Our lives this year were defined by pandemic-born stasis, but mercifully, culture pressed on. This month, Vulture will be highlighting and celebrating the most remarkable entertainment that was released in 2021 with more than two dozen lists, essays, and discussions, all of which you’ll be able to find here.
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What Made a TV Show Great in 2021?
Our critics break down what goes into naming the best of the year. Here, a conversation among critics Jen Chaney, Roxana Hadadi, and Kathryn VanArendonk about how we made our lists, what this year in TV was like, and what we’re furious we had to leave off: “This was a good year in TV — it was also a bad year in TV.”
The Best Songs of 2021
From Jazmine Sullivan’s years-in-the-making comeback to electrifying rock anthems to Doja Cat’s NSFW tongue twister and more. This year, musicians collaborated and cross-pollinated, they experimented within and outside their genres, and — especially compared to the songs that captured the unease of 2020 — many of them loosened up and had some fun. Many of the songs that resulted gave us reason to do the same, when we desperately needed it most.
What Made a Movie Great in 2021?
Our critics break down what goes into naming the best of the year. Here, a conversation among critics Alison Willmore, Bilge Ebiri, and Angelica Jade Bastién about how we made our lists, what this year in movies was like, and what we’re furious we had to leave off: “This was an overwhelming year in film. There have been so many movies — some held over from last year, some new — that I have never felt less like I’ve had a handle on things.”
The 10 Best Comedy Books of 2021
Featuring Mel Brooks, Amber Ruffin, a history of the Twin Cities comedy scene, and a Native comedy celebration. Here are the ten best books of the year that are about comedy, are comedy, or were written by comedy people or comedy-adjacent people about comedy-type things.
The 10 Best Comedy Podcasts of 2021
From column regulars like Matt Rogers and Bowen Yang’s Las Culturistas and Nicole Byer’s Why Won’t You Date Me? to new shows including Jamie Loftus’s Aack Cast, we turned to these podcasts to help us through even as we began to enter a post-vaccine world and podcasters began to consider live events again.
What TikToks Broke the Algorithm in 2021?
Sure, the best of the year on TikTok can be defined by numbers — likes, views, followers — but that would leave out the stuff that lit up our tired, weary brains and compelled us to send it to the group chat. We asked Vulture staffers which TikToks broke the Charli D’Amelio mold this year, and they gifted us the 15 creators, sounds, series, and videos.