2021 was a disastrous year for many, yet for Netflix, it was an exception. Although the still-young streaming platforms like AppleTV+, Disney Plus, and Peacock recorded breakout success season amid the several waves of the COVID-19 pandemic, Netflix’s inured “Tudum” introduction was the talk of the town worldwide thanks to super-hit shows like Squid Game and Maid.
But even streaming giants are prone to get knocked out occasionally, and Netflix experienced some high-budget flops over the course of the year, particularly Jupiter’s Legacy; a $200M production of a superhero franchise, which allowed promising streamers like Hulu to get into the limelight for shows like Only Murders in the Building. Here’s our batch of all the winners and losers from the TV season of 2021.
Winner: Netflix is the Ultimate King of Streaming
Sandwiched by Bridgerton and Squid Game, Netflix resolutely proved itself as the top choice for streaming among global fans. The South Korean production Squid Game smashed previous records when it recorded 1.65 billion hours of viewing during the first 28 days of its release, more than double the 625 million hours that the UK-based Bridgerton piled up at the beginning of 2021. and in between those goliaths, shows like Lupin (70 million views) from France, Maid (67 million views) from the USA, and Money Heist (65 million) from Spain became international super-hits. Netflix is a streaming giant, and we all know this.
Loser: Netflix’s Costly Wipeouts; Jupiter’s Legacy and Tiger King 2
After the success of the first season of Tiger King during the pandemic, it was certain that Netflix would give a green signal to the sequel. But by the time Tiger King 2 aired in November, it was too late as viewers clearly moved on to other shows, and Tiger King Sequel managed to log only 30 million hours. Critics pounced as well, battering the show as “bargain basement” television. At least another edition of Tiger King was a potential bargain financially for Netflix. But the same couldn’t be assumed for high-budget productions like Jupiter’s Legacy with a $200M price tag and Cowboy Bebop. Netflix tried to launch new dedicated franchises, but only to get blown out in near-record time after a single little-watched season.
Winner: Disney’s Marvel Remains an Attraction for Fans
the staggering box office revenues for Spider-Man: No Way Home hints that Marvel remains a magical presence on the big screen. But 2021 also proved that the Marvel Cinematic Universe can also adapt to the TV screen as well. Marvel Studios debuted five successful Disney Plus series over the last year, including WandaVision, Loki, the Falcon, and the Winter Soldier, What If? and the super hit Hawkeye. Each of these shows revealed its own subtle plot while also showing the flashbacks of the larger direction of the MCU. This strategy is likely to continue in 2022 with shows like Moon Knight and She-Hulk alternate with films like Dr. Strange in the Multiverse of Madness and Thor: Love and Thunder. Marvel usually comes up with huge winner titles and surprises as seen in all Marvel movies in order, so this is a unique display of generosity that has been attracting its fans for the past couple of decades.
Loser: Every Other Series on Disney Plus without a Marvel Background
While franchise-related shows like WandaVision and the Mandalorian have catered to the needs of Disney Plus’ content-hungry subscriber base, it’s becoming more and more evident that the bag contains more beyond those big brand names. The streamer’s abrupt growth halted a bit dramatically in November, as a few of the non-Marvel and non-Star Wars original shows like Turner & Hooch and the Mysterious Benedict Society, which was stopped after a single season, garnered noteworthy viewership. However, critics have suggested that Disney Plus needs to think beyond the audience of kids and franchise fans if it wants to compete with Netflix in the number of subscribers.
Winner: Succession is the New Sensation for HBO Max After Sopranos
HBO’s Succession wasn’t expected by fans to get any better for Season 3? However, that’s exactly what the case is. Now we have to put the must-see Sunday night drama and comedy in the same basket as the Sopranos, another must-watch Sunday night show of HBO that was filled with notorious characters we loved. The Sopranos – beloved mob drama, got a major uplift in new viewership this year with the release of the Many Saints of Newark, a prequel film by Warner Bros. The premium network, and its streaming platform, also came up with a couple of other major hits, including the White Lotus and Mare of Easttown.
Winner: The HBO Max Never Ceases to Amaze When it Comes to Great Comedies
HBO Max doesn’t seem to rest HBO’s glories in terms of comedy shows. The streamer released a comic masterclass with Hacks; the Jean Smart-led show that quickly became a favorite among audiences and awards organizations. Other HBO Max originals that have attracted viewers include the much better second season of Love Life, starring William Jackson Harper; the season one of the Sex Lives of College Girls by Mindy Kaling, and the comeback of the rebellious satire of celebrity culture, the Other Two, which the streamer snitched from Comedy Central. HBO Max also took the bragging rights of the biggest comedy event of the year with the long-awaited Friends reunion, which stimulated never-ending laughter and nostalgic desire.
Loser: Apple TV+ is Trailing in the Premium Drama Competition
Apple TV+ finds itself in a whirlpool of distress after it spent heavily on high-budget prestige dramas featuring the likes of Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon, and Lee Pace, and nobody bothered to watch. And after two years, it only collected a humble number of fewer than 20 million subscribers. While Season 1 of Apple’s big name, the Morning Show, attracted the interest of viewers with its star-studded cast, led by Aniston, the recently ended Season 2 saw a massive dip in terms of buzz and class. Apple also invested a lot of finances on Foundation, an extravagant edition of Isaac Asimov’s sci-fi novels that managed a second season pick-up despite the fact that it isn’t talked much. The same treatment was given to other new shows like the Mosquito Coast and invasion. Luckily, Apple has seen more success with breakout comedy shows thanks to Dickinson and particularly Ted Lasso, although that show had its own problems.
Winner and Loser: Ted Lasso Sweeps the Emmys, Even As Season 2 Splits Fans
According to most of the fans and critics, it was another successful year for the friendship/soccer favorite as Ted Lasso completely swept the Emmys, garnering awards across most of the comedy categories and wrapping it off with a memorable backstage moment in recent awards history. But even as Lasso was dominating the award shows, its season 2 was concurrently dividing the fan base. While the show still offered several awe-inspiring charms it became famous for; Season 2 also experienced some wild swings with too-sweet Christmas episodes and the very fast, very dark character arc spin for previous fan-favorite Nate (Nick Mohammed). But going into season 3, Lasso itself is turning into an underdog.
Winner: Peacock Finally Gets Buzzy Vibes with Girls5eva Series
A Tina Fey production of the comedy show about a washed-up girl group from the ‘90s reuniting for yet another shot at fame generated what we once called water-cooler conversation back in the days of actual offices. It was a noteworthy development for NBC Universal’s besieged streamer, which they launched in 2020, solely known for remakes, including new versions of the ‘80s and ‘90s favorite shows like Punky Brewster and Saved by the Bell. Peacock slashed again when true-crime series Dr. Death, based on a hit podcast starring Alec Baldwin, Joshua Jackson, and Christian Slater, got a warm reception by critics upon its release in July.
Winner: the Docuseries is the New Face of Reality-TV
in 2021, you required the stamina of an Olympian to sit through yet another friendly battle between Housewives or failed coupling on the Bachelor, except the fact that hate-watching TV sparks joy for you. This year, amid the lockdowns forced by the pandemic, as we spent more time at home, people wanted more reality TV, and docuseries delivered.
The New York Times Presents unleashed the #FreeBritney movement into gear with its Framing Britney Spears, which laid out how the pop star had been ill-treated in her conservatorship, the media, and her family. Its bookend, Controlling Britney Spears, played a part in the removal of her father as her conservator.
Spears wasn’t the only one to benefit from Hulu’s reassessment of pop culture history. Its Malfunction: the Dressing Down of Janet Jackson observed the bigot and chauvinistic treatment of the “Control” singer after her ill-famed Super Bowl wardrobe glitch.
HBO series Allen v. Farrow was another must-see show investigating the accusation of sexual abuse against Woody Allen. New interviews from Allen’s indicter, adopted daughter Dylan Farrow and archived video provided by ex Mia Farrow led people into the ex-family’s home in a way fans had never seen.
The Beatles: Get Back, a Disney Plus docuseries by Peter Jackson, also deserves all its acclaim. It clears up the specious stories about the band’s alleged rifts and throws light on the racist press coverage of Yoko Ono.
HBO’s Tiger Woods documentary, Tiger, also articulated a familiar story in a way fans hadn’t heard. Moreover, his mistress Rachel Uchitel had been literally silenced by an NDA and has experienced legal ramifications for its breach.
Other notable docuseries include Exterminating the Brutes by HBO and LulaRich by Amazon Prime Video.
Loser: Saturday Night Live Has A Big Biden Problem
President Joe Biden has been a household name in public office before SNL’s 1975 debut, but the late-night prime show still hasn’t managed someone to effortlessly spoof him. While many stars have attempted the role over the years, including Woody Harrelson, Kevin Nealon, Alex Moffat, Jason Sudeikis, and Jim Carrey, the lack of a go-to Biden character became agonizingly evident after he took oath as the commander-in-chief of the country in January. When SNL came back in September, new featured star James Austin Johnson took over the role to unequivocally mixed feedback. Audiences are gradually dropping out of Studio 8H, as well: the 47th season debut saw an overall 41% dip in viewers from the season debut episode in 2020.
Winner: Fans Brought Manifest Back From the TV Archive
Fans literally embraced Manifest after NBC put the show on their no-fly listing for a season 4. New and old subscribers went on for an ultimate Netflix binge, making the show a regular existence in the “most-watched” list of the streaming platform. Netflix announced in August that the show would ascend to a conclusion with all-new 20 episodes. We hope that the show comes to an adequate end that’s more like Newhart and less like Lost.
Loser: Remake This! Give It A Second Thought
Cobra Kai is an example that audiences of TV are welcoming the remakes of the franchises that include the original cast. However, remakes, on the contrary, are a harder idea to pitch. I Know What You Did Last Summer by Amazon Prime Video and Clarice by CBS both tried to revive familiar characters with new stars and were dealt with a major blow. Even the largely successful remakes like the CW’s Walker have seen diminishing ratings. The second season of the Jared Padalecki-led revitalization of the Chuck Norris show debuted to less than a million viewers, a major decline from its series debut in January.
Winner: Only Murders in the Building Propelled Hulu into the Spotlight
This mysteriously amusing murder mystery, which debuted in August, delighted fans worldwide. Hulu reported that its latest show starring Selena Gomez, Martin Short, and Steve Martin, featured as neigHBOrs looking into a death that happened too close to home for them, became “the most-watched comedy ever on Hulu, by a good measure.” Moreover, the streamer also rolled out several other critically applauded shows, including the ultimate season of Pen15, Reservation Dogs, and Season 2 of the Great.
Loser: No One’s Watching Awards Shows
As the awards show rating has been dropping to fewer and fewer people watching those, it should not come as a shock to see that it was the same this year as well. But what was noticeable was that they dropped by a huge number this year, 2021. The Golden Globe Awards managed to crash 60 percent of the audience, from 18.3M last year in 2020 to only managing to get 6.9M in 2021. Same with the Oscars with a decrease of 51 percent that numbered to from 18.6 million viewers to 9.2 million viewership. Grammys were no exception as they faced a drop of 53 percent of the audience from 18.7 million to only 8.8 million. Well, there was one award show that managed to show some growth in the viewership slot and went up from 6.9 million to 7.4 million.
Does that mean that the award show era is coming towards its extinction? Or can they make a comeback from this? Yes, it is possible, but with the numbers and facts laying in front of us, we can say that it may never be like it once was used to be for the awards shows.
Winner: Cruel Summer is the New Riverdale
Freeform, which was once famous and was known because of its show Pretty Little Liars, is now known with the reference of Cruel Summer. The storyline of the show Cruel Summer is divided into the three timelines of the ’90s and creates such suspense in it that it kept its fans all hooked to the show trying to see how it unfolds all summer. It is also the show that became the most-watched and liked the show of Freeform. It became possible due to the target audience, the teen audience. and it also managed to achieve this all without any of the high-end flagships or the backup of IP’s unlike the CW’s series Riverdale, which was not as much liked in its initial times. The show Cruel Summer only got this successful due to the audience, which was invested in it by heart. Season 2 of the show is also on its way to making it on your screens soon.
Winner: Young Rock of Dwayne Johnson Rocked Network Television
Dwayne Johnson showed off his TV muscles in 2021, starring as well as executive producing the NBC sitcom Young Rock, based on his own life story. The series debuted on February 16 and was the best premiere for a network television comedy since 2019, and the family-friendly show got the green signal for both a Christmas special episode and a season 2. Johnson also kicked off his streaming game, executive producing the Disney Plus docuseries, Behind the Attraction.
This concludes the list for the winners and losers of 2021 in the streaming world. Since post-pandemic 2021 was such a roller coaster of a year, we can expect nothing less from 2022; especially with so many anticipated releases. 2022 here we come!