I give 2022 a B+ in terms of Latinx representation on TV.
We had some great series come out and delivered some amazing performances. But we also saw too many of our shows get canceled—especially when they focus on representation.
It’s like the rest of the viewing public can’t be bothered to consider how we think about ourselves.
Still, there’s plenty to celebrate, and that’s what we’re doing here, naming our top 10 Latinx shows of 2022.
But before we get to the list, the rules: These are all U.S. TV shows. Movies and Latin American shows will have to wait for another day/list/reporter.
Second, they all aired at least one new episode in 2022, although many aired their whole season this year.
And lastly, they’re all Latinx—meaning they all have MORE THAN ONE Latinx character, and if they don’t take place primarily within Latinx communities (although most of these do), the main character is certainly one of ours.
OK, here we go…
10. Lopez vs. Lopez
This NBC sitcom saw the return of George Lopez to primetime network TV. He stars opposite his real-life daughter, Mayan Lopez, in only the second network sitcom to ever be run by a Latina, here Debby Wolfe.
Lopez vs. Lopez is a throwback show with bright lighting, a laugh track, and a lesson every week—so you have to be into all that. But even as someone who doesn’t love the genre, the show gives me at least one good belly laugh every episode.
9. Let the Right One In
This Showtime series recently concluded a stellar first season that managed to combine prestige TV (impossible moral dilemmas, a cast stacked with talent) and vampire aesthetics (gore, murder, darkness) into one show that had my heart racing every episode. Demián Bichir (one of only four Latinos EVER to be nominated for a Best Actor Oscar) stars alongside Madison Taylor Baez, who plays his 12-year-old daughter turned vampire. Taking place 10 years after her transformation, the show asks tough questions about parenthood, sacrifice, and survival.
8. The Lincoln Lawyer
Netflix made The Lincoln Lawyer Latino again after a movie of the same name whitewashed the character by casting Matthew McConaughey in the titular role.
The 2022 series, co-executive produced by Queen of the South showrunner Dailyn Rodriguez, brought us back to the source material—although this isn’t a show about identity. Manuel Garcia-Rulfo as Mickey Haller may speak with a Mexican accent and bear other markers of our identity (like discerning tastes around tacos), but The Lincoln Lawyer is a show with a main character who just happens to be Latino.
It’s been renewed for a second season.
7. Menudo: Forever Young
This HBO docuseries pulls back the curtain on the famed Puerto Rican group, exposing its management as lecherous opportunists who took advantage of their young charges in more ways than one. Led by two Puerto Rican directors, Menudo: Forever Young asks us to celebrate the members of the group and how they put the island on the cultural map, even if they paid a high price for their service.
Wednesday is the runaway Latinx hit of the year, becoming the most-watched English-language show on Netflix in its first week. It stars Jenna Ortega as the Addams family daughter.
With plenty of nostalgia, killer black-and-white outfits, and teen tropes, Wednesday’s biggest accomplishment may be making explicit what Latinx fans have insisted was true all along: The Addams family is one of ours!
5. Los Espookys
This mostly-Spanish comedy of the surreal ratcheted up the nonsense in its long-awaited second season. This year, we saw members of Los Espookys meet the moon, become a stairway model, stage an eclipse, and so much more.
With its avant-garde and unapologetically queer Latinx humor, Los Espookys was one of a kind—though HBO did not renew it for a third season.
Although star Diego Luna told Latino Rebels that Cassian Andor is not Latino —and while it may be argued that there are no Latinos in space since Latinidad is about an Earth-focused geopolitical identity that doesn’t exist in a galaxy far, far away— I’m going to go ahead and call a spade a spade. Disney’s Andor is a Latino show thanks to Luna and co-star Adria Arjona (Father of the Bride, Moribus).
It’s also worth noting that while Latinx people may not exist in the Star Wars universe —and that perhaps says something damaging about when and how we’re allowed to lead blockbuster shows— Andor is a refuge from a planet with Mesoamerican-like architecture and iconography.
He also talks like a Mexican…. just saying.
3. Gordita Chronicles
I’ve said it before: Gordita Chronicles was a near-perfect show. It used the bright colors and silly outfits of the ’80s to tell a smart, funny story about middle-class Dominican immigrants in Miami. It was hyper-specific, body positive, and beautifully rendered, with each episode having a not-too-pat lesson.
Naturally, HBO canceled it too, and to add insult to injury, they’re removing it from their platform at the end of the year.
2. This Fool
Chris Estrada’s This Fool is an unlikely buddy comedy with our two central characters representing what appears to be two opposite sides of masculinity: the pushover and the gangster. But it’s so much more complicated than that, as recently released from prison primo Luis tries to get his life back on track and Estrada’s Julio is more threatened by existential dread than winning physical fights.
Hulu has renewed it for a second season, and This Fool is earning some well-deserved awards chatter.
The second season of Amazon’s Undone was the best thing on television this year. Told via otherworldly animation (in which animators draw over real actors using a technique called rotoscope), the method matches the madness here, which sees Rosa Salazar’s Alma travel through time and question reality.
She’s Mexican American, and her background is important to the story, but this isn’t a story about identity. It’s about family secrets, grappling with the past, and healing from intergenerational comedy.
A writer and activist, Cristina Escobar is the co-founder of latinamedia.co, uplifting Latina and gender non-conforming Latinx perspectives in media. She’s a member of the Latino Entertainment Journalists Association and writes at the intersection of race, gender, and pop culture. Twitter: @cescobarandrade