2021 has been a weaker year for television fiction compared to other years where there was more quality and variety of offers. The stoppage of filming due to the pandemic has not reduced the production and distribution of series, but there are symptoms of a certain creative fatigue except for some unexpected phenomena, safe bets or second and third parties. In Spain, for example, after the previous season dominated by dramas, it has been comedy or dramedies that have given the best results. All in all, the year has once again left some paradoxes to analyze. ‘The Squid Game’ will have been the most watched and ‘marathoned’ series, but HBO keeps its prestige and social conversation with the weekly broadcast of its fictions. Amazon and Apple continue to open a gap in the market but the impact of their large productions is discreet among the general public.
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1.- Succession – HBO Max
There is no discussion. At least in this group. The series created by Jesse Armstrong is the new jewel in HBO’s crown. This rich and posh drama is at once a classic soap opera, a modern comedy and a thriller full of crazy twists, private jets and meetings in Italy. Its third season confirms that it is the most fit series of the moment, due to scripts, interpretations and a budget that allows it to shine at the height of the Roys, the most hated-loved family on television. Good TeleShakespeare.
2.- Mare of Easttown – HBO Max
The surprise of the year. It gathered many ingredients to succeed but also to pass through a formulaic thriller of a young girl murdered in a small town in deep America. There came a point where the investigation did not matter to us, we did not care about the murderer, because we only had eyes to accompany Kate Winslet in her suffering. A jaded, tired, traumatized woman, who comes out ahead weaving feminine networks in the face of structural machismo. Brad Ingelsby has given us the character of the year.
3.- The Underground Railroad – Amazon Prime Video
A powerful and tough drama signed by the Oscar-winning Barry Jenkins for Amazon. In the first series of him, the director of Moonlight portrays the founding of America and the railroad from the other side, from the founding of racism and slavery. The Underground Railroad adapts the famous Pulitzer-winning novel by Colson Whitehead and Jenkins pulls on magical realism and visual poetics to expose the persecution of blacks and the road to freedom. Among the essentials of the year yes or yes.