There’s nothing better than rooting for your favorite TV character.
Sometimes, characters must go to their lowest point and crawl out to find new meaning in their lives.
Other characters developed new purposes and self-worth through different careers and relationships, which was fascinating to watch.
With so much content, many TV characters evolved in 2022.
Check what made our list below.
Maxine (Max) Chapman and Carson Shaw – A League of Their Own (Prime Video)
Max wanted to play professional ball her whole life, but her gender and race held her back. She’s able to overcome her circumstances while also embracing her sexuality.
Her journey parallels white housewife Carson, who must finally admit she is unhappy with her life and embraces her sexuality, as well as a leadership role on the women’s professional softball league.
These two unlikely friends overcome prejudice, social norms, and self-doubts holding them back.
They are role models based on real women who changed history.
Helen Decatur – Sweet Magnolias (Netflix)
Sweet Magnolias has covered many storylines over two seasons, but none were as heartfelt or as emotional as Helen’s miscarriage and IVF arc.
Helen longed to become pregnant and be more than just an aunt but knew Ryan didn’t want kids. Shortly after becoming pregnant, she miscarried the baby.
Helen’s journey didn’t end there. While she grieved for her baby, she was still determined to become a mother, no matter who was in her life.
Above all, Helen had to think of herself, and she still wanted a baby, even if it meant IVF treatments. She had just started going to the clinic when Season 2 ended.
Sydney Adamu – The Bear (FX)
Sydney steps into the kitchen of The Original Beef of Chicago sandwich shop with one goal — to train under the tutelage of Carmen Berzatto, a gifted chef with Michelin star standards.
She’s ambitious, driven, and professional. But when faced with a team of life-long lunch-slingers without respect for her, she finds herself losing her way.
She clings to the fact Berzatto recognizes her skill but resents that he isn’t in a position to mentor her the way she dreams of.
Constantly feeling like the outsider, Sydney rises and falls and rises again, stronger for knowing what quitting feels like. And while her knife may have found Cousin’s rump by accident, it was a cathartic moment that reverberated through the very fiber of the show.
Nick Nelson & Charlie Spring – Heartstopper (Netflix)
Nick and Charlie are easily one of the best couples of the year. You can feel the love between them whenever they stare at each other or whenever they’re together. But one of their biggest draws was the strong character arcs they took individually and together as a couple by the end of Heartstopper Season 1.
Nick was figuring out his sexuality and allowed himself to process his feelings comfortably. During this time, he also worked through who he had been as a person with his friends and the type of person he wanted to be in life.
Meanwhile, Charlie was discovering his self-worth and confidence within himself after he had been bullied for over a year after coming out. He started standing up against the people who wanted to use him or made him feel less than others; Charlie discovered he was worthy of happiness and true love.
Together, they worked through things to become emotionally available and became the strong couple (as well as individuals) we all love.
Beth Dutton – Yellowstone (Paramount +)
People may be shocked to find that Beth Dutton has done much growing, but after marrying Rip, she’s found another side of herself.
The always wild child has simmered down just enough to allow herself to fight Summer hard and show mutual respect (when warranted) afterward. She’s opening herself little by little to a life she may not have imagined she’d ever nail down.
The Beth we first met would have never gone on a gathering, but she went and showed her appreciation for the cowboys’ efforts to manage the cattle and even got teary-eyed when faced with the splendor of their cherished land.
Little strides for all but magnificent strides for Beth Dutton.
Eddie – A Million Little Things (ABC)
There used to be a time when the only character who superseded Eddie in the annoying and off-putting category was Delilah. However, when you consider where he’s started versus where he is now, one can’t deny that he’s had quite the evolution and may have even become a fan-favorite.
Coming off a terrible accident and fighting his way back to sobriety, Eddie has become a voice of reason among his friends, a shoulder to lean on, and such a supportive figure in the last season.
He and Katherine went from one of the most tumultuous divorces in tv history to becoming a beautiful new-age family, particularly as Eddie helped Katherine with her new relationship with Greta and owning her sexuality.
Somewhere along the way, the hot mess of the friend group became one of the most solid, dependable, and mature, and that’s the mark of excellent character evolution.
Sonny – SEAL Team (CBS)
This was the season that Bravo Team’s resident knuckledragger and door kicker evolved into something more.
Even after he attempted to form a family with Hannah and Leanne fell apart, Sonny continued to be his daughter’s loving dad from afar in between missions.
He also blamed himself and hurt the most among Bravo when his BFF Clay lost his leg and later his life during Clay’s rough decision into civilian life.
AJ Buckley brought out new emotional sides to Sonny, and the series has been better for it.
Coach Marcus – All American: Homecoming (The CW)
The All American franchise excels at mental health storylines, and Coach Marcus’s character evolved throughout both seasons.
In All American: Homecoming Season 1 highlighted how embarrassed Coach Marcus was because of his bipolar disorder and he hated breaking down in front of the team.
He even admitted that he broke up with Amara years before because he feared passing on his mental health issues.
However, on All American: Homecoming Season 2, Marcus attended treatment and openly talked to his team and prospective students about mental health. He was a role model for young African-American men.
Tory Nichols – Cobra Kai (Netflix)
It’s hard not to be taken by the grit of someone who walks into a karate studio and challenges anyone there to a battle royale.
Tori has always been solid out of the gate, and her hard-scrabble teenage existence has always given us a reason to root for her.
But on Cobra Kai Season 4, she has become a capable anti-hero that provides a welcome yin to Samantha’s privileged yang.
Although we were programmed to cheer an eventual Samantha win at the tournament this year, it felt unexpectedly right to see Tori triumph at the end of the day (Even if there was a technicality involved).
Over to you, Fanatics. Did your favorite make our list?
What else would you have added?
Let us know in the comments.
Laura Nowak is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.