New seasons of “Succession” and “True Detective” highlight HBO’s returning class, while freshman series like “The Last of Us” look to leave their mark.
In 2023, HBO isn’t scheduled to release any “Game of Thrones”-related TV series. “House of the Dragon” Season 2 isn’t expected until the following year (and no solid release timing has been announced). None of the other spinoffs have been confirmed beyond development or script-writing. Barring a stealth production and swift turnaround, HBO will have to endure a full calendar year without its most bankable franchise.
Pfft big deal. The one-time Home Box Office network thrived long before Westeros was realized, and a year of discovery is just what’s needed for the premium cabler turned premium streamer to maintain its sterling reputation. New series like “The Last of Us,” “White House Plumbers,” and “The Idol” are set for intriguing debut seasons, while veteran favorites in “Succession,” “Barry,” and “Curb Your Enthusiasm” all ready for much -anticipated returns. Over on HBO Max, Steven Soderbergh’s “Full Circle” and Lesli Linka Glatter’s “Love and Death” lead an impressive pack of new shows, while “Tokyo Vice” Season 2 and “Warrior” Season 3 aim to expand on their existing fandoms.
Oh, and a little show called “True Detective” is coming back for a limited run in “Night Country.”
Still, what hovers over HBO and HBO Max in 2023 isn’t just an absent dragon’s shadow; it’s Discovery. David Zaslov, president and CEO of the newly formed Warner Bros. Discovery, made his presence felt right away, canceling series, seasons, and movies, pulling programs off HBO Max entirely, and moving others toward third-party ad-supported streaming services. All these changes may have been good for the bottom line, but they’ve shaken the public’s confidence in what’s been the best streaming service on the market for the past few years (at least). What will HBO Max look like once combined with Discovery+? Will HBO still be Hollywood’s No. 1 destination for prestige programming? Can companies with disparate dreams of what an audience wants to coexist to create a platform that offers enough exciting titles for everyone?
I may not be able to answer those questions just yet, but how HBO and HBO Max’s new and returning series fare in 2023 will tell us plenty about what the service will look like going forward — and if it needs dragons to keep subscriptions rolling in.
This article will be updated as release dates and new series are announced.