The Best TV Shows and Movies of the Last Year

The Daily Beast’s Obsessed turns a year old this week! To celebrate, we’re looking back at some of our favorite and best content from the last year of covering pop culture.

One of the things we take seriously at Obsessed is having you trust us to point you towards the TV shows and movies that are most worth watching. So we asked our staff to put together this list of the best “See” reviews of the last year. Some of them were chosen because they’re reviews of what we think were the absolute best shows and films, and some because we were just really darned proud of how well-written they were.

So here’s our list of the best “Sees” of the year. There’s still a few weeks left in the summer; bookmark this page and keep it as a guide to everything you should catch up on!

Aggretsuko

“For half a decade, Aggretsuko has quietly become one of Netflix’s greatest shows. Any anime fan knows this—the show is based on a hugely popular character by the hugely popular brand Sanrio; it’s got big anime muscle behind it. But it’s time for mainstream audiences to pay attention to its unique excellence too.” — Allegra Frank

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Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret

“This recreation joins Paddington in the canon of rare adaptations that are even better than their already stellar original stories.” — Fletcher Peters

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A photo of Rachel McAdams, Abby Ryder Fortson, and Benny Safdie in Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret.

Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret

Dana Hawley/Lionsgate

Atlanta

“For all intents and purposes, it seems like Atlanta is officially back, even if it feels a little too late.” — Kyndall Cunningham

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Barbie

“So of course, in Gerwig’s capable hands, even a movie about the one of most popular toys of all time eludes expectations at every turn. Barbie is her mainstream masterpiece, a dazzling dream that will touch the souls of everyone who sees it, even if they’ve never picked up a doll.” — Coleman Spilde

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The Banshees of Inisherin

“Reuniting his In Bruges leading men Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson for a somber yet surprisingly funny saga about a friendship that sours in unexpected and calamitous ways, writer/director Martin McDonagh’’s latest proves a profoundly riveting and moving portrait of the consequences of not valuing niceness.” — Nick Schager

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The Bear

“Just two seasons in, FX’s The Bear has quickly become a summer tradition: Every summer, we’ll be desperate to binge a new season of the perfect Hulu show, a plastic quart container of ice water in one hand and an Italian beef sandwich in the other.” — Fletcher Peters

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Beau Is Afraid

“Ari Aster was prematurely dubbed a visionary on the basis of Hereditary and Midsommar, two films that were (to put it kindly) steeped in cinema’s past. Yet he now convincingly earns that moniker with Beau is Afraid, a horror-comedy that’s unlike anything he—or anyone else, for that matter—has produced before.” — NS

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A photo of Joaquin Phoenix in A24’s Beau Is Afraid.

BlackBerry

BlackBerry is as much about self-immolation as it is deterioration of relationships at the hands of hubris—and it’s that dramatic, tragic balance that makes it more interesting than simply another entry in the growing tech company biopic genre.” — AF

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Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves

“It’s hard to blame anyone who’s feeling a little skeptical toward Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves; the last time Hollywood tried to adapt the fantasy tabletop game into a film series, the results were almost supernaturally awful. Even so, anyone who loves D&D would do well to roll the dice again on this new adventure.” — Laura Bradley

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The English

“This pair of marvelous performances, and the breathtaking technicolor landscapes they’re splashed against, come together to help The English transcend its overstuffed writing, turning the series into an unmissable modern Western.” — CS

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Fleishman Is in Trouble

“Fleishman Is in Trouble is not just a sterling adaptation of a novel—in this case, Taffy Brodesser-Akner’s 2019 bestseller, which the author herself expands over the course of eight episodes—but a great work of art about middle age, as rich in complexity and detail as it is in emotion.” — NS

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George & Tammy

“Despite its occasional flaws, George & Tammy manages to reinvigorate a worn-out type of love story and the musical biopic.” — KC

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A photo of Jesse Eisenberg and Lizzy Caplan in FX’s Fleishman Is In Trouble.

Harley Quinn

“‘Irreverent’ doesn’t feel like a sufficient word for a show that once saw a giant supervillain rampaging through the streets and thrusting his erect, skyscraper-sized penis into a billboard featuring Ted Lasso actor Brett Goldstein.” — LB

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I Hate Suzie Too

“Alas, there is no fun, nor joy, nor good tidings to anyone to be found here. And I Hate Suzie Too is brilliant for it—for once again painfully, beautifully leaning into the deleterious effects of unprocessed trauma.” — AF

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I’m a Virgo

I’m a Virgo is ultimately a mishmash of hilarious gags and radical messages that don’t really coalesce into one outstanding statement, but they work as compelling, sharp comedy anyway.” — KC

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M3GAN

“Not only does M3GAN serve up absolute chaos with dance scenes, absurd needle drops, and uproarious kills, but it also presents a riveting storyline.” — FP

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MerPeople

“At this point, with so many docu-series under its belt, Netflix has cracked the formula for compelling ‘character’ arcs in projects like these. It works masterfully here.” — LB

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A photo of Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling in Barbie.

Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures

Monica

“While announcing the supreme talents of Trace Lysette as its captivating star, Monica crafts a resolute portrait of hope in an increasingly bleak world. In that respect, it’s one of the most important films of the year.” — CS

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Never Have I Ever

“It’s a fitting ending for a series that insists, over and over again, that even though we can’t control the outcomes in our lives, the right outlook can manifest a whole lot of beauty.” — LB

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Oppenheimer

“Propelled by the inexorable march of progress and imagination and electrified by the terrible thrill of theories, dreams, and miracles realized in all their devastating glory, it’s a divided epic of awe and horror, fission and fusion. It’s simultaneously a unified portrait of a conflicted man and a singular achievement for Hollywood’s reigning blockbuster auteur.” — NS

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Past Lives

“There is destiny, and then there is inyeon (or in-yeon). It’s one of those beautiful non-English words that hardly translates from its native language. But after watching Past Lives (in theaters June 2), you’ll never forget the meaning of it.” — AF

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Problemista

“From the first 10 minutes, it’s gleefully apparent that the film will not fit into any box, no matter how twisted or mangled its frame might become as viewers try to compress its multitude of oddities into a tidy package.” — CS

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The Quiet Girl

“Adapted from Claire Keegan’s 2010 short story Foster, and competing for Best International Film at this year’s Academy Awards—the first Irish-language film nominated in the category in Oscars history—Colm Bairéad’s contemplative drama is as superb as any feature debut in recent memory, its power derived from its marriage of graceful writing, subtle direction, and unbearably expressive performances.” — NS

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A photo of Donald Glover, Zazie Beetz, and Brian Tyree Henry on Atlanta.

Red, White & Royal Blue

Red, White & Royal Blue throws the desire to be special or come first out the window. Now, gays can just be cockamamie and utterly vacuous. Equality is here!” — CS

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The Rehearsal

“What arises from this is some of the most mind-bending madness ever seen on television: think a non-fiction Synecdoche, New York in which Fielder and his compatriots plunge down a hallucinatory rabbit hole of mirror images and mimicry until the lines between the real and the unreal hopelessly blur.” — NS

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The Super Mario Bros. Movie

“Nintendo’s biggest franchise is most beloved not for its voice acting or story, but for its spirit: a joyful sense of wonder, fun, and imaginative possibility. And that’s what The Super Mario Bros. Movie captures with aplomb.” — AF

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Swarm

“Throughout the show’s seven episodes, I kept wondering whether I was more impressed by Swarm’s ruthless depiction of stan culture and the novelty of a Black, female antihero than by the actual story at its core.” — KC

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Talk to Me

“A possession tale with an eye (and ear) for brutality, this film—which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year and made its SXSW debut on Sunday—tells a ghost story viewers won’t soon forget.” — LB

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Tiny Beautiful Things

“While the series spotlights some of the very best advice columns from Dear Sugar—life-changing essays like “The Ghost Ship That Didn’t Carry Us” and, naturally, the original “Tiny Beautiful Things”—it manages to build a stronger story by focusing on Strayed herself, from the death of her mother in flashbacks to her becoming Sugar in the present day.” — FP

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Velma

“Finally, someone had the brilliant idea to push for a series focusing on Mystery Inc.’s real ringleader, the smartest and most memeable of the entire bunch.” — CS

What We Do in the Shadows

“Such is the absurdist humor of What We Do in the Shadows, which, in its inventive fifth go-round remains the funniest half-hour on television.” — NS

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