TV never really left, per se, but 2021 certainly did its part to bring it back. In just the first half of this year, Disney+ relaunched the Marvel universe and captivated the internet for two months with WandaVision, prestige TV like Mare of Easttown became appointment viewing, Lupin got the Netflix audience hype for French TV, and a whole bunch of great book-to-TV adaptations kept the conversation flowing. There are six more months to go in the year and plenty of shows to come, but these are Mashable’s picks (ordered by release date) for the 10 best shows in 2021 (so far).
Reportedly the first French series to break the U.S. top 10, Lupin stars Omar Sy as Assane Diop, a cunning thief whose brilliant crimes are inspired by famous French literary character Arsène Lupin. The series begins with Assane attempting to steal a historic necklace once owned by Marie Antoinette from The Louvre, and only ramps up its high-stakes heisting from there.
Across ten extraordinarily binge-worthy episodes, series creators George Kay and François Uzan maintain taut suspense at every turn. When you’re not watching an ingenious scheme unfold, you’re getting an intimate portrait of a charismatic antihero whose magnetism rivals the likes of Sherlock Holmes and Robin Hood. More episodes are on the way, but we don’t have a release date quite yet. — Alison Foreman, Entertainment Reporter
There is truly no reason that a sitcom-pastiche-grief-metaphor starring two tertiary Avengers should be a knockout hit and television masterclass, but Jac Shaeffer knew what she was doing with WandaVision. The genre-bending series brought us back to the MCU after more than a year-and-a-half without it, and immediately elevated storytelling possibilities for Marvel, Disney, and TV itself. Paul Bettany and Elisabeth Olsen jump admirably between comedy and drama, providing a TV comedy crash course as much as plumbing new depths for their superhero characters, especially how Wanda internalizes and unpacks her grief. Wanda may have grieved alone on screen, but audiences connected week after week with the show’s understanding of love, loss, and memory.
Kathryn Hahn gives not only an all-time MCU villain performance as Agatha Harkness, but a career best that spectacularly shows off her power (pun intended). Teyonah Parris, Randall Park, and Kat Dennings give us the crossover ensemble we didn’t know we needed (Avengers who?) and built hype for future Marvel movies. We might be back to regularly scheduled programming, but we’ll always have Westview. — Proma Khosla, Entertainment Reporter
Robert Kirkman may be best-known as the creator of The Walking Dead, but Amazon is poised to change that with Invincible. For people who have read the comic, the first season of this animated Prime Video adaptation is nothing short of a dream come true for the way it’s nailing and even improving on the source.
For everyone else, Amazon’s first season of InvincibleInvincible is a standout example of a trope-obliterating superhero story that doesn’t feel like any of the other trope-obliterating superhero stories that have jockeyed for attention in recent years. That’s thanks to Invincible‘s potent mix of jaw-dropping surprises, violence that isn’t just gratuitous, and a tender, beating heart. – Adam Rosenberg, Senior Entertainment Reporter
HBO’s drama became a rare case of must-see viewing and appointment TV — a dying breed that the Home Box Office is one of the last networks to dominate. Where Disney’s Marvel shows were endlessly discussed yet easily spoiled, Mare’s Sunday primetime slot gave us much-needed structure as we dissected a murder investigation in Pennsylvnia. Kate Winslet and her Pennsylvania accent lead this cast which feels as real as any small town in middle America. Winslet gives Mare endless rough edges, cloaking the character’s pain in her gruff determination to solve the crime. Whether or not you saw that final twist coming, Mare sucked you in and kept you coming back. — PK
Shadow and BoneShadow and Bone is the rare book-to-tv adaptation that took full advantage of the time between publishing and premiere and used it to improve the source materials in multiple directions. Leigh Bardugo’s original novel was a smash hit, but Shadow and Bone the series makes the cast more diverse, adds a subplot starring characters from the companion series Six of Crows, and brings forth some of the book’s messed-up romantic politics in a thoughtful and entertaining way.
Casting Ben Barnes as the Darkling, long thought to be the ultimate fancast, is only the very, very good-looking cherry on top of a series that takes the thematic responsibilities of YA fantasy seriously while being a dang entertaining show. – Alexis Nedd, Senior Entertainment Reporter
The timing couldn’t be better for Girls5eva. The comedy, which reunites a fictional turn-of-the-millennium girl group 20 years after their last hit, scratches the Y2K nostalgia itch while also satisfying our need to rethink some of the things we were saying and doing back then — all in a zippy half-hour package that has the bite we’d expect from a show executive produced by Tina Fey and created by Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt alum Meredith Scardino.
With painfully on-point jokes about the toxicity of the music industry then and now, goofy gags about see-through pianos and New York lonely boys, and catchy tunes (courtesy of Jeff Richmond) that you’ll find yourself humming for days afterward, Girls5evaGirls5eva has no shortage of belly laughs. But it’s the bonds between the recently reunited bandmates that are really at the heart of the show. It’s hard even to pick a favorite from the pitch-perfect cast (Sara Bareilles, Busy Phillips, Paula Pell, and Renée Elise Goldsberry), and maybe that’s the point: At any age, they’re better 3gether. – Angie Han, Deputy Entertainment Editor
Mythic Quest rebounded off of an epic first season with a new stretch of episodes in 2021 that demonstrate both how the show has grown, and how its ongoing story will grow from here. This cutting workplace comedy from the creators of It’s Always Sunny tempers the mean streak of the FX series with an inescapably wholesome gooey center. It’s also confidently grounded in the day-to-day work of building a hit video game, capturing all the inherent ridiculousness of a serious-minded job where people can spend a whole day debating the merits of a virtual shovel. Now in its second season with a more intricately detailed and emotionally complex set of lovable characters, Mythic QuestMythic Quest has really hit its stride. – AR
Hacks is many things: an incredible vehicle for Jean Smart; a provocative piece about the business of comedy; an odd-couple two-hander about work relationships that become all-consuming.
The show, about a falling star older comedian (Smart) and the once-hot, now-blacklisted writer (Hannah Einbinder) that begins to work with her on her Las Vegas standup act, is snappy and smart, with plenty to say about women who never got their due. It could easily have turned into a screed against Gen Z or Boomers, but instead, Hacks (which was co-created by Lucia Aniello, Paul W. Downs, and Jen Statsky) is a thoughtful exploration of change and comedy, engaging to both those who know a lot about the inside of Hollywood as well as those who look on from afar. The show is engrossing and funny — a weekend binge you’ll be thinking about far after the surprising and stirring final moments. — Erin Strecker, Entertainment Editor
Barry Jenkins’ directorial prowess and Colson Whitehead’s history-making excellence in fiction came together in the Amazon Prime Video powerhouse The Underground RailroadThe Underground Railroad. The magical realism of Whitehead’s work extrapolates the historical context of the real underground railroad for a twisted version of reality that gets at deeper truths; for Jenkins’ part he directs each episode as if it were a full-length Barry Jenkins movie. The Underground Railroad is a difficult show to binge but a necessary one to watch, as the marriage of literary excellence and dedication to story and performance has rarely been seen in a television adaptation. – AN
Sweet Tooth was a surprisingly fantastical addition to the Netflix lineup this year and its big bet on childlike wonder paid off in spades. Even though its setting takes place after a deadly virus has decimated the human population and caused the collapse of civilization (yikes), Sweet Tooth is more of a fairy tale told from the perspective of one of the other side effects of the apocalypse — a human-deer hybrid named Gus whose father sheltered him from the worst of the world until shelter became untenable. Gus’s journey through the world he barely knew existed is a beautiful coming-of-age story with a talented supporting cast and a flawless cute-to-concerning ratio. —AN
From : pk.mashable.com