Just a few days in, and we’re already spoiled with TV riches in 2022. With final outings from series like This Is Us, Search Party, and After Life, returning freshman series favorites like Euphoria and Resident Alien, and more of what we know and love from long-runners like Black-ish and Billions, January has plenty for us to be bingeing and catching up on. Happy watching!
What it is: Funnyman Anthony Anderson stars as Dre Johnson, a Black, upper-middle-class family man who — in a predominantly white neighborhood, school, and culture — still wants his kids to retain a sense of Black identity.
Why you should watch it: Creator Kenya Barris is a writer who boldly goes there. Even within the confines of the network TV sitcom structure, he has conjured stories over the years that are absolutely resonant, timely, fearless, and hilarious. Tracee Ellis Ross and Anderson especially steal the show (and are Emmy-nominated several times over). Barris’ Grown-ish, and Mixed-ish also boast Certified Fresh first seasons, and he’s also responsible for the Netflix comedy #blackAF, in which he also stars, and though it wasn’t as popular with critics, its first season boasts a higher Audience Score than any of the -ish shows. Catch up on the family series that started it all before Black-ish returns with Season 8 on Jan. 4.
Commitment: 60 hours (for the first seven seasons)
What it is: Dan Fogelman’s hit family drama tells the story of siblings Kate, Kevin, and Randall in the present day while recounting their parents Jack and Rebecca’s own story through pregnancy and raising them in the early-to-mid 1980s.
Why you should watch it: Not since Parenthood has a network drama so broadly and successfully portrayed complicated family dynamics. Through its use of creative narrative devices and excellent ensemble performances from the likes of Sterling K. Brown, Mandy Moore, and Milo Ventimiglia, This Is Us earns its praise (and your tears). The series’ season 6 premiere on Jan. 4 on NBC marks the beginning of its last outing, so now is the time to catch up!
Commitment: Approx. 66 hours (for the first five seasons)
What it is: A relationship drama turned coming-of-age comedy turned noir-esque murder mystery thriller turned courtroom procedural, Search Party is everything but definable — and that’s exactly what makes it so good. It’s the story of Dory (Alia Shawkat), Drew (John Reynolds), Elliot (John Early), and Portia (Meredith Hagner), who, on account of their own self-interest and general aimlessness, entangle themselves in the potentially sinister disappearance of their college classmate.
Why you should watch it: Brooklyn-dwelling millennials have been beguiling subjects for many a film and TV creator since Lena Dunham’s Girls, but never before have they been so exactingly (and excruciatingly) brought to life than in Sarah-Violet Bliss, Charles Rogers, and Michael Showalter’s incisive satire-crime mystery cocktail. It sixth and final season premieres Jan. 7 on HBO Max.
Commitment: Approx. 17 hours (for the first four seasons)
What it is: Euphoria charts the lives of a group of diverse, troubled high schoolers and their rainbow of experiences living in the 21st century — experiences befitting the series title, yes, but others all the more tragic.
Why you should watch it: This dark, gritty, hallucinatory hit from creator Sam Levinson not only marks a career-best, attention-grabbing turn from its Emmy-winning star Zendaya, but it introduces us to a whole new class of Young Hollywood along the way, among them model and actor Hunter Schafer. Mining real-world ailments of drug addiction, sexual abuse, online harassment, and more, it’s not always an easy watch, but it’s a worthwhile one. The long-awaited second season teased its premiere last winter with a pair of COVID-produced specials. Now, Season 2 finally airs Jan. 9 on HBO.
Commitment: Approx. 10 hours (for the first season and specials)
What it is: Starring Danny McBride, the great John Goodman, Adam Devine, and Edi Patterson as the titular televangelist family whose megachurch empire has made them millionaires, The Righteous Gemstones finds its own hilarious way of spreading the good word in this religious satire.
Why you should watch it: Whether he’s playing a misbegotten taekwondo master, a vice principal, or even an exaggerated version of himself, series creator and star Danny McBride has proven a master at portraying belligerent everymen with major god complexes. The Righteous Gemstones’ Jesse Gemstone may be his best yet. Season 2 premieres Jan. 9 on HBO.
Commitment: Approx. 5.5 hours
What it is: After his wife loses her battle with breast cancer, Tony (Ricky Gervais) contemplates suicide before deciding instead to live as if he doesn’t care about anything or anyone. He says and does whatever he wants. That is, until the people around him start lifting him up instead of shutting him out.
Why you should watch it: Created, written, produced and directed by Gervais, After Life grapples with themes of mortality and life’s bigger, unknowable questions without being saccharine or too on-the-nose. It’s a triumph. Its third and final season premieres Jan. 14 on Netflix.
Where to watch it: Netflix
Commitment: Approx. 6 hours (for the first two seasons)
What it is: Ray Donovan ranks as one of the finer character studies in recent memory, with Liev Schreiber playing the central Los Angeles–area “fixer” with smoldering grit and Jon Voight appearing as his no-good ex-con father. Ray may be the man L.A.’s rich and famous call to get out of trouble, but upon the return of his father, Donovan, a family man himself, develops problems of his own.
Why you should watch it: When Ray Donovan premiered on Showtime in 2013, it promised the arrival of an exciting new anti-hero. It has since brought us into the hidden underbelly of the Los Angeles elite and slowly unveiled the many layers of a complicated and troubled man. After seven seasons, Ray Donovan: The Movie premieres Jan. 14 on Showtime, so it’s a good time to catch up on everything now.
Commitment: Approx. 62 hours (for the first six seasons)
What it is: Ozark, from creators Bill Dubuque and Mark Williams, is the story of Marty Byrde (Jason Bateman, who’s also attached as director and executive producer), a financial adviser in Chicago who’s been laundering money for the cartel with his partner for years. But despite his meek, follow-the-leader personality, Marty talks his way out of a death sentence when things go awry with his crime boss and moves his family — including wife Wendy (Laura Linney) — to the Ozarks to keep the dealings afloat and the family alive.
Why you should watch it: This Emmy-winning series brings bleakness to the deceptive beauty of the Ozarks, and it establishes Bateman as so much more than the comedic actor most know him as today. Even more than just a vehicle for Bateman, however, it’s an ensemble drama (with an equally stellar Linney and Julia Garner) that tackles the power of wealth and greed, human nature, and the ties that bind within family and beyond. Season 4’s first half premieres Jan. 21 on Netflix.
Where to watch: Netflix
Commitment: Approx. 30 hours (for the first three seasons)
What it is: Sean (Toby Kebbell) and Dorothy’s (Lauren Ambrose) life is turned upside down when a mindless tragedy leads to the death of their newborn. To help aid his despondent wife through her grief, Sean hires a nanny named Leanne (Nell Tiger-Free), against the better judgement of his brother-in-law (Rupert Grint), and it soon becomes clear that Leanne has a twisted agenda of her own.
Why you should watch it: Nothing is as it seems in this heady half-hour horror from creator Tony Basgallop and director-producer M. Night Shyamalan. And while Shyamalan’s ambitions as a filmmaker at times get the best of him, everything here clicks to make for a taut, stunning series that will leave you on the edge of your seat. We can’t wait to see what’s in store for Season 3, which premieres Jan. 21 on Apple TV+.
Where to watch it: Apple TV+
Commitment: Approx. 10 hours (for the first two seasons)
What it is: Showtime’s Billions dramatizes the high-stakes world of Wall Street when Chuck Rhoades (Paul Giamatti), a U.S. attorney, sets his sights on bringing down hedge fund manager Bobby Axelrod (Damian Lewis) for insider trading and other illegal proclivities. In other words, all this real-world talk about one-percenters is rejiggered for some grade-A entertainment with some of the best actors working today.
Why you should watch it: Giamatti’s turn as a hard-hitting U.S. attorney would be reason alone to watch, but Billions also boasts a timely, engrossing premise and firecracker performances from Lewis, Maggie Siff, Condola Rashad, Asia Kate Dillon, and a bevy of other supporters that meet the Oscar nominee mark for mark. Season 6 premieres Jan. 23 on Showtime.
Commitment: Approx. 60 hours (for the first five seasons)
What it is: Based on the comic book series and adapted for the screen by creator Chris Sheridan, Resident Alien follows an extraterrestrial who kills and assumes the identity of a small-town Colorado doctor and soon learns his latest mission might have him in over his head.
Why you should watch it: Comedic character actors don’t get much more versatile or prolific than Alan Tudyk. A veteran of the genre and beloved from his work on Firefly and more, he makes this series, as the tagline promises, the sci-fi murder mystery doctor dramedy Earth needs right now. Season 2 premieres Jan. 26 on Syfy.
Commitment: Approx. 7.5 hours (for the first season)
(Photo by Cliff Lipson/©CBS courtesy Everett Collection)
What it is: This long-running sitcom centered on the adventures of a single man named Ted Mosby (played by Josh Radnor), his dating life, and his circle of friends, all leading up to him meeting and marrying the woman who would become the mother of his children. The series was framed as an extended flashback as Ted tells the story to his adolescent children in the year 2030.
Why you should watch it: From creators Carter Bays and Craig Thomas, How I Met Your Mother ran for nine seasons and over 200 episodes, won 10 Emmy Awards, and helped cement the star power of Radnor, Neil Patrick Harris, Cobie Smulders, Jason Segel, and Alyson Hannigan. It even spawned a spinoff series, How I Met Your Father, which takes structural cues from its predecessor and centers on an older woman named Sophie (Kim Cattrall) telling her son how she met his father, with Hilary Duff starring as young Sophie. We recommend you give the earlier series a fresh binge before How I Met Your Father premieres Jan. 28 on Hulu.
Commitment: Approx. 76 hours (for all nine seasons)
Thumbnail image by Steve Deitl/©Netflix