The 10 Best TV Shows Of 2022
Okay, let's hash it out. When doing last year's best-of list, it was a rather frustrating time to think or write about any of it as for me, TV shows just weren't delivering the goods despite that we're supposedly living in the ''golden age of television'', something that I would've agreed with still in 2020. That's why it is incredibly relieving to say that 2022 was a great comeback year for the medium. There are remarkable debuts, original ideas and even a show or two ending their run on a high. There's comedy, drama, sci-fi, action, true crime, you name it. Choosing the shows for the last couple spots on this year's list was a difficult but good challenge thanks to the quality of these shows.
Competing for spots on this top 10 list were 40 different seasons of television from 39 different series from 2022. That's a personal record, if I may brag for a second, and that is when I still have shows like 'The Rings Of Power', 'Fleishman Is In Trouble' and 'House Of The Dragon' waiting on my watchlist (don't get mad when you don't find them here). In the running for a special mention highlighting the best series I caught up with from 2021 were nine different series, including some big hits, I should mention.
Without further ado, here are my special mentions and favourite shows of the year (notice the key word ''favourite'' which is always a good reminder). You can also find full reviews for a couple of them on the site, just click the ''Read the review'' when they show up on this list. For more TV reviews, browse the 'Television' section in 'Reviews'.
Best 2021 Catch-up
Michael Keaton is the star of this drama series based on real-life events, which also features investigative and legal elements, but riches go much deeper than just him. Acting out well-written material mostly spearheaded by Danny Strong, the whole cast is on top of their game, including Kaitlyn Dever and Will Poulter. Also boasts some great editing and score, if you're into flair in those departments.
Whatever It Is, It's Great
THE REHEARSAL (season 1)
Nathan Fielder is back with more cringe comedy. His half-scripted, half-documentary (or at least that's what it appears to be) series has a clever premise, sudden left turns and maybe the biggest budget of all HBO shows? Anyway, you don't know if you necessarily like everything about it but it sure is one of the most interesting experiments in recent TV history. Hats off to you, you silly man.
And now... here are the 10 best TV series of 2022
10. BAD SISTERS (season 1)
Any list highlighting best villains of the year would struggle with credibility if it doesn't feature Claes Bang's ''The Prick'', which is also why this dark comedy gets you on its sisters' side eventually as they try to murder him in different ways. Excellent cast led by showrunner Sharon Horgan, sharp writing and enjoyable Irish banter make this an easy choice for one's top 10. It'll be very intriguing to see what the second season will look like considering that this felt perfectly complete on its own.
9. UNDER THE BANNER OF HEAVEN (miniseries)
There was certainly an onslaught of true crime hitting small screens this year with varying quality or necessity but Dustin Lance Black's adaptation critiquing dark sections of LDS church manages to break the barrier by going further than just a Wikipedia article. With Andrew Garfield in top form as his character's faith is challenged and fine momentum throughout its seven episodes, this is as good as the genre comes right now in television.
8. WHAT WE DO IN THE SHADOWS (season 4)
It almost gets repetitive to talk about the mockumentary comedy about vampires as it just happens to be the most consistently funny show on air right now—kudos to showrunners Stefani Robinson and Paul Simms—but at the same time you can't just leave it off the list. Matt Berry's one-of-a-kind line deliveries might as well earn a standalone episode on their own, night markets and Colin Robinson's transformations are just some of the cherries on top. Good thing is that not all of the blood has been sucked out yet, it seems.
7. ABBOTT ELEMENTARY (season 1)
Hallelujah, it's a network show! The death of them—and especially network comedies—may be exaggerated because a lot of them are at least passable but that doesn't take away from the fact that Quinta Brunson is genuinely a fresh new voice in this particular medium. Sheryl Lee Ralph and Tyler James Williams offer outings behind her that deserve all the attention. However, I do selfishly wish that upcoming seasons would've also been 10-14 episodes. Well, that's networks for you, I guess.
6. ANDOR (season 1)
Equally rare to feature on this list is blockbuster-level television but somehow Tony Gilroy managed to pull it off at the last second (literally just entered this list a few days ago). Mind-bogglingly good production design, proper environments, even captivating dialogue? Who knew that just by focusing on great filmmaking, you could reach the highest echelons of Star Wars again? Probably a lot of filmmakers and not many executives. Either way, let's just enjoy this because all of them won't be like this. By the way, can someone put out a making-of video of those prison episodes? How do you design and direct that? Asking for a friend.
5. SEVERANCE (season 1)
This is one that requires full transparency as its placement comes down to having seen the season before its release and later announcement of a second season. The ending could now play better knowing that, therefore deserving a much higher spot on the list, but nevertheless this sci-fi thriller from Dan Erickson came out of the gates roaring. Features some of the year's best cinematography, production design and even opening credits while building story blocks for the future in this extremely absorbing world. What is happening at Lumon? Let's find out, we're ready.
4. BARRY (season 3)
Bill Hader and Alec Berg's dark comedy always felt like it was on the precipice of becoming something great in its first two seasons, occasionally delivering standout episodes, but season three is where it all really clicked for me at least. So poignant when satirising the television industry, so tense when doing action and thriller and so satisfying when the cast get chances to shine. It's also lovely when streaming TV has longer and longer episodes and this show doesn't waste a single frame and manages to do it all in sometimes less than 30 minutes.
3. THE BEAR (season 1)
Speaking of shows that manage to do it all mostly in 30 minutes or less, Christopher Storer and Joanna Calo's boiling hot, pressure cooker drama does that as well. All of its characters are immediately distinct, which then lets actors like Jeremy Allen White and Ayo Edebiri cook (so terribly sorry about that). What makes it even better, if that's possible, is the fact that the season works completely on its own, while still laying a roadmap for ''The Bear'' to actually emerge and growl in full form in season two. I personally can't wait to see what's behind the corner.
2. STATION ELEVEN (miniseries)
Congratulations to showrunner Patrick Somerville and rest of the team for both managing to reside on this list for the longest time (last episode aired in January) and creating a show involving a pandemic which turned out to be spectacular in the middle of an actual pandemic. Insanity! It definitely wasn't the easiest thing to recommend to anyone but I'm positive that this is a series that will continue to hold up, rewarding viewers who catch it in 2023 or later. The writing, structure, music and actors all come together to make something everlasting, even when 99 percent of it all has withered away or HBO Max has simply erased most productions from existence.
1. BETTER CALL SAUL (season 6)
The time has come as we are finally saying goodbye to an extraordinary series. Is it the greatest television series of all time? Perhaps, but thankfully I'm not writing that list right now so there's no need to get too deep in that discussion. Part of me wishes to have written a more comprehensive review of the final season but it also would've felt like an intimidating task.
Instead, I (and surely many of you) am simply just grateful for Peter Gould and Vince Gilligan's leadership which is truly a masterclass when it comes to characterisation, story and letting visuals take over when they're supposed to. That is when the remarkable cinematography (whether in colour or in black-and-white), decor and Saul/Jimmy/Gene's varied suit collection show how it's done. And when everything is where it should be, you unleash the beasts that are the actors; Rhea Seehorn and Bob Odenkirk leading the way with their layered, funny and heartbreaking performances that deserve all the praise and accolades.
It's a show that constantly got better as it went along, culminating in its final few episodes that understood and met its characters in the deepest of levels. That is a miracle, that is Better Call Saul.