The 15 Most Anticipated TV Shows of 2022

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The 15 Most Anticipated TV Shows of 2022

After TV production slowed to a halt and then haltingly reestablished itself in pandemic times, we can definitely say that 2022 looks to be a return to Peak TV. January is full of premieres, and many long-delayed series like Atlanta and Barry, alongside Amazon’s elusive Lord of the Rings, are finally set to land in the coming months.

There is so much TV, in fact, that Assistant TV Editor Kaitlin Thomas and I decided to be really ruthless with our choices and only pick 15 out of hundreds of premieres and returns. Many of those projects sound great, like Chernobyl’s Craig Mazin heading up an adaptation of The Last of Us, or David Simon’s new Baltimore-based series We Own This City. Favorites like Stranger Things, Killing Eve, and The Boys will all be back as well. But while we’re cautiously optimistic about, say, the Law & Order revival featuring Hugh Dancy, or the long-gestating Game of Thrones prequel series House of the Dragon, they did not make our cut.

While we will no doubt be watching and probably enjoying a lot of these other series, below are the 15 new and returning shows we’re currently the most excited about, in order of premiere date:

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The Afterparty

Network: Apple TV+
Premieres: January 28

Christopher Miller and Phil Lord are returning to TV after moonlighting on the big screen for a few years, and their new series has the makings of a great time. The Afterparty is an eight-episode comedy-mystery following the police investigation of a murder that takes place after a high school reunion. It features a cast list that reads like a wishlist—Tiffany Haddish, Sam Richardson, Zoë Chao, Ben Schwartz, Ike Barinholtz, Ilana Glazer, Jamie Demetriou, and Dave Franco all star—while each episode recounts the evening’s events through the lens of a different film genre that matches a different character’s personality and perspective. From romantic comedy to thriller to musical, it does it all. And we couldn’t be more excited. —Kaitlin Thomas


Monarch

Network: FOX
Premieres: January 30

Maybe it’s because I’m an only child with nice parents, but I’m a sucker for theatrical family dramas, especially if those dramas are built upon a wealthy empire full of squabbling siblings and deeply contentious parent/child relationships. Monarch seems like it will deliver on all fronts, and probably go fully off the rails in the process. Starring a deliciously bizarre lineup (Trace Adkins, Beth Ditto, Anna Friel, Iñigo Pascual, Susan Sarandon, Joshua Sasse) and focusing on a multigenerational country music dynasty, Monarch should be, at the very least, a rhinestone cowboy of a good time. —Allison Keene


Pam & Tommy

Network: Hulu
Premieres: February 2

Whatever comes of Hulu’s eight-part series, an immense amount of credit must be given to the hair and makeup departments, because every time I see an image or trailer for Pam & Tommy I think “that is Pamela Anderson and Tommy Lee.” Though Lily James has perhaps had the more dramatic transformation (with Sebastian Stan certainly pulling vibes), the look of the series easily transports one back to the ‘90s and the stars’ heyday when their private video was sold as a very public sex tape. With an excellent cast that also includes Seth Rogen, Nick Offerman, and Andrew Dice Clay (naturally), I’m very hopeful that it lives up to the hype and also does right by its subjects. —Allison Keene


Raised by Wolves Season 2

Network: HBO Max
Premieres: February 3

Raised by Wolves was one of the most unique and completely bonkers sci-fi series to air in 2020, and I can genuinely say that I cannot wait for its return. A complicated but truly engaging story about humanity’s survival among the stars, tied in with both future tech and supernatural mysteries, there is not another show like it on TV. If it has any slight comparison, perhaps it’s to the ambition and scope of Dune, or the battle between AI and humanity (and what it means to really be sentient / alive) like Battlestar Galactica—although even with these large themes the stories told in Raised by Wolves’ first season were intimate and small in the best of ways. And as its Season 1 finale proved, it’s a show that has a strong sense of itself and its future that we can’t wait to explore. —Allison Keene


Outlander Season 6

Network: Starz
Premieres: March 6

Though I continue to lament Outlander’s move from Scotland to our more pedestrian American shores, the series remains a favorite and one of the coziest series on TV (general and specific violence aside). The love between Claire (Caitriona Balfe) and Jamie (Sam Heughan) through time is a balm that heals other wounds the series occasionally inflicts, and perhaps all I want is just some time for them to relax and be happy. That is never going to be the case in this adventure/romance series though, and what the drums of war bring (this time, the American Revolution) will surely be emotional to bear out. —Allison Keene


Atlanta Season 3

Network: FX
Premieres: March 24

Some shows might be at risk of being forgotten after spending four years off the air. But not Atlanta. The Donald Glover-created show hasn’t aired a new episode since 2018, but the massive gap between Seasons 2 and 3 has only served to get fans more excited about its impending return and make the show seem more and more like the rare gem that it is. When the new season finally premieres this spring, Earn (Glover), Paper Boi (Brian Tyree Henry), Darius (LaKeith Stanfield), and Van (Zazie Beetz) are in the midst of a European tour, and we’ll follow them around the continent as they attempt to navigate and adjust to their newfound success. —Kaitlin Thomas


Bridgerton Season 2

Network: Netflix
Premieres: March 25

Netflix’s dedication to producing programming aimed primarily at women paid off big time in 2020 when Bridgerton captured the zeitgeist and declared that romance as a genre will no longer be pushed aside or mocked. Fans have been impatiently waiting for more ever since. Luckily, this spring, we’re finally returning to Regency Era England for Season 2, which follows the blossoming relationship between the eldest Bridgerton sibling, Anthony (Jonathan Bailey), and newcomer to the ton Kate Sharma (Simone Ashley). And even though the show’s breakout star, Regé-Jean Page, isn’t returning (each season follows the love story of a different Bridgerton sibling), the promise of swoon-worthy romance and high society scheming has us on the edge of our seats like we’ve got a juicy secret we’re dying to tell Lady Whistledown. —Kaitlin Thomas


Barry Season 3

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Network: HBO
Premieres: March TBD

The last time we saw Barry (Bill Hader) was in May of 2019, which is over 1,000 years ago. Time really flies, doesn’t it? Seriously, the show has been off the air for a long time, but like Atlanta and other TV favorites that are finally set to return this year, we can’t wait to see what new episodes will bring. Potentially having been outed as a killer to his mentor at the end of Season 2, Barry (who embraced some very intense violence in that season) may be finding his real life and cover story merging in unexpected ways. We’ll be there for it, regardless. —Allison Keene


Better Call Saul Season 6

Network: AMC
Premieres: Early 2022

If it feels like we’ve been waiting years for the sixth and final season of Better Call Saul to debut, it’s because we have been waiting years. Season 5 aired way back in early 2020, so between the pandemic and star Bob Odenkirk’s heart attack, which delayed the filming of his scenes, we’ve been waiting longer than usual to return to the ABQ. But the delay has also given us ample time for our anticipation to grow as we imagined what’s next for Kim Wexler (Rhea Seehorn) after she broke bad in Season 5, and how, exactly, Saul Goodman’s swan song will play out given what we know occurs in Breaking Bad. While this is just the first half of the acclaimed drama’s last chapter—like its parent series, the show’s final season will be split in two—there are few series we’re looking forward to more than this one. —Kaitlin Thomas


Lord of the Rings

Network: Amazon Prime Video
Premieres: September 2

The Lord of the Rings trilogy, which just celebrated its 20th anniversary (we’re basically as old as Bilbo now), is one of the most beloved pieces of popular culture to date. That alone is probably enough to land Amazon’s upcoming TV series—which is set during the Second Age of Middle-Earth before the events of the movies and the books upon which they’re based—on our most anticipated shows list. But Amazon has also spent millions and millions and millions of dollars on this show since it bought the TV rights in 2017, back before Game of Thrones had even concluded. Knowing how much time and effort has gone into creating the show, and with a desire for more quality fantasy programming on television, our hopes and expectations are through the roof.—Kaitlin Thomas


Willow

Network: Disney+
Premieres: 2022, TBD

Disney’s reboot/revival machine has been in overdrive since the advent of Disney+, and the latest IP to be resurrected is Willow, the beloved George Lucas fantasy film from 1988. Lucas is out and Ron Howard is in for the TV series, but star Warwick Davis will be reprising his titular role for a new story that we know very little about (except that it seems to otherwise have a new, young cast). Though many of us have grown tired of this constant mining of nostalgia for content, Willow was special and, perhaps, it can be made so once again in a new way. —Allison Keene


Andor / Obi-Wan Kenobi / The Mandalorian Season 3

Network: Disney+
Premieres: 2022, TBD

If 2021 was a big year for Disney+ in terms of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, 2022 is all about the expansion of the Star Wars universe. In addition to the long-awaited third season of The Mandalorian, Andor and Obi-Wan Kenobi are also on deck. Both series follow beloved characters from the films and promise to fill in backstory and some storytelling gaps. The former series follows Diego Luna’s Cassian Andor, an instantly compelling rebel spy in Rogue One whom we all thought was unfortunately going to be a one-and-done character given the events of the standalone film. Thankfully, the powers that be recognized the potential in his story. Meanwhile, Obi-Wan Kenobi features the return of Ewan McGregor as the eponymous Jedi Master he played in the prequel trilogy, with Hayden Christensen coming out of hiding to reprise his role as Darth Vader. What could be cooler and more exciting than that? Nothing. Literally nothing. —Kaitlin Thomas


The Midnight Club

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Network: Netflix
Premieres: 2022, TBD

There was only one thing I needed to know in order to buy into The Midnight Club: it’s being helmed by Mike Flanagan. As a devotee of his Netflix series like Bly Manor and Midnight Mass, the anticipation for this new collaboration (based on Christopher Pike’s YA novels) is palpable. Taking place at a hospice where the young patients gather at midnight to tell scary stories (“submitted for the approval of the Midnight Society,” anyone?) strange occurrences begin to take place after one of them dies, perhaps fulfilling their “promise” that the first among them to perish would return to haunt them. Where it goes from there, who can say, but in Flanagan we trust. —Allison Keene


Brideshead Revisited

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Network: BBC
Premieres: 2022, TBD

Evelyn Waugh’s 1945 novel got a seminal adaptation as a TV miniseries (pictured here) in 1981, starring Jeremy Irons as Charles Ryder and a scene-stealing Anthony Andrews as Lord Sebastian Flyte. Beginning in the 1920s and continuing through the next two decades, the uber-posh story follows Charles and his friendships and travails with a wealthy English Catholic family who reside at the sprawling manor of Brideshead. The deeply emotional, genuinely quirky, beautifully written, and unforgettable tale is now getting a new adaptation from the BBC, which we will hopefully see stateside in 2022 (but perhaps more likely in 2023; this kind of thing used to be a certainty as a PBS Masterpiece Theater run, but in these streaming days who knows?). Hopefully the new take will be as masterfully wrought as the original, something a 2008 film adaptation sadly failed to capture. Et in Arcadia Ego.Allison Keene


Hacks Season 2

Network: HBO Max
Premieres: 2022, TBD

Few shows made us laugh more or laugh harder last year than Hacks. Jean Smart gave a career-best performance as Deborah Vance, a legendary comedy pioneer with a long-running Vegas show who became a reluctant mentor and friend to a young, aspiring writer (Hannah Einbinder) she’d hired to help revamp her act. The series earned Smart an Emmy and offered a darkly funny but scathingly honest look at what it’s like to be a woman not just in comedy but in anything. Accompanying the show’s well-honed sense of humor was an emotional story about loneliness and grief, and it takes immense talent to expertly balance the two sides of the show. Knowing all of this, it’s no surprise that we’ve been champing at the bit to see what’s next for Hacks since Season 1 ended. —Kaitlin Thomas



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