Top 12 Shows of 2021

Orrin Konheim
7 min readFeb 9, 2022

My long-awaited Top 12 Shows of the Year. This is a list I’ve been keeping since approximately 2009 and is the result of many years of TV watching.

1. White Lotus (HBO) Season 1-Mike White’s astute tableaux of human shallowness explores whether people on vacation can truly escape who they are through three interlocking groups of vacationers in Hawaiian paradise. For those who still mourn the cancellation of “Enlightened”, this is sweet redemption (More here and here)

2. Wanda Vision (Disney Plus) Limited Series- With such mind-boggling layers of symbolism, this is as if the world’s best escape room writers were tasked with writing a sitcom that entrusts viewers to be active rather than passive participants in decryption. The series takes the viewer on a journey through various sitcom tropes on a decade-by-decade journey with underlying storylines dealing with grief, manipulation, and escapism as a form of evil. With all the painstaking detail that the prodution team implants its easter eggs, this is a sure contender for the most intricate show on television if not its most ambitious. I have little familiarity with the MCU (full disclosure: I hate the MCU) but was able to peace most details together.

3. Resident Alien (SyFy) Season 1-Alan Tyduk hits the right notes of not-to-be-believed silliness, as an oblivious alien who improbably manages to integrate into a small town in Colorado. In its own hokey way, the show is endearing, rich in character, and features a marshmellowshly portrait of small-town life with plenty of scenery porn in the background. The show also features a sizeable Native American cast but doesn’t resort to being pedantic. (More here)

4. We Are Lady Parts (Peacock) Season 1-A six-episode inaugural season takes us into the often unseen world of Muslim urbanites in Europe. The diverse quintet of women in London are united by their love of punk rock. If Dewey Finn’s mantra (whose words, ironically were written in “School of Rock” by Mike White of “White Lotus”) that “one great rock show can change the world”, these hijab-clad women are rocking their way to just that. (More here)

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Orrin Konheim

Freelance journalist w/professional bylines in 3 dozen publications, writing coach, google me. Patreon: http://www.patreon/com/okjournalist Twitter: okonh0wp