What I watched in 2022
Most of you smarty pants types share your highfalutin “Books I read” or “Films I watched” lists. Here at the Junk Drawer we’re out and proud TV watchers, there’s no shame in our series watching game!
Kidding aside, there is no shortage of good crime drama series, especially non-American crime drama, my preferred viewing genre.
I keep an Airtable base with notes about what I’ve watched. It started mostly to make it easier to get up to speed on prior seasons when a new one comes around. It also made writing this post very easy.
This list is what I watched in my “prime viewing” slot. Once I’ve stepped away from my desk, or done whatever I had planned for the evening, I’ll watch about an hour or so of whatever I’m watching before I call it a night.
I watch other stuff during the day, I’ll pop the TV on during lunch or dinner, usually Law & Order reruns or House Hunters, nothing that requires my full attention, but something that gets me away from my desk.
There are some stats (total count, countries of origin, etc.) in my 2022 “year in review” post.
One sentence about everything I watched…
Note for U.S. readers: Series = season.
Det som göms i snö / Truth Will Out, series 1 (Sweden) – Nice “taking down a corrupt power structure” storyline with bonus Bad News Bears rag-tag team at the helm.
Fatma, series 1 (Turkey) – Bit of a slow start, but picked up as Fatma became more emboldened and exacted revenge.
Reyka, series 1 (South Africa) – I liked how they doled out Reyka’s backstory, and that once she regained her memory she was able to put together the pieces of the killer’s motive.
Vera, series 11 (England) – The usual!
Queens of Mystery, series 2 (England) – Cute, great styling and a seamless transition to the second Mattie.
Hope Street, series 1 (Northern Ireland) – It’s really a soap set in the local small town police department, and bar, but not bad as far as soaps go.
Rojst, Rojst 97 / Mire, Mire 97, series 1-2 (Poland) – A nice mix of uncovering corruption set against a historical backdrop, second series had excellent 90s nostalgia.
Come and See, film (Russia) – More arty and cinematic than expected, but still brutal.
1983, series 1 (Poland) – Meandering with too many storylines that detracted from the main storyline, and way over confident on a second series so they left too many questions unanswered.
Young Wallander, series 2 (Sweden/England) – Much better than the first series, if you can get past the allegedly Swedish characters with British accents (didn’t bother me).
Cobra, series 2 (England) – A fine middlebrow English political soap/thriller.
The Last Kingdom, series 5 (England) – A nice series conclusion wrapping up all the storylines and leaving a few for the sequel movie.
Kosta / Paratiisi / The Paradise, series 1 (Finland/Spain) – Great cast with good not-smarmy chemistry, also a good unfolding of the story with just enough backstory of the two main characters to be engaging.
Gilded Age, season 1 (U.S.) – A fine costume drama as soap opera, similar to eating a big bag of chips for dinner… fun and delicious, but not entirely satisfying.
The Bay, series 3 (England) – Good transition to new lead, same type of character (talented, gets in her own way a bit, personal life is a whirlwind).
Traces, series 2 (Scotland) – Good crime drama stuff but teetering dangerously towards a being a full-on romantic drama.
Chelsea Detective, series 1 (England) – Standard issue, would watch a second series.
Swan Song, film (U.S.) – Poignant, funny and a bit schmaltzy at times, but overall enjoyable.
Annika, series 1 (Scotland) – Initially wasn’t sold on breaking the fourth wall but thought Nicola Walker used it to good effect, and did a good job differentiating Annika from her character in Unforgotten.
Cuffs, series 1 (England) – Standard issue Crime Drama as Soap Opera, wasn’t renewed.
Call the Midwife, series 11 (England) – The usual!
Hidden Assets, series 1 (Ireland/Belgium) – A proper crime drama with an excellent neoliberal plot twist.
Ridley Road, limited series (England) – Based on a true story but I don’t think the main character was based on a real person, not bad.
Det som göms i snö / Truth Will Out, series 2 (Sweden) – Overall I think series 1 was a hair better, but really a top notch show and a tight second series.
Senora Volpe, series 1, (England/Italy) – Borderline hokey but serviceable, in a soapy kind of way.
The Responder, series 1 (England) – Corrupt copper with a heart of gold, or maybe copper has his own interpretation of community-based policing, which isn’t always in the bounds of the law… also featuring good accents.
Operation Hyacinth, film (Poland) – I feel like a bad gay for not knowing this horrid bit of history, portrayed with great 80’s vibes and synth music, the party scene was A+.
London Kills, series 3 (England) – The episode-level plots were typically engaging enough and the season-level plot had a nice twist but did not love or even buy the romantic cliffhanger angle.
Redemption, series 1 (Ireland) – Good mix of unsentimental family stuff and the usual things one wants from a crime drama.
Disappearance at Clifton Hill, film (Canada) – Watched as a filler between shows, best part was that David Cronenberg played the town’s weirdo conspiracy theorist podcaster.
Craith / Hidden, series 3 (Wales) – A little slower than I remember but solid, honestly didn’t love the ending.
Barking Murders (England) – Serviceable telling of a true crime, Sheridan Smith as Angry Northern Mum was the best part.
Capitani, series 1-2 (Luxembourg) – Series 1 was kind of meh and soapy, but series 2 was a big improvement… generally not a fan of “angry man” leads but the way they kept him just on this side of doing the right thing was very well played.
A Dark, Dark Man, film cut into three episodes (Kazakhstan) – Beautifully shot and so well seen, but man I wish they dialed back the ironic, quirky stuff about 95%.
Engrenages / Spiral, series 1-8 (France) – A genre stalwart, the engrenages, or spiral, is within each character and the ecosystem as a whole (longer write-up here).
MacDonald & Dodds, series 3 (England) – Continues a good run as an odd couple cop buddy procedural, but English and therefore not entirely oversimplified.
Mystery Road Origin (Australia) – Loved how everyone’s story was woven together, little bits here and there gave an overall portrait of the place with bonus late 90’s / Y2K backdrop.
Karppi / Deadwind, series 3 (Finland) – Good twisty turny plot that wrapped up on all the storylines, but an oddly feel good ending.
My Life is Murder, series 3 (Australia) – Still enjoyable, liked the new characters, 10 episodes per series feels a little long though.
The Crown, series 5 (England) – Took a while to warm up to new cast but pretty much on par with other seasons, Leslie Manville continues the good run for Princess Margaret portrayals.
Bäckström, series 2 (Sweden) – Honestly wasn’t paying full attention but like the cast and this series had a rescue dog cameo.
Karen Pirie, series 1 (Scotland) – Cold case with excellent 90’s flashbacks, felt like an origin story for a legendary detective.
Transport, series 1 (Finland) – Better than expected criminal enterprise and money laundering tale told primary through the point of view of a journalist, insurance investigator and banker rather than law enforcement.
Whistable Pearl, series 2 (England) – Serviceable Cozy with a likable cast and decent storylines, this series had a couple of mildly funny riffs on classic films (Rear Window, Sunset Boulevard).
Downton Abbey: A New Era, film (England) – Some reviewer somewhere referred to it as The Love Boat, which is not that far off, but still managed to be enjoyable holiday escapism.
Call the Midwife 2022 Holiday Special (England) – Like Downton, it started leaning more towards social commentary and trends more towards feel good fodder as the years go on, still enjoyable.
Treason, limited series (England) – Somewhat hokey and overacted yet tight spy thriller that made me miss Homeland, satisfying ending though.
What, no pans?
You may have noticed those are all fairly positive blurbs. That’s because I stop watching things I don’t like. No hate watching for me, if I don’t like it I’m on to the next. I also keep a list of what I stopped watching and why.
I did a better job of picking my spots in 2022, only abandoning three shows compared to nine in 2021. Here’s what I stopped watching and why…
Stay Close, limited series (England) – Super over dramatic, or what I like to call The Harlan Coben factor, which is a shame because Cush Jumbo is great.
Harry Wild, series 1 (England) – Hated everyone, overly theatrical and you know it’s going to have a corny feel good ending.
In the Footsteps of Killers, series 1 (England) – Thought it was a procedural but turned out to be a true crime documentary, which I’m not that into.
Depending on what you like I’d recommend pretty much any of things I watched, but here are my top ten from 2022 in alphabetical order.
- Annika (Scotland)
- Det som göms i snö / Truth Will Out (Sweden)
- Engrenages (France)
- Hidden Assets (Ireland/Belgium)
- Karen Pirie (Scotland)
- Kosta / Paratiisi / The Paradise, series 1 (Finland/Spain)
- Mystery Road Origin (Australia)
- Reyka (South Africa)
- Rojst / Mire (Poland)
- Transport (Finland)
Looking forward to in 2023
A few on this list have new series confirmed for this year, including Annika, Kosta / Paratiisi / The Paradise, Reyka and old favorite Vera.
One of my all time favorites, Line of Duty (England), will also have a three part special, although it’s not confirmed for 2023 (“could air as early as Christmas”). The Last Kingdom (England) is another completed show with an upcoming sequel film called Seven Kings Must Die, also no confirmed release date. Historical viking/knighthood tales aren’t usually my thing but I loved the cast, especially how Uhtred, the main character, was a little bit campy.
Another I’m looking forward to is the fifth series of Unforgotten (England), where Sinead Keenan will step in as a replacement for Nicola Walker’s Cassie. And Stonehouse (England) looks like a fun telling of an outrageous true story.
I’m sure there are plenty of other great things I’ll watch this year that I don’t even know about yet. I just subscribed to Topic (thanks year-end half-price sale!) so my annual genre “classic” viewing will either be Bron / Broen / The Bridge (Sweden / Denmark) or Forbrydelsen / The Killing (Denmark). Or both! I also recently discovered that there are several series of the long running German franchise Tatort available on Mhz Choice. No doubt I’ll check a few of those out.
There’s no shortage of things to fill my prime viewing slot this year, here’s hoping you have plenty of what you enjoy in 2023 as well!