Paul Fletcher's Top 10 TV Shows Of 2021

Alright, yesterday was about the cinema. Today, the focus is on the small streaming screen.

Way less "real life" TV in my watching life this year. Much like my movie list. So much of this list is fantasy, in one way or another. Probably needing more of an escape than in the past.

ONE OTHER super important point, as you read on, I will NOT mess around with ANY SPOILERS. NO SPOILERS. Proceed with confidence.

#10 - For All Mankind

I dig history stuff. Apparently, that includes fictional, adapted, alternative history. For All Mankind on Apple TV+ is fantastic. The show starts with the question, what if the Russians got to the Moon first and it all goes from there. From that starting point SO much changes from how we remember it. Makes for fascinating exploration with the possibilities that might exist if the global space race had continued and where humanity would be now.

#9 - Countdown: Inspiration4 - Mission To Space

I already have a major man crush on Elon Musk, things like this just fuel that. While other billionaires are taking their friends and celebs up for, largely, meaningless trips to the outer atmosphere. SpaceX is trying to actually learn, grow and explore.

A chronicle of the SpaceX Dragon mission, Inspiration4, in which four civilians travel into space on a three-day trip. I found this story to be just what the mission was named, inspiring.

OH and you can watch on Netflix.

#8 - Hawkeye

This one is, admittedly, a trick bag. I don't want to tell you too much because the show is still relatively new. BUT I also CAN'T tell you too much because we haven't even finished it.

You might be asking how I could put this in my Top 10 when we haven't even finished. That's fair. I'll redact if I'm proved otherwise, BUT this has a lot going for it that tell me I know it'll be worthy of, at least, #8.

I love Jeremy Renner

Marvel almost never misses

Already invested in the character and in this particular story

Watch on Disney Plus, the gist is this.....Clint Barton (Hawkeye) and Kate Bishop shoot a few arrows and try to avoid becoming the target themselves.

#7 - Invasion

What a COOL concept for a show. I mean it's been done before, but exactly like Apple TV+ did Invasion. They did an incredible job of making you care about the characters immediately.

Earth is visited by an alien species that threatens humanity's existence. Events unfold in real time through the eyes of five ordinary people across the globe as they struggle to make sense of the chaos unraveling around them.

#6 - The Morning Show

When this show started, I thought it was going to be a dramatic fluff piece, to an extent. I didn't realize just how on point it was going to be. How relevant and current it was going to be. In it's second season it went from a show that I thought was good to a show that I nearly binged because I was so hooked. (I don't binge watch, just FYI).

I wonder sometimes if the show has even evolved into much more than the creators even though. If you read the synopsis, it just feel as heavy and important as it's become.

An inside look at the modern workplace through the lens of the people who help America wake up, pulling back the curtain on early morning television.

#5 - LOKI

I'll admit, I'm not sure I even fully follow all of Loki, but the ride was sure fun. I'll eventually go back for a second watch of the full season. Tom Hiddleston has really grown on me, as well as so much of the cast. This is yet another project from Marvel that is just next level, especially weighed against our expectations for "television". Their storytelling is unmatched and that includes all the big fancy names that like to bash them like Martin Scorsese, Ridley Scott and etc. Also, the propensity for Marvel to come up with truly original concepts.

Dive into the MCU head first and don't even grab a life raft, the water is perfect.

#4 - WandaVision

Where do I start with WandaVision. Already liked the Vision character played by Paul Bettany. It's Elizabeth Olsen I've really come to love through the journey that is this show.

No surprise, see above, yet another brilliantly crafted, totally original concept for a show. In fact, WandaVision is an original concept wrapped inside of an already original concept. If you don't understand what's going on when it starts, like me, don't worry. Pay attention and stick with it and you shall be VERY handsomely rewarded.

Living idealized suburban lives, super-powered beings Wanda and Vision begin to suspect that everything is not as it seems. Oh yeah, WandaVision and Loki are both on Disney Plus.

#3 - Dave

Dave was suggested to me by multiple people and I just thought it looked dumb. And boy was I RIGHT! At least at first. It starts as sort of a goofy, quirky, left of center thing but becomes a lot more. First it is REALLY funny, like REALLY FUNNY. One of the funniest shows I've seen in a long time, but also quite raunchy. So, watcher beware. BUT along the way through 2 seasons it also dives into some deep deep stuff. Mental health awareness being at the forefront. It also gets a bit more avant-garde than I would've expected.

"Dave" centers on a neurotic man in his late 20s who has convinced himself that he's destined to be one of the best rappers of all time. Now he must convince his closest friends, because with their help, he actually might convince the world. Simultaneously exasperating and inspiring to his friends,he vows to leave no stone unturned on his quest to become the next superstar. The half-hour comedy is based on the life of rapper and comedian Dave Burd, better known by his stage name Lil Dicky.

Also, at some point you're going to start calling all your closest pals, Chuck.

#2 - Ted Lasso

What can I say that I've already said about Ted Lasso or what others have said. Probably nothing because everyone has talked about this show. I thought the flow of season 2 was similar to season 1. Season 1 took time to grow on me. In fact, I think I went back and watched the first episode 3 times before it clicked and I dove in. Season 2 was similar for me. Circumstances were different. Season 2 had MASSIVE expectations to live up to. So I think it took a bit to get acclimated.
With season 1, I watched off a recommendation. Wasn't sure what to think at first. Kind of felt like a goofy slap stick silly show sort of like a soccer version of the movie Major League. BUT then QUICKLY realized that the story of Ted Lasso and his entire crew was SO much more than that.

The "darts scene" in the first season is still one of my favorite, EVER, on TV. For season 2 the promotion of the show said "kindness is making a comeback". That's the biggest thing this show has to offer the world. Kindness and positivity. It's one of the only shows ever created, in my estimation, that you can actually be a better person for having watched it.

Don't worry, though, it also still has plenty of belly laughs and silly hijinks.

#1 - Dopesick

With the amount of spewed about Ted Lasso the last couple years, you KNOW something has to be brilliant to unseat that show as my #1.

Well, enter Michael Keaton and the Hulu show, Dopesick. NOW, this is the antithesis of Ted Lasso. The entire setting of the show is dark. However, it's not all depressing, it does offer hope. However, I will concede, it may very well light a fire of anger inside of you. It did for me. It's just hard to believe this could happen.

Exploring the epicentre of America's struggle with opioid addiction, from the boardrooms of Purdue Pharma, to a distressed Virginia mining community and to the hallways of the DEA. What this story will unravel for you is mind boggling. Yes, it's sad, but it also reminds that good people can win.

Dopesick came out of nowhere for me. NO ONE was talking about it. I just happened to scroll past it on the Hulu interface. I was immediately hooked and I think you will be too. I mean it's my #1 for good reason. Cast. Story. All of it.

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