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Best TV Shows of 2021
Gone are the days of 2020—a year of COVID-related plot lines, quarantines, and blasting through television series because it’s all we have to do. Now, it’s 2021 and we’re… well, we’re blasting through television series because we’re waiting on our number to be called in the vaccine line. Oh, and it’s cold. We’re getting there, though! And while we wait, there’s a whole new crop of series that are scheduled (or rumored) for the year ahead. If you or anyone you know is a Disney fan in the slightest, you likely heard of the insane line up of Star Wars and Marvel series announced for the next year. There’s also the hope that if we can get back into the swing of production, heavy hitters like Atlanta and Succession can return for their upcoming third seasons.
So let’s settle in, shall we? Take stock of the television slated for the months ahead. Here’s a running list of what you can definitely expect, what’s tentatively in the pipeline, and what could just make an appearance by 2022 if the production powers that be finally work in our favor.
New year, new TV baby.
New Season: Season Three is streaming on Netflix now, with Season Four expected this year.
If we learned one thing over the past year, it’s that the world could explode and Netflix would sneak in and say, “Hey, we have one more series for ya!” Dropping on January 1, Cobra Kai is in the first class of TV series coming out this year. The nostalgia fest has proven to be wildly successful for Netflix, so don’t expect to wait too, too long for the already-anticipated Season Four.
New Season: Season One will premiere on January 7.
Ted Danson can’t stay off television for too long. He is getting his own sitcom on NBC, following the success of The Good Place.
New Season: Technically not a season, but the next standalone episode comes out January 24, with a new season to follow sometime this year.
It’s been ages since we’ve gotten a full season follow up to Euphoria’s breathtaking first season. If you remember, Rue relapsed, Jules was on a train out of town, and well—high school remains way more intense than any of us remember it. With Season Two delayed, the series has appeased fans with a couple standalone episodes. The first came out right before Christmas 2020, in a stunning one-hour episode focused on Rue. This January, a second will debut, directed by Hunter Schafer, who will star in the episode focusing on Jules.
New Season: Season One will debut January 15
Superheroes and a strong 1950s aesthetic? Game on. Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany will star in WandaVision, reprising their characters of Scarlet Witch and Vision, respectively. The series, the first in the Phase Four chapter of the MCU, will debut on Disney+ on January 15.
New Season: Season One will debut February 11.
CBS is getting into the Silence of the Lamb game, releasing a new series that focuses on Clarice Starling—the role originally played by Oscar winner, Jodie Foster.
Hip Hop Uncovered
New Season: Season One will debut February 12.
The docuseries on hip-hop will debut on FX, taking a close look at the genre and the history it has with America at large.
Falcon and the Winter Soldier
New Season: Season One will debut on March 19
Another Marvel Phase Four production, Falcon and the Winter Soldier will debut on Disney+ in March. The series will take place after the events of Avengers: Endgame and feature Anthony Mackie and Sebastian Stan in the titular roles.
New Season: Season One is expected in May.
Along with Marvel’s other titles, Disney + will release a Loki series this Spring.
New Season: Season Two will debut TBD 2021.
Hi, I’m Dave!
The sleeper hit from FX came out in early spring of last year. Of course, that’s when the world when slightly haywire. The comedy about the aspiring rapper was renewed last May, with an expected Season Two sometime in 2021, though no hard date has been confirmed yet.
New Season: Season Three is slated for late 2021.
Another FX series with a lot of heart, Pose was renewed for a Season Three. The good news is that a lot of scenes are being filmed right now, but for anyone who knows the series well, here’s the bad news: there’s no way to safely film the ballroom scenes, meaning that production is delayed just slightly. Hopefully, a solution will come around soon.
New Season: Season Three is rumored for late 2021.
People want their best drama series back. Filming for Season Three of the critically acclaimed show was supposed to start last April but ended up being pushed. However, Succession was included in a roundup of “Soon on HBO Max” clips, which seems hopeful. Right now, it’s probably fair to assume a Season Three of Succession will be slated for a late 2021 release.
New Season: Season Three is rumored for late 2021.
Atlanta is the show you’re never quite sure when to expect. Don’t get us wrong: it’s always worth the wait. Season Two ended with two of its main characters heading to Europe, and the idea was that an international season would air at the beginning of 2021. Now that season is going into production early this year, meaning that it’s reasonable to assume we could see a Season Three later this fall.
New Season: Season One is currently scheduled for a late 2021 release.
Jeremy Renner and Hailee Steinfeld will reprise their roles in the Disney + series.
New Season: Season One is rumored to debut in 2021.
Now that Shonda Rhimes has moved to Netflix and settled in, big series are on the horizon. The next is called Inventing Anna, based on a New York Magazine story of a socialite who connives her way into New York’s most elite social circles.
The Underground Railroad
New Season: Season One will debut sometime in 2021.
Barry Jenkins’s series about the Underground Railroad finished filming this past fall, meaning that it should land on Amazon some time this year.
Lord of the Rings
New Season: Season One could come out tentatively in late 2021.
The new expansive Lord of the Rings series just recently resumed production in New Zealand, meaning that there is hope of seeing it debut on Amazon later this year. However, with a series of this scale (not to mention new actors are being added), it’s more unlikely than likely that we’re getting hobbits in 2021.
New Season: Season One is slated to debut in late 2021.
Peacock is tackling a Fresh Prince of Bel Air reboot, executive produced by Will Smith.
Nine Perfect Strangers
New Season: According to Hulu, the miniseries is “coming soon.”
Nicole Kidman’s new Hulu series (seriously, she bounces around miniseries like a boss) is set to debut later this year.
New Season: According to Hulu, the miniseries is slated for a 2021 release.
Based on the podcast of the same name, Kate McKinnon will take a dramatic turn as infamous businesswoman, Elizabeth Holmes.
New Season: Also slated for late 2021.
In this Hulu venture, Michael Keaton will star in an adaptation of Beth Macy’s non-fiction book about the opioid crisis in America.
Justin Kirkland is a writer for Esquire, where he focuses on entertainment, television, and pop culture.
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