Photos: FX, AMC, HBO, ABC, Netflix, HBO Max, Apple TV+.
Jon Hein knows television. In the late 1990s, he coined the phrase “Jump the Shark” when he founded the site of the same name. Since then, he has written about television everywhere from The New York Times to TV Guide. In his column for Primetimer, he shares his thoughts on what’s new and cool on TV and the shows on his radar for the coming week.
We have reached the middle of 2022. It is amazing how time flies. In the midst of an ongoing pandemic and the country being torn to the seams, TV has never been more important…especially on the 4th of July.
In honor of our nation’s birthday (and a traditionally slow week of TV), it’s time for my annual Best Shows of the Year column so far. Combined with my weekly Greatest Hits below, this list should keep you fully engaged and entertained in front of your TV (or phone or tablet).
This year’s mid-year slate features 3 new shows, 3 current series, 2 final seasons, 1 stand-up special, and 1 reality adaptation. I previously wrote about all of these shows, but now they are all gathered here in ranked order. Who doesn’t love a good Top Ten list?
Without further ado, I present to you my Best Shows of 2022 so far…
10 Strange things (Netflix)
Fresh off their epic season four finale, the kids of Hawkins continue to deliver worthwhile adventures into our world and what lies below. The Duffer Brothers may never recapture the magic of the first season, but they’ve done an admirable job of making Dungeons & Dragons great while creating for a cast going through puberty.
9. We own this city (HBO)
There’s nothing more intense than showrunner David Simon and lead actor Jon Bernthal. Ignore all comparisons with The wire. This story of the fate of the Baltimore Police Department’s Weapons Tracking Task Force stands alone.
8. Love on the Spectrum USA (Netflix)
I have a soft spot for this franchise. Most reality dating shows are made up, but this story of autistic individuals trying to find love rings true. It is impossible not to fall in love with those who are looking for love and their supportive families. It’s the most honest dating show on TV (although that bar is still relatively low these days).
7. Breaking off (AppleTV+)
Start slow. Deliberately slow. But the reward at the end makes it all worth it. Breaking off gives a whole new meaning to work/life balance. Adam Scott leads the fantastic ensemble of actors and Ben Stiller’s direction perpetuates the mystery until the very last shot.
6. Abbott Elementary (ABC)
A network sitcom in my elite Top Ten? You can bet. Quinta Brunson’s comedy set in an urban Philadelphia elementary school is funny and heartwarming. Programs like this and Schitt’s Cove remind us that original sitcoms about mostly good-natured people can still work.
5. Rothaniel (HBO)
Jerrod Carmichael’s intimate delivery in a small New York club where he decides to come out is truly captivating. The material and circumstances are unique, and his performance looks like anything but a stand-up special. Innovative things.
Four. tricks (Max HBO)
The cursed sophomore was highly prepared for this comedy, but Deborah Vance outclassed her. Lessons learned along the way and self-realizations carry the plot with lots of good jokes mixed in. All the relationships fit together (my favorite is the young agent and his overzealous assistant). I can’t wait for the third season.
3. better things (FX)
After five seasons, Sam Fox ends her reign as the epitome of the cool life of Los Angeles single mom life. This heartwarming comedy came to an end so naturally. The three children and most of the family grew up unexpectedly and Sam is going to be fine. Pamela Adlon is masterful both in front of and behind the camera.
two. Better call Saul (AMC)
The most frustrating part of watching this masterpiece is waiting for the final episodes. Split seasons drive me crazy. The transformation from Jimmy McGill to Saul Goodman to Gene Takovic is almost complete. Overdue Emmy nominee Rhea Seehorn continues to give a clinic as Kim Wexler, whose fate is one of the few that isn’t actually determined. Forget this is a breaking bad prequel: is a dramatic wonder in itself.
1. barry (HBO)
The darkest comedy of the year is my favorite TV show in the middle of 2022. Bill Hader is anything but wacko in the third season of this “comedy”. Every aspect of this show clicks this season. Acting, directing, writing… you name it. barry it never shies away from honest storytelling that leads to real consequences for those who do nasty things. No fins in sight for Henry Winkler. 🙂
Here’s what’s worth watching this week…
black bird (NETFLIX)
Friday, July 8
Taron Edgerton plays a convicted drug dealer willing to do anything to avoid a long stint in prison. All he has to do is enter a maximum-security prison for the criminally insane, befriend a suspected serial killer, and get him to confess.
This six-part thriller was adapted by Dennis Lehane, author of the Oscar-winning film. Mystical river. It’s a psychological thriller with lots of mind games that also features Ray Liotta in his latest TV role.
Breaking point (Peacock)
Saturday, July 8
Bomb disposal experts combat terrorist threats in London in this six-part British drama. Watch the trailer.
THIS WEEK’S STYHTGT!
(Show I hope to get to!)
Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks Spectacular (NBC) – Fireworks on TV? God bless America. Monday at 8 p.m. ET
(Really Good Shows You Might Have Missed)
This week’s pick: downton abbey (Peacock) – city center It’s not for everyone, but this is an entertaining show. I wrote the same words about suffering soul last week, but this British gem couldn’t be more different. From the first chords of the piano and the view of the beautiful estate, all the residents of the Earl of Grantham’s residence are irresistible. There is a lot of conflict, humor and fantastic accents to enjoy.
suffering soul (Max HBO)
Police squad! (First video)
party downstairs (Starz)
Right handed (Show time)
The great (hulu)
Magic City (Peacock)
for all mankind (AppleTV+)
Abbott Elementary (ABC)
luther (Max HBO)
downton abbey (Netflix)
The good wife (Paramount+)
geeks and geeks (hulu)
Patriot (First video First video)
Battlestar Galactica (Peacock)
cleavage (First video)
border town (Netflix)
Stop and set fire (MCA+)
If you love or hate my selections, I would love to hear from you.
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Jon Hein is the creator of “Jump the Shark” and the author of three books. FOLLOW ME @jonhein On twitter.