2022 was a fantastic year in television, with many acclaimed shows returning from COVID-induced extended hiatuses, as well as plenty of new juggernauts premiering. Fans surely recognize many powerhouse actors who appeared in 2022 TV shows, but may not know some of the talent behind the scenes who bring these stories to life. Showrunners, writers, directors, and producers are all essential in shaping the shows that get to our screen, and some very influential creatives had their hand in a wide range of hits in 2022.
Whether established titans of TV, or new faces, here are some of the creators who were most prolific and influential in 2022 behind the camera.
- Photo: Atlanta / FX116 VOTES
Donald Glover is a man of many talents, known as a writer, actor, and musical artist under his other name, Childish Gambino. He is both creator and star of Atlanta on FX, which aired two seasons in 2022. Glover stars as Earn, and occasionally goes undercover as other characters, such as the mysterious director "Mr. Chocolate" in an episode where Van brings her daughter Lottie to a TV set.
Glover himself directed that episode, as well as several others throughout Seasons 3 and 4, in addition to writing the show's finale, “It Was All a Dream.” Glover was nominated for an Emmy for lead actor in a comedy in 2022, and remains eligible for the next awards cycle for the final season of Atlanta. He's proved he can write, act, direct, and create a surreal and striking world on TV.
- 225 VOTES
Ryan Murphy has had his hand in almost every genre of television as an executive producer and creator, from teen drama, to musicals, to procedurals, to horror. 2022 brought many new shows under Murphy's credits, including his ongoing hits American Horror Story and American Horror Stories, mystery thriller The Watcher, the first season of Monster focusing on Jeffrey Dahmer, emergency responder procedurals 9-1-1 and 9-1-1: Lone Star, and miniseries The Andy Warhol Diaries.
This insane amount of work is made possible by Murphy's collaborators; he frequently works with Brad Falchuk, Ian Brennan, and Tim Minear to help create and run various shows. Few creators are as prolific as Murphy, and though his works are often polarizing, his knack for eye-catching drama can't be denied.
- 310 VOTES
Many know Bill Hader as the eponymous star of Barry, but did you know he also co-created the show with Alec Berg? In fact, the concept of Barry was inspired by Hader's time on Saturday Night Live, during which he was hailed as one of the show's greatest performers, but it plagued him with anxiety. He transferred that concept of a man who was miserable while doing a job he was incredibly talented at to Barry Berkman, the unhappy hitman who dreams of being an actor.
In addition to delivering a mind-blowing acting performance, Hader co-wrote three episodes of the third season's episodes with Berg, and also directed five out of eight episodes - not easy to do while also acting. He received Emmy nominations for both acting and directing, and he reportedly plans to direct every episode in the upcoming fourth season. Hader first became famous as a comedian, but he's ensuring that he'll be remembered as a powerful dramatic actor, writer, and director as well.
- 426 VOTES
Mike White had an exciting but unusual career before his breakout fame in the last two years. He appeared on reality shows like Survivor and The Amazing Race (which may have inspired his travel-themed HBO series), though film fans may best know him as Ned Schneebly from School of Rock (which he also wrote). But he rocketed into fame as a television creator with HBO's The White Lotus.
2022 brought not only a smattering of Emmy awards for the first season (which aired last year), but also the second season of the hotel-murder-anthology, taking place in Sicily. White wrote and directed every single episode of the show, which is a tremendous amount of work, but it has paid off for him, with his vision capturing critics' attention, and online discourse. Far less notable, but amusing, is that White also wrote one episode of Thomas & Friends: All Engines Go in 2022.
- 58 VOTES
Taika Waititi has been a big name in the film world for some time, but the writer/director/actor has slowly cemented his presence in television as well, with a whopping four shows that aired in 2022 that credit him in some fashion. He's the co-creator of FX's What We Do in the Shadows, based on his 2014 film, and remains an executive producer, though he's no longer an active writer. He is also credited as an executive producer on Wellington Paranormal, a New Zealand series that's another spinoff of the 2014 Shadows film. Reservation Dogs, which Waititi co-created with Sterlin Harjo, aired a second, highly acclaimed season.
Waititi graced the screen himself playing Blackbeard, AKA Ed Teach, on the first season of Our Flag Means Death. He captured attention with his marvelously good looks and sweet romance with Stede Bonnet (Rhys Darby), but fewer may know that Waititi also directed the pilot of that show, and serves as executive producer as well. It's hard to imagine how he has time to work on major film releases on top of all these series.
- 64 VOTES
Shonda Rhimes's name has been synonymous with popular television ever since she created her first show, Grey's Anatomy. She still serves as executive producer on the 19th season of that show, plus the sixth season of its shared-universe companion Station 19. Her production company, Shondaland, has churned out constant hits for nearly two decades now, and 2022 brought a few more.
Season 2 of Shondaland's period romance Bridgerton hit Netflix and topped the first season's debut. Shondaland also made the miniseries Inventing Anna, which captivated audiences looking for the story of scammer Anna Delvey. We can only wonder what else Rhimes and her brand will cook up next.