If you’re on the hunt for the best television shows of 2021, we’ve got you covered.
It’s been a huge year for small screen fans. We’ve been gifted with brand new shows and limited series like Mare of Easttown, The Chair, Squid Game, and The White Lotus.
A list of the best television shows of 2021 wouldn’t be complete without some older shows that had new seasons this year. Fans got to grab some popcorn and tear through new seasons of Succession, I Think You Should Leave, Search Party, and more!
Check out the best television shows of 2021 below.
Mare of Easttown
HBO’s Mare of Easttown had fans waiting on the edge of their seats for each new episode of this limited series. The show follows Kate Winslet as Detective Sergeant Mare Sheehan, a highly skilled crime investigator. After a young woman is murdered in a small town in Pennsylvania, Mare has to solve the crime while trying to keep her life together. While she’s spent all of her life in Easttown and knows everybody there, her perspective is skewed after the tragic death of her son.
The highly anticipated third season of Succession definitely did not disappoint. It picked up right where season 2 left off, when Kendall Roy (Jeremy Strong) refused to take the fall for his father, Logan (Brian Cox). “Ambushed by his rebellious son Kendall at the end of season two, Logan Roy begin season three in a perilous position, screambling to secure familial, political, and financial alliances,” the show’s logline reads. “Tensions rise as a bitter corporate battle threatens to turn into a family civil war.”
I Think You Should Leave
Season two of Netflix’s sketch series I Think You Should Leave with Tim Robinson came out this year. Is it possible that season two was even funnier than season one? The sketches from this show is sure to send you into a fit of hysterics. From Karl Havoc losing his will to live because of a prank gone awry to “using to small a slice” of toilet paper, you’re in for a laugh with this show.
Sandra Oh stars as Professor Ji-Yoon Kim in The Chair, where she plays the first woman of colour to become chair at a major university. Throughout the series, she tries to meet the harrowing demands and high expectations of the failing English department. Kim attempts to ensure the tenure of a young Black colleague and parent her adopted daughter, all as she develops a crush on her colleague Bill Dobson.
One of the year’s most pleasant small screen surprises belongs to FX’s Reservation Dogs, from creators Sterlin Harjo and Taika Waititi. The series follows Bear (D’Pharoah Woon-A-Tai), Elora (Devery Jacobs), Willie Jack (Paulina Alexis), and Cheese (Lane Factor), as they pursue dreams of moving to California, engaging in an array of adventures around their Oklhahoma-based community. The show also boasts an all-Indigenous writing team.
It’s hard to talk about Search Party without giving too much away. The show is a dark comedy that follows four self-absorbed young adults that get caught up in a mystery. In season one, Alia Shawkat’s Dory makes it her mission to find her former college acquaintance Chantal who goes missing. From there, everything goes awry. The new season came out this year, and it follows a…peculiar…relationship between Dory and Chip (Cole Escola).
South Korean survival drama Squid Game truly blew up after it came out in North America on Netflix. The series, created by Hwang Dong-hyuk, revolves around a pretty dark contest. In it, 456 players who are in deep financial debt risk their lives to play a collection of deadly children’s games. If they win, they get $45.6 billion. If they lose, they risk their life.
The White Lotus
This list of the best television shows of 2020 would be incomplete without yet another hit HBO series. The White Lotus boasts a star-studded cast that play guests and staff at a resort in Hawaii. The dark, twisted secrets of the guests and the staff are slowly revealed throughout each episode. What begins as a relaxing vacation ends in a mysterious death.
British comedy-drama Feel Good has its second season come out this year. Created by Mae Martin and Joe Hampson, the show is a semi-autobiographical romantic comedy. Martin stars as themself alongside Charlotte Ritchie as their girlfriend George. The new season dives deeped into the intense emotions of the first. The moving series is definitely a must-watch, and it’s sure to take you on a deeply emotional ride.
The first Marvel-focused live-action series ever arrived on Disney+ this year. The show focuses on Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen) and Vision (Paul Bettany), whose relationship was uh… very clearly impacted by the events of the MCU’s Avengers: Infinity War. WandaVision follows the Scarlet Witch and Vision in more of a lighthearted sitcom-style seires.
Netflix is a streaming service unafraid of returning to the well of nostalgia, which is exactly what they’ve done with the third season of Cobra Kai. It’s a lot of more of two grown men continuing a nearly 40-year-old beef, with enough easter eggs and callbacks to the original movies to keep even the most inspired Karate Kid enthusiast thoroughly entertained.
Ted Lasso is a popular Apple TV+ series. It follows Jason Sudeikis, who plays an overly positive American football coach hired to coach British Football, a.k.a. soccer. This year, Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy even covered the iconic theme for the show.
American comedy-drama Hacks is another HBO hit that’s already been renewed for a second season. The show follows Deborah Vance (Jean Smart), a renowned Las Vegas stand-up comedian who is trying to find ways to stay relevant. On Hacks, Deborah teams up with Gen Z comedy writer Ava who struggles to find work after being “canceled” over an insensitive tweet. The two reluctantly team up, and the episodes follow their endearing, slowly budding friendship.
Netflix’s fourth and final season of its beloved comedy series, Atypical, arrived on the streaming service this year. Atypical follows the story of 19-year-old Sam Gardner, who is on the autism spectrum, as he begins to date and find a sense of self. Alongside Keir Gilchrist, who plays Sam, the show also stars Brigette Lundy-Paine, Michael Rapaport, Jennifer Jason Leigh, and more. The final season is even more heartwarming than the last. It’s sure to get you laughing, crying, and feeling every emotion in between!
Never Have I Ever
Mindy Kaling’s coming-of-age comedy Never Have I Ever is a pretty fun watch. The charming series follows an Indian-American teenager, Devi Vishwakumar. Throughout the show, she navigates the pressures of high school, romantic relationships, and her overbearing mother. Devi, played by Mississauga’s very own Maitreyi Ramakrishnan, returns alongside her best friends Eleanor (Ramona Young) and Fabiola (Lee Rodriguez), as well as her domineering mother Nalini (Poorna Jagannathan).
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