From legal dramas to reality TV, Australian comedies to offbeat anime, there was something for everyone on TV this year. (Granted, there usually is, there’s a lot of television made these days.)
To round off the year, we asked the journalists at NationalWorld what they’ve been watching - and, more importantly, what their favourite show of the year was. The list includes modern classics and cult favourites, long-anticipated finales and lightning-in-a-bottle debuts, covering the full range of what television is and can be.
So, without further ado: the best of the year in TV, as determined by the NationalWorld staff.
The Split - Kelly Crichton
I discovered The Split in 2022 and what a gem! I love a good legal drama but this was also the story of a family of lawyers with some of the best writing I have ever come across (thanks to Abi Morgan). Starring the fantastic Nicola Walker as Hannah Stern and Stephan Mangan as her husband Nathan Stern - a family of divorce lawyers produces plenty of storylines but their work pales in comparison to the complicated lives they lead themselves. Really excellent and will be missed as this was the third and final series. 5 stars!
Where can I watch The Split? You can watch all three series of The Split on BBC iPlayer. Kelly also recently discussed The Split on our Best of 2022 Screen Babble podcast, which you can listen to here.
Peaky Blinders - Richard Mooney
Never saw it before this year, got to watch all seasons back to back. Wonderfully made, incredibly shot and so much talent on show. Best of British television.
Where can I watch Peaky Blinders? You can watch Peaky Blinders on BBC iPlayer, where all six series are available as a boxset.
Gangs Of London Series 2 - James Trembath
A thrilling crime series that has a bit of everything - violence, thrills, twists and shocks. So well put together by a stellar cast. Binge watched it in a matter of days… roll on series three.
Where can I watch Gangs of London? You can watch Gangs of London on Sky Max and NOW TV.
House of the Dragon - Henry Sandercock
A really well-structured plot and beautiful, almost Shakespearean dialogue was complimented by career-best performances from the likes of Paddy Considine and Matt Smith. I fell in love with the Game of Thrones universe again.
Where can I watch House of the Dragon? You can watch House of the Dragon on Sky Atlantic and NOW TV.
Upright - Matt Allan
Chris Taylor and Tim Minchin’s drama about washed-up musician Lucky (Minchin) and runaway teen Meg (the brilliant Milly Alcock) who literally collide in the middle of the Outback is part road trip trip comedy and part emotional wrecking ball. The eight 30-minutes episodes brilliantly explore the backstories and motivations of these two flawed characters as they transport Lucky’s piano (the upright of the title) across Australia, developing a touching relationship as they go. At turns ridiculous, hilarious and utterly heartbreaking, it’s an understated gem.
Where can I watch Upright? You can watch Upright on Sky Comedy and NOW TV, where both series are available as a boxset.
Love Island - Aimee Stanton
For giving us the ultimate modern day love story of Ekin-su Cülcüloğlu and Davide Sanclimenti.
Where can I watch Love Island? You can watch previous series of Love Island on ITVX. A new series of Love Island is set to begin on ITV2 this January.
Ozark - Jessica Frank-Keyes
My TV show of 2022 was Ozark, starring Jason Bateman - who also directed - and Laura Linney. I watched all four series over a few months and was completely hooked after a couple of episodes. The show, which explores moral corruption, the allure of power, criminality and the impact of our choices on our families and ourselves, was gripping, dark, unpredictable and addictive, with unique characters and emotional storylines. Laura Linney and Julia Garner’s performances in particular were astonishing. I’m now desperate to visit the Lake of the Ozarks!
Where can I watch Ozark? You can watch Ozark on Netflix, where all four series are available as a boxset.
Andor - Alex Nelson
As someone who ‘doesn’t watch TV’, Star Wars is about the only thing I can get invested in. I may be biased, but Andor’s slow-burning galactic espionage gave a refreshing low-key take on the sci-fi saga, and a reason to hate the Empire all over again (because Darth Vader is quite silly when you think about it). Tinker. Tailor. Soldier. TIE.
Where can I watch Andor? You can watch Andor on Disney+, where all 12 episodes are available as a boxset.
Mo - Hiyah Zaidi
Well - it’s between Mo or This Is Going To Hurt. I think Netflix originals are hit and miss but Mo was a funny, endearing take on such an undershown and complex topic. The cast had a strong dynamic, it was an emotional rollercoaster, and my friends are tired of me constantly recommending it.
Where can I watch Mo? You can watch Mo on Netflix, where it’s currently available as a boxset.
Big Boys - Heather Carrick
I expected just another Channel 4 student comedy - the comedy is fantastic, but it also had an unexpected hard-hitting emotional pull that was performed to perfection by Dylan Llewellyn and Jon Pointing. Extra points for the soundtrack!
Where can I watch Big Boys? You can watch Big Boys on All4. A second series is currently in development.
Chainsaw Man - Matthew Mohan-Hickson
Both exactly what you would expect from the name and wonderfully surprising. It is big, bold, brash and over the top, while also being quiet, meditative and subversive. Come for the action, stay for the cast of Dickensian misfits thrust together by circumstance - just don’t get too attached to them…
Where can I watch Chainsaw Man?You can watch Chainsw Man on Crunchyroll, a streaming service dedicated to anime.
Four Lives - Harriet Clugston
An extremely affecting drama laying bare the staggering incompetence and homophobia at the heart of the London Metropolitan Police Force’s investigation - or lack thereof - into the murder of four young gay men who fell victim to the Grindr Killer, Stephen Port, between 2014 and 2015. The epilogue, in which we find out what happened to the officers who botched the case, should leave you shaking with anger.
Where can I watch Four Lives? You can watch Four Lives on ITVX.
Married at First Sight UK - Rochelle Barrand
I love a good dating show and MAFS UK is one of the best. As always, I began watching this year’s series full of hope of watching a group of strangers fall for each other (because who doesn’t love love?). There was some of that, but as always there was also plenty of drama as the couples fell out too - and I admit that did also keep me glued to the screen. There’s nothing more interesting than people and the relationships between them, and that’s why I find shows like this addictive - and because I’m a hopeless romantic at heart. This year’s series was longer than the last so it gave weeks of must-watch television while we saw the ups and downs of this year’s couples. I can’t wait for next year.
Where can I watch Married at First Sight UK? You can watch Married at First Sight UK on All4.
Better Call Saul - Nick Mitchell
For me it was a close-run thing between this and The Dropout (give Amanda Seyfried all the awards), but the last stage of Saul Goodman’s personal and professional downfall far exceeded anyone’s expectations when the spin-off was first announced. A clever, original, brilliantly acted and exquisitely directed TV show that kept us guessing to the very end. Whisper it, but at points it even surpassed Breaking Bad.
The Capture - Susanna Sealy
Amazing BBC Drama where the second series is better than the first, a rarity in the world of TV I usually find. There were so many gripping twists and turns and offered an amazing mix of both espionage and classic ‘whodunnit’. The second series also has Paapa Esseidu which is always a winner for me.
Where can I watch The Capture?You can watch The Capture on BBC iPlayer now.
Stranger Things 4 - Suswati Basu
I actually behave like a child going trick or treating during Halloween when I watch this show about a young girl in hiding due to her superpowers, and the ‘other world’ that seems to want to interact with her. Something about the familiar music, whether it’s Metallica or Kate Bush, and the 80’s references to films like The Goonies and Alien, makes me giddy with excitement. It was particularly different this time as we see Eleven attempting to live a high school life with real bullies in a different environment. And the show was split into two parts as Netflix attempts to woo back viewers. And though it was exasperating to have to wait several months for the second part, we were still invested in the incredible characters. RIP Eddie.
Where can I watch Stranger Things? You can watch all four series of Stranger Things on Netflix. The fifth and final series is expected to air next year.