TV Shows 2021 Review

One of our biggest complaints as adults is that there is never enough time for everything.  About that….

While tracking our hobbies over the last year, it’s amazing how much we actually squeezed into 2021.  To be fair, work-from-home, less outings due to a global pandemic, Summer vacation, and parental leave may have skewed our statistics a little.  We definitely had a lot more time around the house this year.

Excuses made, we watched a decent amount of t.v. in 2021, and by a decent amount we mean way too much.  Seeing it in list form is a little frightening.  I will counter your judgment by revealing a dirty little secret.  Watching television regularly with Chaos is an interesting and sometimes trying endeavor.  He doesn’t just allow for mind-numbing staring at the set and often struggles being able to sit through a real marathon of a show.  Worst of all, he likes to talk about what he watches.  He’ll pause episodes to ask Confetti what she would do in a similar situation or how she feels about particular plot points or characters’ actions and portrayals.  So many episodes end with Chaos asking, “what did you learn from this episode?”  Other times, he likes to just talk about his thoughts and how what he watched ties into other things going on.  Apparently Confetti likes to hear him enough and he likes hearing her answers enough that they still make it through a lot of television, even with all the pausing and conversations.

Enough stalling.  Here’s a look at our list of shows from this year, broken up by who watched them and ordered by when we started them:

Watched together:

  • This Is Us (Season 5)
  • Superstore (Season 6)
  • WandaVision (Entire limited series)
  • Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist (Season 2)
  • Rapunzel’s Tangled Adventure (made it to season 2 but did not finish)
  • Grown-ish (Seasons 3 – 4)
  • Black-ish (Season 7)
  • Mr. Mayor (Season 1)
  • Young Rock (Season 1)
  • Ginny and Georgia (Season 1)
  • Falcon and the Winter Soldier (Season 1)
  • A.P. Bio (Season 4)
  • George Lopez (Seasons 1 – 6)
  • Ducktales – 2017 (Season 3)
  • Girls5Eva (Season 1)
  • Loki (Season 1)
  • Mickey Mouse/The Wonderful World of Mickey Mouse shorts (many, many episodes)
  • Kevin Can F Himself (Season 1)
  • Behind the Attraction (Season 1)
  • Jellystone (Season 1)
  • Chip and Dale: Park Life (One episode)
  • Love Life (Seasons 1 and 2)
  • Brooklyn 99 (Season 8)
  • Lego Masters (Seasons 1 and 2)
  • Only Murders in the Building (Season 1)
  • Doogie Kamealoha, M.D. (Season 1)
  • The Snoopy Show (a few episodes)
  • Schmigadoon! (Season 1)
  • The Wonders Years – 2021 (Season 1)
  • Mr. Corman (Season 1)
  • The Lost Symbol (first half of season 1)
  • Suburgatory (Seasons 1 – 3)
  • One of Us is Lying (Season 1)
  • Selena (Season 2)
  • Olaf Presents: (Season 1)
  • Master of None (Season 3)
  • You (Season 1 – together, Start of Season 2 – Chaos)
  • Hawkeye (Season 1)
  • Scenes from a Marriage (first episode)
  • Gravity Falls (Season 1, start of season 2)
  • Harry Potter: Hogwarts Tournament of Houses (season 1)

Chaos Watched:

  • The Simpsons (rewatched Seasons 1 – 11, technically started in 2020)
  •  Lots of Professional Wrestling (WWE, NXT, AEW, Impact, GCW, AAA, NJPW, and more)
  • Invincible (Season 1)
  • Marvel’s M.O.D.O.K. (Season 1)
  • Made for Love (Season 1)
  • Fargo (Season 4)
  • The Premise (Season 1)
  • Squid Game (Season 1)
  • Harvey Birdman Attorney at Law (Seasons 1 – 3)
  • Chucky (first episode)
  • Bird Girl (Season 1)
  • Animaniacs (Season 2)

Confetti Watched:

  • Grand Army (Season 1)
  • The Mysterious Benedict Society (Season 1)
  • On Our Block (Seasons 1 through 4)
  • Selling Sunset (Seasons 1 and 2)
  • Tiny House Nation (Volume 1 and 2)
  • Zero Chill (Season 1)
  • Julie and the Phantoms (Season 1)
  • Amazing Vacation Rentals (Season 1, part of Season 2)
  • Good Trouble (Season 3)
  • Firefly Lane (Season 1)
  • Babysitter’s Club (Season 2)
  • Jessica Jones (Season 1, had previously watched 2 & 3 when they aired)
  • Great British Baking Show (Collection 9)
  • Great British Baking Show: Holiday Edition (newest two)

Yep.  That’s a lot of t.v.  Are we still in the golden age of television?  Can we place blame on that?  

Following our established pattern, let’s reveal each of our top three shows of the year.  For fun, we’ll also do a quick lightning round on a few different topics.  As always, we’ll come up with our own answers privately, before combining them here.  Let’s get started!

Confetti #3: Suburgatory

If you look through our TV list, you’ll notice quite a few sitcoms. This is because Chaos and I like to have something lighter to watch during dinner. He chose Suburgatory after we wrapped up George Lopez because he remembered watching a few episodes when it originally aired and we like Jane Levy so much in Zoe’s Extraordinary Playlist. I was immediately hooked – the introduction song, Pleasant Nightmare, is super catchy.

Jane Levy does a fantastic job of playing the main character Tessa and Chatswin is an easy place to envision when you also live that suburb life. Tessa’s main romantic interest seemed like it would be a short-lived joke at first, but by the end I was invested and cheering for two very different people to end up together. Also, “shush shush shut-up” is a common joke Chaos and I say to each other now that we have a baby.

The only reason Suburgatory isn’t higher on my list is that Season 3 ends in the most random, hilarious way, but there is little closure for most of the characters. It feels like the show was  definitely planning on a renewal that didn’t happen and now we all suffer for it.

Chaos #3: WandaVision

After a year of getting no MCU, Marvel and Disney are flooding fans with new content, both in movie and television form.  It may be a bit too much for some people, but I personally love the regular stream of Marvel goodness.  In 2021, Disney+ gave us WandaVision, Falcon and The Winter Soldier, Loki, What If?, and Hawkeye, which have all proven to be strong shows to varying degrees and for differing reasons.  With that said, WandaVision takes my vote as the #1 MCU television show this year.

It saddens me that most people seem to get caught up on the boner joke or the final episode fulfilling the Marvel pattern of being a fight with a big bad because the overall show had a lot to offer.  Not only did it establish the MCU shows as something worth checking out, but it also provided the inspiration for so many weekly discussions over fan theories, reactions, and predictions.  

The show did a great job of keeping people guessing as it delivered a fun romp through television history.  As someone who watches too much tv and consumes too much pop culture, I appreciated the fan-service to my tastes. WandaVision worked really well as both a nostalgia-fest and as an actual television show itself.

Elizabeth Olsen, Paul Bettany, Kathryn Hahn, and others did an excellent job playing their characters and adapting to the tv style they were meant to portray each week. They perfectly balanced the show’s comedy with the mystery and drama lurking just under the surface, then were able to switch to more traditional television drama and superhero fare when needed.  I know we won’t be getting another season of WandaVision, but I look forward to more Marvel television and seeing each of these characters whether they show up next.

Confetti #2: Doogie Kamealoha, M.D.

We first heard about Doogie Kamealoha, M.D. from an article in D23. Chaos made me promise not to watch it without him (I binged the Mysterious Mr. Benedict Society after I thought he said he wasn’t interested… whoops!). We diligently waited for the drop date and it was love from episode one. I never watched the original Doogie Howser, MD. show so I can’t compare the two, but I think that Peyton Elizabeth Lee does a fantastic job of portraying Lahela, a teenage doctor. 

Working with teenagers can sometimes make young adult television difficult to watch because it is too reminiscent of what I hear all day at work, but Lahela’s world is immersive and unique enough that I didn’t mind. The Hawaiian setting was beautiful and really added a lot to the overall show. I found myself drawn to the supporting characters. I loved Kathleen Rose Perkins’ as Lahela’s mom and her portrayal of the struggle to be a present mother while also going after her professional goals. This is something I’ve found myself navigating a lot since having our son and I appreciated watching it play out on the show.

I’m really hoping that Doogie Kamealoha, M.D. will get a Season 2 – I can’t wait to watch! You should go watch it too if you haven’t yet so it has a better chance of being renewed. 

Chaos #2: Love Life

The premise of Love Life is that we get to see the major relationships and love stories of one person’s life over the course of a season as they take their journey toward finally finding their one true love.  Season one, which we saw earlier in the year, starred Anna Kenrick as Darby, a young woman finding herself in the world.  Recently season two dropped and we got to see the story of William Jackson Harper’s Marcus, a man looking for love after spending so long with the wrong person..  These two are very different characters whose love stories follow completely unique paths.

We mentioned that I like to discuss episodes earlier and this show gave me so much to talk about.  I love dissecting and talking about relationships, and each episode gave me another relationship or major life event to talk about for one of our main characters.  We get to see their high and lows, successes and setbacks, meet cutes and heartbreaks.  More importantly for the average viewer, the evolution of their characters and relationships are engaging to just watch along as well.  I can’t say I always liked the characters and their decisions, but they still felt like real people and their choices made sense with their individual personalities and life situations.

If you’re looking for a show about love and loss, and you enjoy rom-coms or romance stories in general, give Love Life a try.  Warning: You’ll see a lot of failed relationships.  Positive: You know you’ll eventually get the one that is meant to work.  At the very least, you might get a lot of good advice on what relationships shouldn’t look like.

Confetti #1: Ducktales 2017

I’m probably slightly cheating by putting Ducktales 2017 as my number one show. While we did technically finish up Season 3 in 2021, we started watching Ducktales back in 2019. We watched all of Season 1 on YouTube TV (on demand) and then caught up to where it was airing in Season 2. Season 3 started airing in 2020, but didn’t air it’s final episode until March 2021. So, while I watched most of it prior to 2021, it is technically a 2021 show. 

I am obsessed with Ducktales. And when I say obsessed, I mean that Webbigail was my Halloween Costume in 2019, I try to convince all of my friends to watch it (we’ve mostly succeeded!), and I was actively upset when another friend rated multiple shows as better than Ducktales for 2020. Objectively, I can admit that Season 3 is probably the weakest of the seasons. If I had to rank them, I would say: Season 2, Season 1, and then Season 3. However, it doesn’t change the fact that Ducktales is the best cartoon I’ve ever seen and one of my most favorite TV shows ever. 

Ducktales encompasses adventure, family, and mystery as Donald Duck and his nephews reunite with Scrooge McDuck and move into McDuck Manor. Each season has its own overarching mystery, while each episode still feels mostly self-contained. The voice acting in the show is top notch, which makes it even easier to become invested in the characters (side note: most of the voice actors also appear in the Flora and Ulysses movie on Disney+, which is super fun).  Webby is the female role model I wanted and needed as an adult, so I can only imagine the impact she will have on young girls. 

Have I convinced you to go watch Ducktales 2017 yet? You won’t be disappointed!

Chaos #1: Invincible

Over the years I’ve seen so many books and comics that I love get translated into different mediums.  Sometimes they’re great and other times it saddens me that this will be what so many associate with the thing I care for so much.  I couldn’t bring myself to watch this year’s “Y: The Last Man” because I knew that after a decade of waiting for this show, it wouldn’t meet my expectations.  Beartown is one of my all time favorite books, and I discovered there is a series based on the novels on HBO, I quickly looked the other way and kept moving.  No way I would potentially taint something precious to me.

So with all that said, I really like and care for Invincible, the comic and the character.  I started reading Robert Kirkman’s Invincible during my freshman year of college and immediately fell in love with the series.  I collected the comics in their Ultimate Collection form and got to read a dozen or so issues every year-plus as they slowly trickled out.  During that time, I reread them again and again in order to prepare for the next batch of issues.  I also lent them to friends who also were very high on the series.  Kirkman had more freedom to do what he wanted with his characters and so they were allowed to evolve and grow, big moments happened and we didn’t have to return to the status quo.  Eventually, after fifteen years, the series ended in 2018.  Invincible was done and it stuck the landing.

Jump to 2021 and the tv show comes out.  I’m hesitant to try it.  Why risk the taint?  Why watch the story I already read?  I hear strong reviews and word of mouth is good.  I decided to take the leap.  Boom!  I’m back in the world I know so well, but with enough changed and updated to make it feel fresh again.  They’re doing the story justice!  Watching the first episode, I feel reconnected to an old friend.  I immediately want to watch it again and this time share it with my wife… then the last portion of the episode plays out and the show proves to be Invincible in every way I remember it.  Great show!  Not for my Confetti.  

The animation is fantastic.  The voice acting is great.  The pacing is good and characters are who I want them to be and are multilayered.  A few things are different and some story beats have been sped up or slowed down, but Invincible is what I want it to be and I can’t wait for season 2!

Chaos watches what he reads and reads what he watches!

Lightning Round:

Show I wish got one more season:

  • Chaos: Ducktales 2017 (Truly a great show)
  • Confetti: Suburgatory (the end was so unsatisfying!)

Show I wanted to like more than I did:

  • Chaos: Master of None (Season 3 only; I loved seasons 1 and 2)
  • Confetti: Rapunzel’s Tangled Adventure (I just couldn’t get into it)

Show with the best season/series finale:

  • Chaos: Superstore (perfect wrap up to an imperfect show that got me really emotional)
  • Confetti: Superstore (ditto)

Show that surprised me with how much I liked it:

  • Chaos: Lego Masters (threw on to have something in the background; ended up sharing with Confetti immediately and binged it together)
  • Confetti: Girls5Eva (just the right amount of cringe)

Best Intro theme:

  • Chaos:Suburgatory (Why can’t we have the full song!?!?)
  • Confetti: Ducktales (Woo-oo!)

Show I’m most likely to rewatch again one day:

  • Chaos: Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist (possibly more for the music numbers than anything else)
  • Confetti: Ducktales (Woo-oo!)

The Wrap Up:

With the number of shows we watched, it’s impossible to discuss them all here without writing more than anyone is ever honestly going to read.  However, if you’re curious about our thoughts on any particular show listed, feel free to ask.  We’d love to discuss them with you or give our quick thoughts.  We’re also open to suggestions as well.  Happy viewings!

Addendum to our video game post:

Somehow Paper Mario: The Origami King fell off our list of games for 2021.  We both felt bad because it was a very enjoyable game both as a player and observer.  Confetti said it might have even been her #3 game had she remembered it.  Whoops! 

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