The ten best TV shows of 2022
What to do in assessing the year, with so much to cover, so many hundreds of shows? Make a list of the best for readers to know about, to savour as intelligent distractions and entertainment. That’s what.
For this best-of list, my emphasis is on new material. Some of these titles landed on cable or broadcast TV, and here’s where to find them now.
The ten best films of 2022
If 2021 was a roller-coaster year for filmgoing, then 2022 was a tilt-a-whirl set afire. We started the year with shuttered cinemas thanks to Omicron, watched the Netflix Apocalypse arrive and upend the streaming business, saw Tom Cruise conquer the world just as Xenu prophesized, and then stumbled into a fall awards season littered with excellent fare that just couldn’t muster much box-office interest.
And there still may be one more Pandora-sized twist to come, as James Cameron unleashes his once-unimaginable Avatar: The Way of Water next week. (The sequel is also the lone high-profile 2022 film that I wasn’t able to watch before compiling this list; doesn’t Cameron understand newspaper deadlines??).
There will be plenty of time in the frozen depths of January, though, to fully dissect what went wrong in the film world this year. For now, let’s celebrate the many things that went right, against all odds. Here are the 10 Best Films of 2022, and how to watch (most of) them right now.
The 10 best theatre productions of 2022: Toronto, Stratford and Shaw
2022 was a year that felt like a decade on Canadian stages.
It began with the most demoralizing two months of the pandemic – as theatres that had finally got back on their feet had the rug pulled out from under them again by reimposed restrictions or complete closings by the government.
Then came the audience vaccination and mask requirements; then went the audience vaccination and mask requirements (mostly).
What was astonishing to me was how many theatre companies, when they did come back, came back with big, bold and ambitious shows, shows that felt essential to see now, despite the many additional challenges of producing amid an continuing pandemic. Perhaps this difficult period has led to a clarity of purpose at performing arts institutions?
For this top 10 list (in alphabetical order), I’ve limited myself to what I saw in Toronto, at the Shaw Festival and the Stratford Festival as my forays beyond were even rarer than usual. And I missed some shorter-run shows in these places because of sickness, too – mine, or those of the artists involved.
The 10 best songs of 2022
For the first time ever, Spotify released its “Wrapped” year-end reports on listening habits in November. Streaming competitor Apple Music did the same with its own lists. Perhaps it is their way of moving on from 2022 as soon as possible.
Because the year was bad, and nobody knows that more than Spotify. After its star podcaster Joe Rogan was lambasted for spreading possible misinformation about the COVID-19 pandemic, artists including Neil Young and Joni Mitchell pulled their catalogues from the platform in protest.
Live music had a particularly rough time. The industry was plagued by inflated touring costs, equipment scarcity, pandemic-related interruptions and a concert glut caused by artists crowding the road after pandemic COVID-19 were lifted. It was all too much for some: The American singer-songwriter Santigold and others cancelled tours, citing financial stress and mental burnout.
Ticketmaster emerged as the year’s top villain when its website was overwhelmed by millions of Taylor Swift fans who struggled to buy seats to the singer’s upcoming Eras Tour.
Even a feel-good story was tarnished. After the Library of Congress briefly loaned Lizzo a crystal flute that once belonged to James Madison, pearl-clutching politicians accused the twerking pop star of desecrating American history.
Still, there were flashes of light: Joni Mitchell’s comeback performance at THE Newport Folk Festival and pair of tribute concerts to the late Foo Fighters drummer Taylor Hawkins brought music fans together.
Highlights for me were the Weeknd’s stunning After Hours Til Dawn stadium show and something much, much smaller. As part of a tribute to Gordon Lightfoot at the Mariposa Folk Festival, the folk duo Dala serenaded the iconic troubadour with a haunting version of If You Could Read My Mind.
Spotify and Apple tell us that the Puerto Rican reggaeton/rap star Bad Bunny was the year’s most-streamed artist. But while new albums by him, Beyoncé, Taylor Swift, Kendrick Lamar and Harry Styles topped the charts, there were ones farther down the list that moved me more:
Tami Neilson’s Kingmaker, Sudan Archives’ Natural Brown Prom Queen, Black Thought and Danger Mouse’s Cheat Codes, Snotty Nose Rez Kids’s I’m Good, HBU?, Julian Taylor’s Beyond the Reservoir, Tears for Fears’ Tipping Point, the Sadies’ Colder Streams, Earl Sweatshirt’s Sick!, Weyes Blood’s And in the Darkness, Hearts Aglow, Jason Collett’s Head Full of Wonder, the Weeknd’s Dawn FM, Selina Martin’s Time Spent Swimming, Julie Doiron and Dany Placard’s Julie & Dany, and, my favourite, Big Thief’s Dragon New Warm Mountain I Believe in You.
As for top-notch songs, there are more than I could count. Fortunately, my editors only allow me to count to 10 (and in no particular order).
The 10 most remarkable and memorable artworks at Canadian galleries in 2022
From provocative video installations to engaging virtual-reality exhibits, Kate Taylor takes the pulse of the visual-arts scene across the country.
The 100 best books of 2022
To help shape this year’s Globe 100, our annual list of best books, we surveyed more than 200 authors, in Canada and abroad, about their favourite reads of 2022.
Votes were cast for nearly 600 titles – poetry and horror, history and memoir, essays and short stories – representing a diversity of genre and authorship, not to mention a robust selection of books from Canada’s independent publishing houses.
Here are the 100 books that made the final cut – the books our respondents felt most strongly about, and the books that will continue to find a place on their shelves in the years to come.