The best TV shows of 2022 so far on Netflix, Hulu and more – SFGATE

Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Travis Kalanick in “Super Pumped: The Battle For Uber.”
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After only a few months, 2022 is shaping up to be a fantastic year for TV. Aside from “The Book of Boba Fett,” which has been an abysmal failure (according to SFGATE columnist Drew Magary), streaming services and traditional networks have come out of the gate strong, leaning into stories drawn from real-life headlines as well as nostalgic escapism.
From adaptations of best-selling sci-fi to the next great Black network TV show, here are the best things we’ve watched so far this year.
“‘Station Eleven’ is a post-apocalyptic drama based on the novel of the same name by Emily St. John Mandel (written in 2014, filming began in January 2020) about a flu that sweeps through the world almost overnight, killing millions and leaving the few survivors to reckon with what it means to go on when civilization falls.
“The story involves a famous actor trying to launch a late-career renaissance, a religious zealot and a Shakespearean acting troupe known as the Traveling Symphony, but at the heart is a comic book called ‘Station Eleven.’ ‘Station Eleven,’ the comic, follows a mysterious character named Doctor Eleven who floats through space before finding himself on a stalled space station inhabited by warring factions.” — Victoria Sepulveda, read more
“Now in its second season, the HBO Max series follows a family-run mega-church led by patriarch Dr. Eli Gemstone (John Goodman). The operation has attracted thousands of followers and made the Gemstones filthy rich, but when the pastors are outside of the pulpit, they do not practice what they preach. The first season largely revolves around Jesse Gemstone, played by Danny McBride, trying to cover the tracks of a blackmail tape showing him doing cocaine with strippers in a hotel room. Season two steals elements of ‘Succession,’ with Jesse and the other Gemstones siblings (Adam DeVine as Kelvin, Edi Patterson as Judy) vying for Eli’s throne, while Jason Schwartzman does his best Ronan Farrow impersonation playing an investigative journalist looking to topple the empire.” — Dan Gentile, read more
“The last time I watched a network TV comedy that was led by a young, entirely Black ensemble cast was ‘Living Single,’ or as I like to call it, the original ‘Friends.’ This isn’t to dismiss shows like Insecure,’ ‘I May Destroy You’ or ‘Atlanta,’ but those shows are streaming. They’re given more latitude to connect with a smaller audience. And shows like ‘Black-ish’ are family shows. You’d be hard pressed to find a show for and about 30-something Black people on a network channel. 
“The fact that I can’t find examples more recent than the mid-1990s is exactly why a show like ‘Grand Crew’ is making waves as the next great Black show. ‘Grand Crew’ is the story of six 30-something friends who meet at a wine bar to discuss the everyday ups and downs of love, work, play and, of course, wine.” — Rod Benson, read more
“In the original ‘Karate Kid’ film series in the 1980s, the lines between good and evil are as clear as the borders of a martial arts mat. Daniel LaRusso (Ralph Macchio) is the good-natured underdog, training under the zen style of his sensei, Mr. Miyagi. His opponent, Johnny Lawrence (William Zabka), follows the militant ways of Cobra Kai: strike first, strike hard, no mercy.
“In the Netflix reboot titled ‘Cobra Kai,’ now in its fourth season, the original actors have returned as adults who run their own dojos, but are still clinging to their old rivalry, which infects their own karate-obsessed children. Cobra Kai’s ruthless sensei John Kreese (Martin Kove) also returns, as does his gray-haired henchman Terry Silver (Thomas Ian Griffith). Martial arts fervor sweeps over the suburbs of Los Angeles, and kids join Miyagi-Do, Cobra Kai and Lawrence’s upstart Eagle Fang as if they were street gangs. The animosity becomes so vicious that one student is literally paralyzed during a fight at school. In the latest season, the senseis make a pact that the two losers of the big All Valley Tournament will shutter their karate schools, forever ending the war of dropkicks and leg sweeps.” — Dan Gentile, read more
“Unless you’ve been living under a yellow-checkered rock lined with cracked black vinyl and a credit card machine that mysteriously doesn’t work, you’ve likely heard of Uber.
“The ride-hailing company that disrupted the taxi industry has become a household name. Its rise and many falls were recounted in a 594 page best-seller by New York Times journalist (and San Francisco resident) Mike Isaac, which lends its title to Showtime’s new startup drama ‘Super Pumped: The Battle For Uber.'” — Dan Gentile, read more
“On the new Netflix show ‘Murderville,’ Will Arnett plays a homicide detective enlisting guest stars as deputies to join him in cracking cases. But the six-episode series breaks the mold of procedural parodies with one important twist: The guest stars aren’t given a script. Each improvised episode ends with the guest having to guess which suspect was actually responsible for the crime.
“The guest list features A-list improvisers such as Conan O’Brien and Ken Jeong, but also a local legend, with proud Oaklander and former Raiders running back Marshawn Lynch appearing in episode two. In recent years, Lynch has taken up acting with guest roles on ‘Westworld’ and ‘Brooklyn Nine-Nine.'” — Dan Gentile, read more
“There are few celebrity scandals from the last few decades more infamous than the unauthorized sex tape of Pamela Anderson and Tommy Lee. Maybe you saw the grainy VHS featuring the ‘Baywatch’ star and Motley Crue drummer, streamed it through a pre-broadband internet connection or heard about it through the avalanche of insensitive press coverage. Or perhaps the mid-’90s scandal has been lapped so many times by similar celebrity sex news that it’s vintage at this point. But whatever you think you know about the tape, the new Hulu drama ‘Pam & Tommy,’ based on a 2014 Rolling Stone article by Amanda Chicago Lewis, will make you reconsider.” — Dan Gentile, read more
“W. Kamau Bell, a Bay Area resident and host of the CNN show ‘United Shades of America,’ has directed a new four-part series for Showtime called ‘We Need to Talk About Cosby’ that focuses on the comedian’s place in pop culture. Like many, Bell saw Bill Cosby as a hero when he was younger, but as accusations of sexual assault came to light, the actor’s reputation as a role model was tarnished. A trailer released today shows Bell and other guests on the show unpacking clues that hinted at Cosby’s alleged crimes early in his career.” — Dan Gentile, read more
Dan Gentile is the culture editor at SFGATE. He moved to San Francisco from Austin, TX where he worked as a vinyl DJ and freelance writer covering food and music. His writing has been featured in Texas Monthly, American Way, Rolling Stone, Roads & Kingdoms, VICE, Thrillist and more. Email: [email protected]


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