As someone who is still catching up on The Sopranos, I struggle to keep up with all the good telly out there. So this is by no means a definitive best of 2022 (still haven’t seen The English, SAS Rogue Heroes, or Normal People). This is merely my favourite shows from what I managed to actually see in 2022. And why not start with the biggest surprise of all…
A prequel to a prequel that has no right to be half as good as it is. And it’s restored my faith in the Star Wars universe. All props to Tony Gilroy who has taken some complex ideas about sacrifice, rebellion and loyalty and delivered a slow burn that pays off in spades. If you want to hear me waffle on about how brilliant this is for over two hours then check out this episode of the Authorized Podcast. Oh, and an honourable mention for Obi-Wan Kenobi. I know a lot of people didn’t like it, but I did for no other reason than Ewan McGregor finally got a chance to play that character with a decent script that had some depth!
DON’T HUG ME I’M SCARED
Did you ever see a show that was so strange and twisted that you feel like it was made specifically for you? DON’T HUG ME I’M SCARED is that show. Surreal and darkly funny this is NOT a children’s show… despite looking remarkably like a lot of the warped kids’ shows I grew up on.
FOR ALL MANKIND
A simple concept: what if the Russians were first on the moon? How would that change the space race and history? Brilliantly executed, this is terrific alt history. It gets a little soapy at times, but always pulls it back. I gobbled up three seasons this year. Can’t wait for season 4.
A man called Mark has a baffling office job that’s so soul destroying he agrees to a process that separates his non-work and work memories. Hmm… what was it about this that so resonated with me? And look at that cast: Adam Scott, Christopher Walken, John Turturro and Patricia Arquette firing in all cylinders.
And speaking of Christopher Walken… I don’t know how Stephen Merchant convinced him to do two seasons of this brilliantly funny show about a bunch of community service misfits turned drug dealers, but I’m glad he did. There are a few scenes where you can see the extras beaming because they’re in a scene with The King of New York!
BETTER CALL SAUL
So… so good. Such an emotional rollercoaster. So many shocks and surprises. And what a great ending. And the fact that Rhea Seehorn hasn’t won every acting award going should be a matter for the courts. She was robbed.
Gary Oldman has said that he could play Jackson Lamb for the rest of his career, and I kind of hope he does. He’s having so much fun and the rest of the cast playing MI5’s rejects at Slough House are having a ball. I haven’t seen season two (yet), but I plan to savour it all very soon.
WELCOME TO WREXHAM
I rarely give two hoots about football, but as a study of a community that has its identity tied up in failing team this is binge-worthy stuff. Toss in to that the disruptive influence of Ryan Reynolds and Rob McIlhenney who buy the team in an effort to restore it to its former glories and I’m suddenly on the edge of my seat with every corner kick. This will give Ted Lasso a run for its money when it comes to heartwarming footie shows.
This just gets better and better and is still full of surprises while pushing the boundaries of family-friendly telly, ‘He got sucked off!’ There hasn’t been such a brilliant writing/acting/comedy combo this good since Python.
PAM & TOMMY
Okay, this might have outstayed its welcome a little bit, but it has a talking penis and you can’t ask for more than that, surely?
STAR TREK: STRANGE NEW WORLDS & LOWER DECKS
After the too-serious mumblecore of Discovery, Star Trek decided to be fun again!
SHE HULK and MOON KNIGHT were fun if a bit forgettable.
RINGS OF POWER and HOUSE OF THE DRAGON looked like the real thing, and almost felt like the real thing, but they lacked the little something extra that Tolkien and Martin brought to their worlds. I’ll probably come back for more, though.
ONLY MURDERS IN THE BUILDING was fun if confusing.
And I enjoyed a couple of horror anthologies on Netflix: CABINET OF CURIOSITIES and THE HOUSE. A little hit and miss as with any anthology, but these are always great testing grounds for writers and directors and I hope there are more.
And I hope to see more of WE ARE LADYPARTS…