Opinion

31 TV shows to watch in 2022

All the TV worth watching this year

I have bad news and I have good news. The bad news is that although HBO's House of the Dragon — the network's first Game of Thrones spinoff — finished production in February, showrunner Ryan Condal said on a podcast that the new series is not "anywhere close to done because we have lots of post [production] stuff to do."

But while we wait for some new dragon content, I do have good news! A lot of other TV series are premiering this year. The following is a list of what to keep your eyes out for:

January

Black-ish (Jan. 4, ABC): Few broadcast sitcoms have achieved the kind of depth and insight that creator and showrunner Kenya Barris has crafted on Black-ish, which is inspired by his own life. During its eight-year run, the show has tackled the struggles of being biracial, police brutality, the Trump presidency, workplace discrimination, and postpartum depression. Anthony Anderson and Tracee Ellis Ross play Dre and Bow, respectively, parents to a wonderful clan of children, including Zoey (Yara Shahidi), who have grown up on the show. Jenifer Lewis' performance as Ruby, Dre's plainspoken mother, makes Black-ish truly unmissable.

Euphoria (Jan. 9, HBO): The second season of the smash hit drama is returning with Zendaya, its Emmy-winning lead. I was initially skeptical of the show's premise — an ensemble cast playing a group of high school students as they confront drugs, trauma, identity, sexuality, friendship — but Zendaya's performance as Rue Bennett anchors the drama into something refreshing and unique. 

The Righteous Gemstones (Jan. 9, HBO): I cannot wait for the return of this guillotine-sharp satire of evangelical Christian culture. Created and written by the one and only Danny McBride, the black comedy is easily one of the best shows on TV today. And if you, like me, were raised in the South, parts of the show may well strike you as almost documentarian. If you start now, you've got about a week to catch up before the premiere, but let me just hook you: The first season ends with a woman firing a gun directly into her husband's a--hole. Don't tell me you don't want to know more.

How I Met Your Father (Jan. 18, Hulu): Lizzie McGuire is back! No, not on the Disney Channel; Hilary Duff stars in a standalone sequel to How I Met Your Mother. She plays Sophie, who, I assume, is telling her children the story of meeting their father. More interesting than this setup is the fact that Kim Cattrall will be playing the adult Sophie. I'm starved for Samantha Jones on And Just Like That…, so I'll take some Cattrall any way I can get her.

Ozark (Jan. 21, Netflix): I recently developed dark circles under my eyes, which I do not regret, while binge-watching all three previous seasons of this show over the course of about a week. Jason Bateman and Laura Linney play Martin and Wendy, transplants from Chicago who move in a hurry to a small Missouri town to launder money for a Mexican drug cartel. But the true star of the show is Julia Garner, who plays intelligent spitfire Ruth, a member of the money-laundering operation with justifiable shifting loyalties. I won't give away any more, but I promise you this show is worth your while. It's one of Netflix's few, true gems.

Billions (Jan. 23, Showtime): Damian Lewis and his sketchy Noo Yawk accent used to be on the show, but both exited Billions at the end of Season 5. For the show's sixth and final season, Corey Stoll joins the main cast to play Mike Prince, the new owner of Axe Capital, who is ready to spar with Chuck Rhoades. Played by Paul Giamatti, Rhoades is a crusading U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York and a BDSM practitioner, modeled on Preet Bharara and Eliot Spitzer (I'm sure you can guess which aspects of both inform Rhoades' characterization). Maggie Siff plays a therapist and Chuck's soon-to-be ex-wife; the terrific Asia Kate Dillon plays Taylor, a math genius at Axe Cap, and the first nonbinary character on American TV. Billions has as many twists and turns as New York City has rats, but I'm hoping Corey Stoll breathes much-needed new life into the show.

The Gilded Age (Jan. 24, HBO): An intriguing new costume drama, set in the same time period as Edith Wharton's The Age of Innocence, hits HBO at the end of next month. It stars Cynthia Nixon, Christine Baranski, Carrie Coon, and Morgan Spector, and features battles of race, class, and wealth. Downton Abbey architect Julian Fellowes created the show, which was originally intended to serve as the American part of the Grantham saga. 

The Afterparty (Jan. 28, HBO): Did you enjoy Only Murders in the Building? Lucky for you, its mystery format continues: Creator Christopher Miller (Lego Movie, The Last Man on Earth) is combining Rashomon with a murder at an apartment building hosting a high school reunion. Tiffany Haddish, Sam Richardson, Zoë Chao, Ben Schwartz, and Dave Franco star as tenants.

February

Inventing Anna (Feb. 11, Netflix): The saga of German con artist Anna Delvey will be the subject of not one, but two TV shows in 2022. The first, written by Shonda Rhimes, premieres in February, and stars Julia Garner as Anna Sorokin (Anna's real name), who hoodwinked multinational banks, supermodels, ritzy arts venues, DJs, magazine editors, boutique hotels — honestly, it's easier to list everyone she didn't fool. Anna Chlumsky (Veep) also stars.

Bel-Air (Feb. 13, Peacock): How many TV shows start as joke YouTube videos? In March 2019, Morgan Cooper uploaded a mock trailer reimagining The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air as a dark, gritty drama. Somehow, major TV networks took it seriously, and two years later, Cooper landed a two-season order at Peacock, and an actor named Jerry Madison will play Will Smith. I will watch the pilot, albeit with considerable skepticism.

Better Things (Feb. 28, FX): Pamela Adlon created, writes, produces, directs, and stars in this bittersweet comedy about an actress raising three children alone. The parallels to Adlon's own life are clear — after divorcing her now-ex-husband, Adlon raised their three daughters by herself — but the show, which premieres its last season in February, is imbued with a radically brutal honesty. And unlike a lot of other shows purporting to fight for women, Better Things is authentically feminist. 

Killing Eve (Feb. 28, Hulu): Do I really need to tell you to tune into the blockbuster British production's final season? I didn't think so.

March

The Dropout (March 3, Hulu): Amanda Seyfried stars as disgraced startup founder Elizabeth Holmes, who is currently on trial in federal court for fraud because practically every word she ever uttered about Theranos, her blood test company, was a lie. Naveen Andrews (Lost, Bride & Prejudice, Sense8) stars as Holmes's equally criminal business partner and former boyfriend Sunny Balwani, whose in-real-life criminal trial is set for 2022. A TV show about the rise and fall of the world's youngest self-made female billionaire? I am in

Atlanta (March 24, FX): Creator, star, writer, and director Donald Glover took a lengthy hiatus from the critically acclaimed comedy-drama, but his creation returns for its third season, set almost entirely in Europe. I for one cannot wait to see what Paper Boi has been up to.

Bridgerton (March 25, Netflix): I've admittedly never seen it, but if the universal breathless lust — I mean, love — for the show on social media is any indication, I don't have to tell you to watch it; you're already waiting with bated breath.

April

Slow Horses (April 1, Apple TV+): Gary Oldman last played an old school British spy in Tomas Alfredson's excellent Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, and in Slow Horses, his first regular TV role, he returns to the genre as the leader of Slough House, a decrepit division of M15 where spies go when they've messed up in the field. Kristin Scott Thomas and Jonathan Pryce co-star in this series written by Will Smith (Succession, not Fresh Prince). These actors aren't generally involved with rubbish projects, which is a good thing, since a second season of the series has already been filmed.

Tokyo Vice (April 7, HBO Max): Film nerds, rejoice! This 10-episode series is Michael Mann's first TV show and is a loose adaptation of journalist Jake Adelstein's book on his work chronicling the Tokyo Metropolitan Police in the late 1990s. Ansel Elgort stars, along with Ken Watanabe and Rinko Kikuchi.

61st Street (April 10, AMC): The network that put out Mad Men and Breaking Bad is hoping to recreate prestige TV magic with a crime drama, written by Peter Moffat, with Michael B. Jordan as executive producer. Courtney B. Vance and Aunjanue Ellis star in this series about a black high school athlete in the crosshairs of cops and prosecutors, who want to avenge a cop's death during a botched drug bust. Moffat previously wrote Criminal Justice for the BBC, which HBO adapted into the critically acclaimed The Night Of

Anatomy of a Scandal (April 15, Netflix): Adapted from Sarah Vaughan's book of the same name, this new series is part courtroom drama, part psychological thriller. A sexual consent scandal rips through Britain's upper class, and a politician is eventually sent to trial. Any media involving sexual assault and harassment has received greater scrutiny — rightfully so — after the #MeToo movement, but it remains to be seen if the subject is handled with nuance and respect. Starring Michelle Dockery and Rupert Friend. 

Outer Range (April 15, Prime Video): Josh Brolin returns to TV in this Western series about — at least at first — land ownership spats and family dysfunction. Supernatural forces, however, arrive on the ranch too. Imogen Poots and Lili Taylor co-star. 

Roar (April 15, Apple TV+): Adapted from Cecilia Ahern's 2019 short story collection of modern-day female-centric fables, each episode of Roar features a different story and actress. On the talent roster: Nicole Kidman, Alison Brie, Cynthia Erivo, Issa Rae, Merritt Weaver. 

The First Lady (April 17, Showtime): An anthology series bursting with A-list talent about the wives of American presidents — talk about an intriguing idea! Gillian Anderson plays Eleanor Roosevelt (opposite Kiefer Sutherland as Franklin D.), Michelle Pfeiffer plays Betty Ford (Aaron Eckhart is Gerald), and Viola Davis plays Michelle Obama (O-T Fagbenle is Barack). Even the also-starring category is wall-to-wall amazing: Dakota Fanning, Judy Greer, Lily Rabe, and Rhys Wakefield. All episodes are directed by Susanne Bier (who directed The Undoing, not good — and The Night Manager, excellent).

Gaslit (April 24, Starz): Sam Esmail (Mr. RobotHomecoming) produces this absolute catnip of a series (at least for Watergate nerds like myself) about Martha Mitchell (Julia Roberts), the wife of Attorney General John N. Mitchell (Sean Penn). Known for speaking her mind and publicly sparring with the Nixon White House on a variety of issues, Mrs. Mitchell was the first person from the Administration itself to openly link the president to the National Democratic HQ break-in. She was subsequently kidnapped by Nixon henchmen and kept captive until she shut up. The supporting cast makes me want to jump for joy: Patton Oswalt is Nixon adviser Chuck Colson, Hamish Linklater stars as Mitchell peon Jeb Magruder, Dan Stevens is John Dean, Nat Faxon is Bob Haldeman, and Shea Whigham as G. Gordon Liddy! That's a role Whigham was born to play. 

We Own This City (April 25, HBO Max): It's admittedly a little hard to get excited about a new David Simon series set in, you guessed it, Baltimore, featuring — yup, you guessed right — cops. Co-created by Simon regular George Pelecanos, and adapted from Baltimore Sun reporter Justin Fenton's nonfiction book, the six-episode series focuses on the Gun Trace Task Force, a Baltimore PD group that, yup, you guessed it again, was super corrupt and eventually investigated by the feds. I hope the cast — Jon Bernthal, Josh Charles, Dagmara Domińczyk, Treat Williams, Antwan Glover — don't get short shrift, but in my humble opinion, Simon was better at being a reporter than he is at making TV. 

Shining Girls (April 29, Apple TV+): I would watch Elisabeth Moss paint a wall, so I will definitely be tuning in to watch this adaptation of Lauren Beukes's novel of the same name. After surviving a horrific assault, a Chicago reporter (Moss) discovers her attacker is a time-traveling serial killer. The roster of directors is all women, including Moss, Daina Reid, and Michelle MacLaren. Wagner Moura (Narcos) also stars, along with Jamie Bell and Philippa Soo. 

May

Candy (May 9, Hulu): Finally, some good ol' fashioned ax murders! Jessica Biel stars in this true-crime drama series, set in the 1980s, about Candy Montgomery, a suburban Texas housewife who finds herself in international newspaper headlines after she's accused of dispatching her friend Betty Gore (Melanie Lynskey) with an ax. Timothy Simons (Veep) and Pablo Schreiber also star in this series from Nick Antosca (The Act) and Robin Veith (Mad Men). 

Angelyne (May 19, Peacock): I wasn't born in America, nor did I grow up here, so I am curious about this series, delayed for quite some time due to COVID-19, about the eponymous D-list celebrity who became famous in Los Angeles — and nowhere else — after paying for a series of billboards around L.A. featuring slightly scandalous photographs of herself. Emmy Rossum plays Angelyne; the rest of the cast is top-notch too: Martin Freeman, Hamish Linklater, Alex Karpovsky, and David Krumholtz. 

June, July, and August

Sadly, this summer is rife with CIA-is-great-and-definitely-not-a-cabal-of-war-criminals shows starring Chris Pratt, inane Adam Sandler (what else is new) vehicles, and at least a half-dozen Wars of Star/Spider-People/Obi Wan-Who-Cares-Bi content. Feel free to check out Rotten Tomatoes for the exact dates.

But the sad drought of good TV means it's time to hit up the public library. Then again, it's always time to hit up the public library.

September 

The Lord of the RingsThe Rings of Power (Sept. 2, Amazon Prime): Funded entirely by your need for overnight shipments of melatonin gummies, paper towels, a phone charger, and fair-trade coffee beans, this adaptation of Tolkien's trilogy is said to cost double the Peter Jackson-helmed movies from the early 2000s. You'd think Bezos could spend some of that cash to make his rocket ships not look like penises. Additional information: Sauron, the ring, forged, hobbitses, my precious, etc. 

Existing shows returning for their next season:

Better Call Saul, AMC: Sixth and final season premieres Part I on April 18. Part II premieres July 11.

Stranger Things, Netflix: Season 4 premieres May 27.

The Boys, Amazon Prime: Season 3 premieres June 3.

This has been updated to include television shows to expect in the second half of the year.

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