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It’s been a surprisingly strong year for television. Partly because so many major movie releases ended up hitting streaming services early on. (Don’t forget Warner Bros.’s unprecedented decision to air its releases on HBO Max when they hit theaters.) Movies and TV delayed by the pandemic in 2020 have also been able to cross the finish line thanks to safer filming schedules and vaccinations. The result was a wealth of content for couch potatoes.
As you settle into the holiday festivities, here are some picks you may have missed during the year. (And be sure to check out our recommendations from last year!)
I’ll be honest: I didn’t expect much from a League of Legends TV program. But mysterious It surprised me with its well-written characters, fantastic fantasy world, and great animation. While there are some killer action sequences, what’s really made of it mysterious The business is her commitment to mature storytelling. The characters you love will die. Villains are never one tone and heroes are never perfect. It’s not just a solid video game adaptation, it’s one of the best TV shows to debut this year.
Religion-focused horror may sound more like anti-holiday shows, but that won’t stop us from recommending Midnight Mass. The show is an exploration of dogma, bigotry, our connection to the universe, and another compelling series from rookie horror master Mike Flanagan. Unlike the entrances to his previous haunted house (Chase Hill House And Play Manor), Midnight Mass Focuses on a small island community off the coast of Massachusetts, the kind of place that has its own demons festering beneath the surface. I won’t spoil what’s going on, but it’s the kind that Stephen King fans will eat.
Also on Netflix:
dog power: Jane Campion returns to feature films with the eerily beautiful West. Benedict Cumberbatch steals the show as a monstrous cowboy poisoned by a toxic masculinity spell.
We see: Director David Fincher’s latest project on Netflix is a series of visual articles on the power of cinema from some of today’s best critics and thinkers.
Gabi dolls house: A wonderful cat-inspired show about a young girl who goes on an episodic dollhouse adventure.
Legendary comedian (Jeann Smart) is forced to team up with a young, semi-cancelled writer (Hannah Einbender) to bring her work into shape. Fun ensues. hacks This simple sitcom takes and elevates it with a fierce smart performance. On the face of it, it’s a story about two creative generations learning to coexist. But it’s really a story of lost people who find direction in each other. It’s the kind of genius comedy and drama we’ve been expecting from the people behind us Broad City.
A 20-year-old woman (Rose Matavio) accidentally loses one night with a movie star (Nikesh Patel). Once again, fun ensues. (HBO Max really has a knack for putting together great show venues!) starstroke It’s the rare season of TV shows that you can easily enjoy all at once – it’s only six episodes of 22 minutes long. But I recommend taking your time. Matafio is downright funny, but there’s also an undercurrent of romance that makes you root for these crazy kids.
Also on HBO:
white lotus: Wealthy resort-goers versus people forced to cater to their needs. It’s great to see another funny, but very human, show from Mike White.
search party: This former TBS show (now a HBO Max original) is the best hipster murder mystery you’ll ever see.
Succession: There are a lot of shows about wealthy fanatics these days, but Succession It stands out as a sharply written black comedy filled with characters you would love to hate.
Stories about the daily lives of Native Americans are very rare, so it’s refreshing to see such drama booking dogs. Set on a rural preserve in Oklahoma, it follows a group of troubled teens, helping their community, and pursuing their dream of moving to the promised land of California. It’s the first TV series to feature an entirely original cast of writers and directors (co-created by Taiki Waititi), and it’s a reminder of how the push for better on-screen representation can lead to new storytelling.
Also on Hulu:
top of the lake: If you are looking for a smart crime thriller movie, don’t sleep in this Jane Campion series. It stars Elizabeth Moss as an Australian detective who investigates over two seasons cases focusing on missing and murdered women.
Y: The last man: A rare adaptation that succeeds in improving its physical source, s It is a compelling picture of a world in which nearly everyone with a Y chromosome dies, leaving women in charge.
+ Apple TV
for all mankind
One of the first Apple TV+ series evolved from being a rather interesting alternative historical fable – what if the Soviet Union landed on the moon first? — to one of the best dramas ever about space travel. My advice? Get past the rocky episodes one and two to find the true genius of the show: pushing NASA to get more women, and eventually people of color, into space. If it miraculously lasts several seasons, I wouldn’t be surprised if for all mankind Shows us how something like Star Trek A space-faring community can be formed.
Also on Apple TV +:
Dr. Bren: Apple’s first Korean series, directed by dreamy director Kim Ji Won, explores the possibility of downloading and reviving someone else’s memories. Belt – it’s a lot.
Even if you are tired of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, hook Worth watching because it is simply Hazar. Clint Barton has never been the most interesting of the avengers, but he’s just as cool as Kate Bishop’s character, the brave protege of the stock bomber. You may not reach heights loki or Wandavision, but very frustrating miles ahead Falcon vs Winter Soldier.
Also on Disney+:
the Beatles: get back: A stunning fly-on-the-wall documentary featuring some previously unseen footage of the Beatles.
Star Wars: Visions: spin the anime star Wars I’ve always dreamed of it.
bluish: Give the best children’s show on TV.
Other things to watch
yellow jackets (show time): A girls’ soccer team is stranded in the woods after a plane crash. How did they manage to survive for more than a year? yellow jackets It tracks adult survivors as they try to find out who delves deeper into their traumatic past.
Star Trek Prodigy (Paramount+): What happens when a group of alien kids get their hands on the Enterprise? Something we haven’t seen before in Star Trek The Universe Before: How People Live Outside the Wealthy Union. Miracle It features some really fun characters and great animation in a kid-friendly package.