The Latch— Year in Review: The Best TV Shows of 2021 and Where to Watch Them

2021 has been a great year for television and thank goodness for that considering many of us were thrust back into lockdowns after thinking they would be a thing of the past.

There were new comedies, dramas, thrillers and mysteries to keep us entertained across all of the streaming platforms, as they all competed to attract and keep our attention. From stories that made us look at life differently, to characters that became like friends we couldn’t wait to catch up with as we navigated life within four walls, the small screen just kept on delivering.

Here, we have rounded up the best shows of 2021 and divided this list into new shows that came out over the last 12 months and new seasons of existing shows that reminded us of why we love them. We’ve also included where to watch them all so if you haven’t seen them yet, you can get right on that.

New Shows

Squid Game

Sorry to state the obvious, but this show was a huge deal in 2021 and, what’s cooler, its success was very organic.

This South Korean survival drama critiques capitalism and the divide between the have and have nots as 457 debt-stricken men and women who agree to participate in a series of children’s game’s in order to win millions of dollars, even though the penalty for losing is immediate execution. It’s a grim commentary on just how terrible life can be when you are constantly living in fear of debt collectors that death is an equal or better option.

The show has sparked a huge cultural moment, from the increased sales of the white Vans worn in the series, to a flood of interest as to how to make Dalgona cookies and even people searching for holiday destinations that evoke the show’s colourful aesthetic. Squid Game has also earned Netflix close to one billion dollars in revenue, so it’s no surprise the streamer has confirmed a second season.

Watch it on: Netflix

The White Lotus

I don’t know about you but if someone asked me what happens in The White Lotus, I’d be hard-pressed to give a succinct answer.

The acclaimed series, about the various and vaguely terrible guests who check into a luxury Hawaiian hotel, is more of a character study than a plot-intensive narrative but it was still one of the year’s most intriguing and addictive shows.

A second season has been confirmed but creator Mike White has said it will act as more of an anthology and take place at a different resort and with a different set of guests. Thankfully, Jennifer Coolidge — who delivered the show’s standout performance as the drunk, grieving and lovelorn Tanya McQuoid — will make an appearance in the second outing.

Watch it on: BINGE


There is a very good reason that veteran performer Jean Smart took out the Best Lead Actress in a Comedy Series nod at the 2021 Emmy Awards for her role in Hacks. She is just brilliant.

Hacks sees Smart play Deborah Vance — a legendary stand-up comedian who has a Las Vegas residency but is struggling to remain relevant as she gets older.

She teams with a young Gen Z comedy writer (Hannah Einbinder) who is suffering from being #cancelled after posting a Tweet that was deemed insensitive. The two work together in a bid to try to freshen up Vance’s act and give them both a second shot at professional success.

This series is bitingly funny with plenty of depth and also won the Emmy for Outstanding Writing For A Comedy Series and Outstanding Directing for a Comedy Series.

Watch it on: Stan


Netflix’s Maid, starring Margaret Qualley and her mother Andie MacDowell, had critics and viewers raving about it, while simultaneously wiping away the tears.

The miniseries — which is based on Stephanie Land’s memoir Maid: Hard Work, Low Pay, and a Mother’s Will to Survive — follows the journey of a young, single mother who takes a job as a maid in order to make ends meet while trying to raise her young son and escape from an abusive relationship.

Watch it on: Netflix

Only Murders in the Building

Now, you wouldn’t necessarily think that comedy legends Steve Martin and Martin Short would mesh well with former Disney darling Selena Gomez — especially in a murder mystery, but here we are.

The ten-episode series (which has already been renewed for a second) follows three strangers, bonded by their love of a true-crime podcast, who decide to try to solve a death in their New York apartment building after the police rule it a suicide.

Watch it on: Disney+


WandaVision was one of the most popular additions to Disney+ in 2021, which is saying something as the platform was really on fire with the content.

The series stars Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany as Wanda and Vision and picks up after the events of 2019’s Avengers: Endgame. The couple is now attempting to live a quiet life in New Jersey with their sons.

WandaVision cleverly utilises classic television troped to move the story forward and its success has been evident in the 23 Primetime Emmy Award nominations the show racked up, winning three.

While WandaVision sets up the upcoming film Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, a spinoff series starring Kathryn Hahn reprising her role as Agatha Harkness is currently in development.

Watch it on: Disney+


Another jewel in the Disney+ crown, Loki sees Tom Hiddleston reprise his role as the God of Mischief once more with the series taking place after the events of Avengers: Endgame. 

Owen Wilson also stars as Mobius — who enlists Loki’s help in rectifying the timeline he disturbed when using the Tesseract throughout The Infinity Saga. This sneaky little move has landed the trickster in hot water with the Time Variance Authority (TVA) who are in charge of protecting “the proper flow of time.”

In an MCU first, Loki confirmed that they are both gender-fluid and openly bisexual over the course of the first season with fans and critics praising the series remaining true to how the character is canonically portrayed in the comic books.

Watch it on: Disney+


Produced by rapper and actor Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson and starring Snoop Dogg, BMF is inspired by the true story of two brothers who rose from the decaying streets of southwest Detroit in the late 1980s and gave birth to one of the most influential crime families in the United States.

Demetrius “Big Meech” Flenory’s charismatic leadership, Terry “Southwest T” Flenory’s business acumen and the fraternal partnership’s vision beyond the drug trade and into the world of hip-hop would render the brothers iconic on a global level. Their unwavering belief in family loyalty would be the cornerstone of their partnership and the crux of their eventual estrangement.

Watch it on: Stan


Set in the League of Legends universe and using a blend of hand-drawn and CGI animation Arcane serves as a prequel to the game and retells the origin stories of several characters from Piltover and Zaun and, in particular, sisters Vi (Hailee Steinfeld) and Jinx (Ella Purnell) who find themselves on opposing sides of a war over twisted ideologies and arcane technology.

Watch it on: Netflix 

New Seasons of Existing Shows

Succession, Season 3

What’s not to love about the Roy family? They are filthy stinking rich, incredibly powerful and some of the most dysfunctional and terrible people you will ever meet. No wonder we cannot get enough of their antics.

In the third season of Succession, the Roy kids are still vying for both the top job at Waystar Royco and their father’s affection, but he remains as curt and unyielding as ever. Special mention must go to Jeremy Strong who has been playing Kendall’s slow downward spiral to absolute perfection.

Watch it on: BINGE

Ted Lasso, Season 2

Ted Lasso definitely took a darker turn in season two (Nate! How could you?!) but we still loved this cheery coach and his ability to make the best out of almost any situation.

Meanwhile, the infallible friendship between Keely and Rebecca remains as sweet and enviable as ever, although it did seem as though we were starting to see some cracks in Keely and Roy’s relationship as she starts to become a true boss bitch. Please, say it isn’t so!

All in all, the second season cemented why we love this series and why we need it in our lives, especially during a lockdown.

Watch it on: Apple TV+ 

The Handmaid’s Tale, Season 4

This show is obviously hectic as all hell but this season, things got really good and there were also some very satisfying, climactic moments too.

The season ended on such a cliffhanger that we are all wondering just how much more intense things can get.

In a chat with Yvonne Strahovski earlier in the year, she chatted to The Latch about what the future may hold for Serena saying, “I feel like there are so many avenues that we can go down with that. The thing that comes to mind for me is, I just wonder at what point I mean…I do imagine that Serena does find out exactly how it happened and who was responsible for it.

“So, I feel like that’s a pivotal moment in terms of her fearing for her own safety and for her baby’s safety, especially if she manages to get out of the detention centre and have her baby and live some kind of life in freedom in Canada — what would she be always worried about? You know, whether the same fate that comes to her or her child, I think there’s so much to explore there.”

Watch it on: SBS On Demand

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