The Best Television of 2021 | TV / Streaming

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BRIAN TALLERICO

Runners-up: “Brand New Cherry Flavor” (Netflix), “Curb Your Enthusiasm” (HBO), “Dave” (FXX), “Hacks” (HBO Max), “The Head” (HBO Max), “Invincible” (Amazon Prime), “The North Water” (AMC +), “Painting with John” (HBO Max), “Scenes from a Marriage” (HBO), and “Untold” (Netflix)

20. “We Are Lady Parts” (Peacock)

19. “WandaVision” (Disney +)

18. “Ted Lasso” (Apple TV +)

17. “The Good Fight” (Paramount +)

16. “Swagger” (Apple TV +)

15. “The Great” (Hulu)

14. “Exterminate All the Brutes” (HBO)

13. “What We Do in the Shadows” (FXX)

12. “Sweet Tooth” (Netflix)

11. “Only Murders in the Building” (Hulu)

10. “Evil” (Paramount +)

Robert and Michelle King’s drama fled the confines of broadcast CBS to their streaming partner this year and arrived with a season that was even more daring, surreal, ambitious, and downright strange than its great first outing. While the skeptic / believer dynamic of Katja Herbers and Mike Colter’s characters, the first season earned comparisons to “The X-Files,” but season two expanded that idea into fascinating corners of the world, unpacking how the concept of evil is fed by institutions like the church and our government, while also never forgetting to occasionally be downright terrifying. This funny, riveting show doesn’t just want us to consider the many forms that evil takes nowadays but maybe even look at some that only our nightmares have been willing to imagine.


9. “Hemingway” (PBS)

We’ve reached a point where we take Ken Burns and Lynn Novick for granted. New releases by arguably the best non-fiction filmmaking team in the world used to get more attention, but it’s increasingly hard for projects that feel like school to stand out in a world of Mandalorians and the Upside Down. Do yourself a favor and seek out this stunning three-episode study of the life and work of one of the most important authors in the history of the written word. Burns and Novick don’t just present a chronological biography but detail how Hemingway’s life influenced his work, and vice versa, in a way that’s as riveting as any fictional drama. It will make you want to read every Hemingway that you haven’t yet, and re-read the ones you have.

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