If Nathan Fielder’s The Rehearsal taught us anything this summer, it’s that obsessively rehearsing a scenario doesn’t guarantee everything will go according to plan. There are still opportunities to go off script. This happens with pop culture as a whole; a studio can do all the test screenings and focus groups it wants, but those methods can’t account for the unpredictability of the real world. Yes, Hulu might have been prepared for positive reactions to Prey, but who could have foreseen the praise lavished upon star Amber Midthunder? Sony might have braced for negative reactions to Morbius, but the studio definitely wasn’t ready for the deluge of memes at the film’s expense.
In selecting the entertainment winners and losers from the summer of 2022, we set ourselves one important ground rule: The project or subject must have had its big moment between May and August. So yes, we’re celebrating Kim Wexler now, even though she’s been gracing our TV screens since 2015, because Better Call Saul season six was truly her time to shine. Here’s everything we loved and everything that fell short this summer, with our picks alternating between good and bad.