This is a list I've been making trying to assess "genre" shows trying to be "the next Game of Thrones" - a question that kept going around in late 2019. Not just limited to science fiction and fantasy, but "popular binge-worthy TV" in general. Things that could COMPETE with House of the Dragon, the type of thing that, for example, YouTube channels following Game of Thrones have switched to covering during the Interregnum (i.e. The Witcher, Wheel of Time, etc.)
Please suggest any updates you have on what might be 'Shows to look out for in 2022", and I'll update the list.
I break it down by what I call "clade" - by which streaming service they're on, by extension what media corporation owns them; these days not many major shows air on broadcast networks anyway, but for example, "ABC" is owned by Disney thus if there was another Lost-scale show on ABC it would go under "Disney+" (I count Hulu as a subdivision of Disney+ ever since they got bought out). After Round 1 of the Streamer Wars, there are SEVEN major streaming platforms: Disney+, Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Warner-Discover's "HBO Max", and then to a lesser extent NBC's "Peacock", CBS's "Paramount+", and Apple TV+. After that you've got a handful of smaller outliers: AMC comes to mind, though these aren't the glory days of Breaking Bad/Mad Men/early Walking Dead (one of the reasons HBO greenlit GoT in 2008 is because AMC was humiliating them with a slate of "new classics" that everyone assumed would be on HBO, and they needed a hit fast). Also doesn't include crossover British TV like Doctor Who or Peaky Blinders, etc. - these are outside the seven major clades and I list them as “other”.
IMDb's Most Anticipated Shows of 2022
"Most Anticipated Shows of 2022" can be subjective by critic, but last week before Christmas IMDb put out two lists of most anticipated shows based on SITE TRAFFIC to specific pages - which seems a little more informative. The two lists are for "new series" and "returning series":
IMDb's Most Anticipated New Shows of 2022:
1 - House of the Dragon (HBO Max)
2 - Lord of the Rings Second Age Prequel (Amazon)
3 - Pam + Tommy (Hulu) (actually a one-shot miniseries)
4 - The Sandman (Netflix)
5 - The Last of Us (HBO Max)
6 - Obi-wan Kenobi (Disney+)
7 - She-Hulk (Disney+)
8 - Ms. Marvel (Disney+)
9 - Peacemaker (HBO Max) (first DC Comics TV show)
10 - Moon Knight (Disney+)
Boba Fett wasn't included due to the quirk of airing on December 28, but I sort of see it as an extension of "The Mandalorian"...leading us into the list of top ten returning shows:
IMDb's Most Anticipated Returning Shows of 2022:
1 - Ted Lasso (Apple TV+)
2 - Bridgerton (Netflix)
3 - American Horror Story (FX)
4 - Peaky Blinders final season (BBC America)
5 - The Mandalorian (Disney+)
6 - Shadow & Bone (Netflix)
7 - Stranger Things (Netflix)
8 - Rick & Morty (Adult Swim/HBO Max)
9 - The Crown (Netflix)
10 - The Boys (Amazon)
So I'm cross-referencing that with my pre-existing list going by the seven "clades" in the Streaming Wars:
Marvel shows (collectively) - She-hulk, Ms. Marvel, Moon Knight, Loki Season 2, etc.
Star Wars shows (collectively) - Mandalorian, Boba Fett, Obi-wan Kenobi, Andor, etc.
Willow TV series - might not be very anticipated, but another Fantasy genre show
Pam & Tommy is a one-shot miniseries, would not compete with HotD at Emmys, and while Handmaid's Tale might only have one final season in it on Hulu, starting February 2. The awards shows do like it - but it won't have another season until after 2022
Similarly, I'm greatly looking forward to The Dropout, premiering on Hulu on March 3, about the Elizabeth Holmes Theranos scandal.
House of the Dragon - TBA
The Last of Us (video game adaptation)
The Gilded Age (successor to "Downton Abbey") - January 24
Peacemaker (first DC Comics TV show) - January 13
Euphoria Season 2 (January 9) - very popular with the kids these days
Raised by Wolves season 2 (8 episodes starting February 3) - a hot mess mixing a bunch of leftover Ridley Scott ideas. Utterly insane, people can't stop watching.
Westworld Season 4 (Late 2022) - this show is winding down and did not live up to the hype generated by Season 1, but people will watch it end
The "Dune: The Sisterhood" TV series is coming, but probably after 2022. They just hired a new showrunner in July, and I suspect it was only the recent success of the movie which gave the project a shot in the arm. If we haven't even heard casting yet it's not coming in 2022.
JJ Abrams' next huge project "Demimonde", which he's been working on since 2018. On the one hand, he's a big producer and been working on it for a long time...on the other hand, it might simply be in Development Hell. So is it taking so long because it's going to be huge, or because it's falling apart? Either way with no casting news, it's not coming in 2022.
Also honorable mention to the third and final season of His Dark Materials, coming out in late 2022.
The Witcher - Season 2 JUST dropped, and it's fairly popular, but not quite Game of Thrones levels - it's not GROWING in popularity since Season 1, the way Game of Thrones got bigger every year
The Witcher: Blood Origin - prequel series due out at some point in 2022
The Sandman - adaptation of Neil Gaiman's groundbreaking comic book series
The Crown - perennial awards favorite, and a good historical drama (but not a "genre" thing with fan merchandise and so forth, this is an awards scale thing). Season 5 coming in November 2022.
Bridgerton - the crowds enjoy it for all the historical romance and sex stuff, quite popular
Stranger Things (Summer) - scifi, very popular, but winding down in the next season or two
Shadow + Bone - fantasy adaptation, but I haven't heard much chatter about it. I am openly surprised that it ranked #6 on IMDb's list of the top ten most anticipated returning shows of 2022 based on website traffic.
Last Airbender (TBA) - live-action adaptation of the groundbreaking fantasy animated series, probably going to premiere in November/December 2022. If it's done WELL it could indeed be "the next Game of Thrones" (the cartoon series on its own was so popular and had so much mythos that it was arguably the same level of popularity, at least among the scifi/fantasy crowd, and deservedly so). Or it could be a complete flop like the previous movie attempt at an adaptation (an infamous mega-flop). Either way, people will be scrutinizing the first season as it comes out for its "new-ness" (if it's bad, people will still talk about it, and only stop talking about season two when it happens).
Vikings: Valhalla (February 25)
Ozark (January 21) - fourth and final season, divided in two halves, first of which premieres in January 2021. More of an awards rival.
1899 - from the creators of "Dark"
Wednesday - Tim Burton live-action Addams Family series. Could be a flop, could be interesting.
Amazon Prime Video
Lord of the Rings Second Age Prequel (September 2) has the potential to be good or a complete flop, we don't know. Don't assume it will be good (we're uneasy about behind the scenes staff things on it). But like Last Airbender...either way, people will be talking a lot about the first season, and if it's bad they'll only start ignoring it by season two.
The Wheel of Time - JUST finished Season 1, put on this list as a legacy. For both this and The Witcher, people will binge over Christmas break into January, and follow production news. I haven't been following it - people seem attracted to it because it's new, but I've seen reviews that are more mixed than The Witcher Season 1 (which was fairly popular). I realize book readers are annoyed at stuff they condensed or changed to try to be cool, but it's at least getting a second season so maybe that'll improve (shrug) you never know. But this list is about CHATTER, what people are talking about, regardless of whether book readers think it's good, it's still "the competition".
The Boys - scathing socio-political commentary, very good parody of superheroes.
Carnival Row - never really took off in its first season, which is a shame because I liked the visual aesthetic and worldbuilding. Hit hard by the pandemic delaying its second season. But then again Breaking Bad got delayed by a writers' strike in season two, so you never know. A point going for it is that I've seen TV commercials for Wheel of Time actively promoting it for the Fantasy crowd: commercials saying "If you came because you like Wheel of Time, stay to enjoy our other Fantasy shows like Carnival Row". So maybe that will give it a shot in the arm.
Good Omens - Season 2 (from Neil Gaiman and the late Terry Pratchett)
And now, the sideshows....
Star Trek franchise (collectively; Discovery, Picard, cartoons) - not really "competition" for House of the Dragon because it's very different, Scifi vs Fantasy; consistently gets good ratings but not breakout mega-hits
Halo TV series - trailer just came out, MASSIVE video game series with huge built-in fanbase. Whether season one is good or not, people will watch it to check it out. They INTEND to air in 2022, but apparently late 2022. We'll see what happens.
Wildcards TV show? (probably not in 2022)
Potential Battlestar Galactica reboot (probably not in 2022)
Foundation - poorly received for basically being fanfic expanding on Prelude to Foundation. Second season might get better if it does a time skip and goes back to the books. I sympathize with David Goyer, from all his interviews it's clear that Apple would NEVER have made a straight-up adaptation of the books, he made the best one he could, but had to make too many compromises: in interviews he keeps stressing "it takes place across centuries and has time skips in it" but season one wasn't like that at all. I've seen many TV critics listing it as one of the big flops of 2022. Highly anticipated, after the "new-ness" of season one wears off, I don't think people will pay attention to Season 2 if it's just more of the same. Which is a shame. I was fired up to see Bel Riose...
See - returning for Season 2. Actually a pretty well-received post-apocalyptic scifi show, but it's very niche due to being on small-scale Apple TV+. I hope it keeps going, but it's kind of a fringe show.
For All Mankind - actually well received by critics, much like "See" it hasn't gained widespread notice. I hope it does well for the cast, even though I loathe Ron D. Moore.
Ted Lasso - technically a comedy show and thus not competing against House of the Dragon
Better Call Saul (AMC) - the final season (split in half, across two years?)
The Last Kingdom - the final season (BBCA) (February 27)
Outlander season 6 (Starz) (March 6)
Killing Eve - the final season (BBCA/AMC)
The Walking Dead - the final season (AMC) (other spinoffs will keep franchise alive, but it's not what it once was - though they had a good run)
Interview with the Vampire: the TV series (AMC) - starring Game of Thrones' Jacob Anderson. Sad that Anne Rice did not live to see this. Quite a fanbase for the vampire romance/drama franchise.
The First Lady (Showtime) - star-studded awards bait, following three US First Ladies: Viola Davis as Michelle Obama, Michelle Pfeiffer as Betty Ford, and Gillian Anderson as Eleanor Rosevelt. Not very anticipated, but potential awards rival.
A Discovery of Witches - third and final season (Sky One) (January 7)
Not directly "competing" with House of the Dragon, but of honorable mention among animation fandom:
Rick & Morty (Adult Swim/HBO Max)
Harley Quinn season 3 (HBO Max)
The Owl House / Amphibia final seasons & potential crossover (DisneyXD/Disney+)
Invincible season 2 (Amazon)
I'll update this list as we proceed, please suggest any other updates and I'll put them in.