There is a sweet spot in every year for parents to watch a whole bunch of television. A hollowed out week where all the stars align and many of you will suddenly find yourselves with some actual free time. Hopefully the
kids have their new toys to occupy them. There will ideally be a refrigerator full of leftovers so it’s just heat and serve at every meal. And where should you be serving yourself a heaping plate of leftovers? On the sofa, of course, as you take full advantage of this magical time by checking out the best television shows of 2022 you missed because parenting is, well, sort of everything.
This past year of streaming was a real banger. Almost too much of a banger if you’re a busy parent and you felt like you missed out on all of the water cooler/social media chatter about the latest show. (You definitely heard about all of those
viral moments in and saw the warnings about The White Lotus Season 2 how graphic was). Well, now is your time to catch up. This is your holiday too. And here are all of the shows you really need to watch to best maximize your precious screen time. House of the Dragon The White Lotus
Season 2 of
The White Lotus got off to a slow start, but stick with it. The second season of Mike White’s decadent series is set in Sicily, looks gorgeous, and is full of intrigue. Emmy award-winning Jennifer Coolidge is back as the singular Tanya McQuoid, still as oblivious to anyone else’s problems as ever. This time around, Tanya is getting into all kinds of mischief with some new friends, while her assistant Portia (Haley Lu Richardson) gets dragged along for the ride. Other White Lotus guests are also embroiled in their own drama, and the season ends with a bang that will get wrecked for you if you don’t watch it soon. So go enjoy. Watch on HBO Max. The White Lotus The Big Brunch
Dan Levy brought something special to television when he
came up with the idea for The Big Brunch . Levy wanted to offer chefs the opportunity to really showcase their amazing talents for creating the best meal of the day — brunch — to win a genuinely life-altering prize. Yes, it might sound a bit like other cooking shows, but Levy invited Bon Appetit’s Sohla El-Waylly and legendary restaurateur Will Guidara to join him as judges. And the combination of these three friends drinking cocktails and getting excited about what they’re going to eat, plus the genuinely sweet and kind chefs helping each other in the kitchen, makes for feel-good television that is wholly its own thing. Watch on HBO Max. The Big Brunch The Summer I Turned Pretty The Summer I Turned Pretty, based on the book by the same name by Jenny Han, might seem like it’s for teenagers at first blush. It’s the story of Bella, played by newcomer Lola Tung, who joins her mother and her mom’s best friend at their beach house for their annual summer getaway alongside three boys she’s known all her life. But suddenly, as the title suggests, she’s “pretty.” But this series is about so much more than that. It’s about the friendship between the two moms, Susannah (Rachel Blanchard) and Bella’s mom Laurel (Jackie Chung) and how they sort of tag team each other as parents. All at a gorgeous beach house where they watch movies and eat delicious food and swim together. What else could you want? Watch on Amazon Prime Video. The Summer I Turned Pretty Bad Sisters
If you’re a fan of dark humor, sisterhood, and Ireland, then boy do I have the show for you.
Bad Sisters tells the story of the Garvey sisters, five women who are bound together by the premature death of their parents. And at least four of them are also bound together by their absolute hatred of their brother-in-law, the appalling man they call the Prick. No spoilers here, but the first episode sees the sisters at the Prick’s funeral, and every episode after we try to piece together if, perhaps, one of them possibly killed him? Or all of them? You have to watch. Watch on AppleTV+. Bad Sisters Yellowstone
If you’ve not already visited the Dutton ranch, now is the time. The massively
popular Paramount+ series Yellowstone is now in its fifth season, and things are heating up to boiling point. John Dutton (Kevin Costner) continues his reign over the family, with daughter Beth (Kelly Reilly) and her husband Rip (Cole Hauser) continue to vie for top billing alongside brother Kayce (Luke Grimes) and Jamie (Wes Bentley), although I doubt Jamie is a contender at this point. The drama is compelling, the sweeping Montana vistas are stunning, and if you don’t want to buy yourself a Stetson just for fun after a few episodes you’re watching it wrong. Watch on Paramount+. Yellowstone Abbott Elementary
for moms. Especially moms with kids in school who want a bit of a behind-the-scenes look at what those days look like for their kids. Brunson plays enthusiastic elementary teacher Janine, who joins the Philadelphia-area school to teach second graders (and please note that every single one of these kids is hilarious and adorable and natural, not easy to find in child actors). Janine wants veteran kindergarten teacher Barbara (Sheryl Lee Ralph) to be her mentor, while quick-witted Melissa (Lisa Ann Walter) and sweet teachers Gregory (Tyler James Williams) and Jacob (Chris Perfetti) round out the staff. Alongside hilariously inept Principal Ava (Janelle James). It’s just a lovely, easy show to watch. Abbott Elementary is basically the perfect comfort watch Watch on ABC and Hulu. Abbott Elementary The Bear
When I first watched
The Bear, I thought it might be a niche kind of series for people who have worked in restaurants like me. I recognized Carmy (Jeremy Allen White), the tortured, brilliant chef who has returned to take over his brother’s sandwich shop after he died by suicide. Recognized, too, the wild energy of a busy day selling food and drink to the masses, the “Yes chef” and “Hands!” being screamed through the shop. But it seems everyone recognizes something in Carmy, because The Bear became a huge hit. It’s a fun watch but also an emotional one, and it will also make you so hungry for a delicious Italian beef you won’t be able to stand it. Watch on Hulu. The Bear Yellowjackets
I should start by warning you that if you are sensitive to cannibalism, just brace yourself. Because
. In fact, the very first episode sees a group of girls chasing one of their friends through the woods in an effort to kill her and, okay, maybe eat her. But really, this show is about more than cannibalism. It’s the story of before and after. Before, when a group of high school soccer players are on a plane that crashes and have to find a way to survive for 19 months in the wilderness. Then years later, we see the survivors as adults, still trying to come to terms with exactly how they survived. Gripping and awful and great all at once. Yellowjackets does not shy away from it Watch on Hulu with a Showtime add-on. Yellowjackets House of the Dragon
While we are on the subject of trigger warnings and violence...
House of the Dragon needs to be watched after the kids are in bed. This Game of Thrones spin-off, following the House of Targaryen ruling with their dragons, had big shoes to fill. And fill those shoes they have. House of the Dragon digs deep into the terror and anguish of child birth for women in this timeline, and it’s important for moms to know that there is an incredibly difficult scene involving a stillbirth that might be too much. But this is conversely what makes House of the Dragon such a good watch. Much of the first season is focused on women in power trying to be mothers, and it’s truly great to watch. Watch on HBO Max. House of the Dragon Hacks
If the only reason you watch
Hacks is to see Jean Smart, I’m fine with that. Smart’s career-defining turn as comedian Deborah Vance (based loosely on several real-life comedians) is an absolute tour-de-force. She’s a Las Vegas diva. She’s haughty and out of touch. And so she needs a socially aware young cynic like Ava (Hannah Einbinder) to bring her into the 21st century. The pair are absolutely incredible together, witty and funny and often just downright mean. Hacks just wrapped its second season that was, in my opinion, even better than the first. More stand up, more Deborah, more Ava. All of it all the time. Watch on HBO Max. Hacks Severance
Wouldn’t you love to just forget work the minute you leave the office? Hold on a minute, according to the
very excellent series, you might not like that as much as you think. Severance Severance sees employees of the biotechnology corporation Lumon Industries using a “severance” mind wipe to separate the work memories of former employees. When employee Mark (Adam Scott) starts to uncover the conspiracy, no big surprise it goes pretty terribly for him. This series from producer Ben Stiller ticks all the boxes. It’s smart and funny and dark all at the same time. Watch on Apple TV+. Severance Andor
The funny thing about
Andor was that no one was super excited about it before it dropped. There have been other Star Wars universe series to stream on Disney+ that were hotly anticipated, but Andor didn’t seem like it was going to be a thing. Maybe everyone thought the whole Star Wars universe was over. How wrong everyone turned out to be. Diego Luna’s return as Cassian Andor, a cynical thief who could not care less about a revolution against the Empire. Cassian, as Star Wars fans know, will some day give his life for the revolution in Rogue One, and Andor shows us how he gets there. The series has become a huge hit for its understated writing and performances. Definitely check it out. Watch on Disney+. Andor Fleishman Is In Trouble
The holidays are riddled with opportunities to get in a knock-down, drag-out fight with your significant other, and sometimes it can feel as if you are the only two people in the world who are at each other’s throats. Remedy this feeling immediately by watching the wildly entertaining
on Hulu. This series, based on the book by the same name written by journalist Taffy Brodesser-Akner, follows Toby and Rachel Fleishman through their bitter divorce. And it’s awful to admit this, but it’s deeply satisfying to dip into their troubles to put your loading the dishwasher fight into perspective. Fleishman Is In Trouble Watch on Hulu. Fleishman Is In Trouble Wednesday
Part murder mystery, part fantasy, part teen drama, and even part magical school-meets-normal people vibes,
Tim Burton’s Wednesday is a series like nothing you’ve ever seen. This is a totally different yet still satisfyingly the same Wednesday Addams (played by Jenny Ortega), sent to attend the Nevermore Academy to master her psychic abilities, which she seemed to inherit from her mother Morticia (Catherine Zeta-Jones). Wednesday is as goth as ever, although she does show signs of intense loyalty. Like when her brother Pugsly is attacked... that’s when we see the real power of Wednesday come out. Especially exciting is that the original Wednesday Addams, Christina Ricci, has a role as teacher Miss Thornhill. Watch on Netflix. Wednesday Derry Girls
The final season of
Derry Girls dropped in 2022, and it was a good one. Set in Derry in Northern Ireland in the tumultuous ‘90s, Derry Girls followed a group of four teenage girls as they tried to figure out their lives. This made it sound so much more serious than it is, because Derry Girls is a great laugh. Lisa McGee keeps things light and candid and family-focused, peppering in lots of ‘90s references that are apparently work on both sides of the pond. Whether the girls (and one boy who they constantly refer to as a girl) are trying to cheat on tests, hitch their way to a concert, or spying on someone’s mom to make sure she’s not cheating, it’s always a good time. Sad to see it go, so catch it while you can. Watch on Netflix. Derry Girls
It takes real time and effort to get through all of these amazing television series over the holiday season. But don’t worry. We all have faith in you. You can do it.