2022 might have been yet another dumpster fire of a year but at least we had some *really* excellent TV shows to distract us.
This year was full of entertaining guilty pleasures and truly stellar shows with top-notch acting.
So, without further ado, let’s get to it. Below are the absolute best television series of 2022.
In no particular order:
The Best TV Shows on Netflix
The TV adaptation of Alice Oseman’s beloved graphic novels of the same name debuted its first season this year and it definitely didn’t disappoint.
Heartstopper follows the adorable love story between two high school boys — one of whom is publicly out as gay and the other is just starting his queer journey and trying to figure out his sexuality.
Technically, the show is aimed at teens, but the story of trying to figure out who you are and your place in the world will be relatable to anyone. And the sweet innocence of burgeoning young love is a wonderful divergence from the gritty, sex-filled teen series that are currently popular (Euphoria, Gossip Girl reboot, etc.).
Never Have I Ever
The series continues to make us laugh, cry, and smile at every turn. It’s also perhaps the best (and only) series to accurately portray what it’s like to lose a parent at such a young age and does an incredible job of weaving Devi’s grief for her father with the daily struggles of being a high school student and a horny teen.
The addition of Chelsea and her ridiculous “British” accent definitely didn’t hurt either! Dare we say we’ve reached peak trash reality TV?
After fan protests, Netflix saved Manifest from cancelation, giving it a new home on the streaming giant for a supersized final season, the first half of which premiered in November.
Although the series is starting to get *a bit* too religious, it’s nice to finally be moving towards some answers, which Manifest fans more than deserve.
Honorable Mention: Archive 81
While Archive 81 may not have been *the best* show, it did a hell of a job entertaining viewers. The one-season wonder (Netflix has already rudely canceled it despite its popularity) follows a tech-savvy expert, Dan, who’s tapped by a mysterious millionaire to restore old footage from a documentary by a now-deceased grad student, Melody. As Dan makes his way through the footage, more and more questions arise including the truth behind Melody’s death, how Dan’s father may have been involved, and whether or not Dan’s sanity is even still intact.
The Best TV Shows on Hulu
Only Murders in the Building
If you thought the first season of Only Murders in the Building was good, wait until you see season 2!
The series took things to the next level with a new murder, a new mystery, and some great additions to the cast, including Tina Fey. Only Murders season 2 will have you second-guessing yourself at every turn and just when you think you’ve finally figured things out, you’ll be smacked in the face with yet another wonderful surprise.
The series has already been renewed for a third season and considering Paul Rudd is joining the cast, we can only imagine what hilarity they have in store for us.
I hesitated to include The Bear on this list because it’s the only series I haven’t gotten around to watching myself. But based on the rave reviews from family, friends, and critics, I feel confident that the series will definitely be remembered as one of the best of the year.
The Best TV Shows on Apple TV+
Apple TV+ debuted its series Severance this year and it surpassed every expectation we possibly could have had.
Starring Adam Scott, Patricia Arquette, Christopher Walken, Britt Lower, and more stellar actors, Severence takes us into an alternate reality in which employees have the opportunity to truly leave their work in the office. Through the process known as “severance”, employees are able to split themselves in two — their home self and their work self (neither of which know anything about the other).
But when the employees decide they’ve had enough of their severed lives, they’ll do anything they can to learn the truth about their outside selves.
Needless to say, Severance was a must-watch this year.
The Best TV Shows on Cable
Resident Alien (SYFY)
Perhaps one of the most underappreciated shows, Resident Alien continues to be one of the funniest series on TV, largely in part to the fantastic cast. Alan Tudyk is perfection as Harry Vanderspeigle, an alien pretending to be human as he hopes to erase the human race and return to his home planet.
And the rest of the cast is no slouch either. Corey Reynolds, Sara Tomko, Alice Wetterlund, Gary Farmer, and Levi Fiehler round out the show, delivering both heartwarming moments and hilarious ones left and right.
Where you can watch Resident Alien: SYFY, Hulu Premium, and Peacock
Another often overlooked series, Breeders outdid itself this year.
Season 3 was absolutely heartwrenching as we watched Paul and Ally struggle to keep their family — and their lives — together. It’s as if all the shit has hit the fan as their sensitive son Luke decides he can no longer live with his angry father Paul in the house, Ally tries to survive menopause, their religious daughter Ava suffers without her father around, and Paul’s parents separate.
Breeders is one of those rare shows where the casting, writing, directing, and editing are all completely in sync. Martin Freeman and Daisy Haggard lead the cast but the ensemble is just as talented.
Where you can watch Breeders: FX and Hulu
Currently in its sixth season, 9-1-1 has truly found its rhythm.
The entire cast is stellar but it’s Angela Bassett that continues to be an absolute powerhouse. Her pivotal episode this season, “The Devil You Know,” allows her to explore her full range as her character struggles with the notion that her father might have murdered her childhood neighbor in cold blood.
We’ve only just reached the midseason finale but we have a feeling Bassett and the rest of the team have a whole lot more in store for us.
Where you can watch 9-1-1: Fox and Hulu
Derry Girls (Channel 4/Netflix)
Derry Girls came to a close this year with season 3, which follows the misfit crew as they prepare for the next phase of their lives.
As always, the season did a great job of mixing the universal struggles of being a teenager with the added political pressures of the Troubles and its influence on their daily lives.
Derry Girls gave each girl the perfect send-off and while I won’t spoil the finale, I do think you’ll be pleased with where everyone ends up.
Where you can watch Derry Girls: Netflix
Single Drunk Female (Freeform)
Single Drunk Female is the success story no one saw coming this year. Starring Sofia Black-D’Elia and Ally Sheedy, the first season follows a 28-year-old woman who’s forced to move back home after her drinking gets her fired from her job.
We watch as Samantha (Sofia) tries to rebuild her life and maintain her sobriety, even if she doesn’t know exactly what her future looks like.
The season gets off to a bit of a rough start, but once it settles in, it will definitely have you feeling all the feels. Fortunately for us, the series has already been renewed for a second season.
Where to watch Single Drunk Female: ABC, Freeform, and Hulu
Abbott Elementary (ABC)
Abbott Elementary season 2 has only just begun but it’s already clear that the series has managed to avoid the sophomore slump. The Quinta Brunson-led comedy continues to entertain and warm hearts everywhere with its charming cast of underfunded teachers, an unreliable principal, and a weird but sweet janitor.
We’ve only gotten a taste of season 2 so far but we have a feeling we’ll be happy with where the series is going.
Where to watch Abbott Elementary: ABC, Hulu, and HBO Max
Honorable Mention: Big Sky (ABC)
Big Sky season 3 might not be as good as the previous one but it sure is still entertaining as hell.
What’s really made the season stand out so far is the additions of Jensen Ackles and Reba McEntire, both of whom have blended with the rest of the cast seamlessly.