This article was originally published on CNN.

Editor’s Note: The past year was filled with uncertainty over politics, the economy and the ongoing pandemic. In the face of big changes, people found themselves longing for a different time. CNN’s series “The Past Is Now” examines how nostalgia manifested in our culture in 2022 — for better or for worse.CNN — 

After a dreary pandemic winter, a summer surge and a deluge of distressing news in between, it felt good to have dragons on TV again.

“House of the Dragon,” a prequel to HBO’s über-hit “Game of Thrones,” didn’t attempt to reinvent its franchise. “Dragon” checked all the “Thrones” boxes: Bodily mutilation, violence against women, scenes filmed in near-darkness, wigs. (HBO and CNN share parent company Warner Bros. Discovery.)

And though dragons didn’t get nearly enough screen time, it was hard to complain when the CGI winged creatures soared and provided us a fantastical escape.

One week after HBO returned to Westeros, J.R.R. Tolkien fans were whisked back to Middle Earth, with all its Orcs and Elves and wizards, in “The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power” on Amazon Prime. That same month, Disney’s acclaimed “Star Wars” prequel-to-a-prequel, “Andor,” started streaming. “Interview with the Vampire” and “Wednesday” closed out a year that also saw the TV returns of Obi-Wan Kenobi and Spock.