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'Ted Lasso,' 'Sex Education' and more top TV shows from 2021 –



This year, television made us laugh and cry. Sometimes we laughed until we cried. Sometimes we cried until we laughed.
There was a sympathetic sex therapist, a murder mystery in a Manhattan building, another whodunit set in a Hawaiian resort. And, of course, there was Ted Lasso.
Here’s the best of the best.
Asa Butterfield and Emma Mackey in “Sex Education”
“Sex Education” • The Biggest Bad on TV this year wasn’t kit man-turned-“Wunderkid” assistant coach Nate from soccer sitcom “Ted Lasso.” Nor was it Ridgeway from fantasy historical drama “The Underground Railroad” or even one of the mean girls on the “Gossip Girl” reboot. No, it was Hope Haddon, the new headmistress at Moordale Academy on “Sex Education,” played by Jemima Kirke. And it is the utter charm of the rest of the Netflix show that made the third season flourish, even with an almost unwatchable villain.
For three seasons, “Sex Education” has done the dirty work of making sex real. Through teenagers, all messy and pimply and dramatic, sex became commonplace and not taboo. And with a warmth and love flowing mostly through the show’s sex therapist played by Gillian Anderson, “Sex Education” has done the unthinkable: It has talked about sex, baby.
“Inside” • Everyone was sick of COVID shows by about February, and rightly so. We were already living it; why watch it on TV, too? The one exception to that rule was Bo Burnham’s breathtaking comedy special “Inside,” filmed entirely in isolation as we watch the comedian dissolve into himself. The songs — and the hypnotic production — were as profound as they were funny, filled with an aching despair that yearned back to Burnham’s YouTube days, but with almost 15 years of self-reflection added to the mix. “Inside” is a claustrophobic and self-loathing look into the gaping abyss of our rapidly deteriorating reality. It’s Burnham at his best, even when he’s at his worst.
Harvey Guillén in “What We Do in the Shadows”
“What We Do in the Shadows” • “What We Do in the Shadows” is one of those shows that you convince your friends to watch by just telling them to trust you. Now in its third season, it not only has earned that trust but continues to surpass itself when that seems impossible. Weird shows tend to burn out or drift toward the center in order to stay on the air. “What We Do in the Shadows” has no interest in meeting you in the middle, and the bizarre vampire comedy is better for it.
From left: Faith Omole, Sarah Kameela Impey, Juliette Motamed, Anjana Vasan and Lucie Shorthouse in “We Are Lady Parts”
“We Are Lady Parts” • Ignore the uncomfortable title and the girl boss vibes, and all of a sudden you have a bold, brash, loud exploration of Muslim women living unashamed and unapologetic. The five British women who make up the punk-rock band are looking for different things, come from different backgrounds and are in different places in their lives, but they all know they want — and deserve — something more. Peacock’s “We Are Lady Parts” wants more for its women, too, and with an aggressive, drum-heavy soundtrack, it’s going to find it.
“We Are Lady Parts” fits into a resurgence of musical comedies (“Girls5Eva,” “Schmigadoon!,” “Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist”), but where the others use music to speak, the Peacock series wants to scream. Let women scream.
“Maid” • In a way, “Maid” is a success story. Single mom Alex (Margaret Qualley) gets out. She figures out food stamps and housing assistance. She skips meals and schleps a vacuum to her housecleaning gigs. She beats a system built to help people that was broken by design.
At its best, “Maid” tells of mothers and daughters. Of Alex and her mother, Paula (played with a chaotic indignation by Qualley’s real-life mother, Andie MacDowell). Of Alex and her daughter, old enough to know what’s wrong but too young to understand. Of dreams of a better life for the next generation.
“Ted Lasso” • The second season of “Ted Lasso” taught us two things: that no one knows how to watch weekly television anymore and that being nice isn’t always enough. Our favorite mustachioed soccer coach’s Pollyanna routine is a coping mechanism, an excuse to bury anything deeper than the mysteries of Coach Beard and to hide behind bad puns and a true and abiding love of Renee Zellweger.
Ted, a genuine nice guy, sees that as his way in. He wants everyone to like him (as opposed to coach Nate, who has skyrocketed in the opposite direction and quickly became one of the most unlikeable characters on TV). And it mostly works; that was the entire point of the first season. What he’s left with, though, is what to do next. He’s in the inner circle. How does he keep it up when everything is threatening to come crashing down?
“Ted Lasso” is still hilarious, of course. Sam Richardson’s locker room meltdown and Brendan Hunt’s hula hoop dance will haunt us forever. Roy Kent’s entire tenure as a TV pundit could and should be taught in journalism classes around the world. But the heart was always the thing, and in the second season we finally got to see that heart break a little.
“Blindspotting” • Every year, one show swings bigger than the rest. In 2021, that was “Blindspotting,” the spinoff sequel of the 2018 movie of the same name from “Hamilton” alum Daveed Diggs and Rafael Casal. A star-making turn for Jasmine Cephas Jones as Ashley Rose, a suddenly single mom after her partner is sent to prison, was breathtaking, heartbreaking and stunning. Jones raps as she rages, then quiets, accepts, because she has to. Because she has a son to raise alone, to convince that everything is fine, to shield from reality.
Beneath all of it is a story of loss, about all that the carceral state steals from the people on the outside. About a partner pushing through, a mother getting by, a sister, a best friend, a roommate surviving.
Jean Smart in “Hacks”
“Hacks” • Welcome to the Jean Smartaissance. After “Watchmen” and “Mare of Easttown,” the resurgence of Jean Smart came to a head with “Hacks,” the unfairly hilarious and yet full of heart series about an aging comic and her up-and-coming hanger-on (Hannah Einbinder). “Hacks” magically balances two different worlds with a lightness and humor that comes from both Smart, a TV icon, and Einbinder, a newcomer to the small screen. Behind the laughs, though, is the despair of two women spit out on either end of their careers and the strength to fight for what they want.
From left: Murray Bartlett, Fred Hechinger (partially obscured), Sydney Sweeney, Connie Britton, Brittany O’Grady and Steve Zahn in “The White Lotus”
“The White Lotus” • Set against the gorgeous backdrop of a luxury Hawaiian resort, a cast of misfits descends on the island, dragging along literal and figurative baggage. At the show’s core is a murder mystery, but that barely matters. Instead, the draw is its monstrous characters: the self-indulgent rich kid, the self-obsessed businesswoman and whoever Jennifer Coolidge was playing with her usual chaos and charm. They are in the self-made hell where they feel most comfortable, if only because it means they can complain constantly and do nothing about it. And showrunner Mike White’s nimble touch means that we can hate every one of them yet still crave more.
“Only Murders in the Building” • “Only Murders in the Building” did not have anything particularly revolutionary to say, nor did it change how we watch TV, but my goodness it was funny. A ridiculous true-crime podcast parody that actually understood the subject it was mocking? A delightful cast of Steve Martin and Martin Short, buoyed by a spectacular Selena Gomez, who not only holds her own against two comedy legends but stands out? Martin lying upside-down in an elevator in a bowler hat? What more could you ask for?
“Only Murders in the Building” knew exactly what it wanted to do, and it succeeded at exactly that. The murder mystery was merely a narrative device, and the show knew that, too. Instead, everyone just stood back and let its leads flourish.
Get the recommendations on what’s streaming now, games you’ll love, TV news and more with our weekly Home Entertainment newsletter!

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Asa Butterfield and Emma Mackey in “Sex Education”
Harvey Guillén in “What We Do in the Shadows”
From left: Faith Omole, Sarah Kameela Impey, Juliette Motamed, Anjana Vasan and Lucie Shorthouse in “We Are Lady Parts”
Jean Smart in “Hacks”
From left: Murray Bartlett, Fred Hechinger (partially obscured), Sydney Sweeney, Connie Britton, Brittany O’Grady and Steve Zahn in “The White Lotus”
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Realm Scans: Navigating the Uncharted Territories of Digital Discovery



In the expansive landscape of digital exploration, there exists a realm where information becomes an adventure—Realm Scans. Beyond a mere scanning service, this digital haven is where curiosity converges with innovation, and the uncharted territories of digital discovery come to life. Join us as we embark on a journey to unravel the unique dynamics of Realm Scans, navigating through the realms where information is not just scanned but transformed into a digital odyssey.

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As we navigate through the digital horizons of Realm Scans, the article becomes a celebration of the fusion between technology and user experience. It is a recognition that in the world of digital services, there are realms where functionality meets innovation, and where information is a gateway to new digital frontiers.

“Digital Horizons: Exploring the Essence of Realm Scans” is not just an article; it’s an ode to the tech enthusiasts, the information seekers, and the digital explorers who recognize the profound impact of a scanning service that goes beyond the surface. It’s an acknowledgment that in the realms of digital discovery, Realm Scans stands as a beacon, inviting users to embrace the transformative power of information in the digital age.

As Realm Scans continues to redefine the digital scanning landscape, “Digital Horizons” invites us to appreciate the nuances of a service that transforms the ordinary into the extraordinary—an exploration where every scan is not just a document but a digital adventure waiting to be unfolded.

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