30 best TV shows of 2022 on Netflix, Hulu, HBO Max, Apple TV Plus and more

Adam Scott, Zach Cherry, John Turturro and Britt Lower in Severance
(Image credit: Apple TV Plus)

Ever year seems like the absolute peak of Peak TV, yet the mountain keeps going up and up. But 2022 might truly be the peak as far as quality goes. When we sat down to determine the best TV shows of 2022, quite a bit of indecision followed. Polite arguments. Some teeth gnashing and maybe even a few tears. We drew up the list, ordered and re-ordered, slashed, doubted, and questioned the very nature of television. 

Finally, we arrived at this set of 30 excellent TV shows that run the gamut — from sci-fi thrillers to witty comedies to provocative epics. This year saw Apple TV Plus quietly become a powerhouse, going well beyond Ted Lasso with shows like Severance, Pachinko, For All Mankind, Bad Sisters, Black Bird, The After Party and Slow Horses.

Netflix, which has had a rough year financially and creatively, has just one entry on our list. Meanwhile, HBO and HBO Max combined to keep the crown with eight entries, including the Game of Thrones prequel House of the Dragon.

Plenty of shows were enjoyable and approached greatness, but had a few major weaknesses. And unfortunately, we couldn't see everything because, well, there's just too much TV! So, some of your favorites may have missed the mark.

So, folks, let's dive into the best shows of 2022!

30. Atlanta seasons 3 and 4 (FX)

(L-R): Donald Glover as Earn Marks, Brian Tyree Henry as Alfred "Paper Boy" Miles in Atlanta

(Image credit: Coco Olakunle/FX)

Atlanta seasons 3 and 4 gave us everything we could have asked for, but sometimes it felt like too much. The highly anticipated third season, which saw Earn (Donald Glover), Al (Brian Tyree Henry), Darius (LaKeith Stanfield) and even Van (Zazie Beetz) roll though Europe, felt almost too-out there. And we bet showrunner Donald Glover would say "that's the point." 

That said, Atlanta season 4 ended the series perfectly. Earn's slow maturation had the perfect detour into madness with the revenge plot in "The Homeliest Little Horse." Al's paranoia was brought to a fever-pitch in "Crank Dat Killer," before "Andrew Wyeth. Alfred's World," showed what happens when you follow your gut. And while Glover's surrealist takes on the Black experience continued to reap rewards with the bookending episodes ("The Most Atlanta" and "It Was All a Dream"), "Snipe Hunt" gave Atlanta the Earn and Van episode it needed. Oh, and somewhere along the way, "The Goof Who Sat By the Door" proved that Glover can create magic that nobody asked for, with a alternate history of A Goofy Movie. – Henry T. Casey

Watch it on Hulu (opens in new tab)

29. Peacemaker (HBO Max)

John Cena in Peacemaker on HBO Max

(Image credit: HBO Max)

Of all the members of The Suicde Squad worthy of a spin-off, the toxic dude-bro version of Captain America would not be top of my list. But Peacemaker is the prime example of why I don’t make these decisions. Not only is it a great show, it’s probably the best live action show to come out of DC or Marvel for a long time. It also brought some much-needed levity to the DCEU, and in the usual over-the-top fashion James Gunn is best known for. With scenes that would make TV censors balk, this is definitely one of the shows that puts the “HBO” in HBO Max. – Tom Pritchard

Watch it on HBO Max (opens in new tab)

28. Euphoria season 2 (HBO Max)

(L to R) Sydney Sweeney, Alexa Demie and Barbie Ferreira in the hallway scene in Euphoria season 2

(Image credit: Eddy Chen/HBO)

Euphoria isn't great, prestigious TV. But season 2 raised the bar for the HBO series that was already setting the standard for drama-rich car crash scripted programming. This second season saw the tension get super-sized, not only in the chaotic climax, but during the beginning when Cassie (Sydney Sweeney) had some of the most suspenseful scenes in any show outside Better Call Saul this season. That said, Zendaya's likely to win an Emmy off of just her performance in Stand Still Like the Hummingbird, where her character Rue has the worst reaction to an intervention we've seen in quite some time. — HTC

Watch it on HBO Max (opens in new tab)

27. Slow Horses (Apple TV Plus)

(L to R) Kristin Scott Thomas as Diana Taverner and Gary Oldman as Jackson Lamb stand on steps in conversation in Slow Horses

(Image credit: Apple TV Plus)

“British spy-thriller starring Gary Oldman” should be enough to sell anyone on Slow Horses. This is the role he was born to play, and you can feel it the second he comes on the screen. Everything else is secondary, though thankfully everything else is also very good. Jack Lowden’s River Cartwright is a character that could be incredibly one-note but there is surprising depth and complexity to the character.

The other great thing about Slow Horses is that it’s so easy to consume. There’s only 12 episodes in seasons 1 and 2, but you never feel like the story is rushed or incomplete. It plays like a miniseries but by the end you’re thankful that you’re going to get more. Fans will definitely get more by the way; the series is renewed through season 4. – Malcolm McMillan

Watch on Apple TV Plus (opens in new tab)

26. The Afterparty (Apple TV Plus)

Tiffany Haddish as Detective Danner and John Early as Detective Culp in The Afterparty

(Image credit: Apple TV Plus)

Equal parts comedy, whodunit and Rashomon, The Afterparty (which came to us from Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse producer Christopher Miller) is one of the better Apple TV Plus shows that didn't get Severance-level buzz around it. In each episode, Detective Danner (Tiffany Haddish) explores the mysterious death of an annoying classmate at a high school reunion afterparty. Audiences are going to root for Aniq (Sam Richardson) to be innocent, as his story is more about his crush on classmate Zoë (Zoë Chao). But with each episode — and each is told in a different style, from romcom to action movie, and from musical to animated nightmare fuel) — we keep getting more and more reason to not think its the other characters either. – HTC

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25. Only Murders In the Building season 2 (Hulu) 

Martin Short, Steve Martin and Selena Gomez in Only Murders in the Building season 2

(Image credit: Hulu)

The team-up of Steve Martin, Martin Short and Selena Gomez remains as weirdly magical in the second season as it was in the first. Their new case, board president Bunny Colvin’s murder, is a bit less absorbing, but acts as a great canvas for enriching the characters and their relationships. The show digs deeper into their backgrounds, exploring Charles’ complicated feelings about his father, Oliver’s connection to his son and Mabel’s traumatic childhood. Along with the main trio’s always-sharp performances, we’re treated to delightful cameos by Shirley MacLaine, Amy Schumer, and Cara Delevingne, as well as welcome reprises from Amy Ryan, Nathan Lane, James Caverly, Da’Vine Joy Randolph and Tina Fey. Whodunnit? Who cares, when you’ve got such a terrific cast playing off each other. - KW

Watch it on Hulu (opens in new tab)

24. Hacks season 2 (HBO Max)

Jean Smart as Deborah Vance and Hannah Einbinder as Ava Daniels in Hacks

(Image credit: HBO Max)

The crackling chemistry between Jean Smart and Hannah Einbinder doesn’t wane a bit in the second season. They take their buddy show on the road, as Deborah tries out new material in venues across the country. Ava tries to write jokes, while waiting with bated breath for the revelation of her tell-all email about Deborah’s diva-ish behavior. When it does come out, their partnership becomes even pricklier. Yet, the journey — including a detour to a lesbian cruise and a rather humiliating county fair — leads Deborah to confront her often ruthless actions and selfish disregard for other people. It leads to a breakthrough in which the queen of takedowns realizes she should take herself down. - KW

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23. She-Hulk (Disney Plus)

Mark Ruffalo as Smart Hulk / Bruce Banner and Tatiana Maslany as Jennifer "Jen" Walters/She-Hulk in Marvel Studios' She-Hulk: Attorney at Law

(Image credit: Marvel Studios)

The MCU’s first sitcom, She-Hulk, was a smash hit from its first episode. In it, Tatiana Maslany brought a bit of relatability to the MCU, something that is quite rare (we thank Iman Vellani for doing the same in Ms. Marvel). Here, the Orphan Black star is playing Jennifer Walters, a lawyer who just so happens to be Bruce Banner’s cousin.
After an incident, she gets Hulk powers of her own. And while these great powers do not come with great responsibility just yet, Jen’s life is basically shattered by a newfound lack of privacy. Amazingly meta to the end, She-Hulk season 1's finale made us need a She-Hulk season 2. – HTC

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22. Black Bird (Apple TV Plus)

Paul Walter Hauser as Larry Hall and Taron Edgerton as Jimmy Keene in Black Bird

(Image credit: Apple TV Plus)

True crime dramas are a dime a dozen these days, but Black Bird is elevated by masterful performances from Taron Egerton, Paul Walter Hauser and the late, great Ray Liotta. The true crimes at the heart of the limited series were perpetrated by suspected serial killer Larry Hall (Hauser), though the protagonist is Jimmy Keene (Egerton), a former high school football hero turned drug dealer. Caught and convicted, he’s sentenced to 10 years behind bars. Then, the FBI offers him a deal: Jimmy can walk free if he can convince Larry to confess to murdering a string of girls. It’s an incredibly dangerous gambit, as he not only faces threats from other inmates but the mental toll of befriending a psychopath. Black Bird is a provocative interrogation of the misogyny and machismo that underpins so many crimes. - KW

Watch on Apple TV Plus (opens in new tab)

21. A League of Their Own (Prime Video)

(L to R) Melanie Field (Jo), Abbi Jacobson (Carson; Co-Creator and Executive Producer), D'Arcy Carden (Greta) stand in awe in Prime Video's A League of Their Own

(Image credit: Nicola Goode/Prime Video)

We're not sure who asked for a reboot of Penny Marshall's classic film, but we're incredibly happy that they did. Star and co-creator Abbi Jacobson (Broad City) has already dealt with some backlash to how the show differs from the original. While Prime Video's A League of Their Own breaks out with inclusion of queer characters and actual roles for characters of color (some from column A are also in column B), this series isn't just worthy of your binge-watch due to its diversity. 

In eight episodes, Jacobson creates and fills out a roster of sluggers and pitchers who will become some of your favorite characters of the year. While she, Chanté Adams and D'Arcy Carden excel in leading roles, A League of Their Own has stars up and down the lineup, including Kelly McCormack, whose Jess is a standout. – HTC

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20. The Dropout (Hulu)

Elizabeth Holmes (played by Amanda Seyfried) stares into the distance in episode 7 of The Dropout

(Image credit: Beth Dubber/Hulu)

A fictional take on the Elizabeth Holmes saga seemed unnecessary. It had been so thoroughly covered in the news and in Alex Gibney’s excellent documentary The Inventor. Yet, the Hulu limited series is worth watching simply for Amanda Seyfried’s chilling, eerie performance as Holmes. She makes a convincing transformation from an ambitious college student who idolizes Steve Jobs to the deep-voiced, cutthroat CEO with billion dollar signs in her eyes. Seyfried is nearly matched by Naveen Andrews as Holmes’ lover and business partner, Sunny Balwani. While The Dropout doesn’t necessarily reveal any new information, it puts all the known details together in a fascinating way. The ‘00s-era needle drops, from Missy Elliott to Katy Perry, deserve a special mention of their own. - KW

Watch it on Hulu (opens in new tab)

19. Bad Sisters (Apple TV Plus)

Sharon Horgan, Eve Hewson, Eva Birthistle and Sarah Greene in Bad Sisters

(Image credit: Apple)

Wine-swilling women, a dead husband, suspicious investigators, a coastal town and flashbacks to the past? No, we're not talking about Big Little Lies, but rather the wickedly funny satirical murder mystery from Sharon Horgan (Catastrophe). 

After the early deaths of their parents, the five Garvey sisters have always promised to always look out for each other. When Grace (Anne-Marie Duff) suffers abuse from her cruel husband John Paul (Claes Bang), the other four decide to protect her — by killing him. It starts off as a joke but soon turns serious as their dear brother-in-law begins to torment them individually. After John Paul winds up dead, a suspicious life insurance agent begins to snoop around and ask questions - KW

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18. The Boys season 3 (Prime Video)

Antony Starr as Homelander, smiles uneasily, in The Boys

(Image credit: Prime Video)

If there’s ever a show that proves superhero content isn’t all the same, it’s The Boys. The titular Boys’ third outing pushed this series to new heights with new Supes, new twists, and satire so biting that it took some people a while to figure out they were the butt of the joke. Things can go a little far at times, and the writing comes a little close to home, but it just means The Boys is as relevant and entertaining as ever. Whether you’re in it for the political talk, superhero bashing or Billy Butcher’s colorful language, The Boys’ third season managed to tick all the right boxes. – TP

Watch it on Prime Video (opens in new tab)

17. What We Do in the Shadows Season 4 (FX)

Kayvan Novak as Nandor wipes Harvey Guillén as Nandor in What We Do In The Shadows season 4 episode 1 "Reunited"

(Image credit: Russ Martin/FX)

The best mockumentary on TV came back with a couple of twists. Not only is energy vampire Colin Robinson (Mark Proksch) reborn as a child, but Laszlo (Matt Berry) is trying to raise him as an interesting person — to avoid him becoming another boring Colin Robinson. The other big change is that Nadja is running Staten Island's hottest nightclub, though she's already gone through labor disputes and has an even bigger problem right under her fangs that she is seemingly oblivious to. Oh, and Nandor (Kayvan Novak) is trying to get married, which may not be a total fail because he has a wish-granting djinn (not a genie, don't be silly). 

An amazing season finale reveal, plus that home-remodeling episode helped WWDITS stay strong to the end of its latest season. – HTC

Watch it on Hulu (opens in new tab) 

16. Our Flag Means Death (HBO Max)

Rhys Darby as Stede Bonnet and Taika Waiiti as Captian Blackbeard in Our Flag Means Death

(Image credit: Aaron Epstein/HBO Max)

A "gentleman pirate" is such a contradiction in terms that you'll wonder where Stede Bonnet (Rhys Darby) found it. Either way, Stede's vision of being a respectable pirate who doesn't do bad things doesn't go particularly well. His crew doesn't really know what to do with his polite personality, and they only really find their way once they come across Ed (Taika Waititi), a fellow pirate who Stede gets along with swimmingly. Ed, though, just so happens to be the famed pirate Blackbeard. But Our Flag Means Death is about more than just its two stars, Stede's crew of misfit pirates are all lovable in their own ways – HTC

Watch it on HBO Max (opens in new tab)

15. Stranger Things 4 (Netflix)

Millie Bobby Brown as Eleven in STRANGER THINGS 4

(Image credit: Netflix)

Stranger Things 4 hit hard, except when it veered off the map to Russia. While our staff members have plenty of opinions about the season, one thing we can agree on is that Stranger Things' latest season did right with the sense of spectacle. While some plots may have felt bloated and unnecessary (we're looking at you, Mike Wheeler), Stranger Things 4 felt big at a time when summer blockbusters (outside of Top Gun: Maverick and RRR) all hit the same, boring Marvel notes. For a single example, consider the brilliance that is Eddie Munson, a nearly-instantly beloved character that the Duffers fabricated out of D&D speak and Metallica riffs.

Stranger Things season 4 also broke our hearts on multiple occasions, and offered reunions that hit us right in the feels. Looking at the show from a macro level, it certainly feels like it took too long for us to meet Vecna and have a stronger understanding of how Hawkins became the focal point of the possible apocalypse. Still, the ends arguably justified the means. Stranger Things season 5 is probably the most anticipated series finale I can remember, and I really hope more of my favorites don't die running up that hill.— HTC

Watch it on Netflix (opens in new tab)

14. The White Lotus season 2 (HBO)

Jennifer Coolidge in White Lotus season 2

(Image credit: HBO)

The scenery may be beautiful and the atmosphere one of relaxation, but The White Lotus is as much about death and destruction as the next show on this list, House of the Dragon. The characters may be modern, civilized, rich and sophisticated, but they are as cutthroat and manipulate as any Targaryen. 

Season 2 brings the action to Sicily, where guests are checked into the luxurious resort by uptight manager Valentina (Sabrina Impacciatore). They include one holdover from season 1, Jennifer Coolidge’s kooky Tanya McQuoid, who arrives with assistant Portia (Haley Lu Richardson) in tow. This installment, like the last one, starts with a dead body and flashes back to reveal what happened and to whom (and by whom). The finale airs in a few days and we have our theories. Whatever the outcome, we undoubtedly will be screaming. - KW

Watch it on HBO Max (opens in new tab)

13. House of the Dragon (HBO)

Milly Alcock as Rhaenyra, Paddy Considine as Viserys in House of the Dragon

(Image credit: HBO Max)

On Game of Thrones, Tyrion once said, "A wise man once said a true history of the world is a history of great conversations in elegant rooms." And while that series eventually became known for jaw-dropping scenes of war and fire-breathing dragons, what initially captivated fans were the conversations — battles of words, not swords.

House of the Dragon had a lot riding on it as a follow-up to HBO's biggest series of all time and one of the last pieces of monoculture. It managed to fly high, thanks to a focus on conversations. Not to say the dragon stuff wasn't thrilling or impressive. But it was more interesting to see the various maneuverings among the Targaryens, particularly if they involved Matt Smith as unpredictable Prince Daemon.  - KW

Watch it on HBO Max (opens in new tab)

12. Barry season 3 (HBO Max)

Bill Hader as Barry, reading a note, in Barry

(Image credit: Merrick Morton / HBO)

You may never laugh as much as you do while watching season 3 of Barry. I couldn’t help myself at times, it’s just that good. Sometimes, you even find yourself laughing because you cannot believe that it’s as good as it is. There are brilliantly executed set pieces, complex storylines; it’s both Bill Hader at his best and at his most unhinged.

As good as Hader is, the supporting cast is integral to what makes Barry one of the best shows on TV any time it drops a season. Henry Winkler as Geen Cousineau takes his character to a whole new level this season, and frankly dominates the screen at times (but in a good way). Plus, in season 3 we saw new sides of Anthony Carrigan’s NoHo Hank, and that on its own is reason enough to watch. – MM

Watch it on HBO Max (opens in new tab)

11. Yellowjackets (Showtime)

The cast of Yellowjackets surrounding Misty

(Image credit: Kailey Schwerman / Showtime)

Part survival drama, part mystery box thriller, part coming-of-age story, Yellowjackets developed an ardent cult following who enjoyed trading theories online about what the hell was going on (it me). The Showtime series follows a high school girls soccer team stranded in the remote Canadian wilderness after a plane crash. Flashbacks chronicle the harrowing 19 months they endured; in the present, the survivors still grapple with the dark events that happened out there. Think Lord of the Flies, but with the extra viciousness of teen girls. Melanie Lynskey and Christina Ricci lead the dynamite cast portraying the characters in both timelines. And the propulsive ‘90s soundtrack is the icing on the cake (don’t ask what it’s made of). - KW

Watch it on Showtime (opens in new tab)

10. Abbott Elementary (Hulu)

The cast of Abbott Elementary outside, looking up at a sign

(Image credit: ABC)

Quinta Brunson does it all on Abbott Elementary, the hilarious mockumentary series she created, executive produces, writes for and stars in. And that's also the point of Abbott Elementary, where she plays the overly-optimistic teacher Janine Teagues who is struggling to keep things working right for her students at the titular chronically underfunded Philadelphia school. If only her principal cared more about TikTok or the veteran teachers didn't seem so checked out. 

Oh, and when Janine isn't trying to get the one teacher she truly respects to take her seriously, she is dealing with her not-so-great love life, stretched finances and a bit of grass-is-greener syndrome.  – HTC

Watch it on Hulu (opens in new tab)

9. For All Mankind season 3 (Apple TV Plus)

An astronaut on Mars with sand falling off them in For All Mankind poster art

(Image credit: Apple TV Plus)

One of the best shows you’re probably not watching blasts off for another heart-pounding season of space thrills and Earth-bound intrigue. The alternate timeline, set off by the Soviets beating the Americans to the moon, leaps to 1995 when NASA is determined to win the race to Mars. This time, a third rival is in the mix — the private company Helios, founded by charismatic visionary Dev Ayesa (Edi Gathegi). 

The competing missions are juxtaposed against social upheaval at home: conspiracy theorists, protesters, and the potential outing of the president. As usual, the storylines balance high-stakes action, global politicking, and interpersonal conflicts. The pieces are carefully maneuvered into place for yet another of the show’s signature breathtaking, explosive finales and time jumps. For All Mankind has truly rocketed off the launchpad, but it’s not too late to hop on board. - KW

Watch it on Apple TV Plus (opens in new tab)

8. Station Eleven (HBO Max)

Philippine Velge, Mackenzie Davis in Station Eleven

(Image credit: HBO Max)

Station Eleven probably suffered a little from being a show about a flu-like pandemic, during a flu-like pandemic. That’s not the show’s fault though. The source material is Emily St. John Mandel’s novel of the same name, and that came out in 2014. In short, I promise this isn’t a COVID show, it’s just coincidentally the tale of a pandemic that causes the collapse of global civilization.

But that is almost irrelevant. The story is really about what happens after the collapse of society, rather than the pandemic itself. It’s about what forms from the ashes and how those people connect with each other through shared trauma. Luckily, the cast is perfect for such a character-driven show. Himesh Patel garnered an Emmy nomination for his performance, but Mackenzie Davis is also brilliant. This may be the best show from 2022 — don’t miss out. – MM

Watch it on HBO Max (opens in new tab)

7. Reservation Dogs (Hulu)

The cast of Reservation Dogs in season 2 poster art

(Image credit: FX)

This criminally little-seen gem excels on so many fronts. First, it can be outright, laugh-out-loud funny. It can also be moving and heartbreaking, particularly on the themes of grief and hopelessness. And Reservation Dogs is an absorbing portrait of the underrepresented indigenous community. 

Season 2 features fewer hijinks, but the same deadpan humor and sensitive nuance as it continues to follow teens Bear (D’Pharoah Woon-A-Tai), Elora (Devery Jacobs), Willie Jack (Paulina Alexis) and Cheese (Lane Factor) come of age. They are all still processing Daniel’s death in their own ways. For Bear, that means getting a job. Meanwhile, on her road trip to California, Elora discovers life off the reservation is as tough as life on it. Growing up is hard to do and Reservation Dogs captures it exquisitely. - KW

Watch it on Hulu (opens in new tab)

6. Pachinko (Apple TV Plus)

The cast of Pachinko in the poster

(Image credit: Apple)

A sweeping, time-hopping historical epic with war, romance and cultural clashes sounds like something that would win all the awards (1996’s The English Patient nearly swept the Oscars). Yet, Pachinko earned just one Emmy nomination, for its joyful title sequence. The underrated drama adapts Min Jin Lee's bestselling novel chronicling a Korean immigrant family across four generations. Set in multiple timeframes and locations, the story begins during Japan’s occupation of Korea in the 1920 when teen Sunja (Kim Min-ha) falls into a reckless romance that ultimately takes her to Osaka. Decades later, in 1989, the older Sunja (Youn Yuh-Jung) reflects on her tumultuous life. The sterling cast, along with the beautiful production and direction, do justice to the book as it delves into themes of racism, immigration, class and identity. - KW

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5. The Rehearsal (HBO Max)

Nathan Fielder watches a monitor with 16 closed caption camera feeds inside of the home he's living in, in The Rehearsal.

(Image credit: HBO)

Nathan Fielder's latest and greatest (at least in terms of scale and size) foray into television is a show that I'd hate to spoil by over-explaining. So, I'll just say this: The Rehearsal begins with Nathan Fielder looking to help people conquer their fears. His plan? Well, Fielder wants to repetitively rehearse and plan out the exact moments and things that his guests will do or say. And he accomplishes these rehearsals in the most mind-bending of ways. Soon, you'll meet Angela and the kids. A couple episodes later, you'll discover The Fielder Method, and you might question everything you see.

The Rehearsal ended as astonishingly as it arrived, earning a spot high on our list of the best shows of 2022 – HTC

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4. The Bear (Hulu)

Jeremy Allen White as Carmy in The Bear

(Image credit: FX)

The high-octane dramedy set in a Chicago restaurant provides an adrenaline rush like no other. Knives flash, pots boil, pans sizzle, tickets print, cooks curse — but somehow it’s you, at home, sweating. The protagonist, a rising star chef named Carmine (Jeremy Allen White), has inspired many thirsty memes about his tattooed arms and a sleepy gaze that makes admirers call out “Yes, chef!” 

But neither sex nor romance are part of this show’s recipe. Instead, it’s a portrait of grief amidst stress as Carmine takes over his dead brother’s sandwich shop. Used to the world of fine dining, he barely avoids melting down while dealing with recalcitrant employees, money problems and health code violations. With the help of ambitious young cook Sydney (Ayo Edebiri), he may be able to turn the place around. Or his plans could go up in flames. - KW

Watch it on Hulu (opens in new tab)

3. Better Call Saul season 6 (AMC, AMC Plus)

Bob Odenkirk as Saul Goodman in Better Call Saul

(Image credit: Greg Lewis/AMC/Sony Pictures Television)

One of the best shows of the entire last decade or so has come to an end. Propelled to greatness thanks to stellar performances from Bob Odenkirk and Rhea Seehorn, Better Call Saul is the rare spinoff that is better than the hit it spun out of. 

This final year, though, gave us cameos from the past that were phenomenal and made sense (rather than the gimmicks other shows deploy to boost flagging ratings), and the late-series addition of Carol Burnett as Marion proved to be a perfect fit, providing excellent symmetrical storytelling to match the early years of Better Call Saul. I don't really put much stock in awards, but if Better Call Saul doesn't run the table in its last shot, someone better call Kim Wexler to fix that injustice. – HTC

Watch it on AMC Plus (opens in new tab)

2. Andor (Disney Plus)

Diego Luna as Cassian Andor in Andor

(Image credit: Lucasfilm)

Star Wars, as a franchise, has grown tired. No movie has hit theaters since 2019's disappointing Rise of Skywalker. Aside from the Baby Yoda-propelled Mandalorian, Disney Plus' live-action Star Wars series have been thoroughly mediocre. Book of Boba Fett and Obi-Wan Kenobi? Could've been an email.

Like the latter titles, Andor seemed wholly unnecessary, a prequel to a prequel. Yet, Rogue One was fantastic — a grim, gritty war movie that painted the costs of rebellion in stark light. Tony Gilroy brings that same realistic, grounded vibe to Andor, which is much more of an ensemble than its title indicates. Yes, we get insight into the background of Cassian Andor (Diego Luna), but the show excels for its masterful portrayal of the mundane operations of fascism. The characters are finely drawn, from the weary but determined rebel puppeteer Luthen Rael (Stellan Skarsgård) to steely Senator Mon Mothma (Genevieve O'Reilly) to ruthlessly ambitious security officer Dedra Meero (Denise Gough). Turns out the galaxy far, far away isn't much different from our small planet. - KW

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1. Severance (Apple TV Plus)

Adam Scott, Zach Cherry, John Turturro and Britt Lower in Severance

(Image credit: Apple TV Plus)

The idea of work-life balance is taken to a thrilling, chilling extreme in Severance. The Apple TV Plus series is part Black Mirror episode, part workplace comedy, part horror spectacle. A group of workers at the monolithic corporation Lumon Industries undergo an experimental procedure that severs their work selves from the rest of their lives. Once a chip has been implanted in their brains, the “innies” work hard, play never. Their “outties” are on perpetual vacation.

Severance excels as a mystery box show, with viewers left guessing (and theorizing on Reddit) as each episode peels back a layer only to raise even more questions. But it’s our favorite show of the past year for more than the puzzles. We’re invested in the people, from Adam Scott’s sad-sack middle manager Mark and rebellious newcomer Helly (Britt Lower) to Irving (John Turturro) and his charming forbidden romance with Burt (Christopher Walken). We need Severance season 2 immediately. - KW

Watch it on Apple TV Plus (opens in new tab)

Kelly Woo
Senior Writer

Kelly is a senior writer covering streaming media for Tom’s Guide, so basically, she watches TV for a living. Previously, she was a freelance entertainment writer for Yahoo, Vulture, TV Guide and other outlets. When she’s not watching TV and movies for work, she’s watching them for fun, seeing live music, writing songs, knitting and gardening.

With contributions from