In a television landscape defined by overabundance, the Paste TV editors and writers went above and beyond in 2022 to cover everything we possibly could. Our goal has always been, and remains, to amplify great series with thoughtful commentary, while never forgetting that television is entertainment and should be fun to talk about!
But in addition to so many TV shows, there are also so many outlets covering them. It’s easy for things to get buried—even on our own website. Which is a terrible shame because (let me just brag for a minute here) our Paste TV contributors are some of the most consistently excellent writers I’ve ever worked with, able to turn in outstanding, creative, and insightful pitches and features month to month without ever missing a beat.
As such, it was too hard for me to pick favorites among favorites, so I asked our regular writers to choose what they loved writing about the most this year. Per their excellence, many of them submitted highlights of what their colleagues wrote, too. Forgive our bias, but these truly the features from 2022 you cannot miss:
- Love it or hate it, Netflix has dominated the news cycle this year. Kathryn Porter went deep on why Netflix has become an enemy of the people, and what the future may hold for the once-heralded streaming giant.
- There has been one article I’ve referenced more than any other this year, and it is Leila Jordan’s insightful examination of Peak TV and the streaming ethos of “it’s all content”—and where that’s leading us.
- Space… the final frontier. Wait, not that one. In a galaxy far, far away… no, not that one either. So much recent pop culture has been focused on Star Wars and Star Trek, but Trent Moore wrote about the legacy and future of another excellent space-based franchise: Stargate.
- Reboots and revivals were all the rage in 2022, and most landed with a resounding thud. But even among the worst of them, there were bright spots. Amy Amatangelo, for instance, discovered her appreciation for Charlotte York amongst the otherwise largely unfortunate …And Just Like That.
- Netflix churn is real, so you might have missed the non-promoted drop of one of the year’s most unique series: Guardians of Justice (Will Save You!). Kevin Fox, Jr. reviewed Adi Shankar’s wild series for us, and somehow managed to wrangle it all while examining the larger themes of this unique mixed-media passion project.
- One of the best trends in TV this year was the rise of female friendships. Tara Bennett spoke with showrunners from Resident Alien, A League of Their Own, and Dead to Me about how they’ve approached these stories that have resonated so deeply with viewers.
- Though Rory Doherty wrote many deeply funny features for us this year, one of his best was also his most serious and personal: on burnout, and how Severance addresses the mental toll of corporate apathy and exploitation.
- Three years after the first season of Russian Doll aired—and almost three years into a pandemic—Kristen Reid revisited the show’s meditation on time loops and personal cycles, and how it encouraged us to keep searching for connection with others.
- One of the reasons the cancellation of HBO Max series Minx hurt was because, as Kaitlin Thomas so artfully wrote earlier this year, it was a rare show that accurately depicted what it’s like to be a woman working in media.
- Elsewhere on the cancellation front, Anna Govert wrote a passionate feature about Netflix ending Warrior Nun, and why it speaks to a larger, troubling trend of axing shows with women leads—especially those with sapphic representation.
- Often the best articles are ones that the writer has a personal connection to, as was the case with Terry Terrones and Abbott Elementary. As a former teacher, Terry was able to bring his perspective—along with those of his teacher friends—to what the excellent comedy gets so right about the public education system.
- Similarly, Akos Peterbencze wrote about the truths laid bare in FX’s breakout hit The Bear, from the context of his own harried experience working in a restaurant kitchen.
Shane Ryan always hits it out of the park with his reviews, but he will not rest until more of you start watching Top Boy on Netflix, and thus we must honor that with a mention here!
- Early this year, Jim Vorel wrote about the frustrating lack of justice regarding the Tinder Swindler, and its sadly familiar story. But as he notes, “In the broken world in which we reside, where these sociopathic men live their charmed lives, should we really have expected anything less?”
- TV critics have to endure a lot of mediocre series, so it’s wonderful indeed when you get to review the final season of a beloved show, to both champion its run and and wax poetic about it unreservedly, as Whitney Friedlander did in her heartfelt review of Pamela Adlon’s Better Things.
Station Eleven was a favorite among the Paste TV writers, and Annie Lyons’ review of the finale explains why its beauty and excellent storytelling deserves our praise—and more attention.
- Maybe the real power in the Rings of Power was the friendships we made along the way. Lacy Baugher Milas celebrated the aspirational friendship between the elf Elrond and the dwarf Durin in Prime Video’s series, and why it brought us so much joy.
- This past year, we greatly expanded our anime coverage with features and lists aimed at both long-time viewers and newcomers. In the case of the latter, Reuben Baron made a surprising but apt connection to encourage the curious to dip a toe into the genre: If you like Ted Lasso, here’s why you should check out Fruits Basket.
- As noted, with so many TV shows premiering each day (or so it feels), many are released only to be immediately forgotten about—if they were noticed at all. But Radhika Menon doesn’t want us to miss the under-the-radar fun of Rap Sh!t, which she reviewed earlier this year.
Ken Lowe wowed us all year with his Return to Gotham retrospective on Batman: The Animated Series. But he also coined the wonderfully vivid and frankly useful term “digital necromancy” regarding Disney’s re-use of faces, voices, and everything else to keep its franchises living forever more.
- It’s always great when a writer can connect a beloved TV show with current events in a way that helps us better understand both more fully. Alexis Gunderson did just that with her TV Rewind of Foyle’s War, and the surprising comfort it provides in a time of great uncertainty.
- And finally, my own submission for favorite article of the year, which was about the Under the Banner of Heaven finale—a show and episode I still think about—and how it leaves us with a poignant revelation: that every moment spent in the company of those we love is its own miracle.
Allison Keene is the TV Editor of Paste Magazine. For more television talk, pop culture chat and general japery, you can follow her @keeneTV
For all the latest TV news, reviews, lists and features, follow @Paste_TV.