🏆 2022 Tivies: TV Top Ten
It’s been too long. And I didn’t miss you.
Welcome back to a very delayed issue of Streaming Variability. While it’s been quite some time, not much has really come out worth talking about (in my humble opinion).
The only thing I feel worth a mention (and your time) was Season Three of South Side on HBO. Another great slew of episodes that came and went too fast.
Thankfully, January has a few shows in store for us that I’m quite excited to kick off the new year with.
Mindy Kaling’s Velma, an animated show based on the character from Scooby-Doo, drops it’s first two episodes this Thursday, Jan 12.
HBO follows that up with The Last of Us, based on the video game, and coming from the creators of Chernobyl, which will be the new Sunday must-watch, kicking off Jan 15.
Then to wrap the month, Poker Face, from Rian Johnson and starring Natasha Lyonne, drops four episodes Jan 26 on Peacock. And Apple follows that up on Jan 27 with the first two episodes of Shrinking, a new 30min comedy from Bill Lawrence (Scrubs, Cougar Town, Ted Lasso), Brett Goldstein (Ted Lasso), and Jason Segal (many things), who will also star alongside Harrison Ford.
Okay! Now that we’ve covered January, let’s get to the main event! The 2022 TV Tivies!
Brought to you by The Independent Variable, which will be hosting a slew of Tivies across Movies, Comics, and Music.
Before we get into the Top Ten, something new for The Independent Variable/Streaming Variability… Awards!
Best Actors: Bill Hader - Barry S3 and Jean Smart - Hacks S2
Best Episode: “Review” - The Bear S1E7
Best Characters: Cheese and Willie Jack played by Lane Factor and Paulina Alexis - Reservation Dogs S2
Best Duo: Deborah Vance and Ava played by Jean Smart and Hannah Einbinder - Hacks S2
Best Writing: Sharon Horgan / Brett Baer / Dave Finkel - Bad Sisters S1
Best Directing: Bill Hader / Alec Berg - Barry S3
Most Underrated: She-Hulk S1 and The Offer S1
And some honorable mentions that didn’t quite make the Top Ten:
Mo S1 (Netflix) - a wonderful spin-off from Ramy that overdelivers in that auteur 30min dramedy lane.
Peacemaker S1 (HBO) - talk about over delivering! Take an absolute zero and turn it into one of the best and most creative things on TV.
Irma Vep S1 (HBO) - the behind-the-scenes, meta, magical realism happening here is remarkable.
We Own This City S1 (HBO) - got to this late, but it should be mandatory viewing for all Americans. Master filmmaking and a true story that we as a society will inevitably learn nothing from.
Welcome to Chippendales S1 (Hulu) - was a bit surprised how good this ended up being and Murray Bartlett has cemented himself as a great actor. Between this, White Lotus, and Physical, he’s played three characters, who may share some similarities, in almost unrecognizable ways.
With all that out of the way, the Tivies Top Ten and Best Show of the Year…
Slow Horses S1/S2 (Apple)
I almost didn’t include this until I decided to cheat and combine the two seasons, both of which were released in 2022. The strength of the 12 episodes they put out was just too powerful to ignore. I look forward to as many seasons as they can pump out of this delightful spy thriller.
Winning Time S1 (HBO)
I’m a bit of a basketball fanatic, which made this hard not to include. There may have been better shows this year, but it doesn’t take much for me to like something when the NBA is involved. And Quincy Isaiah as Magic Johnson is a revelation.
The Boys S3 (Amazon)
This show continues to up the ante, getting crazier and crazier every season and I’m all for it. Antony Starr’s performance as Homelander is truly one of a kind and despite the show getting crazier, the heart at its core hasn’t wavered.
Hacks S2 (HBO)
Besides anything basketball related, the other surefire way to get my attention is the “behind-the-scenes” or shows about people in creative industries. Throw in Jean Smart and stand-up comedy and I’m hooked. While there may have been a slight dip compared to the first season, I still loved the tension they were able to build and the direction they’ve taken things.
The Sandman S1 (Netflix)
In preparation for the show I read the first two trades and was stunned how true the show felt to the comics. The production and set design were on another level compared to most Netflix shows. As far as I’m concerned, Neil Gaiman is 2/2 when he’s heavily involved in his adaptations between this and Good Omens (plus I enjoyed American Gods too).
Bad Sisters S1 (Apple)
A wholly delightful surprise for me. Sharon Horgan needs to write all the shows. There’s a dark, melancholic humor she captures both here and in Catastrophe I love. It’s almost Sorkin-esque in the way you can hear her voice in the dialogue while still being true to her characters.
Reservation Dogs S2 (Hulu)
Wow. I did not expect this. After the first couple episodes, I wrote that I expected this to be in my honorable mentions. Not quite good enough to crack the top ten, but still worthy of a mention. And then the second half of the season happened and there was no way I could leave it out of the top five, let alone top ten. The character studies this season were absolutely beautiful and has some of the best characters in any medium.
The Bear S1 (Hulu)
So I mentioned earlier that two surefire ways to get my attention were basketball and behind-the-scenes. Well I guess we should add my home city of Chicago to that list as well. I’ve seen some people nitpick some details of how the city is portrayed, but those people are stupid (no offense). Every episode had me looking up flights to go home for a beef. And obviously episode 7 was a chaotic masterpiece.
Severance S1 (Apple)
Vibes. That’s really all that needs to be said about Severance. Ben Stiller was this close to winning Best Director from me this year. Every detail of the offices felt meticulous and, I mean, the cast! Come on! Adam Scott, John Turturo, Christopher Walken, Patricia Arquette, Michael Chernus, and Zach Cherry plus the new-to-me Britt Lower and Tramell Tillman who not only held their own, but absolutely delivered. The money was absolutely on the screen in every respect. This is the best thing Apple has released adding to an already pretty impressive catalog for its young service.
And the Tivie Show of the Year award goes to… 🥁
Barry S3 (HBO)
Some how, some way, they took one of the best shows on television and made it even better. And talk about building tension! Bill Hader has tapped into something special and it shows given he took over directing duties for five of this seasons eight episodes, and is set to direct the entirety of season four. E6,“710N”, was also my runner up for best episode of the year. This sort of fits into that as auteur 30min dramedy lane, but cranked up to 11.
Disclaimer: there are quite a few shows I’ve yet to finish… including, but not limited to:
The Rehearsal S1
Black Bird S1
Whelp, that’s it. Happy to be back.