devery Jacobs, Cody Lightning, Graham Greene and Zahn McClarnon
Cox made her Marvel debut in 2021 series Hawkeye as the unforgiving Maya Lopez, a deaf gang leader who was determined to make Ronin, aka Clint Barton, pay for his own vengeful deeds. This new series now tells the origin story of Echo – otherwise known as Lopez, whose ruthless behaviour in New York City catches up with her in her home town. She must face her past, reconnect with her Native American roots and embrace the meaning of family and community if she ever hopes to move forward.
Hålla samman (Keep it Together)
Original broadcaster: SVT
Producer: Anagram Sweden
Distributor: The Yellow Affair
Starring: Michaela Thorsén, Lennart Jähkel and Ulrika Nilson
This dramedy centres on 40-year-old nurse Lina Edin and her life in small town Sweden. Lina works at the ER and lives with her 14-year-old twins Molly and Melvin, while her older sister Petra lives close by. When their father Kenneth is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, both sisters’ lives change drastically, beginning with Kenneth moving into Lina’s house.
Original broadcaster: Viaplay
Producer: Warner Bros ITVP Sverige Drama
Starring: Rakel Wärmländer, Sofia Helin, Louise Peterhoff, Oscar Töringe, Alexandra Zetterberg Ehn and Danilo Bejarano
Based on real events, this series stars Wärmländer, Helin and Peterhoff as three friends whose lives are turned upside down when their sons are involved in a terrible car accident, putting their relationships to the test.
Cristo y Rey
Original broadcaster: Atresplayer
Producers: Atresmedia TV and Good Mood
Starring: Jaime Lorente, Belén Cuesta, Adriana Torrebejano, Cristóbal Suárez, Artur Busquets, José Milán, Chema Adeva, Belén Ponce de León, Vicente Vergara and Diana Peñalver
Cristo y Rey is based on the story of circus performer Ángel Cristo and actress Bárbara Rey, who became one of the most high-profile couples in Spain in the 1980s. When they get married just a few weeks after meeting, their relationship becomes a national sensation – until they run into problems of drug addiction, gambling, infidelity and mistreatment.
Original broadcaster: Netflix
Starring: Golda Rosheuvel, Adjoa Andoh, Ruth Gemmell, Michelle Fairley, Corey Mylchreest, India Ria Amarteifio and Arsema Thomas
Focusing on Queen Charlotte’s rise to prominence and power, this Bridgerton prequel reveals 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.
Original broadcaster: ITV
Producer: Quay Street Productions
Distributor: ITV Studios
Starring: Katherine Parkinson, Youssef Kerkour, Kéllé Bryan, Mark Heap, Ben Bailey Smith, Sue Vincent, Shaun Williamson, Olivia Poulet and Will Ash
In this show based on an Israeli series, Parkinson and Kerkour play Anna and Sam, two lonely neighbours in their mid-40s who embark on a hesitant, obstacle-filled relationship after drastic life events bring them together. As this strange love story unfolds, could these deeply flawed individuals influence each other for the better?
The Burning Girls
Original broadcaster: Paramount+
Producers: Buccaneer and VIS
Starring: Samantha Morton, Ruby Stokes, Rupert Graves and Conrad Khan
Based on CJ Tudor’s novel and written by Hans Rosenfeldt (The Bridge, Marcella), The Burning Girls blends psychological horror and small-town mystery with the story of a vicar who, desperate to exercise the demons of her past and find peace in her new home, is drawn deeper into age-old rifts and suspicions in an insular village.
Original broadcaster: DR
Producer: DR Drama
Distributor: DR Sales
Starring: Sofie Gråbøl, David Dencik, Charlotte Fich and Bjarne Henriksen
This drama focuses on four prison officers who come under pressure to end the drug-trafficking and inmate hierarchy within their prison, but find their efforts undermined when a pact between a prisoner and a guard threatens to send the jail hurtling towards chaos and violence.
Original broadcaster: Prime Video
Starring: Toni Collette, Toheeb Jimoh, John Leguizamo, Auli’i Cravalho, Ria Zmitrowicz and Eddie Marsan
Created by an all-female writers room and based on the novel of the same name by Naomi Alderman, The Power explores a world where young women inexplicably begin to develop the ability to release electricity from their fingers, leading them to become the dominant sex. The show follows a range of female characters who must come to grips with their new-found skill and decide how to use it, demonstrating a world in which power dynamics are flipped across every aspect of modern life.
Original broadcasters: ZDF (Germany), France Télévisions, RAI (Italy), Viaplay (Nordics), ORF (Austria), SRF (Switzerland) and Hulu Japan
Producers: Intaglio and NDF
Distributors: ZDF Studios and Beta Film
Starring: Cécile de France, Alexander Karim, Leonie Benesch, Barbara Sukowa, Takuya
Kimura, Krista Kosonen, Rosabell Laurenti Sellers, Takehiro Hira, Lydia Wilson, Joshua Odjick, Eidin Jalali, Jack Greenlees, Dutch Johnson and Sharon Duncan-Brewster
This ambitious drama is based on Frank Schaetzing’s novel that chronicles the struggle of humankind against an unknown swarm intelligence that lives in the depths of the sea. When the reckless treatment of the oceans threatens the natural habitat of this mysterious collective, it strikes back. In a very short time, all human life is at stake – and the fate of the entire world’s population rests in the hands of a small group of scientists.
Three Little Birds
Original broadcasters: ITV1 (UK), BritBox (US, Canada, Australia, South Africa, the Nordics)
Producers: Tiger Aspect Productions in association with Douglas Road
Distributor: Banijay Rights
Starring: Yazmin Bello, Rochelle Neil and Saffron Coomber (pictured)
Written by Sir Lenny Henry, Three Little Birds is inspired by stories of his mother, Winifred, and follows three young women – fiery sisters Leah and Chantrelle and their god-fearing acquaintance Hosanna – as they travel from Jamaica to Britain to build a new life. When the reality of British life in London’s Notting Hill brings them down with a bump, they make a beeline for the Midlands, though the road ahead is fraught with challenges.
Original broadcaster: Sky
Producers: Sky Studios, Pantaleon Films and Indiana Production
Distributor: NBC Universal Global Distribution
Starring: Marco Bocci, Jessica Schwarz, Dada Fungula Bozela, Hassan Najib, Jonathan Berlin, Jason Derek Prempeh, Cecilia Dazzi, Francesco Acquaroli, Barbara Auer, Sylvester Groth, Marco Palvetti, Denise Capezza, Nuala Peberdy, Samuel Kalambay, Amadou Mbow, Edward Apeagyei, Reshny N’Kouka, Onyinye Odokoro, Massimo De Lorenzo and Scot Williams
Inspired by Bilal, Fabrizio Gatti’s book about his undercover journey among migrants along the routes between Africa and Europe, this series follows what happens when a cruise ship called Orizzonte, packed with Western tourists, rescues a group of shipwrecked refugees from the sea. Their stories become intertwined with those of the crew and passengers, before some of the refugees, out of desperation, decide to hijack the ship once they find out they are to be taken back to Libya.
tagged in: Bay of Fires, Best Interests, Bodies, Champion, Copenhagen Cowboy, Cristo y Rey, Daisy Jones & The Six, Dreamland, Drops of God, Echo, Hålla samman, Keep it Together, Limbo, Prisoners, Queen Charlotte, Significant Other, The Burning Girls, The Power, The Swarm, Three Little Birds, Unwanted