It seems every year every critics talk about how this is the new golden age of TV, but with the sheer amount of good content, 2021 once again earns that honour. From the dark fantasy of The Witcher to the return of the fan favourite serial killer with Dexter: New Blood, there is a solid selection of content to pour countless hours into. It can’t be overstated how the introduction of streaming has shaken up TV Series production, but if this year is anything to go by, this is also leading to some amazing shows, and series in the future.
This is also one of the first years we have seen almost the entire list feature entries not on standard cable, with almost everything either on streaming or premium services. As we move into 2022, this is sure to continue, but thankfully, with such talent and studios that care about quality behind the scenes working to grab your attention, the trend of great series should continue. Sadly, even with so many good shows, one needs to reign supreme.
Here are CGMs nominees for Best Series 2021:
The Witcher Season Two
Writer: Brendan Frye
The Witcher with Henry Cavill is back on Netflix, bringing with it one of the best follow-up seasons in a long while. There was a lot to like about the way Geralt of Rivia was brought to life in the show, but the first season never felt as polished as it could be. It captured the tone, style and feel of the universe, but made a few questionable design choices. Thankfully, those issues have been ironed out, with season two of The Witcher delivering a show worthy of the source material.
With a strong start, fantastic flow and great story throughout, The Witcher season two is a fantastic entry into the canon. It recaptures the best elements of the first season, while bringing new conflict, character and depth to an already existing formula. While the first series was fun and a good take on the source material, season two cements Henry Cavill as Geralt, and creates a world I can’t wait to experience more of. The Witcher is a must-see TV show in the best possible way.
The Witcher season two finds its footing, delivering one of the best follow-up seasons to a show I have seen in a long while.
Masters of the Universe: Revelation
Writer: Brendan Frye
Masters of the Universe: Revelation has been an interesting series to review. Coming from the mind of Kevin Smith, with voice talents like Lena Headey, Sarah Michelle Gellar and Mark Hamill, it had everything it needed to be a fan favourite, especially with the more adult tone and look Netflix brought to the series. But somehow, fans on the internet did not like the limited screen time of the two most popular characters, He-Man and Skeletor. Thankfully, Smith has rectified this in Part 2, and while not everything works, it feels like a love letter to the classic series.
Kevin Smith knows the subject, and brings some true life to a series that started as a way to sell toys. Not everything works, and some of the choices I imagine work better on paper, but if you loved He-Man before, and have been on the fence about checking this new series out, Part 2 makes it all worth it. Masters of the Universe: Revelation is a unique take on the subject, but one all fans need to jump on Netflix and see what you are missing.
While He-Man and Skeletor take centre stage in this instalment, with some great performances across the board, Masters of the Universe: Revelation Part 2 is held back by a lackluster ending.
The Beatles: Get Back
Writer: Joe Findlay
Now picture for a moment that you have a time capsule of The Beatles near the end of their life as a band that we could open and get a good look into their personalities, their process, and their frustrations as they put together a new album in a limited time before a pair of live shows. Now imagine an Oscar winning Director getting his hands on that time capsule.
Peter Jackson has done just that with The Beatles: Get Back, and has put together a three-part miniseries out of over fifty hours of unseen footage and over one hundred sixty hours of unheard audio that takes you through their Herculean effort to put together what would be both their final live performance and final studio album.
The Beatles, a half-century removed from their final performance, still have the legs to captivate audiences. Peter Jackson took it upon himself to tell the hardest story of any band; their last story. Given that this isn’t just any band, you know without seeing a frame of the film that it cannot be missed.
Dexter: New Blood
Writer: Philip Watson
Ten years later, Dexter graces television again in this revival series that is a true return to form, now called Dexter: New Blood. I have seen the method to the madness. With a new setting and a new cast of characters, the series is a benchmark on how to revive a dormant series. Dexter’s original run did not end the way we the fans wanted it to, but thankfully it didn’t, because then New Blood would never have been made. Quick warning, there are spoilers for the original Dexter Showtime series that follows, as this new series borrows heavily from the original.
With the attention given to the cast of characters and the constant suspense building for the main villain of the new series, the show has overcome its stupid lumberjack ending and breathes new life into a beloved series that didn’t deserve the same fate as the deer.
Dexter: New Blood is storytelling mastery. After the nonsensical ending of the original series, I did not believe new life can be given to the beloved character. The cast is extraordinary, and Michael C Hall as Dexter captivates in a way no one else can, fans of the original and new fans need to watch New Blood.
Writer: Joe Findlay
Dopesick is anything but a miracle cure for people looking for a little joy and escape in their entertainment. The subject matter is hard to handle at times, often making the episodes feel longer than their usual one hour (give or take a few minutes) run time. It’s not that the episodes drag on, though. It’s more like you are immersed in the subject and time slows around you.
It’s hard, in the difficult times we’ve all lived in for the last couple of years, to sit and subject yourself to something so sad, frustrating and downright heartbreaking. Though, I dare say it’s worth devoting your time to this if for no other reason, to try and wrap your head around how something like this could happen. Dopesick, whose first three episodes launched on Hulu in early October, is due for all seven episodes to be released on November 12, including on Disney+, who will also carry the miniseries.
Dopesick is a hard, yet necessary miniseries to watch. Its subject matter is a lot to deal with, but its story is masterfully told by some of the best filmmakers and actors in the business and, much like the subject of the series itself, should not be ignored.
Writer: Joe Findlay
The episode we saw was beautifully directed by Maggie Kiley (Riverdale, Dirty John), while the remaining episodes are split up between Kiley, Korean Director So Yong Kim (Lovesong) and Actress/Director Jennifer Morrison, best known for her roles in House M.D., Once Upon a Time and This Is Us.
The premiere was so well done that this reviewer will be watching every episode with great anticipation. I’ve always enjoyed the type of mystery where you know the culprit right from the beginning, but you now have to see the pieces put together over the duration of the story.
Dr. Death is an appropriately dark retelling of a gruesome true story and, while we know the answer to this mystery’s whodunit, you will still be along for every step of the ride.
Behind the Attraction
Writer: Joe Findlay
The documentary series takes you on a behind-the-scenes tour of Disney Parks, each episode focusing on one specific attraction. You get the chance to learn the entire history of Star Tours, It’s a Small World, The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, Space Mountain and more of your favourite things to see and do, no matter which park you are visiting in the world. Best of all, you get to learn about them from the people behind creating the attractions.
All in all, Behind the Attraction is a well-produced, entertaining look at something from a point of view that we’ve never seen before. Take the time to give this a watch, if not to learn something about the parks, then to pay tribute to the men and women behind bringing them to life.
Watching Behind the Attraction, fans of Disney and particularly the Disney Parks will love this behind the scenes journey through the happiest places on earth, giving you a unique view of the imagination that went behind a place built to inflame your imagination.
Loki Episodes 1 & 2
Writer: Dayna Eileen
From trailers and teasers, we know that Owen Wilson plays Mobius M. Mobius, a TVA agent who sees use for Loki within the Authority. The two characters bring on almost a buddy cop sort of comedy, with a drastic juxtaposition between their personalities. Tom Hiddleston’s Loki is always putting on a front, with a snobby attitude and better-than ego. Wilson’s Mobius is light-hearted, sarcastic and generally annoyed with Loki as a whole. It makes for quality banter, improving on the childish arguing we saw in Falcon and the Winter Soldier.
The Loki series is a new design for the MCU, and I’m excited to see where they take it throughout its six episode arc. Though it may not be the most exciting show for younger superhero fans, it still remains family friendly and engaging for most, meaning it could easily be the next weekly Marvel night-in at our house. After two whole episodes, I’m left with questions and I can’t wait for next week to dive in again and hopefully get some answers.
Loki managed to steal my focus after two episodes. It took the buddy cop vibe from Falcon and the Winter Soldier and the strong emotional attachment to the protagonist they featured in WandaVision, only Loki did it better.
The Mighty Ducks: Game Changers
Writer: Dayna Eileen
Normally, as aMom,m I rarely look forward to sharing screen time with my little ones, but The Mighty Ducks: Game Changers truly brought a smile to my face. The series features appearances from some of my TV and movie favourites, Lauren Graham from Gilmore Girls, and Emilio Estevez, obviously from The Mighty Ducks 1992 films, but also one of my all-time favourites, The Breakfast Club. The team behind the show knew exactly how to gear it towards kids, while still ensuring the parents watching along enjoy too.
The Mighty Ducks: Game Changers is a new series as a whole. Though it touches on our generation’s nostalgic memories, it manages to stand on its own and not have to rely on old characters and storylines to draw us in, they’re just an added bonus. I’d highly recommend the series to any families looking to spend time together. It was a positive experience all around, from the excitement for the sport from my six-year-old son to the warm feeling it gave me as a mother, and even the childhood memories it brought back for my husband. I very much look forward to the rest of the series and can’t wait for Friday nights with my family.
A great experience for the family as a whole. The cast is charming, and the writing manages to please every age range in our home. The Mighty Ducks: Game Changers is a great family experience that you get to carry on for 10 Weeks!
Arcane (Winner, Best Series 2021)
Writer: Ridge Harripersad
The fan base of Riot Games’ popular multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) video game, League of Legends, along with myself, were all weary of what a TV series could bring to Netflix. I was concerned this would either face a lot of backlash for being a poorly executed show for fans of the game, or it would become too niche for game’s players. In my opinion, Riot Games and Netflix did not display a great, spectacular show; it gave audiences a masterpiece and trendsetter for a TV series adaptation with Arcane.
Arcane will probably be my personal favourite show for a while (or until a second season rolls out). Act 3 was a perfect end to a tragedy as it ties up everyone’s progression from the first act. It did leave on a cliff-hanger and showed glimpses of all the main characters (including Singed and Viktor) and where another season could see the return of them with more content, but for now…I am very content and thrilled at what Arcane provided me—lots of tears and nostalgia that made me feel things I did not know I could from an animated series since Avatar: The Last Airbender or the anime, My Hero Academia.
Arcane’s Act 1 kicks off with a bang. Act 2 continues to reload some emotional and story-driven ammunition. Arcane’s Act 3 melted my iron-clad heart, shattered my rock-solid expectations and I hope there are more seasons or spin-offs to come that can provide this experience again in newer, ingenious ways that this show has magnificently achieved.