In 2020, television networks and streamers alike saw an unexpected spike in American viewing habits as the Covid-19 pandemic forced the shuttering of offices, schools, and businesses, including movie theaters, nationwide. It was hardly surprising that more time at home meant more hours sitting in front of the TV, but even now—nearly two years after the word “coronavirus” first entered the mainstream lexicon—we’re still spending an awful lot of time on our sofas binge-watching one show or another. And why not? There’s a lot of good TV out there—and even more on the way. Here are 18 of the shows—new and returning—we can’t wait to watch in 2022.
If Disney is going to keep expanding the Star Wars universe, we’re happy to see it return to familiar characters and terrain, first with Boba Fett and now with Obi-Wan Kenobi. Director Deborah Chow has described the series as taking place during a “dark time,” 10 years after the events of Star Wars: Episode III—Revenge of the Sith, and focusing on Obi-Wan’s exile on Tatooine. The most exciting part for fans of the franchise (and/or Scottish dudes in Jedi garb) is that Ewan McGregor will reprise his role as Obi-Wan and be reunited with Hayden Christensen as Darth Vader. Joel Edgerton, Kumail Nanjiani, Indira Varma, O’Shea Jackson Jr, and Pen15’s Maya Erskine will costar.
Release date: 2022, Disney+
Around the World in 80 Days
Former Doctor Who star David Tennant is embarking on a whole new fantastical adventure in Masterpiece’s adaptation of Jules Verne’s Around the World in 80 Days. Tennant stars as Phileas Fogg, who sets off on a whirlwind journey around the globe with his trusty valet Jean Passepartout (Ibrahim Koma) and half his fortune on the line if he can’t complete his trip in the titular time frame. The series has already been renewed for a second season, so expect more adventures to come.
Release date: January 2, PBS
Whether he’s writing dialogue for a wise-cracking racoon (Guardians of the Galaxy) or directing Margot Robbie as psychiatrist-turned-super-villain Harley Quinn (The Suicide Squad), James Gunn’s quirky sense of humor shines through. So it’s hardly surprising that DC Comics would tap Gunn to create their first small-screen venture—a standalone project for John Cena’s Peacemaker, a superhero who (true to his name) will stop at nothing to achieve peace.
Release date: January 13, HBO Max
After three anxiety-inducing seasons, fans are nearing the end of the line on Ozark. The first part of the Netflix series’ fourth and final season will arrive in January, as Marty (Jason Bateman) and Wendy Byrde (Laura Linney) will undoubtedly continue their quest to keep one step ahead of the Mexican drug cartel for whom they’ve spent years laundering money, most recently with the help of foul-mouthed firebrand Ruth Langmore (Julia Garner). If you’ve slept on the series (as this author admittedly did) because it feels like the same terrain Breaking Bad already perfected, know that this is a completely different beast—one in which it’s the dad who’s trying to get back to a normal life while the rest of the clan, two teenaged kids included, want in on the family business.
Release date: January 21, Netflix
A high school reunion turns terminal in this comedic murder mystery, which plays out like a millennial version of Clue with a group of revelers trying to determine if there’s a killer in their midst. Chris Miller (The Lego Movie) created the series and directed all eight episodes, each of which is told from the perspective of a different character who offers new—and sometimes contradictory—details. That the series features some of Hollywood’s most talented comedic actors—Tiffany Haddish, Sam Richardson, Zoë Chao, Ben Schwartz, Ike Barinholtz, Ilana Glazer, Dave Franco, and Jamie Demetriou—only heightens the expectations.
Release date: January 28, Apple TV+
Pam & Tommy
Do we feel kind of icky looking forward to a show that retells the story of Mötley Crüe drummer Tommy Lee (Sebastian Stan) and Baywatch star Pamela Anderson’s (Lily James) whirlwind romance and subsequent sex tape scandal? Sort of. Will that stop us from watching it? Hell, no. While it sounds like a project that could have easily been turned into a cheesy ratings grab, this series has got some serious talent behind it. In addition to James and Stan being almost unrecognizable in their total transformations, the series is the creation of Craig Gillespie, who previously turned another tabloid tale into an Oscar-winning movie with 2018’s I, Tonya. Seth Rogen, Nick Offerman, and Taylor Schilling costar.
Release date: February 2, Hulu
Shonda Rhimes trades her Grey’s Anatomy hospital scrubs for haute couture fashion as she goes behind the headlines to offer a more intimate take on Anna Delvey, the stylish grifter who muscled her way into the upper echelons of New York City’s social scenes by allowing people to believe she was a German heiress—then bilking them out of tens of thousands of dollars. The series, which stars two-time Emmy winner Julia Garner (Ozark’s lovably tough-as-nails Ruth Langmore), introduces viewers to Anna through the eyes of a journalist (played by Anna Chlumsky) who is looking to tell her story.
Release date: February 11, Netflix
In 1981, Charles Sturridge (with assistance from Michael Lindsay-Hogg) set the bar extremely high for all future adaptations of Evelyn Waugh’s 1945 novel with his still-classic 11-part ITV miniseries that made an instant star out of Jeremy Irons—though Julian Jarrold’s 2008 feature adaptation, starring Matthew Goode and Ben Whishaw, was hardly disappointing. In 2022, the sprawling, 20-year story of Charles Ryder—a painter who befriends Lord Sebastian Flyte, the carefree son of an aristocratic family whom Ryder comes to know and have romantic entanglements within—will be reinterpreted once again. It’s a text that seems perfectly suited to the strengths of Call Me By Your Name director Luca Guadagnino, who has assembled an all-star cast, including Andrew Garfield as Ryder and Cate Blanchett, Ralph Fiennes, Rooney Mara, and Joe Alwyn as the noble/dysfunctional Marchmain clan.
Release date: 2022, HBO
House of the Dragon
After reportedly spending more than $30 million on a spin-off that was later axed for not being up to snuff, HBO is finally ready to give Game of Thrones fans another dose of Westeros with House of the Dragon. The series, which is set 300 years before the events of its predecessor, takes place at a time when the Targaryens ruled all seven kingdoms with an assist from their fleet of fire-breathing dragons—just in case anyone else has designs on taking the Iron Throne. Matt Smith, Olivia Cooke, Emma D’Arcy, Steve Toussaint, and Rhys Ifans star.
Release date: 2022, HBO
The Lord of the Rings
Amazon’s The Lord of the Rings is another long-gestating fantasy prequel that, after a series of delays and premiere date pushes, seems to be back on track. Though it’s set thousands of years before the events depicted in Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings or The Hobbit films, it’s sure to please fans of both series. But it’s the dedicated J.R.R. Tolkien fans who might be the most excited to see this tale of the Second Age of Middle-Earth come to life. Finally.
Release date: September 2, Amazon Prime
The Last of Us
Though badass preteen Lyanna Mormont was only supposed to appear in one scene in one episode of Game of Thrones, Bella Ramsay’s spot-on dressing down of the adults surrounding her landed her a recurring role in the series’ final two seasons. Now, fans of Ramsay will get to see her take center stage alongside The Mandalorian’s Pedro Pascal, who’s tasked with smuggling her out of a quarantine zone and into safety in this post-apocalyptic tale based on the wildly popular video game series. Chernobyl creator Craig Mazin, who knows a thing or two about survivalist stories, will write and executive produce the series.
Release date: 2022, HBO
The First Lady
You can thank Viola Davis for this long-overdue tribute to the women behind the men who have sat in the Oval Office. Davis executive produced this 10-episode series and will play Michelle Obama. The all-star cast will also feature Gillian Anderson as Eleanor Roosevelt and Michelle Pfeiffer as Betty Ford. Need we say more?
Release date: 2022, Showtime
Disney’s dipping back into the past yet again with this sequel to Ron Howard’s beloved 1988 fantasy adventure, which saw swordsman Madmartigan (Val Kilmer) and wannabe-sorcerer Willow Ufgood (Warwick Davis) risking their lives to deliver a prophesied baby to safety. Davis will return to his role as the kind-hearted Willow, who is now a noted sorcerer, in a story set decades after the event of the original movie.
Release date: 2022, Disney+
New Girl creator Elizabeth Meriwether makes the move from comedy to con artistry with this limited series about Theranos founder/CEO Elizabeth Holmes, who pulled off one of the biggest scams of the century by creating a blood-testing technology that she claimed could easily detect such conditions as cancer or diabetes with little more than a pinprick. Oscar nominee Amanda Seyfried replaced Kate McKinnon to play Holmes, who managed to convince some of the world’s wealthiest people, including Rupert Murdoch and the Walton family, to invest in her groundbreaking technology that was all just one big lie.
Release date: March 3, Hulu
Netflix’s lavish royal drama The Crown will return in 2022 for what is presumably its penultimate season in a familiar playground but with a whole new cast of players. As the series has done from the very beginning, it changes out actors every two years in order to better underscore the passage of time. The new season will see Imelda Staunton take over for Olivia Colman as Queen Elizabeth II, with Jonathan Pryce as Prince Phillip, Lesley Manville as Princess Margaret, Dominic West as Prince Charles, and (very tall) Elizabeth Debicki as a picture-perfect Princess Diana. Expect more high-stakes drama and gorgeous scenery.
Release date: November, Netflix
Queer as Folk
Former (and future) Doctor Who showrunner Russell T. Davies changed the face of LGTBQ+ representation on television when he first created Queer as Folk in his native England in 1999. Though it courted controversy, it also proved to be groundbreaking and quickly spun off an American-made counterpart. It’s that latter version, which ran for five seasons between 2000 and 2005, that is getting a reboot on Peacock, courtesy of Stephen Dunn (Closet Monster).
Release date: 2022, Peacock
Our Flag Means Death
Though it sounds like a farce—“wealthy landowner gives up a life of luxury to become a pirate”— Our Flag Means Death is loosely based on the very true story of Stede Bonnet, aka “The Gentleman Pirate.” In order to escape his marital problems, and despite the fact that he had little sailing experience, Bonnet decided that a pirate’s life was indeed for him and took to the sea. A host of very funny people, including Fred Armisen, Leslie Jones, Taika Waititi, Rory Kinnear, and Rhys Darby as Bonnet, are sure to make this a very funny show.
Release date: 2022, HBO Max
Jantje Friese and Baran bo Odar, cocreators of the award-winning German series Dark, are partnering with Netflix yet again for this paranormal period piece that follows a group of European migrants who set sail from London to find a new life in America … but whose journey gets waylaid when they encounter a ghost ship in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean.
Release date: 2022, Netflix
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