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100 Best Shows on TV Right Now, 2022 TV Guide Ranking

The 100 Best Shows on TV Right Now

TV Guide ranks the shows that stand out from the crowd

Adjusting for the TV version of inflation, TV Guide's list of the 100 Best Shows on TV Right Now should probably be about 150 shows long by now. In a time when Peak TV has become Too Much TV, there are more shows out there than anyone can keep track of, much less watch all of, much less rank in a definitive order. But we here at TV Guide love a challenge.

This year's ranking celebrates the rare shows that managed to cut through the noise and leave their mark on pop culture, like Netflix's smash hit Squid Game. It also spotlights favorites we hope you'll discover if you haven't yet, like Undone on Amazon Prime Video. We've got new sensations like Apple TV+'s Severance, and, in a sign of the Peak Too Much TV times, we've welcomed back a number of heavy hitters that recently returned to our screens after long absences, like HBO's Barry, FX's Atlanta, and AMC's Better Call Saul. And that's not even the only show on this list that TV Guide previously crowned the best show on TV.

So what does it mean for a show to be on TV right now, anyway? Here are the rules: To be eligible for this ranking, a show has to be ongoing, or its final episodes must have aired recently. Ongoing shows are eligible as long as they've aired at least one new episode in the past year, while ending, canceled, or limited series are eligible if they aired at least one new episode in the past three months. That means you won't find stunning limited series like Station Eleven, which ended back in January, on this list. You also won't find The Mandalorian, which hasn't aired since 2020. Have we mentioned there's a lot of TV out there?

Over multiple rounds of voting, TV Guide writers and editors — joined by our colleagues at sister sites Metacritic, GameSpot, and Cord Cutters News — narrowed down all that TV out there until just 100 shows remained. We ranked them by considering their quality, cultural impact, Metascore, and, most of all, our own passion. These are the 100 best shows on TV right now. (You can also check out the 2021, 2020, 2019, and 2018 rankings.)


2022 100 Best Shows: Outer Range

100. Outer Range (Amazon Prime Video)

Where to watch: Amazon Prime Video

The weirdest show to ride Yellowstone's coattails is this Western with sci-fi frills that stars Josh Brolin as a cowboy who finds a giant hole in his Wyoming pasture. That hole might be a portal to another timeline, it might be a wormhole, or it might just be a big, darned hole, but it offers enough mystery to give Outer Range some legs to go along with its pastoral eccentricity, which is manifested in spirit animals, singing cowboys, and a murder mystery at the center of everything. -Tim Surette

99. Formula 1: Drive to Survive (Netflix)

Where to watch: Netflix

You don't need to be a big car person to get into the behind-the-scenes look at Formula 1 racing in Netflix's surprisingly dramatic docuseries Formula 1: Drive to Survive. Tune in for the drama as drivers fight for sponsors, personalities clash, and teams work toward their dream of a podium finish. Stay for the thrill of the race. -Jess Barnes

98. 48 Hours (CBS) 

Where to watch: Paramount+ 

With over 34 years on air, 48 Hours remains a standout in a television landscape with an endless number of shows on a growing list of streaming services. The pioneering true-crime show owes its endurance largely to its team of dedicated journalists and their ability to highlight an amusing mixture of bizarre, empowering, and salacious human interest stories. -Lauren Zupkus

97. Love Is Blind: Japan (Netflix)

Where to watch: Netflix

The concept of Love Is Blind sounds romantic — without seeing each other, strangers date, fall in love, and get engaged. But the reality show has a lot less romance between soulmates and a lot more petty drama and toddleresque temper tantrums. Not so for Love Is Blind: Japan, which surpasses the flagship series in every way. This gentler spin-off features a more beautiful set (the cherry blossom bridge!), more purposeful and thoughtful conversations, and, yes, relationship journeys that are truly romantic. You'll find yourself gasping when a couple finally holds hands and cheering when they make it to the altar. -Noelene Clark

96. We're Here (HBO)

Where to watch: HBO Max

Drag icons ShangelaEureka O'Hara, and Bob the Drag Queen serve even bigger lewks in Season 2 of the delightful We're Here. But the season gets more emotional, too, from the drag show performances to shining poignant spotlights on drag daughters and other episode guests, including a small-town pastor, a refugee, and activists who survived Bloody Sunday. -Danielle Turchiano

95. The Amber Ruffin Show (Peacock)

Where to watch: Peacock

Amber Ruffin brings a fresh and much-needed perspective to the late-night comedy format, which has been dominated by white men for far too long. In our current political and societal hellscape (a phrase that's been applicable more often than not over the past eight years), the best late-night comics distill the news and allow us to laugh at the absurdity of it all. With her accessible humor and incisive commentary, Ruffin has earned her spot among the greats. -Noelene Clark


2022 100 Best Shows: The Gilded Age

94. The Gilded Age (HBO)

Where to watch: HBO Max

The Gilded Age is the "great gowns, beautiful gowns" of TV shows, a soothingly low-stakes spectacle about how new-money Carrie Coon is desperate to befriend old-money Christine BaranskiDownton Abbey creator Julian Fellowes packs the screen with New York theater actors; Denée Benton stands out as Peggy, a wealthy Black writer disrupting the period drama norms. -Kelly Connolly


2022 100 Best Shows: The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills

93. The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills (Bravo)

Where to watch: Peacock

The MVP city of the Real Housewives franchise is always fluctuating, but Beverly Hills has surprised everyone by taking center stage lately. Thanks to Erika Girardi's villain arc and cast additions like Crystal Kung Minkoff and Kathy Hilton, the drama hasn't been this juicy since Kim Richards dared to go after Harry Hamlin. -Allison Picurro

92. Cruel Summer (Freeform) 

Where to watch: Hulu

Cruel Summer was the surprise soapy thriller that no one saw coming. The first season of the Freeform drama, which has been renewed as an anthology series, stretches across three consecutive summers in the '90s, taking viewers on a twisty ride to find out how Kate Wallis (Olivia Holt) was abducted by her school's vice principal and exactly how Jeanette Turner (Chiara Aurelia) was involved. The season finale's genius mid-credits scene also deserves a shout-out for being the perfect cherry on top of this delicious, pulpy sundae. -Megan Vick

91. Cobra Kai (Netflix) 

Where to watch: Netflix

It seems ludicrous that a karate war in Southern California's San Fernando Valley would make any kind of sense in 2022, but we can't help but root for the heroes and despise the villains (yes, we're talking about you, Kreese) in this Karate Kid sequel series. The biggest question that pops up at the end of each season is "How are they going to top that next time?" So far, four seasons in, they always have. -Chris Hayner

90. Home Economics (ABC)

Where to watch: Hulu

Home Economics, the Topher Grace-led comedy about a dysfunctional family stuck in various places on the economic spectrum, is a wholesome delight. While its abbreviated Season 1 set up the series, Season 2 went all in, pairing up characters who barely interacted in the freshman outing and going more over-the-top than ever before. (Case in point: the trailer for Influencer Island, the reality show within the show that felt like a real potential companion for Bachelor in Paradise on the ABC summer schedule.) -Megan Vick

89. Top Boy (Netflix)

Where to watch: Netflix

Top Boy's journey from a beloved British series that was canceled after just two seasons to a Drake-endorsed Netflix "revival" is the stuff of legend. The show has been praised for its authentic and compassionate portrayal of an underrepresented community, and it's easy to see why the fanbase has been riding for Dushane (Ashley Walters) and his Hackney crew for four seasons over the course of 11 years. It feels good to know that Top Boy, which has been renewed for a final season, will get the sendoff it deserves this time. -Semhar Debessai


2022 100 Best Shows: Ms. Marvel

88. Ms. Marvel (Disney+)

Where to watch: Disney+

In the first episode of Ms. Marvel, the show's young heroine tells her best friend, "Let's be honest — it's not really the brown girls from Jersey City who save the world." In an age of wall-to-wall superhero stories written by and for adult men, Ms. Marvel is a comic book show that feels like it was actually written for kids like Kamala Khan. Iman Vellani plays the Avengers-obsessed teen who drifts through life with her head in the clouds. Her daydreams are cleverly animated as graffiti that dances across the walls, but when she discovers she possesses cosmic powers, her fantasies soon become reality. -Noelene Clark

87. Ranking of Kings (Wit Studio)

Where to watch: CrunchyrollFunimation

Prince Bojji is underestimated by everyone around him. In addition to being deaf, he is also tiny and born into a world where kings receive a ranking partially based on strength — his father was a powerful giant. But that doesn't stop Bojji from yearning to become a worthy ruler. Ranking of Kings fiercely tugs at the heartstrings and is an iconic underdog story for the ages. -Kat Moon 

86. Servant (Apple TV+)

Where to watch: Apple TV+

M. Night Shyamalan's eccentric psychological thriller has a small but devoted cult, not unlike the show's Church of the Lesser Saints. A rare half-hour drama, Servant's tight runtime and setting — a beautiful but claustrophobic Philadelphia rowhouse — create conditions that require inventive storytelling and well-composed visuals. Servant has one of TV's most perfect color palettes. -Liam Mathews

85. Shoresy (Hulu)

Where to watch: Hulu

You'd think a spin-off of the cult Canadian comedy Letterkenny focused on its most despicable character — the one-dimensional dirty hockey bro Shoresy — would be little more than a showcase for more colorful "your mom" jokes, but creator Jared Keeso has crafted one of TV's best underdog sports comedies by diving deeper into what makes Shoresy tick. The guy hates to lose more than he likes to win, creating a vulnerable desperation to him as he puts together a team of misfits to keep his club from folding. By the end of the six-episode debut (fastest hockey season ever!) you'll feel the power of being part of a team and how sports can hold a community together. -Tim Surette

84. Star Trek: Strange New Worlds (Paramount+)

Where to watch: Paramount+

We bit our tongues when CBS decided to open up Star Trek's tomb to create a suite of programs for its streaming service (then called CBS All Access), but between DiscoveryPicard, and Lower Decks, the results have been pretty good so far. However, Strange New Worlds, a prequel to the original series focused on Captain Pike (Anson Mount) and the Enterprise, might be the best new Trek. Between the adventures of Pike's journeys and the characters (hot Spock!), it honors the fun, standalone variety of the original, but comes with some dazzling new space special effects that are among the best on TV. This is a prequel done right. -Tim Surette

83. Survivor (CBS)

Where to watch: Paramount+

Forty-two seasons and 22 years in, Survivor continues to thrill. Its premise of contestants outwitting, outplaying, and outlasting each other for the million-dollar prize has not changed, and it does not need to (in fact, we could do without some of the twists added to recent seasons). But much of the show's evolution comes from its increasingly diverse casts, who, while striving to be strategic puppet masters — see Season 42 — have brutally honest conversations about how inequities in the world are reflected in this game. -Kat Moon


2022 100 Best Shows: Acapulco

82. Acapulco (Apple TV+)

Where to watch: Apple TV+

When I needed a lift in 2021 — which was, let's be honest, a lot — this charming bilingual comedy was there to pick me up. A successful hotelier (Eugenio Derbez) recounts to his nephew, Princess Bride style, how he went from pool boy to billionaire at a tourist trap resort in Acapulco in the day-glo 1980s. The series never shied away from its telenovela roots, mixing humor, romance, and drama for an absolute, easygoing delight that I couldn't stop watching. Plus, if you want to hear '80s classic pop songs covered by a Spanish-speaking lounge singing duo (trust me, you do) then this is the show for you. -Tim Surette

81. Reacher (Amazon Prime Video)

Where to watch: Amazon Prime Video

Reacher's pleasures are simple but considerable. It's a show about a brawny, brainy guy solving a mystery and beating the ever-loving snot out of people. He cracks wise and then he cracks skulls. It's a well-made paperback of a show that doesn't take itself too seriously, with a star-making performance from Alan Ritchson. -Liam Mathews


2022 100 Best Shows: Our Flag Means Death

80. Our Flag Means Death (HBO Max)

Where to watch: HBO Max

David Jenkins, who created the underrated sci-fi comedy People of Earth, is back with this whimsical — and recently renewed — series about Stede Bonnet (What We Do in the Shadows' Rhys Darby), an aristocrat-turned-pirate captain who is more sensitive than swashbuckling. The antics of the Revenge's colorful crew keep the laughs coming, but Our Flag Means Death made its biggest splash with the slow-building, tender romance between Stede and his fearsome rival, Blackbeard (Taika Waititi). A queer love story on the high seas is a balm we never knew we needed. -Noelene Clark

79. The Great British Baking Show (Netflix)

Where to watch: Netflix

After 12 seasons, The Great British Baking Show isn't exactly breaking the mold, and that's a good thing; why mess with a perfect recipe? Prue Leith's sweetness, Paul Hollywood's spice, comedic flourishes from Noel Fielding and Matt Lucas, and a tent full of relatable amateur bakers celebrating their delectable masterpieces or mourning their culinary disasters — all these ingredients combine to create the ultimate in comfort viewing. -Noelene Clark

78. The Handmaid's Tale (Hulu)

Where to watch: Hulu

Season 4 of The Handmaid's Tale reinvigorated the show when it finally got June (Elisabeth Moss) out of Gilead. It would have been enough to see her reunite with her best friend Moira (Samira Wiley) and husband Luke (O-T Fagbenle) on Canadian soil, but the drama didn't stop there, as June also took fatal action against her abuser, Commander Fred Waterford (Joseph Fiennes). -Danielle Turchiano

77. Below Deck (Bravo)

Where to watch: Peacock

Below Deck brings classic reality TV show drama to an unusual setting: a yacht in the Caribbean. Captain Lee leads a rotating cast of twenty- and thirtysomethings who love to complain about their job just as much as they love to party when charter guests aren't around. Even if the drama — which just gets more intense by the season — isn't your cup of tea, the day-to-day operations of a yacht for rent are mesmerizing. -Mat Elfring


2022 100 Best Shows: Heartstopper

76. Heartstopper (Netflix)

Where to watch: Netflix

Heartstopper is like your favorite sweater — warm and soft, wrapping you in a cozy embrace. Charlie Spring (Joe Locke), an openly gay student at his all-boys school, thinks he's destined for heartbreak when he falls for football star Nick Nelson (Kit Connor). But sparks fly as they build a friendship. Adapted from Alice Oseman's comic series, Heartstopper not only fills a void in LGBTQ representation in media but demands that more uplifting queer stories be told. -Kat Moon


2022 100 Best Shows: Bust Down

75. Bust Down (Peacock) 

Where to watch: Peacock

Whether they're discussing which famous person's poop they would eat or terrorizing sperm banks, Bust Down's four terrific leads, Chris ReddSam JayLangston Kerman, and Jak Knight, turn their zany series about the joy of doing ill-advised stuff with your friends into an immediately essential entry in the hangout-comedy canon. -Allison Picurro

74. Spy x Family (Wit Studio, CloverWorks)

Where to watch: HuluCrunchyroll

Everyone in the Forger family has a secret. Loid is an agent on a high-stakes mission; his newly wedded wife is an assassin. Their adopted daughter Anya? A mind reader who knows her parents' true identities. Spy x Family, adapted from Tatsuya Endo's manga series of the same name, is endlessly entertaining thanks to this outlandish premise. Add intricately designed fight sequences and Anya's meme-worthy responses to the thoughts around her, and Spy x Family is a top-notch action comedy. -Kat Moon


2022 100 Best Shows: Lizzo's Watch Out for the Big Grrrls

73. Lizzo's Watch Out for the Big Grrrls (Amazon Prime Video)

Where to watch: Amazon Prime Video

Lizzo's dance competition show doesn't have to try hard to be revolutionary: just by featuring plus-sized, predominantly Black contestants in a celebratory light, Watch Out for the Big Grrrls dismantles the fatphobic and racist stereotypes we're used to seeing on reality TV. What's more is that each contestant is given a three-dimensional story, showcasing their own struggles and victories that have nothing to do with weight. -Lauren Zupkus

72. Grand Crew (NBC) 

Where to watch: Peacock

The height of NBC's Must See TV may be behind us, but every once in a while, the network debuts a sitcom that gives us a glimpse at what that '90s primetime block would look like today. The crew of Grand Crew — Noah (Echo Kellum), Wyatt (Justin Cunningham), Nicky (Nicole Byer), Anthony (Aaron Jennings), Fay (Grasie Mercedes), and Sherm (Carl Tate) — get into some wild situations. But the show also tackles issues like mental health and breaking cultural stereotypes, all while staying laugh-out-loud funny. -Jess Barnes

71. Big Mouth (Netflix)

Where to watch: Netflix

Nick Kroll's animated crash course in puberty continues to delight and horrify. It's a feat to get viewers to willingly revisit the most painfully awkward stages of adolescence, and Big Mouth's poignant characters, absurd callbacks, and progressive storylines keep fans coming back for more. -Lauren Zupkus

70. The Dropout (Hulu)

Where to watch: Hulu

Given all the affects put on by Theranos founder and CEO Elizabeth Holmes, the role could have become a caricature in the hands of a lesser performer than Amanda Seyfried. But The Dropout smartly lets you meet Seyfried as the so-called real Holmes first, so that you follow her as she transforms, slipping on those affects like a mask. It's chilling and sad at the same time. Creator Liz Meriwether wisely surrounds Holmes with fascinating characters who scream to have their sides of the story told, too. -Danielle Turchiano

69. Sex Education (Netflix) 

Where to watch: Netflix

Sex Education turns the world into a visual feast, so it stung when TV's second most colorfully dressed school (behind only Euphoria High) put its students in uniforms in Season 3. But the raucous coming-of-age series went drab for a reason, railing against the harm of abstinence-only education while still finding time for sweet self-discovery. Nice. -Kelly Connolly


2022 100 Best Shows: Raised by Wolves

68. Raised by Wolves (HBO Max) 

Where to watch: HBO Max

I can tell you that I watch Raised by Wolves because of its commentary on parenting, religion, and technology, and how they all tie into humanity, but that would only be partially true. Mostly, I watch the HBO Max sci-fi mumbo-jumbo gumbo to see giant serpents slither out of the mouths of pregnant robots, or whatever other borderline obscene visuals it has tucked away in its demented mind. Season 2 — the series' last — somehow managed to maintain the insanity while building its mythology in a way that, if you squint hard enough, just barely makes sense. The show's best ideas must regularly be extrapolated by the viewer, but Raised by Wolves also works as delicious eye candy. There truly is no other show like it. -Tim Surette

67. All Creatures Great and Small (PBS)

Where to watch: PBS Masterpiece

Maybe your mom was onto something! Masterpiece's quiet drama based on James Harriot's adventures as a vet in the English countryside in the mid-1900s is TV's equivalent of a weighted blanket. Stripping away all the nonsense of spectacle, All Creatures Great and Small fills space with charming characters whose problems and solutions feel like part of the real world, making it a show whose familiarity soothes. But its real strength is the simmering romance that'll leave you blushing at every eyelash bat between Helen (Rachel Shenton) and James (Nicholas Ralph). When you're tired of unnecessary bluster, retire with TV's king of relaxing drama and spirited romance. -Tim Surette


2022 100 Best Shows: Made for Love

66. Made for Love (HBO Max)

Where to watch: HBO Max

The dark sci-fi comedy Made for Love follows Hazel (Cristin Milioti), a woman who escapes the virtual reality compound where her tech mogul husband, Byron Gogol (Billy Magnussen), kept her trapped for a decade. Season 2 sees Hazel return to the hub as part of a deal to save her father (Ray Romano) and takes the surrealism and absurdity to new heights (spoiler: a talking dolphin features prominently). While it's a crime that this strange and addictive story isn't getting a third season, Season 2 ends with a satisfying sort of symmetry. -Noelene Clark


2022 100 Best Shows: Peacemaker

65. Peacemaker (HBO Max)

Where to watch: HBO Max

In an overcrowded sea of superhero narratives, there's something irresistible about Peacemaker. Sure, sometimes the jokes don't land, but it's hard to care when the series boasts a charismatic lead performance from John Cena and such go-for-broke action scenes. The opening title sequence alone is enough to earn it a spot on this list; the fact that it's actually great is a bonus. -Allison Picurro

64. Ghosts (CBS)

Where to watch: CBS.comParamount+

Ghosts, which is based on the BBC One sitcom of the same name, might be TV's best U.K. transplant since The OfficeRose McIver and Utkarsh Ambudkar star in this spirited comedy about a couple who inherit a crumbling mansion that's already inhabited by an eccentric ensemble of the no-longer-living. The CBS version conjures up a fresh take on the original premise, leaning heavily into its American setting, with a Viking, a young Lenape man, a Revolutionary War captain, and a roaring '20s jazz singer among the estate's spectral inhabitants. It's a quirky haunted house tale that's rarely spooky, often sweet, and always funny. -Noelene Clark


2022 100 Best Shows: Twenty-Five Twenty-One

63. Twenty-Five Twenty-One (Netflix)

Where to watch: Netflix

Twenty-Five Twenty-One is a K-drama masterpiece. It paints an achingly realistic picture of the deeply transformative bonds formed in your teens and twenties — bonds that leave an impact no matter the duration of the relationships. Kim Tae-ri gives a singular performance as the bright-eyed, passionate fencer Na Hee-do. Hee-do's budding romance with Nam Joo-hyuk's Baek Yi-jin is stirring, as is her growing sisterhood with Bona's Ko Yu-rim, a refreshing portrayal of the strength that comes from female friendship. -Kat Moon

62. Chucky (Syfy, USA) 

Where to watch: Peacock

This TV continuation of the horror movie franchise is a sterling example of how to refresh a long-running property for a new format. The smart series from franchise creator Don Mancini stays true to the killer doll movies' dark humor and gory slapstick violence. It also seamlessly integrates queer themes, reclaiming the "queer-coded villain" trope and turning it on its head in a clever and contemporary way. -Liam Mathews

61. Never Have I Ever (Netflix)

Where to watch: Netflix

Never have I ever thought that as an adult woman I could be so invested in a love triangle between three high school students, but if anyone could make that happen, it's Never Have I Ever's co-creator, Mindy Kaling. From Devi's (Maitreyi Ramakrishnan) relationship drama to her grief at losing a parent, I'm hooked on every detail of this coming-of-age comedy. -Jess Barnes

60. South Side (HBO Max) 

Where to watch: HBO Max

Thank you, HBO Max, for continuing this series that premiered on Comedy Central back in 2019; otherwise I would never know the struggles of a man simply trying to take his Omaha Steaks back to his crib to enjoy some grade-A beef during a sweltering summer day in Chicago. Bashir Salahuddin and Diallo Riddle's absurd homage to their hometown is like The Simpsons' Springfield come to life, with each side character upping the outrageousness. I don't think I laughed harder at anything else this year. -Tim Surette

59. Under the Banner of Heaven (FX)

Where to watch: Hulu

This FX-produced true crime adaptation is stacked with exceptional performers. The excellence starts with Andrew Garfield, who shows that he's the most open-hearted actor working today with his performance as Jeb Pyre, a detective whose Mormon faith is shaken while he investigates a horrifying double murder. It continues with Gil Birmingham as Bill Taba, an agnostic Native American detective and Pyre's partner; Daisy Edgar-Jones as a woman whose independence is a threat to the men in her husband's family; and a frightening Wyatt Russell and never-better Sam Worthington as Mormon brothers descending into violent fundamentalism. The limited series is a tense and powerful meditation on faith and truth. -Liam Mathews


2022 100 Best Shows: Queen Sugar

58. Queen Sugar (OWN)

Where to watch: Hulu

For six years, Queen Sugar has painted a layered portrait of the Bordelon family in the Deep South through devastating heartbreak and soul-affirming triumph, all with an empathetic brush and a point of view unlike any other on TV right now. That might be due in part to Ava DuVernay's commitment to hiring an all-female directing team for the entire series, allowing more than three dozen women to make their TV directorial debut on the show. While we aren't ready for Queen Sugar to be over, we have no doubt that it will leave a lasting legacy. -Noelene Clark

57. It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia (FXX)

Where to watch: Hulu

What It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia has achieved feels like it shouldn't be possible. All of Sunny's record-breaking 15 seasons have been good, and it's evolved with the times without losing its edge. The gang must be hiding portraits of themselves that keep them funny in the basement of Paddy's. -Liam Mathews

56. Julia (HBO Max)

Where to watch: HBO Max

Julia was made to be savored. Starring a perfectly cast Sarah Lancashire as the legendary chef Julia Child, the series is set in the 1960s during Child's ascent to TV stardom as she brought the art of French cooking to American audiences. The show takes its time exploring the ageism and sexism Child faced, imagining how she might have dealt with the uncomfortable transition to a level of fame greater than what she perhaps bargained for. But it's the warm devotion between Child and her husband, Paul (David Hyde Pierce), whose old-fashioned marriage gradually grows into a real partnership, that gives Julia its buoyancy. -Allison Picurro

55. Desus & Mero (Showtime)

Where to watch: Showtime

From The Slap to fast food fish sandwichesDesus Nice and The Kid Mero always have the best takes. Their guests are guaranteed to be illustrious, but it's their signature lived-in chemistry and acute point of view on even the most tired of news stories that makes Desus & Mero TV's most unfailingly entertaining talk show. -Allison Picurro


2022 100 Best Shows: Sort Of

54. Sort Of (HBO Max)

Where to watchHBO Max

A tender, low-key dramedy about a non-binary millennial who drops everything to care for the young kids they nanny after the mother of the family suffers an accident, Sort Of is a quietly groundbreaking gem of a series. It avoids leaning into self-importance and flows with the unhurried authenticity of everyday life, all anchored by its wonderful star and co-creator, Bilal Baig. Its explorations of identity are presented with droll frankness; its jokes can catch you by surprise with their subtlety. It's like a breath of fresh air in TV form. -Allison Picurro

53. Dave (FXX)

Where to watch: Hulu

Dave's second season premiered almost a year ago, but it's still the high-water mark for dickish rapping protagonists who quite frequently make a great point and eventually draw enough sympathy to make them endearing. OK, that's a bit specific, but Dave grew, especially with regards to that last part, in Season 2 as his stubbornness over his broken relationship began to crack, his ego took enough hits to show humility underneath, and his obsession with control relaxed to allow others to create with him. Dave is about growth when it's not about potty jokes, and it grew so much in 2021 that it's still welcome in 2022. -Tim Surette

52. Good Trouble (Freeform)

Where to watch: Hulu

The Freeform series had to figure out a new identity in its fourth season with the departure of Maia Mitchell as Callie, who co-headlined the series with Cierra Ramirez's Mariana after their tenure on The Fosters. While Mitchell will be sorely missed, the remaining episodes of Season 4 cemented the fact that Good Trouble has built a strong ensemble cast, with the ability to tell captivating stories about issues facing today's young adults. The show remains one of the most delightful series that never takes its finger off the pulse. -Megan Vick

51. A Black Lady Sketch Show (HBO) 

Where to watch: HBO Max

We knew Robin Thede was smart when she launched A Black Lady Sketch Show in 2019, but the show's third season revealed a new level of brilliance when it tied the sketch world and the narrative story together. First there's the reveal, and then there's the experience of rewatching the first two seasons to see how she planted hints all along. Some sketch comedies fly by the seat of their pants and still manage to create laughs, but they're playing checkers; A Black Lady Sketch Show is clearly playing chess. -Danielle Turchiano


2022 100 Best Shows: Bridgerton

50. Bridgerton (Netflix)

Where to watch: Netflix

Season 1 of Bridgerton gave us all the steamy romance, scandal, and drama we could handle. What Season 2 may have lacked in sex scenes it more than made up for in sexual tension, all leading up to the family's eldest, Anthony Bridgerton (Jonathan Bailey), confessing his love for the only person as independent and stubborn as he is, Kate Sharma (Simone Ashley). As the soapy drama continues to explore the love lives of the Bridgerton siblings, we'll be hanging on every word of Lady Whistledown's letters, every speech from a character admitting their deepest desires, and every life lesson from Lady Danbury (Adjoa Andoh). -Jess Barnes

49. Single Drunk Female (Freeform)

Where to watch: Hulu

Fun fact: Freeform is one of the best in the game when it comes to delivering topical young adult shows. The Gen-Z-skewing network proved once again that it knows how to talk about serious issues facing the younger generation without getting preachy or condescending with its latest original dramedy, Single Drunk Female. The series follows Sam (Sofia Black-D'Elia), a twentysomething journalist who is forced to go to rehab and move back home after drunkenly assaulting her boss in the pilot episode. Back home, Sam is forced to face the grief over her father's death she never really dealt with, learn to communicate with her overbearing mother, and define success for herself while it seems like everyone else around her is falling apart. Single Drunk Female doesn't shy away from how messy being an addict can be, but it doesn't judge or exploit Sam's journey either. It's honest and raw, while also finding a way to be heartwarming at the most surprising times. It's a sobriety story stripped of clichés. -Megan Vick

48. We Own This City (HBO)

Where to watch: HBO Max

This ripped-from-the-headlines limited series pulses with righteous anger about the urgent issue of police misconduct. We Own This City follows the disturbing rise and fall of the Baltimore Police Department's Gun Trace Task Force, a horrifically corrupt unit that was arguably the city's most dangerous gang in the mid-2010s. It's a story that shows in convincing detail how a broken police department is both a symptom and exacerbator of across-the-board political failure. 

The show comes from David Simon and George Pelecanos, who covered similar thematic terrain in the same city with The Wire, one of TV's all-time great shows. We Own This City shows how they've evolved as storytellers in the 20 years since The Wire premiered, confidently telling a complex story that jumps around in time. And star Jon Bernthal, as task force leader Sgt. Wayne Jenkins, has never been better. Bernthal embodies the criminal cop with a swaggering, live-wire menace that's repulsive but riveting. -Liam Mathews 

47. Arcane (Netflix)

Where to watch: Netflix

Video game adaptations get a bad rap, and rightfully so. They have a history of being terrible cash grabs, brought to the screen not by people who enjoyed the game, but by people who heard gamers might like them. Because of that past trauma, we forgive you for overlooking Arcane, an animated Netflix original set in the world of the globally popular PC game League of Legends that is everything a video game adaptation should be. Using the game's canon — which has little impact on the multiplayer game itself, so you truly can watch without ever having played LoL — as the foundation, Fortiche and Riot Games started from the ground up to tell a story about orphan sisters Vi and Jinx (voiced by Hailee Steinfeld and Ella Purnell) who end up on opposing sides of a technological war in a steampunk-influenced world. Two things stand out in Arcane: the writing, which is as emotional — your heart WILL break — and effective as anything else that came out in 2021, and the animation, a blend of gorgeous 2D and 3D computer work that breathes life into the universe and delivers some of the most thrilling action sequences of the year. Arcane is flat-out impressive on all fronts. -Tim Surette

46. The Sex Lives of College Girls (HBO Max)

Where to watch: HBO Max

Mindy Kaling combines her ensemble comedy writing skills — honed on The Office — with her knack for nailing female friendships and casting absurdly good-looking love interests for her female leads in The Sex Lives of College Girls. You might be thinking, "Isn't that also true for Mindy's other current show, Never Have I Ever?" And it is. But The Sex Lives of College Girls is all that, just a bit more grown-up. Stars Alyah Chanelle ScottAmrit KaurReneé Rapp, and Pauline Chalamet (nope, that last name is not a coincidence) each deliver breakout performances as four randomly paired roommates trying to figure out who they are and who they want to be during their first year at an elite university. In addition to being laugh-out-loud funny, Sex Lives showcases Kaling's ability to expose the heart of her characters in the most absurd of situations, like getting caught having sex with your roommate's brother in the office of the dean you need to impress to get off academic probation. Whether you went to a liberal arts school, or to college at all, doesn't matter. You'll be able to see yourself in these young women navigating the pitfalls of growing up and figuring out how to stand on your own two feet. -Megan Vick


2022 100 Best Shows: The Flight Attendant

45. The Flight Attendant (HBO Max) 

Where to watch: HBO Max

The Flight Attendant took off with fun and flirty flight attendant Cassie (Kaley Cuoco) waking up in a strange hotel room in a foreign country — next to a dead body. And the show manages to stay in the air in Season 2, which finds a sober Cassie attending AA meetings and trying to be a better version of herself. Of course, she's also got a project with the CIA, a lookalike committing felonies around the world, and, yes, Michelle Gomez continuing to annihilate people without batting an eye. Things get chaotic as Cassie flies to Reykjavik to solve a mystery while her BFF Annie (Zosia Mamet) deals with an entirely separate mess back home. The show's second installment, like its first, is hectic and tense, with perfectly placed sharp humor. The Flight Attendant proves that a series with a strong first season can wrap up one storyline and manage to come back in a way that feels just as thrilling. -Jess Barnes

44. The Staircase (HBO Max)

Where to watch: HBO Max

If you've seen Netflix's 13-part docuseries, also called The Staircase, you're familiar with the curious case of Michael Peterson, who in 2001 was accused of killing his wife, Kathleen, after he claimed she died by falling down the stairs in their home. What Antonio Campos accomplishes with this fictionalized version of the story, which features a knockout performance from Colin Firth as Peterson, is that you're rarely watching a rehashing of what you already know. His Staircase is fascinating and gripping in its recreations of the different circumstances under which Kathleen's (mesmerizingly portrayed by Toni Collette) death could have occurred, and it's no small feat to open up new questions surrounding a decades-old case. Even when the series veers into camp territory (no one will ever hear me complain about Parker Posey getting to play to her strengths as the over-the-top prosecutor), it doesn't feel like a jarring shift in tone; that's how clear the show's perspective is. In a year overflowing with scripted true crime adaptations, few have come out of the gate with a more interesting vision than The Staircase. -Allison Picurro

43. Blindspotting (Starz)

Where to watch: Starz

Every once in a while a show comes along that is so different from anything else on TV that it sends your jaw to the floor. Blindspotting is the TV continuation of Daveed Diggs and Rafael Casal's 2018 film of the same name, but the Starz series pivots the focus away from Diggs' and Casal's characters, Colin and Miles, to Miles' fiancée, Ashley (Jasmine Cephas-Jones), as she tries to navigate life as a single parent when Miles is sent to prison for dealing pills. Like its feature film predecessor, Blindspotting the series is a love letter to Diggs and Casal's hometown of Oakland, California, that blends heightened language, poetry, and dance into the script. Cephas-Jones is a tour de force in her expanded role, and the creative team pulls off a rare feat in making an excellent case for a deeper dive into the world of a near pitch-perfect movie. The way that the show expands upon Colin and Miles' neighborhood, and introduces the audience to Oakland in a way you couldn't experience unless you had been there yourself, is fascinating. Additionally, the way verse is incorporated into the script to set up scenes or add additional emotional context gives the show a pulse. There's no other show combining this many artistic elements to tell a story, and Blindspotting makes it look easy. -Megan Vick

42. This Is Going to Hurt (AMC+, Sundance Now)

Where to watch: AMC+Sundance Now

It's tempting to describe this British medical dramedy as "Scrubs by way of Fleabag," because it's a realistic, emotionally walloping hospital series with a morbid sense of humor and a main character who speaks directly to the camera in witty asides. But This Is Going to Hurt has a spirit all its own thanks to creator Adam Kay, a former doctor who adapted his own memoir about working as an OB-GYN at a chaotic, underfunded community hospital in London. Kay's firsthand experience gives the show a harrowing authenticity as it whips from comedy to tragedy in the blink of an eye. The great Ben Whishaw plays a fictionalized version of Kay, whose personal life is in shambles due to the all-consuming nature of the job, with deadpan humor and sneaky sensitivity. If you called him compassionate, he'd roll his eyes, but that's just a defense mechanism because he can't allow himself to feel how much he actually cares about his patients. It opens him up to too much pain. -Liam Mathews 

41. The Owl House (Disney Channel)

Where to watch: Disney+

If The Owl House feels like a spiritual successor to cult darling Gravity Falls, it's for good reason. Dana Terrace was a storyboard artist for Alex Hirsch's supernatural series before she went on to create The Owl House, the Peabody Award-winning story of a confident and cheerful Latina teen named Luz who finds a portal to the Demon Realm — a world of magic, demons, and witches ruled by a tyrannical emperor. Luz befriends Eda, a dissident witch who becomes her magic teacher and mentor, and King, the adorably impotent self-proclaimed King of Demons, voiced by Hirsch. They have her back as she contends with rivals at the Hexside School of Magic and Demonics and faces off against fierce magical foes. The Owl House may be a shade darker than typical Disney Channel fare, but it's every bit as imaginative and whimsical. It's also got a lot of heart, and you may find yourself getting misty-eyed as you root for Luz to prove herself, get the girl, and save the day. -Noelene Clark


2022 100 Best Shows: Minx

40. Minx (HBO Max) 

Where to watch: HBO Max

Open Minx to its centerfold, and you'll find Jake Johnson in an array of patterned shirts. The fizzy new comedy from creator Ellen Rapoport drops viewers into the heady vibrance of 1970s L.A., where skin mag publisher Doug Renetti (Johnson) and buttoned-up feminist Joyce Prigger (Ophelia Lovibond) team up to start the first erotic magazine for women. Their efforts give Minx the flavor of a plucky workplace sitcom, a second-wave throwback dressed up in groovy 'fits. But the tension underpinning Joyce and Doug's partnership takes the spotlight in the richer second half of the season, as the show reveals itself to be more complicated than it looks. It's an unlikely marriage of joyful dick montages and big ideas, just like the magazine. -Kelly Connolly


2022 100 Best Shows: Ozark

39. Ozark (Netflix)

Where to watch: Netflix

What was impressive about Ozark was how the hit Netflix crime drama always managed to inject sly humor into twisted scenarios, allowing the audience's worldview to shift as they succumbed to the same darkness as the characters. That was never more true than in the final season, which forced viewers to confront, one last time, who deserved to be punished for their actions. As with any series finale, there has been some debate over whether Marty and Wendy Byrde (Jason Bateman and Laura Linney) got what they deserved, but you can't deny the powerful statement made by the youngest of their clan (Jonah, played by Skylar Gaertner) finally, truly getting his hands dirty, or the weight of everyone who was lost — especially Julia Garner's Ruth — because the Byrdes came into their lives. -Danielle Turchiano

38. This Is Us (NBC)

Where to watch: Hulu

The final episodes of This Is Us were among the finest of its entire run. Mandy Moore turned in an Emmy-worthy performance as family matriarch Rebecca Pearson, who spent the final season succumbing to Alzheimer's disease. The entire cast was on its A game as This Is Us used its time-bending format to unveil answers to burning questions it had left lingering for seasons, and the payoffs were more rewarding than we ever could have expected. (Looking at you, "Miguel" episode. What a job well done!) While This Is Us made headlines over the course of six years for its twists and turns, in the end it was a series about a family and how loved ones must move on after loss. The final season exemplified how this show was at its very best in the simple moments — the lazy Saturdays and slices of life for this family we've all become so attached to. Stellar performances, great storytelling, and an unmatched level of heart will help This Is Us go down as one of the greatest TV dramas of our time. -Megan Vick

37. The Great (Hulu)

Where to watch: Hulu

If you liked The Crown but wished it had a little bit more oomph, then pour yourself a Moscow Mule and settle in for The Great — an occasionally true, consistently raunchy romp through Russian history. Elle Fanning stars as the ambitious leader who will eventually become Catherine the Great, but at the start of the series, she's a starry-eyed bride in an arranged marriage, freshly arrived in St. Petersburg and horrified to discover that her husband Emperor Peter III's court is steeped in ignorance, debauchery, and casual violence. Her well-meaning but clumsy attempts to introduce philosophy and science to the Russian aristocracy are undermined at every turn, but it isn't long before she shores up some unlikely allies and begins plotting to kill Peter (Nicholas Hoult) and take control in a coup. What unfolds is an outlandish but surprisingly tender tale of an empress-to-be who refuses to let incompetent men define her role or limit her vision. Huzzah, indeed. -Noelene Clark


2022 100 Best Shows: The Afterparty

36. The Afterparty (Apple TV+)

Where to watch: Apple TV+

If you're looking for a good mystery, there are dozens of true crime whodunits out there for you to choose from. But if you want a fun mystery that cracks you up with every episode, then you need the Apple TV+ caper The Afterparty. The new series — which comes from Chris Miller and Phil Lord, the comedic masterminds behind The Lego Movie and Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse — has been one of the most delightful surprises of 2022. Dave Franco plays Xavier, a Justin Bieber-status pop star who is found dead at the afterparty he throws for his 15th high school reunion. As Tiffany Haddish's Detective Danner questions each of the party guests (played by the likes of Ben SchwartzIke Barinholtz, and Ilana Glazer), the genre of the show changes depending on who is being interrogated. The series flips between romantic comedy, action, noir, and even animation as viewers take the rollercoaster ride through the events of the party to figure out who actually killed Xavier. Perhaps the best thing about The Afterparty is that after you've finished, you can go back and watch again to pick up on clues you never would have noticed on the first go-round. Repeat viewing sounds crazy in the streaming era, but The Afterparty makes it worth it. -Megan Vick

35. Undone (Amazon Prime Video)

Where to watch: Amazon Prime Video

The first season of this dreamy rotoscoped drama centered on Alma (Rosa Salazar), a woman who finds out that she can manipulate time and communicate with her deceased father (Bob Odenkirk). Alma races backward and forward through time, trying to prevent her dad's death 20 years prior, all while wondering if her new reality is the result of special powers or a symptom of mental illness. In Season 2, Undone loses much of its ambiguity but none of its breathtaking intrigue as Alma explores an alternate timeline where her father is still alive, her sister (Angelique Cabral) also has time-travel powers, and a mystery from her family's past demands to be solved. -Noelene Clark

34. Girls5eva (Peacock) 

Where to watch: Peacock

Sophomore albums are always tricky, but Season 2 of Peacock's best comedy — OK, not saying much, but it would be the best comedy on a lot of streamers — proves that Girls5eva was no one-hit wonder. The series about an early '00s girl group trying to make it again 20 years later is vying for the current crown of most jokes per minute, but unlike its competition, most of those jokes are pop culture puncturing perfection. Success is still fleeting for the girls in Season 2, but they're flirting with the big time for more impressive gags, and the series is still churning out the hits — "Can't Wait to Wait" is an abstinence jam! But Season 2 is revisiting their past even more; the midseason episode about their deceased member Ashley (Ashley Park) is a series highlight. Oh, and Renée Elise Goldsberry as Wickie Roy is one of the best sitcom characters in a decade. -Tim Surette


2022 100 Best Shows: P-Valley

33. P-Valley (Starz)

Where to watch: StarzAmazon Prime Video

When Starz debuted its strip club series P-Valley two years ago, we did not know what we were in for. But it reeled us in from the start. Set in the fictional Southern town of Chucalissa, Mississippi, P-Valley has everything we didn't know we needed in a "workplace drama": secret identities, money laundering, mesmerizing pole routines, and Uncle Clifford (Nicco Annan), one of the most fascinating characters on TV. The nonbinary owner of The Pynk is a standout of the show. She's equal parts lover and fighter, both of which come out in her complicated relationship with a closeted rising rap star. With every episode, the show is breaking stereotypes and, at times, our hearts. It's been a long hiatus, but as Season 2 picks up, P-Valley still has our full attention. -Semhar Debessai


2022 100 Best Shows: Russian Doll

32. Russian Doll (Netflix)

Where to watch: Netflix

Generational trauma: what a concept. After a long break, the Emmy-winning head trip Russian Doll returned this year under the stewardship of star-writer-director Natasha Lyonne, who also took over showrunning duties. The new season sends Lyonne's Nadia into her family's past, mystically propelling her into the bodies of her mother and grandmother via a portal in the New York City subway system. As Nadia journeys as far back as 1944 Budapest in an attempt to change her family's fortunes, Alan (Charlie Barnett) has his own transformative experience when he's pulled into his grandmother's romance in 1962 East Berlin. It's a striking, inward-looking story about the burdens children inherit from their mothers. Only Russian Doll could wrestle with whether it's possible to break unhealthy patterns on a time-traveling 6 train. -Kelly Connolly

31. Somebody Somewhere (HBO)

Where to watch: HBO Max

HBO's quaint and quirky indie comedy doesn't have A-list movie stars or glamorous sets, and that's exactly why it's so essential. A gladcom that dabbles in sadcom (it's a Duplass Brothers work, natch), Somebody Somewhere landed in Kansas, where everywoman star Bridget Everett plays Sam, a woman who returns home after the death of her sister to try to find herself again. Somebody Somewhere's quick, queer-friendly, seven-episode first season flies by with its arms open and heart bare, asking whether it's better to go where you're called or stay where you're needed. The core of the series is the endearing friendship between Sam and her coworker Joel (Jeff Hiller), a relationship based in honesty, acceptance, and goofing the F off, qualities that permeate through this wholesome and delightful show. -Tim Surette

30. Snowfall (FX)

Where to watch: Hulu

If you haven't watched Snowfall, you are truly missing out on one of the best villain evolutions on television, courtesy of star Damson Idris. Idris' Franklin Saint reaches peak maniacal in the FX series' latest season, which coincides with the gradual fall of his L.A.-based drug empire. As a fan, you can't help but feel conflicted to see the (mostly) cool, calm, collected Saint lose, if only for the moment. As it prepares to enter its final season, Snowfall (created by the late, great John Singleton) doesn't seem to be losing steam, setting up a family feud of epic proportions between Franklin and his Aunt Louie (Angela Lewis). Not gonna lie: It's been kind of nice seeing Louie realize her crime boss dreams, even if she did break the No. 1 rule of crime boss-ing. -Semhar Debessai

29. YOU (Netflix)

Where to watch: Netflix

Netflix's cleverly ironic psychological thriller combines gripping, edge-of-your-seat suspense with pitch black comedy satirizing all kinds of corny stuff, not the least of which are the conventions of the romantic comedy genre. Joe Goldberg (Penn Badgley) would be the perfect rom-com boyfriend, were it not for the fact that he's a serial killer. Whenever I watch YOU, I say to myself, "I wish more shows were like YOU." But it's hard enough to have twisty, surprising plots or be laugh-out-loud hilarious, and YOU is awesome at both. It's incredible that there's even one show like YOU. -Liam Mathews

28. Ted Lasso (Apple TV+) 

Where to watch: Apple TV+

Ted Lasso is the definition of feel-good TV, even when it doesn't feel good. Despite a never-ending stream of setbacks, from journalists looking for a juicy story to players with competing egos to an entire country skeptical of the new guy in town, Ted's (Jason Sudeikis) optimism carried him and those around him through Season 1 as he learned the ropes as an American coaching an English soccer team. But the series really put that optimism to the test in Season 2, as the source of Ted's anxiety and panic attacks brought new depth to the happy-go-lucky, mustachioed coach. His vulnerability when he finally sat down with the team's sports psychologist, Dr. Fieldstone (Sarah Niles), only added to the show's appeal. Now that AFC Richmond has been promoted to Premier League again after being relegated at the end of Season 1, we'll see if the players, coaches, and owners believe in themselves and each other enough to stand up to the pressure in the upcoming season. -Jess Barnes

27. Yellowstone (Paramount)

Where to watch: Peacock

Yellowstone Season 4 wasn't Taylor Sheridan's best work. But it was the moment when the Paramount Network's modern Western went from being a hit show to being a bona fide cultural phenomenon that everyone across the country gathered to watch together every Sunday night. It's a hit in a way shows aren't anymore, thanks to Sheridan's distinctive writing, iconic characters like Beth Dutton (Kelly Reilly) and Rip Wheeler (Cole Hauser), and its general ability to give people something they can't get anywhere else. It's an all-American crowd-pleaser that never fails to deliver big, bold moments. -Liam Mathews


2022 100 Best Shows: 1883

26. 1883 (Paramount+)

Where to watch: Paramount+

Yes, 1883 ranks higher than the original series. Creator Taylor Sheridan's Yellowstone prequel spin-off revitalized the traditional Western in a way TV hasn't seen in decades. 1883 resurrects an ancient strain of Western television that goes back to Wagon Train in the 1950s and turns it into a widescreen epic. 1883 tells a story about how the West became America, seen through the eyes of young pioneer woman Elsa Dutton (Isabel May), who finds spiritual meaning in the freedom, beauty and brutality of frontier life. We can't wait to see what Sheridan and David Oyelowo do with the story of legendary U.S. Marshal Bass Reeves in upcoming offshoot 1883: The Bass Reeves Story. -Liam Mathews


2022 100 Best Shows: Only Murders in the Building

25. Only Murders in the Building (Hulu)

Where to watch: Hulu

Charles-Haden Savage (Steve Martin), Oliver Putnam (Martin Short), and Mabel Mora (Selena Gomez) have virtually nothing in common. The one trait they share is an obsession with a true crime podcast, which prompts them to start their own when a resident in their Upper West Side apartment building suddenly dies. The former TV star, the washed-up Broadway director, and the young artist, respectively, are an awkward match — which is exactly what makes them one of the most endearing TV trios in recent memory. But their twisty investigation is equally absorbing, as they discover the lies and secrets behind their neighbors' doors. Only Murders in the Building is wildly comedic and playfully incisive as it pokes fun at the true crime genre. It also packs just as much heart as it does humor, thanks to the warm camaraderie built by its three central characters. -Kat Moon

24. Starstruck (HBO Max)

Where to watch: HBO Max

If Starstruck's first season was a smart, refreshing take on the romantic comedy, its second dares to ask, "OK, what next?" Leave it to creator and star Rose Matafeo to answer that question in the most satisfying way possible. Season 2 unfolds with the vivacious spirit of a classic screwball comedy as it explores the joys and pains of new love, which is complicated enough when one half of a couple isn't incredibly famous. But Matafeo and co-writers Nic Sampson and Alice Snedden made the deft choice to thread Jessie's lack of interest in Tom's (Nikesh Patel) celebrity status into the DNA of the show, making all their romantic issues feel grounded in reality. Watching Jessie somewhat reluctantly fall for the person Tom really is, despite her many reservations about relationships, is that much more pleasurable for it. Matafeo and Patel's easy, playful chemistry brings the details of Starstruck to life, their languid sexiness lighting up scenes where Jessie and Tom brush their teeth side by side or babble sleepily to each other while lying in a twin bed. The show leans into genre clichés in an utterly self-assured way, so that when the season's final scene rolls along, you can almost see Nora Ephron herself smiling down on it. -Allison Picurro

23. The Other Two (HBO Max)

Where to watch: HBO Max

Only The Other Two is brave enough to base an entire episode around a character getting his butthole pictures leaked. True heads know that's just par the course for Chris Kelly and Sarah Schneider's irreverent showbiz comedy, which spotlights the forgotten siblings (played by Drew Tarver and Heléne Yorke) floating around the edges of a family full of celebrities. The Other Two is special for its clear understanding of the niche audience it's playing to, trusting them to keep up with its 30 Rockian pace of jokes per minute, cutting cultural references, and the way it expertly weaves complicated family politics in with heightened comedy. Yeah, I said it: The same show with a hole pics episode also doubles as a shrewd family drama. In this climate? That's exactly what we need. -Allison Picurro

22. What We Do in the Shadows (FX)

Where to watch: Hulu

When a show has a virtually perfect first season like What We Do in the Shadows did in 2019 (after spinning off from a fantastic movie of the same name), you'd expect a sophomore — or at least junior — slump. That's not what happened. In fact, What We Do in the Shadows, like its central vampires, has aged like a fine wine. Season 3 turned the show on its head and created a new dynamic between resident human Guillermo (Harvey Guillen) and the house vampires after the reveal that he's actually a very skilled vampire hunter. Guillermo stepping up as the vampires' bodyguard helped refresh the show and gave everyone new angles to play. 

This was the season that gave us Nandor (Kayvan Novak) falling in with the vampire equivalent of vegan crossfit enthusiasts ("The Wellness Center"), a surprising emotional twist with Colin (Mark Proksch) and his roommates ("A Farewell"), and a season finale cliffhanger that left us hungry (get it?) for more episodes. What We Do in the Shadows is a comedy that not only makes you feel something but makes you laugh out loud at its farcical antics, and it only gets better as it goes along. -Megan Vick


2022 100 Best Shows: Squid Game

21. Squid Game (Netflix)

Where to watch: Netflix

Behind the trending "Red Light, Green Light" doll and the viral dalgona candy challenge is the intricately crafted, brilliantly designed show — and global phenomenon — that is Squid Game. Sure, we've seen the play-to-your-death premise before in films like Battle Royale and The Hunger Games. But there's something infinitely more chilling about the gory challenges being inspired by children's games, taking place in playground-themed arenas, with the contestants dressed in tracksuits reminiscent of director Hwang Dong-hyuk's elementary school uniforms. The bubblegum aesthetic of the competitions and the buoyant soundtrack only further enhance this eerie contrast. Conceptual and technical wins aside, Squid Game boasts a slew of strong performances from actors both experienced and new. The seasoned Lee Jung-jae and Park Hae-soo anchor the show with their nuanced portrayals of the desperate Seong Gi-hun and Cho Sang-woo, while Jung Hoyeon makes her astonishing television debut as the enigmatic Kang Sae-byeok. All of this without even mentioning the show's biting commentary on class inequality in South Korea. -Kat Moon

20. The White Lotus (HBO) 

Where to watch: HBO Max

We don't know much about Season 2 of The White Lotus, which will tell a new story set at a resort in Sicily. But we know Jennifer Coolidge is returning, so consider us thrilled. Mike White's first installment of the satirical dramedy unfolds in a luxe Hawaiian resort, initially under the guise of a murder mystery. And while it eventually culminates in bloodshed as promised, the show slowly reveals itself to be much less a murder mystery than a brilliant, darkly funny examination of class dynamics and privilege. Jennifer Coolidge, Natasha Rothwell, and Murray Bartlett bring standout performances to an already star-studded ensemble cast, cleverly displaying all of the thorns and sweetness of their characters like a Hawaiian pineapple. -Lauren Zupkus

19. Euphoria (HBO) 

Where to watch: HBO Max

Is it possible to be a prestige drama and the source of meme fodder? If you're Euphoria, hell yes. Season 2 put an even bigger spotlight on many of the HBO show's supporting characters, resulting in some of the craziest, funniest, most meme-able moments of the series — all while still dealing with Rue's heartbreaking journey with addiction (if it hasn't been said enough, give Zendaya all the Emmys). In the much-talked-about meta theater episode, Maude Apatow's Lexi shined as the director and star of her own Euphoria play. Cassie's (Sydney Sweeney) gradual unraveling this season was a car crash you couldn't look away from. And Angus Cloud's Fez proved he was much more than the soft-spoken drug dealer we saw in Season 1 (Team #Fexi Forever!). -Semhar Debessai

18. Stranger Things (Netflix)

Where to watch: Netflix

The stream of reboots and revivals isn't slowing down, but the continued success of Stranger Things shows that people don't want new versions of old things; they want original ideas that feel like old things. Even more than that, they want great characters. And great characters are Stranger Things' not-so-secret weapon. The "Steven Spielberg directing a long lost Stephen King novel" referential '80s vibes are cool, but they wouldn't matter if we didn't care so much about Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown) and Hopper (David Harbour) and our main man Steve Harrington (Joe Keery) and every other member of the show's increasingly large but consistently great ensemble. 

Season 4 adds some awesome new characters, like misunderstood metalhead Eddie Munson (Joseph Quinn) and game-changing big bad Vecna, a Freddie Krueger-style villain with a chilling backstory, while deepening our relationship with older ones like Max, whose trauma and determination are brought to life by season MVP Sadie Sink's performance. The show is bigger than it's ever been, but it hasn't lost what made it so resonant in the first place. -Liam Mathews   

17. For All Mankind (Apple TV+)

Where to watch: Apple TV+

One of 2021's best episodes of the year was the Season 2 finale of For All Mankind, a tense hour of 1980s Cold War that got hotter and hotter, culminating in a shootout between the Russians and Americans… ON THE MOON. Set up by nine solid prior episodes, the finale was For All Mankind reaching its potential and then going beyond, mixing alternate history, near-future science-fiction, and tense relationship and familial drama for a series that carved out a niche where no show had gone before. Don't get me wrong — a single episode isn't enough to get a show on this list. The series was already good before that as it proposed a prolonged space race after the Russians beat America to the Moon, featured several winning performances from unexpected places (Wrenn Schmidt's work as NASA head Margo Madison isn't being talked about enough), and showcased the occasional breathtaking action sequence (I repeat, a shootout… ON THE MOON). But the Season 2 finale launched it to greatness, a greatness the series hopes to maintain as it heads to Mars in its next chapter. From what we've seen of Season 3 (which premiered June 10), it's definitely in the orbit of maintaining that momentum, increasing the outer space extracurriculars to Gravity levels of excitement, and writing what could be our own next chapter of space travel as a private company joins the superpowers in a race to the Red Planet. Even though it's set in the 1990s, this season is bringing the timeline into our present and future, touching on our current space aspirations while also predicting what's ahead. If that's not a sign of a show evolving, I don't know what is. -Tim Surette


2022 100 Best Shows: Yellowjackets

16. Yellowjackets (Showtime)

Where to watch: Showtime

So many scenes in the first episode of Yellowjackets make you wonder, WTF have I gotten myself into? But as graphic as the show's introduction is, the shock and terror of the ghastly events that unfold when an ordinary high school girls' soccer team crash-lands in the wilderness kept fans hooked. Still, Yellowjackets is more than a nightmarish survival thriller. It's a haunting mystery that centers two questions: How far did the players go to survive? (Spoiler alert: Not everyone made it out alive.) And how far are they willing to go now, 25 years later, to hide the truth about what happened? The series is thick with suspense, and it's made all the more riveting by the performances, both from the stars portraying the teen girls in 1996 and the ones playing their present-day selves. -Kat Moon

15. Hacks (HBO Max) 

Where to watch: HBO Max

Even when they're warring, the women of Hacks — up-and-coming writer Ava (Hannah Einbinder) and stand-up comic Deborah Vance (Jean Smart) — have a refreshing amount of empathy for one another. Case in point: Deborah turning her tour schedule on its head and literally stepping into a dumpster to help Ava find her father's mistakenly discarded ashes. Creators and showrunners Lucia Aniello, Paul W. Downs, and Jen Statsky have keen industry insight that allows the show to reflect on, and have fun with, ideas of fame, success, wealth, and privilege through these two women whose relationship is the heart of the show. But it leaves room for the people around them, from Deborah's agent Jimmy (Downs) to her business manager-turned-CEO Marcus (Carl Clemons-Hopkins), to shine and grow, too. Some may have worried about how Hacks could top what it pulled off in Season 1, which scored 15 Emmy nominations and three wins, but the sophomore season ups the ante on everything: humor, heart, and, yes, even stakes. Deborah and Ava's relationship becoming all the more fraught by the legendary comic suing, but continuing to work with, her newest employee probably best sums that up. -Danielle Turchiano


2022 100 Best Shows: The Good Fight

14. The Good Fight (Paramount+)

Where to watch: Paramount+

Politics will lose its funhouse mirror when The Good Fight signs off after its upcoming sixth season. Robert and Michelle King's risk-taking legal drama made its name skewering presidential administrations, conspiracy theories, cover-ups, privilege, and hypocrisy, reimagining real scandals with a wink and, often, an animated musical number. But what shouldn't be lost in the conversation is how human The Good Fight is. In its latest season alone, the Christine Baranski-led series turned in TV's least cloying COVID storyline, a nightmarish elegy for those lost to systemic corruption. No other show has sustained fury and grief at the state of the world like The Good Fight has. It's been a paradoxical comfort. -Kelly Connolly

13. Reservation Dogs (FX)

Where to watch: Hulu

You've never seen a show quite like Hulu's FX-produced dramedy Reservation Dogs before. That's not just because it's the first scripted series fully filmed in Oklahoma in TV history, or because it has more Indigenous representation in front of and behind the camera than any mainstream show there's ever been. Those are necessary ingredients of the special Sonic sauce, but not the only ones. What really makes Reservation Dogs unique is the comedic talent of showrunner Sterlin Harjo and the future superstars of his cast, who depict American Indigenous life through a surreal, occasionally tragic, gut-bustingly hilarious filter. They build a highly specific world that feels like the most mundanely magical place in America. -Liam Mathews

12. How to With John Wilson (HBO)

Where to watch: HBO Max

John Wilson is a documentarian who walks around New York, conducting interviews and covertly filming strangers as he seeks answers to questions like "how to make small talk" and "how to improve your memory." His comedy, renewed for a third season, is executive-produced by Nathan Fielder, of Nathan for You notoriety. So when my fellow TV Guide editors first recommended How to With John Wilson, I braced myself for pretentiousness and snark, and for cruel jokes at the expense of ordinary people. Wow, was I wrong. Yes, Wilson expertly sets up and executes visual punchlines, pulling perfect clips from his archive of thousands of hours of footage. And yes, he has a knack for identifying and interviewing some of the strangest characters in the city. But somehow, the absurdism and sadness and empathy and social commentary all come together to make a show that feels like a loving ode to humanity in all its ridiculousness. The Season 1 finale, filmed just as the COVID pandemic began in New York, packs a surprisingly emotional punch, and Season 2 is no less poignant and every bit as effective in pushing us to see the world — and each other — through a different lens. -Noelene Clark

11. Better Things (FX)

Where to watch: Hulu

Being alive is hard. Being alive is amazing. Or maybe being alive is just a fact, and that's cool, too. Better Things, Pamela Adlon's superb FX comedy, spent five lovingly crafted seasons telling us that no matter how you choose to look at it, life is always worth it. What started as a funny show about a working actor and her three daughters grew into a series that flowed with a rhythm unlike anything else on TV. The final season continued to treat everyday intimacy as something valuable, its tender observations of the world tinged with meaning, optimistic but never precious. Sam (Adlon) went to doctor's appointments and messily made smoothies; she processed her eldest daughter's abortion and her middle child's gender identity. Every moment was treated with equal weight, the mundane carefully balanced with the earth-shattering. It was a show about looking on the bright side, a show about how your mom literally gave you arms, a show about being alone but never lonely. It was a show about so much. That's the beauty of Better Things, in all its rambling, ruminative glory. -Allison Picurro


2022 100 Best Shows: The Boys

10. The Boys (Amazon Prime Video)

Where to watch: Amazon Prime Video

While Disney+ has the geek cred as the home of all things Marvel, it's Amazon Prime Video that has the world's best superhero show. The perfect antidote to superhero fatigue, The Boys imagines caped crusaders and spandexed saviors polluting a world where a company like Marvel has commercialized superheroes to become the biggest corporation on the planet through media, sponsorships, advertising, and military contracts. As a satirical statement on ignorant idol worship, The Boys makes it clear that even the most celebrated champions are soured by personal interests, damaged upbringings, and corruption; most of these so-called superheroes are just dicks, mugging for the camera when the bright lights are on them and mugging innocents when the cameras are off. Even the supposed real heroes of The Boys — a band of vigilantes determined to bring down the show's stand-in for the Justice League and Vought, the company behind them — are delightfully flawed, making the people we're supposedly rooting for only slightly better than the villains. That twist on typical morally binary superhero storytelling makes The Boys one of the most entertaining shows in the genre streaming today. The depraved horniness and rampant violence make it one of the most entertaining shows, period. Whereas Season 1 introduced us to this world and Season 2 showed us what happens when someone truly deranged comes into power, Season 3 is teasing just how far one has to go to win a nearly unwinnable battle, even if it means becoming everything you stand against. Also, a guy walked inside another man's penis and then exploded, just in case you thought the show would take it easy on the insanity this time around. -Tim Surette


2022 100 Best Shows: The Righteous Gemstones

9. The Righteous Gemstones (HBO)

Where to watch: HBO Max

The thing about The Righteous Gemstones, the third installment in Danny McBride's "misunderstood angry-man trilogy" (following Eastbound & Down and Vice Principals) about a family of internationally famous televangelist blowhards, is that it shouldn't be as funny as it is. But McBride knows that comedy deserves to be treated the way drama is treated (in other words, like art) and has a keen talent for finding the humanity in the blowhards. When the series began in 2019, it used the Gemstone family — John Goodman's stately pastor patriarch Eli and his three broken kids, Jesse (McBride), Judy (Edi Patterson), and Kelvin (Adam DeVine) — to examine how the rich weaponize their power against the less powerful. Its sophomore season is a confident, fully realized ode to the fraught nature of family history that shows how Eli's dark past colored the futures of his stunted children.

But, again, this is first and foremost a comedy, and for every disturbing layer peeled back there's an absurdly cinematic motorcycle fight, or an adult baptism, or a full-frontal shot of a nude man to balance it out. McBride and his collaborators — including David Gordon Green and Jody Hill — are wholeheartedly committed to the world they've created, where things like a muscle-bound God Squad make complete sense, and they're aided by a sensational cast of scene-stealers, the rare ensemble without a weak link. (As excellent as all the leads are, it would be a disservice not to mention Tim BaltzWalton Goggins, and Cassidy Freeman's unreasonably funny supporting performances.) There are a handful of shows on TV right now (some even made this list) about adult failchildren competing for their father's approval, but with Season 2, The Righteous Gemstones fully came into its own, solidifying itself as a weekly showcase of pure comedic genius. -Allison Picurro


2022 100 Best Shows: Evil

8. Evil (Paramount+)

Where to watch: Paramount+

Evil topped this list in 2021, and repeat winners aren't allowed, but let's be clear: It still absolutely rules. The Robert and Michelle King series is an operatic drama about modern morality wearing the suit of a bonkers-weird horror procedural about exorcism. At its most basic level, Evil follows a trio of investigators — played by Katja Herbers, Mike Colter, and Aasif Mandvi — looking into claims of demonic possession on behalf of the Catholic Church. But the show doesn't presume to have any answers. It's not solving but seeking. 

What makes Evil so cool is its sincerity; the show is a riot not only in the sense that it's funny, but in the sense that it's trying to start one. Each case is a parable about something deep-down wrong with the world, from the toxic influence of police procedurals to the zombification of factory workers. Possession becomes a metaphor for the ways women are taught to deny their own desires. Priesthood becomes a mantle of expectations placed on the only Black man in the room. It's hallucinatory; it's revelatory; it's scary. Herbers, Colter, and Mandvi tie it all together, threading the show's tricky tone through the eye of a needle. They're hilarious until they knock the wind out of you.

Evil debuted on CBS before moving to Paramount+ for Season 2. The second season had almost wrapped filming when the move was announced, so the third season, which premiered June 12, is the show's first to be written entirely for streaming. The language is freer and the sex scenes are freakier, but check out the length of the episodes: Most hover around 50 minutes, but no longer. Credit network TV's influence for that crisp editing. If a show can be provocative on broadcast, it can be provocative anywhere. Now, on streaming, Evil is reaching its full transgressive potential, finding even more absurd ways to probe what ails us. Here's to the healing power of getting booped on the nose by a demon. -Kelly Connolly


2022 100 Best Shows: Atlanta

7. Atlanta (FX)

Where to watch: Hulu

More than a year before Season 3 premiered, Atlanta creator and star Donald Glover tweeted that the third and fourth seasons would be "some of the best television ever made. Sopranos only ones who can touch us." An audacious pronouncement to be sure, but Glover was not taking Tony's name in vain. If we're talking about post-Sopranos shows that have pushed television forward as an artistic medium, Glover's dreamlike dark comedy is already in the conversation. 

Atlanta's great innovation is that it can be whatever it wants to be at any given moment. No other comedy has woven the freedom to experiment into its very DNA the same way that Atlanta has. It can be a deep drama about grief (Season 2's "Woods"), a shaggy dog story (Season 1's "The Streisand Effect"), or a deeply unsettling mashup of Get Out and Lost Highway (the legendary "Teddy Perkins"). It can take four years between seasons and premiere with a disturbing, inspired-by-true-events horror story about Black children being abused by white women that features none of the show's regular cast members and somehow manages to work in some uncomfortably hilarious jokes about frying chicken in the microwave. Atlanta operates in many different genres, but whatever it's doing, it always includes absurd, destabilizing humor and pointed commentary on racial politics. 

Atlanta Season 3 isn't at Sopranos level (or even Season 2 level, honestly), but it's still the show that gave the world Black Justin Bieber and made stars out of Glover's extraordinary castmates Brian Tyree Henry, LaKeith Stanfield, and Zazie Beetz, and visionary director Hiro Murai. With a fourth and final season coming in the fall, there's still plenty of time for Atlanta to do even more to cement its legacy as an all-time great show. -Liam Mathews


2022 100 Best Shows: Barry

6. Barry (HBO)

Where to watch: HBO Max

Bill Hader's dark dramedy series had been off for so long — Season 2 aired in 2019, alongside the final season of Game of Thrones — that when Season 3 rolled around, I had kind of forgotten how good it is. But within 10 minutes of clicking play on the Season 3 premiere, I was reminded that I was in the presence of greatness. Barry only has one big joke per scene, but that joke is always a killer. 

Barry is about the titular hit man, who arrives in Los Angeles for a job and realizes he wants to be an actor. But pursuing his dream takes practice and money, and he's really good at killing people, so it's hard to leave his old career and way of life behind. The thing Barry is really about is the extraordinary difficulty of changing oneself. No one may be able to relate to Barry's specific problems, but most of us know how it feels to try to be a better person, fail, and try again, over and over. 

Hader is the star, and he does it all, including writing, directing, and producing with co-creator Alec Berg, but Barry's whole ensemble is superb. Henry Winkler is adding another chapter to his storied career as Gene Cousineau, Barry's self-absorbed acting teacher-turned-nemesis; Sarah Goldberg should have a shelf full of awards for her performance as Sally, Barry's fascinatingly flawed girlfriend; Anthony Carrigan steals every scene as affable Chechen gangster NoHo Hank; and iconic "that guy" actor Stephen Root has given everyone a new thing to recognize him for as Barry's handler-turned-other nemesis Fuches. No other show has Barry's blistering mix of goofy comedy, potent character drama, and nail-biting suspense. -Liam Mathews


2022 100 Best Shows: Pachinko

5. Pachinko (Apple TV+)

Where to watch: Apple TV+

For so long, television consumed in the U.S. has been compartmentalized into distinct categories: English shows and foreign-language shows, domestic shows and international shows. Pachinko refuses to be bound by these classifications. Based on the bestselling novel of the same name by Min Jin Lee, the series from creator Soo Hugh is told in three languages — Korean, Japanese, and English — filmed across three countries, and features actors from South Korea, Japan, and the U.S. It's a show that reimagines what TV created by American production companies can be. And what's special about the union of these elements is that it more accurately reflects the transnational experience of one Korean family whose journey from 1915 Busan to 1989 New York City is at the center of Pachinko.

Minha Kim plays teenage Sunja, who lives on the Korean island of Yeongdo and begins a dangerous romance with fish broker Koh Hansu (Lee Minho). Yuh-Jung Youn portrays her adult counterpart, who is grandmother to New York City-based bank executive Solomon (Jin Ha) and resides in Osaka. Because the four generations of her family inhabit different lands and engage with a range of languages and dialects, Pachinko's multilingual, multicultural approach to storytelling is not only apt but authentic. It also helps convey the emotions central to this show, which is heavily about belonging and othering.

Youn's performance is, as expected, dynamic, with every line penetrating the heart. But it's Kim who is the breakout star of Pachinko. Through the subtlest of movements in her facial expressions and body postures, she portrays a Sunja who is resolute and resilient. Kim packs her character with so much strength that even as the teenage Sunja is repeatedly knocked over by adversities, she never crumbles. And it's a privilege for viewers to join her as she gets back on her feet again. -Kat Moon


2022 100 Best Shows: Succession

4. Succession (HBO)

Where to watch: HBO Max

There's a viral review of Pride and Prejudice that critiques one of Jane Austen's great works as "just a bunch of people going to each other's houses." I often think about that while watching Succession, a show that's really just a bunch of people going to each other's cars and offices. It's what happens inside those cars and offices that's important: the charged conversations, the high-flying emotions, the swell of Nicholas Britell's score. Jesse Armstrong's drama about a family of abhorrent billionaires vying for control of Daddy's company and, most importantly, Daddy's love, has been making board meetings compelling since it first premiered on HBO in 2018; coming off of its outstanding third season, it's become a marvel to watch.

The danger in blowing everything up is figuring out what happens in the aftermath. Kendall's (Jeremy Strong) press conference at the end of Season 2 seemed like it would finally disrupt his father's reign of terror, and it does indeed hang threateningly over Season 3. It pits Kendall and his siblings — Roman (Kieran Culkin), Shiv (Sarah Snook), and Connor (Alan Ruck) — against each other; it gives Logan (Brian Cox) an adversary in the form of a Department of Justice investigation. But Succession has never been about who wins and who loses. It's not even about the power struggles so inherent to its framework, because it's smart enough to understand that under capitalism, we all lose. The press conference is big, but ultimately means very little in the grand scheme of the show's meticulously constructed universe. 

Succession's superpower is the empathy it's able to inspire for its near-irredeemable characters, who are brought to life by a pitch-perfect combination of sharp writing, dazzling performances, and masterful direction. When Shiv tells Tom (Matthew Macfadyen) she doesn't love him, you understand both of their reactions; when Kendall breaks down while his siblings awkwardly comfort him, you ache for them all. The show is, thankfully, more interested in exploring the meaning of those moments than it is in creating a corporate version of Game of Thrones. Nothing happens on Succession; everything happens on Succession. Its ability to make nothing seem like everything is what makes it one of TV's greatest triumphs. -Allison Picurro


2022 100 Best Shows: Severance

3. Severance (Apple TV+)

Where to watch: Apple TV+

Few shows lately have been complete packages like Apple TV+'s mind-bending thriller Severance, which arrived with little fanfare in early 2022 but quickly became a hotbed of obsessive internet sleuthing following word-of-mouth support. Maybe it's the quality of the show, which looks at a company called Lumon that offers a controversial surgical procedure so its employees can separate their work and personal lives, or maybe it's just the fact that we all share a sense of dread around our jobs, but Severance — a scathing commentary on society's diminishing work-life balance — is the year's easiest recommendation, an eight-episode thriller that defies TV logic by getting better as it goes along.

From the get-go, when both halves of company man Mark (Adam Scott) begin to suspect something is awry both in and out of Lumon, to the panicky, hyperventilating, grab-your-head-with-two-hands-and-shake-it-around-violently finale, Severance makes its point about today's workforce: You are expendable, and corporations will go to any lengths to make sure you don't know that.

Directors Ben Stiller and Aoife McArdle hammer that notion home with an anachronistic office dystopia of long, bland hallways and outdated computer equipment, emphasizing the control that Lumon wields over its serfs and creating a prison that Mark and his coworkers long to escape. And Scott and his co-stars, including the excellent John Turturro, Britt Lower, and Zach Cherry as his workmates and Patricia Arquette and Tramell Tillman as their Lumon wardens, provide the human components (and grandpa romance, hello, Christopher Walken!) that make every twist and reveal that much more impactful. It's been too long since a mystery sci-fi thriller nailed its premiere season, but every nook and cranny of Severance was so meticulously staged that it's a near flawless debut. Except for the goats. WTF is up with the goats? -Tim Surette


2022 100 Best Shows: Better Call Saul

2. Better Call Saul (AMC)

Where to watch: Netflix, AMC+

Don't get your salmon-colored tie in a twist — Better Call Saul is a legacy winner, TV Guide's 2020 pick for the best show on TV, making it ineligible for the top spot (which does not take anything away from this year's No. 1). But the inexplicably Emmy-less prequel remains the best drama on TV, a tightly wound series that bets big on the thrill of pure storytelling to make viewers forget what they already know is coming. The sixth and final season, returning in July, has made it explicit that Better Call Saul is the story of dead people walking. Their fates are sealed by decisions made years ago, or yesterday. And yet as the show pays off storylines that were set in motion in Season 1, its biggest moves still play as a complete shock.

The first half of the final season delivered not one but two brutal shots to the head: one by a trapped man determined to give his death meaning and one the sudden, meaningless execution of a man who was in the wrong place at the wrong time. Jimmy (Bob Odenkirk) and Kim (Rhea Seehorn), meanwhile, were plotting the professional takedown of their former boss, unaware or unwilling to admit how dangerous their game was until the second shot rang out. Saul is moving more like Breaking Bad this year, but the feeling it creates is still unmistakably Saul, a devastating chain reaction set in motion by the moral ambiguities of a broken justice system.

Much has been made of what Jimmy McGill, aka Saul Goodman, aka Gene Takovic, deserves. But Better Call Saul is interested in what people deserve only to the extent that characters choose what they deserve and make it so. Saul said in Breaking Bad that his best-case scenario in hiding would be managing a Cinnabon in Omaha, and Better Call Saul confirms that in the future, there he is, ensnared by the punishment he decided would fit his crimes. Then again, Gene's story can still go anywhere before the show signs off. It was always going to end this way, and we have no idea how it's going to end. -Kelly Connolly


2022 100 Best Shows: Abbott Elementary

1. Abbott Elementary (ABC)

Where to watch: Hulu

For years, ABC has had a formula for its comedy block: wholesome family sitcoms that can be enjoyed by viewers of all ages. And the formula has worked, with shows like Modern Family, black-ish, and The Goldbergs cementing the network's reputation as the broadcast destination for comedic family dysfunction. Then along came Abbott Elementary, a workplace mockumentary set at an underfunded Philadelphia school, to break the mold

Quinta Brunson created the series and stars as Janine Teagues, a second-year teacher still filled with unbridled optimism about shaping the minds of America's future leaders despite a negligible budget, an absentee boss, and her far more pragmatic (read: experienced) co-workers. The influence of seminal mockumentary series like The Office and Parks and Recreation is obvious, from Janine's unflappable Leslie Knope spirit to the Jim-and-Pam reminiscent slow-burn romance between Janine and Abbott's newest hire, Gregory (Tyler James Williams). Comparisons aside, Brunson has taken cues from those great comedies and made something special of her own. She's assisted by an all-star ensemble cast, including Sheryl Lee Ralph as a senior teacher and Janine's mentor, Barbara Howard; Lisa Ann Walter as Melissa Schemmenti, who is unafraid to cut a few corners to get her students what they need; Chris Perfetti as Jacob Hill, a bottle of anxiety shaped like seventh grade teacher; and Janelle James as the school's ne'er-do-well principal, Ava James.

The cast has impeccable chemistry from the first episode, but Abbott Elementary also aced in its first season what many comedies take years to figure out: peeling back the layers on these recognizable archetypes to reveal unique and relatable characters the audience can follow for years. Gregory is a stick in the mud with a begrudging talent for gardening. Jacob is a try-hard ally, but is mellowed out by a long-term relationship with his sneaker-obsessed boyfriend. Ava, perhaps the standout role of the show's stellar freshman run, is a narcissist with a phobia of real work except when it comes to caring for her elderly grandmother.

Together they tackle some of the toughest challenges today's teachers face, including scrounging for supplies in the wake of budget cuts, trying to explain the necessity for basic arithmetic in the technology age, and keeping students focused on schoolwork rather than the latest TikTok trends. Abbott Elementary's ability to tap into the humor of the educational experience makes it a delight to tune in to every week, and it's carving out a path to join the pantheon of TV comedy greats. -Megan Vick

Read more about Abbott Elementary in our digital cover story, featuring interviews with the cast and creators

To celebrate Abbott Elementary as the Best Show on TV Right Now, TV Guide readers and Abbott Elementary fans are teaming up to support real teachers and the essential work they do in schools across the country. TV Guide will proudly match the first $5,000 in donations. Learn more and donate here.


Project Editor: Kelly Connolly
Managing Editor: Noelene Clark
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