The TV Blog’s best-reviewed shows of 2022 covered a wide variety of content categories -- action dramas, comedies, mysteries, cop shows, futuristic shows and five docuseries.
They came from all over the place too -- CBS, PBS, A&E, FX, Showtime, Hulu, Netflix, Amazon Prime, AMC/AMC+, HBO Max and Peacock.
Stellar examples of action dramas this year boasted A-list stars. Amazon Prime’s two-fisted “Reacher” starring Alan Ritchson (pictured above) was one of the best. Also ranking high: the swaggering “Tulsa King” starring Sylvester Stallone (Paramount+).
Jeff Bridges starred as a retired intelligence agent who is back in action in “The Old Man” (FX/Hulu) and Chris Pratt starred in Amazon Prime’s Navy SEAL drama “The Terminal List.”
Other standouts in action drama in 2022 were “Tokyo Vice,” a journey into the Japanese underworld (HBO Max); and “The Recruit,” about a young, naïve CIA lawyer who endangers his life when he blunders into a top-secret black ops mission where he does not belong (Netflix).
Spycraft also figured into two other quality dramas in the past year: “In From the Cold,” which flashed backward and forward from the ’90s to the present day (Netflix); and “The Ipcress File,” set in the Cold War of the 1960s (AMC+).
Another drama series long on action was the elaborate “Money Heist Korea – Joint Economic Area,” which envisioned a partial thaw in North- and South Korean relations in the near future of 2025 (Netflix).
Two other top dramas of 2022 envisioned our world in the near future: “The Undeclared War,” about a world-threatening cyber war in 2024 (Peacock); and the virtual-reality drama “The Peripheral,” set in 2032 (Amazon Prime).
Other standout future series were the post-apocalyptic “DMZ” (HBO Max) and “Moonhaven,” in which artificial intelligence enables mankind to create a verdant Eden on the moon (AMC+).
While those shows looked forward, other top dramas of the past year looked backward.
"The Gilded Age,” from “Downton Abbey” creator Julian Fellowes, was set among the bejeweled American super-rich of the 1880s (HBO).
“A League Of Their Own” was adapted from the 1992 movie of the same name about an all-female baseball team in the 1940s (Amazon Prime).
The windswept cop drama “Dark Winds” was set in and around the Indian lands of the American Southwest in 1971 (AMC+).
“The English,” a western drama about an Englishwoman (Emily Blunt) who migrates to the lawless American West, took place in 1890.
Another 19th-century western drama that got an enthusiastic thumbs-up in the TV Blog was “That Dirty Black Bag,” about a high-plains drifter in search of a black bag full of ill-gotten loot (AMC+).
A murder case from the 1950s intermingled with a similar case in the present day in “Magpie Murders” from “Masterpiece Mystery” (PBS).
This six-part series was the TV Blog’s personal favorite out of all of the dramas reviewed here in 2022. Leslie Manville starred as a book editor who investigated the murder of her top author.
She was aided by a fictional 1950s detective named Atticus Pünd played by Tim McMullen in one of the finest performances seen anywhere on TV this year.
Other standout mystery/detective series of 2022 included “The Resort” (Peacock), “The Calling,” about a Talmudic detective (also Peacock); and “The Suspect,” about a psychologist who finds himself involved in a murder case (Sundance Now/AMC+).
Three TV cop dramas made it into this year’s “best-reviewed” roundup: “61st Street” (AMC+), “East New York” (CBS) and “We Own This City” (HBO).
Rounding out the best-reviewed drama category: “The Patient” starring Steve Carell (Hulu), “The Dropout” starring Amanda Seyfried as Elizabeth Holmes (Hulu), “The Man Who Fell to Earth” starring Chiwetel Ejiofor (Showtime) and “The Time Traveler’s Wife” (HBO).
Seven new comedies qualified for this year-end roundup of the TV Blog’s best reviews of the year.
The Fox comedy “Pivoting,” about three female friends “pivoting” into middle age, got a rave review here, but was unfortunately cancelled.
The remaining comedies all came from the streaming services. Amy Schumer’s Hulu comedy “Life & Beth” received high praise as “a spot-on document of our social and cultural times.”
Another Hulu comedy, “This Fool,” from the comic mind of rising star Chris Estrada, received the highest praise the TV Blog can give a comedy -- it was funny.
“Unlike so many other so-called comedies on TV and streaming these days, ‘This Fool’ has not forgotten the comedy,” said the TV Blog.
With three comedies in this roundup, Hulu was the comedy champ of 2022 in the TV Blog. The third one was “The Reboot,” about the cast and writer of a 1990s sitcom who are trying to engineer a comeback by pitching a present-day reboot of their show.
The show was blessed with top talent, starting with its creator, the great Steve Levitan, co-creator of what might be the finest sitcom in TV history, “Modern Family.”
The stellar cast of “The Reboot” included Rachel Bloom as the writer, and Keegan-Michael Key, Judy Greer and Johnny Knoxville as the stars of the ’90s sitcom. Paul Reiser played the show’s original producer who is reluctant to revive it.
The TV Blog also liked Peacock’s “Killing It,” starring Craig Robinson as a bank security guard who brims with ideas for entrepreneurial glory; and “The Pentaverate” on Netflix, starring Mike Myers in seven different roles.
Special recognition goes to “I Love That For You,” Showtime’s razor-sharp send-up of TV home-shopping networks created by, produced by, and starring ex-“SNL”-er Vanessa Bayer. Great work, Vanessa.
Two other well-reviewed shows straddled the line between comedy and drama -- “The Bear” on Hulu, about a beleaguered chef who inherits a tiny restaurant specializing in Chicago-style roast beef sandwiches; and the exuberant “Pitch Perfect” on Peacock, a continuation of the “Pitch Perfect” movie series starring the star of the movies, the incredible Adam Devine.
Last but not least, the TV Blog gave thumbs-up to five docuseries. One of them was “Our Great National Parks” on Netflix, which benefited from a high-profile tour guide with communication skills, none other than President Barack Obama.
The TV Blog described “America Outdoors With Baratunde Thurston” on PBS as “a love letter to America.”
Special recognition goes to “As We See It,” Amazon Prime’s poignant show about a group of autistic adults. It was “pure magic from start to finish,” said the TV Blog.
A&E’s timely “Digital Addiction” was a praiseworthy docuseries about our addictions to cellphones, the internet and above all, social media.
The TV Blog also enjoyed “Customer Wars,” also from A&E, which curated video footage of real people going berserk in airports and retail stores. And who can resist that?