A collective sigh of relief rippled across the globe when Jennifer Coolidge returned to our screens as Tanya McQuoid in the second season of HBO’s The White Lotus in October. The only guest from Season 1 who checked in for a second stay at the resort chain, this time swapping Hawaii for the Mediterranean island of Sicily, exhibited her iconic flair alongside new co-stars Theo James, Meghann Fahy, Adam DiMarco, and Wonderland Winter cover star, Leo Woodall. The latter found himself at the epicentre of one of the seasons’ most, um, speculated-about plotlines, thanks to some ambiguity on the nature of his relationship with his uncle Quentin (Tom Hollander). The good news, however, is that 2023 might just see us vacaying at The White Lotus once again, with HBO confirming that the show will return for a third season. We’re packing our suitcases already.
TV SHOWS OF THE YEAR
From a stay at The White Lotus to a transfixing love story in Heartstopper: here are our favourite TV shows of the year.
The White Lotus (Season 2)
Euphoria (Season 2)
Another show to make its long-awaited return was Sam Levinson’s teen drama behemoth Euphoria, which graced our screens once again at the beginning of the year. Catching up with the likes of Rue (Zendaya), Lexi (Maude Apatow), Fez (Wonderland Spring 2022 issue star Angus Cloud), Jules (Hunter Schafer) and Cal (Man About Town Winter/Spring 2022/23 cover star Eric Dane) was never going to be plain-sailing and the happenings of East Highland once again had us hooked. Sex, violence, drugs, and the perils of digital life were once again at the show’s core as we learned more about Fez’s past, were transfixed once again by Zendaya’s portrayal of Rue navigating the destruction in her life, and met Dominic Fike’s Elliot for the first time. One to keep us waiting, there’s no word yet on when we should expect Season 3, however, we can guarantee we’ll be tuning in when it does roll around.
A classic story from the cultural history books is a tall order to reinterpret, but if there’s anyone who can do it and do it with aplomb, it’s director supremo Tim Burton. In October, the eccentric lives of The Addams Family were thrust back onto our screens in Netflix’s Wednesday this time centred around Jenna Ortega’s titular character and her experiences of navigating school life at Nevermore Academy, alongside her idiosyncratic abilities and circumstances. However, Burton’s efforts didn’t just fulfil fans of the classic iterations’ expectations, but produced one of the most successful TV releases of the last decade, becoming the second-most watched English language Netflix series and bagging Golden Globe nominations in the process.
Top Boy (Season 4)
Spellbinding TV releases also hailed from the UK in 2022, with gripping British crime drama Top Boy proving a case in point. In the second instalment since the show was relaunched on Netflix, we picked up exactly where we left off amid the drug wars of Jamie (Wonderland Winter 2022 cover star Michael Ward), Dushane (Ashley Walters) and Sully (Kano). Clocking up some air miles this time around, the series was set against an international backdrop as well as the streets of East London from which it stems. Tackling everything from homophobia to gentrification, once again this drama offered intricate, nuanced storylines alongside unmissable drama. Don’t mind us while we rush to the TV to rewatch.
It was all about Shameless’ Jeremy Allen White in June as he assumed his first lead TV role in Disney+ comedy-drama The Bear. The series followed Carmy (Allen White), a burgeoning, lauded New York chef who returns home to Chicago to take over running of the family sandwich shop, The Original Beef, after his brother Michael’s suicide. Left to Carmy in Michael’s will, Allen White’s character also inherits the eclectic cast of staff, including Michael’s best mate Richie (Ebon Moss-Bachrach) and baker Marcus (Lionel Boyce) running the shop prior to the death. The chaos of the kitchen made for a truly immersive watch, with the psychological challenges endured by its characters captivating audiences in the process.
Louis Theroux Interviews… Stormzy
Not just one British icon but two combined in this candid and revealing conversation between grime sensation Stormzy and documentary extraordinaire Louis Theroux. In a world of action-packed dramas, who knew all we needed for such an engrossing watch was two men and a conversation? Touching on mental health, his relationship with Love Island host Maya Jama, and the pressures of fame, Theroux crafted a fascinating portrait of one of music’s biggest stars. We hope the two find time to hang out again.
Stranger Things (Season 4)
Who knew that Kate Bush’s 1985 hit “Running Up That Hill” would become one of 2022’s most devoured songs? Well none of us did and surely neither did the makers of Netflix’s Stranger Things but that’s exactly what happened when the track soundtracked Max’s (Wonderland Summer 2022 cover star Sadie Sink) battle with Venca, played by Wonderland Autumn/Fall 2022 cover star Jamie Campbell Bower. The ‘80s science fiction drama returned for its fourth season and had us as hooked on the lives of the likes of Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown), Finn (Mike Wheeler), and Will (Noah Schnapp) as ever before. A fifth and final season is in the works, so we wait in anticipation to see how this group of teenagers finally bow out.
The award for the best on-screen love story of 2022 goes to Charlie (Joe Locke) and Nick (Kit Connor), aka the stars of Netflix’s queer coming-of-age drama sensation Heartstopper. The adaptation of Alice Oseman’s graphic novel mesmerised us as we journeyed through the turbulent but beautiful romance of classmates Nick and Charlie. We also became acquainted with their captivating array of queer cast mates, in the form of Elle (Wonderland Summer 2022 star Yasmin Finney), Tara (Corrina Brown) and Tao (William Gao). A second season is thankfully on the way, reportedly set in the city of love itself, Paris, so strap yourself in folks as we embark on the next chapter of this love story for the ages.