The Phoenix’s Top New Shows of 2023

Varying in influence from Edgar Allen Poe to rock ‘n’ roll, The Phoenix tuned in to these sensational new shows.

Varying in influence from Edgar Allen Poe to rock ‘n’ roll, The Phoenix tuned in to these sensational new shows.

“Poker Face” – Catherine Meyer

A human lie detector versus murderers — so goes the premise of “Poker Face.”

Charlie Cale (Natasha Lyonne) can’t seem to catch a break. In every “Poker Face” episode, Charlie becomes entangled with new characters and new murders. Using her innate ability to detect lies, Charlie solves homicides, leaving behind her a trail of enemies and friends alike.

The audience is privy to every murder that occurs, making the 10-episode Peacock series less of a “whodunnit” and more of a “howcatchem.” Audiences don’t figure out who the murderer is, but rather, how Charlie will catch them.

Lyonne (“But I’m a Cheerleader,” “Orange Is the New Black”) portrays a lovable, rough-around-the-edges character. Her distinctive raspy voice is coupled by drags of a cigarette every few seconds. 

The show, released Jan. 26, is enthusiastic in its delivery and unfailingly creative in its plots.

“Daisy Jones & The Six” – Xavier Barrios 

The rock ‘n’ roll of the ‘70s makes its way to 2023 through the March 3 release of “Daisy Jones & The Six.” 

The Amazon Prime Video mini-series follows the rise and fall of the titular band’s fame in the style of a fictional tell-all documentary. Starting their relationship with the single titled “Look At Us Now (Honeycomb),” the solo act Daisy Jones (Riley Keough) joins the upcoming rock band The Six. 

The show leaves viewers simultaneously rooting for the forbidden romance of Daisy and the band’s lead singer, Billy Dunne (Sam Claflin) and heartbroken on his wife Camila Dunne’s (Camila Monroe) behalf. 

Though the show isn’t an accurate depiction of the novel, it captures its essence with ease. 

An album titled “Aurora” accompanied the show with instrumentals and vocals from the characters. The show also released all singles from each episode, including songs from the show’s best supporting character — Simone Jackson (Nabiyah Be). 

“Beef” – Brendan Parr

“Beef” is a juicy drama, well-done.

Created by Lee Sung Jin and released April 6, the black comedy follows a volatile relationship formed via a road rage incident. 

Contractor Danny Cho (Steven Yeun) and businesswoman Amy Lau (Ali Wong) antagonize one another to vent their personal resentments. Following a bout of wrathful driving, the pair commit to destroy each other’s personal lifes to aid their own egos. 

Self-hate, ambition, faith and familial trauma are the prevailing themes of the series. Danny and Amy cope with emotional baggage through their depressive mutual hatred. 

Both come from East Asian immigrant families, yet their social statuses couldn’t be more different. Amy owns a flourishing business but lacks fulfillment in her homelife. Danny is incredibly close to his family but can’t maintain a steady income to support them. 

Each desires what the other has, but niether is enough to fill an empty spirit.

For situational humor and offbeat dynamics, Netflix’s “Beef” has it in spades. But it’s the emotional weight of its protagonists that makes the series a rare delicacy.

“Jury Duty” – Hanna Houser

Ronald Gladden has been selected for jury duty. 

Alongside his peers, he must endure what he anticipates to be a mundane legal process — except everything and everyone around him are fake.

Guised as a “mockumentary,” the April 7 release follows non-actor Ronald and his encounters with an outrageous tribe of fellow jurors, complete by James Marsden (“The Notebook,” “Hairspray”) playing himself, standout comedic debuts from Edy Modica and Mekki Leeper and Alan Barinholtz as both a fake and real judge. 

The show, streaming on Amazon Prime Video, dares to push the bounds of what constitutes one’s civic duty in a tragically hilarious way. As the first of its kind, it garnered four Emmy nominations in 2023 and is likely to propel many knockoffs imitating the style of an unsuspecting protagonist, misled by a haphazard band of actors. 

The show excels in its realism, having featured mostly improvised segments mirrored to the responses of Donald. The comedy is entirely off-the-cuff, making it all the more impressive. 

“The Fall of the House of Usher” – Eliza Thomas

The dynasty of the Ushers lies buried with their bodies, nevermore to be remembered.

Based on the titular collection of short stories by Edgar Allen Poe, the Oct. 12 release follows Usher siblings Roderick (Bruce Greenwood) and Madeleine (Mary McDonnell) lead their family to unknown bounds of luxury, only to have greed cause their downfall.

Roderick recounts the mysterious circumstances surrounding the deaths of his six children and the origins of his and Madeleine’s billion-dollar pharmaceutical company, Fortunato. Due to Roderick and Madeleine’s gruesome means of fulfilling the rags-to-riches American dream, Roderick’s “innocent” heirs must pay the price for the monstrous acts committed by the Usher empire. 

A critique on society’s upper crust, the Netflix series is as chilling and intense as Poe’s original stories. The show perfectly combines aspects of horror and glamor with the all-too-familiar reality of the actions of Big Pharma in present-day America.

All eight episodes will leave viewers aghast yet still craving more, eager to rediscover the original horrors of Poe’s stories.

Featured image courtesy of Amazon Prime Video

The Phoenix Staff

The Phoenix Staff