The 10 Best TV Shows of 2021 That Got Us Through a Pandemic and Then Some


Dec. 30 2021, Published 3:45 p.m. ET

Best TV of 2021
Source: Getty Images

Whether you subscribe to Netflix, Hulu, HBO Max, Disney Plus, or any of the other streaming networks, there is one subject on which all TV watchers can agree: 2021 was an excellent year for television. Between thrilling mystery dramas to keep viewers on the edge of their seats, spectacular superhero shows, and laugh-out-loud comedies, 2021 brought the necessary entertainment to distract us from the crush of the coronavirus pandemic.

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If any of these shows aren't your cup of tea, there are plenty of new shows from 2021 to choose from. In no particular order, here are our picks for 10 of the best shows of 2021.

1. 'WandaVision'

Source: Disney Plus

WandaVision kicks off the Marvel Cinematic Universe's television franchises with a bang. The show picks up after the events of Avengers: Endgame and focuses on the romance between Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen) and the Vision (Paul Bettany). When each day begins to seem like a different episode of television, the residents of WestView begin to suspect not all is as idyllic as it seems.

WandaVision is available for streaming through Disney Plus.

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2. 'Mare of Easttown'

'Mare of Easttown.'
Source: HBO Max

This Kate Winslet–led crime drama Mare of Easttown follows Detective Mare Sheehan as she investigates the murder of a young girl and the disappearance of another. Mare is a local hero and former basketball star, but doubts begin to shadow her detective abilities as her personal life falls apart. Although it was initially listed as a limited series, fans were so taken with the show that there have been rumors of a Season 2.

Mare of Easttown is available for streaming on HBO Max.

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3. 'Squid Game'

'Squid Game.'
Source: Netflix

The cultural phenomenon of Squid Game has spread globally, even securing the show a reported second and third season. Squid Game is a South Korean survival drama that follows Seong Gi-hun, a divorced gambling addict desperate for cash. When he is approached to play children's games for the chance to win a large cash prize, he accepts but quickly realizes that the games are life or death.

Squid Game is now streaming on Netflix.

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4. 'Reservation Dogs'

'Reservation Dogs.'
Source: Hulu

Reservation Dogs follows the lives of four Indigenous teenagers in rural Oklahoma (Devery Jacobs, D'Pharaoh Woon-A-Tai, Lane Factor, Paulina Alexis), where they spend their days committing crimes — and fighting crime — to save money to move to California. In addition to being a hilarious comedy, it is also the first television show to feature all Indigenous writers and directors, with an almost entirely North American Indigenous cast and production team.

Reservation Dogs is available for streaming on Hulu.

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5. 'Lupin'

Source: Netflix

This French mystery-thriller television series Lupin stars Omar Sy as Assane Diop, a man inspired by fictitious master thief Arsène Lupin after his father is framed for jewelry theft. Assane uses his skills to seek revenge on Hubert Pellegrini, his late father's employer and the person who framed him.

Lupin is available for streaming on Netflix.

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6. 'The White Lotus'

'The White Lotus'
Source: HBO Max

With a powerhouse cast including Connie Britton, Jennifer Coolidge, Murray Bartlett, and more, The White Lotus follows a week in the life of vacationers at The White Lotus resort in Hawaii. With each day, more dark secrets unravel, ruining the picture-perfect image that the cheerful hotel employees and wealthy guests have painted.

The White Lotus is available for streaming on HBO Max.

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7. 'Shadow and Bone'

'Shadow & Bone.'
Source: Netflix

Based on the bestselling book series by Leigh Bardugo, Shadow and Bone follows young orphan and cartographer Alina Starkov (Jessie Mei Li) in a fantasy land torn in half by a sea of darkness. When incredible power within Alina begins to surface, she finds refuge with the Grisha, an army of elite magical soldiers led by the mysterious General Kirigan. On the other side of the world, a group of thieves plans to kidnap an extraordinary target.

Shadow and Bone is available for streaming on Netflix.

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8. 'Only Murders in the Building'

'Only Murders in the Building.'
Source: Hulu

The mystery-comedy series Only Murders in the Building features the talents of Steve Martin, Martin Short, and Selena Gomez. The show follows three residents of the same apartment building who share an obsession with true-crime podcasts. After a death in their affluent Upper West Side apartment building, the trio decides to investigate the suspicious circumstances surrounding the death.

Only Murders in the Building is available for streaming on Hulu.

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9. 'Rutherford Falls'

'Rutherford Falls.'
Source: Peacock

From the creators of Parks and Recreation comes Rutherford Falls, a comedy about two lifelong friends, Nathan Rutherford (Ed Helms) and Reagan Wells (Jana Schmieding). When a statue of the town's founder, Nathan's ancestor, is removed, Nathan begins a quest to keep the statue in place. Reagan juggles loyalty to her friend and her people, the Minishonka Nation.

Rutherford Falls is available for streaming on Peacock.

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10. 'Made for Love'

'Made for Love.'
Source: HBO Max

Made for Love is based on the novel of the same name by Alissa Nutting. The story of Made for Love follows Hazel Green's (Cristin Milioti) escape from a suffocating marriage to a tech billionaire, only to discover that he has implanted her with a tracking device in her brain. The device allows him to watch her live and view her "emotional data."

Made for Love is available for streaming on HBO Max.

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Although our list only holds 10 shows, there are a few honorable mentions. Check out other Marvel shows from 2021, such as The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, Loki, What If? and Hawkeye; Cruel Summer on Hulu; Maid on Netflix; and Blindspotting on Hulu.

We look forward to even more great TV in 2022!

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