Our 2022 Midyear Report continues with a look at our favorite TV series of 2022 so far.
The most exciting thing about Consequence‘s picks for the best TV of 2022 so far is how weird it all is. Almost every single one of these series played gleefully with genre and form, challenged our assumptions about events and people we thought we knew everything about, and exposed us to brave new wild worlds, from the antiseptic halls of a soulless corporation to the crumbling walls of a struggling Philadelphia public school to the wide-open spaces of the Wyoming countryside.
It’s an eclectic bunch of series, though in some ways they have a lot in common. Not just the ways they push boundaries, though that certainly happens. (Can you guess now which three shows are united in their depiction of copious full-frontal male nudity? The answer might surprise you!) But they’re all united by a deep interest in humanity — who we are as people, how we use stories to connect with each other, how our best moments and worst moments can make us stronger. There may be a lot of wang on this list. But there’s also a lot of beauty.
— Liz Shannon Miller
Senior Entertainment Editor
Improv shows can be dicey propositions, but there’s something magical about the format to Netflix’s Murderville — in which Will Arnett’s Detective Seattle takes a celebrity guest through a scripted murder mystery for which their guest does not know the script. Some celebs (Annie Murphy, Ken Jeong) get hung out to dry, but the Marshawn Lynch, Sharon Stone, and Kumail Nanjiani episodes feel like breathtaking comic high-wire acts. — Clint Worthington
Spinning out of one The Suicide Squad in the care of director/writer James Gunn, Peacemaker goes harder and delivers better than 95% of the cinematic DCEU. With loveably unlikeable characters, fantastic turns from John Cena and Danielle Brooks, and the balls to reckon with the fact that this extinction-level threat exists in the world of the Justice League, the show surprised as one of the most fun and heartfelt serial superhero adventures around. Plus, that opening sequence alone could top a list of best TV moments of the year. — Ben Kaye
18. Pam and Tommy
One of the year’s best docu-dramas so far was this wild, and at times, harrowing recount of Pamela Anderson and Tommy Lee’s sex tape leak in 1997. At a first impression, this is a show that can go horribly wrong; after all, this was pre-#MeToo Hollywood, a sad tale of sensationalism that continues to follow Anderson to this day (she refused to take part in this series).
But like director Craig Gillespie’s empathetic work on I, Tonya, Pam and Tommy seeks to demonstrate just how dehumanizing this experience was for Anderson, and the resulting show is a passionate and powerful look at misogyny in Hollywood. Sebastian Stan and Lily James are outstanding in Pam and Tommy, and the show succeeds the most at reframing Pamela Anderson’s storied career. — Paolo Ragusa
17. Hacks (Season 2)
Deborah Vance and Ava are back, they’re still kind of awful, they’re still absolutely self-absorbed, and they still desperately need one another. They’re also still never going to admit to any of that. Hacks continues to be riveting and impeccably acted, and Season 2 has one thing its predecessor did not — an absolutely unhinged Laurie Metcalf. — Mary Siroky
16. Outer Range
For a show whose premise hinges on a mysterious hole in the middle of a contested patch of pasture that might or might not lead to a parallel universe (and might or might not be a good way to hide the drunken dick of a neighbor your son accidentally murdered), Outer Range gets shockingly close to what everyday life in modern-day Wyoming really feels like: A bit isolated, a bit weird, a bit full of gruff old white men whose sense of self is entirely wrapped up in claims on land that was stolen from the Shoshone and Arapaho in the first place. But also, you know, incredibly beautiful. There aren’t a lot of answers to the (w)hole mystery in Season 1, but you can only imagine what swings might be yet to come. — Alexis Gunderson