My Favorite TV Shows of 2022
It is time once again for me to go through all of the shows I have watched and decide which ones were the best of the best…..of what I have watched anyways. Before anyone is like “How could you not include….?” keep in mind there is so much content out there between the TV waves and the streamosphere that watching everything is impossible. So if you disagree make your own list. So without further procrastination here are my favorite shows of 2022
Peacemaker (HBO Max): As if James Gunn did not give DC fans gift enough with his repairing of the Suicide Squad onscreen, he also gave us this irreverent spin-off featuring antihero Peacemaker. Being the perfect combination of dumb enough to be gullible but strong enough to be a formidable fighter, made Christopher Smith the perfect candidate to be recruited for shady government ops. In the face on an alien conspiracy, Peacemaker and his crew (with the addition of a show-stealing Vigilante) are forced to trust each other like they have never trusted anyone before in order to save the world. Hilarious and with a fitting kick-ass hair metal soundtrack, Peacemaker assures everyone that the future of the DCEU is in good hands with Gunn and that they will never see Aquaman the same way again.
What We Do in the Shadows (FX): The show about four vampires roommates and their human familiar continues to be one of the funniest things ever put on the television screen. Returning after their globetrotting adventures, Nadja decides they should make a business investment into a vampire nightclub just like Blade! Nandor the Relentless hopes to find a wife with the help of Guillermo and a scene-stealing Djinn. The biggest change to the house comes from energy vampire Colin Robinson who has respawned as a kid raised by Laszlo. Every episode this season hits with absolute perfection and is definitely a better time in front of the TV set than a rerun of Go Flip Yourself.
House of the Dragon (HBO): By the time Game of Thrones came to an end, creative bankruptcy left it as a shell of its former self. Any enthusiasm for the future of this spin-off was pretty much nonexistent….until this prequel took TV by storm. At the height of the House Targaryen’s power King Viserys has forgone patriarchal tradition and decides his daughter Princess Rhaenyra should be the next to sit on the Iron Throne. A move of this magnitude naturally sets off a rift through the kingdom, becoming even more complicated when Rhaenyra’s best friend Alicent marries the king and gives him a son. Over the course of a generation we see lines drawn as a familial rivalry threatens to tear Westeros apart. I can easily say Viserys ranks among my favorite of George RR (RailRoad?) Martin’s creations as a reluctant king who just wants everyone to get along while dealing with a daughter and wife hating each other and a Rogue Prince of a brother. And Paddy Considine’s performance bringing him to life is nothing short of Emmy-worthy.
Andor (Disney+): For my money the best Star Wars film produced during this Disney era is Rogue One and it is not even close. So when the character of Cassian Andor was given his own series to tell the story of how he joined the Rebellion I expected another fun addition to the Disney + Star Wars shows. However, Andor was something else completely and I mean that in the best way possible. As the Empire tightens its grip on the galaxy, the burgeoning Rebel Alliance recruits the thief Cassian Andor to their cause. Under the lead of acclaimed screenwriter Tony Gilroy, Andor takes a grounded look at the Star Wars galaxy during this pivotal moment that resonates deeply in the real world.
Are You Afraid of the Dark? Ghost Island (Nickelodeon): Following the tragic and unexpected death of their leader Bella, it has been a year since the latest generation of the Midnight Society has gathered around the campfire. Hoping to gain some clarity, they head on vacation at a luxury island resort. Bella’s sister Kayla feels uneasy about this and she had every right to be as their hotel holds a dark secret in a hidden room. Centuries ago the soul of a heartbroken woman was trapped in a mirror in that room and has been claiming victims ever since leaving their souls to wander the grounds. Now that she has been freed, the Midnight Society need to find a way to fix things. This continuation of the classic Nick show proves scary enough to appeal to adults with enough whimsy for younger audiences a balancing act that is not easy.
The Midnight Club (Netflix): Speaking of teens telling spooky stories, horror master Mike Flanagan gave viewers his unique spin on the works of fan favorite author Christopher Pike. Providing a place of comfort for young people dealing with terminal illness is the historic manor turned hospice Brightcliff. When Ilanka checks in following a thyroid cancer diagnosis she discovers that every night at midnight the kids sneak into the basement library in order to share scary stories before a roaring fire. While growing accustomed to this as her new normal, Ilanka stumbles upon a secret history of witchcraft and cults surrounding her new home. Like Flanagan’s other works for Netflix, Midnight Club tackles terror on the surface but also on a deeper level as the characters deal with medical issues nobody at their young ages should deal with. As bonus points, anything with Heather Lagenkamp, who played my favorite final girl in all of horror, is bound to get a thumbs up from me.
The Sandman (Netflix): For decades the powers that be have tried and failed to adapt Neil Gaiman’s comic book masterpiece. In 2022, they finally succeeded as the tale of Morpheus and the citizens of the Dreaming is a perfect fit for the long form storytelling TV provides. Adapting the first few graphic novels, Morpheus is tracking down the escaped nightmare the Corinthian only to be captured by a warlock. Upon being free, the Lord of Dreams not only has to stop the Corinthian but rebuild his kingdom as well. Whether you have been reading the Sandman since issue one or are brand new to the saga this series does a perfect job of bringing this dark fantasy epic to life.
Sprung (Freevee): In launching a new free streaming service, Amazon wisely chose to give the keys to its initial original series to brilliant producer Greg Garcia. Rewarding their faith, the My Name is Earl and Raising Hope creator crafted a hilarious and unexpectedly heartfelt sitcom set squarely at the peak of the COVID pandemic. With coronavirus cases spreading like wildfire a number of nonviolent inmates are released from prison (as the guard himself points out, ordering people without homes to shelter in place “is a bit of a headscratcher”). Among these newly released prisoners is Jack who has been serving 20 years thanks to oppressive drug laws concerning marijuana. With no other choice he moves in with his cellmate Rooster and their friend Gloria with Rooster’s mother Barb. The problem is Barb sees them as collaborators for her illegal schemes, and while Jack does not want any part of it the expertise he picked up during his years in the slammer prove valuable to the crew that becomes his surrogate family.
Eli Roth Presents: A Ghost Ruined My Life (Travel Channel): There are plenty of shows where people recount their experiences with the paranormal. But what sets A Ghost Ruined my Life apart from those shows is that is is produced by veteran horror director Eli Roth. This means the production value on this series is far superior to other true life paranormal shows. A Ghost Ruined my Life does not shy away from the darkest aspects of what it is like being terrorized by the supernatural. The grounded tone of the show further emphasizes the reality of the suffering those featured on the show have experienced. In fact many episodes end with the fact that they are still battling the paranormal with no seeming end in sight.
Stranger Things (Netflix): The evils of the Upside Down has once again reared its head in Hawkins, Indiana forcing our gang: Eleven, Mike, Lucas, Max, Dustin, Will, Nancy, Steve, Jonathan, Robin, Hopper and the rest to face the most dangerous threat to date in Vecna. What starts with local teens being killed in sadistic fashion by the show’s newest villain, is only the beginning. The Upside Down is reemerging once again and our heroes are scattered from Hawkins to California to Siberia in the face of this threat. In addition to our usual fan favorite ensemble, creators the Duffer Brothers introduced new characters like Eddie and the bong granted human life Argyle. This was perhaps the best season yet for the Netflix hit and left us all eagerly awaiting for the upcoming finale.
Murder They Hope (Britbox): Two aspiring private eyes Gemma and Terry are called upon to solve a number of hilariously offbeat mysteries in this three-part series. Not bothering to ease viewers in, the very first episode kicks off with a murderous bunny cult and things only get more bonkers from there. But our incredibly charming detective duo seems unphased by the strange cases they are called upon to solve. Each of the three episodes of this brilliantly strange show fires on all cylinders and if nothing else assures you will never hear “Wheels on the Bus” the same way anymore.
Ms. Marvel (Disney+): They changed the power set of my favorite superhero in the Marvel Universe in her inaugural onscreen adventures. But Ms. Marvel is so damn good I had no problem pushing that issue aside and enjoying what is easily the best thing to come from Marvel Studios since Wandavision. As a teenage daughter to Pakistani immigrants in Jersey City, superhero-fan Kamala Khan is trying to figure out her place in the world. Her life is changed when a family heirloom seemingly unlocks a set of powers allowing Khan to finally become a superhero in her own right.
Star Trek: Strange New Worlds (Paramount+): There is no denying there is something distinctly cool about old school 60’s Star Trek and this latest entry in the Trek franchise nails this. Before Kirk even got close to the famed captain’s chair it belonged to Captain Christopher Pike, played in this series by Anson Mount reprising his role from Star Trek: Discovery. Knowing the horrible fate that ultimately awaits him, Pike leads the crew of the Enterprise on a mission to explore strange new worlds. What is easily the best Trek series in decades utilizes an episodic nature giving audiences a new adventure each week, while still following long form character arcs for an ensemble who have immensely endeared themselves to fans in the span of a mere 10 episodes.
The Orville (Hulu): Speaking of Star Trek, this year saw Seth McFarlane’s love letter to Gene Rodenberry’s creation move from network TV to Hulu and complete its evolution from tongue-in-cheek satire into a true serious science fiction series. As captain of the Orville, Ed Mercer must lead his crew into never before explored territory both literally and figuratively. While sci-fi fun and adventure is the centerpiece of the series, what truly proved to be the strength of the Orville this season was its smart and honest way at looking at issues of our world through a genre lens.
Inside Man (Netflix): A few years ago Doctor Who and Sherlock were firing on all cylinders and Steven Moffat was the genius writer behind both of them. This year Moffat proved he has plenty of writing talent left in the tank in this co-production between Netflix and the BBC starring Stanley Tucci and David Tennant. While doing his time on death row in the United States, Jefferson Grieff passes the time by lending his considerable intellect to solving crimes with “moral worth”. Approaching him to solve such a mystery is British reporter Beth, who has befriended a now-missing math tutor. In the UK said math tutor, Janice stumbles onto something she was never supposed to see, leading to her being taken prisoner by the vicar who employs her. The clock is ticking away as Grieff has to put the pieces together based solely on a quick text pic. The combination of one of TV’s best writers and an absolutely stellar cast led by Tucci and Tennant (special shout-out to Atkins Estimond as a hilarious and charming serial killer) Inside Man is a highpoint for Netflix this year.
Abbott Elementary (ABC): For years stuffy critic types bemoaned the lack of truly great sitcoms on network television and for the most part they are correct. Then this show about an overly-optimistic teacher in an inner city Philadelphia school hit and became one of the best shows on TV. Creator Quinta Brunson, leads a brilliant ensemble of incredible characters who make up the faculty of Abbott Elementary. This ranges from the vets like Barbara to fellow optimistic newcomers like Jacob and scene stealers like custodian Mr. Johnson. Despite their differences this group has formed a bond in the face of adversity from the job and their unqualified principal Ava (played by Janelle James in a role which has rightly netted her plenty of award gold). Both hilarious and eye-opening, Abbott Elementary proves their is still gold on a usually neglected venue.
Banana Land (ESPN): America’s passtime has not had much to celebrate in 2022 with record low game attendance and TV ratings. But a team on the Georgia coast seems immune from this fate, as the the Savannah Bananas have completely revamped baseball as Banana Ball. A raucous and fast-paced version of the game that puts entertainment first and foremost. A player lights his bat on fire, a pitcher takes the mound on stilts, and a 75 year-old Boston Red Sox icon chugs beer before taking to the field make this unlike any sport you have seen before. This docuseries chronicles how mad genius Jesse Cole and his small motley band poured their passion into making his vision a reality that sells out every game in what is rapidly becoming the “Greatest Show in Sports”.
The Curse (Britbox): Set in 1980’s where thanks to Margaret Thatcher, those at the top are getting richer, while café owners Albert and Natasha are economically stationary. So when the chance to take part in a heist pops up, Natasha pushes her reluctant husband into it. The end result is the couple and their bumbling compatriots end up in possession of millions in gold bars. Not only does this make them public enemies number one for the authorities, but the criminal underworld has no problem preying on their ignorance. While stumbling across this fortune may have seemed like a blessing at first, it eventually becomes a curse to all those who touch it. This flashy and funny crime series has no shortage of likable characters with no shortage of 80’s hipness.
Jimmy Savile: A British Horror Story (Netflix): For an entire generation in Britain, Jimmy Savile was a massive celebrity on all entertainment fronts. He was a TV presenter, comedian, wrestler, writer, DJ, entrepreneur, philanthropist, you name it. And as people found out after his death, the rumors about him were true and Jimmy Savile was nothing short of a monster. Using his social status and connections as a cover, the star got away for decades with being a sexual predator who tormented children. Despite the heinous nature of these crimes, prominent officials in the royal family, government, law enforcement, and the BBC were all to eager to cover it all up. Of all the great horror shows of 2022, this may be the most frightening as many of those who covered for his evil are still in power.