TV 2021

  • Written by: Marko Samastur
  • Published on:
  • Category: Catchall

I decided to split TV and films into separate posts this year, because we saw a lot of them, especially films.

Nothing we watched was bad enough to abandon, although we probably should one or two. As usual I bolded those I think stand above the rest and I think either shouldn’t be missed or are very closed to that grade.

  • Donald Glover: Weirdo. Alright.
  • The Pembrokshire Murders. A completely decent addition to the true crime genre.
  • Love Life (Season 1 and 2). Fun, but the first season would be better if it stuck to its premise and didn't lose nerve in the middle by making the main character's experience less common.
  • Efterforskningen (The Investigation). Danish series about bringing Kim Wall's murder to justice without every showing him or mentioning his name. I wish this was more common approach as it worked so well here.
  • Us. Less funny and more moving story than I expected of using family's European vacation to try saving a marriage. Acutely observed and regularly funny.
  • Breeders (Season 1 and 2). Trials and tribulations of parenthood. Freeman and Haggard as always reliably funny and scripts hold up well in both seasons.
  • Search Party (Season 3 and 4). Not for everyone, but the strong acting of main characters and good enough writing keeps me interested in the journey of, at this point, completely unlikeable people.
  • Behind Her Eyes. This show felt like a Showtime production. I was too bothered by the main character and unrealistic portrayals of life in London to enjoy the series and the final twist.
  • Love, Death & Robots (Season 1). Anthology with a few great (3 robots) and good pieces (like the Hitler one), but otherwise just feel something imagined by a teenage boy: lots of gore, nudity and sex with women characters reduced to whore or hero. Definitely not watching the next season.
  • Unforgotten (Season 4). Mostly still very good and moving show which would be great without the last 10-15 minutes that overwhelm the main story and really spoiled it for me with just bad writing.
  • Halston. Underwhelming overall, but I enjoyed learning more about fashion (as it used to be?). I feel McGregor was mis-casted here, but it's difficult to say how much it was him and how much it was script and direction for making me care little about story.
  • Mare of Easttown. Not perfect, but still captivating criminal series with Kate Winslet and Jean Smart as standouts.
  • Hacks (Season 1). Another great performance by Smart in a comedy series deserving of received praise. Hoping for another season.
  • Killing Eve (Season 2 and 3). I enjoyed both seasons, great story and cast but Jodie Comer is simply astonishing.
  • Fargo (Season 4). Different from previous seasons, but still Fargo. Still hoping for another season
  • Jerry Seinfeld: I'm Telling You for the Last Time. Not without laughs, but another underwhelming (old) show from Seinfeld. At least when judged by his reputation.
  • The White Lotus (Season 1). An overrated show about affluent, but with one exception not rich people vacationing in a Hawaii resort. The more I think about the show, the more annoying it gets. I am definitely skipping the rumoured second season.
  • The Chair (Season 1). I have enjoyed this comedy set in academia a lot and don't care if academics find it a good portrait of it. It is funny and entertaining, but I also enjoyed more courageous presentation of modern issues than I usually see in mainstream media.
  • The Good Fight (Season 5). I was surprised how little did I miss exit of two leading characters. Still fun for fans and I find the main idea of the season (alternative court) thought provoking.
  • Evil (Season 1 and 2). Created by Kings duo (The Good Fight...) which was the main reason we started watching. Great cast and fun.
  • On the Verge (Season 1). Watchable, but I expected more. At its most interesting when observing continental European views clash with American progressive culture, but not enough to want to watch another season (if it ever happened).
  • The Other Two (Season 1 and 2). The premise of looking at a family where only those not seeking fame and glory suddenly gain it, is interesting and often funny, but main two characters started to irritate me and everyone feel too flat.
  • This Way Up (Season 1 and 2). Amazing show dealing with mental health and all the obstacles to own's happiness. Genuinely funny too, which is what I would expect from a show by Aisling Bea.
  • The Cleaner (Season 1). I haven't seen the German original, but this version is very good, especially episodes bookending the series.
  • Shetland (Season 6). Season written by someone who knew there will be another one. Ending was a bit weak, but otherwise still enjoyable if you weren't too bothered by daily season changes of amazing landscapes. Filming in COVID times far north is challenging.
  • Only Murders in the Building (Season 1). Definitely one of the most enjoyable shows of this year. Masterfully done and difficult to think of a way to improve it. Can't wait for the next season.
  • The Morning Show (Season 2). Even more underrated in the second season, but morally-complex characters that are not merely a vessels for crystallised messages are an uphill battle for the show's success, especially when connotations do not neatly align with popular ideas and tribes.
  • Alan Bennett's Talking Heads. Successful adaption of 10 (+2 new) monologues for TV. Bennett's humour and humanism makes even difficult parts bearable and monologues as whole enjoyable and acting Is impeccable.