Best web shows of 2023 so far: Jubilee, Class and Trial by Fire make to the list

Best web shows of 2023 so far: Jubilee, Class and Trial by Fire make to the list

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It has been the year of highs and lows, ebbs and troughs in terms of content. Despite Pathaan bringing cheer to theatres early in the year, it has been hit and miss since then (more misses than hits). While web shows have done better, giving us another reason to stay at home and switch on our screens, we are still waiting for 2023 to deliver a clear winner. Here’s a list of shows that kept us engaged thus far in 2023, in no particular order.

Created by Ashim Ahluwalia, Netflix’s Class took a pulpy approach to tackling some grave themes, such as caste discrimination, drug abuse, and the wealth gap. By this measure alone, it’s a riskier proposition than most ‘content’ that streamers are producing these days — the kind of stuff that gets the most views, shows like Jee Karda or Taj: Divided by Blood. Set against the backdrop of the most Darwinian of all ecosystems — high school — the show was at once entertaining and thought-provoking. And unlike most programming featuring young characters, Class was actually elevated by its cast of fresh faces.

Trial By Fire

Based on the 1997 Uphaar tragedy, this poignant series does the important work of remembering unsung heroes, and documenting their endless, soul-sapping toil, for that is exactly what it is, for posterity. The best part about the series, starring Rajshri Deshpande and Abhay Deol, is the steadiness it manages to instil even in the most sorrowful faces. No loud chest-beating hysteria, no sensationalising.

School of Lies

Filmmaker Avinash Arun’s latest series School of Lies is a slow burner that is hard to forget and impossible to ignore. Mounted on the premise of a young boy missing from a boarding school in a fictional hill station, School of Lies lures the audience with the promise of a whodunit, before delving into what it is essentially aiming for — a deep dive into trauma, parenting, abuse, guilt and consequences. Co-created by Ishani Banerjee, the Disney Plus Hotstar show is aided by terrific performances by actors Nimrat Kaur, Aamir Bashir and Geetika Vidya Ohlyan. While the seasoned actors do their bit, they are greatly helped by newcomers Aryan Singh, Varin Roopan, Vir Pachisia and Divyansh Dwivedi as the ensemble glides through, bleeds, weeps, stumbles, repents–and hopefully change– through the course of its stunningly taut and atmospheric eight episodes.


Raj and DK (Raj Nidimoru and Krishna DK) delivered a tight thriller with a smattering of black comedy. On the heels of Manoj Bajpayee-starrer hit series The Family Man, they brought in Shahid Kapoor’s Farzi. The show, also starring Vijay Sethupathi, Raashi Khanna, Bhuvan Arora, Kay Kay Menon and Amol Palekar is high on action, thrill, drama and comedy. The show brought Shahid Kapoor to the small screen and put his acting potential to full use while making sure that the camera is focussed on him while doing justice to the talented ensemble cast. What worked in Farzi is that it picks up life after demonitisation, and gives it a twist where the viewer feels involved to an extent that it also gives an aspirational value in all its vague dreaminess.


Supposed to be the first installment of telling stories from the fascinating world of crime under a new franchise – Scoop — this six-part series explores the inner workings of a daily newspaper, professional rivalry, journalistic ethics, the job of telling the truth and how that’s compromised in the pursuit of grabbing eyeballs. Scoop largely gets these things right. Starring Karishma Tanna and with Hansal Mehta in the director’s chair, it tugs at the heart without being melodramatic.


This Vikramaditya Motwane directorial turned out to be a surprise in so many ways. A take on Bollywood’s formative years as India dealt with the scars of the Partition, Jubilee was equipped with multiple real-life references so that the show walked a fine line between fact and fiction. Motwane masterfully wove multiple threads together to give us the world of Roy Talkies where dreams were woven for a young country but conspiracies abounded behind the screen. Strong performances by the cast upped the game. A special shout-out to the show’s costume and set design for taking us to that era.
For anyone who finds the world of cinema magical and engaging, Jubilee transports them to a different world from the very first scene.

The Night Manager

The Night Manager, starring Aditya Roy Kapur, Anil Kapoor, Tillotama Shome and Shobhita Dhulipala, is a glossy and engaging drama that is quick on its feet. The show’s stars remain Kapoor’s ruthless Shelly Rungta and Shome’s persevering agent Lipika Rao Saikia. Fast-paced enough that you end up going with the suspension of disbelief it demands,

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