The Bestest 2022
Television just keeps getting better. Movies made for theatrical screenings are dying slowly. The best creative talent is more focused on making a hit show than a thoughtful two-hour film that only a fraction of the population will see. As such, we win and we lose, but below are the winners.
- Black Bird (Apple+) This is easily one of the best crime shows to have aired since we began the golden age of streaming. Paul Walter Hauser delivers the year’s best performance in this slow boiling masterpiece into the twisted mind of a complicated man.
- Fleishman Is In Trouble (Hulu) Certain kinds of stories about divorce and midlife crisis used to be best told by Woody Allen, but these days Jesse Eisenberg has taken over and the excruciating truth about love, life and loss has never been so painfully enjoyable.
- Severance (Apple+) This super slick and sparse mind-bender posits that you can compartmentalize your brain to insulate it from sadness. Wouldn’t that be nice? Maybe not.
- Black Butterflies (Netflix) Somehow Netflix has managed to unearth yet another brilliant international crime show that flashes from past to present telling the story of a young couple who goes on a killing spree coaxing rapists into their normal lives and making them pay the ultimate price for their proclivities. Like “The Serpent”, this show is awash in the colors and styles of another era.
- The Bear (FX) Jeremy Allen White seems to play his best roles in Chicago. Coming off an epic run on “Shameless” set in the South side, he returns home to rescue his family’s sandwich shop, after a career in fine dining. This is a frenetic, chaotic and hilarious look into food and family.
- The Patient (Hulu) This harrowing and contemplative examination of the disturbed relationship between a therapist (Steve Carell) and his client (Domhnall Gleeson ) is a double tour de force. They face off in a suburban basement looking for answers to free them from their pasts.
- White Lotus (HBOMax) In some ways the second season of White Lotus, set in Italy, was more enjoyable than the first. There were more unanswered questions, more beautiful characters and enough over the top theatrics to ensure another season.
- The Dropout (Hulu) — Amanda Seyfried is a chameleon playing Theranos founder, and delusional sociopath Elizabeth Holmes. Life is stranger than fiction and with FTX dominating the headlines this year, it certainly makes you think about why this keeps happening.
- Better Things (FX) I’ve said it before, and I’ll repeat it again, Pamela Adlon’s autobiographical dramedy about a single mother raising her three daughters in LA is filled is beautiful truths and heartbreaking realities.
- Bad Sisters (Apple+) Five sisters can’t help but want to murder their loathsome brother in-law, in this morbidly lighthearted family drama set in the gloomily beautiful Irish countryside.
- Succession (HBO) I don’t love it as much as most people, but at this point I’m committed to the epic disfunction.
- Somebody Somewhere (HBO) Almost anything that the Duplass Bros. are involved in has got to be pretty good if you like quirky, often dry, character studies of people and places. This Kansas based story is weird, sad, and funny and rolls along at the perfect indie pace.
- Euphoria (HBO) Season two might be even more bleakly twisted than the first. When I was a teenager, we had “My So Called Life” which was edgy for its time, “Euphoria” makes that show seem like “Saved by the Bell.”
- Dahmer — Monster (Netflix) This incredibly well-acted, exploration into the slow descent into madness of one of our first serial killers captures the run-down America of the seventies as well as anything this year. Paired with the documentary, also on Netflix, it is easy to lose yourself in this confusing demented person.
- Nine Perfect Strangers(Hulu) It was inevitable that we would get a show where the central cast would be wandering around starry eyed on mushrooms. This show isn’t perfect, but it is plenty entertaining enough to watch.
- 1899 (Netflix) From the creator of the creepy German series “Dark,” this beautifully filmed story about a haunted ship set in 1899 is a great example of how elevated television has become.
- Scenes From a Marriage (HBO) Marriage can be painful. It sure is in this perfectly acted largely downbeat drama about the excruciating pain of splitting up.
- WeCrashed (Hulu) Jared Leto’s depiction of Adam Neuman is enough to propel this otherwise cheesy retelling of the WeWork debacle adapted from the Podcast of the same name. Completing the trilogy along with Theranos and Uber, this is further proof money makes even the smartest people selectively blind!
- Under The Banner of Heaven (Hulu) Based on the John Krakauer booked, this series perfectly captures the kind of zealous energy and delusional beliefs of the real life LDS family accused of double murder.
- Superpumped (Showtime) Although this show is a bit too slick and simplified to get into the more interesting nuance of the story of Uber, it is an easy to watch, not too taxing on the brain and a reminder of the time before ride sharing.