From January 1st to December 31st, 2023 is packed with tons of movies and TV shows, both familiar and fresh, to excite and impress audiences. Here we will cover 5 of these projects, each from a different major streaming service. HBO Max, Disney+, Amazon Prime, Apple TV, and Netflix are each offering very promising releases this year, which are sure to be must-watches once they release. If you are interested in rich world-building, fast-paced action, or complex mysteries, one of these releases is guaranteed to pique your interest.
The Last of Us | HBO Max, January 15th
The announcement of a TV show based on the beloved zombie action game, The Last of Us, had fans uneasy because of the negative reputation of on-screen video game adaptations. Thankfully the first episode of The Last of Us, which was released on January 15th, was met with praise across the board from both critics and audiences. This was to be predicted, however, due to the incredible talent behind the show. The lead writer of the 2013 game, Neil Duckmann, has returned to the franchise as co-director along with Craig Mazin, who wrote the critically acclaimed miniseries, Chernobyl. Joel, one of the show’s zombie-slashing main characters, is played by Pedro Pascal. Bella Ramsey of Game of Thrones stars as Joel’s 14-year-old adopted daughter Ellie. Our two main characters traverse a post-apocalyptic world that has been overrun by fungi-infected zombies, as they try their best to survive. While the first few episodes have already been released, the last few are set to come out soon with the season finale airing on March 12th.
The Mandalorian | Disney+, March 1st
Pedro Pascal appears again on this list, instead returning to the role of Din Djarin, better known as Mando in season 3 of The Mandalorian. We last saw Mando and his reunion with Grogu in The Book of Boba Fett, which wrapped up last year. Following a batch of moderately received Star Wars shows, expectations are high for the third season of The Mandalorian due to its track record of being the most well-received Star Wars show by casual fans, hardcore fans, and critics. Jon Favreau, creator, and director of The Mandalorian seasons 1 and 2 is continuing his involvement and will have more creative control this time around. With The Mandalorian season 3 around the corner, the future of Star Wars seems bright.
Invincible | Amazon Prime, Late 2023
The gorefest that is Amazon Prime’s animated show, Invincible, is returning for a second season. Amazon Prime has been on a role in the realm of superheroes as of the past few years, with The Boys and Invincible, both wildly successful, and both full of blood and guts. The Boys had its time to shine last year with its third season, which propelled the show into mainstream attention much further than it had been before. Fans of Invincible have been waiting for word on a second season since the show’s debut in 2021. An announcement recently came, but info on what we can expect is limited. The show is based on a comic series of the same name, so we can expect the story to follow similar events. While season two’s exact release date hasn’t been publicly announced, we can expect it sometime in late 2023.
Killers of the Flower Moon | Apple TV, March
A film based on the best-selling novel by David Grann, Killers of the Flower Moon, will release sometime next month and is predicted to be a very effective adaptation from what we know. Director Martin Scorsese’s impressive filmography has many excited about what this movie may have to offer. Award-winning films like Taxi Driver, Shutter Island, and The Wolf of Wall Street showcase his talent and competence as a director and provide enough evidence to cement him as one of the greatest creatives in Hollywood. The way he is able to excellently craft stories with mystery and suspense suggests that he will handle the plot of the book well. Based on true events and set in 1920, a series of murders against the Osage tribe in Oklahoma initiates one of F.B.I’s first large investigations. While information is limited, we know that Leonardo DiCaprio plays Tom White, a former Texas Ranger, and the story’s main character. Robert De Nero, who has previously appeared in 11 Scorsese movies, stars as a cattleman, William Hale. Even if most details are being kept secretive until release, we can expect Scorsese to deliver an excellent adaptation.
Avatar: The Last Airbender | Netflix, 2023
The first time a live-action adaptation of 2005’s Avatar: The Last Airbender was attempted in 2010, the outcome was ultimately deemed a failure by critics as well as fans of the animated series. This time around hope is high, and it seems like the creators behind the 2023 adaptation are aware of what went wrong the first time. The 2023 version will be in the form of a TV show, which allows the creatives to steer clear of many of the problems which plagued the 2010 movie. This allows the characters and plot points to grow and expand without the necessity of exposition dumps. A major issue many had with the 2010 movie was the choice of cast, mainly due to the original show’s Asian characters being portrayed by actors of other nationalities. The 2023 cast includes actors of many backgrounds that honor the characters of the original show. The 12-year-old air-bending main character Aang is played by Gordon Cormier, in his first major role. Aang’s love interest, Katara, is played by Kiawentiio Tarbell, and Ian Ousley plays her brother, Sokka. This adaptation will follow the plot of the original show, meaning we will see our main characters’ journey to take down the tyrannical fire nation and restore balance to the 4 elements. We can expect Avatar: The Last Airbender sometime in late 2023.
Many 2023 projects haven’t even been announced yet, and this year is already looking packed with quality releases. From The Last of Us’ rich world-building to Invincible’s unique animation, each of these projects has something special to offer. Although 2024 is still a ways away, let’s hope those future releases will be as enticing as these 5 projects.