Best of 2022 is ComingSoon’s weeklong celebration of the entertainment that made this past year so memorable.
In 2022 I tried to break out of my habit of watching the same 10 seasons of The Simpsons over and over instead of trying new shows. This led to watching quite a few great new series while also seeing the conclusion of one of TV’s best. Let’s dig in.
10. Ms. Marvel
Ms. Marvel had an incredibly strong first few episodes. Though it ended up getting a bit lost in its expansive backstory, Kamala herself (played perfectly by up-and-coming Canadian actress Iman Vellani) was incredibly endearing. Seeing the MCU from the perspective of a young fan provided a refreshing change from the more standard Disney+ Marvel shows and set Kamala up as a character that is rich with potential for future Marvel stories. Here’s hoping The Marvels makes good use of New Jersey’s finest heroine.
9. Obi-Wan Kenobi
Obi-Wan Kenobi was an odd series, wasn’t it? It certainly felt longer than it needed to be and had some bizarre creative decisions, but the highs were high. As someone who grew up with the Star Wars prequels, seeing Ewan McGregor return as the iconic Jedi master was thrilling — just as thrilling as experiencing Hayden Christensen’s return as Darth Vader/Anakin Skywalker. Between the odd choices were powerful scenes that explored Kenobi and Vader’s relationship and shared trauma, which was all I really wanted from the series. For all its peculiarities, Obi-Wan Kenobi had some exceptionally strong stories to tell.
8. Moon Knight
Moon Knight is a character that has somehow never really broken into the mainstream, despite his awesome concept and slick costume designs. Hopefully, the Disney+ series has changed that. Full of snazzy action sequences, Moon Knight offered a unique exploration of Marc Spector’s relationship with his other self and how trauma created one of Marvel’s most unique characters. Seeing the dapper Mr. Knight in live-action, admittedly a bit different from his comic self, was also a highlight.
7. The Boys
I’m generally over the “deconstruction of superheroes” idea at this point, but The Boys does it in such a fun and sharp way that I view it as the exception. Seeing Homelander get pushed back by someone physically made for a unique and indescribably satisfying season, largely due to how good Jensen Ackles is in the role of the unapologetically old-fashioned Soldier Boy. Every finale of The Boys has me wondering how they’ll top it next season, but they always find a way, and I can’t wait to see how they follow up on their madness next season. Also, it’s fun to spot Toronto landmarks in the background of each episode.
6. Tales of the Jedi
As an unapologetic Star Wars prequel stan (blame nostalgia,) Tales of the Jedi was a true treat. The shorter episodes make this format even more digestible and the focus on Dooku’s fall from and Ahsoka’s life before and after the Jedi Order adds additional depth to series like The Clone Wars and Rebels. I’d love to see future installments of Tales of the Jedi that center on additional characters like Obi-Wan or Plo Koon, as there must be endless smaller stories to tell in this format.
Given Andor doesn’t focus on any Jedi, Sith, or iconic characters from the mainline Star Wars films, it makes sense that people were more hesitant to give it a try. Little did many expect that Andor would provide some of the best Star Wars content since the original trilogy, as the series kept fans riveted by weaving intergalactic political drama with incredibly strong and nuanced writing. Good and bad guys are less obvious than in the rest of the franchise, creating plenty of thrilling espionage and character drama. The series even has a few great monologues, like the one linked above. Even if you don’t like where Star Wars as a franchise currently is, I highly recommend giving Andor the old college try — you won’t be disappointed.
4. The Rehearsal
No one does surreal, awkward, and painfully relatable performance art/comedy quite like Nathan Fielder. Nathan For You was a masterpiece that few could hope to follow up, but given Fielder did graduate from one of Canada’s top business schools with really good grades, it makes sense that he could pull this off.
Through recreating social situations down to the most inane detail, Fielder creates a bizarre and brilliant comedy that I consider to be a genuine work of art. The various layers of detail fold into one another, leading to an examination of how we interact with one another that is as hilarious as it is fascinating. The less you know about The Rehearsal before watching, the better. Just check it out, because there’s truly not a single show that’s comparable.
I thought Cena’s Peacemaker was the highlight of The Suicide Squad, so him getting his own show was an exciting prospect. Cena manages to perfectly balance the titular character’s psychopathy, intensity, and likeable nature in a way that few could. Freddie Stroma’s somehow even more unhinged Vigilante is the perfect complement to Cena, creating some incredibly funny and badass moments.
Peacemaker is funny, insane, and genuinely compelling in equal measure. While the DC Universe it belongs to seems to be evaporating, at least we got this brilliant show out of it, and I’m glad it doesn’t seem to be affected by all the changes DC is undergoing. You can jettison everything, so long as I get to keep this wonderful show.
2. Smiling Friends
Please note that Smiling Friends would have been in the number one slot for any year that Better Call Saul didn’t flawlessly conclude in. Had it not been for TV’s best drama ending this year, then TV’s best animated comedy in years would easily rest at the top. Spawned from the genius of co-creators Zach Hadel and Michael Cusack — both of whom were making some of the best comedic cartoons on the internet prior to this — and featuring talent like Marc M. (SickAnimation), Joshua Tomar, and Mick Lauer, Smiling Friends is the gloriously idiosyncratic culmination of Newgrounds’ influence on my generation.
The simple concept of trying to make people smile goes a long way, as the wacky group of funny little characters ends up doing everything from murdering racist forest demons to botching a Brazil trip. The way Smiling Friends contrasts surreal and bizarre ideas with mundane and realistic interactions is perfection, and I cannot wait for Season 2.
1. Better Call Saul
I was late to the Breaking Bad hype train, so I made sure to be right on time for Better Call Saul. The slow, methodical drama has never disappointed, using its thoroughly developed characters to create some of the most tense and riveting pieces of media ever made. As the final season approached, I hoped (and like many, knew) that Vince Gilligan and Peter Gould would stick the landing.
They more than stuck the landing, as the Better Call Saul series finale was perfect, Every character got a fate that was suited to them, with none feeling unearned or unsatisfying. The returning characters from Breaking Bad were perfect additions that avoided becoming fanservice, and the last shot of the series provided the perfect note to end the entire Breaking Bad universe on. I’ve never come away from a scripted drama feeling so fulfilled and content with the entirety of what I saw, so I’m quite confident in saying Better Call Saul is one of the greatest shows ever produced.