Most Underrated TV Shows of 2021

There are a handful of television series that should have been on your radar, but you may have missed this year. I’m not saying that these were critically ignored (in fact, some of them have some of the highest ratings of all the series released in 2021), just that, in my circles, it seems like whenever they’re brought up in conversation, not enough people have heard of or watched them. Listen, we all know there are a lot of shows to catch up on and a lot of platforms upon which you could binge them—too much content, and too many platforms, to be blunt. Hidden gems will always be washed away when you have series like Succession or Squid Game dominating the conversation, but here are the six television shows we wish got a little more love this year.

South Side

Resurrected from Comedy Central by HBO Max, the hijinks of a couple of community college grads and dimwitted cops on the South Side of Chicago are the subject of this series. Created by Bashir Salahuddin, Diallo Riddle, and Sultan Salahuddin, all of whom also star alongside Chandra Russell, Kareme Young, Quincy Young, and Zuri Salahuddin, South Side is truly a family affair. It is also the most Chicago show I’ve seen in a minute, and when I tell you the episode in which Russell’s character, Officer Turner, steals a wig from the set of a fake television show about cops on the South Side, had me in tears, I mean it.

Where to stream: HBO Max

It’s a Sin

I have been singing the praises of this show from Russell T. Davies (also the original Queer as Folk creator) since January to anyone who will listen. There are so many good things to say about this show that launched some careers and was both delightful and life affirming, while also remaining educational and informative about queer youth living with AIDS in 1980s London. (It’s also rated at 97% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes, and I know we’re not really keen on holding everything to the tomato-meter standard these days, but they are right about this one). The soundtrack? The outfits? Call me if you aren’t fully sobbing by the end.

Where to stream: HBO Max

Sort Of

Sabi (Bilal Baig), a gender fluid nanny working in Toronto for a mixed race family, is constantly in a state of flux. A sweet, smart gem of a show that reminds me of the type of queer web series they just don’t make anymore.

Where to stream: HBO Max

Run the World

Run the World is a refreshing riff on the Sex and the City, four thirty-something friends in New York type of dramedy. The performances are delightful (Bresha Webb will make you laugh like no other) and there’s even a special appearance from Rosie O’Donnell as the shared therapist between the four leads. Plus, Patricia Field really went hard with the costumes. (And yes, Tracy Oliver’s Harlem on Amazon Prime has caught flack for being similar in structure, but to that I say, why can’t they both exist at the same time?)

Where to stream: Starz

Reservation Dogs

Taika Waititi and Sterlin Harjo’s hilarious and heartfelt series about four teens living on a reservation will challenge you on everything you thought you knew about rez life and being an indigenous person in this country. The breakout performances and humorous, surreal moments are entertaining from the very beginning, and thankfully it was renewed for a second season to be released next year.

Where to stream: Hulu


It’s not too late for Yellowjackets to pop off. Seriously, I cannot shut up about this show and I keep singing its praises to anyone who will listen (and then people tell me they guess they might be into it, but they don’t have Showtime, which is a fair point, but there is such a thing as a free trial). The soundtrack (‘90s alt), the perfect casting (‘90s icons like Juliette Lewis, Christina Ricci, Melanie Lynskey playing the grownup versions of a ‘90s girls soccer team that crashes in the wilderness), all of it is so, so good. And there’s a mystery at the center (Which of the team members, exactly, become a cannibal when left out in the elements? We still don’t know!) that will keep you guessing until the very end.

Where to stream: Showtime Anytime

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