My Television Shows of 2022

My top eleven television shows, presented in no particular order

The After Party

A comedy murder mystery which swaps genres every episode was always going to be a favourite show of mine. Our protagonist is an escape room maker and obvious suspect, while the cops are weird enough to excuse a lot of the shenanigans which let the plot continue. Everyone is entertainingly awful and weird in the show, the conclusion all makes sense which is tricky to do in a show that’s more comedy than mystery.

Bad Sisters

A dark comedy and family drama set in Ireland before and after the death of Mark Gatiss’ Bram Stoker’s Dracula himself, Claes Bang. He’s a perfectly hateable human being of increasing awfulness in flashback scenes, while he’s a corpse in the present. A team of sisters plan to put him down and free their sister from his grasp. Their murder attempts get increasingly daft and keep being unintentionally thwarted.

In the present, a pair of brothers whose dead father had Claes Bang’s life insurance policy try their best to uncover whether he was murdered, driving two sides of sympathetic, flawed characters against each other. You want them both to succeed, even though they’re at odds. Everyone did a fantastic job in the show, and hopefully Bang will be around as a TV and film antagonist for years to come.

Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace

I think I saw this twice this year. We talked about it enough on Casual Trek that I had to return to it, and in December Emma and I even saw Garth Marenghi do a live book reading. I’m less aware of old British genre shows with shaky sets and bad acting than my cohost, but I know and love them enough to appreciate what they did on this show. It’s something I watch pretty much annually at this point.

Only Murders in the Building Seasons One and Two

I was late to season one of Only Murders, but watched season two as it was coming out. I already mentioned I’ve been in a murder mystery mood, but I’m also one of those people who listened to Serial when it first came out. I’m not a ‘true crime’ person, but I get the medium, especially in podcast form. This is a great show with some career highlights from Steve Martin and Martin Short. Selena Gomez also brings a great performance as an initially wounded, mercurial character whose resistance to the older men’s daft charm gets worn down as she becomes part of their sleuthing squad. I’ve been hot and cold on Tina Fey in the last few years, but she’s also been great in this show.

Our Flag Means Death Season One

I found these episodes washed up in a bottle. I gather we’re finally getting them in the UK soon and heartily encourage folks to check it out. While a lot of people made a lot of fanart and were saying a lot of great things about the inclusivity & representation, I’d not heard enough about the plot and that it was a good show as well as one making all the right noises.

I’m pleased to inform you that it is. The cast may often be at odds, but they’re all a joy to watch. While there’s a childish charm to the incompetent pirates and their more incompetent boss, there are some great moments of tension, a ton of effortless worldbuilding and a romance where it becomes clear one person may well murder the other. I’m definitely going to rewatch it when it airs officially here, and avidly await season two.

Righteous Gemstones Season Two

I do wonder if this is basically what the Dice Tower family and compound will ultimately end up like.

I wasn’t sure whether this show would keep up the quality of season one and it doubled down on it. Like OFMD, it’s amazing there’s a brain cell in the heads of most of the cast, and yet we can get some really tense, dramatic storytelling. We get some insights into the generally mysterious Eli Gemstone, some stupid business decisions from most of the cast. While it wisely doesn’t outstay its welcome with short episodes, I also need more of it.

She-Hulk: Attorney at Law Season One

I’m a Marvel Zombie and have been from a young age. Even so, I can get tired of the MCU from time to time. This was one I was looking forward to, though. She-Hulk’s a sparkling legal comedy with some romantic elements, some slightly more ‘of the week’ type stories and the daftness of how a superpowered world interacts with a real world… without it all going grimdark or The Boys.

The CGI wasn’t the best, but I grew up with way worse make up for people in science fiction shows. This was a show that got the right people angry and knew it was doing it. The cameos were surprisingly fun rather than crowbarred in, and hopefully we’ll get more of Jen Walters soon.

Star Trek: Strange New Worlds Season One

This was what I wanted from The Orville. It’s what I wanted from Star Trek. As much as I enjoyed Discovery, I wanted a bit more one-off stories and wonder in the universe. This does all of that without feeling hokey. The cast are all good fun, we get to see some starring moments from each of them throughout the show instead of just focusing on one character. While the pilot may not be number one on Casual Trek’s big list, it was incredibly close for me.

Taskmaster Series One to Thirteen and Specials

This was the year I became a Taskmaster person. My friends mentioned it and I didn’t pay attention. I watched Loading Ready Run’s “Askmaster” and my partner pointed out that this was basically Taskmaster, which I’d completely forgotten about. This quickly became our go to show if we had some time to watch something and didn’t want to get embroiled in an epic saga or anything. We went backwards series by series from 11 to one, then got caught up with the more recent shows. It was fascinating watching the well-oiled machine go backwards.

The White Lotus Season Two

I adore Succession and there’s a kind of “rich on rich” violence which is very entertaining these days. Mike White does this in incredibly beautiful settings with some great thematic elements, some amazing performances and of course some brutal moments in the final episode. This season was in Italy which was beautiful to see all these dramas of status and sex play out.

Yellowjackets Season One

I love a good Lost type show and this was a rare, actual good Lost type show. A high school all girl sports team and their teacher get in a plane crash and wind up in the middle of nowhere. From the start we see that they will get pretty weird and feral from it all somehow. We also see that some of them survive the experience as we go between the 90’s with the crash and the present where someone’s aware of what went down, all near a school reunion which is already an emotionally loaded situation. The mystery is fun to follow and that’s all well and good, but the characters are a joy and the soundtrack of 90’s riot grrl music mixed with sounds of human desperation ground you in the world.

What about…?

There are a bunch of shows I’ve not made time to finish yet: Severance, Ted Lasso and Andor are all ones I’ve been savouring. Sandman and Rings of Power looked great but fell off our radar and will need to be picked up again at some point and others like Star Trek Prodigy and 15 Storeys High I’ve only just started.

That’s it from me, what are some television shows you’ve enjoyed in 2022?

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