25 hottest new shows to get excited about in 2021: UPDATED

Check out 2021's telly highlights here

Emmy Griffiths

While 2020 saw plenty of TV shows filming schedules interrupted due to worldwide lockdowns, it looks like we're finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel in 2021! With plenty of brand new shows set to air and land on streaming services, check out our top picks here... 

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Mare of Easttown - Kate Winslet - 19 April, NOW 

The synopsis for the drama series reads: "Academy Award-winner Kate Winslet plays Mare Sheehan, a small-town Pennsylvania detective who investigates a local murder as life crumbles around her. The seven-part limited series is an exploration into the dark side of a close community and an authentic examination of how family and past tragedies can define our present." 

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WATCH: Check out the trailer for Mare of Easttown

Life After Life - BBC 

Based on the bestselling novel, Life After Life is WWI and WWII Groundhog Day-esque tale in which Ursula Todd lives her life over and over again, experience different major life events each time. But what is it that Ursula so desperately needs to stay alive for? Each of Ursula’s alternative lives brings new challenges and half-memories of what has come before, and with every one, fascinating, joyful, traumatic, witty and surprising experiences and relationships. 

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Speaking about the series, executive producers Tessa Ross and Juliette Howell, said: "We have brought together an immensely talented team who love the novel as we do to: Bash Doran’s scripts brilliantly capture the heart and soul of the novel, the warmth and scale of its world and the extraordinary characters who inhabit it.  All human life is here, told through the experiences of Ursula who keeps on dying and being reborn." 

Anatomy of a Scandal - Netflix

Downton Abbey star Michelle Dockery will star in the new Netflix drama - and it sounds amazing! Based on the bestselling novel Anatomy of a Scandal by Sarah Vaughan, the series is about "sexual consent and privilege set in London". Michelle will play Kate, a criminal barrister who specialises in sexual crimes, while Sienna Miller will play Sophie Whitehouse as "an Oxford graduate, a wife and a mother of two whose perfectly charmed life is about to implode".


Stay Close - Netflix

Netflix synopsis for the new Harlan Coben show reads: "Stay Close questions how much you really know someone. Three people living comfortable lives each conceal dark secrets from those closest to them; Megan, a working mother of three; Ray, the once-promising documentary photographer, now stuck in a dead-end job pandering to celebrity-obsessed rich kids, and Broome, a detective unable to let go of a missing person’s cold case. Lorraine, an old friend from Megan's past, delivers some shocking news that will impact on all three characters.  As the past comes back to haunt them, threatening to ruin their lives and the lives of those around them, what will be their next move?" 


The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle - Netflix 

Based on the bestselling novel, this is an Agatha Christie-type thriller, with a master twist. In the story, the narrator lives the same day as a murder takes place in a crumbling mansion over and over again, each time embodying a different person who could have been involved in Evelyn Hardcastle's murder. 

Lord of the Rings - Amazon Prime Video

After halting production mid-2020, this prequel series has resumed filming in New Zealand. While we don't know a lot about the plot (yet), we do know it will take place during the Second Age of Middle-earth, thousands of years before the events of The Lord of the Rings trilogy and The Hobbit. 


The Nevers - 17 May, NOW 

Fancy a supernatural period drama? Starring Outlander's Laura Donnelly and Ann Skelly, this series is based in Victorian times, where some people - mostly women - are suddenly gifted with abnormal abilities. Our two heroines, both 'touched', are the champions of this new underclass. Sign us up! 


The Rig - Amazon Prime Video, StarzPlay

This story follows Magnus and his crew aboard the Kinloch Bravo oil rig, stationed off the Scottish coast in the dangerous waters of the North Sea. The synopsis reads: "When they are due to be collected and return to the mainland a mysterious and all-enveloping fog rolls through. The rig is hit by massive tremors, and they find themselves cut off from all communication with the shore and the outside world. As the crew endeavour to discover what’s driving this unknown force, a major accident forces them to ask questions about who they can really trust."

Angela Black - ITV

Described as a "Hitchcockian" thriller by ITV, Angela Black focuses on a suburban homemaker (Joanna Froggatt) whose seemingly perfect life is hiding some big secrets. Angela seems to have it all: a lovely house in suburban London, a fulfilling but not overly demanding job, two wonderful sons and a charismatic, hard-working husband, Olivier. But beneath this façade of charmed domesticity, Angela is also the victim of domestic abuse.


The Gilded Age - HBO 

Love a Julian Fellowes period drama? If so, you will be all over his latest series based in the US in the late 1800s. Chatting to the Los Angeles Times about the project, he said: "These people were extraordinary. You can see why they frightened the old guard, because they saw no boundaries. They wanted to build a palace, they built a palace... They redesigned being rich." 

Landscapers - NOW TV/Sky 

Inspired by true events, Olivia Colman is back on our screens as Susan, a woman who manages to go ten years undetected after murdering her parents and burying them in her back garden. The synopsis reads: "This blackly comic, narratively playful true-crime drama is based on extensive research, hours of interviews and direct access to the accused, who have always protested their innocence of murder.


Conversations with Friends - BBC 

Following the massive success that was Normal People, Sally Rooney's second novel is being adapted for a series by the same team behind the romantic tale of Connell and Marianne. This one looks at the friendship between Frances and Bobbi, and their subsequent relationship, and is set to star Joe Alwyn. Frankly, we can't wait for another sweet story from these master storytellers!


Excited for the second TV adaptation from Sally Rooney?

Shadow and Bone - Netflix 

Fantasy fans, this one is for you. Based on the bestselling novel series, the story follows lina Starkov, an orphan who discovers that she has unexplainable powers - putting herself in untold danger. 

Loki - 11 June, Disney+ 

Tom Hiddleston returns as Loki in an alternate timeline from the other Loki, who was killed at the hands of Thanos in Infinity War. Having eluded death in the events of End Game, Loki finds himself in a strange new world. Intrigued? So are we.

Sex Education season three - Netflix

After a heartbreaking cliffhanger, fans of this Netflix comedy hit are keen to return to the strange, somewhat American high school in which our favourite characters attend. So will Maeve and Otis finally get it together? Are Eric and Adam officially an item now? How will Jean deal with her baby news? Roll on season three already!

MORE: Sex Education season 3: everything we know so far


Will our questions be answered in season three?

The Handmaid's Tale season four - Channel 4

Finally we are returning to the world of Gilead (and it's neighbour, Canada!) to check in with June, Emily and Moira. In the season three finale, June is badly hurt after managing to smuggle out dozens of children - and we're pretty sure the repercussions will be severe, while Emily still struggled to find her place in Canada with the help of Moira. 

MORE: The Handmaid's Tale season four: everything you need to know


Elisabeth Moss returns for season two

Nine Perfect Strangers - Hulu in the US, TBC in the UK 

Nicole Kidman continues her pitch-perfect foray into television with another novel adaptation from the author of Big Little Lies, Liane Moriarty. The story follows a group of people who meet at a wellness retreat, completely unaware of the truth behind their stay. Melissa McCarthy and Luke Evans are also set to star. 


Nicole Kidman is on fire at the moment!

My Name is Lizzie - Channel 4 

This upcoming true-crime drama looks at the true story of the murder of Rachel Nickell in 1992, and how the police sent officer Lizzie Jones to go undercover to become sexual bait for their prime suspect. 

The Great season two - Channel 4 

After a smash hit first season, filming is currently underway for The Great season two - and we're certainly hoping for a late 2021 airdate! The show stars Nicholas Hoult and Elle Fanning as Emperor Peter and Catherine the (soon-to-be) Great in the early years of their marriage. Expect the unexpected with this wacky period drama. 


Elle stars as Catherine the Great

Inventing Anna - Netflix

From Shondaland comes this real-life story of how a woman named Anna Delvey managed to con New York's high society by pretending to be a wealthy heiress in a stranger-than-fiction tale. 

You season three - Netflix 

Hello you. Season three of the hit Netflix show sees Joe settled down with the psychopath mother of his unborn child, Love. Of course, he already has his eye on his next victim, his next-door neighbour. So what will the serial killer get up to next? 


The charming serial killer is back in You season three

Intergalatic - NOW TV/Sky 

Fan of sci-fi? This upcoming series tells the story of fearless young cop and galactic pilot, Ash Harper, whose promising career is destroyed after being wrongly convicted of a treasonous crime and exiled to a distant prison colony, where there is a mutiny in the works...  

Vigil - BBC

Starring Suranne Jones and Rose Leslie, and written by Tom Edge, who has previously penned episodes in shows including The Crown and Strike, the official synopsis for the six-part series reads: "The mysterious disappearance of a Scottish fishing trawler and a death on-board a Trident nuclear submarine bring the police into conflict with the Navy and British security services. 

"DCI Amy Silva leads an investigation on land and at sea into a conspiracy that threatens the very heart of Britain’s nuclear deterrent." 


Shaun Evans also stars in this new drama

The Pursuit of Love - BBC 

Lily James is set to play Linda Radlett in the adaptation of the beloved novel. The synopsis reads: "Set in Europe between the two World Wars, the story follows the adventures and misadventures of the charismatic and fearless Linda Radlett... and her best friend and cousin Fanny Logan.

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Are you looking forward to this one? 

Time - BBC 

In the upcoming prison drama, Sean Bean plays Mark, a convict who befriends prison officer Eric, played by Line of Duty star Stephen Graham. The official synopsis reads: "Mark Cobden is consumed by guilt after accidentally killing an innocent man. 

"Accepting his four-year sentence and separated from his family, he meets Eric McNally, a caring prison officer doing his best to protect those in his charge. However when one of the most dangerous inmates identifies his weakness, Eric faces an impossible choice; between his principles and his family." 


Got to love Stephen in a police drama!

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