The golden age of TV continues! From Hollywood newcomers to longtime stars, 2022 was anything but short on memorable television performances.
Stranger Things returned to Netflix for its fourth season after a long hiatus — and brought a new breakout star with it. Joseph Quinn made his debut on the supernatural drama as Eddie Munson, an eccentric Hawkins High student who befriends Dustin Henderson (Gaten Matarazzo) and later tags along to save the small town from Vecna’s curse. Eddie doesn’t make it out of the Upside Down alive, but Quinn couldn’t be more proud of his character’s arc.
“Well, I think it is a beautiful exploration of redemption. I think what makes him a hero is self-sacrifice and being in service of something other than yourself. It’s an incredibly brave thing,” the Catherine the Great star told Esquire in July as part 2 of the season hit Netflix. “I think we’re so driven by personal goals, ambition, acclaim and status. I think paying the ultimate price for something other than yourself, for other people, that’s always been considered, going back to the Bible, an incredibly brave thing. There’s a parable to Eddie’s story, really, that is poetic, powerful and beautiful.”
The misunderstood high schooler dies in Dustin’s arms, and Quinn’s bond with his costar was just as powerful as the one fans saw on screen. “Working with Gaten has been such a joyous experience. He’s a brilliant person and a wonderful actor,” the U.K. native gushed to Entertainment Weekly. “I was spoiled to have the amount of stuff that I got to do with him.”
After filming his emotional final scenes, Quinn took the edge off. “I had a shot of tequila in the camera truck, and I went home and I cried my eyes out,” he recalled.
Quinn “didn’t know for certain” whether Eddie would survive the season. “I was a little gutted ’cause I thought that if I worked hard enough they might bring me back for another season, but that didn’t work,” he teased, adding that he “had a suspicion” at how his story would end since he wasn’t optioned for another season. “So, yeah, I was kind of gutted that I was only there for one season, but to be part of it in any capacity is still pretty great.”
Fans were eager to catch up with the Stranger Things cast, who they’ve been watching since 2016, but a few new series stole the spotlight this year. The first season of ABC’s Abbott Elementary was an instant hit — and creator Quinta Brunson isn’t ready to slow down yet.
“It’s very rare for first-season comedies [to be a success], especially on network,” the Miracle Workers alum told Newsweek in August, reflecting on her show’s 13 Emmy nominations. “I just want people to know when you come to Abbott, you get a range of things. And this season, I feel like we get to play with that range. Now we get to live in it.”
Scroll down for a roundup of the most talked about TV performances of 2022: