There were so many great TV shows streaming this year that, naturally, a few failed to receive the attention they deserved. While everyone was tweeting screencaps of Jennifer Coolidge panicking over murder-plotting yacht gays on The White Lotus or debating what constitutes familial incest in their House of the Dragon recaps, these shows were skimming just below the surface, biding their time until someone noticed how undeniably watchable they were.
Well, the wait is over. We’ve watched entirely too much TV this year and we’ll be damned if it doesn’t pay off in some way for these dramas and mystery-thrillers and chill comedies that need to be on everyone’s radar. Here are the best 2022 TV series that demand more hype and more eyes on them.
Interview with the Vampire (AMC+)
This series adaptation of Anne Rice’s peerless gothic horror novel might just be the thirstiest show on TV at the moment (pun intended). Creator Rolin Jones isn’t content to simply retrace old tropes, he revolutionizes Rice’s books, keeping a tight grip on what works about her writing while modernizing her characters and setting to become something singular on-screen. Sam Reid plays the refined and ruthless French nobleman Lestat de Lioncourt while Jacob Anderson plays Louis de Pointe du Lac, a Creole businessman in early 20th-century New Orleans who reluctantly becomes his undead lover. The series embraces the pair’s romance more than any adaptation before and adds layers of meaning and social commentary by gifting Anderson’s Louis a layered backstory that constantly surprises and challenges its source material. And all of that meat is hidden underneath opulent costumes and lush set designs and bloody threesomes, and fleshy, frightening orgies, all of which heighten its horror element and keep you on the edge of your seat.
Bad Sisters (Apple TV+)
Women banding together to kill bad men will always make for entertaining television. Sharon Horgan knows this, which is why she helped create a series about a group of Irish sisters intent on ridding their tight-knit clan of a monstrous brother-in-law they un-lovingly nickname “The Prick.” Horgan plays Eva, the most level-headed of the group who tries to keep her siblings’ bloodlust under control. Sara Greene, Eve Hewson, Anne-Marie Duff, and Eva Birthistle round out the murderous family who all employ their own methods for ridding themselves of one of TV’s more detestable villains but things devolve into a comedy of errors – one that delights in the dark and macabre while managing to infuse heart and a nuanced message on sisterhood. Come for the many failed assassination attempts, stay for the unexpected storytelling depth.
Outer Range (Amazon Prime Video)
Think Yellowstone meets The Twilight Zone and you’ll come close to grasping the sci-fi sky-country vibes of this Josh Brolin-starring series. There are the normal soap opera elements that make for juicy drama — feuding families, rival ranches, etc. — but they’re all elevated by a central mystery that incorporates some mind-bending genre tropes to great effect. Brolin plays Royal Abbott, a quiet rancher fighting to save his family after tragedy strikes. When he discovers a black void hidden in one of his pastures, he’s forced to question where he comes from and the nature of more abstract concepts like time, space, and the meaning behind it all. It’s weird, it’s eerie, and it makes for a riveting binge-watch.
The Resort (Peacock)
Speaking of weird, this little gem housed on an oft-forgot streaming platform is one of the more daring mystery comedies we’ve seen on TV in a long time. It’s a modern-day Scooby-Doo adventure deep in the jungles of the Mayan Riveria with a series of mysterious disappearances that consume a vacationing couple trying to save their marriage. William Jackson Harper and Cristin Milioti play Noah and Emma, who seem too comfortable in their routine of ignoring the problems that threaten their relationship to ever change. Their tropical getaway is supposed to help them reconnect, but when Emma becomes obsessed with solving a missing persons case from 15 years ago, they have to work together to avoid seedy cartels, research ailing geniuses and uncover mythic legends made real. It defies genre and, in doing so, sets itself apart from nearly every other show on this list.
Ramy hasn’t always been an underrated show. Its first season received a fair amount of due hype. But the dramedy about a young Muslim man navigating the pitfalls of assimilating into American culture while holding onto the values of his immigrant parents has only gotten better as the years go on — and the streaming buzz around the show just hasn’t been able to keep up. In its third season, Ramy takes bigger swings and better storytelling risks, leading fans on a journey to Jerusalem, delivering sharp social commentary on the cost of the American dream, highlighting the struggles of the rest of the Hassan family, and introducing us to a fever dream known as Egyptian Shark Tank.
The Serpent Queen (Starz)
Starz has been home to some of the most polished period pieces on TV for a while now but the latest entry in their ongoing anthology universe about famous, powerful female monarchs of the past has a bit more edge than you might expect. Samantha Morton plays a cunning and cutthroat Catherine de’ Medici, the controversial 16th-century Queen of France while Liv Hill plays her younger counterpart. The show chronicles how Catherine was forced to maneuver amongst a vicious royal court, eventually gaining a foothold and becoming a frightening figure in her own right. There’s scandal and sex and political intrigue — really everything you could hope for from a show like this.
Roar (Apple TV+)
Roar is the unexpected follow-up from GLOW creators Liz Flahive and Carly Mensch that borrows a couple of stars from the Netflix wrestling comedy to tell an anthology of stories about women’s experiences. Some episodes are pure surrealist fantasy — like Merrit Weaver’s situationship with a talking duck — while others feel like the kind of dystopian futurism ripped straight from a Black Mirror script — like Issa Rae’s cautionary creative tale. It’s all good, if a little f*cked up at times.
Pachinko (Apple TV+)
Adapted from a New York Times bestseller, this moving drama chronicles the journey of one Korean-American family across four generations as each descendant tries to survive and thrive far from their homeland. Youn Yuh-jung’s Sunja is the connecting thread, a young woman living in Japanese-controlled Korea who grows to become the family’s matriarch as her sons and grandchildren branch out — some becoming successful businessmen and attending prestigious universities, others struggling to assimilate into a culture so unlike their own. It’s heartbreaking and inspiring with a surprising amount of authenticity that only adds to its worthwhile story.
Mo Amer was a breakout in Hulu’s Ramy so it makes sense that he’d co-create and lead a semi-autobiographical comedy series that’s too good, and too funny to miss. Helped by his collaborator Ramy Youssef, Mo follows a Palestinian refugee seeking asylum and citizenship in Houston, Texas. It’s the kind of completely unique story that feels surprisingly relatable and its pacing is so deliberately chill, you won’t see the laughs coming.
From the twisted minds of the creators of Dark, this period thriller has found a spot in Netflix’s Top 10 recently but really, who the hell knows what that means? The reality is that the word-of-mouth hasn’t matched the pedigree and Lindelofian conspiracy theorizing that this show deserves so it’s going on this list. The basic premise follows a group of passengers aboard a ship to America just a few months after another vessel in the company’s fleet went missing. Strange time loops and unexplained disappearances and a murder or two puts everyone on board on the suspect list, but the twists just keep on coming until the very end and they get wilder with every question answered.