While folks were slowly leaving their houses and attempting to return to normal, the best television of 2021 helped ease the awkward tension by acting as a touchstone in which people could relate to others (from a safe distance) again. Some shows wrote the pandemic into their storylines, but most chose to ignore it, and we were glad.

This year, the major player and overall winner was Disney+, who taught other multi-faceted media enterprises how to use the small screen to boost big screen interests. Through their onslaught of Marvel shows such as WandaVision, Loki, Falcon and the Winter Soldier, and Hawkeye, the Mouse House was able to tie together loose ends left by theatrical efforts, educating the masses on complicated ideologies such as the multiverse, and setting up future endeavors. By the end of 2021, Disney had revolutionized what could be achieved using a streaming service, and of course, making billions and billions of dollars.

But Disney wasn’t the only major player when it came to game-changing television. HBO came out on top with the wretched Roys of Succession, the impeccable performances in Mare of Easttown, the much-celebrated Hacks, and the inquisitive yet heartfelt How To with John Wilson. Netflix was another major player in 2021 as shows such as Squid Game, Midnight Mass, and The Witcher reminded us why we stopped using our former roommate’s password and finally got our own account.  

All in all, 2021 was a banner year for television, once again proving that genius can come in any size and on any screen, big or small. Here’s our Top 10 TV list (with links to our past coverage). If you haven’t seen any of these, do it. Do it now!

  1. WandaVision
  2. Succession
  3. How To With John Wilson
  4. The Witcher
  5. What We Do In The Shadows
  6. Hawkeye
  7. Midnight Mass
  8. Squid Game
  9. Mare of Easttown
  10. Hacks

See our film critics’ Top 10 Films of 2021 lists here.