2022 – What I was looking forward to, and how they turned out

At the end of last year I posted a list of TV and movie projects that were due in 2022, in the order that I was anticipating them or was hopeful about them.

Now here at the end of the year, lets look back and see how these projects stacked up.

Now, I had listed 22 things in particular, because it was going to be 2022. However, it turns out that the release dates for four of those projects changed–Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom, Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse part 1, The Flash and Mission: Impossible 7 changed, so of course I haven’t seen them. And another series–season 2 of Only Murders in the Building–I didn’t have a chance to finish watching (a consequence of watching it with my world-traveling daughter), and the parts I did watch I don’t remember very well.

So to keep with the “22” concept, I’ll add five other projects to this list that I hadn’t thought of before, but still fit the parameters.

To be clear, this isn’t a proper “Best of 2022” list. If it was, I’d probably have Severance as #1. Instead of the things on the earlier list and that are new to this list are sequels, spin-offs, or follow-up seasons to established shows–so, things that I could look forward to watching just on the basis of their existence. So in terms of quality and enjoyability, they range from really great to unbearable.

So, without further ado…

22. Morbius

Predicted Ranking: #22

This is the only movie or show on this list which I fully forced myself to watch just because of this post. It’s stupidity is a bit legendary at this point, but I’d like to confirm that this is one legend which is based in fact. It’s unbelievably dumb and boring, sometimes alternatively and sometimes at the same time. Perhaps the worst consequence of Sony’s inability to make a good live action film about Spider-Man is that movies like this get made instead. In the future, I won’t challenge myself to watch them.

21. Dr. Strange and the Multiverse of Madness

Predicted Ranking: #12

Man, I hated this movie. I detailed the reasons here but suffice it to say that in spite of high production values and a good performance by Elizabeth Olsen, it features a literal “invasion of privacy” machine as an exposition device, a traumatic backstory fueled by a bee sting, and potentially the worst writing I have ever seen in the movie’s big showstopping sequence.

20. Black Adam

Predicted Ranking: #22

This is another one which we knew would be bad, but it was more fun than Morbius and far less disappointing then Dr. Strange. I can’t defend this movie (which I wrote about here), but my incredibly low expectations meant that I had a surprisingly positive time watching it.

19. Thor: Love and Thunder

Predicted Ranking: #4

I really wanted to like this movie, but the movie put up too much of a fight. Details are here, but basically it was a silly mess whose opportunity for depth was squandered.

18. Doctor Who

Predicted Ranking: #5

We had three Doctor Who specials this year–Eve of the Daleks, Legend of the Sea Devils and The Power of the Doctor. None of them were good. Eve of the Daleks executed its premise so badly that it made it pointless and Sea Devils looked like something I might have shot when I was playing around as a kid. The Power of the Doctor was fun and some emotional moments, but only if you could look past how bad the writing was. I love this show, but this was one of its worst years ever.

17. Lightyear

Predicted Ranking: #18

With Lightyear, we move from things that were outright bad to things that were more just dull and unmemorable. The movie missed the mark with being either joy-filled like Toy Story or epic adventure like Star Wars; it just sort of floated in the bland sea that lies between these goals.

16. Ms. Marvel

Predicted Ranking: #16

The Disney+ series did all right in characterization and representation, but failed in most other categories (ie plot, pacing, action). Not an abysmal failure, but far from the success that we’d all have wanted.

15. Moon Knight

Predicted Ranking: #15

Oscar Isaac does a good job but I never ell in love with this series. It was fairly surprising in terms of Marvel’s TV proects, however, in that the last episodes were not the worst part–that being reserved or some dull stuff in the middle before the strange twist with the mental hospital.

14. Obi-Wan Kenobi

Predicted Ranking: #10

This squeaks ahead of Ms. Marvel and Moon Knight by virtue of some cool light sabre action from time to time. There is also a fun, plucky young Princess Leia, but the show has some really bad storytelling and direction to wade through to get to the good bits.

13. She-Hulk

Predicted Ranking: Not ranked

She-Hulk is an interesting project that we could only get because of how expansive the Marvel Cinematic Universe is, and for the most part I found it an interesting one to watch. It does makes more of an effort than it should to be “relevant” and “insightful”, but when it focuses on actual character work it’s pretty successful. The ending was a big surprise (no spoilers here), and well worth it–though of course it’s not how we want all of these projects to go.

12. Mystery Science Threatre 3000 – Season 13

Predicted Ranking: #8

Sometimes I like the idea of this show better than I like the show itself, but it still earns fairly high marks from me. This is the first season on their new self-managed “Gizmoplex” platform, so it’s cool to be on the journey with the show to see it find its own feet without having to rely on something like Netflix. Time will tell if it endures. All of Season 13 is out, but there are a few episodes I haven’t seen yet. Hosting duties are now split between two separate casts (three if you count series creator Joel Hodgson returning or a couple of installments) which is not necessarily my preference, but I’m okay with it if it makes more episodes manageable.

11. Jurassic World: Dominion

Predicted Ranking: #14

Okay, let’s be clear: this is a stupid movie. Much of it is bogged down by a surprising lack of tension, and there are far more giant locusts than anyone needed. But I had a great time watching it. There are some really good sequences amongst the bad, and it’s nice to see the original casts of the franchise again. And best of all, there’s a cool action sequence which ends with a dinosaur getting kicked out of an airplane. A real fist-in-the-air “Hoo yah!” moment.

10. Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special

Predicted Ranking: #13

James Gunn is back with Marvel–briefly–and in that window he’s made this special episode featuring the Guardians. The special was a big improvement over Guardians vol 2 (and over the characters’ appearance in Thor: Love and Thunder). Cleverly, the special features Kevin Bacon as himself, and a couple of fun songs.

9. Star Trek: Lower Decks – Season 3 / Star Trek Prodigy

Predicted Ranking: Not ranked

Well, I’m cheating a bit here by combining two very different animated Star Trek series. They are pretty far apart in terms of style and tone, but both do a good job with plot and characterization, are ultimately more successful at capturing the classic feeling of Star Trek than most of the live action material of the past few years.

8. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

Predicted Ranking: #19

Heave a read about this movie here, but the short story is that in spite of incredibly stupid things in the writing (only explainable by saying that Namor and his people are themselves incredibly stupid), the Black Panther sequel scores high marks for its characterization, emotions, and production design.

7. The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of of Power

Predicted Ranking: #1

It’s a slow-burn of a show with more characters than are good for it, but overall this was a pretty successful fantasy epic. I’m not a Tolkien purist, so a sword-wielding action-chick Galadriel doesn’t bother me particularly.

6. Star Trek: Strange New Worlds

Predicted Ranking: #9

Strange New Worlds is, by a long shot, the best live-action Star Trek series of the modern era. Anson Mount as Pike was the best part of Star Trek Discovery so it was cool to have him at the centre of a spin-off. Characters like Uhura, Christine Chapel or Spock don’t feel exactly like the same characters from the 60s, but they all work on their own terms, as does Captain Kirk when he made an appearance. Strange New Worlds benefits hugely from telling mostly self-contained single-episode stories, and feels more like the Star Trek that I’ve wanted to watch than anything that has come out since 2005.

5. The Batman

Predicted Ranking: #2

Matt Reeves’ epic-length take on Batman has got some problems (most notably, Robert Pattinson’s take on Bruce Wayne) but overall has way more successes under its belt (including Robert Pattinson’s take on Batman). It’s the first time since 2008 that I’ve seen a Batman project that I’m interested in a follow-up to. Read my thoughts here.

4. Top Gun Maverick

Predicted Ranking: Not ranked

I have never actually seen Top Gun, and so I wasn’t looking forward to the sequel at all. But circumstances led to me seeing it anyway, and like much of the audience, I found the experience pretty exhilarating, as I mentioned here.

3. The Mysterious Benedict Society – Season 2

Predicted Ranking: #11

My family has enjoyed (most of) the “Mysterious Benedict Society” books by Trenton Lee Stewart, and similarly had a good time with the Disney+ TV series. The second season departed even further from the source material than the first, but still the show found a really enjoyable and exciting rhythm. Tony Hale is very good in the double role of Nicholas Benedict and the villainous Mr. Curtain–it really feels like you are watching two separate people.

2. Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery

Predicted Ranking: Not ranked

The sequel to Knives Out told an even more expansive and complex mystery than the original with good performances from Daniel Craig, Ed Norton and especially Janelle Monáe. It was funny and surprising. I didn’t see this one during its brief cinema run but really enjoyed it on Netflix, as part of our general Christmastime celebrations.

1. Andor

Predicted Ranking: Not ranked

Coming in at the top spot is Andor, the recent Star Wars series chronicling the meeting of two great conjunctions that have never met before! For quite some time, I have disparaged this show, even down to questioning the very point of its existence–like, why would anyone care about a show about that guy from Rogue One? I still think that’s true in some ways, but that doesn’t mean whatever show they come up with can’t be top notch. And to my surprise, it was–by far, the best live action Star Wars TV series. Andor is intelligent, gripping science fiction story with great pacing and characters, which explores like never before the oppression of the Empire and the moral compromises necessary for the rebellion to work.

Happy New Year everyone!


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