Aimee O'Keefe

20 Best TV Shows of 2021 | Man of Many

Choosing a list of the best shows of 2021 is no mean feat, so, in preparation, we hand-selected series across a broad range of genres released throughout this year. The criteria encompassed three major components;

How We Pick Our Best TV Shows

With that scope in mind, it’s time to dive into the 2021 TV shows that defined our year at home. From the streaming spectaculars that capture our imaginations to the big budget thrillers that kept us thinking, here are the 20 best TV shows of 2021, according to us.

Best TV Shows of 2021

This HBO limited series is much more than your typical true-crime drama. The iconic Kate Winslet plays Mare as she struggles to exist in the brutal small town she has always called home. It offers an authentic portrayal of police detention in rural Pennsylvania with just the right dose of added drama. The star-studded cast only adds to the engaging quality of the series.

1. Mare of Eastown

Another HBO original series and one of the best TV shows of 2021, Succession is everything you want a business drama to be. Focusing on the Roy family, who own the biggest media and entertainment company in the world, watch in anticipation as their father steps down and everything changes. The series explores the imperfection of an innate human desire for money and power, with a little bit of humour on the side.

2. Succession

Sports fans, buckle up, this one’s for you. Focusing on the protagonist whom the series is named after, this breakout show follows Ted’s journey as he heads to London to manage AFC Richmond, a struggling English Premier League soccer team, after years of working as an American football coach. A likeable man who promotes positive masculinity, the series dives deep into uncovering the hidden imperfections of his personality. It is a timely reminder that no one is perfect, even those you think maybe are.

3. Ted Lasso

Hands down one of the best TV shows of 2021, Squid Game certainly made its mark on 2021 in a weird, wacky and wonderful way. The South Korean series expertly crafts a dystopia littered with child-like premises, making it equally accessible and disorientating. Watch on as a handful of unlucky individuals are snatched off the streets, taken to an undisclosed location, and forced to participate in a series of childhood games. The catch- if you die in the game, you will die in real life. The mix of humour, absurdity and political commentary is something never seen before.

4. Squid Game

There has been plenty of hype surrounding the crime drama series Ozark, and for a good reason too. The series captivates the viewer five minutes into the first episode as we get wrapped into the struggles of a financial advisor who drags his family from Chicago to the Missouri Ozarks, where he must launder money to appease a drug boss. Gripping, dangerous and full of unexpected twists, Ozark is worth a watch.

5. Ozark

You is one of the best TV shows of 2021 if you’re in the mood for something sexy, murderous and thrilling. The series appears like any other romantic sitcom at first, with Penn Badgley playing a seemingly typical heartthrob protagonist as he navigates the dating world in his late 20s. It isn’t long until we discover his darker side, the series providing insight into how our psychology is informed by our childhood and raising questions about why we kill.

6. You

Yellowstone has taken 2021 by storm, as evidenced by the countless cowboy-obsessed masses that seemed to have popped up this year. Cowboy obsessions aside, Yellowstone is an iconic series about a ranching family in Montana facing off against others encroaching on their land. A seemingly simple plot, the twists and character development will have you hooked from the first episode.

7. Yellowstone

The latest epic series to make the list of the best TV shows of 2021 is Money Heist. The series follows an unusual group of robbers who attempt to carry out the most perfect robbery in Spanish history – stealing 2.4 billion euros from the Royal Mint of Spain. Don’t think this is just another bank robbery series, the unique characters and intriguing plot will have you coming back for more.

8. Money Heist

Perhaps one of the best TV shows of 2021 shining a light on workplace drama, The Morning Show is a series anyone who’s worked in a fast-paced workplace will relate to. The series depicts workplace power and politics to highlight the challenges faced by men and women alike in the workplace. The stellar cast is also what makes the series, starring Steve Carrel, Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon.

9. The Morning Show

Ok, so maybe not quite a TV show, but the cultural impact the Tokyo Olympics had cannot be undermined. Pleased to have had the Olympics take place this year at all, it’s no wonder so many of us were excited to watch on from our homes during lockdown. Sports of all kinds, every country you could imagine and smashing commentary made this one of the most-watched TV programmes of 2021.

10. Tokyo Olympics

The Wheel of Time series is based on Robert Gordon’s iconic book series, meaning the expectations were high. Set in a fantasy world where only some people can access magic, a woman named Moiraine crosses paths with five young men and women. This sparks a dangerous, world-spanning journey. The special effects and believability of the series lacks some sophistication, but this is also what makes it a captivating watch and a must-see nonetheless.

11. The Wheel of Time

Only a six-episode series, Loki makes up for it with the amount of action and adventure packed into each jaw-dropping episode. You can find the series on Disney+ and can expect a time-travelling adventure as mercurial villain Loki resumes his role as the God of Mischief, featuring poor chives, explosions and a bit of romance on the side.

12. Loki

Based on the bestselling novel by Liane Moriarty, the same author of the novel-turned series Big Little Lies, Nine Perfect Strangers had a lot to live up to. We’re happy to say that the series succeeded, proving a unique take on the struggles we all face from time to time, against the backdrop of the stunning Byron Bay where the series was shot. Nicole Kidman fits the role of seraphic guru perfectly, complemented by several other big names and countless Australian actors. Psychedelic therapy has never looked so good.

13. Nine Perfect Strangers

One of the best TV shows of 2021, The North Water depicts the life of Patrick Sumner, an ex-army surgeon who signs up as ship’s doctor on a whaling expedition to the Arctic. If you’re a fan of arctic survival thrillers, this one is for you. Just the right dose of adventure and fear, expect to see many frost-encrusted bearded men on your TV if you decide to delve into this epic series.

14. The North Water

Everything is not as it seems in the TV miniseries WandaVision, the best comedy-drama series to make the list. Follow the plights of two seemingly ordinary people with superpowers amid sitcom throwbacks, mysteries and classic Marvel mythology. Accompanied by impressive visuals and fantastic acting, this is a mutch-watch series.

15. WandaVision

If you have an obsession with true crime, Only Murders in the Building is one of the best TV shows of 2021 for you. Three strangers, who are equally as obsessed with true crime as you, end up in one themselves. Set against a dazzling New York City backdrop, this crime series differs from the others as it doesn’t take things too seriously.

16. Only Murders in the Building

Lupin is the much-anticipated series inspired by the adventures of Arsène Lupin. In the series, thief Assane Diop sets out to avenge his father for an injustice that has been inflicted by a wealthy family. Along with the obvious tension and drama, there is plenty of action to keep you on the edge of your seat.

17. Lupin

Another Korean blockbuster to take our TV screens by storm in 2021, Hellbound highlights a bleak new world and is no easy watch. The premise is immediately captivating; people hear predictions on when they will die, and when that time comes, a death angel appears in front of them and kills them. The heaviness of the series highlights the seriousness of our sins and the panic that goes down when we are forced to go to hell as a punishment.

18. Hellbound

In a similar vein to British mystery masterpieces Line of Duty and The Bodyguard, Vigil came out of nowhere to completely captivate us. The gripping UK drama throws accusation everywhere, with intrigue around every corner, but this whodunnit isn’t your run of the mill offering. When a crew member is found dead aboard the Trident nuclear submarine HMS Vigil, Scottish police begin an inquiry. The Vigil must remain on patrol in order to maintain the UK’s nuclear deterrent, meaning Detective Amy Silva has to jump onboard, alongside a killer, whoever they may be.

19. Vigil

Everyone loves a bit of family drama and crime action, and this is just what you’ll get with Animal Kingdom. The series centres on a Southern California family who use crime to fuel their wildly excessive lifestyle. Despite the dark subject matter, the series manages to remain lighthearted and equally as exciting. At times absurd, this show is perfect when you feel like escaping reality.

20. Animal Kingdom

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