There are lots of big plans for TV in 2022 — from Marvel and Star Wars shows and a “Game of Thrones” prequel to the end of “This is Us” and “Better Things,” and the very highly anticipated second season of “Bridgerton.” But what I’m most excited about are two shows by some of TV’s most original writers, Donald Glover and Jason Katims.
Glover’s FX comedy series has been off the air since 2018, but after COVID shutdowns and complications, the third season is ready to debut on March 24. On the surface, the show is about Earn (Glover), a struggling college dropout trying to provide for his family by managing the career of burgeoning rap star, Paper Boi (Brian Tyree Henry), who also happens to be Earn’s cousin. But thanks to eccentric humor and surreal elements, the show often veers away from traditional plot to highlight issues like race, fame, beauty image, social media, mental illness and more. Perhaps the most disturbing and notable episode was season two’s “Teddy Perkins,” starring LaKeith Stanfield. It was a psychological look at fame that combined elements of Michael Jackson, childhood abuse and “What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?” that played more like a short horror movie than a sitcom episode. Not much is known about season three, except that it was mostly filmed in Europe and that Glover has described it as the most accessible. So if you haven’t been watching, this may be a good place to start.
“As We See It”
Katims was a producer and writer on “Friday Night Lights,” one of my favorite shows of all time, plus he adapted the 1989 movie “Parenthood” into a beloved, six-season show on NBC. His latest project is “As We See It,” a coming-of-age series that follows three 20something roommates on the autism spectrum as they navigate the world. Under any other writer, this concept (which is based on the Israeli series, “On the Spectrum”) may seem pandering. But Katims has a trademark of creating realistic and relatable characters while presenting highly emotional subjects in easy-to-digest ways. On “Parenthood,” Katims already handled autism in a respectful and honest way, plus he’s outspoken about his own son with Asperger’s. “As We See It” also stars three autistic actors — Rick Glassman, Sue Ann Pien and Albert Rutecki — playing the roommates, along with a cast that also includes Joe Mantegna, Chris Pang and Sosie Bacon. Amazon Prime is set to release all eight episodes on Jan. 21.