5 of the Best and 5 of the Worst Netflix Shows of 2021, So Far

This year, we’ve seen a ton of new shows come to Netflix. While some of them were completely binge-worthy and earned 5-star reviews, others were an epic fail. Here, we’ll discuss the shows that either dazzled audiences or fell flat. 

BEST

Lupin

Apart from his undeniable swag and sense of style, the plot of Lupin itself was a binge-worthy Netflix masterpiece. Based on the stories written by Maurice Leblanc, this French TV show follows debonair thief Assane Diop, played by Omar Sy, as he goes on a mission of justice to avenge his father’s death. Sy’s charming acting, sparkling jewels and the gorgeous backdrop of Paris absolutely steal the show and make this a must-watch. 

WORST 

Firefly Lane

This star-studded show about best friends fell surprisingly flat for many viewers and TV reviewers. Even though Katherine Heigl and Sarah served up the girl drama that we love to guilt-watch, people complained that despite the good acting, the show itself was not that impressive, and that Heigl and Chalke, playing besties Tully and Kate, carried the show due to their acting. Although Firefly Lane was lovable, something about it just didn’t click.

BEST

Penguin Town

For a family friendly watch, check out this Patton Oswalt narrated documentary which takes a look at a colony of penguins who annually come to settle in a seaside town in South Africa. It’s sweet, it’s a breath of fresh air, and it’s everything that we need coming out of an anxiety-ridden pandemic year. The photography is gorgeous, but Oswalt’s warm and hilarious narration adds the dose of humor for the perfect formula.

WORST  

Behind Her Eyes

This Sci-Fi show follows a single mother named Louisa who gets a whole lot more trouble than she bargained for when falling for her boss while becoming friends with his wife. It’s a recipe for disaster, but ultimately, the twists and surprises overshadowed the writing, plot, and bizarre character development. The ending of the season had people either loving it or hating it with no room in between, so you’ll have to watch it yourself for a true verdict.

BEST

Sweet Tooth

This ultra-realistic fantasy show is all about a dystopian future where a pandemic (which is now considered normal thanks to COVID) causes kids to be born as animal hybrids. Our protagonist is a young boy with antlers who goes on a journey to find his mother. He’s joined (begrudgingly) by a prosecutor, played by Nonso Anozie. It’s dark but gentle, with just the right amount of tragedy and lightheartedness. 

WORST 

Halston

The fashion looks and smoldering eye contact definitely made us swoon in Netflix’s series about high-profiel designer Roy Halston Frowick, and while it may have captured the glitz and decadence of the era, many felt that it was overly directed by Ryan Murphy, who sucked all the life out of Ewan McGregor’s usually inspiring acting performances. As a reviewer in the New Yorker puts it, the “tight rein” of directing prevents McGregor to “breathe as a subject”.

BEST

Shadow and Bone

Adapted from the book series by the same name from Leigh Bardugo, this unique fantasy show is far from the typical teen-vamp content that we’re used to seeing in the YA fantasy genre.  In the world of Shadow & Bone, a dark force threatens to take over the entire world. But a girl known as Alina Starkov realizes her talent to summon light, and she has to fight not just the force, but a thieving crew. It’s just long enough at 8 episodes, and the 19th-century Russian vibe is addictive after just one episode. 

WORST 

The Crew

Led by the underwhelming Kevin James, The Crew was a mish-mash of conventional sitcoms, cringe-worthy acting, and confused sense of humor. It’s about a retired NASCAR team owner whose daughter takes over the crew, and while some considered it charming, others thought it was a waste of a show. In this day and age, a sitcom needs to thrive on creativity rather than survive on past tropes, and this show just didn’t hit the mark. 

BEST

Pretend It’s A City

Viewers are used to seeing New York painted in a pretty specific light, but this Fran Leibowitz led masterpiece showed a very different perspective that critics and audiences welcomed. The humorist and her BFF director Martin Scorsese go through all of NYC’s quirks through the lens of a real New Yorker. It’s a mind-blowing tribute and deconstruction of the city like never before, and well worth a watch.

WORST 

Sex/Life

This show tried to be a steamy take on 50 Shades of Gray meets Sex and the City, for the middle aged, chronicling the suburban woman who left an exciting life of partying with rock stars in NYC for a more mundane life as a mom and wife to a very vanilla Ken doll. Obviously unsatisfied with her station in life, she goes to her bad boy ex Brad. What we get is a bad soap opera disguising itself as moody and mysterious with dimly-lit, unrealistic sex scenes and eye-roll worthy dialogue. 

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