2021 in review: What were our favourite TV shows of the year?
Easily one of the highlights of 2021 was the excellent television content. Despite the pandemic’s lingering impact on the industry, this year produced some instant classics that we’ll be rewatching again and again. And some of Hollywood’s biggest names stepped up to produce their best ever acting performances.
It’s A Sin, Channel 4
One of 2021’s earlier hits, this heartbreaking HIV/AIDS drama broke new ground when it premiered in January. Featuring a painfully relatable cast, headed by musician Olly Alexander, Russell T. Davies’ drama told the story of London’s LGBTQ+ community in the 1980s.
Another of 2021’s earliest hits, WandaVision showed how successful the Marvel Cinematic Universe could be on the small screen. Offering quirkier stories than might be possible on film, WandaVision paid tribute to sitcoms old and new in a bizarre but brilliant blend of superhero drama and classic comedy.
The Flight Attendant, Sky One
Kaley Cuoco is the beating heart of this fantastically slick mystery drama, which sees Cuoco play a fun-loving air hostess who finds herself at the heart of a murder investigation. Stylish cinematography is joined by an Emmy-nominated performance from Cuoco.
Mare of Easttown, Sky Atlantic
Kate Winslet’s award-winning turn in a crime drama set in a small town in Philadelphia was lauded by critics in Spring 2021. Revolving around a strong central mystery, Mare of Easttown is a highly polished drama well executed by its creators.
We Are Lady Parts, Channel 4
A brilliantly quirky new feminist comedy putting representation at the heart of the show, We Are Lady Parts blends catchy tunes with an unforgettable cast. It manages to be both a well thought out insight into young womanhood as well as laugh out loud hilarious.
The White Lotus, Sky Atlantic
Not everyone’s lives are as picturesque as the setting of this acclaimed satirical drama, which excited audiences over summer 2021. Set at a holiday resort in Hawaii, The White Lotus explored the dark and complex lives of residents to incredibly watchable success.
Only Murders in the Building, Disney+
This delightful mystery drama takes the cultural obsession with true crime podcasts to the next level. Steve Martin, Martin Short and Selena Gomez have wonderful chemistry as three true crime enthusiasts who decide to investigate a murder in their own apartment block in New York. It goes about as well as you’d expect.
Squid Game, Netflix
What would this list be without the most talked about show of the year and Netflix’s biggest ever hit? The brilliantly violent Korean drama offers a thoughtful critique on class struggle and capitalism as it pits vulnerable individuals in a competition to the death. All we want now is a second season.
The Wheel of Time, Amazon Prime Video
Amazon’s answer to Game of Thrones, this fantasy adaptation is based on the novels of the same name by Robert Jordan. Rosamund Pike heads a wonderfully diverse cast, which features epic worldbuilding and plenty of adventure thrills and mystery.
YellowJackets, Sky Atlantic
A gritty exploration of four young women’s fight for survival in the Canadian wilderness after their plane crashes. Told in the present-day and flashbacks, the series explores the harrowing months in the wild as well as the girls future in society, where they struggle with the trauma of what happened to them.