Not only was 2022 a year of new fan favorites for television, it also saw the return of popular hits for their newest seasons. Think back to early 2022. On what became known as “Euphoria” Sunday nights, fans would tune in every Sunday and share their thoughts on social media on the second season of writer and director Sam Levinson’s drama series. While the second season was met with less favorable reviews than its first season, the acting remained top tier, earning lead actress Zendaya her second Emmy award.
This past spring, “The Dropout” premiered on Hulu, telling the story of Elizabeth Holmes and her disastrous healthcare technology. Starring Amanda Seyfried as Holmes, The Guardian called the series “another mind-blowing portrait of a great American fraudster.”
Over the summer, fans saw the return of Regency-era romance “Bridgerton,” a show that originally gained popularity during the pandemic. Similarly, Hulu’s “Only Murders in the Building,” a passion project from Steve Martin and Martin Short, returned in June for another successful season. The show follows the murder podcasting endeavors and antics of three strangers who live in the same New York City apartment building. Portrayed by Short, Martin and Selena Gomez, the trio works to solve a murder case in their building, hence the title. Known for its “amiable, low-key wit” according to Variety, for many, the whodunnit comedy was a hallmark of summer 2022.
While the topic is up for debate, the fourth season of “Stranger Things” was perhaps the most triumphant release of the year. “Stranger Things” became a viral topic of discussion on TikTok and sparked the return of Kate Bush’s 1985 hit single “Running Up That Hill” to the Billboard charts, a testament to the power of social media. On Netflix, the show broke the record for the largest opening weekend for an English language show. It’s safe to say that “Stranger Things” occupied the minds and screens of many this past year.
“House of the Dragon,” the “Game of Thrones” spinoff has occupied the small screen this fall, along with “The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power.” The shows bring with them significant fan debate over which show is the better spinoff. To round out 2022, “The Crown’’ returned to Netflix for Season Five. The season featured an entirely new ensemble cast in order to age the characters, and focused on the latter years of Princess Diana’s life and the relevance of the monarchy to British society in the 1990s.
2022: the year of film set drama. Specifically, Olivia Wilde’s “Don’t Worry Darling” was perhaps the most talked-about film of the year, but more so for its offscreen drama than anything viewed in the 2 hour runtime. The psychological thriller stars Florence Pugh and Harry Styles as perfect, idealized couple Alice and Jack Chambers, but of course, the characters live in a world that is not what it seems. In short, the promotion of the film completely spiraled, including an offscreen romance between Styles and Wilde, Pugh’s refusal to promote the film, a fight with Shia Labeuf and an extremely awkward premiere at Venice Film Festival.
On the topic of psychological thrillers, Jordan Peele’s “Nope,” starring Keke Palmer and Daniel Kaluuya, was met with relatively solid success after its summer release. The story follows two siblings living on a horse ranch who discover an unearthly phenomenon. After 2017’s “Get Out” and 2019’s “Us,” this film continues a fantastic run for Peele.
“Top Gun: Maverick” debuted with $160.5 million in the box office, becoming a bestselling blockbuster of 2022. The film brought a sense of nostalgia to older viewers for its 1986 first installment, and the presence of lead actors Tom Cruise and Miles Teller was definitely a draw for younger audiences. The film gained attention particularly for its cinematography in the flight scenes. Cruise portrays Maverick, the protagonist, as he leads a group of Top Gun aviator students in completing a near-impossible mission.
At the same time as “Top Gun: Maverick,” the Elvis Presley biopic “Elvis” hit the big screen. The film stars Austin Butler and Tom Hanks, featuring a more artistic spin on the traditional biopic format, courtesy of director Baz Luhrmann, who is also known for his adaptation of “The Great Gatsby” in 2013. Butler’s popularity skyrocketed, and fans will catch him at the 2023 Academy Awards and in “Dune: Part Two” next year.
This past fall, “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” debuted, honoring the late Chadwick Boseman, the previous star of the series. The film saw generally positive reviews and follows a massively successful first installment in 2018. While Boseman’s performance is hard to follow, the film wrote Boseman’s character’s death into the sequel and follows its aftermath.
Finally, fans can look forward to the release of Damien Chazelle’s “Babylon” before Christmas. “Babylon” takes place in 1920s Hollywood, and the drama features outrageous costumes and sets. Margot Robbie, Brad Pitt and Tobey Maguire lead the film, which is already generating Oscar buzz.