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In 2021, there was an overwhelming amount of amazing television.
"Mare of Easttown," "The White Lotus," MCU shows on Disney+, and "Squid Game" all aired this year.
With all of that prestige TV, you might've missed some low-key gems like these 15 shows.
The second season of HBO Max anthology series "Love Life" starring William Jackson Harper is superior to the buzzier first season.
"Love Life" was one of the first original HBO Max shows available on the streaming service when it launched in 2019, with the first season starring Anna Kendrick as Darby, a young woman living in New York City searching for love.
The second season didn't drop until fall 2021 and it starred a completely new character: William Jackson Harper (best known as Chidi on "The Good Place") as Marcus, a newly divorced book editor trying to figure his life out.
While the first season had some buzz, it had an OK 65% score on Rotten Tomatoes. The second season, which just wrapped up in November, has an impressive 94% score, but it hasn't received the same level of attention as season one.
If you love rom-coms, run, don't walk, to HBO Max ASAP.
With Apple TV+ comedies like "Ted Lasso" getting all the buzz, you might've missed "Mythic Quest," which dropped its second season plus a special in 2021.
"Mythic Quest" is Apple TV+'s other sitcom starring a comedy icon — in this case, "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia's" Rob McElhenney as Ian Grimm, the creative director of a MMORPG video game called "Mythic Quest."
McElhenney also co-created the show along with "It's Always Sunny" co-star Charlie Day and longtime writer Megan Ganz.
The first season, which dropped in 2020, was mainly about Ian and his protege, Poppy Li (played perfectly by Charlotte Nicdao), butting heads while trying to get the game's first expansion off the ground.
But in 2021, the show further explored the supporting cast, like F. Murray Abraham's character C.W., Danny Pudi's character Brad, and the two testers Rachel and Dana, played by Ashly Burch and Imani Hakim, respectively, along with the rest of Mythic Quest's employees.
The show was already renewed for a third and fourth season, so if you're looking to replace the workplace comedy-shaped hole in your heart left by "Brooklyn Nine-Nine," "Mythic Quest" is a solid option.
"Yellowjackets" is right in the middle of its first season on Showtime, making it the perfect time to catch up.
Yes, there are barriers to watching shows on networks like Showtime — like the fact that you have to be a subscriber to yet another content provider — but "Yellowjackets" is worth it.
The show, which premiered on November 14, jumps back and forth between 1996, when a plane filled with a high school soccer team crashed in the wilderness, and the present day, as the now-adult crash victims deal with what happened to them all those years ago.
"Yellowjackets" also has an all-star cast including Juliette Lewis, Melanie Lynskey, and Christina Ricci.
For fans of "Lost," "The Wilds," "Lord of the Flies," or any other survival story, "Yellowjackets" should be your next watch.
There's an overwhelming amount of superhero content available in this day and age, but Prime Video's "Invincible" should make it on to your watch list.
"Invincible" is the first of its kind — it's an hour-long, animated superhero TV show that's gorier than almost anything else you'll see in the comic-book genre, and focuses on an Asian-American high schooler, Mark, whose parents are a real estate agent and an alien Superman-esque hero named Omni-Man.
"Invincible" somehow manages to be disgusting, funny, heartfelt, and tragic all at once — and balances it perfectly (something that almost none of the other shows in its genre can say).
Based on the Robert Kirkman comic of the same name, the cartoon has a stellar voice cast (Steven Yeun, Sandra Oh, J. K. Simmons, Gillian Jacobs, Andrew Rannells, Zachary Quinto, Jason Mantzoukas, Mark Hamill, Zazie Beetz, Clancy Brown, Seth Rogen, Jon Hamm, Mae Whitman, Mahershala Ali, Nicole Byer, Djimon Honsou, and Ezra Miller are just some of the people featured), and it has already been renewed for seasons two and three.
It's definitely worth the watch — squeeze it in between your MCU and DCEU binges.
"Blindspotting" is a Starz spin-off of the 2018 film of the same name — the series focuses on Jasmine Cephas Jones' character Ashley.
Maybe you didn't even know that "Blindspotting" was based on a movie — the movie itself was underrated, too. But the series, which shifts the focus from best friends Miles and Collin to Miles' partner Ashley (Jones), premiered in June 2021 and deserves a watch — 100% of critics agree.
"Blindspotting" begins with Miles getting arrested, leaving Ashley to figure out where she and their son, Sean, are going to live ... which ends up being with Miles' mother, Rainey (Helen Hunt), and sister, Trish (Jaylen Barron).
The series got renewed for a second season, but it remains to be seen if it gets any (deserved) attention at awards shows in 2022.
"Reservation Dogs" has been called a "genuine, one-of-a-kind breakthrough" in Native American representation on screen.
"Reservation Dogs," which is part of FX on Hulu, was co-created by Taika Waititi and Sterlin Harjo and focuses on four teenagers living in rural Oklahoma who are scamming by any means necessary to make it to California.
Notably, all of the series regulars, writers, and directors, are Indigenous, a feat that Smithsonian Mag called a "genuine, one-of-a-kind breakthrough." It's also the first show to entirely film in the state of Oklahoma.
Season one finished in September 2021, and it's been renewed for a season two — but with the director of "Thor Ragnarok," "Jojo Rabbit" and "What We Do in the Shadows" on board, more people should be watching.
"Acapulco" is another Apple TV+ gem you might've missed after bingeing "Ted Lasso."
Maybe you heard that the show was loosely inspired by "How to Be a Latin Lover" and thought, "Pass."
But if that's the case, you'd be missing out on a charming story of Maximo Gallardo Ramos (Eugenio Derbez), who decides to tell his nephew Hugo his life story, which begins in 1980s Acapulco, Mexico, at the Las Colinas Resort. Think of it like "Dirty Dancing" set in '80s Mexico.
"Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist" was canceled this year after a solid second season.
"Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist" was always going to be a hard sell — Zoey (Jane Levy) is stuck inside an MRI machine during an earthquake and emerges with the ability to hear people's innermost thoughts and feelings via song — but if "Glee" could get six seasons, so should've this.
Season two began airing on NBC in January 2021, and a few weeks later, Levy became the only actress nominated for a Golden Globe from a basic cable show (her competitors were from "Schitt's Creek," "Emily in Paris," "The Flight Attendant," and "The Great" on Pop TV, Netflix, HBO Max, and Hulu, respectively). Unfortunately, it was canceled in June after a truly great season.
The Roku Channel announced a wrap-up holiday special called "Zoey's Extraordinary Christmas" that premiered on December 1, with the chance for more episodes depending on viewership ... so if you love musicals, head on over to The Roku Channel for some musical Christmas spirit.
Or if you watched "Zoey's" live, you can check out any musical theater lover's dream show, "Schmigadoon."
"Schmigadoon" is yet another Apple TV+ show that you might've missed. This magical musical comedy is based on the Golden Age musicals from the '40s and '50s like "Brigadoon," "The Music Man," "The Sound of Music," and "Carousel," to name a few.
Cecily Strong and Keegan-Michael Key lead the cast, supported by legends like Alan Cumming, Kristin Chenoweth, Jane Krakowski, Aaron Tveit, Dove Cameron, Jaime Camil, Ariana DeBose, Ann Harada, and Fred Armisen.
Even if you don't get the seemingly endless musical theater in-jokes and references, "Schmigadoon" is fun for everyone who has an appreciation for the classics.
Annie Murphy followed up her Emmy-winning turn on "Schitt's Creek" by starring in the dark comedy "Kevin Can F**k Himself."
Murphy is the first cast member from "Schitt's Creek," a real phenomenon in every sense, to star in another series, and it sure was a departure from the vapid yet lovable Alexis Rose.
In "Kevin Can F**k Himself," a comedy that boasts a production credit from Rashida Jones, Murphy plays Allison, a stereotypical sitcom housewife who begins to realize that her husband, Kevin, and her laugh-tracked life aren't all they're cracked up to be.
The first season aired on AMC from June to August 2021. It was renewed for a second and final season that will air next year.
The first comment on the trailer of HBO Max's "Made for Love" proclaims that it's "such an underrated show," and we agree.
"Made for Love," starring Cristin Milioti, Billy Magnussen, and Ray Romano, is based on the 2017 novel of the same name, and it sort of feels like a season-long episode of "Black Mirror."
To summarize the premise: Hazel (Milioti) is married to the needy/sociopathic/unstable tech billionaire Byron, who implants a chip inside Hazel's brain that lets him see what she sees, and read her thoughts and feelings — understandably, Hazel leaves him and then struggles to escape and stay alive.
The first season began airing in April. In June, it was renewed for a second season.
"Evil" started out on CBS and moved to Paramount+ for its second (even better) season.
The easiest way to sell someone on "Evil" is to explain that it's basically "The X-Files" with demons instead of aliens — it even focuses on a crime-solving duo consisting of a full-blown believer (an assessor/priest-in-training named David played by Mike Colter) and a hard-boiled skeptic (a forensic psychologist named Kristen played by Katja Herbers) who have very intense chemistry.
"Evil's" first season aired on CBS in 2020 to critical acclaim and decent viewing numbers, but it moved to Paramount+ for season two, which premiered in June 2021. TV Guide has called it "the best show on TV right now."
But are enough people watching it? It doesn't blow up Twitter every week like "Succession" or "Mare of Easttown" or "The White Lotus" have. It was renewed for a third season in July ... use this year to catch up, you won't regret it.
Mike Schur's latest sitcom, "Rutherford Falls," deserves to be as big as "Parks and Rec," "Brooklyn Nine-Nine," and "The Good Place."
Schur co-created all four of those shows, plus he wrote multiple episodes of 'The Office." Everything he touches turns to comedic gold, and Peacock's "Rutherford Falls" is no exception. Except, it hasn't made the same cultural impact as its predecessors ... yet.
"Rutherford Falls" follows two best friends, Nathan (Ed Helms) and Reagan (Jana Schmieding), who are both attempting to honor their families' legacies — Nathan, by refusing to let the town move a statue of his ancestor that's causing car accidents, and Reagan by helping to build out the cultural center inside a new casino run by her people, the Minishonka Nation.
The sitcom is another step forward in Indigenous representation, as Schiemieding is part of the Lakota Nation in real life (she also writes for the show), and her co-star Michael Greyeyes is part of the First Nations community in Canada, specifically the Plains Cree in Saskatchewan.
"Rutherford Falls" was renewed for a second season in July, a few months after it premiered in April.
Michael Waldron co-created two shows this year: Marvel's "Loki" — maybe you've heard of it — and the wrestling drama "Heels" on Starz.
When one of the TV shows you created becomes one of the most talked-about pieces of pop culture of the entire year, it's not a huge deal when your other show is a great piece of content that didn't do giant numbers, but is worth watching all the same.
"Heels," which premiered in August, stars Stephen Amell and Alexander Ludwig as brothers Jack and Ace, who are both professional wrestlers struggling to deal with the death of their father and their roles inside the wrestling league.
In November, "Heels" was renewed for season two.
"Queens" on ABC is the second show of 2021 to focus on a reunited girl group from the '90s, after "Girls5eva" in May.
However, "Queens," which stars hip-hop icons Brandy and Eve, along with former 3LW member Naturi Naughton and actress Nadine Velazquez, is a much more dramatic take on the situation, with real stakes and heartbreaking moments.
Until "Queens," which premiered on ABC in October and is still airing its first season, is renewed for a second season and nominated for an Emmy like "Girls5eva," we feel comfortable calling it underrated.
Read the original article on Insider