To say that we got a lot of great content in 2022 is a big understatement. Shows like The Rings of Power, House of the Dragon, The Boys, Stranger Things 4, and Andor were just a few that ruled our TV screens. And, on the movie front, we got some big releases, including The Batman, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, Nope, and many others.
Of course, all of those properties have large global fanbases and marketing efforts that push them to the forefront of the creative pack. But, as lovers of many things, we enjoyed a few films and shows that aren’t so high up on the radar. So, in honor of our love for offerings that are truly “underrated,” here are a few TV shows, films, and documentaries that Nerdist staffed watched and deeply enjoyed in 2022.
Confess, Fletch is among the strangest Hollywood stories of 2022. The comedy-mystery stars a popular leading man in Jon Hamm, in a role perfectly suited to his strengths as a performer, in a reboot of a well-known IP. What more could a studio want? How about the fact it’s also really good!
But for some inexplicable reason it barely received any advertising before a laughably limited release. It’s the type of smaller movie for adults people always complain never gets made anymore, but rather than celebrate this gem Paramount all but buried it. Few people even knew of its existence, and those who did had little opportunity to see it in theaters.
Why did any of this happen? I don’t know. But I’m confident someday this movie will find the audience it rightfully deserves. And when it does maybe we’ll then get the five sequels we deserve. – Mikey Walsh
The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent
Nicolas Cage plays aging actor Nick Cage in The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent, also starring Pedro Pascal and Tiffany Haddish. It underperformed at the box office but is absolutely delightful. Despite the big names and great performances, it’s one of those genre-defying movies that’s impossible to market. So, what kind of movie is it? There’s no simple answer and I suggest not even asking the question. Just enjoy the combination of Mission: Impossible, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, and My Dinner with Andre. It has plenty in common with Cage’s other meta movie, Adaptation, including an increasingly frenetic pace and a double of himself that may or may not exist. There’s literally something for everyone.
It also answers some important questions. Can a character-based film weave in some action without losing its soul? Can adult men form friendships? What does Cage think of pillows with his face on them? It’s great to have Nic Cage back. Not that he ever went anywhere. It’s also great to see Pascal’s face. As much as I enjoy The Mandalorian, it’s refreshing to see his nuanced expressions. And big goofy smile. Fingers crossed for a sequel where he plays Pedro Paskal. – Melissa Miller
Star Trek: Strange New Worlds
In a year where Star Wars, House of the Dragon, and Stranger Things got all the attention, Star Trek quietly returned to its roots with Strange New Worlds. Unlike previous modern Trek shows like Picard or Discovery, this wasn’t an edgier look at the future, but a return to 1960s-style optimism, adventure, and a bright color palette. Unlike the previously mentioned, heavily serialized shows, SNW did old-school “one-and-done” stories set aboard the original starship Enterprise. Stories that still managed to feel fresh and relevant, and not just homage to the past. Combined with a winning cast and great special effects, SNW might not have received the lion’s share of media attention, but it was easily one of 2022’s best genre series. – Eric Diaz
After a fairly lackluster Ultraman series in 2021 with Ultraman Trigger, this year’s outing, Ultraman Decker, has more than made up for it. Focusing much more on the characters rather than Trigger‘s bizarrely complicated narrative has allowed for the interplay and camaraderie to be the draw. The way it always out to be with an Ultraman show. When the bigger plot elements kick in with Decker, however, they really kick in. It’s such a good show, it made Trigger retroactively better by giving him meaningful cameos. Amazing! –Kyle Anderson
In a world filled with the superhero stacked blockbusters and Hollywood horror (both of which I love deeply), it can be easy to miss a truly indie gem like SLASH/BACK. But thanks to Shudder you can check out Nyla Innuksuk’s awesome debut sci-fi horror right now. In their tiny arctic hamlet of Pangnirtung, Nunavut a group of young Indigenous girls spend their days lamenting the lack of cool boys and trying to find ways to fill their time. But when they see a polar bear going through a horrific transformation they realize they’re the only line of defense between their home and a nightmarish alien-invasion. Attack the Block meets The Thing in this micro-budget miracle led by a charming group of newcomers who make this feel authentic in a truly rare way. – Rosie Knight
Queer for Fear: The History of Queer Horror
If there’s one thing you may not yet have watched that you really ought to it’s Shudder’s docu-series Queer for Fear. For the horror fans, history buffs, and queer people among us, this series is a must. Not only will you learn a lot about the history of horror and the intrinsic place queerness occupies in it, but you’ll also laugh yourself silly and probably shed more than one tear. A documentary that can make you feel all of that is not to be missed. So do yourself a favor and turn on this terrifyingly good journey through queer horror (which is really just a journey through horror, full stop), you won’t be sorry! – Ro Rusak
Tuca & Bertie (Season 3)
As with last year, my favorite piece of media that nobody else seems to talk about was Tuca & Bertie. Returning for its third and sadly final season (thanks David Zaslav), Lisa Hanawalt and co. delivered another masterwork of surrealist comedy with all the laughs, emotion, and imaginative beauty we have come to expect from what I believe to be the greatest adult animated series of our time. Exploring themes related to all manner of adulthood from the struggles of work life to the complexity of relationships, and both mental and physical health, Tuca & Bertie was a one of a kind series that deserved so much more. If you haven’t checked it out, do yourself a favor this holiday season and take a trip to Birdtown. You won’t want to leave. – Ali Mattingly
Outer Range seems to be a perfect fit for anyone who likes Yellowstone, but also if they want a little sci-fi in the mix. Josh Brolin and the rest of the cast all fit wonderfully together to bring the focus of the show to a small town with big secrets. After someone in the town is murdered, sparking a feud between two rancher families, a giant bottomless pit and a mysterious hiker both appear and things get weird. – Matt Caron
Undone (Season 2)
After a three year hiatus, Undone season two hit Prime Video to finally give answers to the first season’s many questions. (If you haven’t seen the first season, skip the above trailer and watch it!) In its first season, we met Alma, a woman who seems to be stuck in a time loop following a tragic car accident. But she discovers that something stranger is happening with time and uncovers new information about her father’s death.
The adult animated series, which feels wildly different from other shows in its subgenre thanks to rotoscoping, built a trippy foundation by blending together time travel and fantasy wrapped up in a story that’s about self-discovery, healing, and family. Season two truly expands on that narrative, interweaving generational trauma, family secrets, and what happens when our dreams come true yet life still isn’t perfect. Undone is funny, tragic, hopeful, and packed with suspense that will make you want to consume the entire series in one day. – Tai Gooden