The Bestest 2021: Television

Marc Ruxin
3 min readJan 27, 2022

What’s the difference between TV and movies these days? TV has: Bigger budgets, bigger audiences, movie stars, longer narrative canvases, bingeability, and infinite choice. This was happening long before Covid, but sadly the golden age of cinema (at least the theatrical version) is now officially over. We’re both winning and losing. I watched way too much television last year, but enjoyed it a ton.

  1. The Serpent (Netflix) The incredible true story of a French/Vietnamese gem dealer posted up in Thailand in the 70’s who prays on hippie tourists until a Dutch diplomat takes notice in this stranger than fiction real life tale.
  2. Underground Railroad (Amazon) The Barry Jenkins adaptation of the Pulitzer prize winning Colson Whitehead’s novel is a relentlessly heartbreaking, but an impeccably shot story of a slave whose epic journey exposes the gruesome history of slavery in America.
  3. Your Honor (Showtime) Bryan Cranston is rock solid as a judge and a father caught up in a hit and run involving a mafia kingpin and his son in a struggle to do the right thing in Nola.
  4. Tell Me Your Secrets (Amazon) Lily Rabe plays a woman living in witness protection in Louisiana struggling to remember the crimes that took place years before.
  5. White Lotus (HBO) — This snarky comedy set at a fancy resort in Hawaii, features a wonderfully hateable cast whose vacation spirals into mayhem in this darkest of dark comedies.
  6. The Beatles: Get Back (Apple) Director Peter Jackson’s incredible “documentary about a documentary” features 9 hours of unseen footage as the band rehearses for their final album “Let It be.” This might be the finest film ever assembled about the creative process about the greatest band of all time,
  7. McCartney 1,2,3 (Hulu) — Rick Rubin guides Paul McCartney through the music and stories behind his music by unpacking the nuance and details buried deep within the master recordings they revisit with pure childlike joy.
  8. American Rust (Showtime) Jeff Daniels plays a world weary small town police chief who is drawn into a murder that explores two families and the pain of being trapped in a decaying steel town with no way out.
  9. Mare of Easttown (HBO) Kate Winslet is brilliant as a small town Pennsylvania cop who is trying to the solve the murder of a young mother while her own life is unraveling.
  10. Dopesick (Hulu) — In this bleakly brilliant examination of the rise of the opiate crisis in America, a stellar cast, including Michael Keaton’s small coal town doctor, expose the devastation that opiates have left in their wake.
  11. Squid Game (Netflix) — Yeah, it’s good.
  12. Crime of the Century (HBO) — The documentary companion piece to “Dopesick” shines a light on the origins and perpetrators of the modern day opiate crisis. From the nefarious Sackler family to the drug stores and distributors who conspired to create our most devastating modern epidemic.
  13. Succession (Netflix) — The somewhat overrated, but still cringely entertaining saga of the Roy dynasty is even darker and more inbred than ever before.
  14. Yellowjackets (Showtime) This slickly hip story of a girls soccer team whose plane crashes on the way to a game, alternates between past and present as the gory details emerge keeping you riveted until the bitter end.
  15. Dave — Even raunchier than the first season, Dave is back fighting writer’s block while he attempts to record his first album.
  16. Allen v. Farrow (HBO) — Sometimes it’s better to not know that much about your favorite celebrities. This shocking expose shines a light on the dubious decisions made by one of our favorite filmmakers.
  17. Ted Lasso (Apple TV) — In some ways the second season of this sappily lovable comedy is even sweeter and better than the first.
  18. Money Heist (Netflix) — The first four seasons of this five season adrenaline filled caper just get better and better, before leaning a little too hard on the action in season five. Still an awesome romp.
  19. Maid (Netflix) — A down on her luck single mother struggles to get by after leaving her alcoholic baby daddy, and takes a job as a maid while also trying to manage her bi-polar hippie mother.
  20. Only Murders In The Building (Hulu) This light hearted murder mystery plays like Woody Allen meets Seinfeld, in the New Yorkiest show in quite a while.



Marc Ruxin

Entrepreneur, investor, operator, music and film zealot, and occasional writer of occasionally interesting things ..