The 35 TV shows you have to watch this year

There is no denying we are well and truly in a glittering, glistening, golden age of television. And the great news is that this year sees no change in that.

From returning favourites to final farewells and new series sure to be instant classics, sit down, put your feet up, and pencil in these not-to-be-missed stories that are slated to roll out over the next 12 months.

TV lovers will be spoilt for choice in 2022.

Supplied

TV lovers will be spoilt for choice in 2022.

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Inventing Anna

Inventing Anna. Julia Garner as Anna Delvey in episode 102 of Inventing Anna. Cr. Aaron Epstein/Netflix © 2021

Aaron Epstein

Inventing Anna. Julia Garner as Anna Delvey in episode 102 of Inventing Anna. Cr. Aaron Epstein/Netflix © 2021

Netflix, February 11

Shonda Rhimes is the queen of can’t-get-enough television (think Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal, Bridgerton). Her latest tale of a um, powerful woman, is that of scammer Anna Delvey.

Inspired by a New York magazine story, Rhimes has taken the true tale of a charming young Russian woman, who conned the movers and shakers of Manhattan, and the journalist trying to figure out who she really is, and turned it into a gripping nine episodes,starring Anna Chlumsky (Veep) as the reporter, and Ozark’s Julia Garner as Anna.

Inspired by the true story of a total fake, indeed.

Star Wars: Obi-Wan Kenobi

Disney +, date to be announced

Is there a bigger universe than that of Star Wars? Among all the spin-offs and shows, the chance to revisit Ewan McGregor’s Obi-Wan Kenobi is one of the most tantalising.

As the iconic Jedi master, McGregor will be joined by his former Star Wars co-star Hayden Christensen (Darth Vader) with a story that picks up 10 years after the events of Revenge of the Sith, and Vader’s downfall.

Kiwi actress Simone Kessell also joins the cast, alongside Kumail Nanjiani and Joel Edgerton.

The Dropout

Amanda Seyfried stars as fallen tech star Elizabeth Holmes In Hulu series The Dropout.

HULU

Amanda Seyfried stars as fallen tech star Elizabeth Holmes In Hulu series The Dropout.

Platform and date to be announced

It is the year of the podcast/documentary/Instagram urban legend coming to the screen.

One of the most hyped – and timely – is this Hulu series (based on a podcast of the same name), with Amanda Seyfried starring as fallen tech star, Elizabeth Holmes.

Famed for her apparently revolutionary startup Theranos, what was so promising was, in fact, all smoke and mirrors – and a bit of wire fraud. Holmes was recently found guilty of the fraud charges, which gives an extra edge to this fascinating tale of greed and ambition.

Jennifer Lawrence will also star as Holmes for Apple TV+’s lm, Bad Blood.

Derry Girls, Season three

Netflix series Derry Girls has shed new light on life in Northern Ireland in the 1990s.

Supplied

Netflix series Derry Girls has shed new light on life in Northern Ireland in the 1990s.

Netflix, date to be announced

If you have spent any time with the Derry Girls, you will know just how bittersweet news of a final season is.

Set amidst The Troubles in Northern Ireland in the 1990s, we have become fast friends with the four teenage Girls (and poor James, the English-born lad tagging along for the ride), as they figure out life, love, religion and politics.

By the time we see their last hurrah, it will have been three years between seasons, which just isn’t enough time to brace ourselves for goodbye, to be honest.

Duckrockers

TVNZ, date to be announced

This eight-episode local series comes from Oscar Kightley and James Griffin, the makers of Sione’s Wedding, who are travelling back in time to revisit the film’s beloved characters as teenagers.

Weaving the stories of the five young Pacific Islanders living in Auckland city during the 1980s, the comedy prequel witnesses one last summer before they become “real, actual men”.

Expect a killer soundtrack, some sweet breakdancing moves, and classic 80s fashion.

Heeramandi

Netflix, date to be announced

Sanjay Leela Bhansali is a legend of Indian cinema – known for his soaring period dramas (such as Padmaavat). This eight-part series will be his first for Netflix, and it is sure to be epic and grand in scale.

Not much is known about it yet, but the tagline on the official teaser reads “where courtesans were queens” and Heera Mandi is the red light district of Lahore (it was home to the concubines of the 15th and 16th century Mughal-era too).

Conversations with Friends

If you didn’t watch Normal People, did you really lockdown? That adaptation of Irish author Sally Rooney’s hit book was wildly successful (awards, fame, and Instagram accounts for gold necklaces). Now, two years later, another of her novels is coming to the small screen.

Like her first series, this follows millennial friends getting angsty and sexy, and Taylor Swift ’s actor boyfriend, Joe Alwyn (The Favourite), stars.

Daisy Jones & The Six

Amazon Prime, date to be announced

There is a sort of symmetry to see Elvis’ granddaughter playing a very cool rockstar in this adaptation of Taylor Jenkins Reid’s novel.

Over 10 episodes, filmed doco-style, Riley Keough (daughter of Lisa Marie Presley) plays Daisy, the front person of a 1970s rock band that climbs to every dizzying success you could imagine.

Is it inspired by Fleetwood Mac? Maybe. But there is absolutely nothing wrong with that.

The Gilded Age

We have a rock-solid policy of watching anything with Christine Baranski in it – add the fact this new HBO show is from Downton Abbey creator Julian Fellowes, and we are utterly sold.

Scene: 1882, a young woman moves from rural Pennsylvania to New York City to live with her moneyed aunts (Baranski and Cynthia Nixon). Social conflict ensues, and we are here for it.

Whina

The story of Dame Whina Cooper, the beloved Māori matriarch who worked tirelessly to improve the rights of her people, especially women.

Supplied

The story of Dame Whina Cooper, the beloved Māori matriarch who worked tirelessly to improve the rights of her people, especially women.

TVNZ, expected for release in autumn

In 1975, Whina Cooper was called to action, to unite Māoridom and fight for land and a lot more besides. The 80-year-old worked tirelessly.

This is a film that will screen in cinemas before landing on TVNZ, but we’re so excited we just had to include it.

It tells her story, from her childhood to her lasting legacy as Te Whaea o te Motu (Mother of the Nation). Rena Owen and Miriama McDowell portray her through her life.

Delhi Crime – Season two

Delhi Crime was the first ever Indian series to win an International Emmy Award for Outstanding Drama Series

Netflix

Delhi Crime was the first ever Indian series to win an International Emmy Award for Outstanding Drama Series

Netflix, date to be announced

Season one was a tough watch, telling the true story of a terrible attack in Delhi in 2012.

And while we don’t know what crime it will follow, we don’t imagine season two will be any easier: but with excellent actor Shefali Shah returning in the role of main character DCP Vartika Chaturvedi and the wonderful Rajesh Tailang also set to reprise his role, we are in.

Three Women

Betty Gilpin will play Lina in Three Women.

Reuters

Betty Gilpin will play Lina in Three Women.

Platform and date to be announced

Lisa Taddeo is adapting her wonderful non-fiction book Three Women for Showtime.

The book, which took Taddeo eight years to write, follows – you guessed it – three women as they reclaim their lives, and their sexuality. This book is extraordinary and we are glad Taddeo is in the driver’s seat for the show.

Shailene Woodley, DeWanda Wise and Betty Gilpin star.

The First Lady

Platform and date to be announced (likely to be autumn)

Viola Davis as Michelle Obama, Michelle Pfeiffer as Betty Ford, Gillian Anderson as Eleanor Roosevelt – at least we know this Showtime anthology series will be well acted.

It is all about the East Wing of the White House, and the impact of the United States’ complex and charismatic first ladies.

1899

In 1899 a migrant steamship journey takes an unexpected turn when they discover another migrant ship adrift on open sea.

Rasmus Voss/Supplied

In 1899 a migrant steamship journey takes an unexpected turn when they discover another migrant ship adrift on open sea.

Netflix, date to be announced

This is being billed as a “German multilingual epic period mystery-horror” (quite a mouthful).

From the makers of the ultra-creepy Dark, it follows a migrant steamship leaving Europe in, yep, 1899.

Their trip takes a turn when they discover another migrant ship, adrift at sea. We are glad this show is genuinely multilingual – rather than all the characters mysteriously speaking English.

Netflix, date to be announced.

House of the Dragon

Likely to be Neon as HBO show, date to be announced

Being the official follow-up show to Game of Thrones? No pressure (sarcasm: we mean immense, intense pressure).

Created by George RR Martin himself, this show is based on Fire & Blood and is set 200 years before the events of GOT. It is all about House Targaryen – yes, the blonde dragon people.

No expense will be spared and no critic is likely to be satisfied (comparison is tough), but we are sure fans will love it.

Reacher

Amazon Prime, February 4

Those who were appalled by the casting of Tom Cruise as Lee Child’s famous novel protagonist will be pleased to see Jack Reacher on screen reprised, but this time played by relatively unknown actor Alan Ritchson (who, like Reacher, is a big unit).

The eight-episode first season is based on the book Killing Floor (and Lee Child is an executive producer).

The hotel staff in

Mario Perez/HBO/Handout

The hotel staff in “The White Lotus” wave to guests in the first episode, before everything goes horribly awry.

The White Lotus, Season two

Platform and release date to be announced

Season one of this HBO series – which streamed on Neon – was an extraordinary, at times hilarious and at others disquieting study of wealth and privilege.

What do we know about season two so far? It will be out some time this year (all going well), will star

Aubrey Plaza as well as Michael Imperioli of Sopranos fame, and it won’t be set in Hawaii. In the universe of this show, The White Lotus is an international chain of expensive resorts.

Bridgerton, Season two

Simone Ashley as Kate Sharma, Jonathan Bailey as Anthony Bridgerton in Bridgerton season two.

LIAM DANIEL/Supplied

Simone Ashley as Kate Sharma, Jonathan Bailey as Anthony Bridgerton in Bridgerton season two.

Netflix, March 25

People of the Ton, brace yourselves. Arguably the one good thing to come out of the global pandemic is back (minus the lockdown, hopefully).

The steamy series (based on a series of books) is returning in March, with more corset-ripping fun. Bring on the longing glances and empire-waist dresses.

Trigger Point

TVNZ OnDemand from Monday 24 January at 11am

Loved Bodyguard? Devoured Line of Duty?

Well, luck would have it that the executive producer of both shows is about to deliver a six-part ITV series about bomb disposal experts.

Vicky McClure of AC-12 fame stars in what is guaranteed to be tense and taut viewing. Love it.

This Is Going to Hurt

TVNZ, date to be announced

Adam Kay’s memoir about life as a junior doctor in the United Kingdom’s National Health Service is equal parts hilarious and horrifying.

With Golden Globe winner Ben Whishaw bringing his story to the screen, this series, set during Kay’s time in obstetrics and gynaecology, is set to reveal the unglamorous realities of working in healthcare – gruelling hours, life and death decisions and a lot of blood.

The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power

AMAZON PRIME

The NZ-shot LOTR series finally has a name ahead of its September 2022 launch date

Amazon Prime, September 2

Amazon seems to have broken the mould with their Lord of the Rings television adaptation.

The locally filmed series (for season one, at least) is big, expensive (this season reportedly cost $150 million more than all three films) and set to reimagine Middle Earth.

Will it live up to the hype? We will find out in September.

Pachinko

Apple TV+, date to be announced

Apple TV+ is adapting Min Jin Lee’s excellent 2017 novel Pachinko into an eight-episode series, and we cannot wait.

The story charts the lives of four generations of a Korean immigrant family through Korea, Japan and the US.

Youn Yuh-Jung, who won an Oscar for her work in Minari, will star as Sunja. Filming has wrapped, but we don’t yet know when it will hit screens.

Litvinenko

Alexander Litvinenko, a former KGB spy, defected and fled to London, where he fell violently ill and later died in 2006 after drinking tea laced with radioactive polonium-210.

Alistair Fuller/AP

Alexander Litvinenko, a former KGB spy, defected and fled to London, where he fell violently ill and later died in 2006 after drinking tea laced with radioactive polonium-210.

Platform and date to be announced

David Tennant will play Alexander Litvinenko, the KGB agent turned defector who was poisoned and killed in England in 2006 in this ITV mini series by Lupin creator George Kay.

Interestingly, Benedict Cumberbatch has also been cast as Litvinenko for an in development HBO series called Londongrad.

The Crown, Season five

Imelda Staunton as Queen Elizabeth II in the fifth season of The Crown.

Alex Bailey/Netflix

Imelda Staunton as Queen Elizabeth II in the fifth season of The Crown.

Netflix, November

Here is where we are at: there is a new cast, with Imelda Staunton as Queen Elizabeth, Jonathan Pryce is Prince Philip, and Elizabeth Debicki and Dominic West portray Princess Diana and Prince Charles.

We have zoomed into the 1990s – and we all know what went on then for this family. And it will all unfold in November this year, with just one more season to follow.

Starstruck, Season two

BBC

Starstruck stars Kiwi comedian Rose Matafeo.

Platform and date to be announced

We unabashedly loved Rose Matafeo’s first season of this love story with a celeb twist. The relationship between lost millennial Jessie (Matafeo) and the ultra famous English movie star Tom (Nikesh Patel) was romantic and horrible, and painfully human.

So the recent news that season two is not far away was very welcome indeed. A local release date has not been confirmed yet, but we can’t wait to see what magic Matafeo brings us.

Pam & Tommy

Lily James and Sebastian Stan have utterly transformed for the Disney + series.

unknown/Supplied

Lily James and Sebastian Stan have utterly transformed for the Disney + series.

Disney +, February 2

Where do you really start with this one? Pamela Anderson and Tommy Lee were, at a point in time, living an alternative fairytale.

The Baywatch actress and Mötley Crüe drummer met, fell in love – and then, had their honeymoon sex tape stolen and leaked to the public. The internet exploded and their lives (and the very notion of celebrity) were changed forever.

Lily James and Sebastian Stan have utterly transformed for this miniseries, from the director of I, Tonya, diving into just what happened – and the fallout that is still felt today.

The Marvelous Mrs Maisel

Amazon Prime, February 18

The brilliant series about a 1950s housewife-turned-comedian is backfor a fourth season.

Stranger Things, Season four

Stranger Things returns in 2022.

Netflix/Stuff.co.nz

Stranger Things returns in 2022.

Netflix, launch expected in winter

Also back for a fourth outing is this sci-fi slamdunk of a hit.

Peaky Blinders

Netflix, date to be announced

Birmingham’s toughest family are returning this year, but for the last time.

Masterchef NZ

Three, date to be announced

Your time starts… now. The kitchen favourite is back with Kiwi cooks fighting it out.

Joe Exotic

Kate McKinnon will play Carole Baskin in the Joe Exotic series.

Jeff Spicer

Kate McKinnon will play Carole Baskin in the Joe Exotic series.

Platform and date to be announced

Another lockdown standout, Tiger King was the weirdness we all needed. Now, that twisted tale is turning dramatic, with the likes of Kyle MacLachlan, Kate McKinnon and John Cameron Mitchell to star.

Anatomy of a Scandal

Netflix, date to be announced

David E Kelley (L.A. Law, Ally McBeal) has adapted this Sarah Vaughan novel about the scandals in

the UK’s upper-class.

A League of their Own

Amazon, date to be announced

Broad City’s Abbi Jacobson is at the helm of this television remake of the legendary 1992 film.

Gaslit

Platform and date to be announced

Pulled from the history pages (and the podcast Slow Burn) Julia Roberts and Sean Penn lead the star-studded cast in this look at the Watergate scandal.

Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story

Netflix, expected autumn release

Ryan Murphy (Glee, American Horror Story) is bringing the terrifying tale of this infamous serial killer to screens. Evan Peters (Mare of Easttown) stars.

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