io9 added “best rewatches” to our year-end coverage during the height of the pandemic — a time when new movies and TV felt mighty scarce. With Hollywood back in full swing, there’s now plenty of new content to consume, but that doesn’t mean we don’t find ourselves sneaking back into the past on occasion.
Here are our favourite sci-fi, fantasy, and horror revisits, rewatches, replays, and rediscoveries of 2022, as well as projects we missed when they were first released, and enjoyed catching up with this year.
It’s been nearly four years since this bad boy came out, and I still find myself replaying it over and over. It’s my comfort game at this point, and within the roguelike structure it still always finds a way to challenge me and make for a fun game. – Linda Codega
What We Do in the Shadows
Thanks to existence on the internet, I already felt weirdly familiar with the vampiric masters of Staten Island thanks to the cultural osmosis of memes, notable quotes, and youtube compilations of Matt Berry pronouncing words like the finest performer in New Yahk Citaaaaaay. But it wasn’t until relatively recently that I actually sat down to watch the series and see what the fuss was all about — and I found what might be one of my favourite comedies of all time. What We Do in the Shadows is much more than its memefication has let on, a razor-smart, hilarious series that provides a surprising amount of its heart through touching character work as it does gags. I am glad to have finally been inducted into the church of our holy father, Guillermo de la Cruz. – James Whitbrook
My Heart Is a Chainsaw
Stephen Graham Jones has a new horror novel coming out in early 2023; it’s called Don’t Fear the Reaper, and it’s the sequel to his award-winning 2021 release My Heart Is a Chainsaw, a book multiple people told me to read when it came out, claiming they knew that I would love it. I finally followed their advice in 2022, and by the power of Jason Voorhees — they were right. A book about loving slasher movies so much that you start to see the signs that you’re living inside a slasher movie (even when everyone around you thinks you’re nuts), My Heart Is a Chainsaw introduces a fierce heroine in Jade Daniels and an iconically spooky setting in Indian Lake. It also reinforces the idea that underneath all those stubborn bloodstains, the horror genre is capable of weaving some of the most powerfully human stories around. Bring on part two! – Cheryl Eddy
Jurassic Park III
As 2022 rolled in, one of the films I was most looking forward to was Jurassic World Dominion. Being a longtime Jurassic Park fan, I thought the idea of finally ending that series with style sounded hugely promising, especially since the original cast was coming back. So, in the build-up, I decided to revisit all the films in the series, most of which I’d probably only seen once or twice because they’re generally crappy.
And while it was a mostly empty experience because Jurassic World Dominion was so incredibly bad, the one bright spot was Jurassic Park III. History considers the sequel among the worst but I found it to be the opposite. A propulsive, fun trip back to the island with scenes that are exactly what fans would want in a Jurassic movie. It’s now one of my favourites. -Germain Lussier
The 1.5 update at the start of 2022 finally brought Cyberpunk 2077 to PlayStation 5, which makes the game look better and thankfully it no longer feels like it’s about to explode every 20 minutes. It can be quite absorbing to drive around Night City, doing odd jobs and clearing out strongholds, all the while building out one’s reputation as a primo freelancer in town. When the game embraces the chaos of V’s life as a freelancer and the various criminal elements that they become enmeshed in, it’s easy to see how the game can be so enthralling. How Cyberpunk 2077 was marketed will always stain its reality as ultimately a fairly solid shooter/stealth game with fun combat scenarios and good writing, no matter how many anime spinoffs get thrown at it. Even so, there is something here that’s enjoyable and in its stronger moments, truly draws you in. Hopefully that eventual sequel will avoid the trap of its predecessor and not get high off its own supply. – Justin Carter
E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial
When the IMAX re-release was announced for the film’s 40th anniversary, I was ecstatic. I grew up watching it on VHS and loving the E.T. Adventure ride at Universal Studios but had never seen Steven Spielberg’s Amblin classic on the big screen before. I got emotional sitting in the theatre watching it on the biggest screen possible, and did tear up hearing John Williams’ legendary score swell up all around me during the iconic bike scene. It was a core memory to get to experience it in a theatre filled with life-long fans and families introducing it to a new generation. – Sabina Graves
For some unknown, godforsaken reason, I decided to rewatch Supernatural this year. Yes. All of it. I had only ever seen random episodes and maybe I watched seasons 1-5 during a depressive episode in college, but I dropped off around 2014, and by god, that show went until 2020 and I was going to watch it. So I did. Every single episode. It took six months of near-constant viewing but I am a goddamn trooper and I found ways to make it fun. From pointing out the outdated gay jokes to lamenting the point when the tasteless gay jokes stopped coming (darn you Supernatural writers, where is your courage?), I suffered, I laughed, I teared up a little. This show, at so many points, really says something about Americana, masculinity, power, cycles of abuse, and fandom. And at so many other points, it fails. Miserably. The ending? Whew. I could go into that one, but I’ll resist. Regardless, this year I watched every fucking moment of Super-fucking-natural — all 356 episodes — and I don’t regret it even for second. RIP Dean Winchester, you’ll always be famous. – Linda Codega
These days, the most immediate association with Rod Serling is The Twilight Zone, with good reason; the groundbreaking sci-fi series continues to influence genre fiction in all its forms today. But his later anthology series, the more specifically horror-focused Night Gallery, which kicked off with a 1969 TV movie and then ran from 1970 to 1973, is also worthy of praise — if only because while watching it you will often catch yourself feeling amazed that anything this gloriously weird aired on NBC. Darker and more fantastical in tone than The Twilight Zone, it features full-colour nightmares teaching lessons to an array of protagonists; as with Zone, the casts were peppered with recognisable stars from the era, including Vincent Price, Joan Crawford, Sally Field, Diane Keaton, Ossie Davis, Leonard Nimoy, and David Carradine (with directorial credits including Steven Spielberg, who worked on Night Gallery even before making his feature debut). Thanks to a recent Blu-ray release, all three seasons of Night Gallery are now available in their complete form, with a huge array of extras if you feel like falling down that rabbit hole even further… and if you dare. – Cheryl Eddy
Final Fantasy VII Remake
It feels almost weird to re-nominate something that is not only so recent, but I already declared as responsible for helping me get through the first year of the pandemic, but replaying Final Fantasy VII Remake this year — thanks to its leap to Steam and the announcement of its followup, Rebirth — re-reminded me that even out of the context of one of the first big things I threw myself into in the early days of the 2020 lockdowns, Remake remains a remarkably bold approach to the daunting task of re-doing one of the most popular games of all time. It remains an excellent action-RPG, but its in its reframing of the legacy of Final Fantasy VII as something vital to the text itself and its characters, as they fight to try and defy a fate we’ve known for them for nearly three decades, was arguably more impactful on me the second time around now that it was less about the surprise of the first time experience and something I could focus on and absorb. – James Whitbrook
For All Mankind
In 2019, Apple TV+ launched a show with a simple premise: what if Russia beat the United States to the moon? The result, For All Mankind, quickly became one of TV’s best shows, telling a fascinating and enlighting “What if?” story. Only, I didn’t watch it then. People said it was great, but I just kept putting it off. That was a mistake. This year, I blazed through seasons one and two on the edge of my seat and caught up in time to marvel at the Mars-based season three. I can’t recommend the show enough and am so glad I caught up on it. – Germain Lussier
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