james debate
james debate

Friday 7 January 2022

Happy New Year to all and welcome back to The Ephemeric. I hope you are all well rested and well fatted from your holidays, but now 2022 is upon us it's time to get down to business. A new year can only mean one thing, it's time to break out The Hot List and see what's coming up next.

So here it is, your ultimate guide to the year ahead, The Ephemeric's 2022 Hot List. In this first entry we will be looking at the most exciting things happening in the world of television over the next 12 months, with a particular eye cast over the brand new shows hitting your screens in 2022.

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In 2021 the TV industry demonstrated the full impact of the ongoing pandemic. Several shows have been delayed, some (Stranger Things, The Boys, Marvelous Mrs. Maisel) by as much as two years, and others potentially even longer (Russian Doll). Others (Glow) were even less fortunate, their return eventually canned entirely in the face of recurring delays and their associated costs. It is impressive that despite these setbacks, the television pipeline in general has continued to deliver such volume and quality. We now have more streaming networks than months in the year and each one of them spending the GDP of a small nation in order to craft enough original content to gain a leg up on their competitors. 

2022, again, looks to be a year overstuffed with exciting television, both new and returning series. Many  on this list have been delayed from one or both of 2020/2021, while others are only recently announced. Whether your taste is quirky comedies, historic dramas, thought-provoking sci-fi or horror, 2022 really is going to have something for you. Whether it is really sustainable to continue such a vast array of separate streaming platforms, with billions spent on production, is very much up for debate. But for the time being, we can all enjoy the astonishing array of content that ensues.

So without further ado here are the top 15 essential television shows, both new and returning, that will hit the airwaves and their web-equivalent in 2022:

15. The First Lady - Showtime (New TV Show)

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Described as America's version of The Crown, Showtime's new anthology series The First Lady dramatises some of the most powerful women in America's history. 

Each episode will cover the story of a different First Lady, with Michelle Obama, Betty Ford and Eleanor Roosevelt revealed so far, to be portrayed by an all-star cast that includes Viola Davis, Michelle Pfeiffer and Gillian Anderson. The impressive array of talent is not limited to the cast either with each episode set to be helmed by an A-list director, starting with award winning director Susanne Bier.

Production began in earnest back at the start of 2021 and despite a pandemic-related delay, we are now expecting to see this debut early this year.

Start Date: Spring 2022

14. Inside Man - Netflix/BBC (New TV Show)

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BBC/Netflix joint production Inside Man is the latest from the Emmy award winning gold-weaver Steven Moffat, best known for his work on Doctor Who and Sherlock

This highly mysterious project is said to be a thriller focused on a patient waiting on death row in the US, who crosses path with a vicar from a quiet English town for the most unexpected reasons. Top tier talents David Tennant and Stanley Tucci are set to star.

Filming began in the summer of 2021 and is said to have concluded late last year. We do not know precisely when it will release, but the BBC's own press release appears to confirm that it will be out sometime in 2022. 

Start Date: TBA 2022

13. The Boys - Amazon 

the boys amazon season 3 2022 most anticipated tvOne of Amazon's bigger successes in original TV content, The Boys is an adaptation of a little known comic book series satirising the superhero genre by imagining a world where the super-powered have become corrupted by greed and corporate interests. If the first season drew headlines for its violence and raunchiness, season two took the series to a more complex and highly polished level.

The main cast of Karl UrbanJack QuaidAntony Starr, and Erin Moriarty returns. It's anyone's guess where season three will go from a narrative perspective, although the second season's cliffhanger ending certainly provide a hint of what to expect. It has also been floated that this season will see a depiction of the "herogasm" plotline from the comic series, the name of which should give some clue as to what it entails.

Following numerous delays over the past two years, production is now said to be complete on this third season with an expected release date in June. 

Start Date: June 2022

12. Inventing Anna - Netflix (New TV Show)

inventing anna netflix tv show 2022 best most anticipatedEveryone loves a conman story, and in Netflix's new series Inventing Anna, they have got a good one in store. Inspired by real events, this is the story of Anna Sorokin, a Russian fraudster who, for years, had infiltrated some of the most exclusive social circles of New York posing as a German heiress.

This is the first production to come of the much ballyhooed new exclusive deal between Netflix and Shonda Rhimes, best known as the creative mind behind Grey's AnatomyHow to Get Away with Murder and Scandal. Dawn of an exciting new era? We shall see. Julia Garner stars, with a cast also featuring Anna ChlumskyKatie Lowes and Laverne Cox.

Another show hit by pandemic-related delays, having originally been set for release in 2021. Production is now complete and Netflix have pencilled in this series for release in February.

Start Date: February 2022

11. Station Eleven - HBO Max (New TV Show)

station eleven hbo max 2022 most anticipated tv showsSomewhat topical. Station Eleven is the adaptation of the 2014 Emily St. John Mandel novel of the same name, quite presciently depicting the aftermath of a flu pandemic that has brought the world to its knees. A little too close to home perhaps? Don't worry, this is supposed to be the uplifting and optimistic type of post-apocalypse. If anything it will come as reassuring.

Patrick Somerville is on as show-runner, best known for his work as writer on The BridgeThe Leftovers and Maniac. The cast will feature Mackenzie Davis, who you might recognise from Black MirrorThe Martian and Blade Runner 2049, alongside Himesh Patel, best known for his role in Eastenders and the Richard Curtis movie Yesterday.

After, you guessed it, delays, Station Eleven launched in the US at the end of December and will launch in the UK (on Sky) by end of January.

Start Date: January 2022

10. This is Going to Hurt - BBC (New TV Show)

adam kay this is going to hurt bbc amateur transplants london underground 2022 most anticipated tv showsThe name Adam Kay means a lot of different things to different people. To some, he is a former doctor and graduate of my alma mater Imperial College. To others of a certain age, he is one half of The Amateur Transplants, a musical comedy duo that brought us such classics as London Underground and The Drugs Song (Kay would probably rather we not remember some of his other, most disturbing songs like "Never let a Woman Drive" to the tune of the Sheila's Wheels jingle, and "Rohypnol" to the tune of Blondie's Maria).

But to most, he is the author of the medical memoir This is Going to Hurt, detailing some of the horror stories from Kay's time as a doctor. The best seller is now being adapted to TV by the BBC. If some of his material can be considered in bad taste, there is no denying that Adam Kay is a witty man. His writing is blistering, incisive, and hilarious, and if that translates well to the screen then this will be a very worthwhile series.

This is one of those series that has been kicking around on The Hot List for a few years, having been originally announced in 2019. After many delays and a whole lot of radio silence, this has now been tentatively pencilled in by the BBC for an early 2022 release date.

Start Date: TBA 2022

9. Pistol - FX (New TV Show)

pistol fx sex pistols danny boyle 2022 most anticipated tvThis should be a tasty one. Pistol is the biographical miniseries on 1970s punk rock band The Sex Pistols. Written by Craig Pearce, who is best known for his collaborations with Baz Luhrmann including The Moulin Rouge and The Great Gatsby, directed by the incomparable Danny Boyle.

There are a few recognisable actors in the supporting cast, such as Maisie Williams and Talulah Riley, but for the most part the principal roles are played by lesser known up and comers like Toby Wallace, a Venice Festival award winner in 2019 for Babyteeth, and Louis Patridge who you may recognise from the recent Netflix film Enola Holmes.

Filming took place over the summer of 2021 and a release is expected at some point later this year.

Start Date: TBA 2022

8. The Sandman - Netflix (New TV Show)

the sandman netflix gaiman 2022 most anticipated tvAnother notable coup for Netflix, this is the long-mooted adaptation of Neil Gaiman's graphic novel The Sandman. As with most Gaiman works, the plot is such that it would be difficult to describe it in any meaningful way with the amount of space I have available. Suffice it to say, this is going to be every bit as weird and wonderful as you would expect from the man who wrote CoralineStardustAmerican GodsGood Omens, among others.

The Sandman has endured something of a tortured production history, beginning life as a Goyer film that had been intended to star Joseph Gordon Levitt way back in 2013. That production ultimately stalled and eventually gave way to the new miniseries with which we have ended up. The cast is led by Tom SturridgeGwendoline Christie, and Boyd Holbrook, with an extended cast that features big names like Charles DanceDavid ThewlisStephen Fry, and Patton Oswalt among others.

Filming began at the tail end of 2020 and, following delays, stretched into the summer of 2021. A release date is currently unknown, but having been originally set for 2021 a 2022 release now appears likely.

Start Date: TBA 2022

7. The Midnight Club - Netflix (New TV Show)

midnight club mike flanagan netflix best tv show television 2022Netflix sure love Mike Flanagan, and after consistently delivering horror gold for the network with The Haunting of Hill House and Midnight Mass, why wouldn't they?

Considered by many to be a master of his genre, Flanagan's latest is an adaptation of the novel of the same name. A group of terminally ill young adults resides in a hospice run by an enigmatic doctor. They meet at midnight every night to tell each other scary stories. One night they make a pact that the first one to succumb to their disease is responsible for communicating with the others beyond the grave. After one of them dies, bizarre occurrences begin.

Production was completed in September last year. A firm release date has yet to be confirmed, but is expected to land sometime this summer.

Start Date: Summer 2022

6. The Orville - Hulu

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The Orville had a great first two seasons in 2017 and 2018, finally giving fans that proper spiritual sequel to Star Trek that they had so badly been craving. It's been a rough few years since then, however. A transfer from Fox to Hulu would have been difficult under any circumstances, let alone in the middle of a pandemic that ultimately delayed production further. Production did finally resume in 2021, and it is expected that we will finally see the third season this year.

Imaginative and timely with its moral-driven plotlines, Orville sees Seth MacFarlane move out of his comfort zone and into a less slapstick genre, one which showcases his talents as a writer. In an era when anything even vaguely sci-fi feels the need to be ├╝ber grim-dark or full of over the top action, it's nice to see a series that's more about provoking thought than a visceral reaction.

If season 3 can maintain the consistency and quality of its storytelling, then we could have the makings of a very strong science fiction franchise here.

Start Date: March 2022

5. The Crown - Netflix

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The most prestigious of prestige dramas, Netflix's The Crown returns. Season 5 sees another jump in time to the 1990s and, presumably, a heavy focus on all things Charles and Diana.

A new decade also means a new cast taking the reins, with Imelda Staunton in the lead role, joined by Jonathan Pryce, Jonny Lee Miller, Dominic West and Lesley Manville. Originally set to be the final season in Peter Morgan's award winning series, Netflix have since ordered a sixth and, at the time of writing, final season. 

Production on season 5 is now complete and set for release in November.

Start Date: November 2022

4. The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel - Amazon

2022 most anticipated tv marvelous maisel amazonIt's finally back, and unlike every other show on this year's list it has had absolutely no delays... nah just kidding The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel has been punted like a football for two years in a row, leaving fans hanging after season 3's cliffhanger ending.

At its best, Maisel is one of the finest series on TV. A love letter to a bygone era of Golden Age New York, this tale of 1950s feminism is hilarious, with strong performances and impeccable production that evoke the mood of the period without feeling too much like a pastiche. 

After many delays, season 4 finally approaches with a release on Amazon Prime set for February of this year.

Start Date: February 2022

3. Stranger Things - Netflix 

stranger things best tv show television 2022 season 4And of course you can't have a Hot List without a new season of Stranger ThingsNetflix's mega hit remains one of the best things on television, and I know I'm not the only one who can't wait to see where season four takes us.

Little is known about the new season. The last season left us on something of an ambiguous note, with certain central characters potentially gone, and the ongoing status of Stranger Things' main villain left uncertain. And what of Eleven's sibling and the ambiguous fate of her "papa"?

While there are clear plot-threads to follow going forward, no one really knows what direction the Duffer Brothers will take this. Whatever the case, the strength of the writing and production thus far gives us no reason for concern, and we expect great things when this releases this summer.

Start Date: Summer 2022

2. Daisy Jones & The Six - Amazon (New TV Show)

2022 most anticipated tv amazon daisy jones six novel reece witherspoonThis is the adaptation of the Debbie Award winning novel Daisy Jones & The Six, a miniseries that has been in production basically ever since Taylor Jenkins Reid's novel first dropped. Snapped up by Reece Witherspoon's production company, the series was first pitched as potentially making its way to HBO, it has since ended up finding a home on Amazon.

This is of course story of the titular Daisy Jones and her fictionalised 1970s rock band, allegedly based loosely on the history of Fleetwood Mac. The novel was written in the format of a documentary film, but it is expected that the series will be a more traditional drama, albeit with an Office/Parks and Rec confessional mockumentary style.

The cast may be mostly unknown, but in its lead they have some bona fide musical credentials in Riley Keough, grandchild of none other than the king Elvis Presley himself. She is joined in the cast by Sam Claflin, who you might recognise from the recent Pirates of the Caribbean films. Release data is still TBA, but this is one of the most exciting series in production. We will watch its production closely.

Start Date: TBA 2022

1. Ted Lasso - AppleTV+

ted lasso season 3 apple appletv+ plus new most anticipated tv 2022One of television's great surprise hits, Ted Lasso has turned its forgettable origins into a masterstroke of feel-good comedy and taken its place as the flagship of Apple's nascent original programming division.

Great credit needs to go to showrunner Bill Lawrence and lead man Jason Sudeikis for helping to craft an unforgettable array of loveable characters, but what shone from season 2 was the increased ambition and ramped up drama that brought unexpected levels of depth without sacrificing everything that made its debut so enjoyable.

Season 3 will begin filming soon, with an expected release late this year. This is currently set to be the final season. Fingers crossed Apple convinces them to keep going, but if not then let's enjoy it while we can and hope they go out with a bang.

Start Date: Late 2022

So there you have it folks: 2022 in television. Tune in next week for the essential new videogames of the year!

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