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SYFY WIRE's 15 best sci-fi and horror TV shows of 2022
The genre shows that had us glued to our screens in 2022!
Recently, SYFY WIRE picked the 20 best individual sci-fi, fantasy and horror television episodes of 2022, and now it's time for us to tag our very favorite series of the year. There were more than 30 genre series that vied for our very favorites but we eventually culled it down to the 15 series that consistently left us wanting more by the end credits every week. They run the gamut from the comedic to the deadly serious, and a mix of everything in between proving that television is truly the medium to turn to when you're looking for something out of the ordinary for every taste.
Here are SYFY WIRE's 15 best sci-fi and horror TV shows of 2022, in no particular order.
Yellowjackets Season 1 (Showtime)
Yellowjackets technically snuck onto our screens in late November 2021, but the first season didn't end until January of 2022, so it makes our list. A compelling drama about the fate of a New Jersey high school female soccer team that survives a plane crash in 1996, the series tells their story post-wreck and then in 2021. It's got a stellar cast of young women playing the teen soccer players and an equally incredible lineup of actresses playing their adult selves, including Melanie Lynskey, Tawny Cypress, Christina Ricci, and Juliette Lewis. It's a mystery, a thriller and it's also a straight-up horror show featuring cannibalism, murder, and possibly supernatural possession. Every episode had us screaming, "What?!" at our televisions and then texting our friends to dissect every beat. We can't wait for it to continue in March 2023.
Stranger Things Season 4 (Netflix)
After a three-year break, Stranger Things returned with a much-grown cast but they still had the same rapport that made us fall in love with them and their characters from the start. The season separated much of the classic cast for most of the season, gradually pushing them back together for an epic showdown against their finally fleshed-out common nemesis, Vecna (Jamie Campbell Bower). While the super-sized episodes could have been snipped for a brisker pace, the runtimes were merely a quibble when it was so much fun to hang with this great cast once more. Season 4 became the summer watch for the globe, it introduced a new generation to the genius of Kate Bush, and created a new ship that broke viewers' hearts (Munson/Chrissie 4EVA). Plus, slow clap for the incredible work of Sadie Sink as Max, the season's MVP.
Andor Season 1 (Disney+)
Andor is the best Star Wars series, full stop. This prequel story to Rogue One carried through with that film's tone and gritty approach to character and storytelling which made the universe feel more consequential than anything since The Empire Strikes Back or The Last Jedi. Through the eyes and lived experience of Diego Luna's Cassian Andor, we witness how his childhood (in flashbacks) informed his scrappy adult existence. Despite hating the Imperials, he isn't motivated to take up arms against them until a series of events have him reluctantly rebelling for himself, then he's imprisoned by the Empire and escapes to find his old life forever changed. Tony Gilroy not only tells the story of Cassian, but also of the lives of middle managers of the Imperials who are back-stabbing to get ahead or just enjoy the cruelty their power affords them. Their casual and unconcerned Fascism paints a clearer picture to the audience of the impact that they have on the individuals across the galaxy squirming under their totalitarian thumb. The stakes are made real through the storytelling and the across-the-board, top-shelf acting. It all comes together in a season-ending moment that sticks the landing.
Severance Season 1 (Apple TV+)
Who would have thought a melancholy series about people who have chosen to sever their painful memories so they can exist as office drones would be such a must-watch show? Aesthetically, Severance benefits from director Ben Stiller's ability to toe the line between wit and sadness, eccentricity, and cinematic visuals to make the series stand apart. And then character-wise, Adam Scott leads a super-talented ensemble of actors who plays characters that exist in two worlds by choice. Only new hire Helly (Britt Lower) rejects this foreign "new normal" as a docile worker bee at Lumon Industries. As she fights, she inspires her co-workers to start questioning their existence and the mysteries start to unfold. Severance, which ended the season on a killer cliffhanger, is a future tech mystery that asks for our patience and rewards us with some great character work.
Quantum Leap Season 1 (NBC)
The continuation of the Quantum Leap mythology gave both loyal OG viewers and brand-new audiences something to enjoy. Not afraid at all to lean on, and further expand, the mythology surrounding the time jumps of Dr. Sam Beckett in the original series, Dr. Ben Song (Raymond Lee) carries the baton in this new series extremely by establishing his own vibe and charm as the "leaper" in time. The fresh choice to make his fiancee Addison (Caitlin Bassett) Ben's virtual assistant on his leaps makes for a more personal story with real stakes for them both. And the "leap of the week" makes this series a fun watch every week.
The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power Season 1 (Prime Video)
We get it: Tolkien and Peter Jackson purists are not happy with The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power. But we were able to really enjoy this return to Middle-earth that serves as a prequel to the events in The Lord of the Rings books and Jackson's trilogy. With production values that rival any blockbuster out there today, there was no sacrifice of spectacle or believability for when it came to creating believable Orcs, Harfoots, wizards, or Dwarven empires — or even water cataclysms. Morfydd Clark's Galadriel is very serious, but she's also a warrior with an unshakeable purpose that is easy to root for. But it's the supporting characters, from Nori (Markella Kavenagh) to Elrond (Robert Aramayo) and Durin (Owain Arthur), and would-be-lovers Arondir (Ismael Cruz Córdova) and Bronwyn (Nazanin Boniadi) amongst others, that kept us coming back week after week. They are characters worth investing in so when the big mythology reveals happen, you care about their stories just as much too.
House of the Dragon Season 1 (HBO)
House of the Dragon itches that darker high fantasy itch with its ever-dramatic Targaryen family. Charting the rein of King Viserys I (Paddy Considine) in the first season, we're thrown into the machinations and power-trippin' that eventually sets the stage for Games of Thrones. The real draw of the season was watching Rhaenyra Targaryen come into her own, as she's treated as a pawn by her father, advisors and even her own uncle/husband Prince Daemon Targaryen (Matt Smith). Her ascendence into her own power in the season finale comes from a generation of loss, betrayal, and heartbreak. Powerful to watch even when not all the steps to get there work.
The Boys Season 3 (Prime Video)
The season where showrunner Eric Kripke proved that Homelander (Antony Starr) could be even more terrifying. Despite its orgies, animated disassociation sidebars, and musical numbers, The Boys remains the most potent political and pop culture satire out there. They take the PG-13 superhero tropes of Marvel and DC and churn them up into gory, over-the-top set pieces and scenarios that turn the iconography and patriotism of the genre into something witty, terrifying, and potent. Plus, the messy good guys — including Butcher (Karl Urban), Hughie (Jack Quaid), and Starlight (Erin Moriarty) — are worth rooting for against the villains that Vought has wrought, even as they're all complicated themselves, to say the least. The season-long addition of Soldier Boy (Jensen Ackles) was also a perfect foil to poke Homelander's ego and set him off to new heights of evil.
Resident Alien Season 2 (SYFY)
In a super-sized sophomore season, Resident Alien put Harry (Alan Tudyk) on an accelerated course of "study" regarding his increasing humanity. He explored everything from death, to rocky friendships, hook-ups, and even parenting with his baby alien duties. The series also amped up its ongoing mythology regarding Linda Hamilton's General Eleanor McCallister and her life-long search for proof of Harry's kind. Even genre favorite Terry O'Quinn got an important arc as an ally to Harry. There were many laughs, but just as many tears as the citizens of Patience continued to make us love them even more, eccentricities and all. And what a way to end the season having the military finally catch up to Harry and his circle of friends. Leaving us with a series of cliffhangers was mean, but they have us primed and ready for Season 3.
Chucky Season 2 (SYFY)
Creator Don Mancini gave us a Chucky season full of religion and Tiffany Valentine (Jennifer Tilly). With its unabashedly queer storytelling and gonzo horror storylines, the series continues to surprise with its humor and impactful storytelling. The storytelling is a ride and you literally can not guess where they're going to take the insanity next.
Star Trek: Strange New Worlds Season 1 (Paramount+)
Trek fans all hoped that the throwback adventures of Captain Pike (Anson Mount) and his crew on the U.S.S. Enterprise before the days of Captain Kirk would be the return to more episodic, fun space exploration in the Star Trek television universe, and it was. Star Trek: Strange New Worlds gave us quality time with a great ensemble cast including Mount, Ethan Peck's Spock, Rebecca Romijn's Number One, and even a fresh out of Starfleet, Uhura (Celia Rose Gooding). The quality of the storytelling was hopeful and energetic with plenty of Original Series nostalgia to appeal to the old-school viewers who aren't partial to the modern series.
What We Do in the Shadows Season 4 (FX)
Despite four seasons of vampiric antics, What We Do in the Shadows still surprises us. This season gave us the bizarre VFX monstrosity known as "Baby Colin Robinson" who grew into tween Colin Robinson (Mark Proksch) before he molted back into his adult self. Not only a hilarious arc, it also allowed us to see Laszlo (Matt Berry) give parenting a go with many expected and unexpected results. Nadja (Natasia Demetriou) opened a ridiculous vampire bar and Nador (Kayvan Novak) got married, badly. We also got to see where Guillermo (Harvey Guillén) came from, and we're left to ponder if he's finally going to get his heart's desire. The cast is now a well-oiled machine of ridiculous accents, ludicrous line readings and even heartfelt moments of vulnerability. May they live in Staten Island (and our screens) for eternity!
The Resort Season 1 (Peacock)
Peacock's The Resort snuck into the late summer zeitgeist and quickly proved to be one of the most unusual, unexpected, and deeply profound mysteries maybe ever? Ostensibly about American married couple Emma (Cristin Milioti) and Noah (William Jackson Harper) vacationing in Mexico celebrating 10 years together, the series quickly spirals into a mystery about two missing guests of their resort and Emma's obsession with figuring out what happened to them. A truly unexpected cast of characters enters their world as they realize they might actually be searching for something supernatural and seemingly impossible. Everyone in the cast is fantastic but Milioti and Luis Gerardo Méndez as Baltasar Frías are standouts in a story unlike any other to drop in 2022.
Evil Season 3 (Paramount+)
Evil Season 3 finally made Father David Acosta (Mike Colter) official, and then immediately made him question if he made the right decision to become ordained. Meanwhile, Kristen (Katja Herbers) tries to reframe her friendship with David while working on salvaging her marriage with Andy. And she has no idea that her mother (Christine Lahti) and Leland (Michael Emerson) are conspiring against her to infiltrate the trust of her daughters. And even Ben (Aasif Mandvi) has a mid-life crisis that shakes up his path. The cases of the week all hit hard digging into everything from the Church of Satan to the evil of TikTok. Witty, always delightfully bizarre and plenty scary, Evil remains the smartest horror series on TV.
Stream several of the best sci-fi and fantasy shows of the year, including Resident Alien, Chucky, and The Resort, on Peacock.