evan's thoughts

Favorite Shows of 2022

I watch a lot of TV, mostly in the background while doing other things. Usually ill make a list of my favorite shows of the year and send it to my friends, but this year I have this blog, so I figured why not post it? Anyway, the rules are to be a “current year” show the first episode of that season / batch had to air in that year, so if episode 1 of a show premiers on December 31st 2022, it counts. I don’t count direct to streaming / tv films on here, so if you want my opinions on those, I’ve got a Letterboxd like every other zillenial struggling with their fading cultural relevance.

The List

1.) The Bear

Season 1, Hulu

The Bear came out of nowhere. My friend recommended I check out this show many times, but I didn’t listen until she sent me a tweet that compared it to Uncut Gems. It’s probably the most unique writing voice I heard in 2022 as far as television goes. It’s pretty par for the course to write a show about found family and belonging, but The Bear nails the mess of that in a way I haven’t seen before. Every actor is perfect. The music is perfect. The directing is perfect. Really nothing else I can say about this one.

2.) Andor

Season 1, Disney+

As someone who genuinely does not care about this franchise in the slightest anymore, I can’t believe that a Star Wars show is this high on my list this year. The Mandalorian Season 1 was fun TV reminiscent of a classic western, but this is on an entirely different level. Andor is a phenomenally written piece that focuses directly on the fascism that has been ever present in the franchise but used mostly as fodder for the protagonists to overcome. It’s enough for me to see something produced that’s so overtly anti-fascist, but the writing and characterization is some of the best on TV in years.

3.) Severance

Season 1, Apple TV+

Brilliant television. One of the most brilliantly written and best directed dramas in years. this feels like it was algorithmically cooked up in a vat of every science fiction show from the 2010’s that I fell in love with. It has the ambiance and visual design of Counterpart, the mind bending writing of Mr. Robot / Homecoming, and the mystery / world building of early Westworld. It’s been a long time since a cliffhanger of a show has hit me this hard. I can’t wait for season 2.

4.) Barry

Season 3, HBO

This show has wonderfully evolved from its primarily comedic origins into one of the best dramas still on television, while still having phenomenal wit. An incredible drama, and probably the first real spiritual successor I’ve seen to the crime drama of Breaking Bad, which unlike Barry quickly dropped its dark comedic roots in the second season. It also has the sharp critique of Hollywood of Bojack Horseman.

5.) Better Call Saul

Season 6, AMC

This show is better than Breaking Bad. I prefer Saul as a main character to Walter, I prefer the focus on the legal crime and love that I get to spend more time to explore my favorite characters from Breaking Bad. This season ends things wonderfully, and I highly recommend this series to everyone who enjoyed Breaking Bad.

6.) The White Lotus

Season 2, HBO

While the satire of the rich isnt as sharp as the first season it’s still the funniest show on TV. I’d argue its even funnier than the first, because Jennifer Coolidge gets the time she needs to shine here and delivers some of my favorite comedic performances of the year.

7. Cyberpunk: Edgerunners

Miniseries, Netflix

I’m obviously a sucker for science fiction, specifically well done cyberpunk settings. One of my favorite films is Blade Runner 2049 because of this. I was interested in the Cyberpunk game but didn’t pick it up on account of it looking like trash. This show on the other hand, is so excellent, it made me buy the game on steam at half price (still not worth it imo) just to experience the world and these characters more.

8. Harley Quinn

Season 3, HBO Max

Comedies in the modern age of TV have changed. Modern shows such as Dramas are almost 10 hour films, so the transition to linear narratives fit them like a glove. Sitcoms stories were serialized though, and that format benefitted them pretty well because they could just focus entirely on situational humor without dealing with character development. Upon watching it for the first time last year its pretty apparent that the show which changed everything was The Good Place, a sitcom so incredibly brilliant it left reverberations on the whole industry. Anyways, Harley Quinn focuses more on plot and character development than ever before in this season, and while that results in the rapid nonstop pace of incredible jokes from 1/2 slowing down, it ultimately benefits the longevity of the show and works a lot better than it did for What We Do In The Shadows.

9. Peacemaker

Season 1, HBO Max

The first breakout hit of the year. Genuinely didn’t expect peacemaker to be as good as it was, but James Gunn just knows how to frame these stories. They’re funny and not to be taken super seriously, but unlike the Whedon style of writing which dominated Marvel for the past decade, actually focuses on the characters and their personal stories. Gunn’s films (such as the excellent Guardians of the Galaxy vol. 2) usually focus on relationships, parents, siblings, and found family. Cena is also the star of the show, and this would not work in the slightest if it wasn’t for his absolute charisma as an actor here. I’d love to see him try a more dramatic role in the future, because there were some hints here that he might be up to the task.

10. Smiling Friends

Season 1, Adult Swim

the renaissance men are coming to town

11.) Righteous Gemstones

Season 2, HBO

Not as tightly written / clever as the first season but still a great and funny show. Eric Andre was born for this role and I adored him in it.

12.) Wednesday

Season 1, Netflix

A fun show about a magical boarding school that isn’t written by piece of shit TERF.

13.) What We Do in the Shadows

Season 4, FX

This show has teetered off from its incredible first two seasons and moved towards something thats slightly more narrative driven. I understand why it made that choice, but the first two seasons were the funniest show on television and it has recently been relegated to only one of the funniest.

14.) His Dark Materials

Season 3, HBO / BBC

Great finale! Pretty well done adaptation to an excellent series. I can’t believe that this was a book they tried to market to kids, and I wish I read it when I was younger.

15.) Game of Thrones: House of the Dragon

Season 1, HBO

I honestly went into this one sort of expecting nothing amazing, and until the last few episodes it really wasn’t. It had great acting and of course incredible production values, but was generally a snooze. When it finally reaches the conflict its building towards, it finally piqued my interest though. Solid watch if you enjoyed Game of Thrones in the past.

16.) Stranger Things

Season 4, Netflix

Season 1 of stranger things was a masterpiece of lightning in a bottle season of television. Stranger Things Season 4 isn’t. It’s still worth the watch if you’ve got a netflix subscription though, especially before they kick us all off password sharing.

17.) Star Trek: Strange New Worlds

Season 1, Paramount+

Not the best Trek show I’ve seen. But it’s a real Trek show, unlike everything else with the name on Paramount+. It understands the core of what Trek should be, at least a semi-optimistic show focused on exploration, philosophy, and the betterment of humanity. My main issue with it is that it is not unique or original in its setting or characters. I’d vastly prefer a new ship with a new crew over nostalgia baiting the enterprise again, but if they had to do this concept I think they’ve managed to pull it off as well as you can. If you’re a fan of the pre Kurtzman shows, you’ll like this at least a bit more than the other stuff he’s put out.

18.) The Boys

Season 3, Amazon Prime Video

I don’t really love this show as much as everyone else seems to. It’s good! but something about it has always irked me. I don’t love the acting (besides the notable exception of Starr as Homelander), I don’t like how the main guy keeps making the Tucker Carlson face every time a superhero has a weird fetish or their genitals explode, and more importantly I don’t actually care about any of “The Boys”, of whom are supposedly the focus of the show. They never grow, they never develop, and every season they sit in a basement somewhere and yell at each other while the actual plot is happening around them, usually independently of their Discord server like spats. I found myself just skipping those sections entirely or scrolling on my phone waiting for them to end. The show’s excellent political views are never explored more than the absolute bare minimum that’d allow them to market the show as a politically minded without being sued for false advertising, and without actually saying anything with more depth than a half length tweet. Regardless its still worth watching because its fine and you probably can watch it free anyways.

Penalty Box

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