The 15 Best Netflix TV Shows of 2022: Netflix is the undisputed king of content today in the OTT universe. Its presence is ubiquitous, albeit not perhaps synonym with quality. But, the volume of content increases the likelihood of catching good television shows, and 2022 has been kind. There have been several new creators who have latched onto the opportunity. Many old fan favorites like The Crown and Ozark came on board with their final seasons, while some others will take a final bow next year.
Well, this list is brought to you on the occasion of a new year kicking in with the hopes of some even better shows and movies. In this list, we rank the best Netflix original tv shows released in the year 2022. The only filter is that the show must have debuted in 2022 itself, so shows like The Crown and Ozark have not been considered. Happy reading!
Related: 15 Best Netflix Original Movies Of 2022
15. In from the Cold
Some spy shows must be taken at face value. Too much probing and analysis can distort your experience of watching it, and In from the Cold is exactly that type of show. Low on details, high on action. It is something of an easy watch. Margarita Levieva. who also did stellar work on another Netflix series this year; Litvinenko plays the quintessential Ruski surviving in the dark clutches of America. Like many stories we have seen play out in this structure of the script, In from the Cold imitates the formula.
Almost all the elements that have been established as effective and palatable to our tongues are developed in the first season. It is certainly not twisty, but the world-building is satisfying. You can relate to the characters and find yourself willing to play your part in watching all the chaos unravel as the battle becomes more about defiance and skill.
14. Anatomy of a Scandal
Do not be surprised to find Kelly’s name attached to yet another procedural drama that won plaudits this year. But Anatomy is a Scandal is much more than that. It ticks all the boxes as a procedural – as you’d expect – but also makes for a compelling fireball of emotions and all that comes with public scandals in the UK. The press in that country is tough; ask any Premier League manager. Their brutality forces the Whitehouse family to drift apart and have no chance at reconciliation. It might not have been in question in the first place, but it is cruelly driven out by the drivel that circulates around.
Sienna Miller is another standout performer on the list, seamlessly donning a character that is not exactly in her wheelhouse. She scales the challenges of playing Sophie, the bereaved wife, quite well and should be in the running for end-of-the-year awards.
13. Pieces of her
Despite its narrative shortcomings, Pieces of Her is a sturdy character study bolstered by a traumatic incident that will shake any ordinary person. Toni Collette provides her precious acting talents to Laura Oliver, the poor woman who is at the center of the story. Bella Heathcote’s players, her understudy, daughter Andy, and the two collectively make season 1 worth watching. One notable shortfall is the excessive dwelling on making viewer-centric choices. The makers seemed determined to satisfy conventional archetypes, and that derails the momentum to some extent.
To be fair, the mechanics of the plot are firmly distilled in an exploration of the past. But perhaps a bit more evenly matched execution could have increased the show’s focus. Piece of Her has a huge sample size audience, ensuring that it caters to the entire spectrum. A little cheesy but hits most of the notes well.
A grieving family against an entire regime, sovereign institutes that are too powerful to take on. BBC’s drama series captures that fighting spirit – not just of the Litvinenko family – but also of the honest cop, doctor, and other public servants on the payroll refusing to budge their morality. In the process of dramatizing the story and adapting it for television, the makers wanted to give a complete account, even with creative liberties, of what happened behind closed doors. The premier promised that there will be some degree of an emotional juxtaposition of the family before and after Litvinenko’s death. But that takes secondary importance to the procedural element of the storytelling.
David Tennant made the world his oyster – for a while – with his unrecognizable look as Litvinenko. He only appeared for a solitary episode but made such an impression that everything about the series revolved around him. Do not go into watching it expecting a taut thriller that keeps you guessing at regular intervals. Litvinenko has more of a documentary fabric and relishes in the creative choices made to suit a critical assessment of the involved heads of State.
11. Archive 81
James Wan has come back with a surprise for his fanbase. Albeit without too many fanciful indulgences of his typical, outlandish style. But it is not a solo show. Not at all. Rebecca Sonnenshine’s vision for Archive 81 is aided by the compelling source material, the podcast, which raises the hair at the back of your neck with good headphones on. She develops the eerie accounts of Visser’s small community with a subliminal touch of the supernatural. One of the best parts about her storytelling is the ease with which she navigates the many facets of the plot. It is difficult to manage such a vast subject, but she and the others involved do a great job.
10. Inventing Anna
Julia Garner’s soaring central performances need some recognition. If the people over at the Emmys and the Globes are reading, take it up in the next ballot vote. Even while portraying a real character who might not be too likable, Garner brings warmth to Anna’s debauchery. The show’s potency flows from its capitalizing on relevant themes about social media and how it has influenced our worldview. Swindlers on social media have become a thing now. First impressions are gauged from false pretenses, and perceptions on the basis of that information can as easily destroy as they can charm.
Inventing Anna is just that, in a nutshell. The story is full of juicy gossip and scandalous name-dropping. Inventing Anna guarantees an entertaining watch, even if it comes at the cost of emotional depth. However distanced you are from the modern culture of identity distortion, you can find joy in this scintillating season of ups and downs.
9. The Midnight Club
Whenever Mike Flanagan brings up a project, there is an air of excitement. Very few filmmakers still have that aura for a particular genre that Flanagan commands. His excellence is no coincidence, but his envious ability to find heart amidst the horror. The Midnight Club is his fourth Netflix original in as many years. He has tweaked the story format to some extent but maintains the child-like excitement of a raconteur in how he narrates. Striking elements of terror are much less visible. They do not play as integral a part as in his other works. And somehow, that turns into a bit of disappointment for Flanagan’s ardent viewers.
The technicals on the show rank high. Netflix canceled the series after the first season, which seems unfair. Not Firefly-unfair, but still, Flanagan deserved a second chance to remedy some of those shortfalls. Even though it does not match the level of execution in his previous works on the platform, it still ranks as one of the best shows on Netflix this year.
Related: 8 Movies And Tv Shows Like “The Midnight Club” On Netflix
8. Lincoln Lawyer
David E. Kelly is to television what Edgar Wright is to movies. Kelly has a unique ability to nail procedural dramas with a strong element of legal nuance, just as Wright can produce action flicks with jaunting humor. Netflix’s Lincoln Lawyer was always poised to be a success based on how good the novels were and the creative personnel behind the project. Developing the material into a series turned out to be the right option for the simple reason of affording Kelly more time to polish his universe. Garcia-Rulfo applies a winning touch to the maverick lawyer working out of his Lincoln and upholding the spirit of a profession often under the scanner for malaising the truth.
Becki Newton is another surprise package from the ensemble. Her wit as an actor is to understand the weight she has to put behind certain situations; heavy at times and light. Newton and Rulfo had great chemistry throughout. It makes the next season an interesting event. Even though Kelly loses some of the novelty of the works, it has never been his strength. Almost all the projects he has helmed since the early days of Boston Legal have been iterations of some kind or the other.
7. The Empress
Quite honestly, The Empress felt like an episode or two too short, like some other entries on the list. Sisi’s coming of age in the Vienna palace at the heart of the Austrian Empire was replete with gorgeous visuals, a brooding soundtrack, and power-packed performances that make it a relishing prospect for viewers. At just six episodes, season 1 managed to offer glimpses of Sisi in the palace and how she stood at the brink of winning the people over by the finale. But, the very first thing that speaks out to you in Netflix’s The Empress is what you see. The sets, the low camera angles, the costumes, and the gorgeous royal flair. All these elements sculpt an irresistible visual appeal for season 1. Even if the narrative quality had been sub-par, the aesthetics would have ensured a comfortable viewing experience.
Instant comparisons are made with The Crown, another hit period drama on the streaming service, and The Empress has shades of the former’s brilliance. Overall, it is an entirely different show with some shared thematic similarities and uniquely strong female characters.
6. The Watcher
If you are not quite the person who can bear to watch something so enticing with its twists and turns and then not have closure, The Watcher isn’t for you. But if that isn’t true, this will be one of the year’s highlights for you. The Watcher is a remarkable dramatization of an incredulous real-life event. The catch here is that both of those cannot be weighed and scrutinized side by side, which works well in favor of the former. Despite the rather extravagance in how the drama unfurls, the actual experience of watching the series remains unaffected.
It is the perfect example of how the exciting flavor and penchant of a storyteller can transform a news piece into a full-fledged television show and something larger than life. The Watcher’s mystery will forever remain unresolved but do not let that stop you from watching how it all happened. With a dash of showmanship, of course.
5. Guillermo del Toro’s Cabinet of Curiosities
The release of the original Twilight Zone back in the ’50s is what made shows like Cabinet of Curiosities a reality today. It paved the way for experimentation with the sci-fi horror blend that was the stuff of nightmares. But the success also proved that with a creator’s imagination, anything is possible. Guillermo del Toro is a master at perfectly hiding his love for monsters beneath his stories that often end up celebrating his love. Elements of tragedy, heartbreak, and longing generally dominate the films. But Cabinet of Curiosities is a little different.
Its anthology format houses many themes – greed, vanity, and loss – and does not restrict to a single thread of storytelling. One commonality among all the sags is that they all end on cliffhangers, thus giving you full license to wield your imagination to conclude them. This is a really solid anthology that has a good range of horror that should appeal to a wide audience. This isn’t the best horror offering to come this year, but it’s definitely one of the brighter stars to come out of 2022.
4. The Sandman
Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman is a fantastic graphic novel, and it stands out as one of the more important comic books ever released. It’s a piece of art that manages to elevate the medium and bring excellent characterization, a diverse world, and some thought-provoking ideas about life, humanity, and our purpose in this world. The comics are well-regarded by critics and audiences alike. Honestly, alongside a couple of Batman issues, Watchmen and Maus, The Sandman is right up there as the opus of comic book storytelling.
The Sandman is an enjoyable watch and, despite a few wobbles along the way, manages to successfully adapt Gaiman’s comics into a format that actually works surprisingly well. It’s not perfect, and there will undoubtedly be people unhappy with some of the casting choices, but the story itself is engaging and well worth a watch. Whether this is your first venture into the world of The Sandman or you love the comics, Netflix’s adaptation is a compelling and enjoyable series. The Sandman has been renewed for season 2.
3. From Scratch
From Scratch might be the most perfectly cast show of the year that debunks all stereotypes about foreign characters. From an American viewpoint, this series will surprise you with its intelligent choices and meditative pace. Quite often. similar shows with a territorial element fall prey to easy criticism, alluding to how the characters behave, their accents, and the lack of authenticity. But not only do the performers look at the part, but they play their parts well also. Zoe Saldana leads the bunch with a newfound and tender-looking portrayal. Her character is at the center of things but despite that, From Scratch accommodates timely themes and ideas in a very tailor-made fashion.
Wrapped in tradition, hope, and love, this heartfelt romance story reminds me of The Notebook. Fans of that classic are bound to have a good time watching the series. Creators of From Scratch deserve praise for not leaving any stone unturned and giving us an immensely rewarding time.
2. Lost Ollie
Millions of dollars are spent on special effects and hiring the best talent on screen. These days, throwing absurd amounts of money has almost become fashionable among studio executives. This goes for both movies and television shows. In search of a mass hit that seems elusive in trying times for the industry, most lose sight of the most important thing. When kept simple and executed with a sincere heart, it can instantly elevate content. So what is this elusive ‘thing’? Story.
Lost Ollie, on Netflix, has probably the most endearing of stories told through the eyes of a beloved toy. Shannon Tindle, the creator, nails the “KISS” formula – Keep It Simple, Silly. All she has is a story with a clean heart and a determination to let it do the talking. Despite being mostly targeted toward children, Lost Ollie boasts a bleak, aesthetical visual template. It is not often you would see such a color palette fill a story about talking toys.
But that is probably because the limited series speaks to a larger idea. In fact, the crispness in execution flows from an astute thought process to outline the story. From the very first moment, a creative choice is made to expand the bond between Ollie to include the entire Wiles family. All you will feel is an appreciation for what you have, admiration for what you see, and comfort in what will come. Netflix has just got its most compelling story of the year.
Related: Lost Ollie (2022) Netflix Miniseries: Recap, Themes & Ending Explained
Looking for mind-bending plots that play around with time, like the German series Dark? 1899 is your answer. What is even more interesting is that it comes from the same creators! Netflix must have jumped at the opportunity to bring 1899 as soon as possible to its viewers. These hits are rare but keep the business going. While the maiden season is just one piece of the puzzle, it is damn good at getting your brain cells working. Although the story’s structure is not as complex, 1899 can be very confusing at times. Good thing we have you covered (*wink*).
At its core, 1899 revolves around a voyage undertaken in the titular year but does not have to do too much with the times. It pays attention on an even more minute level – the psychological heft of each of those characters. They are stuck in time and must find a way to jostle out of their reverie. 1899’s Matrix-like alternate reality is a daunting task. But if you could handle Dark, you should be okay here.
Related: Understanding The Plot Of Netflix’s 1899 And Theories Around It