It was a decidedly intense 2022 for TV series lovers. With real love at first sight, many surprises and some, inevitable, disappointment. Below you will find some absolutely unsolicited advice, but which can be useful for catching up on things you haven’t seen, without presuming to exhaust the subject, given the by now oceanic television offer in recent years.
The best new series of the year is Severance (Apple TV), in Italian Split, created by Dan Erickson. It can be defined as a psychological thriller, but I won’t say anything else, except that it is an anxious and glacial journey into our contemporary neuroses. Not exactly a health walk: if you’re looking for easy watching series, you’re in the wrong neighborhood. But I prefer the towns frequented by Adam Scott, John Turturro, Christopher Walken, Patricia Arquette. Ben Stiller is directing almost all the episodes, isn’t that enough for you?
The sixth season of Better Call Saul (Netflix) taught everyone how to close one of the best series ever. However, Netflix has fired a few notable shots in 2022, certainly including the disturbing one Dahmer-Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story, The Sandmanfor fantasy lovers, and Italian Everything asks for salvation, which had the merit of addressing the issue of mental distress without slipping too much into rhetoric or tearfulness. The new seasons of have brought us back to familiar territories, always beautiful and welcoming Borison Disney Plus (I tell you it’s already a hit!), The brilliant friend (Raiplay) and Skam Italy (Netflix). Among the best series of the year there are a handful of Italian productions (the wind is finally changing, fortunately) available on various platforms. on all, Exterior Night by Marco Bellocchio, the monumental, definitive work on the Moro kidnapping, divided into six chapters: it is pure cinema (you can find it on Raiplay). Beware of The Bad Guy (Prime Video) which gives a facelift to Italian mafia fiction and a Luigi Lo Cascio at ease as ever. Then, the shocking Christian by Sky, inspired by the graphic novel Stigmate by Claudio Piersanti and Lorenzo Mattotti, which immerses a mystical-supernatural story in a lurid Roman village, with a cast in a state of grace, from Edoardo Pesce to Giordano De Plano, from Claudio Santamaria to Silvia D’ Friend and Milena Mancini. On Prime Video there is also Bang bang baby, a criminal education novel steeped in 80s aesthetics, lysergic and hyper-quotationist, visually very interesting (here a star was born: the young protagonist Arianna Becheroni). Applause to Alice Urciolo and Ludovico Bessegato capable of repeating the success of Skam with Prism (Prime Video), another teen series that talks about very serious things – gender, bullying, self-harm – without too many mental saws: an important novelty. Especially if overseas to talk about adolescent discomfort there are excellences such as Euphoria (Sky), back with an even more extreme second season which, in addition to the protagonist Rue (Zendaya is simply perfect), highlights the self-esteem problems of Cassie, played by the sexy bomb Sidney Sweeney. There could be no better hook to introduce the speech White lotus (Sweeney was one of the protagonists of the first season), one of the most elusive US productions of these years. Comedy, drama, social satire, holiday series: Mike White’s show for Hbo, broadcast in Italy on Sky, is a bit of all of this together. Through the seemingly innocuous stories of the staff of a luxury resort – in the first chapter it was Hawaii, in the second Taormina – and the group of tourists who stay there, the series grabs you and carries you away with surprising developments, sharp dialogues and overwrought characters. lines. And listening to so many songs by Fabrizio De Andrè in an American product, some of which are even totally fucked up, has a certain effect. There was something for all tastes in this very hot 2022. For the orphans of game of Throneshere is the long-awaited return to Westeros, House of the Dragon, prequel set 190 before the events that have enthralled half the world. A less grandiose version of the fight for the throne, centered on the Targaryen house (remember, those of the Mad King and the dragons, there are many more here!), but which nevertheless has not lost the strength and perfidy that characterized clashes and betrayals, intrigues and subterfuges of the mother series. Also this year a large sports series cannot be missing and Winning time: The rise of the Lakers dynasty (also branded Hbo, therefore available on Sky) definitely does its duty. Great pace, incredible performances (John C Reilly towers as usual, but there are also Sally Field, Adrian Brody and many others) and a certainty like Adam McKay (Vice, Don’t Look up) to lead the company. If in the 2000s like me you loved madly The Wireyou can’t miss David Simon’s new creature, We own this city (Sky). After that success, the former journalist had tried several times with other excellent series such as Show me a hero and The Deuce. Here we return to Baltimore among drug dealers and corrupt cops for a miniseries that retraces the footsteps of The Wire, or using the filter of the detective story to tell a city, a world, devastated and decadent. It wasn’t a success this time either, but once again Simon hit the mark. The “derivative products” are not always to be thrown away. Two recent series demonstrate this, both on Paramount+. 1883 is a classic western, prequel to the series Yellowstone. Let’s find out how the Dutton family, in 1883, arrived in the lands of Montana where he built the large ranch in the center of Yellowstone ruled with a very hard hand by Kevin Costner. The hand is always that of Taylor Sheridan, director, actor, screenwriter: someone who churns out television products at a dizzying pace, this year also Tulsa King, Mayor of Kingstown and another prequel to Yellowstone just released in America, this time set in 1923 with Harrison Ford and Helen Mirren. 1883 instead it is a painful, violent, at times poetic journey through the United States of the time, starring a majestic Sam Elliott and the two country stars, Tim McGraw and Faith Hill. Even if the scene is taken entirely by the amazing Isabel May, in the role of her daughter Elsa, narrator and beating heart of the show. The other non-negligible derivative is let me in (Paramount+), the story of a vampire child in search of human warmth, which has shaken up the original novel by Lindqvist and the two films that derived from it. The space that remains to me I want to dedicate to The Offer (Paramount+), miniseries with Miles Teller and Juno Temple that will drag you into the crazy behind-the-scenes of The Godfather, among failed producers, cinephile mafia and anecdotes that seem to be fictional, but we will never know if they are (but really the production preferred Ryan O’Neal to Al Pacino?). But even the most fascinating deserves a mention Tokyo Deputy (again on Paramount+), the incredible true story of Jake Adelstein, a young American with a great passion for everything to do with the rising sun: after many sacrifices, he is hired as a journalist in the most important newspaper in the Japanese capital . And he slowly lets himself be captivated by his new life, immersing himself in the criminal undergrowth of the city from the perspective of the gaijin, the foreigner. He opens a window onto a mysterious world that moves according to logics that are difficult to understand from a Western point of view. The show bears the signature of Michael Mann (yes you read right, him), who also directs the pilot, and JT Rodgers. One may not agree on the best series of the year, but I bet everyone will agree on which title is the most disappointing, especially if we take into account the huge expectations generated. Without a doubt it is The Lord of the Rings – The Rings of Power (Prime video), badly written series, worse acted, with silly characters and a narrative development full of flaws. Deserves a suspension of judgement, 1899 (Netflix), new creature generated by the minds of Baran bo Odar and Jantje Friese, those of the wonderful dark. A first season perhaps too bizarre, but so much effort and talent in making the incomprehensible seductive cannot be dismissed so quickly.