The Best TV Episodes of 2022

by thethreepennyguignol

My sweet loves, you deserve nothing but the best this year. Which is why I am going to start things off here at the Guignol with a look back at my favourite TV episodes of the last year (and, if you’re into that kind of thing, here are my favourite movies too) Let’s get to it!

6. Present – Staged

Staged is a delightful little show, a video-call-centric comedy featuring Michael Sheen and David Tennant as TV’s favourite platonic couple, and the third and final season had the good manners to come out the week of my birthday. Watching this mad, indulgent, and utterly brilliant episode over cake was one of the highlights of my year, and with good reason; as Michael and David come together in locked-room misery to put together a script for their new show. Watching these two bounce off each other as they grow more and more unhinged with desperation is a joy I didn’t know I needed in my life, and Georgia Tennant’s twisted machinations to make it all worse are just the cherry on top.

5. In The Throes of Increasing Wonder – Interview with the Vampire

It’s not often a pilot comes out so fully-formed, but the last adaptation of Anne Rice’s Interview with the Vampire came out swinging with this episode. Lavishly realized and gorgeously shot, it’s an introduction to Louis (Jacob Anderson) and his relationships with both interviewer Daniel Molloy and one-time lover Lestat (Sam Reid), and an unarguable proof of how well the creators of this show understand the heart of the book. A romance, a drama, a comedy, and a period piece all at once, it’s an impressive marriage of genres, and, at it’s heart, an exceptional character piece for Louis.

4. The Pain Garden – Tuca & Bertie

As someone with a pelvic pain disorder, this episode hit home in ways I wasn’t entirely ready for the cartoon bird show to do. Witty, surreal, and strange, it’s also uncomfortably accurate in how it depicts women’s healthcare in a way I don’t think I’ve ever seen on TV before. Seeing a show so bluntly acknowledge the frustrations, struggle, and sexism that comes with having a condition even adjacently associated with womanhood was kind of a revelation. Maybe it’s more a personal connection than an objective high level of quality, but it really spoke to me, and had a great song and dance number in the middle as well, so I can’t not put it on the list.

3. Episode 2.3 – I Hate Suzie Too

I Hate Suzie is one of the best shows of the last ten years, and the three-part festive sequel series is just as damn good. The closing episode to this chaotic, woozy trilogy is simply one of the most impressive pieces of acting I’ve seen from a lead in years – Billie Piper is on the edge of the edge of the edge in an excruciating fifty minutes, navigating a TV dance contest as well as her vengeful ex-husband and over-stimulated son. Long takes, nightmarish stress, and pointe shoes populate this stress-induced fever dream, with Piper in the middle of it all, hurtling towards a hideous but inevitable conclusion.

2. The Murmuring – Cabinet of Curiosities

I already put this at the top of the ranking for this series, and I can’t forget it here. Jennifer Kent’s masterful haunted house horror brings together exceptional performances from Essie Davis and Andrew Lincoln, and wraps them around a restrained, intelligent period piece, a slow-burn deep-dive of their relationship that builds in the scares (and sobs) beautifully. If you haven’t watched it yet, this might be the best bit of horror you’ll see all year.

1. Merrily, Merrily – Inside No. 9

I thought long and hard about what episode I wanted to put at number one here, and, well, it’s got to be from number nine. I didn’t think this season of the show was the greatest it’s ever done, but the opening episode, Merrily, Merrily, might be one of the best ever. Only thirty minutes long, it’s a beautifully-written, exceptionally-performed meditation of grief, loss, and the holes left in our lives as time passes. A one-act play of melancholy, I know I’m going to get so much more out of it on a re-watch, and I can’t wait to delve even deeper next time.

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(header image via wherever-I-look)