Hope you’ve got a comfy couch, because it’s time to carve out a nice butt groove and watch some of the best TV of the year.
March might just be the most jam-packed month for streaming this year, with new seasons of “Succession” (the reigning Emmy winner for best drama), “Ted Lasso” (the reigning Emmy winner for best comedy) and “The Mandalorian” (just one of the most popular shows anywhere) leading the field.
With this year’s Emmy Awards deadline at the end of May, streaming services are starting to roll out their best shows now, in the hope they’ll stay fresh in the minds of voters this summer. And that means a crush of quality shows for viewers, who may want to splurge a bit on an extra subscription or two. (Even, possibly, for AMC+, for Bob Odenkirk’s academic dramedy “Lucky Hank.”)
Each month, this column offers tips on how to maximize your streaming and your budget, rating the major services as a “play,” “pause” or “stop” — similar to investment analysts’ traditional ratings of buy, hold or sell. We also pick the best content to help you make your monthly decisions.
Consumers can take full advantage of cord-cutting with a churn-and-return strategy — adding and dropping streaming services each month. All it takes is good planning. Keep in mind that a billing cycle starts when you sign up, not necessarily at the beginning of the month, and keep an eye out for lower-priced tiers, limited-time discounts, free trials and cost-saving bundles. There are a lot of offers out there, but the deals don’t last forever.
Here’s a look at what’s coming to the various streaming services in March 2023, and what’s really worth the monthly subscription fee.
HBO Max ($9.99 a month with ads, or $15.99 with no ads)
HBO will be swapping out one megahit for another in March, as “The Last of Us” concludes its first season March 12, a couple of weeks before the fourth and final season of “Succession” (March 26) premieres.
“Succession” creator Jesse Armstrong shocked fans last week when he announced that the upcoming season will also be its last. “I do think that this succession story that we were telling is complete,” he told The New Yorker in an interview, while leaving an opening for a spinoff down the line. Season 4 will deal with the potential sale of Waystar Royco to tech billionaire Lukas Matsson (Alexander Skarsgård), triggering even more infighting as the deliciously awful members of the Roy family vie for advantage. Brian Cox, Jeremy Strong, Sarah Snook and Kieran Culkin star in what should be one of the TV highlights of 2023.
The Depression-era legal thriller “Perry Mason” (March 6) is also back with its second season. Matthew Rhys, Juliet Rylance and Chris Chalk star in the richly atmospheric drama, which will see the iconic defense attorney caught up in another high-profile murder case and unraveling far-reaching conspiracies. It’s a grim and gritty show — not your grandfather’s “Perry Mason,” but very good.
More: Everything new that’s coming to HBO Max in March 2023 — and what’s leaving
There’s also “Rain Dogs” (March 6), a dysfunctional-family dramedy from writer Cash Carraway; “All the Beauty and the Bloodshed” (March 19), an Oscar-nominated documentary about renowned artist and activist Nan Goldin; the standup-comedy special “Marlon Wayans: God Loves Me” (March 2); and new episodes every week of “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver.”
On the bad-news side, all three seasons of the hilarious, decade-old ABC ensemble comedy “Happy Endings” are leaving March 31 (it’ll still stream on Hulu).
Who’s HBO Max for? HBO fans and movie lovers.
Play, pause or stop? Play. “The Last of Us” has been the best series of 2023, “Succession” could/should be even better and “Perry Mason” isn’t far behind either one. All that plus a deep library of shows and movies make Max a must-have.
Apple TV+ ($6.99 a month)
biggest show returns, as the third — and perhaps final? — season of “Ted Lasso” (March 15) finds Coach Lasso (Jason Sudeikis) and AFC Richmond back in the Premier League, where they’ll face new challenges, including the now-villainous Nate (Nick Mohammed), who’s coaching at rival West Ham. Jodi Balfour (“For All Mankind”) joins the cast as a charming venture capitalist. It’s one of the best and most warm-hearted shows out there, and absolutely worth an Apple TV+ subscription all by itself.
Other new additions include a new season of the current-affairs show “The Problem with Jon Stewart” (March 3); the climate-change disaster series “Extrapolations” (March 17); the country-music competition series “My Kind of Country” (March 24); “The Big Door Prize” (March 29), a comedy series starring Chris O’Dowd about a magical machine that changes the life of a small town, based on M.O. Walsh’s bestselling book; and “Tetris” (March 31), a Cold War thriller movie starring Taran Egerton and Nikita Efremov about how the iconic videogame found its way out of the Soviet Union to become a worldwide smash hit.
There are also new episodes every week leading up to the the series finale of “Servant” (March 17) and the season finales of “Shrinking” (March 24) and “Truth Be Told” (March 24).
Apple also has Season Pass, a Major League Soccer add-on starting at $12.99 a month, offering more than 900 MLS and developmental-league matches.
Who’s Apple TV+ for? It offers a little something for everyone, but not necessarily enough for anyone — although it’s getting there.
Play, pause or stop? Play. “Ted Lasso” is worth $7 a month, and there’s plenty more there to get your money’s worth.
Disney+ ($7.99 a month with ads, $10.99 with no ads)
is also bringing back its biggest hit, after a hiatus of more than two years, with Season 3 of “The Mandalorian” (March 1). The new season finds a reunited Din Djarin (Pedro Pascal) and Grogu (oh yeah, you needed to watch “The Book of Boba Fett” to see that major plot development) setting out to unlock the secrets of Mandalore and the Darksaber — which Bo-Katan Kryze (Katee Sackhoff) really, really wants. It’s a superfun show, but it’ll be interesting to see how it holds up after the intense drama of the most recent live-action “Star Wars” series, “Andor.” Hint: Just remember that “The Mandalorian” is more or less a kids show, and adjust your expectations accordingly.
There’s also “Bono & The Edge: A Sort of Homecoming, with Dave Letterman” (March 17), a musical/interview special that coincides with the release of U2’s new album of rerecorded hits, “Songs of Surrender”; Season 2 of “Doogie Kamealoha, M.D.” (March 31), along with all four seasons of the original “Doogie Howser, M.D.” (March 15); and “Prom Pact” (March 31), a Disney Channel original rom-com movie starring Peyton Elizabeth Lee.
There are also new episodes every week of the animated “Star Wars: The Bad Batch” and the animated “Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur” — and don’t forget that “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” dropped Feb. 1.
Who’s Disney+ for? Families with kids, hardcore “Star Wars” and Marvel fans. For people not in those groups, Disney’s library can be lacking.
Play, pause or stop? Play. “The Mandalorian” is worth the subscription price by itself, and there’s plenty more to entertain the kids. And even most adults.
Amazon Prime Video ($14.99 a month)
may have a multiplatform hit on its hands with “Daisy Jones and the Six” (March 3), a 10-episode miniseries chronicling the rise and fall of a fictional ’70s rock band. Riley Keough — daughter of the late Lisa Maria Presley — and Sam Claflin star as the band’s charismatic lead singers and lovers, who soar to fame before their relationship implodes, a la Fleetwood Mac. Based on the novel by Taylor Jenkins Reid, there’s also an album of original music from Sound City superproducers Blake Mills and Tony Berg, with contributions from Phoebe Bridgers, Marcus Mumford and Jackson Browne. Episodes will drop in bunches of two or three at a time, spread over four weeks. With goosebump-raising musical numbers, this could strike the sweet spot for fans of movies like “Almost Famous” and “A Star Is Born.”
Prime Video is also premiering a handful of international series, including the German ’80s-set crime drama “The Pimp — No F***ing Fairytale” (March 3); the Japanese hearse-transport drama “Angel Flight” (March 17); the Australian class-reunion/survival comedy “Class of ’07” (March 17); the Brazilian crime drama “Dom” (March 17); and the supernatural drama “The Power” (March 31).
Also: Here’s everything new coming to Amazon’s Prime Video in March 2023
On the movie front, Prime Video is adding Tom Cruise’s Oscar-nominated blockbuster “Top Gun: Maverick” (March 24) and Jordan Peele’s “Nope” (March 21), along with “Jackass Forever” (March 10) and, just in time for “Creed III,” 2015’s “Creed” (March 1).
Who’s Amazon Prime Video for? Movie lovers, TV-series fans who value quality over quantity.
Play, pause or stop? Pause and think it over. “Daisy Jones” looks fantastic, but there’s a very competitive landscape this month. Considering Prime Video’s high price, it might make sense to wait and binge it another month.
Paramount+ ($4.99 a month with ads, $9.99 with no ads)
Kiefer Sutherland is trying to save the day again. The veteran of pulse-pounding series such as “24” and “Designated Survivor” returns to a familiar can-do hero role in “Rabbit Hole” (March 26), an eight-episode thriller. This time around, Sutherland plays a corporate-espionage operative who has to go on the lam after being framed for the murder of a government official while also trying to take down a global conspiracy. It looks familiar, but decent.
Paramount+ also has “School Spirits” (March 9), a teen noir about a girl (“Cobra Kai’s” Peyton List) stuck in the afterlife who, with her new ghost friends, must solve the mystery of her own murder; and “The Challenge: World Championship” (March 8), a spinoff of the popular reality competition featuring veterans of the franchise’s global versions as well as stars of “Survivor,” “Love Island” and Bachelor Nation.
On the sports side, there’s March Madness, featuring a weekend of conference championships (March 11 and 12) before the men’s NCAA Tournament tips off (only games airing on CBS will stream here, starting March 16), and there’s also the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 games.
Paramount+ will also have the new season of CBS’s “Survivor” (March 1); Oscar-nominated movies such as “Top Gun: Maverick,” “Babylon” and “Everything Everywhere All at Once”; as well as new episodes every week of “Star Trek: Picard,” which has reunited most of the “Next Generation” cast for its final season.
And while Paramount+ and Showtime aren’t officially merging until later this year (along with a price hike), those who have already bundled the two will be able to check out Season 2 of Showtime’s excellent puzzle-box/survival thriller “Yellowjackets” (March 26), starring Melanie Lynskey, Christina Ricci and Juliette Lewis.
Who’s Paramount+ for? Gen X cord-cutters who miss live sports and familiar Paramount Global
broadcast and cable shows.
Play, pause or stop? Pause. The live-sports offerings may be the main draw this month, but there are enough good series — “Yellowjackets” in particular — worthy of consideration too.
Hulu ($7.99 a month with ads, or $14.99 with no ads)
More than 40 years in the making — or at least, in the waiting — Mel Brooks’ “History of the World, Part 2” (March 6) is coming as an eight-episode, four-night comedy event. The follow-up to the 1981 movie features comedic vignettes from different points in human history and seemingly features half of Hollywood, including Wanda Sykes, Nick Kroll, Ike Barinholtz, Pamela Adlon, Zazie Beetz, Jillian Bell, Quinta Brunson, Taika Waititi, Reggie Watts, Kumail Nanjiani and the 96-year-old Brooks himself. It looks exceedingly stupid, but that doesn’t mean it won’t be funny (at times, at least).
Hulu also has “UnPrisoned” (March 10), a family comedy starring Kerry Washington and Delroy Lindo; “Boston Strangler” (March 17), a movie about the first reporter to break the story of the notorious 1960s serial killer, starring Keira Knightley and Carrie Coon; “FX’s Great Expectations” (March 26), a limited-series adaptation of Charles Dickens’ classic, starring Fionn Whitehead and Olivia Colman; and “Up Here” (March 24), a musical rom-com series starring Mae Whitman and Carlos Valdes. There are also new episodes every week of “Snowfall,” streaming a day after they air on FX, as well as a slew of ABC and Fox shows.
More: Here’s everything new coming to Hulu in March 2023 — and what’s leaving
Note that while Hulu will livestream the Oscars red carpet on March 12, the actual ceremony won’t stream until a day later — March 13.
Also, while Starz has the fantastic new season of “Party Down,” Hulu has the first two seasons.
Who’s Hulu for? TV lovers. There’s a deep library for those who want older TV series and next-day streaming of many current network and cable shows.
Play, pause or stop? Pause. March’s offerings look good but not great, although Hulu’s deep library could tip the scales.
Netflix ($6.99 a month for basic with ads, $9.99 basic with no ads, $15.49 standard with no ads, $19.99 premium with no ads)
Netflix’s upcoming lineup is typically Netflixian: A broad slate of good-but-not-great offerings. While fine in most other months, “good enough” just isn’t good enough in a very, very competitive March.
The biggest draw will be Season 4, Part 2 of “You” (March 9), a shameless ploy to draw out viewership by splitting the season in half with no narrative purpose. The final five eps will find Joe having perhaps met his match in a fellow charming stalker/murderer who’s been winnowing down London’s rich and famous. Though each season has been a step down from the previous one, it’s still ridiculously addictive.
is also reviving Idris Elba’s long-suffering police detective with “Luther: The Fallen Sun” (March 10), a movie spinoff of the violently grim BBC crime series that ran for five seasons (and is streaming in Hulu), and it has “The Night Agent” (March 23), a new drama about a low-ranking FBI agent who uncovers a White House conspiracy, from showrunner Shawn Ryan (“The Shield,” “S.W.A.T.”), and the return of Adam Sandler and Jennifer Aniston for “Murder Mystery 2” (March 31), the sequel to their 2019 Netflix movie, with the pair now full-time private eyes investigating a kidnapping case on a private island. The first one was dumb but kinda fun, so it might not be terrible.
Also see: Everything new coming to Netflix in March 2023 — and what’s leaving
There’s also Season 4 of the shamefully bingeworthy dating show “Love Is Blind” (March 24, with new eps every week); “Outlast” (March 10), a survival-competition show set in the Alaskan wilderness; “Chris Rock: Selective Outrage” (March 4), Netflix’s first-ever live comedy special; and docuseries such as “Money Shot: The Pornhub Story” (March 15) and “Waco: American Apocalypse” (March 22), which are both pretty self-explanatory.
Heads up: All three seasons of the sadly underwatched “Hap and Leonard” are leaving Netflix on March 5, and Season 2 of the addictive Australian home-swap competition “Instant Hotel” is leaving March 18.
Who’s Netflix for? Fans of buzz-worthy original shows and movies.
Play, pause or stop? Stop. There’s nothing urgent, and if Netflix really wants you to wait before watching the second half of “You,” why not wait another month?
Peacock (Premium for $4.99 a month with ads, or $9.99 a month with no ads)
The highly entertaining mystery series “Poker Face” ends its first season on March 9, but Peacock’s pickings are slim past that.
March’s big premieres are “Queens Court” (March 16), a dating show with single celebs Tamar Braxton, Evelyn Lozada and Nivea, and “Who Killed Robert Wone?”(March 7), a two-part true-crime docuseries about the mysterious 2006 killing of a young attorney in Washington, D.C.
There’s also a full slate of English Premier League soccer, golf, winter sports and motor sports, WrestleMania (March 31), new eps every week of “Bel-Air,” as well as the unrated version of the horror hit “M3gan,” which dropped in late February.
Who’s Peacock for? If you have a Comcast
cable subscription, you likely have free access to the Premium tier (with ads) — though that’ll end this summer. Live sports are the main draw, but there’s a good library of shows and movies.
Play, pause or stop? Stop. Live sports aside, there’s not much worth paying for once “Poker Face” ends.
Discovery+ ($4.99 a month with ads, or $6.99 with no ads)
As of publication time, Discovery+ had not released a March programming schedule, which does not bode well. But it’s largely a moot point since it’ll be the usual fare, which is perfectly fine for folding laundry to but not particularly worth seeking out.
One development of note: The Wall Street Journal reported in early February that Warner Bros. Discovery
is scrapping its plans to merge Discovery+ with HBO Max this spring. Instead, much of Discovery’s content will migrate to HBO Max, but it will remain a standalone service for those who don’t want the higher price of Max.
Who’s Discovery+ for? Cord-cutters who miss their unscripted TV or who are really, really into “90 Day Fiancé.”
Play, pause or stop? Stop. Discovery+ is fine for background TV, but it’s not worth the cost.