Best TV Episodes of 2022

TV can be a lot of different things these days. So does a TV episode: It can be a “chapter” of a visual novel, a particularly interesting show, or a live sitcom episode.

You’ll find all that and more in our picks of some of the best individual pieces we’ve sampled this year. Television in 2022 may be all about booze, but sometimes the thing you miss most about a party is simply a perfect bite. JAMES PONIEWOZIK

Oh man, I love this light-hearted teen drama about a sixth grader whose parents recently divorced. In the show’s third episode, Amber (Carsyn Rose) is trying to muster up the courage to audition for the school play – she hopes to follow in her father’s drama club so they can bond. when he moved back to town. “Do you think he likes me?” she asked her best friend. Of course, her friend said. He is your father; he loves you. “Well, I know he loves me,” Amber replied. “I was just wondering if he liked me.” It’s this brutal, beautiful depth that makes the show so special. (Streaming on AppleTV+.) MARGARET LYONS

More than one scene in this stunning movie — a high-speed motorcycle chase in a traffic jam, a high-powered gunfight at an auto dealership — will be the highlight of any franchise. any other. But the 710N is much more than just showing off Bill Hader’s directing prowess. The action sequences are simultaneously thrilling, funny, and engaging, serving the larger purpose of “Barry,” telling the story of an anti-hero without glorifying his anti-heroism. (Streaming on HBO Max.) PONIEWOZIK

Dennis Lehane’s mini-series is an introduction to the brilliant and distinctive actor Paul Walter Hauser, who plays Larry Hall, a convicted kidnapper and suspected serial killer who is about to overturn the sentence and be set free. This is nominally the story (based on an autobiographical novel) of another convict, by Taron Egerton, who made a deal to befriend Hall and compromise with him. But Hauser’s soft, fluid, strangely sensual performance is what matters. In the fourth episode, Hall is tasked with cleaning up after a prison riot (a shocking but poetic violence in itself, directed by Jim McKay), and Hauser conveys a humorous twist. A deep, narcissistic heart that puts cleanliness next to animality. (Streaming on AppleTV+) MIKE HALE

by Lisa McGee The noisy Northern Irish comedy used a high school reunion to turn back the clock from the 1990s to the 1970s, visiting the teenage years of Derry mothers. Half an hour brought in a new cast of characters that played its adult characters as punk teenagers, but McGee has built up a voice and sense of character in three short seasons that you won’t be able to see. can instantly recognize older people in their younger versions (and see their daughters in them as well). The heart-warming, heartfelt episode underscores how teen rebellions, like some political revolts, cross generations. PONIEWOZIK

This limited series has worked hard to recreate the fireworks in Taffy Brodesser-Akner’s 2019 novel, from the upside-down shots that mimic the upside-down image of the book cover to the extensive use of voices. present. (Brodesser-Akner, who created the series and wrote the volume, is a staff writer for The New York Times Magazine.) Here it’s created the novel’s signature inversion – telling the story. title character’s divorce story from his wife’s point of view – using the screen’s tools, in particular the superb performance of Claire Denmark, an emotional volcano rarely erupts better. (Streaming on Hulu.) PONIEWOZIK

In its second season, “Primal” expanded its scope and time frame, turning to 19th century England for an episode and introducing many other clans with cavemen and their dinosaur protagonists. ta. But it is this three-part bloodbath, culminating in a victorious slave uprising at sea, that captures the film’s tender nuances as well as its relentless savagery. It’s a reminder that while animated violence can be tiresome and pointless in live-action shows, it can still be captivating and meaningful when done where it belongs. “Primal” is almost entirely wordless, and its characters rarely rely on gestures; instead, their ideas are communicated through expression, breath, and attention. And yet, few other shows can capture passion and pain with such precision, a whole life story told through a frown. (Streaming on HBO Max.) LYONS

This “Spider-Man”-like series about Kamala Khan (Iman Vellani). now. The forced flashback reveals how Kamala came about thanks to her powers set during the partition of India and Pakistan; That combination of fraught history could easily lead to something arduous and rigid, but in the hands of writer Fatimah Asghar and director Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy, it’s ingenious and moving. surprisingly. (Streaming on Disney+) STRONG

The penultimate episode of this adaptation of Min Jin Lee’s novel, set in and around the 1923 Yokohama earthquake, is startling in terms of scope and presentation of the cataclysm. But it’s equally devastating, quietly in the way it expands its depiction of a key character: Koh Hansu (Lee Minho), introduced in the series as a charismatic, full-fledged gangster. threaten. Showing how he started out as a young math tutor in hopes of a legitimate life, then fell his way through disaster and circumstance, “Chapter 7” connects him with the The series’ other Korean exiles are making tough choices in an unwelcome Japan. (Streaming on AppleTV+.) PONIEWOZIK

A lot of “confessional” comedies have gone down the drain in recent years. But comedian Jerrod Carmichael breathes new life into the model with this particularly lyrical and restrained work in which he comes out as gay and explores his strained relationship with his family. family. Carmichael weaves together sadness and humour, insight and fear, love and disappointment, unraveling family secrets and allowing all the messy and unresolved truths to exist. simultaneous. (Streaming on HBO Max.) LYONS

A seemingly routine episode of “The Simpsons” gets hacked by hackers (masked as a creepy hybrid between Guy Fawkes and Homer Simpson) who demand $20 million in ransom; until it gets paid, they’ll broadcast an overwhelming revenue stream of “uninformed, stupid “Simpsons” that their exposure will destroy the value of the IP itself. Luckily, no one is paying, and we get to watch a series of lovingly assembled blackout sketches, written by Dan Greaney and directed by Timothy Bailey, spanning 34 seasons of character and style animation way. One standout: a two-handed support for Sea Captain and Landkeeper Willie, whose dialogue is entirely comprised of “Yar” and “Aye.” (Streaming on Hulu.) STRONG

Based on Mick Herron’s novel Slough House, “Slow Horses” — set in a fictional MI5 office where underprivileged agents spend their time doing busy work — in a sense There it was, a delivery of John le Carré’s somber stories of the postwar era. British Intelligence Service. But it’s also a completely believable spy thriller, with believable, complex plot twists and well-executed action. The third episode of the first season, written by Will Smith and directed by James Hawes, best encapsulates the show’s rocking mix of sarcastic humour, slick characterization, and at times is brutal suspense. (Streaming on AppleTV+.) STRONG

The sweetest apocalypse story on TV started right before last year’s holiday season, so it’s the gift that continues to be given out into early 2022. Penultimate episode, finds Jeevan Chaudhary (Himesh Patel) posing as a doctor in a large fertility center, was a creative expression of the show’s strangely hopeful vision: the first glimpses of humanity’s future were lit amid the ruins of the human race. mundane vestiges of the past. Like the itinerant actors that make up the core of this story, Jeevan delivers a performance that ultimately becomes real and restorative. (Streaming on HBO Max.) PONIEWOZIK

The final seconds of this episode-long homage to “Austin Powers” ​​are perhaps the most satisfying rewards I’ve seen this year. “Sandy Says” showcases the cryptic tone that “This Fool” can impress, combining the structure of a traditional sitcom with the author’s comedic style, hitting the sweet spot of goofiness and intelligence. bright. Luis (Frankie Quinones), fresh out of prison, is in nasty 8th grade mode with constant references to his “Austin Powers” and the episode filled with creepy Easter eggs before Luis explains in part why the movie means so much to him. “I’m tired of wasting time living in the past,” he said. “Ideally we would change. The world is always changing, cozy. I have to change with it. That’s what ‘Austin Powers’ is all about. You know, I used to think that movie was a comedy. But now I know, it’s a tragedy.” (Streaming on Hulu.) LYONS

“This Is Us” has taken a lot of journeys throughout its six seasons – through many genealogical trees, past the boundaries of death, from the future to the deep past. But it’s often best to focus on one story, here taking Jack (Milo Ventimiglia)’s trip to Ohio for his mother’s funeral and taking into account the legacy of his abusive father. It was a showcase for Ventimiglia, who delivered an emotional performance through his reserved portrayal of a father, husband and son driven to fix things. (Streaming on Hulu.) PONIEWOZIK


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