Review: The top five in our countdown of the best TV shows of 2022, from Sherwood to Andor, with a surprise at No.1
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5 Sherwood (BBC1): With a dual timeframe and set against the lingering resentments of the miners’ strike, this drama showed how politics is always personal, but never lost sight of the thriller at its heart.
4 Andor (Disney+): A Star Wars spin-off – filmed partly on the Fylde coast – which restored faith in TV franchise following the damp squibs of Kenobi and The Book of Boba Fett. It ignored huge space battles and the mystical force for a down and dirty tale of guerilla warfare, personal loss and petty bureaucracy.
3 The Bear (Disney+): A brilliantly bingeable smorgasbord for the senses, with swearing that reached the level of poetry, food that looked incredible on screen and real emotional heft to boot. A tale of grief, toxic masculinity and the best sandwiches in Chicago.
2 The Responder (BBC1): Yes, it’s a cop drama. Yes, there’s a maverick policeman front and centre. Yes, there are Scousers with loose perms. However, this cop drama – written by a former policeman – fizzed with nervous energy and grimy authenticity, with Martin Freeman playing against type as Chris, a policeman teetering on the edge of a full-scale mental health crisis.
1 The Traitors (BBC1): I’m as surprised as you are that a reality show mixing Wink Murder and Big Brother should be the best show of the year, but this brilliantly plotted show was so compulsively addictive it should come with a health warning.
Ghosts (BBC1, Christmas Day, 7.25pm) and Motherland (BBC1, 9.30pm) both had their belly laughs, but in different ways they also showed the bittersweet nature of Christmas, with a couple of beautifully played scenes that would not have failed to find you with something in your eye. A festive triumph.
For some reason, there seem to be some terrific dramas on ITV’s new streaming service ITVx. I’m assuming they’ll turn up terrestrial TV at some point, but I can recommend Without Sin (ITVx, all episodes streaming now), which is a mystery thriller which asks how well you know your children.