This year has been a pivotal one for film and TV. We're finally back in the swing of things after several delays and cinema closures thanks to Covid-19, with many delayed films hitting the big screen this year. It has also been a pretty great year for TV shows, with Disney+ hitting its stride with plenty of Marvel and Star Wars shows, the return of Game Of Thrones on Sky and HBO. DC even launched the first TV series in its cinematic universe.
However, some stood above the rest for us, with these TV and movie picks signifying the best of the best for 2022 in our opinion. There's some great content here to test your AV setup, and it helps that they're also thoroughly enjoyable watches – so sit back, grab your popcorn and start binging, it's what the festive season is all about after all...
Best TV shows of 2022
Limitless with Chris Hemsworth
Rebecca Roberts, Managing Editor
Disney+ has thrown up some of this year's must-sees – The Bear, Only Murders in the Building and Werewolf By Night, to name just three. Fans of horror can look forward to one of 2022's most highly acclaimed horrors, Barbarian, arriving on the service on 4th January, too. But for something a little more lighthearted to binge over the festive period (because that's all we really need from TV viewing over Christmas, isn't it?), Limitless, starring Chris Hemsworth and created by Darren Aronofksy and Ari Handel, is a six-parter I heartily recommend. It sees the Thor actor on a mission to discover how to live better for longer, with each episode a scientific-led exploration of a theme directly linked to improving our longevity (fasting, for example). Not only is it downright interesting (and includes a life-changing reveal for Hemsworth himself) but the physical challenges he undertakes lend themselves to its solid 4K HDR presentation.
Ruben Circelli, Staff Writer
Ever since the magic of Nathan For You, fans have been waiting for Nathan Fielder's next project that deftly blends reality TV, stand-up comedy, and actual drama into an experience like no other. And in 2022, thanks to that HBO money, this wish finally came true with The Rehearsal. This totally unique show follows Nathan starring as himself as he goes on a quest to reduce the uncertainty of the world by way of creating elaborate 'rehearsals' for everyday real-life experiences, whether it's sharing a secret with a friend, telling the truth, or figuring out what you want out of life. It's hilarious but moving; clever but silly; and ultimately, another Fielder original with his trademark true-to-life tone and style. If you're ready for a fascinating journey through its first season, check out The Rehearsal on HBO. Plus, season two has been confirmed!
Stream The Rehearsal on Now (UK)
Andy Madden, Deputy Editor
Peacemaker has it all. Ridiculous and ridiculously catchy intro sequence? Check. A brilliant glam-rock-inspired soundtrack that also happens to be a good test for your sound system? Check. A WWE wrestler turned Hollywood actor who delivers a surprisingly excellent lead performance? Check.
It’s a spin-off from the 2021 movie The Suicide Squad (James Gunn directs both) where Peacemaker is tasked with destroying evil parasitic “butterflies” that take up residence in and can control the brains of their human host. The colourful, comedic and slightly OTT action keeps you coming back for more, as does the performance of John Cena who hits all the right notes as the hero (and sometimes villain) of the piece. And, with only eight episodes to consume we guarantee you’ll struggle not to binge-watch all of them in record time.
Stream Peacemaker on Now (UK)
Stream Peacemaker on HBO Max (US)
Jonathan Evans, Magazine Editor
This remarkable comedy-drama (more drama than comedy, really) is worth the price of Disney Plus admission alone. The tale of an award-winning young chef coming home to the Chicago sandwich shop left to him by his brother who has recently committed suicide is wonderfully scripted, beautifully directed, and superbly acted. It's such an intense, enthralling ride that it is hard to accept, once you have finished, that the series is just eight half-hour episodes. Carmen (a mesmerising Jeremy Allen White) has to deal with the grief of losing his brother, a business that is clearly going down at a rapid pace, and the family and staff that inevitably come along with it. If you are able to watch this with a surround package or at least a decent soundbar, I would urge you to do so; the sounds of a commercial kitchen working at full tilt are very much part of the story here, and the confusion, clattering and clamour are worth getting thoroughly discombobulated by. Highly recommended.
Stream The Bear on Disney+ (UK)
Stream The Bear on Hulu (US)
House Of The Dragon
Lewis Empson, Staff Writer
A controversial pick perhaps as this show has no merit in testing as Sky and Now both managed to butcher its initial broadcasting - I'm instead recommending House Of The Dragon because it did the impossible. Game Of Thrones infamously ended in 2019 with a finale that enraged almost every single fan of the show, so news of a prequel series was rightfully met with hefty amounts of caution. However, House Of The Dragon managed to somehow defy all odds, with engaging characters, adrenaline-pumping action, and stunning vistas that all solidify the fact that Game Of Thrones is back, and it's back with a vengeance. If you're a fan of the original series, please give this a chance despite the deserved scepticism.
Best films of 2022
Kashfia Kabir, Hi-Fi and Audio Editor
Set 300 years in the past in the Northern Great Plains and focusing on a Native American Comanche tribe, Prey is a refreshing and thrilling take on the Predator franchise. With a lean script, great action and gorgeous cinematography, it’s a damn shame it never got a proper cinematic release. Watch it at home in full 4K HDR with Dolby Atmos and Dolby Vision, though, and you’ll be rewarded. The lush woodlands are a gorgeous, deep green, and also vast and oppressive – it adds to the sense of dread and tension as something is lurking in the woods that isn’t just a big bear.
It’s a fresh spin on the usually-overly-macho Predator format, with the slight but determined young warrior Naru (a brilliant Amber Midthunter) using all her skills to hunt, stalk and take down the more technically advanced alien. The sparse dialogue and soundtrack make it all the more atmospheric. With the best system, you’ll be immersed and on tenterhooks with every snap of twigs in the silent forest, while the vivid splash of green Predator blood looks stunning against the natural landscape.
Stream Prey on Disney+ (UK)
Stream Prey on Hulu (US)
Top Gun: Maverick
Andy Madden, Deputy Editor
Captain Pete "Maverick" Mitchell returns for another dogfight ably assisted by what at times feels like the firepower of the entire US Navy. The biggest Hollywood blockbuster of 2022 doesn’t disappoint, whether it’s your first time at fighter school or you’re here for the supersonic tour of nods to the original. As you’d expect, the cinematography is out of this world with breathtaking on-screen action sequences which look stunning in 4K resolution, especially those filmed in IMAX’s 1.90:1 format. And they’re backed up with a Dolby Atmos soundtrack that will leave even the most capable surround sound set-up tapping out in submission. Fighter jets, cannon fire and rockets fill your speakers and fly between them. The only thing you’re missing is the smell of jet fuel. An absolute feast for the senses.
Lewis Empson, Staff Writer (UK)
The Batman is the superhero film we needed, but not the one we deserved. This spectacularly gritty superhero film brings the Dark Knight back to the grimy streets of Gotham. It's a welcome return to the more realistic take on Batman after some questionable DC cinematic universe appearances that saw the World's Greatest Detective rub shoulders with Superman and The Flash. Robert Pattinson inherits the cape and cowl from Ben Affleck, and despite fan outcry for this initially controversial casting, it's obvious that Battinson is the best take on the character since Nolan and Bale's iconic trilogy. Throw in a brilliant supporting cast of dubious heroes and demented crooks and you have easily the best DC film we've seen in over a decade. It also helps that this film looks and sounds incredible, with a thunderous soundtrack, a snarling Batmobile and a Gotham city drowning in murky shadows and humming neon lights - this film is right at home on an OLED TV.
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