Top 10 TV Shows of 2022 and Why You're Wrong

We were chatting about one show or another not getting into such-and-such’s top-10 list in another thread and rather than argue it there, I figured it was about time to make the One Thread to Rule Them All.

I personally am not all that interested in arguing why Variety’s click-bait list is bad or why CNN’s list snubbed X or Y show, but I AM interested in fellow Qt3er’s lists because I care more about your recommendations than theirs.

So what is your top-10 of 2022 and why?

For reference, here is the Rotten Tomatoes top-130 list, alphabetized. I found it interesting to remind me of what has come out in the last twelve months, but if your show is not on there, go ahead and call out the grievous error.

Big List

A Friend of the Family: Limited Series (2022)
A League of Their Own: Season 1 (2022)
A Very British Scandal: Miniseries (2021)
After Life: Season 2 (2020)
All of Us Are Dead: Season 1 (2022)
Andor: Season 1 (2022)
Angelyne: Limited Series (2022)
Archive 81: Season 1 (2022)
As We See It: Season 1 (2022)
Atlanta: Season 3 (2022)
Atlanta: Season 4 (2022)
Bad Sisters: Season 1 (2022)
Barry: Season 3 (2022)
Becoming Elizabeth: Season 1 (2022)
Better Call Saul: Season 6 (2022)
Better Things: Season 5 (2022)
Black Bird: Limited Series (2022)
Bridgerton: Season 2 (2022)
Chloe: Season 1 (2022)
Dark Winds: Season 1 (2022)
Derry Girls: Season 3 (2022)
Euphoria: Season 2 (2022)
Five Days at Memorial: Season 1 (2022)
For All Mankind: Season 3 (2022)
From: Season 1 (2022)
Gaslit: Season 1 (2022)
Gentleman Jack: Season 2 (2022)
George Carlin’s American Dream: Limited Series (2022)
Girls5eva: Season 2 (2022)
Guillermo del Toro’s Cabinet of Curiosities: Season 1 (2022)
Hacks: Season 2 (2022)
Harley Quinn: Season 3 (2022)
Heartstopper: Season 1 (2022)
High School: Season 1 (2022)
House of the Dragon: Season 1 (2022)
Human Resources: Season 1 (2022)
I Love That for You: Season 1 (2022)
Industry: Season 2 (2022)
Interview With the Vampire: Season 1 (2022)
Irma Vep: Limited Series (2022)
Jeen-yuhs: A Kanye Trilogy: Season 1 (2022)
Julia: Season 1 (2022)
Life & Beth: Season 1 (2022)
Lizzo’s Watch Out for the Big Grrrls: Season 1 (2022)
Loot: Season 1 (2022)
Minx: Season 1 (2022)
Mo: Season 1 (2022)
Moon Knight: Season 1 (2022)
Ms. Marvel: Season 1 (2022)
Murderville: Season 1 (2022)
Naomi: Season 1 (2022)
Night Sky: Season 1 (2022)
Obi-Wan Kenobi: Limited Series (2022)
Only Murders in the Building: Season 2 (2022)
Our Flag Means Death: Season 1 (2022)
Outer Range: Season 1 (2022)
Ozark: Season 4 (2022)
Pachinko: Season 1 (2022)
Pam & Tommy: Miniseries (2022)
Paper Girls: Season 1 (2022)
Peacemaker: Season 1 (2022)
Peaky Blinders: Season 6 (2022)
Prehistoric Planet: Season 1 (2022)
Queer as Folk: Season 1 (2022)
Rap Sh!t: Season 1 (2022)
Reacher: Season 1 (2022)
Reboot: Season 1 (2022)
Reservation Dogs: Season 2 (2022)
Rick and Morty: Season 5 (2021)
Russian Doll: Season 2 (2022)
Severance: Season 1 (2022)
She-Hulk: Attorney at Law: Season 1 (2022)
Sherwood: Season 1 (2022)
Shining Girls: Season 1 (2022)
Single Drunk Female: Season 1 (2022)
Slow Horses: Season 1 (2022)
Somebody Somewhere: Season 1 (2022)
Star Trek: Strange New Worlds: Season 1 (2022)
Starstruck: Season 2 (2022)
Stranger Things: Season 4 (2022)
The Afterparty: Season 1 (2022)
The Andy Warhol Diaries: Limited Series (2022)
The Baby: Limited Series (2022)
The Bear: Season 1 (2022)
The Boys Presents: Diabolical: Season 1 (2022)
The Boys: Season 3 (2022)
The Dropout: Limited Series (2022)
The English: Season 1 (2022)
The Essex Serpent: Limited Series (2022)
The Flight Attendant: Season 2 (2022)
The Gilded Age: Season 1 (2022)
The Girl From Plainville: Limited Series (2022)
The Handmaid’s Tale: Season 5 (2022)
The House: Season 1 (2022)
The Kids in the Hall: Season 1 (2022)
The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey: Limited Series (2022)
The Last Movie Stars: Season 1 (2022)
The Legend of Vox Machina: Season 1 (2022)
The Lincoln Lawyer: Season 1 (2022)
The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power: Season 1 (2022)
The Man Who Fell to Earth: Season 1 (2022)
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel: Season 4 (2022)
The Midnight Club: Season 1 (2022)
The Old Man: Season 1 (2022)
The Outlaws: Season 1 (2021)
The Patient: Limited Series (2022)
The Rehearsal: Season 1 (2022)
The Resort: Season 1 (2022)
The Responder: Season 1 (2022)
The Sandman: Season 1 (2022)
The Serpent Queen: Season 1 (2022)
The Staircase: Limited Series (2022)
The Summer I Turned Pretty: Season 1 (2022)
The Tourist: Season 1 (2022)
The White Lotus: Season 2 (2022)
The Wonder Years: Season 1 (2021)
This Is Going to Hurt: Limited Series (2022)
Tokyo Vice: Season 1 (2022)
Trainwreck: Woodstock '99: Season 1 (2022)
Uncoupled: Season 1 (2022)
Under the Banner of Heaven: Limited Series (2022)
Undone: Season 2 (2022)
Vikings: Valhalla: Season 1 (2022)
We Need to Talk About Cosby: Season 1 (2022)
We Own This City: Season 1 (2022)
Wedding Season: Season 1 (2022)
Welcome to Wrexham: Season 1 (2022)
Westworld: Season 4 (2022)
What We Do in the Shadows: Season 4 (2022)
Winning Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty: Season 1 (2022)
Women of the Movement: Limited Series (2022)

I watch a lot of foreign mysteries which often are a lot older. But here is what I can think of and yes there are a couple of Animes!

Slow Horses
Three Pines
Spy X Family
Chainsaw Man

Rings of Power

One missing entry: Documentary Now!: Season 4

I apparently don’t watch many series. Out of that big list I probably saw 10 series. Here are the ones I’d cite:

Moon Knight
Ted Lasso (did we have a new season in '22?)
Slow Horses
The Outlaws

We watch a lot of English stuff, so I may have seen a new series or two there as well I’d include, but I can’t remember which ones might have been new in '22.

One limitation of these lists is that I can only list what I’ve watched myself. For example, I haven’t watched Better Call Saul, which is highly regarded.

My top 5 for this year, in order from 5th to 1st, would be:
Stranger Things
Slow Horses
Star Trek: Strange New Worlds
House of the Dragon

Honorable Mentions:
Paper Girls
She-Hulk: Attorney at Law
The Boys

Shows I like but were not at their peak this year:
For All Mankind (S3 was a step down from S2 IMO but still good)

Shows that I watched b/c I read the book and will probably watch further but don’t really excite me:
Bosch: Legacy

Shows that started strong and disappointed:
The Old Man
The Peripheral

Shows that I ended up hating with a blinding hate of hatred:
Rings of Power

Favorite Shows
Better Call Saul: Season 6
What We Do in the Shadows: Season 4
The Bear
The Boys: Season 3
Barry: Season 3
Star Trek: Strange New Worlds
Only Murders in the Building: Season 2
Archive 81

Solid Shows
For All Mankind: Season 3
Guillermo del Toro’s Cabinet of Curiosities: Season 1
Moon Knight: Season 1
Ms. Marvel: Season 1
Ozark: Season 4
She-Hulk: Attorney at Law
The Afterparty

Shows I started and Abandoned
House of the Dragon
The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power

Wow, I actually watched more than 10 series! A ranking:

  1. The Bear
  2. Severance
  3. Hacks
  4. Andor
  5. Sandman
  6. Kids in the Hall
  7. Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
  8. Afterparty
  9. She-Hulk
  10. Moon Knight

Also watched and enjoyed:

  • Star Trek: Strange New Worlds
  • Paper Girls

Haven’t watched yet, but could probably have qualified:

  • Derry Girls S3
  • Better Call Saul S6
  • This is Going to Hurt

Oh crap I forgot Sandman and Peacemaker! Both very good!

I may destroy you (don’t care if it’s 2021) amirite @tomchick ?

Kwame and I agree!

I guess I watched a bunch this year too. Favorites:

  1. House of the Dragon
  2. Peacemaker
  3. Severance
  4. This is Going to Hurt
  5. Afterparty
  6. Hacks
  7. Ted Lasso
  8. The Devil’s Hour

Still watching and might end up on this list:

  • Sandman
  • The Baby
  • She-Hulk
  • The English
  • Wednesday
  • Shantaram
  • For All Mankind season 3

Want to watch and might end up on this list:

  • His Dark Materials season 3
  • Willow
  • Barry season 3
  • Reservation Dogs season 2
  • Pachinko

I started to watch the first episode of the Bear but never got around to finishing it. Why does everyone like it?

I would like to hear about Willow. I know I watched the movie back in the day but I do not remember much about it.

For me, in a very thoughtless ordering,

  1. Ted Lasso Season 2
  2. Star Trek: Strange New Worlds Season 1
  3. Severance Season 1
  4. Star Trek: Lower Decks Season 3
  5. Andor
  6. Moon Knight
  7. The Lord of the Rings: Rings of Power

I really gotta catch up on my Marvel stuff, including She-Hulk and Ms. Marvel, which both look wonderful and very up my alley.

Arcane, the amazing League of Legends show, would be number 1, but it was barely snuck in into 2021, alas

I didn’t watch too many shows this year, so my top-10 is also pretty much my bottom-10.

  1. Andor - Can’t say I expected a Star Wars show to top this list, but here we are.

  2. Peacemaker - I just enjoyed the hell out of every episode; Cena was awesome.

  3. House of the Dragon - They figured out what the best parts of GoT were and just kind of went with that.

  4. Strange New Worlds - Good, classic Trek action.

  5. She-Hulk - I just love me some Tatiana Maslany, and I liked the format.

  6. Ms. Marvel - The middle episodes weren’t as great as the bookends, but still a fun show.

  7. The Sandman - A great adaption of one of the greatest graphic novel series evar.

  8. The Boys - Maybe not as good as Season 1, but better than Season 2.

  9. Harley Quinn - Maybe not as good as Season 2, but still the best animated show out there.

  10. Lower Decks - Maybe not as good as Season 2, but still the second best animated show out there.

  11. Moon Knight - I don’t have as fond memories of this show as I do with the other Marvel shows this season; it was still fun.

  12. Bridgerton - My wife loves this to death, and I reap the benefits of watching it with her… maybe this deserves the top spot, come to think of it…

  13. Rick and Morty - This is a pretty good season, at least compared to the last couple.

  14. Stranger Things - Honestly, I haven’t finished this yet, but I enjoyed the first third.

  15. LotR: Rings of Power - I don’t hate this show like many here, but I don’t adore it either.

  16. The Legend of Vox Machina - This was pretty decent.

Honorable mentions to my habitual reality game shows: Forged in Fire (honestly my favorite show), Blown Away, and the Great British Baking Show.

Oh, and Ted Lasso Season 2 aired in 2021.

  1. Better Call Saul
  2. Sandman
  3. The Rehearsal
  4. She Hulk
  5. Peacemaker
  6. Hacks
  7. The Old Man
  8. The Tourist
  9. Andor
  10. White Lotus (probably, last episode this weekend) EDIT: Yep, last episode stuck the landing.

Honorable mentions: Station Eleven (which started in December 2021), House of the Dragon (which was way better than I was expecting) Derry Girls, and Abbot Elementary (which is “just” an extremely solid old-school sitcom … but those are as rare as hen’s teeth these days.)

I’m definitely not caught up on everything (eg still revisiting Disco season 2 before Strange New Worlds) but there was a long stretch this year where I literally didn’t have time to watch all of the shows that I absolutely had to watch. This might be the best year of TV ever, and I haven’t even started Amber Spyglass yet.

My top show of the year, by a narrow but decisive margin, is Andor, which elevates Rogue One as much as the sequels squander the promise of Force Awakens. Nazis haven’t been this unsettlingly compelling since The Man in the High Castle, and the timing is all the more chilling today. The fact that this political drama takes place against the lived-in backdrop of Star Wars is a huge bonus for both the show and the mythology. There have been attempts to change the tone or genre of Star Wars before (Last Jedi being the biggest stinker, in my view) but never so successfully.

Coming in 2nd, with the rocket sauce that just won’t run dry, is Cobra Kai season 5 (and arguably season 4, which only technically squeezed into 2021). I literally started watching Cobra Kai season 1 on YouTube on my phone while I was running deliveries out in the middle of nowhere. I didn’t even flip it sideways to make it fullscreen. By the end, I realized I had to go right back and watch it properly. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a show where all the characters, even the ones who can’t act, so perfectly get under each other’s skin, but the real trick is that they’ve managed to keep this schtick fresh and exciting for five seasons! Sure, the Netflix money bought real choreography, but the star of this show is the fact that there is no star. Every side gets treated with the same attention and depth, like the silliest possible variation on Game of Thrones, backstabbings included. I still kinda hate that I love this show so much! :LaughCryEmoji:

My #3 is Reservation Dogs season 2, which also makes it my #1 pick for episodic TV. The richness of character exploration improves on season 1, and the emotional range on display here is matched by its comedic range. I remember Tom saying of Ms Marvel that it’s “the opposite of cultural appropriation: it’s cultural generosity,” and that applies here as well. This show feels like a friend who’s showing you around town and letting you in on a few inside jokes here, some drama there, and all the while just getting to be its whole-ass self.

Player 4 is the delightful Our Flag Means Death, which does for the gentler kinds of queerness what Difficult People did for the abrasive kinds. Whoever found Rhys Darby originally is owed a great debt. Rarely are roles perfectly cast, and he is even better here as the gentleman pirate than he was as the band manager in Flight of the Conchords, which is saying something. Finding out this show is loosely based on a real story makes it even wilder.

In P5, which feels both generous and insulting, is House of the Dragon. Dragged down by the sluggish start, or held up by the phenomenal peaks later on, I don’t know. Early on, with expectations that political intrigue should be driven by characterization, not the other way around, it seemed like this brewing rebellion was getting upstaged by Andor, and the motivations that drive characters to hate each other were upstaged, hilariously, by Cobra Kai. It also should have been about Old Valyria. But eventually it finds its footing, even if it can’t be bothered to find all of its characters, and it reaches many of the highs we know it should be capable of. I am simultaneously disappointed with this show and willing to acknowledge that what it does bring to the table is ultimately still very compelling.

I had way more fun than I expected to with She-Hulk. I had been idly revisiting Daredevil before the deluge of fantastic TV, and while I can’t imagine a more different tone, I knew from the first minute that I was in good hands. I’d be tempted to say this show is better than House of the Dragon on that ground alone, but then it went and almost lost me with the remainder of the first episode. I didn’t really care about silly superpower time with name brand Hulk, even if it was a charming take. Fortunately, the rest of the show is consistently great, feeling something like what would happen if Abed from Community wrote a Deadpool show. The fact that it perfectly predicted its own backlash says more about our culture than the show, but from the opening moments, we knew they were going to be on it about that shit. #SmashTheLikeButton

I love whodunnits, and Only Murders in the Building continues to deliver. Between this and Glass Onion, 2022 has a great track record for murder mystery sequels. I found a few of the 4th wall nods less effective here than in She-Hulk, but otherwise this was a wholehearted return to form. Steve Martin’s final act is a fine closer, Martin Short knows exactly how much extra is just right, and Selena Gomez has by now proven any naysayers aren’t paying attention. This trio’s chemistry has me very excited for their final adventure.

Like Cobra Kai, somehow Stranger Things just keeps finding the magic. I don’t think season 4 is quite as good as season 3, which waits for the end to peak and has less filler, but I did have a lot of fun with this show and its ability to introduce charming characters. After all the radio play, I’m not sure a repeat viewing will hit quite the same way. Kate Bush’s Running Up That Hill got overplayed even more than Everything Is Awesome from The Lego Movie.

When Ms Marvel first debuted, I had the good timing to be trying out comics for a few years. She was instantly refreshing, bringing the same energy of early Spider-Man stories in a completely genuine way. At the time, superheroes had been getting a bit self-serious, and Marvel movies hadn’t caught up to the varied energy of the wave of comics Ms Marvel spearheaded. (Loki went speed dating while genderfluid that year. It was great.) By now, Marvel shows & movies have diversified such that Ms Marvel almost feels like the one with a serious tone, but the casting of Iman Vellani, who is Ms Marvel, brings that earnest fangirl energy so perfectly I could hardly believe it.

I haven’t had time to start it yet, but if it’s anything like the other parts, His Dark Materials: The Amber Spyglass should round out my top 10. If it turns out to be a dud, I’ll come back and talk about how Rings of Power’s closest comparison is Troy: Fall of a City.

Not enough people around here watched The Bear.

Mostly just great character writing and performances, stuffed into a pressure cooker setting. If you liked Ebon Moss-Bachrach as the skeptical rebel in Andor, you should stick through all of The Bear and see what he’s like when he’s actually acting.

Some of these may be questionably 2022 given differences in air dates in the UK. I’m sure I’m forgetting stuff too. Will add some reasoning later. My list definitely leans comedy. Partly because I haven’t got round to some of the drama that came out this year, partly because I was disappointed by eg Peaky Blinders’ final season, and partly because there’s just so much good comedy at the moment. Also some serious stuff like Sandman just failed to make the cut.

Frozen Planet 2
Better Call Saul
What We Do in the Shadows
The Afterparty
Star Trek: Lower Decks
Bird Girl
Derry Girls

Still haven’t been able to watch Reservation Dogs or Our Flag Means Death, I suspect both might be on there if I had.

In no particular order:

Andor: Season 1
Black Bird: Limited Series
Prehistoric Planet: Season 1
Severance: Season 1
Star Trek: Strange New Worlds: Season 1
The Bear: Season 1
*Aftershock: Everest and the Nepal Earthquake *(Not in the list)

Honorable mention:
Stranger Things: Season 4
For All Mankind: Season 3
His Dark Materials season 3
*Barbarians season 2 (*not in the list)

Haven’t watched yet:
The Handmaid’s Tale: Season 5

BBC’s take