From the Squid Game phenomenon to the fabulous Mare of Easttown, passing by the unfathomable Loki, the upsetting Dopesick or the Midnight Sermons, there has been plenty to do this year on the small screen.
21) SHADOW AND BONE – on Netflix
Teen fantasy as we like it. This Grisha Saga is based on a rich universe, with a complex geopolitics, which mischievously reenacts the east / west conflicts of our own world. An aesthetically sumptuous decorum (the costumes, the sets, the effects are impressive) with refreshing Soviet connotations, brilliantly embodied by a new face, that of the young Jessie Mei Li, who bursts the screen.
20) NONA AND HER DAUGHTERS – on Arte
A little gem of surrealist humor, with infinite tenderness, wrapped in a family fable signed by Valérie Donzelli. The acclaimed filmmaker for War is declared Where Our Lady tells the story of a 70-year-old woman, a historic and committed feminist, who suddenly becomes pregnant. For her three 44-year-old daughters, triplets that she raised alone in Paris, it’s a shock. Around Miou Miou, perfect in immature Mater Familas, the triplet of beautiful girls have a blast. Ledoyen, Hesme and Donzelli are bursting with sparkling chemistry. A communicative good humor that gives a little something extra to this unreal series: the desire to be part of the family!
19) ONLY MURDERS IN THE BUILDING – on Disney +
Charles, Oliver and Mabel have a murder to solve. Someone was killed in their building so they decide to investigate. Selena Gomez, Martin Short and Steve martin (two of Three Amigos by John Landis) have a blast in this old-fashioned murder mystery, who likes to take his time, dilute, daddy’s TV style. A series like no other, almost designed as the anti-binge-watch.
First Look at She-Hulk, Moon Knight, and Miss Marvel in Disney + Promo
18) GERMINAL – on France 2
Beautifully produced, this 2021 version of Emile Zola’s classic for France Télévisions is quite astonishing, both uplifting and spectacularly beautiful. The story is known to everyone. At the “Le Voreux” mine, in the north of France, a new blow of firedamp causes the death of Fleurance. Just arrived on site, Étienne Lantier, an unemployed worker, was hired in Toussaint Maheu’s team. He will discover the hard life of a bottom miner, 600 meters underground or in the settlements. Beyond decorum, the series shines with its modern writing. Realistic, epic, dramatic, this Germinal was necessary.
17) SQUID GAME – on Netflix
More than a series, a milestone on the small screen and even a downright social phenomenon on a global scale. Squid Game and its horrible, bloody, breathless games took the entire planet by surprise, to the point of putting Korean creation at the center of the international scene. Dramatically growing subscriptions, huge financial returns, and a buzz almost never seen before: Netflix achieved the hit of the year with this original thriller, which has become – by far – the biggest success in history. of the platform.
16) WANDAVISION / HAWKEYE (tied) – on Disney +
They are proof that Marvel has perfectly adapted to the small screen. The first arrived on the platform at the beginning of the year and immediately established itself as an ambitious and daring series, totally apart in its approach to the MCU. Full of references, humor and boosted by a touch of delectable madness, she made the passage of Wanda Maximoff a major character for the rest of the franchise. Ten months later, Hawkeye showed another side of what Marvel could do on television, in 90’s action comedy mode, cool and uninhibited, John McClane style of the Marvel Universe. Two approaches, two styles, two successes.
15) THE FLIGHT ATTENDING – on Warner TV
It’s not easy to forget Penny, the perfect “girl next door” she played for twelve years in the most popular sitcom of the 21st century. Kaley Cuoco has however found a suitable job. A sexy and unbridled role, in this fun and millimeter thriller, overflowing with energy. Perfect for definitively turning the page of The Big Bang Theory.
14) INVINCIBLE – on Amazon Prime Video
This bloody and scathing animated series, adapted from the new comic from the creator of The walking dead, is a real slap in the face … as was the first season of the zombific series. A clever and ultra-violent replay of superheroes, which manages to surprise us with each episode.
13) FOUNDATION – on Apple TV +
Long awaited, the serial adaptation of the masterpiece of Isaac Asimov is not always very accessible, sometimes a slow and above all so vast. But it’s an absolutely epic sci-fi adventure, endlessly rich and almost unparalleled in beauty on the small screen. A breathtaking cosmic spectacle, with a Dantesque Lee Pace in the role of this Emperor, heir to a dynasty of clones …
12) LOKI – on Disney Plus
Yes WandaVision is very original, if Hawkeye is devilishly cool and Falcon and the Winter Soldier very agreed, the comeback of Loki post-Avengers: Endgame is simply exhilarating. An insane fantasy that juggles with the codes of MCU and shines thanks to the spectacular debut of Owen Wilson, the ideal partner of the phlegmatic Tom Hiddleston. Definitely the best Marvel series so far.
11) UFO (S) – on Canal Plus
Without making a mystery, this original creation immersed in the 70’s gives us ufology and paranormal phenomena. Ambitious and unusual in French fiction. A series that also exudes a scent of assumed nostalgia, an authentic tribute to the time of which it piled up references with greed. SF comedy, but not only, UFO (s) adapts to all genres to investigate the existence of beings from elsewhere.
Two series by Ingmar Bergman arrive on Arte.tv
10) SCENES FROM A MARRIAGE – on OCS
Replay Ingmar Bergman in 2021, the bet was not won in advance. It is however brilliantly noted by the Israeli director Hagai Levi. His remake of the Swedish classic from 1973 is a “masterclass” of the genre, able to take (sometimes) shot for shot the original, while (often) offering these Scenes from married life a remarkably well-groomed facelift. A modern adaptation of breathtaking dramatic power, infused by a Chastain / Isaac duo at the top.
9) THE WHITE LOTUS – on OCS
After lighting up HBO with Enlightened (with Laura Dern), Mike White returns in great shape with an indescribable new creation, a scathingly sarcastic vacation miniseries lulled by oddly odd hysteria, in a luxury Hawaiian resort where guests come to stay wealthy … In turn hilarious and disturbing, The White Lotus is not really a “feel good” comedy to enjoy between two cocktails with your toes in a fan. It was conceived as a social satire reveling in cracking the shiny varnish of golden life, the better to bite into the pitfalls of the horrible clients of this hotel.
8) ANNA – on Arte
The new series from the creator ofIl Miracolo, intense dark tale about childhood and the end of innocence. Five years after its publication, he revisits his novel while retaining its substance, but changing the situations and the dynamics between the characters. If adapting is betraying, the series would not have been possible without this ruse, at the risk of appearing boring, says Ammaniti. We can only agree with him. In the image, the series, a sort of Alice in the land of horrors anchored in the present, is complementary, and even richer than its base. It is by taking advantage of the baroque settings of Sicily, in shots that reflect his search for a balanced framing and constant chromatic games, that the author, who has become a full-fledged director, redeploys his story, at the height of the tale. morbid he tells.
7) THE GOOD LORD BIRD – on Canal Plus
Ethan Hawke is in the oven and in the mill to tell us the (true) story of the mad fate of abolitionist John Brown, a divisive figure in the American Civil War. The actor of Boyhood delivers a supercharged performance and carries this fascinating picaresque western on his shoulders.
6) IN THERAPY – on Arte
It is undoubtedly the French event of the beginning of the year. An extraordinary series, which blew up the counters of Arte, live and in replay. With its 35 episodes, this first television season by Nakache and Tolédano has established itself as an exciting dive into our national psyche, targeting the widest possible audience, from drama buffs to style exercise enthusiasts, in passing by rhetoric enthusiasts.
5) THE UNDERGROUND RAILROAD – on Amazon Prime Video
Despite Barry Jenkins’ slightly over-mannered style, the Oscar-winning filmmaker for Moonlight brings up a hot topic on television. Without being the definitive series on slavery that it could have been, the strength of The Underground Railroad lies in the reversal of the gaze imposed by the director. Through the epic of the African-American experience in its diversity and from within. And by asking the question of the gaze, that of white slavers, that of a black woman on her own condition as a woman, black, slave, that of the men who exploit her. And especially the gaze of the spectator, constantly questioned through the frontal close-ups of his heroine.
4) MIDNIGHT SERMONS – on Netflix
Mike Flanagan’s ways are as impenetrable as ever. The director of Hill house returns with a new mystical creation, more religious and spiritual than frightening, but devilishly bewitching. Abandoning ghosts and haunted houses, he takes hold of the religious, in a parable as haunting as macabre on fundamentalism, fanaticism and more generally the deviation of Catholicism. This Midnight mass is a hell of a television object. Hallelujah!
3) IT’S A SIN – on Canal Plus
Sacred in recent days at the 60th Monte-Carlo television festival, the new nugget from the creator of Years and Years is one of the major series for the start of 2021. Russel T. Davis delivers uncompromising testimony to the AIDS years and a vibrant ode to life. A success that brings together all the emotions.
2) DOPESICK – on Disney Plus
Health disaster in the United States in the 1990s and 2000s, the opioid crisis is meticulously told in this overwhelming, shocking, revolting fiction drawn from real facts! In the vein of a drama à la Erin Brockovich, this limited series of 8 episodes does not go with the back of the spoon to point the finger at responsibilities. A barely believable true story, told from different perspectives, from the Machiavellian CEO to the average consumer. But it’s especially when she goes into the field, through this more intimate approach, in the heart of a small mining community in the depths of Virginia, that Dopesick makes sense.
1) MARE OF EASTTOWN – on OCS
Or Kate Winslet’s “masterclass”. As much as the concept of the tormented town cop is hardly new, the performance of the British actress, combined with a striking writing, which touches all the clichés of the concept, while managing to transcend it, make this mini-series a Breathtaking criminal drama, which is reminiscent of the slap True Detective from 2014.