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Peacemaker, The Sandman Take Top Honors: BCTV's Best Shows of 2022

Fred Rogers (Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood) once said, "The space between the television set and the viewer is holy ground." Before we head into 2023, we're taking a moment to honor the shows that understood Rogers' sentiment, respecting that "holy ground" with shows that elevated the art form & medium to new heights. So with that in mind, we proudly present Bleeding Cool's Top 10 Television/Streaming Shows & Top 5 New Television/Streaming Shows for 2022 (along with an impressive array of Honorable Mentions). And while HBO Max's Peacemaker and Netflix's The Sandman may have taken respective top honors, you might be pleasantly surprised to see your show represented. From Amazon's The Boys and Channel 4's Derry Girls to HBO's The White Lotus and AMC's Interview with the Vampire, we have an impressively diverse countdown for you to enjoy (or rage at).

Peacemaker, The Sandman Take Top Honors: BCTV's Best Shows of 2022
Image: HBO Max (Peacemaker Peacemaker Peacemaker)

Bleeding Cool TV Top 10 Best Shows of 2022: Peacemaker & More

(10) Disney+'s "Andor": So what do you do if you're Tony Gilroy and you're responsible for what many consider to be the best film in the "Star Wars" film franchise? You follow it up with a Diego Luna-starring streaming series that many now consider the bar by which all streaming series should be judged.

(9) Amazon's "The Boys": We finally figured out your game, Amazon's Prime Video & Showrunner Eric Kripke. You lure us in with promises of shocking things we've never seen before, and then you deliver these emotional punches to the feels that we never saw coming. It says a lot when you can take a storyline like "Herogasm" and find a way to make the "super sex" not be the hottest topic coming out of the episode.

(8) Disney+'s "She-Hulk: Attorney at Law": The first series that convinced us that people in the MCU actually have sex and worry about everyday things, this Tatiana Maslany-starrer is exactly what comics fans are looking for when they say they want a series to be "more like the comic." And yet, the series wonderfully embraced the creative freedom that streaming afforded it, allowing the series to move well beyond the comics page. Here's hoping there's more fourth-wall-breaking in Maslany's future (and more "quality time" between her Jennifer Walters and Charlie Cox's Matt Murdock/Daredevil).

(7) Netflix's "Wednesday": What worked so well for Netflix's Tim Burton-directed, Jenna Ortega-starring "The Addams Family" spinoff was that it wasn't trying to tread lots of new ground as much as it was looking to offer viewers characters and a universe that could get lost in. Though the entire cast is more than deserving of individual recognition (especially Fred Armisen's Uncle Fester), the series rested on the shoulders of Ortega's Wednesday Addams, and Ortega crushed it.

(6) Channel 4's "Derry Girls": A hit for Channel 4 that's gained a strong following stateside after the series hit streaming, Lisa McGee's hit 1990s-set British teen sitcom elevates the situation comedy by deftly blending the greater realities of the Northern Ireland peace process with the lives of students (Saoirse-Monica Jackson, Louisa Harland, Nicola Coughlan, Jamie-Lee O'Donnell, and Dylan Llewellyn) at the Catholic girls' secondary school Our Lady Immaculate College. Touching, heartfelt, heartbreaking & hysterical, Derry Girls is a must-see for fans of slice-of-life comedies that present them with real characters, not caricatures.

(5) Netflix's "Stranger Things 4": When Matt Duffer & Ross Duffer tell you they're going to go big, they don't mess around. Blending four emotionally layered storylines (any one of which could've been its own season) into an overarching epic more than deserving of its major fourth-season finale cliffhanger, viewers were gifted with what could be the best season yet. And a greater appreciation of Kate Bush's "Running Up That Hill (A Deal with God)" and Metallica's 'Master of Puppets."

(4) Netflix's "The Sandman": Neil Gaiman had the one trait necessary to be able to wipe away the myth of "The Comic Book Series That Can't Be Adapted"… patience. And thank Dream, Death, and all of Gaiman's other wonderful creations for that because otherwise? We would've ended up with giant robot spiders instead of an adaptation that represents everything that is good & decent about television and its ability to allow stories to play out organically and to allow viewers to get lost in a new universe.

(3) HBO's "The White Lotus": We didn't need two seasons of HBO's hit new series to be convinced of series creator, writer & director Mike White's genius. But with The White Lotus, White has surprised us with the depth of not just his storytelling but also his world-building. And without giving too much away? We see Jennifer Coolidge being "Jessica Lange" to White's "Ryan Murphy" so if that means Coolidge's Tonya has a twin sister we didn't know about? Yeah… we're good with that.

(2) FX's "What We Do in the Shadows": There's so much about the most recent season to justify WWDITS making our list. Guillermo (Harvey Guillen) came out to his family and (seemingly) took a more proactive stance about becoming a vampire. Nandor (Kayvan Novak) embraced married life… until the embrace felt more like he was being choked out. Nadja (Natasia Demetriou) finally got to realize her dream of running a vampire nightclub until it (and a whole lot of cash) went up in smoke. And as hard as he tried, Laszlo (Matt Berry) couldn't stop Colin (Mark Proksch) from being Colin… or maybe he did?

(1) HBO Max's "Peacemaker": One of the few silver linings to come out of the pandemic, James Gunn's John Cena-starring The Suicide Squad spinoff was a heavy metal song that came to life. Sure, we could list a bunch of reasons why the series was such a success on so many levels. It rewired our brains to never skip a show's intro ever again, proved that every supporting character can be the lead when treated the right way, presented us with an ensemble cast of red-hot talent that included Cena, Jennifer Holland, Danielle Brooks, Freddie Stroma, Chukwudi Iwuji, Steve Agee, Robert Patrick & a host of others, and offered us a glimpse at the darker underbelly of the DCU. But what we appreciated the most was how Gunn gained a loving appreciation for the creative freedom that comes with having more than two hours to tell your story. And out of that appreciation came a series that wasn't just a long film cut into episodes but presented in a way that respected the art to crafting serialized television.

Honorable Mention: HBO Max's Doom Patrol, STARZ's P-Valley, AMC's Kevin Can F**k Himself, Adult Swim's Rick and Morty, HBO's Avenue 5, AMC's Interview with the Vampire, Netflix's The Umbrella Academy, Hulu's Only Murders in the Building, FX's Reservation Dogs, Paramount+'s Criminal Minds: Evolution, ABC's Abbott Elementary, BBC/CBS Ghosts, HBO's Winning Time, Hulu's Pam & Tommy, Hulu's Welcome to Chippendales, Hulu's The Orville: New Horizons, Paramount+'s Star Trek: Strange New Worlds, and Amazon's The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power.

Peacemaker, The Sandman Take Top Honors: BCTV's Best Shows of 2022
Image: Netflix

Bleeding Cool TV Top 5 Best New Shows of 2022: The Sandman & More

(5) AMC's "Interview with the Vampire": AMC Networks & the folks representing the late author Anne Rice's works presented us with a Lestat, Louis & Claudia (Sam Reid, Jacob Anderson & Bailey Bass) that lured us into their ever-growing deadly toxicity from the moment they hit our screens. And when we say that would've been more than enough to keep us hooked, we mean it. But then the series "dared" to also be a pseudo-sequel to the original story, with an older Daniel Molloy (Eric Bogosian) looking to get to the real truth only to learn that he may have been a bigger part of things than he realized. And then there's the matter of "Rashid" (Assad Zaman) and what that revelation means moving forward. And that's what makes IWTV so special because it offers us what we know, what we thought we knew, and some jaw-dropping moments that we never saw coming. AMC has a very special kind of adaptation on its hands… here's hoping the network appreciated just how special it is.

(4) Netflix's "Wednesday"

(3) Disney+'s "Andor"

(2) HBO Max's "Peacemaker"

(1) Netflix's "The Sandman"

Honorable Mention: Netflix's Heartstopper, Disney+'s She-Hulk: Attorney at Law, HBO's House of the Dragon, HBO's Winning Time, Hulu's Pam & Tommy, and Paramount+'s Star Trek: Strange New Worlds.

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Ray FlookAbout Ray Flook

Serving as Television Editor since 2018, Ray began five years earlier as a contributing writer/photographer before being brought onto the core BC team in 2017.
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