​Exclaim!'s 10 Best TV Shows of 2022

BY Exclaim! StaffPublished Dec 5, 2022

This year, we said goodbye to some beloved shows that have entertained us for years, as Vince Gilligan's tremendous Breaking Bad world concluded with Saul Goodman finally reaping what he sowed and Donald Glover closed out his groundbreaking chronicle of life in his hometown. But TV lovers needn't worry, as a bevy of new shows stormed onto the scene this year — a craicing Irish whodunnit, Nathan Fielder and  super-intense sandwich shop in Chicago have us excited for seasons to come. 

Some A-list names made it to our airwaves, too. Pamela Anderson and Tommy Lee were given the miniseries treatment (much to the former's dismay), and Guillermo del Toro and Ben Stiller respectively led gripping and unique shows. 

The pretentious label of "prestige television" has thankfully fallen by the wayside in recent years, but TV's importance to entertainment hasn't diminished in the slightest. Big budgets and compelling narratives continue to make up some of the best stories Hollywood and beyond have to offer. 

Here are Exclaim!'s 10 Best TV Shows of 2022:

10. Pam & Tommy
Created by Robert Siegel


Who knew that the leaking of Pamela Anderson and Tommy Lee's sex tape would turn into an interesting crime drama? In Pam & Tommy, the how, the why and the aftermath are entertaining and upsetting, as the show speaks to the mistreatment Anderson experiences during her heyday. The objectification and shaming of women are front and centre. The transformation of Lily James into Anderson is nothing short of impeccable, and Sebastian Stan as Lee is a perfectly chaotic screen partner.
Sara Clements

9. Cabinet of Curiosities
Created by Guillermo del Toro


Guillermo del Toro's diverse horror anthology works best when taken as a conduit for its endearing creator's infectious enthusiasm for horror in all its shapes and genres. An eccentric assemblage of directors (Jennifer Kent, Panos Cosmatos, David Prior, etc.) channel this enthusiasm into a collection of haunting shorts, which all feel markedly distinct and attuned to each director's unique approach to the horror genre. This delightfully macabre and varied compilation will hopefully be more than a one-off. 
Chris Luciantonio

8. Better Call Saul
Created by Vince Gilligan and Peter Gould


Creator Vince Gilligan and showrunner Peter Gould somehow pulled off the impossible: creating a successful spinoff of one of the greatest shows ever made that stands on its own and is every bit as compelling and thrilling. The final season of Better Call Saul closed the loop on Jimmy McGill's transformation into Saul Goodman, and gave a sometimes shocking and sometimes satisfying end to Kim, Nacho, Howard and Lalo's stories. The end of Saul may mark the end of the Breaking Bad universe (for now), but we'll always have Cinnabon.
Rachel Ho

7. Bad Sisters
Developed by Sharon Horgan, Dave Finkel and Brett Baer

(Apple TV+)

This year brought a some excellent whodunnit series — The Afterparty, Season 2 of Only Murders in the Building — and this Irish comedy is the best of them all. After a man dies suddenly (but not suspiciously), two life insurance agents try to avoid paying out by investigating his widow and her four sisters, believing one of them to be the murderer. Flashbacks reveal the deceased to be the biggest piece of shit imaginable, making this an engrossing cat-and-mouse game where you don't need to feel bad for the victim. Seriously, fuck that guy.
Alex Hudson

6. Barry
Created by Alec Berg and Bill Hader


Barry is TV's hottest show. This show has everything: wicked one-take tracking shots of Sally with lighting reminiscent of Alfred Hitchcock's Vertigo, an even wickeder motorcycle sequence through L.A. while Barry's being pursued by the motocross gang, and one of television's funniest assassination attempts. Bill Hader reminds us season after season why he was born to direct and what a damn fine actor he is. Add in comedy legends Stephen Root and Henry Winkler, along with Sarah Goldberg and scene-stealer Anthony Carrigan, and Barry remains one of the best made and best-acted shows on television. 
Rachel Ho

Click "Next" to continue reading.5. Atlanta
Created by Donald Glover


The series finale of this eccentric and ingenious show is doing more than just quoting Biggie Smalls' "It Was All A Dream." In its compellingly disjointed fourth season, Atlanta's episodes are memorably surreal and bizarre, trending beyond the usual suspension of disbelief that viewers have been trained to exercise. From being trapped in a vector with your exes to a Being John Malkovich portal to D'Angelo to a confrontation with baked feral hogs, nothing really follows. But then, in the television spirit of Dallas and Newhart, we are vaguely told why as Donald Glover says goodbye with a stunning sendoff befitting the show's legacy. 
Vish Khanna

4. Yellowjackets
Created by Ashley Lyle and Bart Nickerson


Borrowing more than a little heavily from Lost and Lord of the Flies, Ashley Lyle and Bart Nickerson's first season ofYellowjackets is plenty more than the sum of its influences. With past and present-day plotlines running on equal measures of drama and suspense with heavy violence and a dash of '90s nostalgia (with an excellently period-appropriate theme song from scorers Craig Wedren and Anna Waronker), the series deconstructs the wilderness-survival trope of sacrifice and savagery by laying on a gauze of teenage girl supernaturalism. Yellowjackets is just freaky enough to leave some questions unanswered for Season 2. 
Allie Gregory

3. The Rehearsal
Created by Nathan Fielder


Just because you try to prepare for something as much as you can, it doesn't mean it'll go according to plan. This is true for all of us, but even more so for Nathan Fielder's The Rehearsal. A docuseries in which Fielder helps people rehearse scenarios through conversations with actors before allowing them to do it for real, The Rehearsal feels like an experiment of trying to control your future. It's hard to predict the trajectory of the show, but while you'll likely find yourself laughing at first, you will be emotional and moved by the end.
Andres Guzman

2. Severance
Created by Dan Erickson

(Apple TV+)

Severance will have you walking into your office with a feeling of suspicion. We all want to go to work and leave our personal life behind; we also want to go home and leave our work at the office. Being "severed" allows just that for the characters in the Ben Stiller-directed series. But while that may seem freeing, it leads to a narrative full of suspense and intrigue, as the employees uncover the seedy underbelly of their workplace. With a package that also includes phenomenal performances, stunning production design and cute grandpa gays, it's one of the best TV shows of the year.
Sara Clements

1. The Bear
Created by Christopher Storer


There's a reason why restaurant workers the world over are reacting so strongly to The Bear, and it's not just because the show is such a loving homage to the scrappy beauty of a long-running neighbourhood sandwich shop. It's because that loving homage is also fraught with drama, addiction, grief, abuse, high tensions and high stakes — all things that plague the industry, even the most passionate chefs like Carmy. It's a fantastic outlet for Shameless actor Jeremy Allen White's skills, as he portrays a man on the brink of both genius and breakdown. The Bear isn't shy about depicting the highlights of restaurant work in equal measure either. Beautiful cinematography paints a humble steak sandwich or a brownie as a work of art, and a range of performances just as wonderful as White's capture the ways in which cooks who work in the trenches together become a chosen family.
Laura Di Girolamo

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