2022 was another year chock-full of stellar TV shows—from the return of Emmy-winning series like Abbott Elementary and The White Lotus, to brand-new titles that we couldn't stop talking about, like Severance and Heartstopper. Whether it was an intimate look into the intensity of a Chicago kitchen or a day-to-day portrait of a South Korean law firm, these were the top 10 shows of 2022 (unranked) that dominated our screen time and our conversations.
The Top 10 Shows of 2022, According to PureWow’s Editors
Quinta Brunson's uproariously funny ABC sitcom returned this past September after nabbing three Emmy Awards, and the laughs have been just as plentiful. From Ava's (Janelle James) clever one-liners to Gregory's (Tyler James Williams) hilarious hushed asides, there's never a boring moment at Willard R. Abbott Elementary School, and it certainly doesn't feel like homework to sit down with this fabulous ensemble every week.
2. Bad Sisters
From the mind of Sharon Horgan (Catastrophe), Dave Finkel (New Girl) and Brett Baer (30 Rock), this Irish black comedy on Apple TV+ offers a Knives Out-style murder mystery and a fiercely talented cast led by Horgan, Anne-Marie Duff, Eva Birthistle and more. What happens when a group of sisters get accused of murdering their brother-in-law? Well, plenty of drama and way more laughs than you might expect.
3. The Bear
Jeremy Allen White (who you might recognize as “Lip” from Shameless) leads this intense new FX series as Carmy, a world-renowned chef who takes over a sandwich shop in Chicago after his brother's untimely death. And while Carmy may have worked at some of the best restaurants in the world, he's fully unprepared for the chaos that is served at this local joint. With fast-paced dialogue, nuanced character portraits and finely-tuned details, we've never seen the kitchen from this perspective (and some of these scenes would even have Gordon Ramsay shaking in his boots).
4. Derry Girls
Viewers had to say goodbye to their favorite troupe of ’90s misfits, as Derry Girls aired its third and final season this year (which is now available to stream on Netflix). But, fortunately for us, these Derry girls (and one boy), went out with a bang—from excursions to *seemingly* haunted houses to Spice Girl-inspired performances. We laughed, we screamed and we even cried a little throughout these seven final episodes.
There have been so many shows about lawyers that it's getting hard to count, but the uplifting Extraordinary Attorney Woo offered something fresh to the world of courtroom dramas. In this series, we follow the brainy Woo Young-woo, a newbie attorney on the autism spectrum who brings her talents to a major firm and handles different cases in each episode. Thanks to its depictions of friendship, office life and romance, this South Korean series was one of the most heartwarming watches of the year.
Speaking of heartwarming, you'd be hard-pressed to find someone who wasn't charmed by Heartstopper. This Netflix original, based on a popular webcomic of the same name, follows two high school-aged boys whose friendship quickly grows into a tender romance. The premise may sound simple, but that's because it is—this show spotlights those small moments that make us fall in love and the rush of falling head-over-heels for the first time. Better yet, it shows young people figuring out their sexuality without being another “tragic gay love story.”
When you follow in the footsteps of one of the biggest TV shows of all time (aka Game of Thrones), there's a whole lot of pressure, and HBO knew the stakes when they produced House of the Dragon...but their efforts certainly paid off. Set nearly 200 years before the events of GoT, this prequel series proved that George R. R. Martin's fictional world still has plenty of drama (and shocking surprises) left to offer, and it was a good sign, given that HBO already has multiple other spinoffs in the works.
Creator Dan Erickson crafted one of the most chilling shows of the year with Severance, an Apple TV+ psychological thriller about a corporation that bifurcates, or “severs,” their workers' minds, so that they have no memory of their workday once the leave the office, and no memory of their life when they're on the clock. With an all-star cast, including Parks and Rec's Adam Scott and Medium's Patricia Arquette, as well as pitch-perfect direction from Ben Stiller (yes, that Ben Stiller), this series had us on the edge of our seats for every minute. And don't even get us started on that cliffhanger season finale (thank goodness it's already been renewed for season 2).
Mindy Kaling is on a hot streak right now, with beloved comedies like Never Have I Ever only continuing to win over new viewers, and highly-anticipated releases on the way, like the upcoming Velma. However, if we had to choose one series to highlight this year from the Office alum, it would have to be The Sex Lives of College Girls, which returned for its second season this November. In this refreshingly realistic depiction of college, we follow four totally different (but all hilarious) young women as they navigate friendship, careers, social spheres (and of course, sex) at a prestigious liberal arts college.
10. The White Lotus
After that headline-grabbing first season (and its equally headline-grabbing Emmys sweep), The White Lotus had a lot to live up to with its second season—which transports viewers to an entirely new tropical setting (Sicily, Italy) and brings a totally new ensemble cast (plus, the fabulous Jennifer Coolidge). However, we were just as obsessed this time around, thanks to even more twisty plotlines, sexy visuals and jaw-dropping moments (plus, the addition of adored stars like Aubrey Plaza). When that season finale premieres, you can bet we'll have our eyes glued to the screen.
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