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Sunday 22 January 2023

Welcome back to The Ephemeric's 2023 Hot List. This week we will have a look at the most exciting new literature and novels you'll be reading in the coming year.

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I'll be honest, compiling this list was more difficult this year than it has been recently. Some years are abundant with exciting new work, new voices, the latest from established legends of literature. 2023, at first blush, looks to be a year slightly bereft of originality. Far too many of the year's biggest releases fall into predictable niches. Most are topical fare or biographies exploring political and social issues, which is fine, but does every single book need to be about that these days? It makes me worried for the past-time of reading that so much of the industry seems to be about catering to outrage and grievance at the moment, at the expense of actual storytelling and creative new voices.

But if you look for it, there is interesting work out there. After a little more digging and some concerted exploration, I found them. So, for all my concerns, what follows is a list of 10 very exciting books that I will be looking out for in the year ahead. 

So here it is: your reading list for 2023, our list of the top 10 upcoming releases from the world of literature to keep an eye on this year, starting, as always, with number 10:

10. "Really Good, Actually" by Monica Heisey

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We start with something on the light and relatable side. Really Good, Actually is the debut novel by Monica Heisey, known for her work as a writer on the hit comedy series Schitt's Creek

Break ups are messy, everyone knows what that feels like and can relate. This is the premise behind Really Good, Actually, a story of break up filled with wit and humorous observations of the absurdities of social norms and our own flawed psyches.

There's nothing here that will break unprecedented ground or expand your greater understanding of the world, but Heisey's comedy bona fides as a writer make this a worthwhile proposition. 

9. "Palo Alto: A History of California, Capitalism, and the World" by Malcolm Harris

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Malcolm Harris is a journalist of some prominence. Editor of The New Inquiry, heavily involved in the Occupy Wall Street movement and considered a leading voice in millennial literature. 

His latest work, Palo Alto: A History of California, Capitalism, and the World, is a work of non-fiction that aims to be nothing less than the definitive treatise on the region, its transformation during the digital revolution, and the consequences for the wider world at large.

It's radical, ambitious stuff and a must read for anyone with an interest in the subject matter or the industry as a whole.

8. "The Making of Another Major Motion Picture Masterpiece" by Tom Hanks

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It turns out that in addition to being a pretty good actor, Tom Hanks is a pretty good writer as well. His recent foray into short story writing was critically and commercially well received. He returns now with his debut novel.

The Making of Another Major Motion Picture Masterpiece sounds like something that should fit perfectly with Hanks' experience. A novel set across three decades about the making of a major superhero film and the comic books that inspired it.

This generational tale runs side by side with a tie-in comic strip, also created by Hanks, woven in with the novel's prose. For a first time author, Hanks is showing some impressive ambition in his use of the form here.

7. "Ascension" by Nicholas Binge

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For this next one we break away from depictions of the real world for something a little bit different. 

Ascension is a speculative thriller, with events set into motion by the sudden appearance of a new mountain in the Pacific Ocean. Framed through the discovery of a series of letters depicting a team of scientists ascending its peak, hoping to uncover its mysteries. 

Binge has a track record when it comes to tales of the fascinating and strange. His latest will challenge the limitations of science and faith, and consider what it means to be human.

6.  "Biography of X" by Catherine Lacey

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Catherine Lacey's new novel Biography of X is a unique blending of fiction and biography depicting the life and times of X, recently deceased artist and iconoclast, one of the great creative forces of her time.

What follows is a tale that covers decades in an alternate America following X and their rise to prominence, from Europe to the ruins of America's divided territories, and through her collaborations and feuds with everyone from Bowie and Waits to Sontag and Acker. Written in the style of a biographical work composed by a grieving widow seeking to understand her deceased spouse, their work and the numerous mysteries and betrayals they carried.

The scope of this work is staggering. An alternative history that explores every part of this new world from the politics and social issues, to the cultural zeitgeists across decades of history. From a conceptual perspective, it's one of the more interesting pieces I've seen in recent years and is being tipped as one of the most hotly anticipated novels of 2023.

5. "Cuddy" by Benjamin Myers

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Benjamin Myers' last novel, Perfect Golden Circle, was one of the better reads of 2022, a true-to-form blend of wit, Britannic folklore and bucolic charm. 

Myers has shown himself to be adept at tracing the arc of history, how point A leads to point B, and weaving that into his immediate narrative. His latest, Cuddy, draws on similar themes and influences, but laid over a far more ambitious framework. A story that unfolds across centuries, consisting of multiple interwoven tales with an array of characters. Incorporating poetry, prose and real historical accounts in an ambitious retelling of the story of St. Cuthbert, unofficial patron saint of Northern England. 

It's a more experimental piece of work than what we have come to expect from his recent writing, typically noted for its simplicity and pared back form. I look forward to seeing how his style works with this more unusual narrative structure.

4. "The Ferryman" by Justin Cronin

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The Ferryman sounds like a classic bit of Nolan or Bradbury-esque science fiction. Set in a seemingly idyllic island utopia where denizens have their health monitored at all time, "retiring" to a location known as the nursery when their vitals fall below a certain threshold, where they are renewed and restored to a fresh body with their memories wiped. 

You can probably see where this is going. All is not as it seems in this island paradise. What ensues is a suspenseful slice of dystopian fiction as our protagonist seeks to uncover the truth behind this mysterious society.

Best known for his acclaimed 2010 novel, The Passage, author Justin Cronin has been compared to the likes of Stephen King and Michael Crichton. It's easy to see their influence in what is sure to be one of the biggest novels of the summer.

3. "The Deep Sky" by Yume Kitasei

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This next pick takes us on a murder mystery adventure in deep space. The Deep Sky is a debut novel from author Yume Kitasei.

With Earth on the verge of environmental collapse, the planet's nations pool their resources to send a ship containing the best and brightest to a distant liveable planet. A last hope for the future of humanity. Part way through their journey, a bomb goes off. There is one prime suspect, and she must race against the clock to uncover the true culprit.

Whether you enjoy detective novels, space exploration, or the obvious parallels to videogame Among Us, this novel has a lot to be excited about and is being tipped as one of the most promising debuts of 2023.

2. "In Ascension" by Martin MacInnes

best literature 2023 novel book in ascension martin macinnesIt is unfortunate that we have two such similarly named books on this list, but the inclusion of In Ascension is more than justified. In his third novel, Martin MacInnes has crafted an irresistible mystery that has been likened to the movies Arrival and The Abyss, as well as the writings of Emily St. John Mandel.

In Ascension starts with a young researcher in the Netherlands with a fascination for the sea and the organisms that live there. What follows is a global adventure investigating a series of unexplained phenomena across the natural world that will confront the greatest questions of our existence.

It's a big step up in scope for MacInnes, whose previous work has clocked in around the 250 page mark, roughly half of In Ascension. It's certainly his most ambitious work to date, and if it works then it could be one of the most exciting reads of the year.

1. "Victory City" by Salman Rushdie

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A new epic from Salman Rushdie is always going to be a major event in literature, more so this year given that this is the first work published since Rushdie suffered life changing injuries in last year's attack, which took place after this work was completed.

Victory City is an epic tale of a young girl in 14th Century India who, grief stricken by the death of her mother, is given the power to breathe an entire empire into existence, only to be consumed by it over the centuries. 

As with Rushdie's other novels, Victory City is an ambitious tale of magical realism, with allegories on religion and history woven throughout his work.

So there you have it folks: 2023 in literature. Tune in soon for our next instalment of the Hot List, covering the essential new theatre coming up in 2023!

Sunday 15 January 2023

Hello and welcome back to the Hot List. This week we will turn our attention to the videogame industry, previewing for you loyal readers the most exciting videogames set for release in 2023.

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It's a strange time in the gaming industry. Whether it's as a result of the inherently long project gestation periods, or the sheer number of multidisciplinary moving pieces that require coordination, it's clear that this form of media has felt the effects of the pandemic longer and harder than others. While other forms of entertainment production have largely returned to normal levels of productivity, gaming remains beset by delays and setbacks. 

In many ways, 2022 feels like a year of gaming that never happened, with most of the major releases being pushed back into 2023. From last year's Hot List, a whopping 12 out of 15 expected 2022 releases ended up being delayed. The result of this is that 2023 is, on paper, one of the most fully stocked years of videogame releases in recent memory, with all the expected 2023 releases plus the many various delayed 2022 releases. 

It's a daunting task to whittle this down to just the usual 15. As a result, I briefly considered expanding the list to 20 for this year but, frankly, even I would struggle with that many games. So instead, I've decided to just be ruthless. Any game with a vague, uncertain, or otherwise tenuous release date is off the list. Got a game coming out "winter"? I'm going to assume that's early 2024 and it's off the list. What we are left with is a bullet proof list of the heights of 2023 gaming, a strong mix between smaller independent projects and the big, blockbuster releases.

So here it is, the 15 key videogames to keep an eye on in the coming year (trailers linked in the title where available), starting with number 15:

15. Oxenfree II: Lost Signals (PC, Mac, Xbox, Playstation, Switch)

oxenfree 2 II lost signals netflix 2023 best gameThe first game was an acclaimed indie darling, a surprise hit that delighted with its smart design and accomplished writing. The sequel, Oxenfree II: Lost Signals comes with rather more auspicious trappings; the weight of expectation from its forebear and the status of being the first major acquisition in Netflix's new push into interactive media.

But that new expectation is also driving greater ambition. Oxenfree II is bigger than its predecessor, more open ended, more personalised. The aesthetic and tone may be familiar for fans of the developer, but it is clear that with this next release they are trying to mix things up a bit in surprising ways.

While an official release date has not yet been provided, it has been confirmed to be out in 2023, and leaked data suggests sometime in spring.

Release Date: TBD 2023

14. Octopath Traveler II (PC, Playstation, Switch)

octopath traveler 2 ii switch playstation square final fantasy best games 2023 pcThe first entry in the series is remembered as the Nintendo Switch's first great JRPG. A promising, if flawed reimagining of the classic Final Fantasy formula that innovated through its impressively flexible combat system and a stunning 2.5D graphical style. 

In 2023 a sequel will be released, Octopath Traveler II. The signs so far are promising, with early release materials quick to emphasise the ways in which Square Enix have listened to fan feedback. This sequel will feature a new setting and characters, but with greater emphasis on the story and party interactions that make JRPGs such an enduring and compelling form in gaming. 

Octopath Traveler II will release for Switch, Playstation and Windows at the end of February.

Release Date: February 2023

13. Marvel's Spider-Man 2 (Playstation)

marvel spider man spiderman 2 ii playstation ps5 best games 2023 pcWhile the superhero genre thrives in cinema (too much so), gaming is another story. The very nature of these stories and their superpowered characters poses an extreme challenge in terms of balancing, while the high cost of production and licensing leaves less budget to actually make a good game. The history of videogames is full of expensive superhero flops.

One of the rare exceptions to this trend is Sony's recent adaptation of the Spider-Man series for Playstation and its more recent Miles Morales spin-off. These were excellent games, giving players the freedom to feel like they had the powers of Spider-Man, without breaking the game or making it too easy. The fully explorable New York is a joy to explore, the interpretation of characters and lore stands out among the best of the franchise, and the game as a whole is just full of references, bonuses and unlockables that make it a treat for fans.

Marvel's Spider-Man 2 comes out this year, a full sequel that will bring together Peter and Miles, along with a fan favourite character I won't spoil here (but is pretty obvious if you watch the trailer). It is expected to come out sometime in the latter half of the year.

Release Date: Autumn 2023

12. Final Fantasy XVI (Playstation)

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In what promises to be a big year for Sony releases, few franchises command the kind of status that Final Fantasy enjoys. A new entry in the series is always a big deal and Final Fantasy XVI feels particularly significant.

It's an odd time for the franchise, with every recent release plagued by crisis and drawn out development periods. Square Enix have inexplicably spent most of the past fifteen years trying to expand the world of Final Fantasy XIII, probably the most poorly received title in the series, with various sequels and spin-offs. FFXIV was an MMO spin-off rather than a mainline title, which went through a calamitous release (and, in fairness, a miraculous comeback) and had to be redesigned from the ground up. Leading us to the most recent title, FFXV, which was itself a repurposed spin-off from the FFXIII era ultimately transformed into a standalone title following more than a decade of development hell. Through this entire period, the only out and out success story for the developers has been its remake of FFVII.

So there is a lot riding on FFXVI. Fortunately, the game appears to be in sound hands, with Naoki Yoshida, the man credited with FFXIV's turnaround, at the helm. The title will see a return to western medieval-inspired high fantasy, with a completely original setting and cast of characters. The title releases this summer. 

Release Date: June 2023

11. A Highland Song (PC, Switch)

highland song inkle 80 days overboard heaven vault 2023 best gameInkle might just be the most underrated indie developer in the industry. Primarily known for their mobile titles, including 80 Days, arguably the greatest travel game of all time. Their first major home console title, Heaven's Vault, was well received for its originality and unique linguistics-based gameplay. 

A new Inkle game is cause for celebration. Their latest, A Highland Song looks to be another joyful and original twist on gaming formulas: a musical survival platformer set in the Scottish Highlands. Visually, this looks like one of Inkle's finest works, with a hand-drawn watercolour aesthetic and liquid smooth animations. 

Set your expectations for a light and serene side-scrolling adventure when A Highland Song releases for Switch and PC in 2023. Date still to be confirmed.

Release Date: TBD 2023

10. World of Horror (PC, Playstation, Switch)

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Sticking to the indie theme we have World of Horror, the long-gestating debut project from Polish gamedev and full time dentist Paweł Koźmiński. 

World of Horror is a love letter to 1-bit pixel-art games. An adventure game with turn-based combat inspired by the horror of Japanese folklore, as well as the works of horror authors H.P. Lovecraft and Junji Ito. World of Horror employs semi-randomised roguelike elements, which sees players explore various locations and fight otherworldly creatures in a series of constantly changing modular stories, which are set for further expansion after launch.

After three years of development and a pro-longed early access period, World of Horror will release in summer of 2023. 

Release Date: Summer 2023

9. Homeworld 3 (PC)

homeworld 3 best games 2023 pcThe original Homeworld was a title that carried a great amount of hype when it launched in the late 1990s. A massive, bombastic space opera with cutting edge graphics and presentation, not to mention pioneering 3D gameplay unlike anything other developers were putting out at the time. It was a game of unprecedented cinematic flair for the time, which went on to greatly influence the genre and industry as a whole going forward. While critically acclaimed at the time, the series has laid dormant since 2003's Homeworld 2, due in part to the IP kerfuffle in the wake of original publisher Sierra's collapse. 

Homeworld went on to form something of a legendary cult status and has seen a revival in recent years with a prequel spin-off and remastered versions of the original games finding release. The announcement, finally, of Homeworld 3 may have been somewhat inevitable in retrospect, but still a very welcome surprise. 

Little is known so far, but it can be presumed that Homeworld 3 will follow its predecessors in gameplay and style. This has been tentatively pencilled in for a summer 2023 release.

Release Date: Summer 2023

8. Alan Wake II (PC, Xbox, Playstation)

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At long, long last, after many years of rumour and speculation, and the longest cliffhanger in history, Remedy is bringing us their sequel to Alan Wake. Us old fogies will remember the notorious ambition and hype that surrounded the original title throughout its long, delayed development time. So it seems fitting that Alan Wake II has taken an equally extravagant amount of time to reach us.

Little is known of this title other than that it will be a survival horror game, picking up where Alan Wake's story left off in the first game. It will be interesting to see what angle they take given the sticky situation in which Wake found himself at the end of the previous game. It will also be interesting to see how, if at all, Remedy intertwines the worlds of Alan Wake with that of their more recent hit title, Control. 

The Remedy Connected Universe is ripe with spooky storytelling opportunity and this will undoubtedly be one of the titles to keep an eye on in 2023.

Release Date: TBD 2023

7. Hogwarts Legacy (PC, Xbox, Playstation)

hogwarts legacy harry potter best game 2023When Hogwarts Legacy first leaked a few years back, it created about as much of a stir as one would expect. A massive open world RPG based on the Harry Potter franchise is the stuff of many gamers' dreams, not to mention the closest thing to a money-printer you can find in the entertainment industry. It would have been easy for Avalanche Software to rely on this fact and simply put out something safe and sufficiently fan-servicey. But the more we have seen of this title, the more ambitious it looks. 

Players will control a student at Hogwarts in the 1800s, attend classes, explore the environs, and presumably embark on some grand adventure. The game looks to be extremely customisable, with players able to design their character in quite specific detail, choose their House and wizarding proficiencies. Players even have access to their own room of requirement and beast vivarium, all of which can be customised down to the smallest detail.

Hogwarts Legacy looks to be the ultimate experience for fans of Harry Potter, allowing players to live within this world and enjoy all it has to offer in a way never seen before. I predict this will be a big deal when it releases, barring some unprecedented botching. After much delay, this title is due for release in February.

Release Date: February 2023

6. Deliver Us Mars (PC, Xbox, Playstation)

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2018's Deliver Us the Moon was perhaps the most underappreciated title of the past five years. An atmospheric, hard sci-fi puzzle adventure that sees players explore an abandoned lunar base to discover what led to its downfall. Think Everybody's Gone to the Rapture mixed with Gravity and you have some idea of the experience. A very impressive storytelling experience for an indie title.

With the sequel, Deliver Us Mars, everything is bigger and more ambitious. The success of the original has allowed for a much expanded budget and development team. The result is more action-adventure gameplay, fully animated cinematic cutscenes. If this manages to capture the thrill and mystery of the original, combined with its higher production values and the increased expertise of its developers, then it will be one to watch in 2023.

Originally planned for release last autumn, Deliver Us Mars will now be out in February 2023.

Release Date: February 2023

5. Skate Story (PC, Mac)

skate story sam eng blood cultures best game pc mac 2023Sometimes a project will sell you on the tagline alone: "You are a demon, made of glass and pain. And yet you must skate." The Devil has given you a skateboard with a simple deal: Skate to the Moon and swallow it — and you shall be freed.

Skateboarding games have long fallen out of fashion since the halcyon days of Tony Hawk and Skate. Perhaps what they've needed is something more than just generic urban grit. Such is the thinking of Sam Eng, the one man band behind Skate Story

There's a lot to love about this project. It is visually absolutely stunning, with great music to complement the lonely, wistful themes. The story is just daffy and over the top enough to work. If they can nail the feel of the controls, this looks like it will be solid gold. A baffling, brilliant original.

Release Date: TBD 2023

4. Bomb Rush Cyberfunk (PC, Mac, Switch)

bomb rush cyberfunk jet set radio hideki naganuma best game pc 2023I'm a 90s kid. That means I inherently love Sega. But Sega are an objectively bad company. How else can you explain why a company that always appears to be on the verge of collapse is allowing a vast catalogue of classic intellectual properties and franchises (arguably matched only by Nintendo in depth) to just collect dust in a warehouse somewhere? Chief among these is the great Jet Set Radio series of games. Frustrated by their intransigence, a group of indie devs (and apparent fans of the series) have taken matters into their own hands by crafting their own spiritual successor to the long dormant franchise. The result is Bomb Rush Cyberfunk.

Fans of Jet Set Radio will find much of what they love here. Bright, cell-shaded visuals, the funky musical stylings of the brilliant Hideki Naganuma, and the same mesmerising neo-futuristic urban setting. Featuring a colourful cast of characters, you will skate around a dizzying cityscape full of gangs, graffiti and rebel-spirit. So far it looks great.

Release is confirmed to be summer 2023. Can this indie team succeed where larger studios have failed and emulate the success of this classic title? We shall see.

Release Date: Summer 2023

3. Kerbal Space Program 2 (PC, Xbox, Playstation)

kerbal space program 2 jebediah best game 2023The original game remains one of the greatest gaming surprises of recent years. Created by one amateur coder during his lunch break, the concept was fairly simple: build rockets and try to launch them into space under realistic physics and orbital mechanics. The deceptively deep toybox-like design tools proved such good fun that you could sink hours into just getting that one perfect spacecraft into orbit before even realising you had other planets to visit. Now a full team of professional designers are bringing a full-blooded sequel, Kerbal Space Program 2.

The goal of this sequel appears to be to take the successful foundations of the original and just build on it. More parts, colony building, multiple star systems. It's the type of feature list that fans and modders have been dreaming about, but the key will be to get the basics right. The physics system has to feel as solid as the original, the building tools need to be as intuitive. It won't be enough to just slap a coat of Kerbilish paint on a pale imitation.

Originally revealed back at the end of 2019 with an expected 2020 release date. The team has evidently been hit bad by the pandemic, but two years' worth of delays appear to finally be on the verge of bearing fruit. The recently returned series of dev diaries doing much to allay fans' fears. KSP2 is now set for a 2023 release, initially in early access.

Release Date: February 2023 (early access), TBD (final)

2. Starfield (PC, Xbox, Playstation)

starfield bethesda fallout best game 2023 pc xbox ps4 ps5For many, this is the biggest game coming in 2023. Starfield promises a grand space opera in the style of a Mass Effect or Star Wars, with open-world exploration built around the same concepts as Bethesda's tried and tested Fallout and The Elder Scrolls series, only set over a series of star systems and multiple worlds. 

Bethesda games often get a lot of flack, sometimes deservedly, but their track record speaks for itself and includes some of the most celebrated titles of the past 20 years. Engrossing world-building and lore, moddable to an unprecedented extent (for a AAA game). Open world RPGs are incredibly complex beasts and few developers have ever managed to create such immersive and flexible examples as Bethesda. While there may be valid criticisms over some of their recent decisions and business practices, they truly are one of the grand masters of the genre.

It is also notable that Starfield comes in the wake of 2019's The Outer Worlds, a similarly spacefaring RPG created by rivals and original Fallout creators Obsidian. That title met with moderate initial success, and it will be interesting to see how a competing effort from the current Fallout stewards compares.

After many years of speculation and delay, Starfield is due for release by summer of 2023.

Release Date: Summer 2023

1. The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom (Switch)

legend of zelda breath of the wild 2 sequel tears of the kingdom skyward sword switch best game ever 2023But as hyped as I am for a new Bethesda RPG, there are few things in any part of the entertainment industry that catch the spotlight as much as a new entry in Nintendo's fabled The Legend of Zelda series.

How do you follow up a game that is often considered to be one of the greatest ever made? That is the question Nintendo will be asking now as they craft The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom. In fairness, it is a position in which they have found themselves before in following up the Ocarina of Time. The result on that occasion was Majora's Mask, a game considered by many to be even better than its predecessor. So no pressure then.

TotK will ostensibly make use of the same open world as its predecessor, with some added verticality and a new time manipulation mechanic. Lore-wise there appears to be some form of connection to a previous title in the series, Skyward Sword, but is otherwise a direct sequel to the events of BotW. No question about it, no other game in 2023 will command as much attention as this.

Release Date: May 2023

So there you have it folks: 2023 in videogames. Tune in next week for the most exciting new novels and literature coming this year!

Friday 6 January 2023

Happy New Year to all and welcome back to The Ephemeric. I hope you are all well rested and well fatted from your holidays, but now 2023 is upon us it's time to get down to business. A new year can only mean one thing, it's time to break out The Hot List and see what's coming up next.

So here it is, your ultimate guide to the year ahead, The Ephemeric's 2023 Hot List. In this first entry we will be looking at the most exciting things happening in the world of television over the next 12 months, with a particular eye cast over the brand new shows hitting your screens in 2023.

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What more can be said about the state of television in 2023? With every tangentially entertainment-related company and their dog starting their own streaming network, the sheer volume of original content is near unmanageable. In 2022, this blog awarded the top prizes in television to The Orville's excellent third season and Apple TV+'s best drama to date, Severance. But in truth there was a wide array of very fine series, old and new, that didn't quite make the cut but nevertheless are worthy of praise, from Netflix's thrilling Cyberpunk Edgerunners, to Paramount finally making a decent Star Trek series in Strange New Worlds, to Disney creating one of the year's finest documentary series in Welcome to Wrexham. 

2023 promises to be another year of content abundance. Whittling down this list to just 15 was, once again, hugely challenging. But this final list represents a great cross-section of TV's most celebrated creators, some long-gestating projects finally coming to completion, and old returning favourites, some of which will be making their final appearance. There is something out there for everyone, but at the same time there is more than can possibly be digested by one person, so choose wisely. 

So without further ado here are the top 15 essential television shows, both new and returning, that will hit the airwaves and their web-equivalent in 2023:

15. White House Plumbers - HBO (New TV Show)

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We will start off with some good old fashioned political drama, in HBO's White House Plumbers

This is an adaptation of the 2007 book Integrity, a dramatization of events surrounding the Watergate scandal and, in particular, the roles of G. Gordon Liddy and E. Howard Hunt, the Nixon operators and so-called "White House Plumbers" tasked with plugging leaks of classified information.

Directed by David Mandel, showrunner of Veep, also known for his work on Curb Your Enthusiasm, featuring a strong cast that includes Woody Harrelson, Justin Theroux, Domhnall Gleeson, Lena Headey, F. Murray Abraham, Kathleen Turner, Gary Cole, and many other recognisable faces.

White House Plumbers is scheduled for release in March.

Start Date: March 2023

14. The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel - Amazon

2023 most anticipated tv marvelous maisel amazonA fifth season and final hurrah for arguably 
Amazon's greatest comedy to date, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel

At its best, Maisel is one of the finest series on TV. A love letter to a bygone era of Golden Age New York, this tale of 1950s feminism is hilarious, with strong performances and impeccable production that evoke the mood of the period without feeling too much like a pastiche. 

The award winning nostalgia-fest of a mid-century house-wife turned stand-up comedy queen has been charming audiences since 2017, during which it has been a consistently welcome highlight in the year's TV line up. But all good things come to an end. With so many narrative threads outstanding, I can't wait to see how they tie it all together.

Start Date: Spring 2023

13. Disclaimer - AppleTV+ (New TV Show)

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A new thriller and the latest addition to AppleTV+'s increasingly impressive line up of original content, Disclaimer is based on the 2015 novel of the same name by Renée Knight.

The story follows Catherine Ravenscroft, played here by the great Cate Blanchett, a famed TV journalist who discovers that she is a prominent character in a novel that reveals a secret she has long tried to keep hidden. Blanchett is joined by an impressive cast that includes Kevin Kline, Lesley Manville, Sacha Baron Cohen in his latest dramatic turn, and HoYeon Jung in her first major role since her breakout performance in Squid Game

Perhaps most exciting is the attachment of Alfonso Cuarón, the Academy Award winning director of Gravity, Roma, Children of Men, and, surprisingly, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban as showrunner.

Release date is still TBD, but expected for early 2023. 

Start Date: TBD 2023

12. The Fall of the House of Usher - Netflix (New TV Show)

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When it comes to the horror genre, Mike Flanagan can seemingly do no wrong at the moment. The filmmaker cut his teeth on well received films such as Oculus, Hush, and Doctor Sleep, but more recently has been widely acclaimed for his work with Netflix on miniseries The Haunting of Hill House, The Haunting of Bly Manor, and Midnight Mass.

His latest, The Fall of the House of Usher is a miniseries based on the works of Edgar Allan Poe, featuring a cast of Bruce Greenwood, Carla Gugino, Mark Hamill, and others.

A great horror filmmaker working with top level source material and a strong cast. This is one to watch in 2023. The release date has yet to be confirmed, but with filming having wrapped last summer, we should see it early this year.

Start Date: Spring 2023

11. Futurama - Hulu

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It just won't stay dead! That's right, after nearly ten years, Matt Groening's other great animated series, Futurama is returning yet again.

This latest revival comes courtesy of Hulu, presumably aided by parent company Disney's newfound ownership of all these old Fox-produced TV shows. The main cast all return and Hulu have ordered 20 episodes.

What more is there to say? Futurama is one of the very best animated series, and while its last few seasons may not have reached the heights of the original run, if it can capture even a slice of its wit, this will be a highlight of 2023. 

Hulu were allegedly targeting completion of all episodes by the end of 2022, which leads me to believe we will see this release sometime in the summer. But at the time of writing a date has yet to be confirmed. 

Start Date: TBD 2023

10. Shrinking - AppleTV+ (New TV Show)

shrinking apple appletv plus bill lawrence harrison ford jason segel 2023 most anticipated tv showsThis promising new comedy continues the successful collaboration between AppleTV+ and the writing duo of Bill Lawrence and Brett Goldstein, creators of Apple's greatest series to date, Ted Lasso

Shrinking's plot has a whiff of The Newsroom about it. Jason Segel plays a therapist who, dealing with grief, finally decides he's had enough and begins to speak his mind, with massive consequences for both himself and his patients. The supporting cast includes plenty of proven comedy talent, such as Christa Miller (with whom Lawrence has worked previously, on Scrubs), Jessica Williams of The Daily Show, and, curiously, Harrison Ford in his first ever TV role.

Shrinking will release in January 2023. If it can achieve even half of what Ted Lasso managed, it will be worth the watch.

Start Date: January 2023

9. Fallout - Amazon (New TV Show)

fallout game videogame bethesda walton goggins jonathan nolan 2023 most anticipated tvYes, this is really happening. Amazon have ordered a TV series based on the celebrated videogame franchise Fallout.

For those not in the know, Fallout is a series of mostly RPG videogames, set in a post-apocalyptic world heavily stylised by the retrofuturism of midcentury America. It's a largely lighthearted affair that plays as a clever satire of post-war American exceptionalism and the unbridled optimism of the atomic age. It also happens to be one of my favourite series.

Quite how they turn this into a TV show, I am not sure. Getting the balance right for a witty comedy-adventure set in a nuclear wasteland will be tricky enough, but such a significant part of the Fallout series lies in player choice and autonomy, that I really wonder how well it will translate to a non-interactive format. 

That said, Fallout has some solid creative talent behind it, with Lisa Joy (Pushing Daisies) and Jonathan Nolan (Person of Interest, as well as co-writer on his brother's films The Dark Knight and Interstellar) attached as showrunners. This, combined with the good track record that Amazon has with sci-fi and other high concept works, has me cautiously optimistic for now.

Start Date: TBA 2023

8. Masters of the Air AppleTV+ (New TV Show)

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Cary Fukunaga, a director best known for True Detective, The Alienist, and the most recent Bond film No Time To Die, brings us this new war drama, courtesy of AppleTV+.

Masters of the Air tells the true story of the Eighth Air Force of the United States during World War II, backed by the production companies behind Band of Brothers and The Pacific, headed by none other than Steven Spielberg.

With the talent involved, this could well end up being one of Apple's flagship dramas in 2023. No release date has yet been announced, but filming is said to have taken place in late 2021 and early 2022, indicating that we should see this sooner rather than later.

Start Date: TBA 2023

7. Succession - HBO

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It's possibly the most talked about series on TV at the moment, HBO's Succession returns for season 4 in 2023.

The last season ended on something of a cliffhanger, leading us into what promises to be a high stakes new season which, if rumours are to be believed, may be the penultimate season of the series. 

Whatever the case, I for one can not wait to see some more of the show's delicious scheming, backstabbing, and darkly hilarious character-writing.

Succession's new season is confirmed to be arriving in spring 2023, which could mean anything from March onwards.

Start Date: Spring 2023

6. Citadel - Amazon (New TV Show)

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Amazon's new series Citadel sounds impressively ambitious. A science fiction, globetrotting spy drama centred around some, currently shrouded in mystery, groundbreaking global event.

What is remarkable about Citadel is that, in addition to the main english language series, Amazon will also be producing several local language spin-off series set in various countries including Mexico, India, and the Italian Alps. These series will feature a strong cast that includes Richard Madden, Stanley Tucci, and Priyanka Chopra.

If it all sounds like a lot to wrap your head around, then fear not. Amazon have placed at the helm of this project The Russo Brothers, a duo with considerable experience in crafting sprawling interconnected media from their projects in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and making it accessible to audiences.

Producing several spin-offs before the main series has even launched is either one of the most foolhardy things I have seen in television, or it's a masterstroke that will result in a worldwide phenomenon of a franchise. We will find out soon enough.

Start Date: TBD 2023

5. Nolly - ITV (New TV Show)

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On the surface Nolly, a new ITV series about 1970s soap opera star Noele Gordon might seem like a bit of "ok... so what?". But this is the latest project from none other than Russell T.  Davies.

Davies is on a hell of a run lately, with A Very English Scandal, Years and Years, and It's a Sin out in recent years, each one of which is solid gold. The casting of Helena Bonham Carter in the lead role, as well as the continued collaboration with Peter Hoar, director of It's a Sin, all bodes very well.

If I'm honest, I can't remember the last time ITV produced a series worth watching. But Russell T. Davies rarely misses and his name alone makes this must watch television for 2023. 

Start Date: Summer 2023

4. Severance - AppleTV+

2023 most anticipated tv severance apple appletv plus season 2The original content coming out of AppleTV+ has been remarkable in recent years, propelling them almost instantly to the top tier of streaming networks. The record breaking Ted Lasso has been the clear standout to date, but last season saw the release of a series that may well be the next best thing Apple have yet produced.

Severance was a real surprise package in 2022, a quirky, humorous, pitch black satire of corporate exploitation. Anchored by strong performances and whip-smart writing, the first season ended on the mother of all cliffhangers, making a follow up not only essential, but a mere formality with the success of its debut. That second season will release in 2023. 

Filming is due to wrap in the spring, meaning we can expect a release late in 2023.

Start Date: Late 2023

3. Daisy Jones & The Six - Amazon (New TV Show)

2023 most anticipated tv amazon daisy jones six novel reece witherspoonFinally, at long last. This series has been featured on the Hot List for a few years running now, but after several pandemic-related delays, Daisy Jones & The Six will release in 2023. 

This is the adaptation of the Debbie Award winning novel of the same name. Snapped up by Reese Witherspoon's production company, the series was first pitched as potentially making its way to HBO, it has since ended up finding a home on Amazon.

This is of course story of the titular Daisy Jones and her fictionalised 1970s rock band, based loosely on the history of Fleetwood Mac. The novel was written in the format of a documentary film, but it is expected that the series will be a more traditional drama, albeit with an Office/Parks and Rec confessional mockumentary style.

The cast may be mostly unknown, but in its lead they have some bona fide musical credentials in Riley Keough, grandchild of none other than Elvis Presley himself. She is joined in the cast by Sam Claflin, who you might recognise from the recent Pirates of the Caribbean films. 

The book is a classic. I am skeptical of how well this will translate into television, but if they can pull it off then this will be one of the series to watch when it releases in March.

Start Date: March 2023

2. Ted Lasso - AppleTV+

ted lasso season 3 apple appletv+ plus new most anticipated tv 2023One of television's great surprise hits, Ted Lasso has turned its forgettable origins into a masterstroke of feel-good comedy and taken its place as the flagship of Apple's nascent original programming division.

Great credit needs to go to showrunner Bill Lawrence and lead man Jason Sudeikis for helping to craft an unforgettable array of loveable characters, but what shone from season 2 was the increased ambition and ramped up drama that brought unexpected levels of depth without sacrificing everything that made its debut so enjoyable.

After a few delays (this was previously tipped for autumn 2022), filming has now wrapped and we are expecting a release no sooner than spring 2023. This is currently set to be the final season, although there have been hints that the creators may be open to continuing the show beyond the originally planned three-season run. Fingers crossed Apple convinces them to keep going, but if not then let's enjoy it while we can and hope they go out with a bang.

Start Date: Spring 2023

1. The Three-Body Problem - Netflix (New TV Show)

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And finally, our top pick for 2023 goes to another long-gestating project. The oft-tipped, highly anticipated, eye-wateringly expensive adaptation of Liu Cixin's award winning series of novels, Death's End. This series takes its name from the first book in that series, The Three-Body Problem.

Put simply, the novel is a masterpiece of science fiction. A deeply intelligent series that draws on mankind's history and contemporary society to depict a hypothetical first contact scenario. Everything about the novel is sublime, from its clever real-world allusions to the tantalisingly slow-paced drip-feed of revelations as we learn more of its central mystery, and its rigid adherence to hard-science and the constraints that puts on many of our most common sci-fi tropes.

After a protracted bidding war (at one point Amazon were allegedly willing to drop $1billion on it), the series has ended up at Netflix, with a cast that includes Benedict Wong, John Bradley, Liam Cunningham, Jonathan Pryce

The one thing that gives me pause is the involvement of Game of Thrones showrunners Benioff & Weiss (some may see this as a good thing). In my view one of the worst scourges of current sci-fi/fantasy TV is the tendency for producers to try and "Game of Thrones-ify" their series. The recent Star Trek series are a great example, Apple's Foundation as well (albeit to a lesser extent). I really hope that doesn't happen here.

This is due for release some time in 2023. If they manage to do the novel series justice, then it could well be a landmark series. Fingers crossed.

Start Date: TBD 2023

So there you have it folks: 2023 in television. Tune in next week for the essential new videogames of the year!

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