10 must-watch TV shows of 2022
Still from Yellowjackets.
The 2022 Emmy nominations are in. But what to watch? Television gets a bad rap sometimes — it’s often thought of as an exhausting, unfinishable chore. Yes, our attention spans have suffered from years of online attrition. Decision fatigue is real, and an hour-long prestige drama that spans multiple seasons can be a straightforwardly intimidating prospect, especially when you don’t know exactly what you’re getting into.
Besides catching up on obvious favourites like Succession and Stranger Things, consider jumping the one-inch-tall subtitles barrier, and tackling Squid Game. Did you skip out on Yellowjackets because you were put off by the themes of cannibalism (it’s all hypothetical, we promise!) or Severance, because it seemed too hard to understand?
Here’s a guide to all the TV shows you should be spending time on, why you should watch in the first place and where you can stream it. You’re welcome!
At this point, Succession may be the show that will run away with the most prizes at this year’s Emmy Awards, sweeping the Drama and Acting categories with a total of 25 nominations. The HBO saga, which has legion of fans the world over, follows the Roy family, a media dynasty all individually vying for the control held by their powerful, ageing patriarch. Part drama, part black comedy, the most recent season three had fans desperate to see what would happen next. Ahead of season four arriving next year, catch up on HBO Max or Now TV.
2. The Beatles: Get Back
Directed by the man behind the Lord of the Rings, this labour of love from Peter Jackson is a three-part documentary about the making of The Beatles’ Let It Be. You don’t have to be a fan of the band to get something out of it: it’s a rare feat of archival documentary filmmaking, for which Peter has pieced together some of the most coveted and never-before-seen footage to create a fresh portrait of artists the world has seen from a thousand different angles already. Stream it on Disney+.
3. Squid Game
There shouldn’t really be a soul left on earth who hasn’t watched Netflix mega-hit Squid Game at this point, which might make history as the first series not in the English language to take home the Outstanding Drama Series prize. It’s been confirmed that the sleeper sensation has a second season in the works, so buckle up and prepare for more carnage in a year or two’s time. Stream it on Netflix.
4. The Survivor
The Emmys don’t only award narrative shows and documentary series, they have a special category for TV movies too. The prize for Outstanding Television Movie may just go to Barry Levinson-directed WWII drama The Survivor, about a prisoner in Auschwitz who fights for his freedom in physical boxing matches. Vicky Krieps from Phantom Thread co-stars. Stream it on HBO Max.
5. The Dropout
Disney+’s limited series about the life and trials of famed Silicon Valley science revolutionary-turned-flop, Elizabeth Holmes, earned some quiet but passionate buzz when it first appeared on the streaming service. A tale of how twisted the passion of tech bros can be, it’s earned a nomination for Outstanding Limited or Anthology Series. Realistically, it’s Amanda Seyfried who stands out in it playing the lead character in The Dropout though. She earned a nom for it (Lead Actress in a Limited or Anthology Series or Movie) and is the bookie’s favourite to win. Watch it in full on Disney+.
The first season of this dual-timeline mystery had us immediately hooked on its combination of 90s teen drama, supernatural happenings and chaotically evil characters. Now with eight Emmy nominations to its name, there’s never been a better time to check out what you’ve missed. On a base level, the question that Yellowjackets poses is: what happens when a plane full of teenage soccer players crashes in the wilderness? The answer, streamable on Paramount+ or Now TV, is sex, death and mushroom trips.
7. Only Murders in the Building
The second season of this critically lauded series, starring and executive produced by Selena Gomez, has just started airing. But it’s the show’s first season that’s racked up multiple Emmy noms: for Best Comedy Series, as well as putting both its co-leads, Steve Martin and Martin Short, in the running for Best Actor in a Comedy Series. Set in an Upper West Side New York apartment building, Only Murders in the Building follows three, true crime-obsessed folks who, after a death in their building is ruled a suicide, start their own podcast to find out the grisly truth. Stream it on Disney+ now.
Apple TV+ are playing the slow but strong game with their line-up of shows, and Severance is a valuable and fascinating addition to it. This twisted and dystopian sci-fi, directed, funnily enough, by Ben Stiller, is set in an office where the staff have undergone a procedure that severs their work memories from their personal life, thus creating versions of themselves that never leave either space. But when one employee digs deeper, he discovers a conspiracy that may change the fate of him and his colleagues. Stream it on Apple TV+.
9. Better Call Saul
The prequel successor to Vince Gilligan’s Breaking Bad is arguably its darker counterpart. Better Call Saul follows small town lawyer Jimmy McGill as he traps himself further into the dealings of Albuquerque’s meth-peddling mafioso underworld, taking more and more steps towards the flashy conman persona we see him embody in the original show — that of corrupt lawyer Saul Goodman. Rhea Seehorn may have been robbed of a much-deserved Lead Actress nom for her beloved turn as the kind and measured Kim Wexler, but we’ll take Outstanding Supporting Actress In A Drama Series, and the other six nominations the show racked up in its finale year. Stream it now on Netflix.
10. Stranger Things
This sci-fi-horror nostalgia fest earned 14 nominations overall for its dramatic fourth season, which saw the Stranger Things gang face up to powerful new enemies as they struggle with the relationships between them as they grow older, and the darkness lurking behind each corner of Hawkins, Indiana. You can stream it on Netflix, or watch it get memed to hell and back on TikTok. The choice is yours!