March 2, 2023
WRITTEN BY: NICK AND QUENTIN
With the Oscars approaching and everyone focusing on 2022’s Best in Film, Nick & Quentin wanted to take a second to highlight 2022’s Best in Television. While some of these were massive successes, others flew under the radar. Either way, all are worth checking out.
Taron Egerton is one of the most exciting young actors working today. The charisma he shows as a leading man can't be denied, and you get to see that here as he adds another wrinkle to his range. This tight, six-episode series is succinct, well-written, and expertly cast. Beyond Egerton, it features a chilling performance from Paul Walter Hauser (the standout of the series in his best work to date), and a heartbreaking Ray Liotta in what turned out to be one of his final roles. This is just solid storytelling from beginning to end, which is becoming the norm for Apple TV+ programming. - Nick
Black Bird is currently streaming on Apple TV+.
While some will say we have reached the point of superhero fatigue, Peacemaker is the perfect example of how the superhero genre can be used to tell character-driven stories. Yes, there is still a “save the world” dynamic, but it’s also the interesting exploration of a lonely man who just wants acceptance. John Cena delivers hilarious raunch and surprising nuance in his best performance yet, while Freddie Stroma steals nearly every scene as the oddly sweet sociopath Vigilante. And let’s not forget that banger of a theme song. If Peacemaker, which came from the mind of James Gunn, is any indication, the DCEU is in good hands going forward. - Quentin
Season One of Peacemaker is currently streaming on HBO Max (US) and Crave (CAN). Although it has been renewed for Season Two on HBO Max, a return date is currently unknown.
What if we did a meta-comedy series about former sitcom stars featuring the guy from Key & Peele, the guy from Austin & Ally, the girl from Arrested Development, and the guy from Jackass? Well, they did, and it really worked. Reboot is like watching a network sitcom minus the censorship. It never goes so far that it loses its mirroring of the classic sitcom stylings before it, but it also feels like it’s made for adults and not “the whole family,” though it is wrapped up in a nice family story carried by Paul Reiser as a man past his time. Unfortunately, Hulu canceled this series despite solid ratings, but it is being shopped to other networks. I hope it’s picked back up because I’d love to see these characters again. - Nick
Season One of Reboot is currently streaming on Hulu (US) and Disney+ (International). Season Two is currently in search of a new network.
On paper, Reacher isn’t anything special. A brilliant investigator, who likes to work alone, trying to solve a murder; this describes everything from Bosch to most of Bruce Willis’ work in the 90s. However, Alan Ritchson, whose charisma is only matched by his hulking frame, makes this series much more than that. You can’t help but to root for the guy, and you’ll find yourself grinning ear-to-ear as he uses his brain and his muscles to crack both the case and skulls. - Quentin
Season One of Reacher is currently streaming on Prime Video. Season Two will premiere in the summer of 2023 on Prime Video.
For a while, Sylvester Stallone was doing three things: returning to his famous characters of the 80s, forgettable action flicks, and The Expendables franchise, which feels like a mix of the first two things. Enter Tulsa King. This series gives Stallone a chance to play a more toned down badass with an entirely new character, and the results are great. It’s not a show that is afraid to get serious, but it understands the need for levity too. It also has a better script than anything he has starred in over the past 20 years that wasn’t part of the Rocky franchise. - Nick
Season One of Tulsa King is currently streaming on Paramount+. Although it has been renewed for Season Two on Paramount+, a return date is currently unknown.
INTERVIEW WITH THE VAMPIRE
Have you ever checked out a show with an aloof, “eh, why not?” mindset, not really expecting much? Interview with the Vampire was one such show for me in 2022. Other than the 1994 film, I don’t have much connection to this story or anything author Anne Rice has done. However, I was immediately hooked by the lush production design, gothic atmosphere, and tremendous performance of Sam Reid as Lestat (though Jacob Anderson and Eric Bogosian are also quite good). This series is the start of AMC’s Immortal Universe, an interconnected franchise of gothic horror series based on Anne Rice’s novels, and one can only hope they are all as good as this one. - Quentin
Season One of Interview with the Vampire is currently streaming on AMC+. Although it has been renewed for Season Two on AMC, a return date is currently unknown.
After the finale of its first season, it was just plain cruel for Prime Video to delay the announcement of Season Two for as long as it did. The storytelling is a slow burn, but it’s well worth it as it provides numerous interesting directions to take the series. Most importantly, with the aspect of the dueling families, it was able to stay grounded despite being a series with clear sci-fi roots. Beyond the storytelling, the series features a great ensemble led by Josh Brolin but without a weak link in the bunch, with a special shout out to Will Patton, who does typically great work. - Nick
Season One of Outer Range is currently streaming on Prime Video. Although it has been renewed for Season Two on Prime Video, a return date is currently unknown.
WINNING TIME: THE RISE OF THE LAKERS DYNASTY
Even as a person who couldn’t care less about the NBA, let alone the NBA from before I was born, Winning Time won me over on the strength of its impeccable casting (from both the actual talent and the looking-the-part perspective) and its groovy ‘70s vibe. I’ve always found the inner workings of a sports franchise’s front office interesting, so when you add all those elements together, then film them with a pseudo-documentary realism (including fourth wall breaks), you get a show that I was eager to return to every week. The fact that this intended miniseries was given a second season should tell you just how good it was. - Quentin
Season One of Winning Time is currently streaming on HBO Max (US) and Crave (CAN). Season Two will premiere in the second half of 2023 on HBO Max.
THE OLD MAN
Jeff Bridges was an old man, but now he’s THE old man. In all seriousness, this show is a blast. Bridges’ Dan Chase battles his way through attackers while not hiding how his age has affected him, and John Lithgow’s Harold Harper drops F-bombs with such vitriol you’d think his last name was L. Jackson. There are even a few intriguing mysteries sprinkled in, especially surrounding the whereabouts of Chase’s daughter, not to mention it has the distinction of having one of the best pilots of 2022.
Season One of The Old Man is currently streaming on FX. Although it has been renewed for Season Two on FX, a return date is currently unknown.
Truth be told, a lot of people shit on The Offer (57% on Rotten Tomatoes), and I cannot for the life of me figure out why. Maybe it’s because it deigned to revisit the behind-the-scenes drama of unassailable cinematic classic The Godfather, I don’t know. What I do know is that The Offer combines old Hollywood legend with an interesting mob angle, then drops it in the hands of a more than capable cast. Almost all involved do nice work, but Matthew Goode as famed producer Robert Evans is pitch perfect. Plus, it makes you want to rewatch The Godfather, which is never a bad thing. - Quentin
The Offer is currently streaming on Paramount+.
WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT COSBY
Every year, there is a series I champion and promote to everyone I know as a must-see, and this was that series for 2022. The direction by W. Kamau Bell is perfect in the way he balances the legacy and importance of Bill Cosby to both black culture and comedy before jolting you with the contrast of his victims’ stories. It’s one of the best art v. artist examples I’ve seen, and every interview subject adds something to the piece. I warn you, though, this is not an easy watch. It is, however, an important one. If you haven’t seen this series yet, do yourself a favour and make the time to watch it. - Nick
We Need to Talk About Cosby is now streaming on HBO Max (US) and Crave (CAN).
In hindsight, The Bear is probably the surprise hit of 2022’s television season: a quiet, out-of-nowhere dramedy with no real stars, 30-minute episodes, and a gritty indie vibe. There was almost no marketing for this show, yet word-of-mouth carried it to being one of the most talked about and acclaimed series of the year. I mean, it inspired an entire generation to start dropping “Yes, Chef” in random conversation. On top of that, it’s the most authentic representation of working in a blue-collar kitchen that I have ever seen. It’s stressful, funny, heartfelt, and, most importantly, utterly fantastic. - Quentin
Season One of The Bear is currently streaming on Hulu (US) and Disney+ (CAN). Season Two will premiere in early summer of 2023 on Hulu.
WE OWN THIS CITY
This series initially made headlines because it came from David Simon, who is best known for creating The Wire. It was the performance of Jon Bernthal that really roped me in, however. The man just exudes charisma, and he gets to display it in all his glory here. This true story about the Baltimore Gun Trace Task Force spans 20+ years over six episodes, and spotlights the corruption within the police force. It has been a problem for a long time, and it’s something we certainly haven’t heard the last of yet. - Nick
We Own This City is currently streaming on HBO Max (US) and Crave (CAN).
For years, networks have been trying to recapture the magic of Lost, so much so that “the next Lost” has become kind of a laughable death knell since no one has been able to do it successfully. Enter From, a series about a town that mysteriously traps anyone who enters while also being plagued by supernatural creatures that only come out at night. This series boasts incredible world building, legit scares, subtle gore, and, most importantly, a compelling mystery that seemingly has no easy answers. The next Lost has finally arrived. - Quentin
Season One of From is currently streaming on MGM+, formerly known as Epix, (US) and Paramount+ (International). Season Two will premiere April 23rd, 2023, on MGM+.
A FRIEND OF THE FAMILY
I had never seen the documentary about the unbelievable true story this series is based on, so some of the story’s twists likely affected me more than for those who had. But even if you know what you’re in for, you’ll likely be content with this adaptation. Jake Lacy is just so uncomfortably manipulative as kidnapper Robert Birchtold as he uses his charm to get away with his evil deeds. It’s just an excellent performance. Meanwhile, Colin Hanks and Anna Paquin play the naïve parents to a T. It’s a story that feels too outlandish to be real, but it’s true, all of it, and that may be the craziest thing of all. - Nick
A Friend of the Family is currently streaming on Peacock.
HOUSE OF THE DRAGON
Let’s be honest: House of the Dragon was fighting an uphill battle when it premiered. It had to contend with the hype of “good” Game of Thrones, the bad taste of Thrones’ final season, and Prime Video dropping a competing (and tremendously expensive) fantasy show, The Rings of Power, at the same time. Given all that, the fact that Dragon works at all is a minor miracle. Admittedly, it’s mostly doing heavy lifting for future seasons, especially with the somewhat confusing time jumps, but there is no denying that the excellent casting, production design, castle intrigue, and “anyone can die” vibe of Thrones’ earlier seasons is back in full force. - Quentin
Season One of House of the Dragon is currently streaming on HBO Max (US) and Crave (CAN). Season Two will premiere on HBO in 2024.
One of the first films I remember watching as a child is Star Wars: A New Hope, so when they announced The Phantom Menace, I excitedly went to the theatre on opening night (months shy of my eighth birthday) and was blown away. Now, I don’t have that same opinion as an adult, but those characters are special to me. So, watching Ewan McGregor return to the robes of Obi-Wan Kenobi for this series was supremely satisfying. Plus, there is darkness here that Star Wars first introduced to live action with Rogue One. We get to see Darth Vader at his most ruthless while exploring the relationship between Anakin (Hayden Christensen) and Kenobi more in depth. The series doesn’t quite reach the heights of The Mandalorian, but it features some of the best scenes in Star Wars history, and I would welcome a second season. - Nick
Obi-Wan Kenobi is currently streaming on Disney+.
Here’s the tea: whether you’re willing to admit it or not, Star Wars is not a great franchise. Sure, its few highs are very high, but it’s mostly a series of mediocre (or worse…much, much worse) lows. That said, please place Andor on the peak of that high pile. Despite a slow start, it’s a layered story of rebellion and the birth of a hero, presented with the grit and grime that a story like this deserves. And you know the best part? No Skywalkers, no Force, no lightsabers. Just tales of political intrigue, heists, prison breaks, and espionage told through rich writing, complex characters, and terrific casting. The fact that it happens to be Star Wars-affiliated is almost irrelevant. - Quentin
Season One of Andor is currently streaming on Disney+. Season Two will premiere on Disney+ in 2024.
PAM & TOMMY
It would have been so easy for this series to fall into parody, but since Sebastian Stan and Lily James took their jobs so seriously, this really worked. The pair gives arguably the two most entertaining performances of the year, and James’ transformation into Pamela Anderson is mesmerizing. It’s a travesty she didn’t get any Emmy hardware for her performance. The angle of telling the story from the POV of the man who stole the sex tape (Seth Rogen) and the intricate workings of everything that came after was also a very good call. A nice mix of laughs and absurdity in this one.
Pam & Tommy is currently streaming on Hulu (US) and Disney+ (International).
GEORGE & TAMMY
Admittedly, mileage may vary on this one, but, if like me, you grew up on country music, George Jones is a musical legend. And, if like me, you are a sucker for musician biopics, especially for artists whose music you are very familiar with, this series is a must watch for fans of The Possum, even if it’s more Tammy’s (Jessica Chastain) story than George’s (Michael Shannon). It’s an incredibly bingeable watch at only six episodes, yet I could have watched several more hours of this hard-living love story. Plus, the music. Both Chastain and Shannon do their own singing and absolutely nail it. Lastly, I’ve been playing George Jones on repeat since the finale. If that’s not a lasting and immediate impact, I don’t know what is.
George & Tammy is currently streaming on Showtime (US) and Crave (Canada).