The Best Series You Forgot Were Returning in 2021


When it comes to TV and film, 2020 wasn’t a total write off.

For one thing, the lacklustre release schedule (thanks, COVID) finally gave us a chance to get into series with intimidating numbers of seasons, or rewatch film classics hidden away by streaming service algorithms. But it’s a new year, and we desperately need something, anything, that has zilch to do with that mullet-sporting, apex predator owner from Oklahoma who got way too much airtime last year. Thankfully, these series returns are here to save us.

The Handmaid’s Tale Season 4

If The Handmaid’s Tale Season 4 had arrived on schedule back in the year 2020, I’m not entirely sure I could have watched it. The world was too bleak, the threat of another four years of Gilead-esque US government policies too real, and well, I’d spent the early months of the pandemic binging the first three seasons anyway. But I’m ready to rally alongside June again—despite the lacklustre passion most of us had for Season 3—and it seems that Hulu is ready to give us what we want, though the release date is still to be confirmed. When we last left Elisabeth Moss, she’d missed a pretty important flight in an act of pure heroics, and if she doesn’t get her ass outta Gilead in Season 4, I’m going to need to talk to the manager. Though with Season 5 just being confirmed, it’s verging on unlikely. Blessed be the fruits of resumed production sets.

Atlanta Season 3

It’s been so long since we’ve gotten a fresh installment of Donald Glover’s Atlanta, you’d be forgiven for losing hope for its return. But Earn, Alfred, Paper Boi and Van are back this year sometime, despite FX being understandably coy about the exact release date given COVID’s habit of detonating best-laid plans. Two and a half years is a long time between drinks, but here’s where we left off at the close of Season 2. There was a hot potato with the gun at the airport that ended in Earn setting someone else up to take the fall, an impending European tour for Paper Boi, and the pressure continued to build on Earl to make things work as he and Van are told their daughter needs to be sent to an expensive school for gifted children to achieve her full potential. If all of this is sounding as murky as Childish Gambino’s plans to quit music, take the looming season as an excuse to go back and watch Atlanta from the very beginning. A final piece of good news for Atlanta fans: Season 4 has already been greenlit and is apparently being shot along with Season 3, so you can forget about that two and a half year lag between seasons.

Succession Season 3

Before I got embroiled with America’s most unsavoury (fictional) family, my friend warned me that I would find Succession hard to watch. ‘It’s a great show, it’s just they’re all so… unlikeable.’ And ever since Episode 1, where one of the media mogul’s vile sons taunts a child with the prospect of winning a million dollars before ripping up the cheque in his face, I’ve understood exactly what she meant. So why do I keep going back to the Roy family season after season, who are the epitome of everything that is gross about the super-rich? Because it’s just so good, and the temptation to draw parallels to the very real Murdoch media dynasty is constant. Once again, the release date for Succession Season 3 hasn’t yet been revealed by HBO Max, but we do know that a fresh serve of double-crossing is slated for this year. As many people around the world continue to battle being stuck in small apartments in varying levels of lockdown, Succession Season 3 will be a timely reminder that money can’t buy the kind of happiness we think looms above our heads in luxurious Manhattan penthouses.

Euphoria Special Episodes

Tacking this on as it’s still touch and go with a Euphoria Season 2 date, but it makes the cut as we’ve got a ‘bridge episode’ coming January 28 focused on Jules. The first bridge episode—neither part of Season 1 or Season 2—featured Rue chatting with her NA sponsor in a diner after she starts using drugs again. The cast and crew were just days away from commencing filming in March of 2020 before the set got shut down by COVID, but here’s hoping production soon gets underway, ’cause I miss this kid.

Honourable mentions

Shows that are still yet to be confirmed but could be on their way depending on COVID include Sex Education Season 3, Peaky Blinders Season 6, Gangs of London Season 2, Ozark Season 4, The Witcher Season 2, and Killing Eve Season 4.

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