2022 presented us with a selection of quality programs, personalities, and escapism packed with strong writing and refreshing plots to devour. There were moments of terror coupled with fits of laughter. Below are the shows we simply couldn’t stop watching.
The White Lotus
If you haven’t caught The White Lotus bug yet then stop what you are doing (yes, like reading this) and get to watching this show from the brilliant Mike White. Set in Sicily, Italy, this season welcomed a new cast of guests each on their own getaway and each with their own set of vices. Enter the pompous, rich, and young business lad Cameron (Theo James); the dry witted no b.s. lawyer Harper (Aubrey Plaza); the awkwardly cute and curious California assistant Porscha (Hayley Lu Richardson); the quintessential nice guy and Stanford grad Albie (Adam Dimarco); the seductive and quirky Lucia (Simona Tabasco); the sharp yet repressed hotel manager Valentina (Sabrina Impacciatore); and the queen of the screen, Tanya (Jennifer Coolidge), this season provided intertwiinging storylines designed with humour, scandal, and 21st century romance. You fall in lust and disgust with these people and feel as though you are part of the adventures (good and bad). Expect a dead body, surprising hookups, poised commentary, bikinis, criminals, and people just trying to forget and figure out how to be happy. Mike White has an ability to capture the essence of humanity through a host of charming people, and we are forever grateful for getting to hear from them.
The Cleaning Lady
Here is another show where everything you see is not really the truth. Developed by Miranda Kwok, and based on the Argentinian series La chica que limpia, this fast-paced crime drama tosses between protection and deception. Expect a heavy dose of kingpins, FBI agents, and everyday folk trying to make sense of it all. Lovers turn on one another, people get poisoned, schemes get brewed, and powerful people battle on the daily, although at the core is also the story of undocumented immigrants and staying alive.
The Flight Attendant
Season two of The Flight Attendant sees Cassie (Kaley Cuoco) trying to regain her footing after deaths, drinking, and misfortunes plagued her life. This season we see more of Cassie’s murderous double (which some assume is the one who killed her former lover). Cassie also struggles with former versions of herself who are trying to pull her back to bad habits, but we also see a determined and sober woman fighting back with a desire to stay on track. She is now working part-time with the CIA and helping solve crimes to keep her thrill-seeking self occupied. Megan (Rosie Perez) is in witness protection and also working with the CIA, while almost married Annie (Zosia Mamet) and Max (Denis Akdeniz) continue to provide enough humour and cuteness for any audience to enjoy. Oh, and don’t forget about the intensity and qurik from Dot (Cheryl Hines), the managing head of the Central Intelligence Agency in LA. The strong female ensemble along with equally strong male counterparts, as seen with witty and bold Shane (Griffin Matthews) and Cassie’s humble yet sharp brother Davey (T.R. Knight) helps make for a buzzy second season that we hope is not the last.
From David Hollander (Ray Donovan), American Gigolo is based on the ’80s film of the same name. It revolves around Julian Kaye, a male escort who is convicted of murder (he is found covered in blood with the woman who paid for him dead beside him) and sentenced to 15 years in prison. Only thing is…he didn’t do it. After being exonerated, Kaye (played by Jon Bernthal) is released and wants to take back his life, although he has no idea who framed him and made him lose over a decade of his life. He is also reacquainted with Detective Sunday (Rosie O’Donnell) who put him behind bars and then got him out, his former lover Michelle (Gretchen Mol), and longtime friends who are still caught up in the risky business, Isabelle (Lizzy Brocheré) and Lorenzo (Wayne Brady). Freedom, mystery, and pain ensues in this drama produced by Jerry Bruckheimer and Paramount Televison.
Here’s a show that pulls back the veil and shows how things works in the food industry. The Bear stars Jeremy Allen White as an award-winning fine dining chef who returns home to run his family’s sandwich shop, The Beef. Carmen (“Carmy”) starts working alongside his sister and others like his and his late brother’s childhood friend Neil, played by Canadian chef and internet personality Matty Matheson. This is yet another win for FX, a network that has brought us shows like American Horror Story, Better Things, and Atlanta.
The Bear recently earned three nominations for the 2023 Film Independent Spirit Awards.
The Girl from Plainville
Elle Fanning stars as Michelle Carter in this true crime drama which tells the story of Carter’s relationship with her then boyfriend Conrad Roy. Roy committed suicide, with the case against Carter looking to prove that Carter encouraged (via text messages) Roy to take his own life. Fanning provides a chilling performance full of flashbacks and present day breakdowns; her facial expressions, tone of voice, and mannerisms are uncomfortable and poignant, which makes for a drama that catapults you to feeling as though you are right beside her at every step.
Jenny Ortega has received a lot of attention in 2022 thanks to her highly entertaining portrayal of Wednesday Addams in The Addams Family spin-off, Wednesday. But should this surprise us? No. Ortega also grabbed attention in the psychological TV thriller YOU, but her deadpan humour and menacing yet cute ways were well placed in this Netflix show that made audiences fall hard and giggle at her sharp tongue. It doesn’t matter if you are a young folk or not, this coming-of-age show has an enjoyable plot, plus it doesn’t hurt to have Christina Ricci, Catherine Zeta-Jones, and Fred Armisen also playing a big part of the production.
If you are looking for a psychological thriller which features top grade talent like Adam Scott, Christopher Walkin, Patricia Arquette, and direction from Ben Stiller, here’s a show for you. Streaming via AppleTV+, Severance hones in on one’s connection to work except it is much weirder than you may think. What if you could sever your work identity and self from your regular self? What if these identities existed in different universes? What if these entities know nothing about each other? Here is a show that runs to a new beat, also looking at how humans could cope with life-altering situations.
This teen comedy and drama series follows a group of Indigenous Americans who will do whatever it takes to get away from their Indian reservation in rural Oklahoma. The objective: California, and we watch as this group of teens battles with themselves, tradition, and their desire to have a new beginning that is designed their way. The show was co-created by Sterlin Harjo and Taika Waititi. 2022 marks the second season of the must-see series.