Best of 2022: Television

Arts & Entertainment

Anthony Pantalone, Editor

While the Arts and Entertainment column ideally should encompass every form of media pertaining to “arts and entertainment,” it does not always meet that standard. In this section of The Collegian, film is quite often the star of the show. The end of a year and the beginning of a new one allows for a person to reflect on that fact and adequately give credit where credit is due to other forms of art and entertainment—particularly television shows. Here are some of the objectively best—in my biased opinion—shows that deserved a bigger spotlight in The Collegian in 2022.

via HBO

Barry Season 3

“Barry” is one of the most underrated shows on television. This program follows a hitman who wishes to give up his lethal profession in favor of acting. The first two seasons are a near perfect dark comedy, and this third season heightens the intensity much further. At this point, Barry feels simply dark instead of darkly comedic. Pretty much everyone in the cast—Bill Hader, Sarah Goldberg, Henry Winkler, and Anthony Carrigan—turns in career work this season. I love Henry Winkler, and I never knew he had a performance of this caliber in him. Also, NoHo Hank has been my favorite character on television for years. The morale of the story is that no matter what he does or how hard he tries, Barry always falls backwards into a life of violence with horrific consequences for everyone around him. For a show that has balanced comedy amidst a story this violent and tense, this third season takes a turn towards tragedy. NoHo Hank—easily the show’s best and most whimsical character—has a storyline involving torture, kidnapping and the “bury your gays” trope. The episode “710N” in particular features an incredibly long take of a motorcycle chase on a congested highway. Each episode of the second half of this season instills an alarming sense of dread for the audience as something horrible can happen at a moment’s notice. The ending of the episode “candy asses” for example forces the viewer to simply sit there afterwards and process the deep dark spiral of these characters. 

via FX

The Bear Season 1

Debuting in the summer, “The Bear” was one of the best new shows to grace television screens this year. Following Carmy who inherits his deceased brother’s restaurant, this show is essentially about the grief of losing a loved one and the ensuing struggles in running their business. Jeremy Allen White recently won a Golden Globe for his performance as the main character, and this honor was genuinely warranted. White brings a quiet intensity to a character who is desperately trying to keep afloat amidst his own grief and the significant financial hardships his brother left him. The seventh episode “Review” is filmed as one long take as everything goes wrong in the restaurant in a matter of twenty minutes. Even if you have not worked in a restaurant or food service, you will likely have to take a deep breath after this one.

via FX

Atlanta Seasons 3 and 4

“Atlanta” returned in 2022 with a third season set in Europe and a final season set back in the show’s titular city. I love this show and was really sad to see it end. It is always amazing to see a show that experiments with the medium of television and has so much fun while doing it, and “Atlanta” has always been that type of TV show. About half of the third season does not even feature the main characters or overarching plot of the prior seasons, and these standalone entries were some of the best episodes of “Atlanta” ever aired. In the final season, some great storylines are wrapped up. There is an amazing parody of Tyler Perry in which Donald Glover is covered in make-up and prosthetics—akin to the season two “Teddy Perkins” episode. Also, in one of the final episodes, this show makes an incredible fake documentary about the making of  “A Goofy Movie.” In classic “Atlanta” fashion, when people expect a crazy subversion of expectations for the series finale, Glover and director Hiro Murai choose the funniest “It was all a dream” ending.

via Disney+

Andor Season 1

This opinion could be debated, but “Andor” is the best Star Wars show or movie with anything truly nuanced to say about politics since George Lucas in the 1970s wrote about resisting imperialist oppressors. The creative team behind the show could have settled for the same tired creative beats that almost every Star Wars property has taken on since being acquired by Disney. Some type of cameo. Using the crutch of being part of “a shared universe” instead of actually effectively plotting a story over a season. Instead, it offers intelligent commentary on the matters of revolutionary suicide and the carceral slavery that props up imperial systems of power. It also talks about how fascism and authoritarian philosophies often preys upon and seduces young men with low self-esteem that feel entitled and directionless. In “Andor,” the viewer is rewarded with manifestos and arguments about the morality of violence against fascist occupiers instead of a caravan of “Glup Shittos.”

via HBO

The White Lotus Season 2

Whereas the first season of “The White Lotus” worked really well as a class satire, the second season of this HBO show delved more into sexism and power dynamics within relationships. There are three generations of men that express harmful masculinity toward women. The grandfather openly sexually harasses women. The father—played by Michael Imperioli of “The Sopranos” fame—treats women better than his own father yet still objectifies them in private as sexual objects. The son appears to be the least harmful—appearing like a “soft boy”—yet still holds concerning views about women. Then the storyline featuring Aubrey Plaza of two couples vacationing together is so incredibly messy but written in such a compelling way. Jennifer Coolidge shines yet again this season—earning her a Golden Globe Award two weeks ago. Mike White is a genuinely great writer and I hope he makes

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