Great TV from 2021 and beyond ….

During the pandemic, all of us may have set a record for Diversion TV as we hunkered down at home and stayed off the streets. We played a similar tune at our house, but in the process uncovered some gems you might enjoy.

Fair warning that with rare exception (Curb Your Enthusiasm, and Seinfeld, of course), my tastes run to dramas rather than sitcoms. This week I’m covering the first half-dozen of the “Ongoing Series” I enjoyed most. (No, I didn’t watch all these episodes in 2021, but continued to watch many of them which started previously.)

In the next few weeks, I’ll complete that list and cover my “Limited Series” candidates followed by a confession of the “Grittiest Series” I watched (assuming I don’t chicken out about admitting to watching them?🤪)

As result of the ongoing pandemic, there are other great series that I enjoy, but they didn’t appear in 2021 although they’re expected back in 2022. That would include shows like Ozark and Perry Mason (the new version). There were also some good shows with strong women leads, like Tommy (Edie Falco) and Rebel, inspired by the life of Erin Brockovich (Katey Segal), but they didn’t get renewed.

I’ll add 6 additional series next week that are also favorites, but I’ll start with these half-dozen programs which may be considered a little more “mainstream”.

These will give you some great binge opportunities, with 319 Episodes in total … so far. That’s 284 hours (all are one hour dramas except for the 30 minute episodes of Curb Your Enthusiasm.) Yup, that’s about 35 days of TV watching 8 hours a day.

Let me know when you’ve finished.

Yellowstone (Paramount+): 4 Seasons, 40 Episodes … but never enough.). Renewed.

  • Yellowstone stars Oscar and Emmy winner Kevin Costner as John Dutton, the patriarch of a powerful, complicated family of ranchers. Rip, the ranch boss played by Cole Hauser, is as tough as they come, but Dutton’s daughter played by Kelly Reilly, is one badass woman you don’t want to cross.
  • Dutton is a sixth-generation homesteader and devoted father and controls the largest contiguous ranch in the United States. He operates in a corrupt world where politicians are compromised by influential oil and lumber corporations and land grabs make developers billions. Amid shifting alliances, unsolved murders, open wounds, and hard-earned respect, Dutton’s property is in constant conflict with those it borders — an expanding town, an Indian reservation, and America’s first national park.
  • Some have referred to Yellowstone as “Godfather on a Ranch”. Kinda ….
  • If you love Yellowstone, or don’t yet, you’ll enjoy this article, How did Taylor Sheridan spin Yellowstone into America’s top-rated drama?

Billions (Showtime): 5 Seasons, 60 Episodes. Renewed.

  • Billions stars Damien Lewis (Homeland), Paul Giamatti (Sideways),  and Maggie Siff (Sons of Anarchy)
  • The series tells the story of hedge fund manager Bobby Axelrod (Damian Lewis), as he accumulates wealth and power in the world of high finance. Axelrod’s aggressive tactics to secure high returns frequently cross over into the illegal—acts that United States Attorney Chuck Rhoades (Paul Giamatti) attempts to prosecute.
  • Some of the scenes and antics are outrageous and hilarious, with crisp dialogue and a non- stop storyline. Great fun.

Bosch (Amazon Prime): 7 Seasons, 68 Episodes. Finished.

  • Bosch starring Titus Welliver in the title role. The series has ended, but a “Bosch: Legacy” spinoff is coming this year.
  • I’ve always been a Michael Connelly fan, and met him at a book conference long ago. His Harry Bosch character is the central figure in 23 novels in that eponymous series, starting with The Black Echo in 1992. Connelly has written 36 novels and sold more than 80 million books, and has created a timeless character with a simple mantra:

“Everyone counts or no one counts.”

Succession (HBO): 3 Seasons, 29 Episodes; Renewed.

  • Succession (HBO) stars Brian Cox as the patriarch of totally dysfunctional family. 3 Seasons, 29 Episodes; Renewed.
  • Doubtless, you’ve heard of this series. It’s telling that so many refer to it as a comedy when it seems more like a drama, but with some of the crazy antics, crisp dialogue and wacky family members, it’s not easy to characterize.
  • The series centers on the Roy family, owners of Waystar RoyCo, a global media and entertainment conglomerate, who are fighting for control of the company amid uncertainty about the health of the family’s patriarch, Logan Roy (Brian Cox).
  • You’ll get a kick out of it … but you may find yourself yelling at a few of the idiot characters and wishing you could reach out and crack a few of them across the head. 

Goliath (Amazon Prime): 4 Seasons, 32 Episodes. Ended.

  • Goliath (Amazon Prime) stars Billy Bob Thornton as a formerly powerful lawyer who now spends more time in the bar than at the bar.
  • I really like this series. Thornton is pretty laid back but don’t worry. He gets the chance to redeem himself when he takes his ragtag team into battle.

Curb Your Enthusiasm (HBO): 11 Seasons, 110 Episodes. Future Uncertain.

  • Curb Your Enthusiasm is the only comedy on the list starring Larry David of Seinfeld fame, as who else, Larry David.
  • They don’t get any grumpier or neurotic … or funnier … as Larry David blitzes his way through everyday events that  raise his hackles at every turn.

Leave a Reply