The HYPEBAE Best: All the Movies and TV Shows We Loved in 2021
From Netflix’s ‘Squid Game’ to ‘Dune,’ our editors share their top picks of the year.
Despite this year’s apparent hindrances, the entertainment industry powered through and delivered binge-worthy TV shows and blockbuster movies. In television, Netflix premiered a number of hit titles including K-drama Squid Game, season three of You and the final chapter of Money Heist. Meanwhile, HBO‘s Insecure — which follows the Black female experience — ended on a happy note with its fifth and final season. With the re-opening of cinemas at select parts of the world, viewers were able to appreciate Dune, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings and House of Gucci on the big screen.
Below, the HYPEBAE editors have gathered the 10 best movies and series they loved this year. Read on to discover our top picks.
While you’re here, check out the rest of the HYPEBAE Best 2021.
Korean TV brought its A-game on Netflix this year with a seasoned selection of titles, including Squid Game, which became an instant hit around the globe and received three Golden Globe nominations. Written and directed by Hwang Dong-hyuk, the series centers on an ominous game comprised of 456 individuals playing to win a grand prize of ₩45.6 billion KRW (approximately $41 million USD). Kihoon (Lee Jungjae), Saebyeok (Hoyeon Jung), Abdul (Anupam Tripathi), Sangwoo (Park Haesoo) and more of the show’s characters are in serious debt and decide to take part in the game. However, the players agree to join not knowing what they signed up for.
Based on Stephanie Land‘s New York Times bestselling memoir of the same name, Maid follows the story of a single mother named Alex (Margaret Qualley) who becomes a housekeeper to make ends meet. Having escaped an abusive relationship while dealing with homelessness, Alex tries to provide a better life for her daughter, Maddy (Rylea Nevaeh Whittet). Portrayed though an emotional yet humorous lens, the series unravels the highs and lows of a mother’s resilience.
Money Heist Season 5
Money Heist‘s (La Casa de Papel) final season was split into two volumes. Volume one sees the gang trapped in the Bank of Spain for over 100 hours. With The Professor (Álvaro Morte) taken by Inspector Sierra (Najwa Nimri), the crew goes on a mission to save him while going up against a new enemy called the army. Following the events of the first part, volume two reveals the obstacles the gang faces to survive and escape the bank.
You Season 3
The You franchise centers on Joe Goldberg (Penn Badgley) who has a history of obsession with women and murder. With plans of turning his life around, Joe moves to the suburbs with his wife Love Quinn (Victoria Pedretti) after she gives birth to their baby boy. Starting a new chapter together, Joe and Love try to fit in to the suburban lifestyle. Despite their efforts, the couple seamlessly prove that old habits do die hard.
Insecure Season 5
First premiered back in 2016 on HBO, Insecure comes to an end with its final season. Created by and starring Issa Rae as Issa Dee, the show highlights the Black female experience from the point of view of Issa and her best friend Molly (Yvonne Orji). Season 5, in particular, reveals who Issa decides to be with — choosing between Lawrence (Jay Ellis) or Nathan (Kendrick Sampson) — in the end.
Denis Villeneuve’s Dune stars Timothée Chalamet as protagonist Paul Atreides who relocates to Arrakis — a harsh desert planet that contains a source called “spice” — with his family to oversee the Spice Melange’s mining operations. However, due to the rarity of “spice,” conflict between House Arrakis, House Harkonnen and the Emperor Shaddam IV escalates. As a result, Paul and his mother Lady Jessica (Rebecca Ferguson) have no choice but to escape.
Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings
Shang-Chi (Simu Liu), Marvel‘s first Asian superhero protagonist, is the heir to a martial arts legacy, which he decides to leave behind until he comes across an organization called the Ten Rings years later. Having been in San Francisco since running away, Shang-Chi, also known as Shaun, travels back to another dimension called Ta Lo where he must face the Ten Rings and stop them from releasing the Dweller-in-Darkness and its minions.
The French Dispatch
Wes Anderson’s The French Dispatch follows the editor and writers of a fictional American newspaper based in Paris. Loosely based on The New Yorker, the film stars Bill Murray as Arthur Howitzer, Jr. — a character inspired by The New Yorker’s founding editor, Harold Ross — alongside Timothée Chalamet as student revolutionary Zeffirelli and Léa Seydoux as Simone, the muse of artist Moses Rosenthaler (Benicio del Toro).
Spencer explores the Royal Family in the ’90s and illustrates the tale of Princess Diana. Portrayed by Kristen Stewart, Lady Di goes through a pivotal turning point in her life when she discovers rumors about her husband Prince Charles’ affair with Camilla Parker Bowles. Returning home for the holidays, Diana takes the time to re-evaluate her marriage.
House of Gucci
Directed by Ridley Scott, House of Gucci is a crime thriller based on Sara Gay Forden’s novel of the same title. Spotlighting the Gucci family, the film revisits the story of Patrizia Reggiani (Lady Gaga) who is convicted of arranging the killing of her ex-husband Maurizio Gucci (Adam Driver), the former head of the Gucci house, in 1995. However, after the premiere of the movie, the Gucci family found the portrayal of their legacy insulting.