9 hidden gem shows from 2021 that were overlooked

This year, a handful of shows garnered all the buzz — while other noteworthy shows fell through the cracks.

They might not leave you on the edge of your seat (“Mare of Easttown”) or be as trendy as “Succession” or as feelgood as “Ted Lasso,” but they’re still worth your time.

As the year draws to a close, here’s a look at some hidden gems that are worth checking out.


This charming British comedy series follows Jessie (Rose Matafeo), a 20-something woman juggling two dead-end jobs in London who discovers that Tom (Nikesh Patel), with whom she has a one-night fling, is a movie star.

Rom-coms are usually relegated to the movies, but this is a winsome small-screen romp well worth the time — and it’s been renewed for a second season.

Where to watch: HBO Max 

Tom (Nikesh Patel) and Jessie (Rose Matafeo) in “Starstruck”

“Wellington Paranormal”

Vampire mockumentary series “What We Do in the Shadows” (FX), which hails from the New Zealand creative duo of Taika Waititi and Jemaine Clement, rightfully gets a lot of praise for its uproarious mixture of the supernatural and the mundane (vampire roommates in Staten Island). “Wellington Paranormal” is from the same creative team, and is set in the titular New Zealand city, following incurious police officers investigating various supernatural happenings. Like “Shadows,” it brims with a charming mix of dry wit and absurdist scenarios.  

Where to watch: The CW, HBO Max 

Officer O'Leary (Karen O'Leary) and Officer Minogue (Mike Minogue) stand under a balloon arch in "Wellington Paranormal."
Officer O’Leary (Karen O’Leary) and Officer Minogue (Mike Minogue) in “Wellington Paranormal.”
Stan Alley/New Zealand Documenta

“Rutherford Falls” 

This didn’t get as much attention as the Indigenous comedy series “Reservation Dogs” but it’s just as worthy. A “Parks and Recreation”-style comedy that dives into the conflicts between a small town and a local Native American reservation in a way that’s hilarious, oddball and smart without feeling preachy. Its cast includes Ed Helms and Michael Greyeyes. 

Where to watch: Peacock 

“Julie and the Phantoms” 

Although it got the ax after just one season, this musical comedy from Kenny Ortega (“High School Musical”) is still worth a watch and is appealing for viewers of all ages. It’s a charming and original story following Julie (Madison Reyes), a grieving girl who finds a sense of purpose through befriending a boy band of ghosts who died in the ’90s (just go with it). 

Where to watch: Netflix 


You might have seen posters and shrugged off a new show about that guy from “Arrow” donning scanty wrestling outfits. But whether or not you’re a fan of pro wrestling, “Heels” is a gem. With winning performances from Stephen Amell and Alexander Ludwig (“Vikings”) and plenty of small-town family drama, it’s about far more than just wrestling — although those scenes are fun, too. 

Where to watch: Starz

Stephen Amell and Alexander Ludwig stand side by side in small outfits in "Heels."
Stephen Amell as Jack Spade and Alexander Ludwig as his brother, Ace, in “Heels.”

“Flatbush Misdemeanors”

A mixture of “High Maintenance” and “Broad City” combining an authentic peek into a specific flavor of life in New York with a shaggy and relaxed saga of two friends having adventures. 

Where to watch: Showtime

“Resident Alien”

This quirky oddball comedy follows an alien (Alan Tudyk) who is on a secret mission to wipe out humanity but struggles with the morality of that task — while posing as a doctor and learning how to pass as a human and often missing social cues. Season 2 premieres Jan. 26. 

Where to watch it: Syfy 

Alan Tudyk stands on a snowy street in a coat.
Alan Tudyk is an alien who’s conflicted about his mission on Earth in “Resident Alien.”
James Dittinger/SYFY


This British comedy follows a group of black friends in a struggling jazz band who accidentally time travel back to the 1920s. Humorous hijinks ensue — but it’s also a show that addresses race where most time-travel plots and period pieces brush it aside. 

Where to watch: Imdb TV (Prime Video’s free streamer) 

“Everything’s Gonna Be Okay”

Although it was canceled after two seasons, all the episodes are available on Hulu. An offbeat family dramedy about a neurotic gay 30-something (Australian comedian Josh Thomas) who unexpectedly finds himself raising his two teen half-sisters. It has a specific point of view, and a sweetness mixed with its humor. 

Where to watch it: Hulu 

Josh Thomas and Kayla Cromer look at each other and smile in a kitchen while she holds a sunflower.
Nicholas (Josh Thomas) and his half-sister Matilda (Kayla Cromer) in “Everything’s Gonna Be Okay.”