ANNE MARIE FOX/HBO MAX

by alexis wilson

While 2021 felt like the longest year ever, it wasn’t all bad. Here are a few of our favorite TV shows this year.

The best shows of 2021

BARBARA NITKE/PEACOCK

#10 dr. death
 (peacock
)

Joshua Jackson gave his career-best as Christopher Duntsch, a surgeon whose charisma hides deadly ineptitude. Horror, suspense, and a dash of buddy-comedy thanks to Alec Baldwin and Christian Slater, Dr. Death is a true-crime hit. 

netflix

#10 squid game
(netflix)

The candy-colored survival thriller took the “Why not both?” approach when it came to turning kids’ games into terrifying torture traps. Lee Jung-jae is an endearing, unlikely hero in the bleak allegory. 

KEN JACQUES/UNIVERSAL

#6 midnight mass
(netflix)

A priest (Hamish Linklater) and ex-con drunk driver (Zach Gilford) receive an awesome power. What follows is a masterpiece of grief and guilt. Midnight Mass ruminates on faith, addiction, and free will through a genre lens. 

MACALL POLAY/HBO

#4 succession
(hbo)

Season 3 exposed the Roys for who they really are. With a derailed coup, family photo turned into a father-daughter power struggle, and a party that ended in a meltdown, it was hard to look away while these billionaires acted out.

SHANE BROWN/FX

#1 reservation dogs
(fx on hulu)

Four teens dream of a better life in California while bumming around their Oklahoma reservation. Co-created by Sterlin Harjo and Taika Waititi, Reservation Dogs is a coming-of-age comedy that is often heartbreaking and always funny.

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LIANE HENTSCHER/TBS