- Words Louis Rabinowitz
The small screen holds plenty of excitement for the year ahead. Let us guide you through some of the biggest TV of the year to come...
Euphoria (10th January, NOW)
The kids aren’t alright. Euphoria set screens alight in 2019 with its very explicit, very dramatic, questionably realistic depiction of teen life, and it’s finally back to kick off the year after a lengthy COVID-induced hiatus. Last year’s pair of small-scale specials elaborated on the tragic cliffhanger of season one in which Zendaya’s Rue relapsed following her breakup with Jules (Hunter Schafer), but season two promises a return to the big parties and really big drama that we’ve been waiting so long for. There will be sex and drugs. Damn kids.
The Afterparty (Apple TV+, 28th January)
Phil Lord and Christopher Miller have been tearing up the big screen for years, working on inventive and meta comedies like the Jump Street movies and Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, so their TV debut is set to be an immediate TV highlight. Taking a comic-Rashomon approach to a murder mystery, The Afterparty boasts a stacked ensemble cast with the likes of Tiffany Haddish, Ben Schwartz, Sam Richardson and Dave Franco.
Peaky Blinders (BBC One, February)
Has anyone checked in on Tommy Shelby lately? We left the perennially tortured gangster in 2019 in a bad way, pointing a gun at his own head after the disastrous collapse of his plan to assassinate fascist Oswald Mosley. Season six – the final round on TV for the Peaky Blinders, before a movie wraps things up in 2023 – promises to continue that story of Tommy versus nascent British fascism, with his plotting nephew Michael scheming away in the background. It’ll also be the moving farewell to screen legend Helen McCrory (Aunt Polly), who tragically passed away during production.
Winning Time (NOW, March)
If The Last Dance had you hooked on hoops last year, then this series should help satiate that craving. From exec producer Adam McKay (the Don’t Look Up guy), Winning Time tells the true story of the legendary 1980s Los Angeles Lakers, who boasted Hall of Fame heroes like Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. The cast is absolutely enormous, headed up by frequent McKay collaborator John C. Reilly, and including the likes of Jason Clarke, Sally Field, Gillian Jacobs, Michael Chiklis, Rob Morgan and Adrien Brody. Will it be a slam dunk or a miss from the three-point line? Basketball references.
Atlanta (Disney+, March)
It’s been a mighty four years since Donald Glover’s TV opus last graced our screens, but Atlanta is finally returning for the first of two seasons filmed back-to-back. Season three promises to make the show’s title almost irrelevant, taking the action to Europe as rapper Paper Boi (Brian Tyree Henry) heads on a European tour with his entourage, including down-on-his luck Earn (Donald Glover), spacey visionary Darius (Lakeith Stanfield) and designated sensible one Van (Zazie Beetz). In its first two seasons, Atlanta was one of TV’s most consistently inventive shows. Let’s hope season three’s long, long gestation has helped to keep the quality up.
Stranger Things (Summer, Netflix)
Love it, hate it, or think that it hasn’t been the same since season one – when Stranger Things returns, everyone tends to listen. Season four, dropping this summer, looks to take the story outside of Hawkins as Joyce (Winona Ryder) and family head to sunny California and definitely-not-dead Hopper (David Harbour) faces imprisonment in snowy Siberia, but apparently spooky action follows this lot anywhere. Some accused the last season of running out of creative steam, so here’s Stranger Things’ chance to turn those frowns Upside Down.
Lord of the Rings (2nd September, Prime Video)
If we’re talking 2022’s biggest TV, it’s impossible to look further than Amazon’s upcoming Lord of the Rings show. Boasting an absolutely eye-watering price tag of around $450 million for its first season (that’s about four and a half times Game of Thrones’ final season), it’s clear the streaming giant has spared no expense for this highly-anticipated return to Middle Earth. Plot details are scarce, but we know it’ll hop back thousands of years from the stories we know to explore the Second Age, a far earlier period in Tolkien’s gigantic fictional timeline. At that cost, they may well have rebuilt Middle Earth itself.
Better Call Saul (TBC, Netflix)
After five outstanding seasons of Jimmy McGill’s slow journey into the moral depravity represented by Saul Goodman, the Breaking Bad prequel is ready to call time with season six. Delayed somewhat by Bob Odenkirk’s mercifully-resolved health issues, Saul’s final season will join the dots between Jimmy of the early 2000s, the colourful Saul Goodman we saw in Breaking Bad and the depressed Cinnabon manager Gene in his monochrome future. No matter the answers – and familiar cameos – we get, in this writing team we trust. Saul over Breaking Bad, no regrets.
House of the Dragon (TBC, NOW)
Are you still feeling a little sore over how Game of Thrones wrapped up? Don’t worry, you’re among friends here. It’s with significant trepidation that we look to the first result of HBO’s exhaustive Thrones spinoff search, House of the Dragon. Starring the likes of Paddy Considine, Matt Smith and Olivia Cooke, the spinoff will delve into the not-so-secret history of the Targaryen dynasty, back in a time when the dragonriders were the undisputed rulers of Westeros. On the bright side, unlike those final two seasons of Thrones, this is working off source material from George R.R. Martin, with the ancillary book Fire and Blood. Nevertheless, it’s going to take some doing to expunge our Westeros-related trust issues.
Moon Knight (TBC, Disney+)
After a busy 2021, Marvel is set to unleash another tidal wave of streaming content in 2022. The pick of the crop looks to be Moon Knight, which takes on the trippy premise of a vigilante with multiple personality disorder, battling creatures ripped from mythology. Oscar Isaac is on tap to play the lead, Marc Spector, though recent preview footage revealed a borderline-unforgivable British accent for one of Spector’s personalities, and Ethan Hawke will play a bad guy. In the comics, Moon Knight was famous for cursing out Dracula. Let’s hope this adaptation keeps that energy.
Obi-Wan Kenobi (TBC, Disney+)
The Star Wars revival is in full swing this year too on Disney+, with a spinoff for Rogue One hero Cassian Andor and further adventures of the Mandalorian set. Most anticipated among them, though, is the long-awaited return of Ewan McGregor as Obi-Wan Kenobi in his own show, which fills in some of the gaps regarding the Jedi’s exile between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope. The spinoff is also set to bring back Hayden Christensen – once maligned, now redeemed by a generation of prequel memes – as Darth Vader, for a rematch I’m not fully certain matches existing canon, but anyway.
Russian Doll (TBC, Netflix)
Gotta get up, gotta get out, gotta get home before the morning comes… The timeloop comedy Russian Doll was a surprise smash three years ago, with Natasha Lyonne’s iconic hair and New Yawk accent leading a revelatory spin on the familiar Groundhog Day concept. Season one appeared to tell a close-ended story, but intriguingly, Lyonne has chosen to keep the loop going with a second outing for protagonist Nadia and friends. Schitt’s Creek star Annie Murphy joins the fun for a sequel few expected. We’re just wondering what irritatingly catchy tune is going to be used this time.