Which Netflix shows and movies are the best of the year 2021? We rank the top 11!
It’s been an eventful year for the streaming giant Netflix. The platform continues to release original programming at a rapid pace and shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon.
The year 2021 was a year of firsts for the streamer. The Crown swept every major acting category at the 2021 Emmys and won Netflix its first-ever award for Outstanding Drama Series. In addition to The Crown, The Queen’s Gambit walked away with two Emmys including the prestigious Outstanding Limited or Anthology Series.
In addition to Emmy’s success, Netflix also smashed the record for their most-watched series and movie, respectfully. Squid Game became a global phenomenon on its way to becoming the most-watched show ever on the service while Red Notice registered the most views ever for a Netflix original film.
With so much new content to choose from, narrowing down a list to the best 11 original programs of 2021 is downright impossible. Where to even begin?
Best Netflix shows and movies of 2021: No. 1 Squid Game
The show which featured childhood games with deadly consequences became an unprecedented sensation. According to the streamer, Squid Game registered 1.65 billion hours of viewing in its first four weeks. That smashed the record for most-watched Netflix show ever, breaking the record of 625 million hours set by Bridgerton. Because of the show’s popularity, a second season is in development.
A gentleman thief is out for revenge in the French mystery series, Lupin. Assane Diop, played by Omar Sy, is a thief who seeks to avenge the improvement and death of his father by stealing from the family that put him behind bars, the Pellegrini’s. Diop is inspired by the works of the French master thief, Arsène Lupin, and becomes a gentleman thief. Through his clever wit and skill persona, Diop steals an expensive diamond necklace to hurt the Pellegrini family and prove his father’s innocence. The series is a fun thrill ride with cliffhangers at every corner!
2.The Harder They Fall
Who doesn’t love a good Western? In The Harder They Fall, Rufus Buck, played by Idris Elba, kills 11-year-old Nat Love’s parents. 20 years later, Love, played by Jonathan Majors, seeks to avenge his parents’ deaths and go after love when Buck escapes from prison. This film marks one of the few Westerns with a predominantly black cast. Buckle up because this film is nonstop action!
3. I Think You Should Leave with Tim Robinson
One of the most underrated and underappreciated comedies on television is I Think You Should Leave with Tim Robinson. Created by Robinson and Zach Kanin, the hilarious sketch show grew a dedicated following upon its Season 1 release in 2019 and spawned off several memorable memes such as the hot dog car sketch. Season 2 did not suffer a dip in quality whatsoever, and provided us with plenty of laughs thanks to sketches like “Ghost Tour,” “Prank Show,” and “Coffin Flop.”
4. Sweet Tooth
For a show about a pandemic wiping out most of society, Sweet Tooth was a very thoughtful and sympathetic series. Because of the virus, hybrid babies that are half-human, half-animal began popping up. Gus, a 10-year old hybrid (half-human, half deer), sets off for Colorado to find his mother after his dad died. On the way, Tommy, played by Nonso Anozie, saves Gus from hunters and nicknames the child “Sweet Tooth” because of his love for candy. The series was a big hit for fans of all ages and will return for a Season 2.
Picture three of the biggest movie stars in the world coming together to create an action-comedy with beauty, muscle, and wit. The result is Red Notice, the art heist thriller that premiered in November. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson stars an FBI agent who teams up with a master art thief, played by Ryan Reynolds, in order to catch an expert criminal, portrayed by Gal Gadot. Red Notice broke records for the streamer, becoming its biggest opening weekend film as well as the most-watched film ever.
6.The Power of the Dog
The streamer has a viable Oscar contender for Best Picture with The Power of the Dog, a Western drama starring Benedict Cumberbatch. In the film, Cumberbatch plays a toxic cowboy who is particularly cruel to his brother’s new wife and child, until a shocking revelation changes everything. Featured actors in the cast include Jesse Plemons as the aforementioned brother, Kirsten Dunst as the new wife, and Kodi Smit-McPhee as the son.
The film is written and directed by Jane Campion, who is one of seven women to be nominated for Best Director at the Oscars. Campion will most likely become the first two-time female directing nominee at this year’s ceremony.
7. Never Have I Ever
This charming coming-of-age series comes from creator Mindy Kaling. Based on Kaling’s own experiences, the show chronicles 15-year-old Devi Vishwakumar, a high school student looking to change her social status after a rough freshman year that included the death of her father. Never Have I Ever is a sweet and charming comedy about growing up and coming to accept one’s identity.