HBO And Apple TV+ Series Stand Out In Chad Withrow’s Top 10 TV Shows Of 2022

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It’s the end of 2022 and you know what that means – lists! The annual tradition of happily scrolling through lists and rankings is now upon us and HBO and Apple TV+ figure prominently into the mix. So while you’re pretending to work those last couple days of the year, feel free to indulge. My lists commence with the best TV shows of the year.

To be honest, it was a year filled with great content, which made for a difficult process of whittling my initial list of 18 shows down to 10. My criteria for this ranking is simple: These are the shows I enjoyed the most and couldn’t wait to get to the next episode. I’m no TV critic, but I understand entertainment. If a show appeared in every critic’s Top 10 but was too strange for 90% of America to comprehend, it didn’t make my list (Also, I probably didn’t see it because I don’t start watching something that doesn’t interest me).

If I feel the show only made the Top 10 because it featured characters or pushed an agenda that gave it an inflated critical score from Hollywood, it’s not on my list. I acknowledge there are a bunch of shows that are beautiful and feature top notch filmmaking while admitting I will never watch some of these shows. That’s because I would rather take a bottle to the head from Willie McGinest than be forced to stay awake for eight hours of some adaptation of a novel I never cared about to begin with. So basically, I’m not unlike most of you reading OutKick.

The biggest surprise on my list (at least to me) is that “Yellowstone” didn’t make the cut. I still enjoy the series but feel like Taylor Sheridan has hit a storytelling wall ever since that explosive Season 3 finale. The characters and the backdrop of a Montana ranch remain elite, but the storytelling needs to elevate if it’s to make my list in 2023. And here’s a hot take for you – I think “1923” is more compelling after one episode than Yellowstone has been in two seasons. And it’s another reason, I’ll continue to watch any programming Sheridan produces. With that out of the way, it’s on with the list.

Onto The Top 10 Shows

Brian Bowen Smith and Josh Brolin are part of Prime Video’s Western “Outer Range,” which makes my Top 10. (Photo by Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic).

10) Outer Range (Season 1) – Prime Video

Here’s another surprise. A western made the Top 10 and it doesn’t feature a single member of the Dutton family. Instead, it was the Abbott’s that had me on the edge of my seat. “Outer Range” stars Josh Brolin, Imogen Poots, Lili Taylor, and Tom Pelphrey (Wendy Byrd’s troubled brother in Ozark) in a science fiction neo-western set on a ranch in Wyoming and centering around a mysterious black hole found in the middle of the Abbott property. If that last sentence doesn’t get you at least a little interested to check this one out, then you should probably stop reading my list right now. If it does excite you, then I’ll spare you the spoilers and let you get on with the rest of it.

9) Severance (Season 1) – Apple TV+

It’s hard to clearly define this show and that’s one of the things that makes it work. It’s part comedy, part psychological thriller, part sci-fi, part rom-com. And all of those parts make for a compelling whole of a series that is coming back for a 2nd season. It’s “The Office” meets “The Truman Show” meets “The Manchurian Candidate.” Adam Scott is terrific as Mark S. Ben Stiller directs and shows that he may be as talented behind the camera as he is in front of it. Each episode adds slightly more intrigue before concluding with one of my favorite season finales of the year.

8) Tokyo Vice (Season 1)- HBO Max

Based on the 2009 book of the same title authored by American journalist Jake Adelstein, “Tokyo Vice” follows Adelstein as he successfully becomes the first-ever foreign-born reporter at a major Japanese newspaper. But that’s just getting us started as Jake takes it upon himself to investigate the dangerous world of the Japanese yakuza organized crime syndicates. Speaking of “just getting us started,” the great Michael Mann directs the first episode and it feels like you are watching “Heat” on the small screen. I’m a sucker for organized crime stories and this isn’t some “Japan on a studio lot in LA” type setting. Every episode is filmed on location in Tokyo. It’s a gripping story made even more gripping when you realize it actually happened.

Tokyo Vice is filmed on location in Tokyo.

7) Slow Horses (Season 1)- Apple TV+

Gary Oldman is doing a TV show. That should be enough to get you to tune in. But I’ll elaborate anyway. “Slow Horses” is a spy thriller based on a series of novels by Mick Herron. The series focuses on a dilapidated building in London that houses MI5 agents in various levels of professional purgatory because of factors both inside and outside their control. When they stumble upon a plot that endangers all of Britain, this band of miscreants is forced into action. It does a good job of mixing humor with real life stakes. You can watch all of Season 1 right now and Season 2 has launched on the streamer as well, but I haven’t gotten to it yet.

6) 1899 (Season 1) – Netflix

This multilingual German epic-period mystery science fiction series… Be honest. How many of you did I lose with that opening. Trust me. It’s worth it. German creators and romantic partners Jantje Friese and Baran bo Odar definitely have a certain dark vibe to their writing but their mystery box show works on a bunch of levels. And if you like “1899,” I recommend going back and watching “Dark” on Netflix.

Time For The Top 5 Shows And More HBO And Apple TV+

5) Winning Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty (Season 1)- HBO Max

There’s a very fine line between this show about the early 80’s Lakers succeeding and failing. And that line is the performance by Quincy Isaiah as Magic Johnson. If he isn’t believable as the basketball superstar with a megawatt smile, it doesn’t work. But he is incredible. And the actual basketball portrayed in the show is surprisingly great. It’s one of the hardest sports to portray on film and this show captures the speed and intensity of the Showtime Lakers beautifully. Plus, it allows John C. Reilly to go full ham as Lakers owner Dr. Jerry Buss. This show was pure joy to watch.

4) House of the Dragon (Season 1) – HBO

So many words have been written about this show and you can read many of them from our founder, Clay Travis, on this very site.

This series has sparked a ton of debate amongst devotees of the George R.R. Martin books and fans of the “Game of Thrones” HBO series. There’s a very simple reason as to why this show works for me. “Game of Thrones” always just went for it. Everything was possible in every episode. “House of the Dragon” carries the same possibilities. So while I can debate some of the choices on pacing and time jumps and using different actors in different eras, the bottom line is I was entertained each and every week. And each episode left me wanting more. Judging by the number of people that tuned in weekly, I don’t think I need to give too hard of a sales pitch to tune back in when Season 2 eventually drops.

3) For All Mankind (Season 3) – Apple TV+

I should be on Apple’s payroll for how hard I push this show to my friends. If you aren’t already on-board this era-jumping space travel epic, you need to get on board quickly. The series explores the question of what could have happened if the Russians were the first to land on the moon instead of the US. It starts in the 6’0s and we are currently in the mid-’90s in the latest season. The current plan has the show running for at least three more seasons that could take us well into the future.

2) The Bear (Season 1) – Hulu

I’m in full lock step with critics on this one. “The Bear” is phenomenal. A drama-comedy that follows Jeremy Allen White as Carmen “Carmy” Berzatto leave his career as a chef in the world of fine dining to return home to Chicago. Once there, he’s tasked with running his older brother’s failing Italian beef sandwich shop. All of this happens following his brother’s suicide. From the opening moments of the show, it feels like a world that’s been completely lived-in and we are a fly on the wall watching a cast of characters that are equal parts endearing and frustrating. With only eight episodes featuring run times between 20-47 minutes, it’s easy to binge over the holidays. I highly recommend it.

2022’s Top TV Show

1) Better Call Saul (Season 6) – AMC

Was there any doubt “Better Call Saul” was going to take the top spot in the tv show Top 10 of 2022?

This falls under the Lifetime Achievement category. It’s also an incredibly compelling final chapter in the “Breaking Bad” prequel/sequel. There’s so much pressure to stick the landing when you are concluding a show that people have walked with for many years (14 if you started with Breaking Bad) and the writers and actors involved concluded this story beautifully. It wasn’t the happiest of endings but it was the perfect ending to a story of imperfect characters.

Bob Odenkirk stars in my top tv show of 2022, Better Call Saul. (Photo by David Livingston/WireImage).

I would love to hear your feedback on this list. What did I miss? What did I get right? Email me at chad.withrow@outkick.com .

Chad Withrow co-hosts “OutKick 360” weekdays from 3-6pm ET.

Written by Chad Withrow

Chad Withrow hosts OutKick 360 and has covered Nashville sports, statewide, and SEC college issues and headlines since 2004.

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