‘Inventing Anna,’ ‘Pam & Tommy,’ and More True Stories Coming to TV in 2022

Inventing Anna, The Dropout, Pam & Tommy
Aaron Epstein/Netflix; Beth Dubber/Hulu; Erica Parise/Hulu

A new year means new shows, and for 2022, there are quite a few amazing true stories coming alive onscreen.

Netflix brings the return of The Crown for its fifth season with new cast members as well as the introduction of a conwoman in Inventing Anna, the latest from Grey’s Anatomy creator Shonda Rhimes. Over on Hulu, it’s time for the greatest love story ever sold with Pam & Tommy as well as lies and schemes with The Dropout. Plus, Showtime goes inside the White House East Wing with The First Lady, while Epix investigates Billy the Kid and The CW goes behind a well-known artist’s work … with a twist in Leonardo.

Scroll down for scoop on these real to reel stories.

This is an excerpt from TV Guide Magazine’s 2022 Preview issue. For more inside scoop on what’s coming to TV and streaming in the new year, pick up the issue, on newsstands.

Julia Garner as Anna Delvey in Inventing Anna
Aaron Epstein/Netflix

Inventing Anna

Anna Delvey is a German heiress. Or the daughter of a Russian businessman. Wait, is her last name even Delvey? During the mid-2010s, the enigmatic redhead with the curious accent (Ozark’s Julia Garner) insinuated herself into Manhattan society, conning people and businesses out of hundreds of thousands of dollars until her 2017 arrest. This limited series from Shonda Rhimes recounts Delvey’s bonkers, only-in-New York story—and a hungry journalist’s (Anna Chlumsky) pursuit of it. “I want people to be like, ‘Oh, my God, she’s crazy!’” Garner says of her character. “But then also like, ‘Yes, Anna! You go, girl!’” —Eric Andersson

Friday, February 11, Netflix

Imelda Staunton as Queen Elizabeth II in The Crown

The Crown

Like the crown jewels, details of this drama about the British royals are under lock and key, but here’s what we do know: For Season 5, the cast reboots, with Imelda Staunton (above) as Queen Elizabeth II, Jonathan Pryce as Prince Philip, Dominic West as Prince Charles, and Elizabeth Debicki as Princess Diana. Season 4 ended with Di and Charles’ marriage in crisis, so expect to see their divorce unfold. How can we keep calm and carry on until November?! —Jim Halterman

November, Netflix

Lily James as Pam in Pam & Tommy
Erica Parise/Hulu

Pam & Tommy

Mötley Crüe drummer Tommy Lee (Sebastian Stan) and Baywatch pinup Pamela Anderson (Lily James, above) often made headlines, but their infamous 1995 sex tape cemented the two as tabloid fixtures. This cheeky eight-part limited series about that scandal costars Seth Rogen as the sleazy electrician who swiped the cassette. —Damian Holbrook

Wednesday, February 2, Hulu

Naveen Andrews as Sunny, Amanda Seyfried as Elizabeth Holmes in The Dropout
Beth Dubber/Hulu

The Dropout

Her name is synonymous with genius…and greed. Elizabeth Holmes became the world’s youngest self-made female billionaire after she left Stanford at age 20. How? She founded Theranos, a Silicon Valley startup offering superfast, supercheap blood-testing methods. But it was too good to be true. After learning her technology often gave incorrect results, she lied to keep investor cash coming in. Amanda Seyfried (above, with Naveen Andrews), who stars as the now-convicted felon, says this series lays out why she ran the scheme: “I was fascinated by her choices.” Many of which were bad. —Kate Hahn

Thursday, March 3, Hulu

Tom Blyth as Billy The Kid

Billy the Kid

Why do good people do terrible things? This gritty Western dramatizes the wicked transformation of the 19th-century outlaw (Tom Blyth), who was struck down at age 21. “Billy doesn’t start as a killer. He was kind, loving, charming. The audience will love watching him get sucked down the wrong path for the right reasons,” says Blyth. He had a month to transform himself into an expert shot and rider (he did his own stunts), and made a pre-filming pilgrimage to Billy’s stomping grounds. “I could breathe him in,” he says. “I actually kept a handful of Lincoln County [New Mexico] dirt to remain connected.” —Kate Hahn

April, Epix

Dakota Fanning as Susan Ford, Michelle Pfeiffer as Betty Ford and Aaron Eckhart as Jerry Ford in The First Lady
Murray Close/SHOWTIME

The First Lady

Consider this series your VIP pass to the White House East Wing. Each episode of the anthology weaves the stories of three complicated first ladies—Michelle Obama (Viola Davis), Betty Ford (Michelle Pfeiffer, above right, with Dakota Fanning) and Eleanor Roosevelt (Gillian Anderson)—before, during and after they occupied 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Expect “untold glimpses behind the scenes” as the women juggle public duty and personal battles, according to showrunner Cathy Schulman. “Viewers will have a 360 [degree] view into their lives.” —Jim Halterman

Spring, Showtime

Matilda De Angelis as Caterina da Cremona, Aidan Turner as Leonardo, Freddie Highmore as Stefano Giraldi in Leonardo
Fabio Lovino/Lux Vide/Sony Pictures Television


Artist. Inventor. Outcast. Poldark’s Aidan Turner stars as Renaissance man Leonardo da Vinci on this series about the stories behind his works (the Mona Lisa, for one). The drama does stray from fact by adding a murder mystery: Leonardo, a gay man, stands accused of poisoning a platonic pal (Matilda De Angelis), and Freddie Highmore costars as the detective on the case. —Mandi Bierly