Binge Or Cringe: The Best And Worst of 2022

Need something to watch? Here’s what to see – and skip – on Netflix, HBO Max, Hulu and Amazon Prime

by Jamie Joffe, culture editor

I can’t believe it’s 2023. I mean, I’m still processing Tiger King … and then I realized it came out three years ago.

Just so you are aware, compiling this list was no easy task. 2022 was also the year Ozark (Netflix) made its return and must-see shows, such as Abbott Elementary (ABC) and Under the Banner of Heaven (FX) continued to steer the cultural conversation. So be assured that you are not alone if you feel like watching TV seems like a Herculean effort. I am here for you with some of this year’s most binge worthy shows … along with a few that made me wish I watched reruns of Friends instead.

The White Lotus (HBO Max)

There aren’t many shows that can utterly dominate social media. The internet exploded as millions theorized the fate of the cast in the second season of The White Lotus. Starring Jennifer Coolidge and a star-studded cast that includes Michael Imperioli (The Sopranos), the mystery/drama-dey follows the neuroses of the privileged yet miserable, set in the stunning scenery of Sicily. You’ll find yourself empathetic, even if these are the most deplorable characters on television.

It was also the year of the scammer. Docudramas The Dropout (Hulu) and Inventing Anna (Netflix) were two that topped my list.

The Dropout (Hulu)

The Dropout follows the fall from grace of Theranos founder and tech golden girl Elizabeth Holmes. Though there have been many fraudsters in the past (remember Fyre Festival?), Holmes’ story is particularly disturbing. Did Holmes really set out to help people — or did money and power become more important than human lives? Holmes (with her creepy deep voice and obsession with green juice) was able to hoodwink some of the most astute and respected businessmen in history. The Dropout is a compelling series led by strong performances by Amanda Seyfried, (Mean Girls!) who portrays Elizabeth Holmes and Naveen Andrews (Lost) who plays Elizabeth’s love interest/business partner/fellow sociopath Sunny Balwani. They are pretty much the most evil power couple ever. The cast also includes appearances from Hollywood heavyweights Sam Waterston as George Schultz, Laurie Metcalf as naysayer Phyllis Gardner and William H. Macy as the malicious and litigious neighbor Richard Fuisz.

Inventing Anna (Netflix)

Inventing Anna is based on the true story of Anna Delvey, who is a con artist or visionary – depending on who you ask. With an incredible performance by Julia Garner as Anna Delvey, Inventing Anna proves that truth can be stranger than fiction. In the miniseries, Delvey convinces many of New York’s power players that she is a German heiress worthy of their financial support. Despite her convoluted accent and my need for subtitles to understand her, I couldn’t stop watching. Her ability to swindle New York’s business elite as well as those around her was just astounding. I can’t even convince my son to clean his closet and Anna was able to find some poor woman to use her corporate credit card and pay for her five-star hotel in Morocco. 

And Just Like That…(HBO Max)

The anticipated And Just Like That, the Sex and The City sequel was also a personal highlight of 2022. The writers offered viewers an honest and sometimes difficult-to-watch portrayal of midlife. And Just Like That sparked some of the most debate and hate of the year. Despite the obvious  absence of Samantha (Kim Catrall), it still delivered plenty of laughs with the addition of comedian Sara Ramierz and lots of couture eye candy.

The Bear (FX/Hulu)

Love Off The Grid (Amazon Prime)

Anyone who knows me is well aware that my love for reality TV is … well, real. I hit reality gold with the discovery of Love Off The Grid. It follows the story of couples as they adjust to their new lives together in the middle of nowhere. The caveat is that one of them has been living in modern civilization until now. I mean, this woman from Miami with perfectly coiffed hair, nails, and eyelashes decides to go live with her childhood crush in the middle of the Appalachian mountains. The cabin has only one room and the bathroom is in the middle of the woods. This leads to some obvious tension. This show may leave you with less brain cells, but it’s fascinating to see how these people cope.

Stutz (Netflix)

I went deep watching Stutz, a documentary by Jonah Hill. It is an honest conversation about mental health between Hill and his therapist Dr. Phil Stutz. Stutz doesn’t go into a deep psychoanalytic dive, but does offer some useful tools to help navigate everyday life. Though I’ll probably forget to implement any of his advice, I implore everyone to watch.

Dahmer (Netflix)

Speaking of shrinks, it’s a shame that Jeffrey Dahmer never went to see Dr. Stutz, because he really could have used some guidance. Dahmer follows the story of Jeffrey Dahmer, the infamous serial killer. I made it through about two episodes before vomiting in my mouth. Dead smelly bodies as well as the inequity of law enforcement sent me completely over the edge.

The Watcher (Netflix)

The Watcher was another waste of time. Based on a true story, the series follows the Brannock family as they move into their dream home in New Jersey. They begin to receive threatening letters from a sender known only as “the watcher.” The result is a far-fetched and insipid mystery that is just confusing. Serves them right for moving to Jersey in the first place.

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