With the rise of so many streaming services, it might seem like cable TV is dying a slow, painful death. However, cable television remains a staple in many American households, and millions of viewers tune in to watch their favorite TV shows. With the right mix of content, cable has become a great way for many viewers to unwind after a long day.
In recent years, there have been some groundbreaking shows that have changed the landscape of cable TV. From the highly anticipated return of beloved franchises to brand-new series, 2022’s lineup of cable TV shows was packed with must-watch television that has been overshadowed by streaming series. These are the best shows that were still on cable in 2022.
10 Grey’s Anatomy
Grey’s Anatomy is one of the most beloved and longest-running medical dramas on TV. The show, created by Shonda Rhimes, premiered on ABC in 2005 and has gained an enormous fan following. Grey’s Anatomy follows the lives of interns, residents and attendings at the fictional Seattle Grace Hospital as they train to become doctors.
It also delves into the backstories of the characters and their relationships with each other. Even though Grey’s Anatomy has 19 seasons and most of its original cast has moved on from the show, it still manages to grip viewers with various medical crises, romantic entanglements, and moral dilemmas.
9 Young Sheldon
The Big Bang Theory left a huge hole in the hearts of many of its fans when the series ended after running for 12 seasons. And so it was a genius move by CBS when they decided to pick up a prequel to the series. Young Sheldon is a comedy spinoff prequel to the long-running and successful CBS sitcom The Big Bang Theory. Narrated by Jim Parsons, the story recounts the early life of Sheldon Cooper (played by Ian Armitage) at the age of nine while living with his family in the fictional town of Medford, Texas.
While Sheldon is a once-in-a-generation mind capable of advanced mathematics and science, he still struggles to understand an often confounding world and how to relate to his family and peers. Throughout the show, Sheldon and his family learn valuable lessons about love, faith, and the power of family, resulting in Young Sheldon being almost better than The Big Bang Theory, or at least much more heartfelt and genuine.
8 Chicago P.D.
Chicago P.D. is a spinoff police drama series of Chicago Fire. The show first aired on NBC on 8 January 2014 and currently has 10 seasons. Chicago PD follows the life and work of police officers of the Chicago Police Department’s fictional District 21 unit, who put everything on the line to save and protect their community. The series on the Intelligence Unit tackles offenses, including organized crime, high-profile murders and drug trafficking. The show also delves into the personal lives of each of the characters.
It reveals how their job affects their lives and relationships and how their loved ones cope with the dangerous line of work they’re in. From balancing their family life with their duties as police officers to dealing with their job’s physical and emotional toll, Chicago P.D. provides a unique and captivating look at the lives of the brave men and women in blue.
7 The Equalizer
The Equalizer is an action drama series that first aired on CBS on 7 February 2021 and is a reboot of the 1980s series of the same name. The show follows Robyn McCall (played by Queen Latifah), a single mom raising her teenage daughter in New York City. However, there is more to Robyn than meets the eye.
After a failed operation, Robyn, a former CIA operative, decides to use her unique skills to become a vigilante called “The Equalizer” and helps people in need. In her pursuit for justice, Robyn is joined by Melody “Mel” Bayani (played by Liza Lapira), an ex-US air force sniper, Harry Keshigian (played by Adam Goldberg), a master hacker, and eventually detective Marcus Dante (played by Tory Kittles).
6 This Is Us
This Is Us is a phenomenal show that takes viewers on an emotional rollercoaster as they connect with the characters and their stories. It premiered on NBC in September 2016 and ran for six seasons, with This Is Us‘ finale airing in 2022. The critically acclaimed show chronicles the life of the Pearson family, which is made up of Jack (played by Milo Ventimiglia) and Rebecca Pearson (played by Mandy Moore), their three children known as The Big Three, Kevin (Justin Hartley), Kate (played by Chrissy Metz) and Randall (played by Sterling K. Brown).
This Is Us is told in a series of flashbacks, allowing viewers to see the characters at different stages in their lives. The show explores how The Big Three were shaped by their early experiences and what impact it had on the type of adults they turned out to be, resulting in some of the most emotional moments on television.
5 The Good Doctor
The Good Doctor has a slightly different storyline from what viewers have come to expect from medical dramas. Based on a Korean drama series by the same name, The Good Doctor follows the life of Shaun Murphy (played by Freddie Highmore), a young surgeon with autism and savant syndrome, who relocates from a quiet country life to join a prestigious surgical unit at the fictional San Jose St. Bonaventure Hospital.
Despite being a genius, Shaun struggles with interacting with his patients and gaining his colleagues’ trust. The Good Doctor has received mixed reviews, but most critics can agree that Freddie Highmore gives a stellar performance as Shaun Murphy.
4 Law and Order: SVU
Law and Order: Special Victims Unit is a crime drama series created by Dick Wolf. The show premiered on 19 September 1999, has 24 seasons, and is the longest-running primetime US live-action series in television history for a reason, arguably helped create the true crime obsession.
Law and Order: SVU follows the detectives of the Special Victims Unit of the New York City Police Department as they investigate sexually based offenses. The show also delves into the personal lives of the detectives and how they are affected by their work.
3 The Neighborhood
Two comedy powerhouses meet in this hilarious sitcom created by Jim Reynolds. The Neighborhood follows the story of a Midwest white family that relocates from Michigan to a predominantly Black neighborhood in LA. Dave Johnson (played by Max Greenfield) and his family are the new nextdoor neighbors to Calvin Butler (played by Cedric The Entertainer).
Calvin, however, does not like Dave’s friendliness and is less than thrilled by these newcomers that might ruin the neighborhood’s culture. But, to his credit, Dave does not give up on winning Calvin over and is determined to do whatever it takes to make his new neighborhood a great place for him and his family.
2 Bob Hearts Abishola
From the genius comedic minds of Chuck Lorre, Eddie Gorodetsky, Al Higgins, and Gina Yashere comes the hilarious sitcom Bob Hearts Abishola, a heartwarming romantic comedy that stars Billy Gardell as Bob and Folake Olowofoyeku as Abishola. When Bob, a businessman who runs a family-owned sock company, has a mild heart attack and is taken to the hospital, he meets Abishola, a nurse of Nigerian descent with whom he becomes enamored.
After getting released from the hospital, Bob pursues Abishola, but she refuses his advances until one day, she relents and goes out with him. Bob Hearts Abishola may not be the typical fairy tale love story, but Bob’s relentless pursuit and dedication to win Abishola’s heart does tug on a few heartstrings.
1 United States of Al
United States of Al is an underrated series that stars the hilarious Adhir Kalyan as Al and Parker Young as Riley. The sitcom tells the story of Al, an interpreter from Afghanistan and Riley, a former combat veteran, as they navigate their new lives in Columbus, Ohio, after serving in the Marines.
United States of Al is a story of a growing friendship as Al tries to help Riley get his life back on track. Unfortunately, the show received a lot of criticism for its humor and use of old-fashioned tropes; as a result, it got canceled after two seasons in 2022, but remains one of the most unique sitcoms of recent years, and one with extremely important ideas.