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My Top Shows of 2021

Rounding up the best TV of 2021. From psychological thrillers to camp reality TV, here are the most entertaining shows of the past year…

Collage of tv shows

Jack Hetherington takes us through his best TV of 2021. From psychological thrillers to camp reality TV, here are the most entertaining shows of the past year…

10. BEHIND HER EYES 

First up, we have “Behind Her Eyes”, a British thriller series that premiered on Netflix back in February. The storyline wasn’t anything that we haven’t seen on television before, as in, cheating husband, jealous wife, the only thing is the protagonist Louise develops an unlikely friendship with Adele, the wife. Again, nothing extraordinary and quite a slow build-up, until… THAT TWIST AT THE END. If you haven’t watched yet, you’re welcome! If you have watched, unfortunately, due to the fact that there is no sequel to the Sarah Pinborough novel the series was based on, a second series is looking unlikely at this moment in time, however, as a fan I demand it, I need to know what happened to Adam after that scene in the car… 

Personal highlight: You guessed it, that twist at the end! 

9. IT’S A SIN 

I hope this is not a controversial ranking, but the only complaint I have about this series is that we needed more episodes. In ninth place, we have “It’s A Sin”, a story about a group of young gay friends living in the 80’s during the AIDs crisis. This was an amazing and difficult yet, informative watch all at the same time. As a viewer, this was such an eye opener about the struggles members of the LGBTQ community and other minorities faced in Britain thirty/forty years ago and how hard living during the AIDS epidemic was. Plenty of laughs in this one but filled with emotional moments and it features Years & Years, Olly Alexander. A MUST WATCH, remember to bring your tissues…

Personal highlight: Learning about LGBTQ history, a big highlight for me. 

8. ELITE

Although Elite Season 4 came out in June, the first season premiered on Netflix in October 2018. The abundance of spare time I had on my hands during the third lockdown allowed me to discover this Spanish high school drama and I am most glad I did. For me as a former romance language student and active foreign language speaker, this was a golden opportunity to practice my Spanish skills. This series has everything, hot actors, murders, sex, mischief and most importantly, Arón Piper, the sexiest man in the world. You can watch it in English but you get a real feel for it, if you watch it in its original language. Series cinco is coming, soon hopefully. 

Personal highlight: Arón Piper’s body. 

7. SQUID GAME

GREEN LIGHT, RED LIGHT! Speaking of foreign language series, this next one was without a shadow of a doubt the biggest series of 2021. In seventh place for me is the legendary “Squid Game”. Personally, it took me a while to get into this one but when I did, to say I enjoyed it would be the understatement of the year. Many have said that the Korean version is better but, in all honesty, I was tired when the nights were getting darker and I couldn’t be bothered to watch it with the subtitles therefore I watched the dubbed version instead. Every episode had me on the edge of my seat and my anxiety was through the roof during each game. I can categorically say that I have never seen anything like it. I am hoping that the sequel rumours are true. and intrigued to see where they can take the storyline, time will tell, I guess… One thing is for sure, the ending left us with many unanswered questions… 

Personal highlight: Green Light, Red Light!

6. DIX POUR CENT (CALL MY AGENT) 

In sixth place, we have the French series “Dix Pour Cent” (known by English viewers as Call My Agent). It tells the story of a group of agents working at a top talent firm in the heart of Paris and the drama that ensues in their personal lives. 

On a personal note, I absolutely love watching shows in my second language and of course, there is the option to dub. This series is a simple getting invested in character’s lives and wanting to know what happens next – how is he going to react to her doing that? You just get really into it. Netflix originally announced that the fourth season would be the last but confirmed a fifth one will be hitting our screens at some point and rumour has it, an English version is coming soon. 

Personal highlight: Camille Cottin, legendary French actress. 

5. SELLING SUNSET 

In at Number 5, we have “Selling Sunset”, which is very Real Housewives energy. Season 4 was released last month on Netflix and tells the story of a group of female estate agents and their rich LA drama-filled lives, it’s a hard life for some isn’t it. Even though, I am aware of how scripted, stupid and trash this show is, I can’t lie there is something so compelling about “Selling Sunset”. Not sure if it’s the incredible properties, the fabulous outfits, the general wealth of the show or just the petty drama between these middle-aged women that I live for. I have been waiting for Series 4 since August 2020 (which feels like a lifetime away by the way). Season 5 has been confirmed and now I’m just waiting for Netflix to make the announcement because I need some more LA hot rich fantasy in my life. 

Personal highlight: Chrishell obsessing over a Cadbury’s Crunchie chocolate bar, which she described as an “Irish treat”.

4. SEX EDUCATION 

In fourth place, we have the brilliant “Sex Education”. The third series was released in September and honestly, I had really been looking forward to this one for months, 17th September, the release date was in my calendar and I was buzzing when that day came. The first two seasons were fantastic and the third season did not disappoint. The storyline follows a group of teenagers at a British high school and what they get up to in their daily lives. The show revolves mainly around, you guessed it… sex. It’s marvellous, so informative and addresses so many complex and important topics such as sexuality, gender identification, sexual assault and many more… I would highly recommend giving it a watch if you haven’t already, I guarantee you will not be disappointed. 

Personal highlight: Rahim throwing a sock filled with poo from the coach onto an innocent family’s windscreen 

3. SUPERSTORE

Category is: binge watch over and over again. This show made its debut in 2015, however, “Superstore” was only added to UK Netflix in January, therefore, another one that I discovered during the peak of the third lockdown and another one that kept me sane. I remember bingeing our third place series for an entire week while I was working from home. The plot is pretty simple, a group of employees who work at a supermarket in St Louis Missouri, it is however one of the easiest watches. The comedy is so simple yet so genius. Someone is always the butt of a joke or a scheme that’s gone wrong at the store. Sadly, a seventh season won’t be coming to our screens, however, all six are on Netflix now. 

Personal highlight: Sandra getting bullied relentlessly. 

2. YOU 

Taking the title of this countdown’s runner-up is US Series “You”. The first two seasons were released before the COVID-19 pandemic (last one being in December 2019, this literally feels like ten years ago…). Filming was delayed, but FINALLY, in October, Netflix released the much anticipated third season of “You”, the story of a psychotic killer who obsesses over any woman he falls in love with. Although, in my opinion, the first two seasons were much better, nonetheless I still remained GRIPPED by the shenanigans in this series and it truly was worth the wait. The writing, storytelling and twists in this series are unmatched, SO good, impatiently waiting for the fourth season! 

Personal highlight: The final scene, a good twist, I wish I could spoil but I can’t.  

HONORABLE MENTIONS: 

  • Lupin (French thief avenging his father in an injustice inflicted against his family) 
  • Bridgerton (Daughters of a British family at the height of society seek romance, very steamy)  
  • Ginny & Georgia (High school drama following the secrets of a family just recently moved in) 
  • The One (Developer of an app that can seek romantic partners purely by DNA matches) 
  • The Serpent (British/French series following the killings of young backpackers in Thailand)
  • Selling Tampa (started a few days ago and need to finish it, similar vibes to Selling Sunset* so I automatically like and recommend) 

1. RUPAUL’S DRAG RACE

The man who bought drag into mainstream culture. The iconic RuPaul released the first season of Drag Race in the US in 2009. It did take a few years for it to get on the map, a friend of mine introduced me to this show a few years ago and I found it fascinating. However, it wasn’t until this year that I discovered how utterly brilliant RuPaul’s Drag Race is. 

I cannot even begin to describe how much I have fallen in love with this show, the show that saved me during the horror that was the third lockdown and this year. There are so many iconic, funny moments, memes, catchphrases to come out of the franchise, but this show has real heart and you really get to see the trials and tribulations drag queens and gay people have to face in their respective cultures. The show makes me even prouder to be a part of the LGBTQ community. Amongst the most legendary drag queens to come out of the franchise are Bianca Del Rio, Trixie Mattel, Shangela, Alyssa Edwards, Bimini Bon Boulash, Shea Coulée, Symone, the list goes on and on and on… (I could literally go on for hours) 

This year alone the franchise released the following:

  • US Season 13 
  • UK Series 2 
  • All Stars Season 6 (where queens from past seasons get to come back to RUdeem themselves) 
  • UK Series 3
  • Drag Race Down Under, Canada, Italia, Espana

And plans to release next year: 

  • US Season 14
  • International All Stars: UK vs the world
  • UK Series 4 
  • All Winner’s Seasons 
  • Drag Race Down Under 2, France, Mexico, Brazil…. 

Drag really is taking over the MOTHERTUCKING world and I am here for every second of it <3

Personal highlight: Every single moment but if I have to pick two, I’m going to say Ra’jah and Trinity’s rudemptions on All Stars 6 and the United Kingdolls, Bing Bang Bong, UK Hun?  

Series I’m waiting for in 2022:

  • RuPaul’s Drag Race US Season 14 – 8th January 
  • After Life Series 3 – 14th January 
  • RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars: UK vs The World (Early 2022)
  • Killing Eve Series 4 – 27th February 
  • Bridgerton Series 2 – 22nd March
  • Stranger Things Season 4 (Summer 2022) 
  • Sex Education Series 4 (Summer/Autumn 2022) 
  • RuPaul’s Drag Race UK Series 4 (Autumn 2022) 
  • You Season 4 (Autumn/Winter 2022)

You can find Jack on Instagram serving iconic looks @jackhetheriington, or seeking new followers on his Twitter account @jackhethering20.

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