• Mon. Jan 30th, 2023

The 17 very best TV shows of 2022, no question about it

Dec 30, 2022

Did your favourite TV series of the year make the list? It’s time to look back at the most brilliant shows of 2022.     

I’m just going to say it: 2022 might have been the best year for TV. Of all time. Ever.

If you’re the sort of person who likes to scare themselves silly, you’ve had the likes of The Midnight Club, The Devil’s Hour and Guillermo Del Toro’s Cabinet Of Curiosities to get stuck into. Armchair detectives, meanwhile, have had a wealth of true crime documentaries to choose from: think Aftershock, Our Father, Bad Vegan and The Tinder Swindler, to name just a few.

Elsewhere, we ate up big romances such as From Scratch, Uncoupled, The Summer I Turned Pretty and Business Proposal. We laughed (and we cried) over This Is Going To Hurt. We revelled in the back-to-school vibes of Heartbreak High. We obsessed over every last second of Pam & Tommy

We fell hook, line, and sinker for Slow Horses – and we sank back into returning favourites like White Lotus, Dead To Me and Only Murders In The Building. Like What We Do In The Shadows and Derry Girls. Like Stranger Things, Inside No. 9 and The Handmaid’s Tale – and we sank into them with all the reverence of someone slipping into a bubble bath, too.

You may also like

BBC TV shows in 2023: 16 series we can’t wait to watch in the new year

There was Conversations With Friends, 1899, and The Essex Serpent. There was The Dropout, The English, and Loot. And there were (ahem) the reality shows we all watched, even though we’ll never admit it (yes, we’re talking about The Traitors, obviously!).

But which of this year’s TV offerings proved to be the biggest, brightest, and best? Which shows did we all wind up talking about for hours on WhatsApp, Zoom, and Twitter? And which shows were the absolute definition of ‘must-watch unmissable television’?

I sat down with my Stylist colleagues to pull together our list of the 17 best new TV shows of 2022, for you to watch (or rewatch) as and when you are in the mood for something undeniably brilliant.

And the first on the list is…

Chloe

Erin Doherty stars in BBC series Chloe.

“A cautionary tale for what happens when we let social media perceptions warp our reality, I was utterly gripped by BBC’s Chloe this year,” says Stylist’s Amy Beecham.

The Crown’s Erin Doherty is loner Becky Green, who infiltrates a high-society friendship group while trying to investigate the murder of her childhood friend Chloe. It has everything you want in a psychological thriller: infidelity, extortion, intrigue and great outfits.

“Absolutely consider this one to add to your must-watch list.”

Black Bird

When it comes to a dark, gritty TV series, there is honestly nothing we love more than when the phrase “inspired by true events” flashes across the screen – because that’s when you know things are about to get really, really good.

This utterly absorbing prison drama sees Taron Egerton step into the shoes of Jimmy Keene, who gets an incredible offer as he begins his 10-year prison sentence: if he can elicit a confession from suspected killer Larry Hall (Paul Walter Hauser), he will be freed.

Black Bird details this challenge of a lifetime, which makes for compelling viewing in itself – but it’s the elevated performances from its powerhouse cast, not to mention its careful dismantlement of toxic masculinity, that makes this one a must-watch.

House Of The Dragon

It was written in the stars that I would love House Of The Dragon even more than Emma D’Arcy loves a negroni sblagliato because it ticks every single box going. High fantasy? Check! Political intrigue? Check! Succession-style family drama… but with dragons? Check, check, check!

House Of The Dragon: Emma D’Arcy as Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen.

For those who haven’t watched the Game Of Thrones prequel, it’s set 172 years before the birth of Daenerys Targaryen and focuses on a bloody civil war – known as the Dance of the Dragons – as two siblings fight for the throne. Prepare to swear your undying allegiance to Queen Rhaenyra (D’Arcy) or Alicent (Olivia Cooke), form a questionable crush on the controversial Daemon (Matt Smith), and scream at King Viserys (Paddy Considine) and his terrible decision-making.

Throw in plenty of utterly loathsome villains to hate-watch – special shout-out to Ser Criston Cole (Fabien Frankel), Aemond Targaryen (Ewan Mitchell) and Larys Strong (Matthew Needham) – and you truly have a show that does it all.

Bad Sisters

Stylist contributor Moya Crockett is one of the countless people who fell for Apple TV’s Bad Sisters, the deliciously dark comedy that follows the lives of the Garvey sisters, who are bound together by the premature death of their parents and a promise to always protect one another.

“It’s everything I want from a TV show – smart, silly and gripping, beautifully shot with a phenomenal soundtrack, and underpinned by Sharon Horgan’s trademark blend of black humour and emotional depth,” she says.

Pachinko

Based on the New York Times bestseller of the same name, this sweeping saga is one of the few literary hits that truly makes it big as a prestige miniseries. It masterfully chronicles the hopes and dreams of a Korean immigrant family across four generations as they leave their homeland in an indomitable quest to survive and thrive – and it never shies away from the heart and brutality of their stories.

Every single actor in this series is spectacular, although Minha Kim and Minari Oscar winner Youn Yuh-jung absolutely steal the show. The cinematography is gorgeous, the writing utterly confident and the colour-coded subtitles a genuine revelation. 

This is, quite easily, one of TV’s most immersive historical dramas… although, fair warning, you might fare better if you dive in having read the book first.

A League Of Their Own

If you had all reboots pegged as disasters in the making, think again: A League Of Their Own is a shining example of how a remake can stand apart from its predecessor while still honouring its legacy.

A League Of Their Own is a shining example of a genuinely good reboot.

Much like the original film, the seriesfollows the journey of the WWII All-American professional women’s baseball league players as they travel across a rapidly changing US. It also shines a light on the racism, sexism and homophobia that so many experienced during that time, making for an emotionally charged (and heartfelt) story.

The result? A joyful and uplifting tale of women supporting women – and one which has earned every single bit of its 97% ‘fresh’ rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

Severance

“By the second episode of Severance, I already knew it would make my top 10 list of TV for 2022,” says Stylist’s Ellen Scott. “By the final episode, the show had landed in my top 10 shows of all time.”

Why? Well, as Ellen explains: “The initial concept – a world in which you can ‘sever’ your work self so you remember nothing of your work life when you’re outside the office, and nothing of your normal life when you’re at your 9 to 5 – is brilliant, but what the writers have done with it is next level genius.”

She finishes: “I was absolutely gripped by every moment, and did a proper, audible gasp at each revelation that was unveiled. Adam Scott is, of course, excellent, but a special shoutout to John Turturro, whose interactions with Christopher Walken made me cry. I cannot wait for season two.”

The Bear

Basically everyone at Stylist HQ name-dropped The Bear when asked about their favourite shows of 2022, and it’s not hard to see why.

All about an ailing Chicago sandwich shop, it tells the story of Carmy Berzatto (Jeremy Allen White), a celebrated chef who returns home to save the family business after the suicide of his brother. A world away from the glitzy restaurants he’s used to, Carmy finds the reality of owning a small business to be… well, to be utterly soul-crushing, to be honest. Especially as everyone – from the rough-around-the-edges kitchen staff to his emotionally-distant relatives – is still grappling with their own grief.

The Bear is the sleeper hit of 2022.

It’s chaotic, it’s compelling, and it’s incredibly tense, too. Overwhelmingly, though, this indie-feeling show is a wildly original workplace drama – and one which hammers home the importance of chosen family.

Heartstopper

As sweet and frothy as a strawberry milkshake, this inclusive coming-of-age romcom is effortlessly charming from start to finish – and it boasts the sort of soundtrack that’s guaranteed to go down in musical history, too. 

Based on the web comic of the same name, it follows LGBTQ+ teen Charlie (Joe Locke) as he forges an unlikely friendship with his school’s star rugby player, Nick (Kit Cotton) – only to find himself falling hard for his new pal. Does Nick feel the same, though?

“As your token straight friend, it’s my duty to remind you that sometimes people are straight,” Charlie’s BFF Tao Xu (William Gao) points out unhelpfully. 

Over the course of the series, and with striking sensitivity, we watch Charlie tentatively work out whether he and Nick could ever be more than ‘just friends’. And, with a starry cameo from Queen Olivia Colman herself (who arguably is part of one of the show’s most emotional two-handers), there’s more than one reason to give this gorgeous Netflix series a go.

Bel-Air

Stylist’s Leah Sinclair has Bel-Air pegged as one of her very best shows of 2022.

“As an avid watcher of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air when I was younger, I was initially skeptical of the idea of a reboot of the show,” she says. “But this adaptation was a pleasant surprise as it still had the heart and soul of the original series but brilliantly executed with a darker narrative that saw the show tackle drug addiction, crime, social media and family.”

Leah finishes: “Instead of feeling like a cheesy rip-off, Bel-Air is the perfect retelling of the Fresh Prince story for lovers of the original series and new audiences.”

Ms Marvel

There are so many superhero series out there to choose from, but Ms Marvel is easily one of the very best of all time, let alone 2022.

When 16-year-oldPakistani Muslim Kamala (newcomer Iman Vellani) first appears on screen, though, she isn’t a superhero; not yet, anyway. Rather, she’s a diehard fangirl and she’s beyond desperate to go to AvengerCon – an in-universe ComicCon-like event dedicated to all her fave supes. And she’s willing to break more than a few rules, even if it means angering her mother, Muneeba (Zenobia Shroff) in the process.

Newcomer Iman Vellani dazzles as Kamala Khan/Ms Marvel.

Honestly, we don’t even see Kamala’s powers until the final minutes of episode one – and, even then, they’re incredibly scrappy. But that’s because this show isn’t actually about superheroes, despite what the gorgeous comic book-esque aesthetic would have you believe; rather, it’s about community, family, and self-belief.

I love it to little pieces. I really truly do.

Somebody Somewhere

Anyone who has ever felt like an outsider will surely relate to this underrated gem of a show, which is every bit as spiky as it is heartwarming. Billed as a “coming-of-middle-age” story, it shines a spotlight on Sam (Bridget Everett), a former “big fucking deal” turned… well, turned into a bit of a fuck-up, if you ask the people around her.

She’s quiet, she’s hurt, she’s utterly lost, and she’s understandably struggling to adjust to hometown life following the death of her beloved sister – the only person she ever felt truly understood her, and who she nursed throughout a debilitating illness. 

So far, so bleak. I know. But when Joel (Jeff Hiller) invites Sam to join the local choir practice, everything slowly starts to change. New friendships are forged, voices are lifted to the rafters, and souls slowly begin to heal. It’s glorious, it’s magical, and it’s well worth your time – trust me.

The Lord Of The Rings: The Rings Of Power

The Rings Of Power is a sweeping fantasy epic.

“It cost $715 million to make, with incredible sets and thousands of extras, so I’m relieved I enjoyed The Rings Of Power as much as I did,” says Stylist’s Chloe Laws.

“I’m a huge LOTR fan – I’ve read the books cover to cover several times, can quote every line in every film (not The Hobbit, obviously) and get lost in Reddit threads over subplots and theories. The Rings Of Power gave me what I needed and lived up to my expectations: fantasy with heart and a twist at the end of the series that made me throw a pillow across the room.”

Big Boys

Jack Rooke’s semi-autobiographical comedy – so tender, so raw, so unexpectedly beautiful – is perfect fodder for everyone who grew up watching The Inbetweeners (and has since grown out of it, too). 

It begins as an incredibly shy Jack (Derry Girls’ Dylan Llewellyn) attempts his second stint at university. The first time coincided with the first anniversary of his dad’s devastating death, and he just wasn’t ready – understandably – but he and his mum are hoping he can make it stick this time.

He might just manage it, thanks to mature student Danny (Jon Pointing) – who couldn’t be more different from Jack if he tried. They might be from very different ends of the “spectrum of masculinity”, but they forge a connection that sees them become the very best of friends. And it’s this, this gentle exploration of male friendship, that tempers the frenetic energy of this show, ostensibly about freshers’ life, but actually about the struggles faced by ‘big boys’ everywhere.

Wednesday

Jenna Ortega stars as Wednesday Addams in Netflix’s Wednesday.

When it comes to the shows that defined 2022, you can’t go without mentioning the darkly excellent (and oh-so-bingeable) Netflix series that was Tim Burton’s Wednesday.

“It was such a gripping, enjoyable watch and Jenna Ortega’s take on the iconic character was just perfect,” raves Stylist’s Lauren Geall.

Enough said. Although we will add this for anyone who might have dismissed this as a typical teen drama: it teaches us all a very valuable lesson about the so-called ‘nice guy’ trope, too.

Yellowjackets

When I asked Stylist’s Helen Bownass for her favourite TV show of the year, she couldn’t have said Yellowjackets fast enough. 

I get it: blending the talents of Sophie Nélisse, Jasmin Savoy Brown, Sophie Thatcher, Sammi Hanratty, Melanie Lynskey, Tawny Cypress, Christina Ricci and Juliette Lewis, it spins a tale of two timelines. One follows a team of wildly talented high-school girls soccer players as their plane crashes deep in the Ontario wilderness, and the other their adult counterparts as they hesitatingly reveal the brutal truth about their survival 25 years later.

It’s hard to peg this series into one genre. It’s a horror, of course – the kind of horror that might make you scream in terror. It’s a compelling conspiracy-mystery, too – one which viewers will be desperate to solve before the final credits roll. And it’s also, too, an outrageously dark comedy. The kind that, y’know, will have you laughing and then wondering what that unwitting giggle really says about you as a human being.

Go in expecting cannibalistic tribes, DIY amputations, possible demonic possessions, bloodstained shrines, homecoming dances, shrooms galore, and all the usual tropes of a classic coming-of-age drama.

The Bastard Son & The Devil Himself

“There’s so much to love about Netflix’s excellent The Bastard Son & The Devil Himself,” says Stylist’s Steven Cowan, describing the series as “a blood-spattered adventure about warring clans of witches, an exploding security guard, a 90s pop star who may or may not be running a child witch exploitation centre and one of the most romantic three-way love affairs you’ll ever encounter”.

Steven adds: “It’s already been cancelled, so you’ll never find out what happens in the end (unless you read the books the series is based on, I guess), but the eight funny, clever and immensely entertaining episodes we do have are to be cherished. And you never know – if enough of us watch it they might reconsider and make a second series, which would ultimately make the world a better place.”

Images: Apple TV/Disney+/Netflix/BBC/Channel 4/Prime Video

Source: Read Full Article