Fave New TV Shows of 2021

January 20, 2022

This is part two of the #AMonthofFaves on the screen post from last week and officially my last A Month of Faves post.

Figuring out what new TV I watched this past year was a lot harder than figuring out the movies I watched. For one, there is no Letterboxd for TV. For two, there are no real TV seasons anymore! And for three, last year was seriously like two years; it was so long. Anyway, enough of that. Let’s get on with the TV.

Cooking Shows

Regular readers of the blog will know that I enjoy mysteries and have even taught a mystery fiction class. So I was super intrigued by Crime Scene Kitchen (FOX/Hulu). The premise is that chefs (in teams of two) go into a kitchen and have to piece together what dessert was made based on the kitchen remnants and then recreate the dessert exactly. This was a lot of fun and probably would have been more fun if I had a pastry background (you know, beyond The Great British Bake Off) so I could more accurately guess what they were supposed to be making. Be that as it may, it was fun seeing the chefs try to piece together the clues–especially when groups had wildly different guesses.

The last episode was kind of a letdown because they broke the formula (make the best x you can using the ingredients, but not try to recreate exactly what you think the dessert is)–I think to get the bakers to show off their own skills without restriction–but, hopefully, the producers won’t do that again if the show gets renewed.

Up until then it was great, especially because Joel McHale and Curtis Stone are co-hosts! I mean, come on. The eye candy alone. Also, Yolanda Gampp is a total badass, and I had never heard of her before watching this show.

Another fun show I watched was Bake Squad (Netflix). It’s a squad of bakers assembled by Christina Tosi (who you may know from MasterChef) who are presented with a client, and they then compete to create the perfect dessert for said client. This is fun because no one gets eliminated, and you get to see the mind-blowingly creative desserts they come up with and how differently they all interpret each challenge. They are all also super supportive of each other, and you can tell they’re having a lot of fun doing what they love.

Since Chopped is no longer on Hulu, I decided to watch first MasterChef and then, once I finished that, Top Chef (both on Hulu) from the beginning. I had previously seen some seasons of both, but not all, so it has been interesting seeing them from the beginning (hence why I am counting them as new). I did finish all of MasterChef and am currently on S4 of Top Chef.

The best combo of judges on MasterChef was Gordon, Christina, and Aarón Sánchez. You know, for the record. And I’m not saying Tiffani should have won her season of Top Chef, but I do think she was treated unfairly by her peers. Also, the switch to Padma as host gave TC a very sexy cool vibe that it didn’t have with the original host.

American TV

Like most of Twitter, I watched WandaVision (Disney+) in real time every week. Straight up got all my snacks, turned off all the lights, and just focused in. This show was so good! The first two episodes had me on the fence, but by the third episode, I was hooked. I loved seeing which TV shows they were going to send up each week, and, of course, I became invested in the characters themselves. Each time the credits rolled, I was mad because I wanted there to be more (even though the episodes were the perfect length).

[I should note that I also watched The Falcon and the Winter Solider, which had a very different (extremely masculine) vibe, but it was not the same kind of viewing experience for me. I liked it fine, but I was not quite as invested and had no real sense of urgency to watch the show.]

The Big Leap (FOX/Hulu) is SO GOOD. I need more people to watch this show. I need it to get renewed. Like, to the core of my being. First of all, it’s about a ragtag group of misfits people who try out for a reality dance TV show. Second of all, it’s about both the making of the show and the people on the show. Also, I had a really terrible day at work before I watched the pilot, and once I was done watching the pilot, I felt like my soul had re-entered my body. My only complaint (“complaint”) is that it is a show about people who dance but not a musical-type show so there is usually only one dance number per episode and not the several I am used to because of Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist. However, that is a very minor complaint because the actual dance numbers are choreographed by Christopher Scott, so they are amazing. ALSO, the show upends some very common and terrible tropes, and I am here for all of the relationships on this show, especially the friendships. Also, SCOTT FOLEY.

So anyway, you should watch it.

British UK Comedies

Derry Girls (Netflix) is SO FREAKING GOOD. I watched it because people kept talking about it on Twitter, and I finally was like, “FINE, I’ll check it out.” And I did, and the first episode was glorious. I was a little wary because it’s set in Ireland, so I wasn’t sure if the humor would translate, but it totally does. Do I have a favorite character? If I had to pick it would either be Clare or Sister Michael, but honestly, I love them all.

Also, one of my favorite episodes is the one where we find out one of the girls is a “wee lesbian” and then Erin thinks the girl is in love with her, and the wee lesbian says, essentially, “Would you LOOK at yourself? You are a hot mess. Please.” It was magical.

I am so, so glad it’s going to have a third season, but I am so, so sad that it’s going to be the last one.

As for Ghosts (HBOMax), I started watching this right before Christmas at the recommendation of my friend (hot tip: if you want me to actually watch a show, turn on an episode while we’re together, and I will actually watch it instead of constantly saying I’ll get to it eventually). This quickly became a fave, and I have finished all of the available seasons. I love all of the main characters (of which there are many!), but if I had to pick favorites, I would probably go with Kitty, Thomas, and the Captain. Oh, and Lady Button.

I love that the ghosts are all from different eras, so part of the humor comes from them not understanding modern things like “Vicky Pedia” (wikipedia) or from the different perspectives they all have. Also, it’s pretty obvious how most of the ghosts died–except Kitty and the Captain–and still I love finding out what *actually* happened. Also, and it must be said, I also dig the alive humans, Alison and Mike.

Anyway, it’s a lot of fun, and I’m super glad I ended 2021 and then began 2022 watching it.

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