The pop culture forecast for 2022 is looking mighty fine, and we’re previewing everything we’re excited about this year with a series of lists. Just so you have it all in one place, we’ve also published our Most Anticipated Metal + Hard Rock Albums, Most Anticipated Films, Most Anticipated TV Shows and Rising Artists to Watch roundups.
There are a few trends that emerge for 2022 when it comes to television. The influx of movie stars to the small screen continues, for one thing, with Ewan McGregor, Michelle Pfeiffer, Oscar Isaac, Tiffany Haddish, Olivia Colman, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Seth Rogen, and more playing featured roles in big properties.
It’s also the year when a number of long-awaited genre properties (with relatively huge production budgets) will be making their debuts: We’re getting Halo, The Sandman, and prequels to The Lord of the Rings and Game of Thrones, hopefully spread out at least a little bit over the next 12 months to keep us nerds entertained all year long.
But more importantly, it’s a year that seems determined to prove that TV, after years of being seen as secondary to film, is where the biggest and most exciting stories can be told, and compellingly so. Not all of the shows on this list will blow us away in terms of quality, but we can’t wait to see how they tackle the complex, intriguing, and fascinating stories promised.
— Liz Shannon Miller
Ozark (Season 4, Part 1) (Netflix)
Created by: Bill Dubuque, Mark Williams
Cast: Jason Bateman, Laura Linney, Sofia Hublitz, Skylar Gaertner, Julia Garner, Alfonso Herrera
Premiere Date: January 21st
It’s the beginning of the end for Jason Bateman and Laura Linney’s crime-doing pair, and while we don’t know yet when the final ending will be released on Netflix, the first part of Season 4 does show signs that all of the chickens are coming home to roost — the chickens, in this case, being terrible decisions that the Byrdes have made over the years. Ozark isn’t the sort of show which cries out for a happy ending, but it does deserve a complete one, and here’s looking forward to seeing how all those loose ends get tied up. — L.S.M.
The Gilded Age (HBO)
Created by: Julian Fellowes
Cast: Christine Baranski, Cynthia Nixon, Carrie Coon, Morgan Spector, Denée Benton, Louisa Jacobson, Taissa Farmiga, Blake Ritson, Simon Jones, Harry Richardson, Thomas Cocquerel, Jack Gilpin
Premiere Date: January 24th
Do you like Downton Abbey, but wish the characters didn’t have all those fancy, hoity-toity accents? Well, you’re in luck: Abbey creator Julian Fellowes is here with a new series for HBO set in New York during the late 1800s — a time of incredible prosperity for America, and the rise of a nouveau riche clashing with the values of the old-money aristocrats of the time. At the center of it is a war between two women: the blue-blood Agnes van Rhijn (Christine Baranski) and recently-wealthy upstart Bertha Russell (Carrie Coon), with all the costumed frippery and withering stares one can expect from Fellowes. — Clint Worthington
The Afterparty (Apple TV+)
Created by: Chris Miller
Cast: Tiffany Haddish, Sam Richardson, Zoë Chao, Ben Schwartz, Ike Barinholtz, Ilana Glazer, Dave Franco, Jamie Demetriou, John Early
Premiere Date: January 28th
Apple TV+’s respectable penchant for delivering boatloads of money at A-list creators for off-the-wall concepts continues apace with The Afterparty, which sees an ensemble cast (including Tiffany Haddish, Ilana Glazer, Sam Richardson, and others) trying to solve a murder mystery at their high school reunion. Each of the first season’s eight episodes will follow one character’s account of the events, filtered through a different film genre — musical, film noir, action movie, what have you. It’s a concept that could get tiresome quick, but since genre-bending wunderkinds Phil Lord and Christopher Miller are at the helm (Miller directs all eight episodes), we’re optimistic. — C.W.
Pam & Tommy (Hulu)
Cast: Lily James, Sebastian Stan, Seth Rogen, Nick Offerman, Taylor Schilling
Premiere Date: February 2nd
Does every news and/or tabloid event of the ’90s really warrant its own eight-part miniseries? Pam & Tommy suggests that it might, exploring the dissemination of a famous sex tape from a number of colorful angles, taking a closer look at the guy who stole it (Seth Rogen), sex symbol Pamela Anderson (Lily James), and disagreeable drummer Tommy Lee (Sebastian Stan), among others. (Oh, and Jason Mantzoukas voices Tommy Lee’s um, “drumstick.”) Craig Gillespie has experience bringing this sort of material to life in I, Tonya, while writer Robert D. Siegel knows his way around characters on the cultural fringes from his work on The Wrestler and Big Fan. — Jesse Hassenger
Inventing Anna (Netflix)
Created by: Shonda Rhimes
Cast: Anna Chlumsky, Julia Garner, Katie Lowes, Laverne Cox, Alexis Floyd, Arian Moayed, Anders Holm, Anna Deavere Smith, Jeff Perry, Terry Kinney
Premiere Date: February 11th
Shondaland feels like the right home for this more-thrilling-than-fiction tale of Anna Delvey (Julia Garner), a Russian-born con artist who successfully tricked multiple banks, New York high society — and one unsuspecting Vanity Fair employee — into believing she was a German heiress intent on launching her very own private members’ club/art foundation in between luxury vacations to Morocco and living the life of a Manhattan socialite.
The scandal took the media by storm following Anna’s arrest (due in part to a well-timed profile in The Cut), and as the Netflix adaptation prepares to roll out on February 11th, we’re still left grappling with whether Anna’s story is a condemnation of the value we place on image, status, and power — or a masterpiece built on the altar of American ambition. — Glenn Rowley