When looking through a given year’s best movies and shows, it’s helpful for a writer to find connections among the prominent picks. Perhaps this was a year where studio fare stood tall, or indie darlings broke big. Maybe 2022 saw an uptick in stories about burgeoning fascism or very good donkeys. Heck, even taking note of broader trends — like the potential resurgence of theatrical motion pictures or the possible end of streaming content boom — can give a list a sense of purpose or clarity.
But when it comes to our picks for the best LGBTQ movies and shows in 2022, what’s refreshing to notice is the lack of commonalities. Comedies like “Bros” and “Fire Island” were given major release platforms courtesy of Universal and Searchlight, respectively. Dramatic fare like “Benediction” and “The Inspection” rode festival buzz and critical praise to leave their mark. This year’s top awards contenders are queer, as well, from “Tár” to “Everything Everywhere All at Once” — two films that defy tidy labels and demand repeated excavations.
TV is similarly comprehensive. Two of the medium’s top genres — medical dramas and true crime mysteries — were turned on their heads with “This Is Going To Hurt” and “The Staircase,” respectively. “Harley Quinn” continues to redefine the Joker’s former sidekick as a supervillain all her own, and “A League of Their Own” took the classic film and ran with it, creating new characters, fresh plotlines, and making gay subtext plain, bold text. Speaking of bold, “P-Valley” is like nothing else on television — including its first season — and “Our Flag Means Death” courted a legion of devout followers with its surprising central romance.
Gay movies and queer shows still featured plenty of closeted characters and painful coming-out arcs, but the best of these did so with nuance and compassion, finding ways to connect with empathetic audiences while challenging them anew. Plenty of LGBTQ-centric film and TV also reveled in joy and fun, knowing audiences need both (and plenty of it). Below, IndieWire’s best of 2022 list is stacked with viewing experiences for every mood, occasion, and sensibility. For some, the only shared resemblance is their queer subject matter — and sometimes, that in and of itself is a theme to cherish.
Ali Foreman, Marcus Jones, Proma Khosla, Ryan Lattanzio, Sarah Shachat, and Brian Welk contributed to this list.