Even with all the extra time we’ve been spending at home, there’s no way you watched everything 2021 had to offer. The year was overflowing with quality television. Fortunately, the week between Christmas and New Year’s doesn’t give non-sports fans much to choose from, which means you have plenty of time to catch-up on some of the TV you missed, before 2022 brings in a new batch of shows to get obsessed with. So take notes and beef up your watchlist, because these are 10 TV shows you missed and should binge during the holiday break.
BMF is the story of the Flenory brothers building their mafia empire in Detroit in the late ‘80s. Starz and 50 Cent are getting very good at building these worlds full of interesting characters and stories. Obviously, mafia stories aren’t new, but getting to see a Black family play the power brokers everyone must respect and fear is always exciting. BMF Season 1 is only eight episodes, so it makes for an easy one day binge when you need to escape your family craziness for someone else’s.
BMF is streaming on the Starz app.
As if the first season of Evil wasn’t creepy enough, Season 2 cranked things up to “don’t watch with the lights off” levels of scary. Fire demons, the archangel Michael and ghosts (the non-funny kind) are just some of the threats the team faced in its move to Paramount+. The show may have lost some viewers in the switch, but the quality and horror aspects improved. Don’t forget to leave the lights on.
Evil is streaming on Paramount+.
We’re not going to lie to you, Foundation is an all or nothing type of sci-fi series. This is not the show you put on in the background as you do fold your laundry. You need to pay close attention to the mythology and characters. However, it’s worth it. Not only is this an epic, fascinating sci-fi story, it also features several actors of color in the cast, something we don’t always see in the genre. It’s baffling to us that a show this interesting, which is based on the novels by Isaac Asimov, went so under the radar. The good news is now you have time to catch up on all 10 episodes of Season 1.
Foundation is streaming on AppleTV+
Gangs of London
If you like the Power franchise, then you definitely need to check out Gangs of London. Starring Sope Dirisu, it follows Elliot as he works his way up the Wallace crime family, while becoming personally involved with their partners the Dumanis. As a war rages between the various families and organizations, Elliot gets drawn into a mysterious conspiracy that forces him to make unexpected choices. This unpredictable British drama didn’t get much promotion in America, but it is absolutely worth investing in. Fair warning, it only takes one episode to get hooked, and it’s brutally violent.
Gangs of London is available on AMC+.
CBS’ Ghosts is just a fun, old fashioned sitcom, and the winter hiatus is the perfect time to catch up on Season 1. It starts with a ridiculous premise; after a near death experience the lead can see the ghosts living in her inherited country house. It features an ensemble cast of wild characters; we particularly love Danielle Pinnock as Prohibition era singer Alberta. It doesn’t require a heavy emotional investment or meticulous following of mythology. It’s a fun 30 minutes to just relax and watch non-stressful TV.
Ghosts is streaming on Paramount+, with Season 1 returning Thursday, Jan. 6.
High on the Hog
For foodies, High on the Hog is a captivating four part docuseries that chronicles how African-Americans influenced and built the food traditions the country was founded on. Beginning in Africa, the series journeys through the south telling the stories of influential Black chefs, and also highlighting how Black people use knowledge of the land to sustain their communities. It’s educational and yes, heartbreaking, but more than anything it’s a fascinating look at an untold aspect of our history.
High on the Hog is streaming on Netflix.
A Black Lady Sketch Show
If you spend Saturdays not so patiently waiting for that one Black sketch on SNL, or really miss In Living Color, may we introduce you to A Black Lady Sketch Show. From Robin Thede, Ashley Nicole Black and Issa Rae, the hilarious HBO comedy series features comedy written by Black women for Black women. No other show would even think to do “Wigzard of Oz,” “Gang Retreat” or “Black Table Talk.” Not to mention, the ongoing end of the world storyline. It’s so smart and funny on every level, and makes a great choice for when the holidays get you down.
A Black Lady Sketch Show is available on HBO Max.
Colin in Black & White
Colin Kaepernick is often painted as a controversial figure by the media, but in the Netflix limited series Colin in Black & White, the star quarterback gets to tell the story of his childhood, and how it shaped him into the activist he is today. The brilliant six episode series features Kaepernick narrating his own life while intercutting it with fascinating stories from Black history. It’s a great reminder that at his core, Kaepernick is just a kid who wanted to be a pro quarterback. It is one of the best pieces of television we saw all year, and we can’t recommend it enough.
Colin in Black & White is streaming on Netflix/
Taika Waititi doesn’t miss. Reservation Dogs, his latest comedy for FX on Hulu follows the lives four Indigenous teenagers who just want to find a way to get from Oklahoma to California. At its core, the show is a basic slice of life comedy, but focusing it on a culture and community who rarely gets the TV spotlight in this manner is game-changing. It features all Indigenous writers, directors and mostly Indigenous cast. More than the series’ ground-breaking nature, it’s really funny. Of course, it has Waititi’s irreverent style, so if What We Do in the Shadows or Flight of the Conchords is not your thing, this probably isn’t for you. However, this is a good show, and the more we support it, the better chance of getting future projects like it.
Reservation Dogs is available on Hulu.
The long awaited eighth and final season of Brooklyn Nine-Nine finally premiered Aug. 12. The shortened 10 episode season featured the 99th precinct dealing with the aftermath of Covid-19 and protests for racial equality. The season saw the characters heading into new chapters in their lives, while still making time for heists and shenanigans. Rather than giving this award winning comedy the send off it deserved, NBC crammed it into a post-Olympics time slot, where the network burned off the episodes with almost no promotion. Luckily, all eight seasons of Brooklyn Nine-Nine are streaming on Hulu.