Best TV of 2021: Bo Burnham, ‘White Lotus’, ‘Reservation Dogs’ and ‘Hacks’ tower | Television

Bruce Miller of The Journal speaks with actors Phillipa Soo and Will Poulter about their roles in the upcoming Hulu limited series “Dopesick” premiering October 13, 2021.






You’ve probably watched more TV this year than you ever thought possible. Stuck at home, you got to sample shows you never dreamed of watching (thanks, “Great British Bake Off”), discovered new voices (hello, “Squid Games”) and dug in the Dutton family and realized many of the sins could be attributed to the father (“Yellowstone”, anyone?).

But which was the best of the year? Hard to say, considering that “The Underground Railroad” was so different from “What We Do in the Shadows”.

To get the top 10 programs, we split the bundle into two categories – regular and limited sets. So here are the remarkable efforts of 2021.

1. Bo Burnham: inside – A masterpiece of creativity, this look at what we could have done during the pandemic surprised each time the actor / comedian moved into his room. Using songs, monologues and, yes, a script, he was able to prove that it doesn’t take thousands of people to entertain. Sometimes a person with something to say can accomplish so much, so much. Watch it and you’ll wonder why you haven’t been more creative during those months of taking shelter in place.

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2. The white lotus – Like Burnham, writer / director Mike White has discovered how to get around a seemingly impossible situation – filming on location. Taking his cast to a resort in Hawaii (which didn’t have guests due to the pandemic), he was able to detail the struggles between the haves and have-nots, fear of aging, marriage sorrows and incapacity. of most people like what they have. With an excellent cast (along with Jennifer Coolidge, who should take home all awards for her insane supporting round), “The White Lotus” has us looking at our own flaw.

3. Sick – Creator Danny Strong has succeeded in making the opioid crisis understandable by focusing on those on the front lines – encouraging it and falling prey to it. Led by Michael Keaton, as a small town doctor, the cast spoke about how corporate greed led to a nation of drug addicts. Kaitlyn Dever, as one of OxyContin’s indebted workers, has distilled the hold that a drug can have on someone. Brutally honest, “Dopesick” was the kind of TV we had to see.

4. Easttown mare – Performance has taken this limited series to the top. Kate Winslet played a Pennsylvania detective trying to find out how a young woman died and why friends and neighbors were so reluctant to share their knowledge. Carried by an exceptional supporting cast (Evan Peters, Jean Smart and Julianne Nicholson among them), she was able to deliver a gritty drama that seemed almost too real. Painful and proud, “Mare of Easttown” tested our ability to solve mysteries and understand friends.

5. Schmigadoon! –For the missing Broadway musicals, that goofy salute has managed to send dozens of ‘that doesn’t make sense’ shows into the theatrical canon. Keegan Michael Key and Cecily Strong played two underdogs caught in a world where singing every emotion and dancing every dream was a daily occurrence. Starring a host of Broadway stars, the new musical reminded us why we keep coming back to shows like “The Music Man”, “Oklahoma!” and “Carousel”.

1. Dogs Reservation – It’s not just children living in the city center who want to go out. “Rez Dogs” has shown us that it is a universal experience, just one that is seen through different eyes. Set on a reservation, he followed a group of friends trying to raise enough money to move to California. Thanks to the sharp eyes of designers Sterlin Harjo and Taika Waititi, he introduced a new vocabulary and a whole new way of seeing life.

2. Hacks – Jean Smart had an amazing year – in “Mare of Easttown” and, now, in this one, a comedy that took full advantage of his skills. Featured as a successful (but not hip) actress, she hired an assistant and learned a bit about her own life. As an assistant, Hannah Einbinder followed Smart to every level and helped produce a comedy for the ages.

3. Only the murders in the building – A show on a podcast? From Steve Martin and Martin Short? What about Selena Gomez? You can almost feel what it could have been. But the comic book masters took this mystery in a new direction and surprised with every reveal. The murderer may have been guessed two-thirds of the way, but the reactions were not. Hulu has opened doors for veteran actors around the world.

4. Ted lasso – The first adapters may have bitched the second season, but they were premature. By the time the last episode aired, “Ted” had reached an ending that demonstrated it was more than just a workplace comedy. Jason Sudeikis, Hannah Waddingham, Brett Goldstein and, most importantly, Nick Mohammed scored with moments that showed that even those with a healthy ego can have mistakes. The Christmas episode of “Ted” was one of the best half-hours of the year.

5. Succession – In its third season, this drama about the deplorable Roy family seemed to derail, especially since it seemed clear that Kendall Roy was about to be King of the Hill. Enough of the twist and flip and, soon, Logan Roy was back in the game. As the series fluctuated, it became apparent that the ultra-rich were eating themselves. Brian Cox, Jeremy Strong, Sarah Snook, and Kieran Culkin were notable in the television equivalent of Monopoly.


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