The 2022 TV Awards: Our Favorite Shows and Performances of the Year

Mark and Milchick dance around the office in Severance
Apple TV+/Screenshot

It’s time once again for the TV Awards: the most definitive list ever compiled of things that some of our TV Obsessive writers liked in 2022, along with some of our disappointments. It’s our take on a “best of” list, eschewing any faux objectivity.

These are merely our favorites. We have reasons, and we’ll offer them, but instead of pretending we can speak from some kind of critical distance or feigning to do so, we each speak here in our own voice. Perhaps a proliferation of perspectives goes some way towards grasping the truth.

The categories for the 2022 TV Awards are as follows:

  • Favorite New TV Show of 2022
  • Most Disappointing New or Returning TV Series in 2022
  • Favorite Overall TV Show of 2022
  • Favorite Performance in a TV Show in 2022
  • Most Painful TV Show to Part With in 2022
  • Most Anticipated TV Show of 2023

Each entry that follows was written without knowledge of the others. I didn’t read what people had sent me until after I’d written my own. It’s interesting to see how our choices overlap and how they don’t.

Enough preamble! Let the 2022 TV Awards commence!


Clay Dockery: Andor, Stranger Things, Better Call Saul, Rhea Seehorn, Star Trek: Strange New Worlds

Favorite New TV Show in 2022: Andor

There is a close balance between shows I “enjoy” and shows that I genuinely would consider great, or “favorites.” Everything on Disney+, much like the larger Marvel and Star Wars universes in general, had all fallen squarely into the former category. And that was fine. The Mandalorian was fine, Loki was fine, even Obi-Wan Kenobi was fine. But then we got hit with Tony Gilroy’s Andor, and it was something exceptionally more than fine.

Andor walks through a yard surrounded by wreckage and such
Diego Luna as Cassian Andor

Andor took the intriguing premise of Diego Luna’s title character as introduced in Rogue One and used it to make a startling exploration of resistance, uprising, and humanity. Luna is spectacular in the series, though his experience is almost always one of watching, waiting, and biding time. The rest of the cast is incredible in every scene, with Denise Gough and Genevieve O’Reilly creating fully crafted women in a world that is often devoid of them. Stellan Skarsgård has never been better than as the scheming, charismatic Luthen Rael, whose rebel leader is as broken by the system as the spies in The Americans. And don’t even stop to think of what the show let Andy Serkis do.

On top of that, the production design by Luke Hull is unbelievable, lived-in, and real, while still fitting the universe. In the show, as Rebels and Imperials are all reduced to pulsing, bleeding, and lusting and through those lenses, the themes of the show are made clear. As the great Fiona Shaw, in one of the show’s many speeches, made clear, the disenfranchised people have to rise up and fight or they will die broken and bitter, both in a galaxy far far away, and here in our own.

Most Disappointing New or Returning TV Series in 2022: Stranger Things

Disappointment is difficult to measure (as I noted last year). It is hard for a show like The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power to disappoint me because I had low expectations for it going in, which it was able to easily exceed despite its many issues. Whereas Stranger Things Season 4 was actually quite good and enjoyable, yet I can’t help but think of it as being a considerable disappointment.

The Duffer Brothers finally decided to explore some of the mythos, which I definitely wanted, but the answers didn’t really add up. The evil of the Upside Down, of Vecna, and the Mindflayer, may all be tied together, but it all still feels hollow. And worse, the season kept the characters separate, which meant we didn’t get to see them grow together and we also didn’t get to see them resolve any of their many issues. The season felt like a continued exercise in intentional wheel-spinning.

This was worst when it came to Hopper (David Harbour) and the whole Russian prison arc (itself already feeling like a Black Widow retread). It was not fun or interesting to watch Hopper stumble around the prison, trick guards, be tricked, escape, then go back to prison and fight a Demogorgon again. It was a whole lot of buildup for very little payoff. Though the show did introduce (and kill off) some great characters once again!

Favorite Overall TV Show in 2022: Better Call Saul

Better Call Saul was my favorite TV show back when it was mostly about Jimmy McGill (Bob Odenkirk) trying to get out of the shadow of his brother Chuck (Michael McKean). It was still my favorite as it became about how he and Kim Wexler (Rhea Seehorn) brought the worst impulses out of each other. And it remained my favorite this year as the split season showed the incredible ability Peter Gould, Vince Gilligan, and the other creators have to tell exactly the stories they set out to tell.

Howard Hamlin looks disheveled as he stands in Jimmy and Kim's apartment
Photo Credit: Greg Lewis/AMC/Sony Pictures Television

The first half of the season was the pulse-pounding, explosive, dread and death-filled show that so many had been wanting and expecting. And that show was my favorite show on TV until the second half became something else, completely reframing the entire series and what made it great. The prequel to Breaking Bad became a true sequel and a black-and-white tone poem. Each episode somehow brought just as much dread and anxiety, while reducing the issues at hand to the ones inside Jimmy’s head. And that turned out to be the most interesting, and destructive, place of all.

Favorite Performance in a TV Show in 2022: Rhea Seehorn as Kim Wexler (Better Call Saul)

Rhea Seehorn was not just perfect as Kim Wexler. She redefined what it means to embody a character. There are not really words to describe what Seehorn does in this role but if you watch the show, you know. Somehow Kim is able to just feel real. Whether she is faking a life in Florida, standing outside Saul Goodman’s office with Jesse Pinkman, or breaking down on a bus.

Rhea Seehorn could play every moment and any moment, and as Kim Wexler she did. In the end, though, the defining image is Kim, leaning against a wall in a shadow, smoking a cigarette, and listening. The performance is internal, ethereal, and eternal.

Most Painful TV Show To Part With in 2022: Better Call Saul

It’s Better Call Saul. It may be Better Call Saul again next year too. And if you told me Jimmy and Kim were going to have a new show where we watch them have Zoom calls in prison, it would probably be that show when it ends.

A black and white image of Jimmy and Kim leaning against the wall in prison with the shadows from the window bars on the wall

Most Hotly Anticipated TV Show of 2023 — Star Trek: Strange New Worlds

Star Trek: Strange New Worlds came out of nowhere in 2022 to become one of my favorite shows of the year and a really exceptional treat overall. The show is set to return quickly and hopefully take advantage of the momentum it built over Season 1. Anson Mount’s Captain Pike was already established on Discovery, but on Strange New Worlds he became incredible as the show allowed Mount to infuse the character with warmth, humor, and sexual charisma that really made the show sing. Season 2 promises to bring a crossover with the Star Trek: Lower Decks crew among other treats. I can’t wait.

Brien Allen: Let the Right One In, That Dirty Black Bag, Star Trek: Lower Decks, Rose Leslie & Theo James, Raised by Wolves, Retreat

Favorite New TV Show of 2022: Let the Right One In

Full confession: it took me a little while to warm up to Let the Right One In. I’m a big fan of the original movie, and this show is only “inspired by” that story. The core relationship, the foundation upon which everything else is built, is mostly intact. A young boy befriends a strange young girl who turns out to be a vampire, forever preserved as a 12-year-old girl. That, however, is pretty much where the similarities end.

Now I’m usually no prude when it comes to adaptations. Television is a visual, serialized medium that is going to require changes. What I want to see is that the people making the show love the source material and are trying to do right by it. This excels in that vein.

The first five episodes make a fairly complete story arc that sets up the premise. The end of that arc is where I finally hopped on board. After that, it’s just great episode after great episode. The show takes the premise in several different directions, exploring the ways vampirism can affect relationships, straining the bonds of family and friendship. Each episode was surprising, unpredictable, and heart-wrenching. So well done.

Fingers crossed that Showtime renews Let the Right One In for a second (and beyond) season.

Honorable Mentions: The Sandman, Wednesday

Dream and Death looking upwards in The Sandman

Most Disappointing New or Returning TV Series in 2022: That Dirty Black Bag

The caveat to my entry for this category is that I loved this show so much. Being a big fan of Preacher, I was really looking forward to Dominic Cooper’s next project. True to form, he was great in this too. The show was well cast all around, and there were a lot of great performances throughout.

The premise was also intriguing: a spaghetti western about a bounty hunter who cashes in his rewards by bringing in just the heads—kept in his “dirty black bag.” He runs afoul of the local sheriff, who is himself in hiding from an occult secret society. Kind of like a dark version of Brisco County, Jr., if I could be so bold.

It even has a strong pilot episode, I’d argue, but the rest of the series peaks out soon after and never looks back. In what seems like a bold move, a main character is killed off fairly early. Then everyone starts getting picked off—good guys, bad guys, and innocent bystanders—until there’s nobody left. That might be forgivable if they ever pulled the trigger (so to speak) on the supernatural elements, but all of that promise remains frustratingly just out of reach, even in the finale.

Even though AMC loves their westerns, they did not renew That Dirty Black Bag for a second season. Ah well.

Honorable Mentions: Westworld Season 4, Russian Doll Season 2

Anne Murphy and Natasha Lyonne in Russian Doll Season 2

Favorite Returning TV Show of 2022 — Star Trek: Lower Decks

When I look back on the shows I watched in 2022 (yes, I kept a list), the vast majority of them were new series. I guess I’m having a bad streak of shows getting cancelled lately. Of the returning ones, most people who know me would probably assume I’d nominate Raised by Wolves. I do love Raised by Wolves, the second season was as mind-blowing and unpredictable as the first, and I am totally devastated that it was cancelled (more on that later).

However, in comparison, I think I was actually looking forward to Star Trek: Lower Decks a little bit more. I am an old school Trekkie. I grew up on syndicated TOS. I watched TNG, DS9, and VOY as they aired. I’ve even been to Star Trek conventions—true story. I am the target demographic for Lower Decks, and it totally works for me.

With Season 3, the writers have really hit their stride. Lower Decks has started to become its own thing, not just a riff on the other shows in the Star Trek universe. I’m actually interested in these characters, and I find myself rooting for the USS Cerritos. The ending of Season 3 very nearly brought a tear to my eye, it was so heart-warming. I love this show and look forward to many, many more seasons.

Honorable Mentions: Cobra Kai Season 5, Raised by Wolves Season 2

Favorite Performance in a TV Show in 2022: Rose Leslie as Clare Abshire and Theo James  as Henry DeTamble (The Time Traveler’s Wife)

The Time Traveler’s Wife is one of my favorite books. It’s a little schmoopie, sure, but as an exploration of time travel, it’s nothing short of amazing. Some viewers and a lot of the critics can’t seem get past the cringy aspects of a love story that starts with Henry at age 43 and Clare at age 6 (or something like that), which is somewhat understandable, but it’s also missing the point entirely.

Beyond all of that though, Leslie and James pull off two amazing performances, as they play their characters at different stages of their adulthood, paired off with each other at different ages. As the very nice placards tell us, “Clare is 20, Henry is 28,” or “Henry is 41, Clare is 18,” or even “Henry is 36 and 28.” While the aging makeup for Henry is not perfect, the performances are.

Honorable Mentions: Demián Bichir (Mark Kane) in Let the Right One In, Amanda Collins (Mother) in Raised by Wolves

Henry and Clare hold hands and walk along the street
Photograph by Macall Polay

Most Painful TV Show to Part With in 2022: Raised by Wolves

There was a five-season plan. I could just go full stop and end this entry right there. We could have had five seasons of this amazing, unique, breathtaking show. A show I have described as “f*cking bonkers” with nothing but love and respect. A show so intriguing that the great Ridley Scott was inspired to direct the first two episodes.

Here was sci-fi that was not derivative of Star Trek, Star Wars, or Stargate. Anchored by the amazing performances of Amanda Collins and Abubakar Salim as the androids Mother and Father. Delving into all too pertinent issues of religious fanaticism versus scientific indifference. Both seasons were like giddy, funhouse roller coasters, where you never knew what was around the next bend and the ride was a blast.

There ain’t no justice.

Honorable Mentions: Night Sky, The Time Traveler’s Wife

Raised by Wolves S2E7 - Hunter's headless robot sits on a rock, giving Father the finger

Most Anticipated TV Show of 2023: Retreat

You haven’t heard of this one yet, have you? It’s been on my radar since it was announced in August 2021, and even a tad before that. That’s because Retreat is the new show from Brit Marling & Zal Batmanglij, creators of The OA. See why it’s my most anticipated show now?

We don’t know a whole lot about it yet. The FX Network chairman called it a “radical reconceptualization of [the] whodunit with a really, really original set of characters.” The IMDb blurb says, “Darby Hart, a Gen Z amateur sleuth, attempts to solve a murder at a secluded retreat.” You know, that’s all the more I want to know. All the more I need to know.

Well, OK, maybe just one more tidbit to entice. Added bonus for our core Twin Peaks fans? Joan Chen is one of the show regulars. Just in case you weren’t already sold.

Ryan Kirksey: Severance, Westworld, Paddy Considine, Better Call Saul, The Last of Us

Favorite New TV Show of 2022: Severance

Executive producer Dan Erickson apparently began working on the first season of this new Apple TV+ show way back in 2016. It might have taken a long time (and a pandemic delay) to get the first season on the air, but man was it worth it. This first season was perfection. The retro-futuristic drama about workers who have severed their minds and memories between their work life and personal life is shaping up to be the theory-driven must-see mystery we haven’t had on television since Lost.

Most Disappointing New or Returning TV Series in 2022: Westworld

Season 4 of Westworld was supposed to right the wrongs of a Season 3 that saw its audience numbers fall off a cliff. Instead, it gave audiences a convoluted multi-world question mark that left even the most steadfast fans scratching their heads. When you have two or three twists every episode, no one knows which way is up and which way is down anymore. The new brass at HBO apparently agreed, and Westworld was axed ahead of what was supposed to be its concluding season. To add insult to injury, HBO announced it is pulling Westworld off the HBO Max streaming service.

Favorite Overall TV Show of 2022: Severance

Much of my thoughts I included in the Favorite New Show category, but it should be noted how hard it is to push a brand new series through all the noise in 2022. With more than a dozen streaming services available in addition to network and cable television, there were upwards of a couple of hundred pieces of television content in 2022. To have a series like Severance break through all that clutter and become a word-of-mouth, watercooler masterpiece speaks to how great the first season was.

Mark in the door leaving the office with the word dust in parenthesis above the door, in Severance

Favorite Performance in a TV Show in 2022: Paddy Considine as King Viserys (House of the Dragon)

“I came here to hunt, not to be suffocated by all this f*cking politicking!” That’s merely the best of a series of masterclass lines delivered by Paddy Considine in his role as the patriarch of the dysfunctional Targaryen family. Not only did Considine deliver his lines better than anyone this year, he did it while playing a leprosy-plagued, aging, spineless king who had to keep his nation from devolving into Civil War. Just send the scene where he slowly walks his way into the Iron Throne Room straight to the Emmy committee right now.

Viserys hunches over a table, looking forward in House of the Dragon S1E2
Photograph by Ollie Upton / HBO

Most Painful TV Show to Part With in 2022: Better Call Saul

I can’t even imagine the pressure to expertly land the Better Call Saul plane, bringing a worthy conclusion to not just one, but TWO of the best dramas of all time. But the writers and producers of Better Call Saul were able to tie the neatest of bows on the sixth and final season, bringing in national treasure Carol Burnett and brilliant character actor Jim O’Heir to finish Saul Goodman and Kim Wexler’s story. The ending was understated, the anti-Breaking Bad if you will, and was one that helped the two main characters understand maybe they are better off taking separate paths. It was a satisfying ending, but that will make me miss it all the more.

Honorable Mentions: Ozark, Dead to Me

A black and white closeup of Gene with the reflection of Saul Goodman TV commercial in his glasses in color

Most Anticipated TV Show of 2023: The Last of Us

With House of the Dragon, The White Lotus, Succession, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Barry, and Industry all checking in on the Sunday night schedule at some point in 2022, HBO still owns the night before we all head back to work. The next tentpole project slated to take over the coveted 9 PM ET slot in 2023 is The Last of Us, a zombie-filled, apocalyptic thriller about a father trying to get his daughter safely across the country. It is taken from a video game of the same name and will star Pedro Pascal and Bella Ramsey. We have already seen Pedro Pascal win us over with his relationship with Grogu in The Mandalorian, and now we will get the gritty, adult version of a father and child trying to make their way across an unforgiving world.

Michael Suarez: Andor, Ms. Marvel, Severance, Britt Lower, Westworld, The Last of Us

Favorite New TV Show of 2022: Andor

I am unabashedly a fan of Rogue One, so when Andor was announced a few years ago, I was not part of the audience wondering why this show had to be. I knew there was an opportunity to tell some interesting stories about the early days of the Rebellion. However, I never could’ve predicted what showrunner Tony Gilroy managed to pull off in Season 1. At times a political thriller and other times a character study (and, still, other times it’s both), ultimately Andor is a show tailor-made for me. Well-done television that also happens to be Star Wars.

Most Disappointing New or Returning TV Series in 2022: Ms. Marvel

I am such a massive fan of the original G. Willow Wilson run of Ms. Marvel comics, but this adaptation didn’t do it for me. Seeing an adaptation of material that you love is often difficult because things rarely turn out the way you believe they should. Let me be clear, though. I really like the show, but this Kamala Khan is not the Kamala Khan I fell in love with when I read the comics. It took me most of the season to warm up to this show, but I’m happy I ultimately did. I doubt I’ll be disappointed when Kamala makes her big-screen debut next year.

First ever Avenger Con
Iman Vellani as Ms. Marvel/Kamala Khan in Marvel Studios’ MS. MARVEL, exclusively on Disney+. Photo courtesy of Marvel Studios. ©Marvel Studios 2022. All Rights Reserved

Favorite Overall TV Show of 2022: Severance

I love me a weird, funny, heart-wrenching, serialized thrill ride, and Severance is all of that (and somehow even more!). I’m a sucker for a show with both strong world-building and mythology, but what keeps me interested is always the characters. And I love everyone on this show. Others have said it better, but kudos to all in front of and behind the camera. I am looking forward to this show in a way I haven’t looked forward to a show returning in quite some time.

Favorite Performance in a TV Show in 2022: Britt Lower as Helly R. (Severance)

I hear a lot about, seemingly, every other actor on this show except for Lower, whose performance, in my opinion, is stratospheric. The highs and lows she brought to Helly R. in Season 1 were magnificent. We got just a taste of Lower as Helena Eagan, but I cannot wait to see what she does with her outie role in Season 2.

Helly appears on a TV screen

Most Painful TV Show to Part With in 2022: Westworld

This show has always had to compete with itself following the outstanding first season, but I’d argue that nearly all of Season 4 could stand up to 1. I mean, I wasn’t the biggest fan of the season finale, but I was satisfied with the overall story being told. Plus, I just love the characters and overall aesthetic of the show. It felt like a real punch to the stomach when I read that HBO had canceled it before its final season could be made. Now if only showrunners Lisa Joy and Jonathan Nolan could just tell us what they had planned, that’d be great.

Most Anticipated TV Show of 2023: The Last of Us

The videogame is great, but from what I’ve seen, even if I wasn’t familiar with the source material, I’d be sold on the show. From the guy who gave us Chernobyl? Starring Pedro Pascal and Bella Ramsey? Set in a post-apocalyptic world? I generally don’t keep up with most HBO series as they’re airing, but I think I’ll end up making time to see this one week by week

A man and a girl hunch in the dark in The Last of Us on HBO
Courtesy of HBO

Isobel Grieve: Bad Sisters, The Crown, Trying, Ophelia Lovibond, Dollface, Hunters

Favorite New TV Show in 2022: Bad Sisters

Bad Sisters on Apple TV+ has very simply not gotten enough attention or praise for my liking. This limited series was funny, thrilling, shocking, and emotional. The cast was stacked with amazing British actors, all giving incredible performances. Bad Sisters follows five sisters in two different timelines: one leading up to a murder and the other following the aftermath of a murder. The bouncing back from the present day to the past was expertly done. Sharon Horgan (Catastrophe, This Way Up) and Anne-Marie Duff (Shameless (UK), His Dark Materials) give some of the best performances of their careers. If you missed it, I highly recommend checking it out!

Honorable Mentions: The Big Brunch, The Sandman

Dream and Death sat on a bench in a park

Most Disappointing New or Returning TV Series in 2022: The Crown

I’m sorry to any royalists reading this out there. I could not get past the first episode of the new season of The Crown. This comes from the girl who fell in love with Matt Smith and Claire Foy in Seasons 1 and 2 and adored Josh O’Connor and Olivia Colman in Seasons 3 and 4. Now that I think of it, I adored every cast member in Seasons 3 and 4—The Crown during the younger years of Charles, Anne, and Diana was whimsically depressing, right up my alley. However, perhaps those seasons were too good because this latest addition cannot stand up against it. As I said, I couldn’t watch past the first episode. No one grabbed me; the performances seemed bland; the actors too harsh against their character’s likenesses. Imelda Staunton is an incredible actress, but I couldn’t quite sink my teeth into her as Queen Elizabeth II.

Favorite Overall TV Show in 2022: Trying

This is a hard one for me, and it’s genuinely a three-way tie between Abbott Elementary, The Sex Lives of College Girls, and Trying. All three of these shows have been on for a minute; both Abbott Elementary and The Sex Lives of College Girls are in their second seasons airing now. Trying’s third season was released weekly on Apple TV+. All three of these half-hour sitcoms/dramedies are heartwarming, quirky, and the perfect little pick-me-up when you need one. Mainly, I don’t think that Trying gets that much of a spotlight, it’s about a couple who struggle to have a child, so they decide to adopt, and we follow them through all of their trials and obstacles. It’s a beautiful show all about family and support; it’ll make you laugh and cry. And you know what, this isn’t a tie: Trying is my Favorite Overall TV Show, and Abbott Elementary and The Sex Lives of College Girls tie in a close second.

Four girls huddle around a phone
Photograph by Katrina Marcinowski/HBO Max

Favorite Performance in a TV Show in 2022: Ophelia Lovibond as Joyce (Minx)

My top performance of 2022 is Ophelia Lovibond in Minx (and Jake Johnson). Minx is an incredible new show by HBO Max that follows Joyce (Ophelia Lovibond), Doug (Jake Johnson), and a band of employees making a nude magazine for women. It takes place in the ’70s with amazing costumes, sets, and cultural moments/references. Ophelia Lovibond is an incredible actress to watch throughout the series; she delivers a very nuanced performance of brilliant yet naïve, feminist yet self-serving; she’s funny and emotional. Lovibond is undoubtedly one to watch.

Most Painful TV Show to Part With in 2022: Dollface

Plenty of shows got cancelled this year, but the one that shocked me the most was Dollface. I mean, I knew it wasn’t the most popular, and sometimes I was iffy about some of the choices, but it was also so unique and exciting that I thought it had a strong cult following. Dollface explored common topics within the fem community with magical realism in a sitcom format—who else is doing that? So much of this show came through the anxious imagination of the main character, which allowed the writers to dissect that character’s decisions while they made them. My favourite episodes are both from the first season: “History Buff,” which has a cameo from Macaulay Culkin, and “Feminist,” where the girls walk in the Women’s March, but the episode is entirely based in The Wizard of Oz magic realism.

Honorable Mention: Rutherford Falls

Most Anticipated TV Show in 2023: Hunters Season 2

The first season of Hunters came out at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020; in February 2023, we’ll finally get the next installment. The show follows ’70s Nazi hunters in New York City, just a band of civilians who have vendettas against these high-ranking Nazi officers living scot-free in the United States. They hunt them down, torture or kill them, and always look for the next. It’s an incredible story with deep roots in trauma, generational trauma, betrayal, and obsession. It stars Al Pacino, Logan Lerman, Carol Kane, Josh Radnor, and many others. If you somehow missed the first season, I highly suggest you binge it.

Al Pacino yells in Hunters

Caemeron Crain: Severance, Euphoria, Better Call Saul, Rhea Seehorn, Raised by Wolves, Yellowjackets

Favorite New TV Show of 2022: Severance

I was truly blessed last winter when it comes to new TV, discovering not one but two shows that would immediately become my favorite things on television for years to come. (N.B. The other would be Yellowjackets, which premiered in 2021, as did Station Eleven. I gave them both honors in this space last year.)

If you haven’t watched Severance yet, I really can’t recommend it enough. The premise—people whose consciousness is severed between work life and life outside of work—is alone enough to make for some good sci-fi, but Severance is also hilarious and thought-provoking. If they still make those ____ and Philosophy volumes, someone is surely working on putting one together for this show right now, and with good reason.

At the same time, though, you don’t have to get philosophical to enjoy watching Severance. This show may be deep, but it isn’t heavy, which is truly a feat. I’d say it’s not just the best new show of 2022 in my estimation, it’s the best new show of the decade.

Honorable Mentions: Irma Vep, The Rehearsal, Somebody Somewhere

Alicia Vikander as Mira Harberg in Irma Vep
Photo: HBO

Most Disappointing New or Returning TV Series in 2022: Euphoria

When it first came out in 2019, Euphoria hit with a power it would be hard to deny. Honestly, I wasn’t sure I liked it, but I felt sucked in and compelled to watch it anyway. Kind of like the world’s most beautiful car wreck, I couldn’t look away. And with Season 2, Euphoria remained beautiful to look at, but quickly began to feel self-indulgent. I did my best to work towards something of an interpretation of what was going on as I wrote on the show weekly, and I think I got there by the end, but I’m not even sure I could sum it up succinctly. The fact that I can’t quite put my finger on what Euphoria Season 2 is trying to be is the most interesting thing about it.

Regardless, I found it disappointing. The special episodes released in 2020/2021 were absolutely sublime. Coming into Season 2, I felt deeply invested in virtually all of the characters in Euphoria, even those I hated. Coming out of Season 2, I don’t really care what happens to any of them (except Fezco). It’s a problem.

But Euphoria is still very pretty to look at.

I haven’t decided yet whether I will watch Season 3.

Rue looks on from a theater seat in Euphoria S2E8, the Season 2 finale, All My Life, My Heart Has Yearned for a Thing I Cannot Name
Photograph by Eddy Chen/HBO

Favorite Overall TV Show of 2022: Better Call Saul

There was quite a lot of good TV in 2022, and even just focusing on returning shows I could easily see myself singing the praises of The Righteous Gemstones, Barry, or Undone in this space. But when all is said and done, I can’t quite see myself arguing for any of those on a short list of Best TV Shows Ever, whereas Better Call Saul is on that list.

Since its beginning, I’ve been gobsmacked by just how good Better Call Saul is. That a prequel series could be so consistently gripping boggles the mind, and the show’s final season was just as good, if not better, than anything that came before it. The writers set themselves a difficult task—how to get from Jimmy McGill to Saul Goodman—and followed through with the painstaking work of earning his transformation. Oh, and of course they upped the ante by throwing Gene into the mix.

You could only predict what was going to happen on Better Call Saul if you asked yourself what the best possible writing decision would be, because that’s what would happen. But even if you called it, the execution would blow you away. (See what I did there?)

Oh, and the performances! Don’t think I forgot about them!

Let’s move on to the next awards category.

Lalo sits at a bar with a martini
Photo Credit: Greg Lewis/AMC/Sony Pictures Television

Favorite Performance in a TV Show in 2022: Rhea Seehorn as Kim Wexler (Better Call Saul)

I want to choose Rhea Seehorn here, so I will. But also I gave her this award in 2018 and I am pretty sure I have found a way to mention how great Kim Wexler is every year since. Better Call Saul would not work without Kim Wexler, full stop. It’s as much her story as Jimmy’s, and from what I’ve gathered a lot of that is down to how good of a job Seehorn did bringing the character to life from the beginning. Seriously, give her all the Emmys.

But since I have chosen Rhea Seehorn as Kim Wexler before, I would like to briefly gush about my honorable mention: Tony Dalton as Lalo Salamanca. Lalo quickly became one of my favorite TV villains of all time, and it’s really down to Dalton’s performance. He imbued Lalo with just the right blend of charisma and psychopathic malevolence; it was a joy to watch.

Most Painful TV Show to Part With in 2022: Raised by Wolves

I could easily choose Better Call Saul yet again here, but I do feel like the spirit of this awards category tends in the direction of cancelled shows, and no cancellation has been more painful to me this year than that of Raised by Wolves. Now, if you haven’t watched Raised by Wolves, I will tell you that it is bananas crazy in the best possible way. It’s like they decided to throw all of the sci-fi premises at the wall to see what sticks, and then all of them stick. It’s really something to behold.

Season 2 ends with quite a lot hanging in the air. Maybe our friends are all doomed. Maybe humanity as a whole is doomed. Maybe we’re on the cusp of something biblical… literally. But we’ll never get to find out, at least not in televisual form.

To make matters worse, HBO Max has recently announced they are pulling the series from the platform. So the show now stands in my mind as an exemplar in relation to this horrifying development. I, for one, love to watch cancelled shows. Call me a Romantic, but I appreciate the fragment… the ellipsis that can strike fire to the imagination. To have a show I love cancelled is painful; to have one end poorly is worse.

But go watch Raised by Wolves if you can find it! Maybe this one can still be revived if we all yell loud enough.

Raised by Wolves S2E8 - Looking down on Mother who is looking up and screaming, standing in an empty dark room
Courtesy of HBO Max

Most Anticipated TV Show of 2023: Yellowjackets

Everyone’s favorite show about cheerleaders who survive a plane crash in the 1990s and do some cannibalism is coming back for a second season in late March, and I can’t wait. I love this show so much! To think that I almost glanced right by it on the list of upcoming shows back in 2021 because the description did not come close to doing it justice. Thus I mention the cannibalism!

Yellowjackets is tense, funny, and full of great jams from my youth. And the performances are just amazing, along with the casting! There have been some announcements about casting for Season 2 that are practically spoilers in and of themselves. Even just mentioning that they cast Lauren Ambrose—do I have to tell you who she’ll play?

But who cares. Yellowjackets is the best thing going in my opinion, and I’ll definitely keep writing about it episode by episode in Season 2.


What were your favorites in 2022 TV? What disappointed you? Disagree with us? Let us know in the comments!

Written by TV Obsessive

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *