All I can say is – what an incredible year for TV. This past 12 months was STACKED with high-quality TV shows both new and returning. I loved so much of what this year gave us, that this is by far the hardest top 10 list I’ve had to make for TV shows in recent years. There’s series’ that deserve to be in this top 10, but will just miss out due to it being such a packed year. There’s even a few series’ that will barely miss out on honourable mentions too. As much as it pains me that some shows are missing out on a top 10 spot, it just goes to show how strong this year’s lineup has been. So in the end, having too many options isn’t an issue, it’s a blessing.
In keeping my honourable mentions to five slots, there’s a few big shows that unfortunately miss out. One show that didn’t miss out is Mike Flanagan’s The Midnight Club. It may technically be my least favourite of Mike’s works, but it’s still an incredible piece of modern horror. It’s a frightening and emotionally heavy piece of slow-burn horror that was unfortunately cancelled over at Netflix. Speaking of cancelled, Raised by Wolves delivered another riveting season that greatly expanded its narrative. Despite being a riveting and well-reviewed piece of intelligent sci-fi, it became one of the many casualties of the Warner x Discovery merger – cut down without remorse. In potentially controversial fashion, Obi-Wan Kenobi gets a mention after a season of TV that I loved, despite its obvious flaws. There’s definitely a number of improvements I’d make to many of episodes, however the series’ high points are so high that I can’t help but love it. Unfortunately, Only Murders in the Building just couldn’t secure a spot on this top 10 list. That’s not saying it’s a subpar season, it’s just a matter of the year being so packed. The show’s second season was brilliantly funny, headlined by a trio of incredible comedic performances from Steve Martin, Martin Short and Selena Gomez. It’s a must-watch for murder mystery fans. Rounding out my honourable mentions with a THIRD cancelled show is Archive 81. This supernatural horror harboured a spine-chilling mystery that had me hooked from beginning to end. Despite leaving us on a cliffhanger that promised even bigger things, Netflix axed the show quite soon after it debuted. It seems the odds of a quality Netflix series being renewed is slimmer now more than ever.
#10 – Snowpiercer (Season 3)
Reclaiming spot #10 from 2021 is Snowpiercer. Somehow, despite being in its third and penultimate season, it managed to salvage its best and most entertaining season yet. The narrative was full of surprises, with the direction of the season seemingly shifting with every few episodes. The constant switches in the power dynamics made for tonnes of exciting action sequences and a great deal of tension. Despite all taking place within the titular train, it never feels like it’s retreading on familiar ground from seasons passed. The presence of Sean Bean is still one of the series’ biggest highlights – his charisma and charm is what makes the antagonist so thrilling to watch. I’ve got no idea how it’s all going to wrap up in season four, but hopefully it makes 2023’s list.
Check out my full non-spoiler review of Snowpiercer by clicking here.
#9 – Chucky (Season 2)
It’s lower on the list compared to last year, but the season’s quality is just as high. If you’re a fan of cheesy, campy and absolutely ridiculous horror, you need to get onto Chucky ASAP. This second season delivered even more of the titular doll’s murderous mayhem, backed by a twist-filled story and tonnes of comedic jabs. Creator Don Mancini has his finger on the pulse, ensuring every episode incorporates a blend of creepy horror and complete nonsensical chaos. There’s fun surprises left, right and centre, with the “old” and “new” characters blending more than they ever have, and in increasingly intriguing ways. This franchise really is the gift that keeps on giving, so I hope it gets a third season because the desire for more Chucky is still alive.
Check out my full non-spoiler review of Chucky by clicking here.
#8 – House of the Dragon (Season 1)
When it comes to Westeros, HBO doesn’t miss a beat. House of the Dragon crashed onto the scene to prove anyone who initially doubted the series wrong. The writing across this entire season is top-notch, delving deep into the Targaryen family and extensively exploring the complex relationships within. My one gripe is the ‘time jump’ approach to the season’s first half, but other than that I have only praise for what it accomplishes. Contrasting the more action-packed approach of Game of Thrones, this series has a much slower pace, but one which builds more tension than the majority of GoT. Another reason this series is up here – the performances. From Milly Alcock and Matt Smith to Paddy Considine and Emma D’Arcy, there’s no shortage of riveting acts to marvel at in every scene.
Check out my full non-spoiler review of House of the Dragon by clicking here.
#7 – The Sandman (Season 1)
The Sandman is a Netflix series that hit out of nowhere, introducing an expansive new world and instantly guaranteeing itself a spot on this list. Blending a captivating narrative with stunning visuals, this series had me hooked from the first scene, hoping that it would never end. The pilot turned out to be one of my favourite individual episodes of the year, brilliantly laying the groundwork for what’s to come while also telling a nearly self-contained narrative in its entirety. There’s something to love about every episode, specifically with how they all feel very unique in tone and focus, while still feeling like part of the same series. It’s a world that’s easy to get lost in, and I can see this series having a long life assuming it doesn’t get prematurely axed by Netflix.
Check out my full non-spoiler review of The Sandman by clicking here.
#6 – The White Lotus (Season 2)
Moving up one spot compared to last year is the return of The White Lotus, Mike White’s quirky, dark and satirical drama set at a stunning Sicilian resort. Flawlessly-written and beautifully shot, this second season sends a new group of characters down a spiral of chaos. The ability to craft a thoroughly engaging arc for every character in this ensemble, and have them all exhibit great payoff is remarkable. No matter which absolutely bizarre character is being followed, there’s something thoroughly engaging to really latch onto in everyone’s arc – ensuring every minute of every episode has my full and uninterrupted attention. The satirical undertones and use of sex as a corruption method are what give this season its identity, two elements I loved seeing unfold. Draped in a thick layer of tension and accompanied by fantastic performances across the board, there’s no question The White Lotus should be on your watchlist.
Check out my full non-spoiler review of The White Lotus by clicking here.
#5 – What We Do in the Shadows (Season 4)
It’s not a top 10 list unless theres an appearance from What We Do in the Shadows, the series that continues to be the best comedy on TV year in, year out. The quick-witted dialogue and hilarious one-lines are unbeatable in quality and comedic timing. Every episode is a work of comedic perfection, jam-packed with so many laughs you cheeks will be in pain from grinning so much. This season also saw the introduction of baby Colin Robinson (Mark Proksch) who contributed to the funniest moments of the season, especially alongside Matt Berry’s Laszlo. If you’re yet to check out this series, do yourself a favour and bless yourself with the brilliance that is What We Do in the Shadows.
Check out my full non-spoiler review of What We Do in the Shadows by clicking here.
#4 – The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power (Season 1)
Say what you will about LotR: The Rings of Power, but week in, week out this was the most exciting and action-packed hour of TV I had to look forward to. As a huge LotR fan, this was way up the top of my most anticipated list, and it certainly did not disappoint. Grand in scope and enormous in scale, The Rings of Power thrust me right back into Middle Earth with every episode – it was like I never left. With a great blend of sweeping visual effects and gritty practical effects, this series impressed from a visual standpoint… but how about that story? I’m sorry to all the haters out there, but this season featured an expansive narrative that had me engaged regardless of whether we were following Galadriel, Arondir or Elendil, among others. Yes, the events of the finale are a bit rushed and could have been drawn out a little more, but the character-focused story was enough to keep me coming back. It’s not as action packed as one might expect for a LotR property, but when the action does hit, it hits BIG. I’ll just say that it you’re a fan who’s apprehensive to check this out because of the internet’s brutally unfair reaction, go ahead and check it out to form your own opinion – you could be missing out on a gem.
Check out my full non-spoiler review of The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power by clicking here.
#3 – Severance (Season 1)
After taking my sweet time to check out Severance, I’m thankful I checked it out in time for this list because it would have been a crime not to have it on here. If it’s not clear by this entry (and the next) I’m a huge fan of intelligent high-concept sci-fi, when it’s done right. Built off the back of a compelling concept, this is a slow-burn mystery with multiple layers to unpack within each passing episode. The tension is exponentially scaled up as the pieces fall together and secrets are gradually unearthed, all leading to a finale that had me genuinely awestruck. With stellar performances across the board, this is a fulfilling narrative that is guaranteed to have you hooked. Even if you have no other reason to check out Apple TV+, Severance is worth the price of subscription alone.
Check out my full non-spoiler review of Severance by clicking here.
#2 – Westworld (Season 4)
Well isn’t this just bittersweet. Of the 15 shows being mentioned here, four of them have been prematurely cancelled, including two axed as a result of David Zaslav’s criminal reign over HBO. Westworld has hovered at the top of my top 10 lists since it started, only topping it once with the release of its second season. This fourth season of Westworld delivered one of the series’ best seasons, capturing what made the third season great and what people loved about the first two seasons, bringing them together in yet another mind-bending narrative. With questions and mysteries aplenty, this season had me anticipating every episode while pondering and theorising about what could be unfolding beneath the surface. Lisa Joy and Jonathan Nolan reinvented the wheel with this season’s concept, pushing the boundaries of Westworld’s story to new heights. Despite being so close to seeing out their intended conclusion, we’ll never see how this story would’ve ended… we can only be thankful for the brilliance we did get.
Check out my spoiler-filled episode reviews of Westworld by clicking here.
#1 – Stranger Things 4
Well here we are, I don’t think there’s any surprises here when you consider the monstrous season of TV that Stranger Things blessed us with in 2022. That being said, this is the first time it has topped my list since the release of the first season, which says something. This is without a doubt the biggest and most ambitious Stranger Things season to date, really signalling the beginning of the end with a super-sized outing that literally crashed Netflix on release. The scope of the story is expanded on, and our beloved characters are put in more peril than they’ve ever encountered. It’s darker and grittier than ever, enhancing the tension and doubling down in the spine-chilling horror. On top of that, it’s also a deeply emotional season, especially with what goes down in Volume 2. Speaking of Volume 2 – it’s perfect. I couldn’t find a single lacklustre thing about this ending no matter how hard I tried. The Duffer brothers have really outdone themselves, effectively cementing this series as my all-time fave. If this is the quality of what they’re dishing out in the penultimate season, I can’t wait to see what they’ve cooked up for their final bout.
Check out my full non-spoiler review of Stranger Things 4: Vol. 1 by clicking here.
Check out my full SPOILER review of Stranger Things 4: Vol. 1 by clicking here.
Check out my full SPOILER review of Stranger Things 4: Vol. 2 by clicking here.
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