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Awards Radar TV’s: The Best of Television 2021

Yes, we know it is February. An odd time to release our Best of TV 2021 list. We waited until now for a reason. If you have not noticed, there is a lot of content out there – A LOT of content. To ensure we viewed as much of the copious amounts of content as possible before compiling, not only the biggest names, we delayed our lists as long as we possibly could.

The ARTV (Awards Radar Television) Team has each delivered their individual top 10 lists for all series that aired in 2021. Many of the lists contains the usual suspects, and deservedly so, but each one also offers their own unique entries. Be sure to let us know what pick you agree or disagree with and what’s your top ten of the year.

STEVEN PRUSAKOWSKI // Awards Radar TV Editor

1 – Station Eleven (HBOMax)

2 – Only Murders in the Building (Hulu)

3 – Succession (HBO)

4 – Yellow Jackets (Showtime)

5 – Invincible (Amazon)

6 – WandaVision (Disney+)

7 – What We Do in the Shadows (FX)

8 – Ted Lasso (AppleTV+)

9 – The White Lotus (HBOMax)

10 – PEN15 (Hulu) // (tie) Squid Game (Netflix)

My top 10 is full of series that had me wanting more from the premiere episode right to their finales. It is an eclectic grouping that scared, inspired, exhilarated, thrilled, entertained and made me laugh. Restricting the list to ten was felt like an impossible task, hence you can find my incredibly long list of honorable mentions below.

Do not sleep on either list. They are full of incredible television that crosses genres, styles, time, and dimensions. Every single series included is worth your time – maybe not perfect, but sure to entertain. Make the time and watch them all. We are in an amazing time for of content. I truly look forward to what 2022 has in store for us. Expect more ARTV honors in the months to come.

Steven’s Honorable Mentions (in alphabetical order):
Cobra Kia (Netflix), Dickinson (AppleTV+), Evil (Paramount+), For All Mankind (AppleTV+), Ghosts (CBS), Hawkeye (Disney+), Hacks (HBOMax), The Handmaid’s Tale (Hulu), Mare of Easttown (HBOMax), Marvel’s M.O.D.O.K. (Hulu),  Midnight Mass (Netflix), Reservation Dogs (FX), Resident Alien (SyFy), Rutherford Falls (Peacock), Servant (AppleTV+), Star Trek: Prodigy (Paramount+)


PALOMA BENNETT

1. Dickinson (AppleTV+) 

2. Reservation Dogs (FX)

3. Succession (HBO)

4. Hacks (HBOMax)

5. Mare of Easttown (HBOMax)

6. Hawkeye (Disney+)

7. WandaVision (Disney+)

8. Station Eleven (HBOMax)

9. The Great (Hulu)

10. Arcane (Netflix)

Honorable Mentions:

1. Star Trek: Lower Decks (Paramount+)

2. Pose (FX)

Huzzah! I first want to say that this list is not in any specific order because it would be too hard to rank all these incredible television shows. Dickinson and The Great are surreal, innovative comedy-drama television shows that play with the genre and celebrate powerful historical women. Reservation Dogs Season 1 is a quirky, imaginative American Indigenous comedy-drama co-created by television newcomer Seminole – Muscogee American filmmaker Sterlin Harjo. I can’t wait to see what Harjo does next. Succession Season 3 leads its audience through a suspenseful ride full of humor and intelligent drama. 

Hacks Season 1 makes me laugh and cry because of the chemistry between the two female leads, Jean Smart and Hannah Einbinder. In Mare of Easttown, star Kate Winslet morphs into grouchy rugged East Coast Detective Sergeant Mare Sheehan. The MCU creates something entirely new in WandaVision by referencing classic sitcoms during a superhero story about grief. Hawkeye is a fun Christmas extravaganza that acts as a superhero origin story for new fan-favorite Kate Bishop and finally focuses on Avenger Clinton Barton. The Station Eleven innovative miniseries celebrates the importance of community and art. Arcane Season One is my favorite animation of the year because Riot Games has finally created an animation for adults with beautiful art that builds a dynamic urban science-fantasy world. Forevermore …


NIKI CRUZ

1 – Ted Lasso (AppleTV+)

2 – Succession (HBO)

3 – Mare of Easttown (HBOMax)

4 – Insecure (HBO)

5 – Girls5Eva (Peacock)

6 – Hacks (HBOMax)

7 – Dr. Death (Peacock)

8 – Squid Game (Netflix)

9 – Maid (Maid)

10 – The White Lotus (HBOMax)


ABE FRIEDTANZER

The 2021 TV landscape presented so many terrific series, and it was especially great to get to know the now-canceled Genera+ion and experience not one but two seasons of the wrapped Dickinson. In their second seasons, The Great, Trying, and Breeders demonstrated a tremendous ability to merge comedy and drama, while Hacks, The White Lotus, The Shrink Next Door, and Only Murders in the Building excelled at infusing seriousness into their clever humor. Loki, one of several prominent Marvel Cinematic Universe offerings, was on a wholly singular level. 

1 – The Great (Hulu)

2 – Loki (Disney+)

3 – Hacks (HBOMax)

4 – The White Lotus (HBO)

5 – Genera+ion (HBOMax)

6 – The Shrink Next Door (AppleTV+)

7 – Trying (AppleTV+)

8 – Only Murders in the Building (Hulu)

9 – Dickinson (AppleTV+)

10 – Breeders (Hulu)

Abe’s Secondary awards:

Pitch-perfect performance: Alan Tudyk in Resident Alien. Could there have been a more well-suited actor for this superb role in a fantastically entertaining show?

Musical moment: Sue (Ella Hunt) sings “Split the Lark” in the Dickinson episode of the same name.

Most promising start: Apple TV’s The Mosquito Coast, which delivered a thrilling pilot whose pacing and potential wasn’t matched by its subsequent episodes.


CHRISTOPHER JAMES

1 – Dickinson (AppleTV+)

2 – The White Lotus (HBOMax)

3 – The Other Two (HBOMax)

4 – Hacks (HBOMax)

5 – It’s a Sin (HBOMax)

6 – Sex Education (Netflix)

7 – Insecure (HBO)

8 – Mare of Eastown (HBOMax)

9 – Ted Lasso (AppleTV+)

10 – Cruel Summer (Freeform)


AMANDA SPEARS

1 – Succession (HBO)

2 – Hacks (HBOMax)

3 – Mare of Easttown (HBOMax)

4 – Maid (Netflix) 

5 – The Great (Hulu)

6 – What We Do in the Shadows (FX)

7 – Underground Railroad (Amazon)

8 – Yellowjackets (Showtime)

9 – The White Lotus (HBO)

10 – Only Murders in the Building (Hulu)

(Honorable Mentions)

– The Handmaid’s Tale (Hulu)

– Ted Lasso (AppleTV+)

– Loki (Disney+)

– WandaVision (Disney+)

– The Shrink Next Door (AppleTV+)

Amanda’s Awards

MVP of the year: Jean Smart. It took a long time for Smart, to finally have a leading role on Hacks and she rose to the occasion. Smart took a victory lap with another outstanding supporting performance in Mare of Easttown

Best new series: Yellowjackets. Melanie Lynskey, practically slit the throat of Rose from Two and a Half Men her once most well known television performance. Joining her were other child stars whose talent has been unnervingly used— Juliette Lewis and Christina Ricci. Let’s hope when Emmy nominations are announced this trip is remembered 


BRADLEY WEIR

While Succession remains as masterful as ever, Cobra Kai has exploded and become must-watch television. The Karate Kid sequel series is thrillingly entertaining and features an incredible ensemble. This is Us remains as touching as ever while AEW’s scripted weekly television show Dynamite has storylines and character development that rivals the very best written shows. As a life-long Friends fan, the reunion hit a spot with me that warrants a place in this list.

1 – Cobra Kai (Netflix)

2 – Succession (HBO)

3 – This is Us (NBC)

4 – AEW Dynamite (TBS)

5 – Friends: Reunion (HBOMax)

6 – The Witcher (Netflix)

7 – Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO)

8 – The Masked Singer UK 

9 – Emily in Paris (Netflix)

10 –  Heels (Starz)

Members of THE ‘VERSE! squad podcast: All our selections are genre series from the cinematic universes and beyond that had been discussed on the podcast.

1 – Invincible (Amazon)

2 – WandaVision (Disney+)

3 – Station Eleven (HBOMax)

4 – Squid Game (Netflix)

5 – Hawkeye (Disney+)

6 – Y: The Last Man (FX)

7 – Wheel of Time (Amazon)

​​8 – Falcon and Winter Soldier (Disney+)

9 – Expanse (Amazon)

10 – Cobra Kai (Netflix)

Arcane (Netflix), Loki (Disney+), Lupin (Netflix), Kim’s Convenience (Netflix), Marvel’s M.O.D.O.K. (Hulu), Masters of the Universe (Netflix), Midnight Mass (Netflix), Titans (HBOMax), What It…” (Disney+). Witcher (Netflix)

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Ryan
Ryan
3 months ago

As for me:

  1. The Underground Railroad
  2. The Handmaid’s Tale
  3. Succession
  4. I Think You Should Leave
  5. Squid Game
  6. The Great
  7. Last Week Tonight With John Oliver
  8. Mare of Easttown
  9. Hacks
  10. Midnight Mass

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Written by Steven Prusakowski

Steven Prusakowski has been a cinephile as far back as he can remember, literally. At the age of ten, while other kids his age were sleeping, he was up into the late hours of the night watching the Oscars. Since then, his passion for film, television, and awards has only grown. For over a decade he has reviewed and written about entertainment through publications including Screen Radar and Awards Circuit. He has conducted celebrity and red carpet interviews with some of the industry’s biggest names. He is a graduate of RIT film program. You can find him on Twitter and Letterboxd as @FilmSnork – we don’t know why the name, but he seems to be sticking to it.
Email: filmsnork@gmail.com

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