Top 25 TV Shows of 2022

The post Top 25 TV Shows of 2022 appeared first on Consequence.

Our 2022 Annual Report continues with our list of Top TV Shows of the year. As the year winds down, stay tuned for more awards, lists, and articles about the best music, film, and TV of 2022. You can find it all in one place here.

One of the most exciting things about covering TV these days is witnessing how creators continue to innovate within a format that has experienced huge changes in the last 10 years, but remains one of our greatest modern-day sources for powerful, important storytelling.

Consequence’s best shows of the year encompass tough documentary work, wild comedies, and beautifully nuanced dramas, taking us from Las Vegas comedy clubs to 1990s Calgary to the farthest edges of the galaxy. We said goodbyes to some dearly beloved shows, though not before they delivered their final notes on their own terms, and we sailed the high seas, investigated murders in the building, spread mayhem throughout Gotham, and talked about Bill Cosby — all without leaving our couches.

For a while, it was the Golden Age of Television. Then, it was the era of Too Much TV. Now, we’re on the verge of something new, where there are still a lot of shows out there, certainly too many to be watched by everyone — but while actual “water cooler” series might be few and far between, there’s greater diversity in what’s available. It’s not just diversity in terms of who’s making these shows, but in what kind of stories they’re telling. Thus, the challenge of picking the 25 best shows of the year is harder than ever — because the options available are truly magical.

Liz Shannon Miller
Senior Entertainment Editor

25. Westworld (Season 4)

Westworld Season 4 Cast Interviews
Westworld Season 4 Cast Interviews

Westworld (HBO)

Created by: Jonathan Nolan, Lisa Joy
Cast: Evan Rachel Wood, Thandie Newton, Jeffrey Wright, James Marsden, Luke Hemsworth, Angela Sarafyan, Ed Harris, Tessa Thompson
Network: HBO

If you bailed on Westworld at some point, consider their fourth (and final) season a reason to bring yourself back online. Picking up where the futuristic plotlines of Season 3 left off, the show takes our favorite robot gang to New York City (among other majestic locales) and sees the evil Charlotte Hale-slash-Dolores, a.k.a. Halores, play God to disastrous effects. While the season ends on an equally evil cliffhanger (hello, eleventh-hour cancellation), the “Christina” plotline alone makes it all worth it. Just as the hosts on the show can (mostly) never die, we won’t give up hope that Westworld gets rebooted again one day, too. — Gab Ginsberg

24. Russian Doll (Season 2)

Russian Doll Season 2 Review
Russian Doll Season 2 Review

Russian Doll (Netflix)

Created by: Natasha Lyonne, Leslye Headland, Amy Poehler
Cast: Natasha Lyonne, Greta Lee, Elizabeth Ashley, Charlie Barnett, Chloë Sevigny
Network: Netflix

After the first season of Russian Doll, it was hard for a lot of people to even imagine where the story could go next. But Natasha Lyonne, along with co-creators Leslye Headland and Amy Poehler, proved that the existential comedy had more than one trick up its sleeve, as Nadia (Lyonne) and Alan (Charlie Barnett), her partner in defying death, got caught up in a whole new mindfuck, this time a time-traveling intergenerational mindfuck. While a third season is not a given, Lyonne did tell Variety that “I don’t think I’ll ever be done with this show,” and if it happens, we’ll know to expect the unexpected. — Liz Shannon Miller

23. Ms. Marvel

Ms Marvel Review Iman Vellani
Ms Marvel Review Iman Vellani

Ms. Marvel (Disney+)

Created by: Bisha K. Ali
Cast: Iman Vellani, Matt Lintz, Yasmeen Fletcher, Zenobia Shroff, Mohan Kapur, Saagar Shaikh, Laurel Marsden, Azhar Usman, Rish Shah, Arian Moayed, Alysia Reiner
Network: Disney+

Iman Vellani’s masterful performance as Kamala Khan balances the glee of a teenage Captain Marvel fan discovering she has superpowers with the guilt of hiding the secret from her close-knit immigrant family. Kamala’s journey to discover her identity as a Pakistani-American and burgeoning superhero offers a history lesson that doesn’t feel forced as she uncovers her ancestor’s own secrets. Despite its multi-layered story, the show is still one of the few Marvel series that actually arrives at a satisfying conclusion. — Eddie Fu

22. House of the Dragon

House of the Dragon Season 1 Episode 10 Review
House of the Dragon Season 1 Episode 10 Review

House of the Dragon (HBO)

Created by: Ryan Condal, George R. R. Martin
Cast: Paddy Considine, Matt Smith, Emma D’Arcy, Rhys Ifans, Steve Toussaint, Eve Best, Sonoya Mizuno, Fabien Frankel, Milly Alcock, Emily Carey, Graham McTavish, Olivia Cooke
Network: HBO

Has there ever been a show that faced higher expectations before premiering than Game of Thrones’ first spin-off? But rather than being overshadowed by its predecessor, House of the Dragon introduced compelling new characters and crafted a more self-contained storyline to make viewers fall in love with Westeros all over again. — Spencer Dukoff

21. The Sandman

The Sandman Review Netflix
The Sandman Review Netflix

The Sandman (Netflix)

Developed by: Neil Gaiman & David S. Goyer & Allan Heinberg
Cast: Tom Sturridge, Gwendoline Christie, Vivienne Acheampong, Boyd Holbrook, Charles Dance, Kirby Howell-Baptiste, Mason Alexander Park, Jenna Coleman, Joely Richardson, David Thewlis, Kyo Ra, Stephen Fry
Network: Netflix

It’s possible that Neil Gaiman’s classic The Sandman is still impossible to adapt; nothing will ever compare to reading those graphic novels. But the team behind Netflix’s TV series got it just about as perfect as fans could have hoped. Spectacular production design, strong performances (Tom Sturridge, Boyd Holbrook, and David Thewlis in particular), and innovative storytelling structures set Sandman up for potentially years of worthy genre television. — Ben Kaye

20. A League of Their Own

League of Their Own Queer Stories
League of Their Own Queer Stories

A League of Their Own (Prime Video)

Created by: Will Graham & Abbi Jacobson
Cast: Abbi Jacobson, Chanté Adams, D’Arcy Carden, Gbemisola Ikumelo, Roberta Colindrez, Kelly McCormack, Priscilla Delgado, Molly Ephraim, Melanie Field, Kate Berlant
Network: Prime Video

A League of Their Own follows the trials and tribulations of professional women’s baseball players as they travel across an America still entrenched in the battles of WWII. As well as featuring lovable characters and comedic scenarios, the show highlighted the compelling real-life circumstances women, white, POC, and LGBTQ+ people faced during this period in history. A League of Their Own proved to be a delightful successor to the original 1992 film for many fans. — Caitlyn Taylor

19. She-Hulk: Attorney at Law

She Hulk Review Disney Plus
She Hulk Review Disney Plus

She-Hulk: Attorney at Law (Disney+)

Created by: Jessica Gao
Cast: Tatiana Maslany, Jameela Jamil, Ginger Gonzaga, Mark Ruffalo, Josh Segarra, Mark Linn-Baker, Tim Roth, Benedict Wong, Renée Elise Goldsberry, Jon Bass, Rhys Coiro, Patti Harrison, Charlie Cox
Network: Disney+

It’s the Marvel curse: Fans demand something different, and then complain when what arrives isn’t the same — which is what makes She-Hulk Season 1’s madcap ending the crazy turn we all deserved. As a procedural legal comedy with a plethora of amusing non-powered side characters (Ginger Gonzaga’s Nikki, Griffin Matthews’ Luke), She-Hulk finally smashed an increasingly stale formula. Plus, it gave us a bonafide star in Tatiana Maslany and brought Daredevil into the fold. If you didn’t have fun watching this one, sit your Smug Hulk ass down. — B.K.

18. Stranger Things (Season 4)

spotify upside down playlist stranger things vecna kate bush running up that hill max
spotify upside down playlist stranger things vecna kate bush running up that hill max

Stranger Things (Netflix)

Created by: The Duffer Brothers
Cast: Winona Ryder, David Harbour, Millie Bobby Brown, Finn Wolfhard, Gaten Matarazzo, Caleb McLaughlin, Noah Schnapp, Sadie Sink, Natalia Dyer, Charlie Heaton, Joe Keery, Maya Hawke, Brett Gelman, Priah Ferguson, Matthew Modine, Paul Reiser
Network: Netflix

The scariest season since Stranger Things’ first had a good needle drop (“Master of Puppets”) and an all-time great needle drop (“Running Up That Hill”). But most importantly, it had Jamie Campbell Bower’s Vecna, a worthy foil to Eleven (Millie Bobbie Brown) and one of the most thrilling villains of 21st century horror. — Wren Graves

17. Hacks (Season 2)

Emmys 2022 Winners
Emmys 2022 Winners

Hacks (HBO Max)

Created by: Lucia Aniello, Paul W. Downs, Jen Statsky
Cast: Jean Smart, Hannah Einbinder, Carl Clemons-Hopkins
Network: HBO Max

Season 2 of HBO’s Hacks features main characters Deborah (Jean Smart) and Ava (Hannah Einbender) out on the road, their unlikely bond being strengthened amidst the malaise and wonder of middle America. It’s also an even deeper investigation of the sacrifices required by show business, and its bittersweet ending — including an unforgettable scene where Meg Stalter’s Kayla joins Jimmy (Paul W. Downs) in quitting her father’s talent agency — lines the show up for an unexpected and intriguing Season 3. — Paolo Ragusa

16. Harley Quinn (Season 3)

Harley Quinn Season 3 Review
Harley Quinn Season 3 Review

Harley Quinn (HBO Max)

Developed by: Justin Halpern, Patrick Schumacker
Cast: Kaley Cuoco, Lake Bell, Alan Tudyk, Ron Funches, Tony Hale, Jason Alexander
Network: HBO Max

Harley Quinn jumped back in action with a sensational Season 3. Following her breakup with the Joker, Harley has set her sights on becoming the greatest villain in Gotham. With the help of her ragtag crew of morally dubious misfits and Poison Ivy, her bombastic adventures provided audiences with a load of laughs and heartfelt tears. With the deepening of Harley and Ivy’s relationship into lovers, the ever-expanding meta humor, and even the appearances of fan favorites from the DC universe, Harley Quinn continues to make waves. — C.T.

15. Reservation Dogs (Season 2)

Reservation Dogs Season 2 Review
Reservation Dogs Season 2 Review

Reservation Dogs (FX)

Created by: Sterlin Harjo, Taika Waititi
Cast: Devery Jacobs, D’Pharaoh Woon-A-Tai, Lane Factor, Paulina Alexis
Network: FX

The Reservation Dogs crew splintered at the end of the first season, forcing them to pick up the pieces at the beginning of Season 2 — and every actor in the core quartet seized the opportunity to shine within their respective storylines before tragedy inevitably brings them back together. Willie Jack (Paulina Alexis) in particular proves herself to be the beating heart of the show, shedding her tough exterior with a devastating portrayal of a teenager learning to process grief. — E.F.

14. Our Flag Means Death

our-flag-means-death-rhys-darby-taika-waititi_5
our-flag-means-death-rhys-darby-taika-waititi_5

Our Flag Means Death (HBO Max)

Created by: David Jenkins
Cast: Rhys Darby, Ewen Bremner, Joel Fry, Samson Kayo, Con O’Neill, Nathan Foad, Vico Ortiz, Kristian Nairn, Matthew Maher, Guz Khan, David Fane, Samba Schutte, Rory Kinnear, Nat Faxon, Taika Waititi
Network: HBO Max

Longtime collaborators Taika Waititi and Rhys Darby are the heart at the center of David Jenkins’ wildly entertaining pirate romantic comedy. All aboard the Revenge, folks, where there’s truly room for all kinds of kinds — as one of the most heartwarming ensemble pieces in recent memory, the show’s strong first season leaves us ready to see what’s next for Stede and Blackbeard. — Mary Siroky

13. Fleishman Is in Trouble

Fleishman Is In Trouble Review
Fleishman Is In Trouble Review

Fleishman Is In Trouble (FX)

Created by: Taffy Brodesser-Akner
Cast: Jesse Eisenberg, Lizzy Caplan, Claire Danes, Adam Brody
Network: FX

Why are comedies that fill the viewer with existential dread so irresistible? Like BoJack Horseman or Barry before it, Fleishman Is in Trouble starts as an innocent enough satire tackling online dating and New York City class structures. By the end of the season, however, the adaptation of Taffy Brodesser-Akner’s novel has thoroughly examined unanswerable questions of love, life, and self-identity. Wrap all of that into a genuinely engaging mystery, and you have one of the best-written shows of the year. — Jonah Krueger

12. Only Murders In the Building (Season 2)

Only Murders in the Building Season 2 Review
Only Murders in the Building Season 2 Review

Only Murders in the Building (Hulu)

Created by: Steve Martin, John Hoffman
Cast: Steve Martin, Martin Short, Selena Gomez, Aaron Dominguez, Amy Ryan, Cara Delevingne, Tina Fey, Jackie Hoffman, Da’Vine Joy Randolph, Nathan Lane, Michael Cyril Creighton
Network: Hulu

The first season was a pandemic balm last year, and it’s gratifying to see Hulu’s cult hit mystery losing barely a step in its second go-round. Steve Martin, Martin Short, and Selena Gomez got plenty of moments to reinforce their adorable dynamic, even as the show blossomed past its true-crime parody remit and grappled — sometimes unsuccessfully — with the world they built. — Clint Worthington

11. The Bear

The Bear Review Hulu FX
The Bear Review Hulu FX

The Bear (FX)

Created by: Christopher Storer
Cast: Jeremy Allen White, Ebon Moss-Bachrach, Ayo Edebiri, Lionel Boyce, Liza Colón-Zayas, Abby Elliott
Network: FX

FX’s The Bear is tailor-made to match the high-energy rhythm of a busy restaurant kitchen, and luckily, it’s paired along with an emotionally resonant story arc. With dynamic, delectable performances from Jeremy Allen White, Ebon Moss-Bachrach, and Ayo Edibiri — who could not handle the show’s rapid-fire beat changes better as the talented chef Sidney — The Bear is one of the most captivating debut seasons of 2022. — P.R.

10. High School

High School Interview Tegan Sara
High School Interview Tegan Sara

High School (Freevee)

Created by: Clea DuVall
Cast: Railey Gilliland, Seazynn Gilliland, Esther McGregor, Olivia Rouyre, Amanda Fix, Brianne Tju, Geena Meszaros, Cobie Smulders, Kyle Bornheimer
Network: Freevee

There have been no shortage of shows about the adolescent experience over the years, but High School proved to be both expansive and intimate. Grounded in Tegan and Sara Quin’s own coming-of-age story, the series features Railey and Seazynn Gilliland as the young versions of the indie pop stars, who in the 1990s are just beginning to discover who they are as people, including their innate talent for music.

The series is packed with period-appropriate details (yes, kids, in the days before cell phones, you had to call your crush’s house and hope they were home and that you didn’t have to talk too long to their parents before your crush got on the line). The plaid flannel and grunge tunes flow freely. But what makes the series truly special is how co-showrunners Clea DuVall and Laura Kittrell took the Quins’ memoir and found the universal in it, in part thanks to a narrative structure that doesn’t just let events unfold from Tegan and Sara’s points of view, but deliberately showcases the perspectives of the entire ensemble, including the twins’ mother, Simone (Codie Smulders).

The result, accompanied by a great soundtrack and great performances, is a sweet and nuanced take on what it means to get older and understand that adulthood is as complicated and messy as being a kid. Anyone can watch High School for free — it’s streaming now with ads on Freevee. And really, everyone should. — L.S.M.

09. Atlanta (Seasons 3 and 4)

Atlanta Season 4 Review Donald Glover
Atlanta Season 4 Review Donald Glover

Atlanta (FX)

Created by: Donald Glover
Cast: Donald Glover, Brian Tyree Henry, Lakeith Stanfield, Zazie Beetz
Network: FX

Getting two full seasons of Atlanta in one year was a truly special gift, and both installments proved to be complementary in many ways. The show’s return for Season 3 was packed with wild creative swings and huge ideas, but with multiple stand-alone episodes featuring new characters in alternate storylines, meaning less screen time for the show’s core quartet.

Then, Season 4 brought the gang home literally and figuratively, with the final episodes drilling harder into these characters as they all finally settle into adulthood: Alfred’s (Brian Tyree Henry) stardom is confirmed, while Earn (Donald Glover) and Van (Zazie Beetz) commit to life together as a family, and Darius (Lakeith Stanfield) commits to his dream-like existence.

It’s not that Season 4 didn’t include its own wild swings (“The Goof Who Sat by the Door” might be the best episode of television aired this year), but the final season of Atlanta put the focus back on the characters we’d been following from the beginning, showcasing their journeys while never losing sight of what made this show special from the beginning. — L.S.M.

08. We Need to Talk About Cosby

Hannibal Buress Cosby Doc
Hannibal Buress Cosby Doc

We Need to Talk About Cosby (Showtime)

Created by: W. Kamau Bell
Network: Showtime

As the #MeToo era enters its next phase, one where the nuances of being “canceled” struggle to be understood, it makes sense to examine the legacy of one Dr. Bill Cosby, who spent decades being beloved by the world before the world found out about his horrifying history of sexual assault.

Writer/director W. Kamau Bell, a self-professed child of the Cosby generation, brings keen insight and empathy to this four-part series, which not only lets many of Cosby’s survivors speak about their experiences, but examines the cultural forces which kept Cosby’s crimes out of the spotlight for decades. It’s a complex, sharp, and essential exploration of a man who has been a symbol of so many different things over the years, and Bell and his producers are to be commended for the way they managed to adapt to the abrupt change in Cosby’s incarceration status while the documentary was still in production.

Cosby is currently a free man, and he may one day try to get his comedy career going again. Bell’s unflinching breakdown of how Cosby came to be, and how his actions affected so many, may not be the nail in the coffin for that effort. But it’s impossible to imagine watching Cosby now, and Bell is to be thanked for creating the definitive answer for why that is. — L.S.M.

07. Barry (Season 3)

Barry Season 3 Review
Barry Season 3 Review

Barry (HBO)

Created by: Alex Berg, Bill Hader
Cast: Bill Hader, Stephen Root, Sarah Goldberg, Glenn Fleshler, Anthony Carrigan, Henry Winkler, Sarah Burns
Network: HBO

Remember when this show was a dark comedy, emphasis on the comedy? Somehow, though, even as Bill Hader and company slowly shift their focus from making us belly-laugh to making our skin crawl (especially the season finale, I mean, holy shit), the show continues to get better and better. Maybe we’re all just masochists.

Season 3 brings along with it a new Barry, one who’s far more broken, delusional, and morally reprehensible than ever before. As he attempts to navigate his relationship, acting career, and hitman responsibilities, his depression and inescapable past lead him down an increasingly chaotic path. Don’t worry, there are still plenty of laughs to be had — they’re just the type of laughs that make you feel slightly guilty afterward. — J.K.

06. What We Do in the Shadows (Season 4)

What We Do Shadows Season 4 Review
What We Do Shadows Season 4 Review

What We Do in the Shadows (FX)

Created by: Jemaine Clement
Cast: Kayvan Novak, Matt Berry, Natasia Demetriou, Harvey Guillén, Mark Proksch
Network: FX

Sunrise, sunset — it’s not just the Fiddler on the Roof number Matt Berry’s Laszlo belts during the finale (which shares its title), but the main vibe of the vampire mockumentary’s fourth season, still one of the best comedies on TV. Our vampire gang and friendly familiar Guillermo went through a lot of changes: Gizmo came out of the closet, Colin Robinson was reborn into an uncanny boy-child, Nandor explored married life and found himself wanting.

The more things change, the more they stay the same, though, and the show’s best gags revolve around our immortal subjects bristling against the sameness of life. But isn’t the existential ennui of repetition just the way of the sitcom? And this fractured family is still the most devious (and hilarious) in all of Neeww Yooorrkk Citttyyyyy. — C.W.

05. Abbott Elementary

Emmys Predictions 2022
Emmys Predictions 2022

Abbott Elementary (ABC)

Created by: Quinta Brunson
Cast: Quinta Brunson, Tyler James Williams, Janelle James, Lisa Ann Walter, Chris Perfetti, Sheryl Lee Ralph, William Stanford Davis
Network: ABC

As a workplace mockumentary, the easy comparison for Abbott Elementary is The Office, but the show’s setting in an underfunded elementary school gives it an extra dose of reality, and the characters feel fleshed out from the start. Creator Quinta Brunson gets a star-making turn as the ever-optimistic Janine Teagues, while Chris Perfetti’s overcompensating white ally Jacob Hill and the quiet grace of Sheryl Lee Ralph’s Barbara Howard are just a few of the standout performances in the excellent ensemble cast.

None of that would matter if the show wasn’t so damn funny, with a principal who cares more about being an influencer than doing her job and Janine ending up in ridiculous situations because she refuses to give up in even the most hopeless of circumstances. Though the show is a comedy at heart, it doesn’t shy away from the difficulties teachers face in the crumbling public school system. The real world could use more educators like Ms. Teagues, but at least Abbott Elementary can offer a dose of hope — and plenty of laughs — every week. — E.F.

04. Andor

Andor Season 1 Episode 12 Review
Andor Season 1 Episode 12 Review

Andor (Disney+)

Created by: Tony Gilroy
Cast: Diego Luna, Kyle Soller, Adria Arjona, Fiona Shaw, Stellan Skarsgård, Denise Gough, Genevieve O’Reilly, Faye Marsay, Varada Sethu, Elizabeth Dulau
Network: Disney+

Star Wars has always been about fascism, albeit in superficial ways (see: the Hugo Boss-inspired outfits of the Empire versus the scrappy group of rebels dedicated to fighting it). But Andor finally gives those ideas the depth they deserve, mostly thanks to Disney allowing a singular filmmaker (Tony Gilroy) to take the reins and tell a story in a galaxy far, far away, but for grownups this time.

Sure, it ostensibly tells the pre-Rogue One story of Rebel operative Cassian Andor (Diego Luna, dogged and vulnerable in all the best ways). But he’s really a conduit through which we scan over the low-level figures who’d shape the saga to come: Stellan Skarsgård and Genevieve O’Reilly’s Rebel patrons, Kyle Soller’s dogmatic true believer, all the little people who change the shape of the universe with a thrown brick or tossed spanner. It’s the most exciting and sophisticated Star Wars has ever been, with nary a lightsaber to sully it. — C.W.

03. Severance

Severance Review Apple TV+
Severance Review Apple TV+

Severance (Apple TV+)

Created by: Dan Erickson
Cast: Adam Scott, Zach Cherry, Britt Lower, Tramell Tillman, Jen Tullock, Dichen Lachman, Michael Chernus, John Turturro, Christopher Walken, Patricia Arquette
Network: Apple TV+

Apple TV’s razor-sharp corporate psychological thriller, directed with incredible precision by Ben Stiller and Aoife McArdle, was the bold new take on workplace culture we sorely needed this year. Anchored by a moving performance by Adam Scott and rounded out by a stacked cast of supporting players, Severance moved from dark comedy to suspense to emotional moments to genuine horror with alarming ease.

For anyone that hasn’t yet clocked into Lumon Industries, you have plenty of time to catch up before the next season arrives; the cliffhanger at the end of the heart-pounding Season 1 finale lingers long after the screen fades to black. — M.S.

02. The Rehearsal

The Rehearsal Autism Nathan Fielder
The Rehearsal Autism Nathan Fielder

The Rehearsal (HBO)

Created by: Nathan Fielder
Cast: Nathan Fielder
Network: HBO

What to make of The Rehearsal? With Nathan Fielder’s previous reality-blending hit Nathan for You, it was easy to laugh at the show’s absurdities without getting too bogged down in the details. The meta-commentary on Fielder himself, the show’s ethics, and the human condition were optional garnishes, letting the viewer decide how deeply they wanted to engage with the show.

So, we ask again, what to make of The Rehearsal? Well, that choice is no longer ours. What starts as another classic Fielder romp, complete with his signature awkward encounters and escalating shenanigans, quickly morphs into a series examining and repeatedly re-examining its own premise. If it’s at all possible that the abstract concept of a television show could have an existential breakdown, this show accomplishes just that.

And, yet, through such recursive self-reflection, the show lodges itself deep into your brain. It’s why it was one of the most discussed shows of 2022; once you finish the final episode, you can’t help but carry it with you, endlessly mulling it over before inevitably succumbing to a rewatch. — J.K.

01. Better Call Saul (Season 6)

Better Call Saul Finale Explained
Better Call Saul Finale Explained

Better Call Saul (AMC)

Created by: Vince Gilligan, Peter Gould
Cast: Bob Odenkirk, Jonathan Banks, Rhea Seehorn, Patrick Fabian, Michael Mando, Michael McKean, Giancarlo Esposito, Tony Dalton
Network: AMC

There really wasn’t much room for nitpicking the final exquisite chapter in a saga that began in 2008, when an Albuquerque chemistry teacher got an unfortunate diagnosis and responded with a very unfortunate series of decisions. Nearly 15 years later, we’ve come to the end of Better Call Saul, a series that didn’t just build upon what came before, but enhanced our understanding of it in profound ways.

Creators Peter Gould and Vince Gilligan knew full well the challenge they faced coming into Season 6, but they managed to avoid the yips by taking the occasion as an opportunity to loop back around on key events from Breaking Bad, not only completing the chronicle of Jimmy McGill/Saul Goodman/Gene Takavic, but delivering some last bits of closure for the franchise.

That it did all this while still serving so many complex and fascinating characters is just one of the many, many narrative feats to be admired here. The term “fan service” usually gets used in a derogatory way, referring to when a show might choose to indulge the fandom’s desire to see two characters couple up or for a certain bad guy to meet a gristly end, at the cost of a full and rich narrative. Better Call Saul was always the exact opposite of that — it never made things easy for the fans — but it still created an ending that satisfied their basic needs. As a very complicated man once said, “Let justice be done, though the heavens fall.” — L.S.M.

Top 25 TV Shows of 2022
Consequence Staff

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