The best TV shows of 2021

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“Bo Burnham: Inside”
The musical wrote, filmed, directed and edited this 90-minute show at his home during the pandemic. Although he never directly named covid-19, it was a brilliant portrayal of life in lockdown, especially its tensions: fun tracks like “FaceTime With My Mom (Tonight)” and ” Looks Who’s Inside Again “have given way to darker songs about the mental health. Irresistible earworms (“White Woman’s Instagram”) and explorations of the Internet and the art of comedy (“Comedy”, “Problem”) are strewn everywhere.

“Dickinson”
This year, Apple TV + released the penultimate and final season of its popular drama, starring Hailee Steinfeld as the mysterious American writer. Alena Smith, the creator, could have produced a poised and serious biopic of this giant of poetry, imagining what could have inspired her and how she felt about the Civil War. Instead, she wrote a show as unusual and modern as the author herself, to a soundtrack of hip-hop and pop music. Dickinson and his time are meant to be “a metaphor for looking at us,” says Ms. Smith.

“Great”
The first season of the tumultuous historical comedy envisioned the Russian Empress (Elle Fanning) journey from naive to conspiratorial. Catherine’s attempt to topple her insane and barbaric husband Peter (Nicholas Hoult) had mixed results and she found out she was pregnant with her child. The show’s very quick, very loose approach to the past, full of sex and swearing, might have faded in the second season, but the writers kept the ups and the laughs, as Catherine sailed through it. in his new roles.

“Guilt”
In the second season of the black comic – described by some as the Scottish “Fargo” – disgraced lawyer Max (Mark Bonnar) is released from prison and eager to get revenge on Roy Lynch (Stuart Bowman), a mainstay of the crime. Max’s maniacal cellmate is also on the loose, and a plot involving a housing estate, church, sack of money, corrupt cops, and buried secrets brings them all together. The tongue-in-cheek humor, idiosyncratic characters, and top-notch performances make it more than the sum of its parts.

“It’s a sin”
Russell T. Davies’ miniseries on the HIV / AIDS epidemic hit UK screens shortly after the country entered another nationwide lockdown. The characters’ confusion, disbelief, and panic over a deadly new virus seemed oddly relevant. But Mr Davies said he had been looking to write about AIDS since the mid-1990s – before his flagship sitcom “Queer as Folk” aired – in order to pay tribute to his own friends affected by the disease. “It’s a Sin” stood out from other dramas on the subject by showing its young characters enjoying the thrills of city life in the 1980s before tragedy struck.

“Maid”
Inspired by a memoir with the caption “Hard Work, Low Pay, and a Mother’s Will to Survive,” the Netflix limited series took a long and careful look at poverty in America as experienced by a young woman. single mother. It was infuriating to watch Alex (played by the excellent Margaret Qualley) become entangled in government red tape as she tried to improve her life and that of her daughter, Maddy. The writing was flawless and deeply empathetic.

“Easttown Mare”
In the first episode, with grim predictability, the almost naked corpse of a young woman was found in a stream. But “Mare of Easttown” was less interested in crime than in the community that was its context: adults too aware that life can be tragic and teenagers who know more than adults realize. Intimacy and camaraderie, espionage and claustrophobia, were conveyed by a set of top-notch actors, including Guy Pearce. Yet even in distinguished company, Kate Winslet’s performance stood out.

“Mohammed Ali”
The docuseries directed by Ken Burns, Sarah Burns and David McMahon were a subtle and devastating portrayal of an American hero and the ultimate athlete-activist. The boxer amazed the world with his feet and fists; Across four episodes, the viewer saw him refine his rhetoric and rhetoric as well as his jab. Few stories can handle nearly eight hours of television, but Ali’s is one of them. It has been said many times before, but maybe never with this depth and intimacy.

“Sex education”
Set in a British school, the second season of the Netflix comedy series ended with a spooky production of “Romeo and Juliet” and the dismissal of the director. The third began with the tenure of Hope Haddon, a disciplinarian determined to improve Moordale’s image and cleanse the minds of her sex-obsessed students. She of course clashed with Otis and Maeve (Asa Butterfield and Emma Mackey), the school’s unofficial relationship counselors, Jackson (Kedar Williams-Stirling), the former Head Boy, as well as Cal (Dua Saleh). , a new binary non-student. “Sex Education” offered many of the usual teenage getaways, but excelled at humanizing unpromising characters like Adam and Ruby.

“Succession”
The Roys returned, still stabbing themselves in the back for control of Waystar Royco, a media conglomerate, still hurling graphic slurs and still behaving ruthlessly. After the betrayal of his son, Kendall (Jeremy Strong), in season three, Logan Roy (Brian Cox) and his other children had to fend off strangers – rivals, prosecutors, regulators – like a medieval clan atop a hill. That was delicious.

“Ted Lasso”
In the opening episodes of the hit show Apple TV +, Ted Lasso, an American football coach transplanted to the Premier League, won over his detractors with a mix of folk friendliness, self-confidence and homemade baking. This allowed the writers to focus on the supporting AFC Richmond characters in the second season, with wonderful results. One highlight was an episode in which Roy Kent (no prize for guessing which gruff Irish midfielder the character is based on) had to deal with his beloved niece’s halitosis. When Jason Sudeikis, who plays the main character, hosted “Saturday Night Live” in October, he admitted to being stunned by the show’s success. “It’s really shocking to me,” he joked, “because it’s built around two things Americans hate: football and kindness.”

“This way up”
The first season of Aisling Bea’s comedy-drama, released in 2019, followed Aine (Ms Bea) as she recovered from a nervous breakdown and returned to work as an English teacher. As with “Fleabag,” with which he shares an irreverent tone, the emotional center of the show was the relationship between two sisters: Aine and the competent and worried Shona (Sharon Horgan). The second season left much of the darker material behind and instead focused on Aine’s relationship with Richard (Tobias Menzies), the single father of a student. While it lacked some of the hilarious and absurd sets from the first, the bond between the sisters – especially their bitter dialogue – was as well observed as ever.

“Wanda Vision”
After conquering the box office, the Marvel Cinematic Universe brought new stories and spinoffs to the small screen. Disney executives were hopeful that the franchise’s legions of fans would be tempted to subscribe to Disney +, the company’s streaming service, which launched in 2019. “WandaVision,” the first show set in the MCU, focused on two supporting characters, Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen) and Vision (Paul Bettany), and adopted a curious format (the protagonists were unwittingly trapped in mock hit TV series). Yet, it turned out to be a creative and thoughtful grieving meditation. â– 

See also:
The best TV series of 2020
The best TV shows of 2019

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