Top 10 TV shows of 2021 start with the incredibly dysfunctional Roy family


The Best TV Show in 2021 is about the Worst People on TV – a bunch of selfish, self-centered monsters with way too much money and far too little compassion. But it is insanely entertaining.

1. “Succession” (HBO)

Still haven’t figured out if this was a comedy or a drama – it’s dark and dangerous, then suddenly hilarious. But this high-class soap opera about family intrigue and the battle for control of a media empire is always engaging and often surprising. The characters are fascinating. And perhaps the most amazing thing about “Succession” is that it’s so watchable even though there isn’t a single character worth rooting for.

Available on demand on HBO and streaming on HBO Max.

(Sandy Morris / Fox (Simone Recasner as Gabby and Ser’Darius Blain as Reggie in “The Big Leap”.

2. “The big jump” (Fox)

I’m well aware that “Leap” isn’t going to show up on a lot of top 10 lists. He fidgeted more than a little during his 11 episodes. But this show on a reality show about a production of “Swan Lake” starring ordinary people made me laugh, made me cry, made me fall in love with the characters, made me love romance. – and made me look forward to watching it every week. What more could you ask for from a television series?

Broadcast on Fox.com, Hulu, and Fubo, and you can buy it from Google Play, iTunes, Amazon, and Vudu.

(Photo courtesy of Ben Blackall / HBO Max) Olly Alexander as Ritchie Tozer and Lydia West as Jill Baxter in “It’s a Sin”.

3. “It’s a sin” (HBO Max)

This AIDS drama is not limited to disease. The five episodes immerse us in the lives of five young gay men who moved to London in the early 1980s – before AIDS – and follow them through the next decade as the plague devastates them and their community. In a way, it’s more tragic now than it was then to think of all the smart, funny, talented young men whose lives were cut short. And adding to the tragedy is the discrimination and contempt that have been inflicted on them. It’s not a non-stop tragedy – there’s a lot of humor – but tears will flow.

Broadcast on HBO Max.

(Anne Marie Fox | HBO Max) Hannah Einbinder and Jean Smart in “Hacks”.

4. “Hacks” (HBO)

Even if I didn’t like Jean Smart – and I really like him – I would tell you how good this series is. She plays stand-up comedy legend Deborah Vance, whose number is starting to wear out, so she hires 25-year-old Ava (newcomer Hannah Einbinder) to help her update the jokes. Deborah is caustic and downright mean at times – just like “Hacks” – but both the character and the show have a lot of heart. Besides, it’s funny.

Available on demand on HBO and streaming on HBO Max.

(Apple TV +) “Schmigadoon” will air July 16 on Apple TV +.

5. “Schmigadoon” (Apple TV +)

If you love Broadway musicals – and who doesn’t love a good Broadway musical? – This is for you. It is both a tribute and a parody of the genre, loosely based on “Brigadoon” and filled with odes to other productions. The cast is fabulous, including Keegan-Michael Key, Cecily Strong, Kristin Chenoweth, Jaime Camil, Alan Cumming, Jane Krakowski, Martin Short and Aaron Tveit. And it’s just plain fun to watch.

Broadcast on Apple TV +.

(Cliff Lipson / CBS) Brandon Scott Jones as Isaac, Utkarsh Ambudkar as Jay, Sheila Carrasco as Flower, Román Zaragoza as Sasappis, Rebecca Wisocky as Hetty, Rose McIver as Samantha, Devan Chandler Long as Thorfinn, Asher Grodman as Trevor and Richie Moriarty as Pete in “Ghosts”.

6. “Ghosts” (CBS)

I wasn’t a fan of this absurd series when it first started, as the first two episodes were simply remakes of the Britcom it’s based on. But this comedy about a couple sharing a huge old mansion with a bunch of ghosts just got better and better. And grown on me. It’s not just funny, it’s heartfelt and surprisingly sweet.

Thursdays at 8 p.m. on CBS / Ch. 2. Broadcast on Paramount +

(Craig Blankenhorn | Hulu) Selena Gomez as Mabel, Martin Short as Oliver and Steven Martin as Charles in “Only Murders In the Building”.

7. “Only murders in the building” (Hulu)

The unlikely team of Steve Martin, Martin Short and Selena Gomez as true crime podcast fans team up to solve a murder in their posh New York apartment building just reached out and grabbed viewers . The mystery was engaging, but all three stars – along with supporting players like Tina Fey and Nathan Lane – kept me coming back for all 10 episodes.

Broadcast on Hulu.

(Photo courtesy of Matt Squire / Playground Television (UK) Ltd.) Nicholas Ralph stars as James Herriot in “All Creatures Great and Small”.

8. “All Creatures Big and Small” (PBS)

This reboot of the series based on James Herriot’s books, which he based on his own life, had to be the cutest thing on TV this year. The story of a young vet who found a job in 1930s Yorkshire, England was neither explosive nor over the top, but it made the simple life important as it built drama, romance and comedy. Also, there were animals and it was beautiful to watch.

Season 1 airs on PBS Passport, which requires you to become a member with a minimum donation of $ 5 per month. It is also available on iTunes. Season 2 will begin airing Sunday, January 9 on PBS / Ch. seven.

(Photo courtesy of the Paramount Network) Kevin Coster as John Dutton and Luke Grimes as Kayce Dutton in “Yellowstone”.

9. “Yellow stone” (Paramount Network)

Prime-time soap operas have not reigned supreme on television since the 1980s. Westerns have not been featured on television very much since the 1950s and 1960s. But “Yellowstone,” an hourly soap opera / western prime time, has become about as big a hit as it gets anywhere on television – because it’s good. Too bad Utah let it go, allowing production to shift primarily from Utah to entirely in Montana.

New episodes air Sundays at 6 p.m. on Paramount Network. Season 4 episodes air on fuboTV, Philo and Sling. Seasons 1-3 are streaming on Peacock.

(Photo courtesy of Netflix) “Murder Among the Mormons” begins airing Wednesday, March 3.

10. “Murder among Mormons” (Netflix)

This three-part documentary about forger-turned-murderer Mark Hoffman, his lies, the terror he created in Salt Lake City, and how it all tied into The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is fascinating to those of us who remember when it happened. And even more fascinating for those who ignored Hoffman and his crimes.

Streaming on Netflix.

Honorable mentions

“Abbott Elementary” (ABC), “The Beatles: Get Back” (Disney +), “Cowboy Bebop” (Netflix), “Dopesick” (Hulu), “The Expanse” (Amazon Prime), “For All Mankind” (Apple TV +), “Foundation” (Apple TV +), “Genera + ion” (HBO Max), “The Good Fight” (Paramount +), “The Great” (Hulu), “Loki” (Disney +), “Maid” (Netflix ), “Mare of Easttown” (HBO), “The Mighty Ducks: Game Changers” (Disney +), “The Morning Show” (Apple TV +), “Muhammad Ali” (PBS), “Never Have I Ever” (Netflix) , The Nevers “(HBO),” New Amsterdam “(NBC),” Pose “(FX),” Reservation Dogs “(FX on Hulu),” Resident Alien “(Syfy),” Rutherford Falls “(Peacock),” Squid Team ”(Netflix),“ Starstruck ”(Netflix),“ Superstore ”(NBC),“ Ted Lasso ”(Apple TV +),“ This is Us ”(NBC),“ The Underground Railroad ”(Amazon Prime),“ What we do in the shadows ”(FX),“ Yellow vests ”(Hulu), Young Sheldon” (CBS).

Remarks

• This list is, by necessity, taken from shows I actually watched in 2021. No one has time to watch it all – there were almost 500 scripted series, plus sports, plus news, plus documentaries , plus reality TV shows

• Limiting a list to 10 is almost impossible. I have considered trading in almost every show listed as honorable mentions.

• No, I don’t just watch the shows listed above. There are a lot of very entertaining shows that are not listed.

• I probably forgot something that deserved at least an honorable mention. No lightness was expected.


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