Best sitcoms in 2021 | Screen Rant

With a year as turbulent as 2021, sitcoms were a much-needed escape from reality – here are the best sitcoms of the year. Comedy has always been a look into the collective psyche of any society. It’s a tool that people use to process the world around us through the humorous situations that the characters on screen experience. Although the traditional sitcom format has become less popular than in previous decades, the sitcom series has had a resurgence over the last few years. With new, genre-driven shows that change the comedy game, and a shift from the tradition of the multi-camera show recorded in front of a studio audience to single-camera shows with a more cinematic touch, TV comedy is among the best shows that TV has to offer in this new golden age.

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In 2021, there were sitcoms that mixed genres to tell more human stories. Sitcoms from the past often contained cliché stories with ordinary tropes that put the characters in funny situations that needed to be resolved by the end of the episode. By leaning into the human problems of dramas as well as the characteristics of other genres such as horror and true crime, many of the sitcoms in 2021 felt less concerned about limiting themselves to the qualities of the traditional sitcom and more preoccupied with telling the best history possible. 2021 was a diverse year on television, with many new sitcoms having premieres centered on women and the colored.


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Some of the best comedies of 2021 are also some of the best TV shows of the year, regardless of genre. WandaVision, for example, captivated audiences with both Marvel fans and people new to the Marvel Cinematic Universe with its decade-long sitcom-in-a-show created as a manifestation of Wanda’s trauma, while Reservation dogs introduced the world to an entire cast of native actors while offering a realistic depiction of life on rez. Sitcoms in 2021 reflected the diversity of the real world, while providing a much-needed escape from reality by living through the coronavirus pandemic. Here are the best sitcoms of 2021.


10. Abbott Elementary


Abbott Elementary premiered just at the end of 2021, debuting on ABC in December. The late premiere is the only thing that prevents this show from being ranked higher. Abbott Elementary is a show about teachers in an inner city elementary school in Philadelphia, created by and with Quinta Brunson in the lead role. Although only two episodes have been aired, this show has already proven to be a worthy sequel to The Office. It’s a workplace mockumentary, very much like The office, and Brunson’s eager young teacher Janine Teagues is an unhappy millennium icon in the making. She is passionate about her job and her students, but gets a bit of the same passion in return, least of all from the careless and incompetent principal Coleman, played by Janelle James. It also has famous sitcom faces like Everyone hates Chris star Tyler James Williams and Sheryl Lee Ralph, who played stepmother Moesha, like other Abbott Elementary teachers.


9. We Are Lady Parts


The cast in We Are Lady Parts poses together

Originally created for Channel 4 in the UK, We Are Lady Parts also streamed on Peacock in 2021, with great acclaim. This show is rude al girl power and changes the way Muslim girls are typically portrayed in the media. It’s about an only female Muslim punk band called Lady Parts, who finds a shy and nerdy biochemical engineer Ph.D. student named Amina (Anjana Vasan), who also happens to be a really good guitarist. However, Amina has terrible stage fright that makes her sick. The band forges ties through music as they navigate cultural differences, relationships and the dangers of friendship, all the while trying to create a splash in London’s punk scene.


8. PEN15


Releases its second and final season in 2021, PEN15 is a satire on what life was like for Millennial middle school students in the year 2000. Created by Maya Erskine and Anna Konkle, who also play junior high school versions of themselves in the series, and follow Maya and Anna as they embarrassingly struggle to fit in. The show’s cringe-comedy style both satirizes the early 00’s and perfectly captures what it’s like to be in middle school, desperately trying to be cool, thereby failing totally. Erskine and Konkle ended the series after only two seasons and it will definitely be missed.

Related: Pen15 season 2 ending explained


7. The Wonder Years


The Wonder Years Cast

The Wonder Years is a reboot of the classic 1980s sitcom of the same name. The series is narrated by Don Cheadle and stars Elisha Williams as Dean Williams, the main character in the same role as Kevin Arnold (Fred Savage) from the original series. Like the 1980s version, it is about a 12-year-old boy who grows up in the turbulent late 1960s. However, the story takes on a different meaning for Dean, a black boy who grew up in Montgomery, Alabama, while the civil rights movement was at its height. The Wonder Years tackles issues of family, friendships and social change in a heartfelt way that keeps the warmth of the original series intact. The star of the original, Fred Savage, is an executive producer on the series, and he has also directed several episodes.


6. Reservation Dogs


Reservation dogs is a first of its kind series created by Sterlin Harjin and Taika Waititi, featuring all native writers and directors and featuring an almost exclusively native cast and crew. It follows four native teens living in the Oklahoma reservation. After the death of their friend Daniel, the group of teenagers, a cast of characters known as Rez Dogs, try to save enough money to move to California and commit minor crimes to help save the money up. Bear (D’Pharaoh Woon-A-Tai), who considers himself the leader of Rez Dogs, has visions of a spiritual guide who tries to give him life guidance that is just a little overwhelming. The show is full of native humor and culture, and gives a real insight into what it’s like to be a Native American child in today’s world.


5. Ted Lasso


Ted points to the camera in Ted Lasso

During the pandemic shutdowns in 2020, Ted Lasso became an unlikely respite. The story surrounding an American football coach who is hired to coach an English football team could have been a silly one-off joke about confusing the two sports called “football“but turned out to be a heartwarming fish-out-of-water tale, wonderfully performed by Saturday Night Live alun Jason Sudeikis. Ted Lasso returned in 2021 for another season, this time exploring Ted’s trauma and also taking a deeper look into the lives of the other characters in the series. The second season also expanded the show from a 30-minute format to hour-long episodes.


Related: Is Ted Lasso based on a real person? Inspiration explained

4. WandaVision


Elizabeth Olsen as Wanda Maximoff in WandaVision

WandaVision is a show that leans into every sitcom trope spanning 70 years of American television, making it one of the most interesting projects Marvel Studios released in 2021. It centers on Wanda Maximoff, played by Elizabeth Olsen , while dealing with grief over losing Vision (Paul Bettany) after the events of Avengers: Infinity War and Playoffs. Wanda creates sitcom realities where she and Vision can live their perfect lives together, just like the characters from sitcoms that she grew up watching. The first few episodes of the series are complete in the world of sitcoms, leaving a little clue as to why Wanda and Vision suddenly live in a sitcom about their lives. Although the show does not shy away from its connection to the larger Marvel universe, it does a good job as a legitimate sitcom that turns the classic sitcom troop upside down and even films every episode that it would have been filmed in the decade that it refers. It’s an innovative show and a love letter to sitcoms, making it one of the most interesting things to release in 2021.


3. College girls’ sex lives


Mindy Kaling proves himself as a comic mastermind with this show. Her stories always blur the boundaries between fun and real, and College girls sex life maybe just her freshest tag yet. It follows four first-year girls at the fictional Essex College, who discover their sexuality while navigating their lives in school. It’s a refreshing bid for the freshman year, and it’s probably one of the most honest looks at how college is for young women. The young women in the show have an active sex life even though they are not oversexualized or degraded because of their libido.

2. What we do in the shadows


Nadja Laszlo and Guillermo What we do in the shadows

What we do in the shadows is a mockumentary series created by Jemaine Clement based on the movie of the same name that he created and starred in alongside Taika Waititi. It surrounds the lives of three vampires, Nandor (Kayvan Novak), Laszlo (Matt Berry) and Nadja (Natasia Demetriou), who live on Staten Island with Nandor’s well-known Guillermo (Guillen). In its third season, which premiered in 2021, vampires are struggling to figure out what to do with Guillermo after he is revealed to have been a vampire hunter. The show is not only a self-referential satire that pays off little jokes in later episodes, but openly refers to well-known vampire media. Blade Actor Donal Logue, for example, plays a version of himself who has decided to become a real vampire after making the film. What we do in the shadows has consistently been a fun love letter to the horror genre, and season 3 did not disappoint. The show returns for season 4 in 2022.


1. Murder only in the building


Steve Martin and Martin Short have been a dynamic comedy duo for decades. With Only murder in the building, the duo returns and picks up former Disney Channel star Selena Gomez to round out the lead role. The show follows three neighbors who live in a luxury apartment building in New York and become unlikely friends over their favorite true-crime podcast. When a neighbor is murdered in their building, the trio decides to team up to make their own podcast and investigate the murder. Only murder blends the murder mystery and sitcom genres perfectly, while also exploring the lives of the various characters in the story. Mabel, the young woman played by Gomez, was childhood friends with the murder victim and knows a secret about his past, but she fears that if anyone knows the truth, she will be suspected of the murder of him. Martin and Shorts’ return to television was a triumph that created a new bid for a classic concept and certainly qualified as one of best sitcoms in 2021.


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