10 Favorite TV Series of 2022…One Year Late

Sharon Horgan, Eve Hewson, Eva Birthistle, and Sarah Greene in Bad Sisters.

When I did my list of my 8 favorite TV series of 2021, I caveated it with a mention that, with my limited time to watch adult television, those titles earned their spot primarily by being good enough to make time to watch them all the way through. I’m happy to report that I watched a lot more television series in 2022, so this list feels a bit more definitive to me. That said, when it was time to do year end lists for last year, there were a number of titles I thought were destined to end up on this list that I was either in the middle of watching or hadn’t watched yet. By the time I finished up all of those 2022 titles (several of which did make the top ten), it was already halfway through 2023. Oops. Anyway, any TV series that’s available to stream is still out there to be found and appreciated, and with the shear number of new shows every year, there’s always something that slips through the cracks for somebody that’s worth a bump up in the viewing queue. So if you missed out on any of these fantastic shows, the coming cold winter months is a perfect time to catch up. (And yes, a 2023 list will be coming much, much sooner than December 2024.)

10. Life & Beth (Hulu)

Beth (Amy Schumer) has a successful career as a wine sales rep and a handsome though generally less than ideal boyfriend (Kevin Kane), but generally feels stuck. When her mother dies unexpectedly, Beth returns to her rural hometown, uncomfortably reconnecting with old friends and bumbling into a relationship with an awkward, taciturn farmer named John (Michael Cera). The setup is stereotypical but the execution is anything but, thanks to a stacked supporting cast (particularly Michael Rapaport as Beth’s father, a conman wrestling with dementia who can barely keep a handle on his own lies), its delicate balancing of cringe comedy with themes of death and grief, and flashbacks to Beth’s teen years (where Beth is compellingly played by Violet Young) that are powerful and poignant.

9. She-Hulk: Attorney At Law (Disney +)

Marvel Studios had a strong year for TV series, but my favorite had to be Jessica Gao’s take on Marvel’s Single Female Lawyer-turned-superhero. The series has its detractors, and it is a fair statement to say that the plot could be a bit unfocused and its politics are anything but subtle, but Tatiana Maslany is just incredibly funny, charming, and utterly captivating in the lead role as Jennifer Walters/She-Hulk, and watching her go toe-to-toe with Mark Ruffalo’s gentler, smarter Hulk or her flirtatious adventure with Charlie Cox’s Daredevil are worth the price of admission on their own.

8. The White Lotus season 2 (HBO Max)

The first season of The White Lotus captured lightning in a bottle with Murray Bartlett’s delightfully unhinged portrayal of the hotel manager Armond falling very, very far off the wagon. The second season as a whole didn’t hit quite as hard, particularly due to having a very weak link in the form of poor Valentina (Sabrina Impacciatore), the hotel manager whose sexual awakening storyline grinds the show to a halt every time it comes up. But the rest of the sprawling cast is so richly realized that you love spending time with them just the same, with the best in show this time out going to F. Murray Abraham as the old horndog Bert and the young frenemy quartet played by Will Sharpe, Aubrey Plaza, Meghann Fahy, and a delightfully dickish Theo James.

7. The Dropout (Hulu)

Hulu’s true-story drama of the rise and fall of Theranos—a biomedical company who claimed to be able to do a wide variety of tests on a single drop of blood, a claim that proved a flat-out lie but not before the company bilked investors for billions—is so wild and outlandish that it’ll have you googling to find out if something really happened and the answer, shockingly, is always yes. Amanda Seyfriend brings a wide-eyed disquietude to Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes, a woman whose response to being in over her head is always to dig deeper, while Naveen Andrews’ portrayal of Theranos COO (and Holmes’ lover) Sunny Balwani is all smoldering intensity.

6. Only Murders in the Building season 2 (Hulu)

The second season of this show about true crime nuts who turn into amateur sleuths had a lot to live up to after its effortlessly excellent first season (my favorite show of the previous year), and while it mostly succeeds, you can feel the gears grinding a little more this time out before things really get moving. But with the camaraderie between the central trio of Oliver (Martin Short), Mabel (Selena Gomez), and Charles-Haden Savage (Steve Martin) still intact, the elements all eventually align and deliver another satisfying whole.

5. The Flight Attendant season 2 (HBO Max)

The first season of The Flight Attendant was about as perfect as a self-contained single season murder mystery could be; the arrival of a second season-baiting twist in the final minutes of the final episode felt like it would ruin a good thing. Not a chance: sure, there’s another compelling murder mystery to be had, but it’s Cassie confronting her alcoholism in the form of a whole room full of alternate personality versions of herself—all played by a never better Kaley Cuoco—that lands the biggest emotional punch.  

4. Our Flag Means Death (HBO Max)

What a delightfully weird show: the true story of Stede Bonnet (Rhys Darby), the aristocrat who left his fortune behind to become a “gentleman pirate,” gets stretched into the most audacious gay romance on television with the arrival of Blackbeard (Taika Waititi). The initial pacing is awkward and it takes a few episodes to find its sea legs, but there wasn’t a single show I laughed harder at in 2022 than this one.

3. The Bear (Hulu)

I’m sure I’m not the first person to tell you to watch this show, but seriously, if you haven’t, go watch this show. It’s got an unrivaled intensity, an all-time great central performance in Jeremy Allen White as Carmy (the award-winning chef who returns to his hometown of Chicago to run the family sandwich shop after his brother’s death), and an impeccable supporting cast led by Ebon Moss-Bachrach as Carmy’s bull-headed “cousin” Richie and Ayo Edebiri as Sydney, the young chef looking to learn from a master but constantly wondering if it’s worth the headache. Add in a soundtrack that was basically plucked from my CD collection and I’m powerless to resist.

2. Andor (Disney +)

Andor has no reason to be this good: it’s another in a long-line of fodder to feed the Star Wars content machine, and it’s a prequel supplying backstory to a character whose previous appearance left you with no questions about his past. But expectations be damned: Andor is phenomenal. This series—which sets out to tell the story of how Cassian Andor (Diego Luna) transformed from a normal Joe just trying to keep his head down into the revolutionary willing to die for the Rebel cause we met in the film Rogue One—shines a light on the lesser known corners of the Star Wars universe: the backdoor political shenanigans, the manipulative power brokers that keep the Rebels armed and operating, the cruel ineptitude and petty infighting at the heart of the Empire’s bureaucracy, and the everyday reality of what life is like under the Empire’s thumb. Luna’s stone-faced Cassian is the man who ties it all together, but it’s the side characters that give the show its life, from the cautious, passionate senator Mon Mothma (Genevieve O’Reilly) to the enigmatic manipulator Luthen Rael (Stellan Skarsgård), with special praise for Andy Serkis in a dynamite guest performance as a fellow prisoner Andor is teamed with in an Imperial forced labor prison camp.

1. Bad Sisters (Apple TV+)

Five Irish sisters gather at the funeral of John Paul (Claes Bang), the sadistic, emotionally abusive husband of one of their ranks, their meek sister Grace (Anne-Marie Duff). The problem: the other four sisters had all promised to kill John Paul to free Grace from her agony, and now that he’s dead, Grace’s very broke insurance agent (Brian Gleeson) is doing everything in his power to prove he doesn’t owe her a dime. And unfortunately, the sisters had a lot of very unsuccessful attempts at offing their brother-in-law prior to his actual demise, and they left a very long trail of evidence in their wake.

As the story bounces between timelines (the past as the sisters repeatedly try and fail to kill John Paul, and the present where they desperately attempt to cover their tracks), Bad Sisters develops into a comedy-of-errors for the ages, a wickedly black comedy that finds humor in the darkest parts of the human psyche but also finds heart in the love between these sisters. It helps that Bang’s John Paul is a delightfully slimy villain who absolutely has every horrible thing the sisters attempt coming to him, which makes it easy to understand why the sisters have as much hatred for him as they have love for each other. Bang’s villainous performance is evenly matched by Sharon Horgan as oldest sister/fill-in matriarch Eva and Eve Hewson in a star-making turn as the impulsive youngest sister Becka. It’s dark, it’s morbid, it’s occasionally a little gross, but it’s so, so funny and absolutely the most fun I had watching TV in 2022. Looking forward to the Garvey sisters’ family reunion in the eventual season 2.

Honorable mentions: Physical season 2 (Apple TV+), What We Do in the Shadows season 4 (FX), Ms. Marvel (Disney +), Wednesday (Netflix), Moon Knight (Disney +) | Jason Green

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