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The Beat’s Best TV Shows of 2022

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We continue to live in the era of peak TV, and if that means we now have a deluge of new shows to catch up on and binge, that also means we have a wealth of shows to pick from. Whether you love a good mystery, a drama, some dragons, or a trio of magical rings, 2022 was overflowing with shows on both streaming and on cable for audiences to get lost in. We here at The Beat have compiled our favorite hits of the year.  


Andor Season 1 (Disney+)

Andor
Credit: Disney+

When it comes to Star Wars (and other big IP like the MCU), we are all starting to feel a little bit fatigued. Sure, it’s been a while since the last movie, but from animated shows to multiple live-action shows coming down the pipeline, it feels like the galaxy far far away is getting a little too close. However, it’s fair to say that Andor is easily the best thing to come out of the Disney Star Wars universe in a long time. Showrunner Tony Gilroy dives into the world of Cassian Andor (Diego Luna) with a gritty look at the years preceding the events of Rogue One.

This Cassian is not the spy for the rebellion yet, in fact, he doesn’t believe in the cause. But Andor shows the oppressive force of the galactic empire, something far more insidious than the Sith, and brings the type of nuance and emotional depth that has really never existed in Star Wars. — Therese Lacson

Atlanta Season 3 & 4 (FX)

Atlanta
Credit: FX

Atlanta released not just one but two distinct seasons this year, but either one would have been worthy of inclusion on every “Best of 2022” list. In particular, Brian Tyree Henry’s performance as Alfred “Paper Boi” Miles stood out across both. Over the course of the series, the character has been catapulted from cult obscurity to mainstream success.

But while many such musician-based stories follow the protagonist into a death spiral of excess, Alfred’s arc was more about being disabused of his misconceptions, being compelled to empathize with those he least expects, and ultimately, attempting to define meaning in his life – a goal he achieves in the show’s penultimate episode, which truly feels like a happy ending well earned. In a just world, we’d have an upcoming season of Donald Glover’s animated Deadpool to console us over the loss of this instant classic series. Atlanta was forty episodes of perfection. — Avery Kaplan

The Bear Season 1 (FX)

The Bear
Credit: Hulu

Mostly set in a cramped and run-down Chicago restaurant, Christopher Storer’s thrilling new drama will have your anxiety feeling like a whistling kettle pot ready to boil over. Filled with fantastic performances from its whole ensemble including Jeremy Allen White, Ayo Edebiri, and Ebon Moss-Bachrach, the characters of The Bear will have you rooting for them, and feeling a buffet of emotions, even after several nail-biting kitchen arguments. — Aaron Halls

Better Call Saul Season 6 (AMC)

Better Call Saul
Credit: AMC

Much like Bob Odenkirk, I spent this season of Better Call Saul watching Rhea Seehorn just rip it to shreds. She was a fire that burned up every scene. There’s no bottom to suffering on these Vince Gilligan shows. Seehorn’s Kim Wexler is the one who makes the impossible happen for those in need. Seeing her snuffing out happiness like cigarettes is rough. Harrowing performances from Michael Mando who brings some Steppenwolf-tier agony, and Tony Dalton, whose sociopath with secret heart recalls the Shakespeare cold with a code of Gbenga Akinnagbe in The Wire.

Characters with good and bad in them that aren’t reconciled. This season was self-indulgent, but paid off in twists, perfect small moments, and the effort they put into nailing the conclusion. It also boasts absolutely phenomenal technical camera work, meta-homage to the film era the show is obsessed with, of a quality that would please Jean Renoir. — Arpad Okay

Central Park Season 3 (Apple TV+)

Central park
Credit: Apple TV+

It’s safe to say that Loren Bouchard’s animated series Central Park hasn’t quite reached the same heights in popularity as his other show, Bob’s Burgers, but if you’ve been sleeping on this series you have seriously been missing out. As much as I enjoyed the previous two seasons, the show has really found a new groove and life in the most recent season.

A large part can be attributed to Francisco Angones coming on as a producer and writer this season after his work on the amazing DuckTales reboot came to the end. After stepping down from voicing Molly (now voiced by Emmy Raver-Lapman), Kristen Bell returns in the new role of Abby, the sister of matriarch Paige. Abby is no Poochie, and this new addition to the ensemble has truly enhanced the show. The future of Central Park is up in the air but I’m holding out for more seasons to come. — Taimur Dar

The Expanse Season 6 (Prime Video)

The Expanse
Credit: Amazon Studios

For the past 5 seasons, the crew of the Rocinante have traveled around the solar system and beyond, always at the center of the current crisis facing the expanding worlds of humanity and this last season was no different. Based on the best-selling books, the final season of Prime Video’s hit series finishes with a bang. A show can only be as good as the stakes and its villain, and having crippled the governments of Earth and Mars, Marco Inaros proved he was the best kind of bad guy, charismatic and capable, using the historical subjugation of his people, the Belters, as fuel for his war against the inner planets or not above using them as human shields to further his goals.

The level and intensity of the last season didn’t let up with several gorgeous space battles interspersed with dramatic moments of doubt and loss. This high-octane political space drama mad dash for the finishing line leaves room for future episodes or movie specials but still manages to give viewers a top-tier series finale. — George Carmona 3rd

For All Mankind Season 3 (Apple TV+)

For All Mankind - Joel Kinnaman & Casey Johnson
Credit: Apple TV+

When it comes to sci-fi TV, we certainly have a wealth of options, but Ronald D. Moore‘s For All Mankind takes sci-fi to another level. Known for his work on Battlestar GalacticaFor All Mankind follows an alternate history America who lost the space race to Russia. In typical American fashion, this just made the US more dogged in trying to one-up the Soviets. What follows is decades of rapid development, leading the earth to colonize the moon and then make it all the way out to Mars. 

But at the center of this story is its host of characters, who age up a decade every season. Joel Kinnaman leads the series as a first-generation astronaut and test pilot, Ed Baldwin. The series paints a different America, one that rapidly changes when women are brought into the space program in the early 70s. Alongside Kinnaman come strong performances from Shantel VanSantenKrys MarshallSonya Walger, and more. For history buffs and lovers of epic sagas, there’s nothing that hits quite as hard or as dramatically as For All Mankind. — Therese Lacson

House of the Dragon Season 1 (HBO)

House of the Dragon
Credit: HBO

I went into this series fully prepared to rip it to shreds. Let’s face it, who among us fantasy nerds didn’t get burned by that Game of Thrones finale? But House of the Dragon is operating on a whole other level. On top of critically acclaimed performances by the likes of Paddy Considine and Matt Smith, the series introduces actors like Milly Alcock and Emma D’Arcy to round out the most chaotic and messy family in Westeros history. 

Unlike the sprawling environment of ThronesHouse of the Dragon is more family drama than anything else. It’s Succession with winged lizards and beautiful costumes. While the rapid time jumps in Season 1 worked against the series, those powerful performances and dedication to character development makes House of the Dragon a worthy successor to the best seasons of Thrones and offers HBO a boost of confidence for their many other Song of Ice and Fire projects in development. — Therese Lacson

Interview with the Vampire Season 1 (AMC)

Interview with the Vampire
Credit: AMC

I can’t say I expected much from this new spin on Anne Rice’s iconic novel, and the idea of a shared “Immortal Universe” with other properties she created during his career still sours the whole proposition a bit. But I have to admit that the liberties taken with the material — even from the jump, acting as a sort of “requel” with immortality tortured vamp Louie DuPont du Lac (Jacob Anderson) meeting back up with journalist Daniel Malloy (Eric Bogosian) for a do-over of their previous interview from many decades before makes for a nice premise – added much to keep my attention rapt. Moving the timeline of Louie’s pre-vampire past to the early 1900s and making Louie a black man in that time frame does much to alter the dynamics of Louie’s life and his relationship with Lestat (Sam Reid), and gives way to a deeper and more compelling arc than even the novel presented.

And of course, there’s little I can say about Reid that hasn’t been said before, but the man is incredible; parlaying what I think is one of the most memorable television performances of the year. And, putting aside all of his other virtues, Lestat finally has a French accent, one thing Tom Cruise just didn’t bother with, for better or worse. I would also be lax in my duties if I didn’t make mention of how the series takes the not-really subtextual queer themes and content of the books and brings them to the forefront. Why beat around the bush? And all of these smart decisions are wrapped in gripping storytelling and a series that I’m itching to get another season of. I still don’t have much interest in whatever the Mayfair Witches are up to, but maybe I’ll be proven wrong. I often am. — Kyle Pinion

Lizzo’s Watch Out for the Big Grrrls (Prime Video)

Lizzos Watch Out For Big Grrrls
Credit: Amazon Studios

In Prime Video’s Lizzo’s Watch Out for the Big Grrrls, the three-time Grammy Award-winning artist Lizzo hunts for badass Big Grrrls dancers for her 2022 tour. The multi-platinum artist explains, “I asked dance agencies for big girls, and they gave me nothing! Girls that look like me don’t get representation.” Unlike most dance competition shows, where contestants stress over weekly eliminations and having the perfect body and technique, Lizzo’s series centers around body positivity, self-acceptance, and self-expression. The show also features a trans auditionee, Jayla Sullivan, who Lizzo encourages to shine the whole first season. You can learn more about trans representation in dance from Jayna Ledford, Chase Johnsey, and Maxfield Haynes. — Rebecca Oliver Kaplan

Ms. Marvel (Disney+)

Ms. Marvel
Credit: Disney+

There is a glut of Marvel (and superhero) TV these days and it is hard to get excited about each new thing. What really made Ms. Marvel stand head and shoulders above the rest this year, however, is the sheer infectious enthusiasm Iman Vellani brought to the role, so much so that it even convinced a somewhat-jaded watcher to root for her (and convince his apathetic geekery-averse sister to dig it too). — Dean Simons

Our Flag Means Death Season 1 (HBO)

Our Flag Means Death Rhys Darby
Credit: HBO Max

Just when you think you’ve seen all that the historical pirate genre has to offer (and how much is there to offer, really?) and then David Jenkins comes in and offers you Rhys Darby as the Gentleman Pirate, Stede Bonnet, with Taika Waititi as the legendary Blackbeard in a rom-com set on the high seas. Whose heart didn’t melt when Blackbeard came back to the Revenge for Stede set to Fleetwood Mac‘s “The Chain”?

The series has gained critical acclaim not only for its sharp and witty humor but also for its representation of LGBTQ characters. Fans all over cheered when Blackbeard and Stede officially admitted their love to each other, solidifying that their chemistry was far more than just platonic. Representation aside, Our Flag Means Death is a fun and irreverent romp through history, full of comedic moments that will give anyone a good belly laugh. — Therese Lacson

Peacemaker Season 1 (HBO Max)

Peacemaker
Credit: HBO Max

If you want a reason why James Gunn was named co-chair of DC Studios look no further than his work on the Peacemaker television show. John Cena returns in the titular role he first played in The Suicide Squad. Like most people, MCU Phase 4 has left me feeling cold, Gunn remains the master of how to perfectly balance comedy and heart in superhero stories. I would never have imagined that an entire monologue about a person dying their beard would emotionally resonate.

It’s a testament not only to Gunn but all the supporting actors he assembled for this ensemble. And of course, the soundtrack is superb as exemplified by that fantastically choreographed opening title sequence set to Wig Wam’s “Do You Wanna Taste It.” — Taimur Dar

Reservation Dogs Season 2 (FX)

Reservation Dogs
Credit: Hulu

It was impossible not to fall in love with Bear (D’Pharaoh Woon-A-Tai), Willie Jack (Paulina Alexis), Cheese (Lane Factor), and Elora (Devery Jacobs), Reservation Dogs’ titular main characters, after its incredible first season debut last year. In its Sophomore outing, the series created by Sterlin Harjo and Taika Waititi returned with a comforting sense of ease in its slice-of-life style storytelling. This casual approach was present in Season 1, but Season 2 has perfected it with an assertive confidence. Again, this show brings much-needed Indigenous representation in front of and behind the screen that is still lacking throughout the current media landscape. No matter which of the ten episodes of the second season you watch you’ll find a combined sense of heart, humor, and cultural specificity that will make your heart soar as you reach the credits. — Aaron Halls

The Rehearsal Season 1 (HBO)

The Rehearsal
Credit: HBO

Have you ever had a difficult conversation or situation and wish you could prepare yourself for all possible variations of the outcome? Enter: The Rehearsal, a quasi-reality television show aiming to simulate real-life situations and navigate its participants to the best outcome. If you’re familiar with Nathan Fielder, you’ve probably heard him compared to Kaufman. Andy or Charlie, though? After watching The Rehearsal, the answer is clear: both. With clear references to Synecdoche, New York, coupled with Fielder’s intense desire to occupy a performance that lives somewhere between acting and documenting, The Rehearsal goes to great lengths to seek out truth in the confines of the staged. — Hannah Lodge

Severance Season 1 (Apple TV+)

Severance
Credit: Apple TV+

It was hard to tell from the marketing just what Severance was. Created by Dan Erickson with Ben Stiller and Aoife McArdle, on the surface, the series might appear to be perhaps some kind of twist on The Office or a new sitcom involving an eclectic mix of co-workers. But Severance is so much more than that. Not only does it dive into the deep end of sci-fi, but as we follow Adam Scott‘s Mark through his work and home life, the psychological thriller aspects of the show unfolds.

The premise offers this idea: what if you could literally separate your work life from your home life? People who are “severed” have “innies” who exist only at work while their “outies” live their home life. As mysteries unravel and reveal themselves surrounding the company that created this technology, Severance ends its first season with more questions than answers. With strong performances from Scott, John TurturroChristopher Walken, and Patricia Arquette, if you like a good mystery and you like a healthy dose of dystopia, this is your next binge. — Therese Lacson

Somebody Somewhere Season 1 (HBO)

Somebody Somewhere
Credit: HBO

A fantastic Bridget Everett is the star of the new show Somebody Somewhere, a delightful new comedy-drama about a woman named Sam struggling after returning to her hometown after the loss of her sister. Intimate and wonderfully small scale, the show never ceases to be heartfelt as Sam tries to connect with family and a new friend named Joel (played by a charming Jeff Hiller). This show is a delightful reminder that you can always find your community and step into your authentic self. — Aaron Halls

Star Trek: Lower Decks Season 3 (Paramount+)

Star Trek Lower DecksThere’s a lot to love about the third season of Lower Decks, from a lead character in a queer relationship to the widening scope of the Cali class ships of Starfleet. But my favorite subplot was the further development of Ensign D’Vana Tendi (Noël Wells). As an Orion, Tendi faces the kind of discrimination that’s meant to be eradicated in the Federation. This includes internalized discrimination, which she confronts in “Hear All, Trust Nothing.” The return to Deep Space Nine and the show’s introspective and self-reflective themes demonstrate how Lower Decks‘ self-referencing text digs deeper than shallow gags.

And in “Crisis Point 2: Paradoxus,” Tendi gets the chance to step into the part of Acting Captain Meena Vesper. This leads to a personal realization: she wants to be a captain but hasn’t been able to see herself in that role due to a dearth of representation. Lower Decks is Star Trek at its finest. — Avery Kaplan

Star Trek: Picard Season 2 (Paramount+)

Picard E2 Maps and Legends - Picard with Admiral ClancyThere is much to like about Season 2 of Star Trek: Picard. Seven of Nine (Jeri Ryan) finally comes out of the regeneration alcove, dating Rafi (Michelle Hurd). Agnes Jurati (Alison Pill) sings “Shadows of the Night,” originally by Pat Benatar, and it’s showstopping. The Borg Queen (Annie Wersching) has a fantastic arc, settling long-debated questions in the fandom about the Hive.

And the episode “Hide and Seek,” which explores Jean-Luc Picard’s PTSD after witnessing his mother’s suicide when he was young, is an expert depiction of the brain’s ability to play games to protect us from trauma and grief. Although Trek started relying on advice from psychologists and doctors in the 1990s, episodes like “Hide and Seek” show how the franchise has gone above and beyond in recent years to destigmatize psychiatric problems and mental health treatment. – Rebecca Oliver Kaplan

Star Trek: Prodigy Season 1.5 (Paramount+)

Throughout Star Trek: Prodigy‘s debut season, the first animated Trek series geared toward younger audiences won over viewers of all ages. A stealth sequel to Star Trek: Voyager, focusing on some of the most marginalized individuals in the galaxy, Prodigy is somehow the Trek series that’s most reliant on what’s come before while simultaneously acting as the most accessible to new viewers.

The back half of the first season continued to give us they/them representation through Zero (Angus Imrie) and a strong focus on S.T.E.A.M. In particular, Rok-Tahk (Rylee Alazraqui) is a good role model for kids interested in the science of sci-fi. Brett Gray and Ella Purnell continue to shine in the leading roles. Meanwhile, as someone who has been watching the exploits of Janeway (Kate Mulgrew) since I was a child, I cannot think of a better ambassador for the next generation of Trekkies. – Rebecca Oliver Kaplan

Star Trek: Strange New Worlds Season 1 (Paramount+)

Strange New worldsA return to the episodic formula for a live-action Star Trek paid off big time in this stunning debut season for Strange New Worlds. After a pilot that served as both a mission statement for the series and a homage to sci-fi classic The Day the Earth Stood Still, the Enterprise crew under Captain Christopher Pike (Anson Mount) encountered nine more strange, new situations, each distinct in flavor.

For two very different examples, consider the high school theater vibe of “The Elysian Kingdom” contrasted with the Alien homage “Not All Who Wander.” As Hemmer, Bruce Horak stole every scene he appeared in – especially those shared with Uhura (Celia Rose Gooding). Meanwhile, we are all waiting for more of Melissa Navia’s Ortegas. And how about that score by Nami Melumad? The best part of this season is that you get the indelible sense that this amazing show is only just getting started. — Avery Kaplan

Tales of the Jedi (Disney+)

Tales of the Jedi
Credit: Disney+

A series of vignettes spotlighting moments in the lives of Count Dooku and Ahsoka Tano wasn’t exactly going to be a hard sell but this miniseries surpassed my neutral expectations. The animation felt like it took a significant jump toward a middle ground between live-action and The Clone Wars models and the textures felt so rich and vibrant. Camera angles, music, mood. It just all came together so fantastically well that it felt like it set a new bar for CG-animated Star Wars. — Dean Simons

Welcome to Chippendales (Hulu)

Welcome to Chippendales
Credit: Hulu

Fresh off the success of last year’s Pam & Tommy, Robert Siegel is back with a new bio miniseries chronicling the sordid true crime story of the infamous male strip club. After branching into the superhero action genre with Eternals to mixed results, actor and comedian Kumail Nanjiani returns to form portraying Chippendales founder Somen “Steve” Banerjee.

Not too dissimilar to Bryan Cranston in Breaking Bad, Nanjiani’s truly brings both likability and underlying menace to the role as we witness Banerjee’s descent in his attempt to pursue the American Dream. While 80s nostalgia is in vogue these days, Chippendales deals with themes more relevant than ever including race, status, and success. — Taimur Dar

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