By: Bill Cushing – 01-23
It’s that time of year again. That time when all TV people start thinking about the best shows that they watched over the past year. As usual, it was tough to leave some shows off the list, but here are my picks for the best TV had to offer in 2022.
Tulsa King – Sylvester Stallone’s first foray into TV didn’t disappoint. Sly is perfectly cast in the role of recently paroled New York Mafia henchman Dwight Manfredi, who finds himself exiled to Tulsa in a classic fish-out-of-water setup. (Paramount+)
Ozark – The final season of the saga of the Byrde family gave us great performances by Jason Bateman Julia Garner, and Laura Linney. A riveting end to an outstanding series. (Netflix)
For All Mankind – Apple’s alternate history of the space race continued into the 1990s in season 3 and, once again, delivered great writing, and top notch acting. The action pieces and special effects were very well done. The show also has one of the best casts on TV. (AppleTV+)
The Bear – A terrific new series about award-winning chef Carmy, who returns to take care of the family sandwich shop in Chicago after his older brother Michael kills himself. The show perfectly delivers the frantic life of the world it takes place in. Jeremy Allen White gives a career-making performance in the lead role. (Hulu)
Black Bird – Apple TV+’s prison thriller about a narcotics dealer who is given the chance to walk free if he can elicit a confession from a supposed serial killer. Paul Walter Houser gives one of the best acting jobs of the year. (AppleTV+)
Fleishman Is In Trouble – An intelligent character study about time, middle age, and how we change. Toby Fleishman (Jesse Eisenberg) goes through a major life change. He is divorcing from his wife, Rachel (Claire Danes), and is single for the first time in decades. It’s a fascinating unpacking of how our actions and decisions impact everyone we meet—and are impacted by them in return. (Hulu)
Star Trek: Strange New Worlds – ‘Strange New Worlds’ is the best Star Trek series since The Next Generation and is smart, addictive and flat out fun. Trek fans will love it, and if you’re not a Trek fan, this will make you one. A love letter to the original Trek. (Paramount+)
Bad Sisters – This dark comedy brings together four sisters in a desperate attempt to save their endangered sister Grace from her abusive husband. It expertly melds a crazy murder mystery with a touching story of a family in crisis. (AppleTV+)
The Offer – This limited series centered on all of the drama behind the scenes of the making of ‘The Godfather.’ Miles Teller, Matthew Goode, and Juno Temple delivered some of the year’s best work. Definitely a must watch. (Paramount+)
Severance – A totally unexpected psychological sci-fi thriller that you couldn’t take your eyes off of. ‘Severance’ centers on employees at a corporation who have agreed to have their work consciousness “severed” from their home consciousness. A great cast featuring Adam Scott, John Turturro, Patricia Arquette, and Christopher Walken. The season finale delivered one of 2022’s most thrilling hours. (AppleTV+)
Station Eleven – This series follows a group of people that live through a deadly pandemic and what their lives look like afterward. Definitely one of the most gripping, thought provoking, and beautiful shows of the year. (HBO Max)
And my pick for the best TV show of 2022 is….
Better Call Saul – It’s no easy task to end a great series in a satisfying way, but this show nailed it. One of the best things about the show was always the chemistry between Bob Odenkirk and Rhea Seehorn and ‘Better Call Saul’ was never better than when it homed in on Jimmy and Kim Wexler, and how their relationship might be doing themselves more harm than good. I still think ‘Breaking Bad’ is the greatest drama series ever made, but ‘Better Call Saul’ is definitely in the conversation, and that is a tremendous accomplishment for a show that many thought was a bad idea. One of the best series of the decade. (AMC)
Honorable mentions: 1883, Cobra Kai, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Barry, House of the Dragon, Reacher, The Crown, Acapulco, Hacks, Three Pines, From Scratch, Jack Ryan, Reboot, Yellowjackets, Stranger Things, The Old Man, Winning Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty, Only Murders in the Building.
If you have any questions about TV, you can email me at BillsTVTalk@gmail.com. I will answer all of your questions and will feature some of the questions I receive in a future Mailbag column. Follow me on Twitter and Instagram @BillsTVTalk and on Facebook at BillsTVTalk for daily up-to-the-minute TV news and discussion. ◊