There were, at a rough guess, exactly a gazillion new TV shows released across 2022 – it’s hard to keep up with just the ones that everyone is talking about, let alone the things that flew under the radar a little.
With that in mind, here are twelve great TV shows that you maybe didn’t see – either because they were on a more obscure streaming service, or because they aired at an inopportune moment, or maybe they were just a little unlucky and got a bit overlooked for some reason or another. Think of these as hidden TV gems from the year gone past, if you like; some of them I just wanted to give a special shoutout to as the year came to a close.
Of course, with so much – so much – new television out this year, there’s inevitably going to be a few things missing, even from this list. (The actual “objective” answer to the best show you didn’t see, insofar as that can be objectively measured, is probably Pachinko… which I also didn’t manage to get around to.) If one of your own little-seen-and-less-discussed favourites didn’t make the list, well, we’re always taking suggestions. Maybe it should be one of our first watches of 2023?
On one level, The Flatshare is sort of just straightforwardly pure nonsense. The premise, which sees two Londoners try and save money on rent by sharing a one-bedroom flat on a night-and-day timeshare agreement, doesn’t stand up to much scrutiny; even beyond that, it’s full of broad, slightly eye-roll inducing details like overly precocious sick children. Still, that hardly matters, because it gets all the important things right – Anthony Welsh and Jessica Brown Findlay have great chemistry together, and as a romcom it doesn’t just survive but thrives on good vibes alone. Lots of fun, this.
Where can I watch it? All six episodes of The Flatshare can be streamed now on Paramount+.
Five Days at Memorial
Five Days at Memorial is a sharply written, excoriating piece of drama, as much about the failures of structures outside the hospital as within. It’s smart about the rationalisations and the compromises made in desperate situations: bargaining and prioritising, cautious discussion of hypotheticals, euphemisms creeping into conversation. The initial insistence that every patient be evacuated becomes qualified and caveated. “No living patient will be left behind,” they start to say, and the unspoken idea – long looming in the background – to euthanise patients begins to solidify.
Where can I watch it? You can watch Five Days at Memorial on Apple TV+.
Kin follows the Kinsella crime family (loosely inspired by the real-life Kinahan family) an Irish drug cartel who get embroiled in a far wider and far more dangerous gangland war when one of their sons is mistakenly killed in a hit gone wrong. It plays out a little like a cross between Succession and Ozark, with a compelling anchor in Charlie Cox’s Michael Kinsella – recently returned from prison, he’s reluctant to get drawn back into the family business, but circumstances leave him with little choice. One to watch for fans of morally ambiguous characters making increasingly difficult decisions that take them further and further towards a point of no return.
Where can I watch it? Kin can be streamed online via Sundance Now, an add-on subscription channel that can be accessed via Amazon Prime Video. A second series of Kin has been commissioned, though it’ll be a little while away yet.
The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey
There’s a viewership ceiling for any show on Apple TV+, of course, but even by those standards it feels like The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey went by essentially unheralded – never breaking out the same way something like Ted Lasso or For All Mankind have. It’s worth seeking it out, though: a contemplative, winding character study, The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey offers a portrait of a man with dementia setting his affairs in order during a rare and unexpected period of lucidity. It’s a poignant showcase for Samuel L Jackson, and it’s easy to see why he championed this script as a long-gestating passion project.
Where can I watch it? All six episodes of The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey are available now on Apple TV+.
Mammals is a show that might not have actually straightforwardly been “good”, but it’s one of the most captivating on the list – I watched all six half-hour episodes in a row without really meaning to, not quite able to turn it off. James Corden plays Jamie, a chef whose wife has a miscarriage – and then, moments later, discovers she’s been having an affair. Also, Tom Jones is there. It’s a show that takes big tonal swings, quietly ambitious in ways you wouldn’t expect to look at it – it’s deliberately strange in ways that don’t always work, but are always engaging if nothing else.
Where can I watch it? You can watch Mammals on Amazon Prime Video, where all six episodes are currently available as part of a boxset.
At just three episodes, Peacock sits in a space between “this is the perfect length” and “where’s the rest of it?” – which is, in fairness, not a bad place to be. Andy Peacock is a personal trainer on the verge of a midlife crisis: he’s being phased out at work by younger and fitter personal trainers, his friends are all settling down and starting families, he still lives with his parents and he’s struggling to start a relationship. Its shorter runtime means it’s a more focused piece than most comedies – but Andy Peacock is a comic creation than can more than sustain it.
Where can I watch it? You can watch Peacock on BBC iPlayer, where all three episodes are currently available as part of a boxset. If you like Peacock, you might also want to check out Dave’s Sneakerhead, another three-part comedy from some of the People Just Do Nothing stars, which is available on the UKTV Player.
Ralph & Katie
The real draw of the series is Harrop and Gordy’s chemistry together (the title is a bit of a clue that way). They’re great scene partners, and it’s easy to invest in Ralph and Katie’s relationship quickly – the gentle, lighthearted tone of the series grows from that relationship, always full of affection even when their characters are at odds with one another. It sometimes feels a bit insubstantial to say a show is “nice”, almost as if that’s all it is – Ralph & Katie is nice, used here to mean warm and inviting and likeable, but it’s also thoughtful and funny and genuinely very watchable. (If we’d done a list of the best individual episodes of TV of 2022, the fifth episode, ‘Ralph’s Balls’, definitely would’ve made the list.)
Where can I watch it? You can watch Ralph & Katie on BBC iPlayer, where all six episodes are currently available as part of a boxset.
Tell Me Everything
Worth drawing attention to this one, if only because it went slightly under the radar as one of the ITVX launch shows – the online site can be a little difficult to get to grips with, and with a new debut each week even the stronger offerings can be forgotten about quickly. Tell Me Everything reaches for the same sort of stylised intensity that characterises shows like Skins and Euphoria, its drama Big and Immediate and Now, but beneath the recognisable archetypes are strong dramatic instincts. It knows when to go big, but it knows when to underplay things too, when to be subtle instead of flashy – ITVX describes the show as a series about mental health, and as dry as that sounds Tell Me Everything can earnestly claim to have achieved that and achieved it well.
Where can I watch it? You can watch Tell Me Everything on ITVX, where all six episodes are currently available as part of a box set. It’s also set to air on ITV2 next year.
We’re working to a slightly different definition of underseen here, but it’s my list so I can include what I like. Ten Percent – Amazon’s UK remake of the French hit Call My Agent!, a workplace comedy-drama set in an actors’ talent agency – got a bit of a rough reception when it aired, overshadowed for many by the French original. It also didn’t help matters that the show didn’t quite put its best foot forward, with the celebrity guest spots the show was sold on proving its weakest element. But beneath all that was a great ensemble cast - Prasanna Puwanarajah! Harry Trevaldwyn! Hiftu Quasem was a particular highlight too – bringing a very fun, very watchable workplace dramedy to life. Ignore the celebrity sheen: it’s the character dynamics that made this show really sing.
Where can I watch it?You can watch Ten Percent on Amazon Prime Video, where all ten episodes are currently available as part of a boxset.
Then Barbara Met Alan
Then Barbara Met Alan tells the story of two activists in the 1990s, Barbara Lisicki (Ruth Madeley) and Alan Holdsworth (Arthur Hughes), tracing the ups and downs of a whirlwind romance at the centre of a revolutionary project. It’s a snapshot of Madeley and Hughes’ talents rather than a full showcase, but you get an immediate sense of their range nonetheless, with both actors getting the opportunity to play scenes that are essentially unique on British television. It makes for a nice contrast, too, against the huge cultural fascination with how cruel and fickle rich people became even crueller and even richer – Then Barbara Met Alan’s story of radicalism and collective action, borne of an arts scene and not shackled to electoral politics, is genuinely heartening to see.
Where can I watch it? You can watch Then Barbara Met Alan on BBC iPlayer.
On September 8th 2022, Wedding Season arrived on Disney+ in the UK. Slightly later than same day, the Queen died (possibly you remember this), selfishly taking all the attention away from Wedding Season. It’s a shame: the anarchic murder-mystery-action-thriller-crossed-with-a-romcom was a huge amount of fun, with winning performances from leads Rosa Salazar and Gavin Drea. Great if you love Richard Curtis, great if you love crime drama, well worth your time either way.
Where can I watch it? All eight episodes of Wedding Season are available as a boxset on Disney+ in the UK, and on Hulu in the US. If you enjoyed this you might also want to check out Cheaters, another show from the same writer, which is currently available on BBC iPlayer.
There’s an upfront, heightened kind of boldness to Wreck, a full-on blood-splatter murder run-around set on a cruise ship (killer duck mascot and all). The ship itself – where Jamie (Oscar Kennedy) is investigating the mysterious death of his sister Pippa – is a great setting for a horror, all claustrophobic and isolated and full of pleasingly weird juxtapositions (like, again, that killer duck mascot). Brought to life by fantastic, lively performances – Thaddea Graham is a star, watch her go – and with a smart satirical vein running through it, Wreck proved one of the more memorable offerings of Halloween 2022.
Where can I watch it? You can watch Wreck on BBC iPlayer, where all six episodes are currently available as part of a boxset.