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My Favorite TV Shows and Movies Returning in 2021

We can honestly say that 2020 hasn’t been the new year we’ve been hoping for or even imagined was going to happen. But we’ve found ways to occupy ourselves during quarantine and Netflix (& Hulu) has blessed us with the new addition of TV shows and movies. 2021 is fast approaching and there are many things we’re looking forward to. One of those things, for me at least, are my favorite shows and movies returning, so check out my list below to see what’s returning next year (or has returned)!

Spoiler Alert! Most of the shows I will be writing about are on Netflix and their 1st seasons have premiered early when quarantine was first issued so if you’re in the middle of them or haven’t even started, I recommend you don’t scroll any further or continue at your own risk!

The Crown

According to Netflix, “This drama follows the political rivalries and romance of Queen Elizabeth II’s reign and the events that shaped the second half of the 20th century.” The show currently has four Seasons with the latest season that just released November 15, 2020. If you saw all the hype and excitement on social media about Season Four but are still questioning whether or not to watch it, watch it, it’s worth the hype. This show is perfect if you have nothing to do because each episode is around one hour. Also, if you love history and are a die-hard fan of the Royal Family, this show is perfect for you. I promise you won’t regret watching this show and it gets even better each season. This show also has an accompanying podcast on Apple that begins with Season Three of the show. You might be wondering why this show has a podcast but there’s a perfectly good reason why. The podcast follows each episode and explains the stories, scenes, and talks with the cast involved. It’s an incredible accompaniment if you’re wondering which scenes were real or want a behind the scenes look without watching it. I promise you’re missing out if you’re not watching this masterpiece. 


While navigating the troubled waters of sex, romance, school and family, teen Archie and his gang become entangled in a dark Riverdale mystery,” from Netflix. I’ve been a fan of Archie’s Comics since I was little, reading them and watching the animated TV show, Archie’s Weird Mysteries. This show takes a darker spin on the childhood show while still being focused on teenagers in high school. If you were to ask me what show Riverdale is similar to, I would say Pretty Little Liars without all the girl drama. Riverdale, a town I would never live in, has all the mysterious murders, townspeople, and backstories that are quite like Rosewood but has a little bit of a supernatural turn to it. It’s not a supernatural show like CAOS (#6) but I would consider there are some supernatural aspects that make the show, in my opinion, a little scarier to watch. It also includes one of the Sprouse twins, Cole, if you’re just in it to watch him. If you’re interested in watching it, it’s only on Netflix and the last couple episodes of Season Four are free to watch on CW so catch up because Season Five is expected to be released on January 20, 2021. 

Grey's Anatomy 

It’s not difficult to say that this show has been my longtime favorite since before quarantine. I started it during Spring Break of last semester because of a close friend that got me hooked and I’m currently in the middle of Season 15. For those who don’t know what Grey’s Anatomy is (don’t understand how you could not), Netflix offers a cute little summary: “Intern (and eventual resident) Meredith Grey finds herself caught up in personal and professional passions with fellow doctors at a Seattle Hospital.” If you still conflicted on whether or not to watch it, watch the preview on Netflix (if you have it) and I bet you’re going to watch it then and there. Currently running with Season 17 on-air, you’ll understand why this show has been running since 2005. My favorite character Cristina Yang has sadly left at the end of Season 10 but I’m still hoping she comes back because if Shondra Rimes can bring back Derek Shepherd and O’Malley from the dead (don’t worry, they’re still dead), she can bring back Yang. 

The Haunting of Bly Manor

I was originally someone who hated anything horror-related, including scary movies, up until freshman year of MSU when my friend made me watch my first scary movie and honestly, it wasn’t that scary. After that, I loved horror movies and watching anything that made me scream. It’s a bit weird, I know, but that’s what made me first watch The Haunting of Hill House. It premiered on Netflix on October 18, 2018, so it’s a little young. On Netflix, “Flashing between past and present, a fractured family confronts haunting memories of their old home and the terrifying events that drove them from it.” The little synopsis doesn’t give the show any justice so I hope their trailer does and I hope it makes you watch it. Rewatching the trailer made me scared of certain scenes even though I watched the show already and I’m still confused about the whole idea of Hill House at the end. While I recommend watching this supernatural horror show, if you don’t like horror, then perhaps don’t watch it then. 

The Haunting of Bly Manor, in my opinion, isn’t as scary as Hill House. The second season premiered on October 9, 2020. I would say it’s more toned down and has a sentimental feel throughout the show (not that Hill House isn’t) but you can feel it through the screen. Bly Manor, according to Netflix, “Dead doesn’t mean gone. An au pair plunges into an abyss of chilling secrets in this gothic romance from the creator of ‘The Haunting of Hill House.’” This show is definitely a friendly version of Hill House if that wasn’t your cup of tea but it was bearable and didn’t have me jumping out of my seat until The Lady of the Lake showed up (won’t tell, you’ll have to watch to understand ;). Also, both seasons are slow, meaning that you’re introduced to everyone in the beginning and get to know the background of the show around episode five so you’ll start to understand what’s going on after that  — it’s worth the wait, I promise. 

Outer Banks

I’m pretty sure everyone has watched Outer Banks sometime during quarantine and after seeing all the hype about it, I decided to binge-watch it early this summer. One, it’s totally worth the binge-watching. I didn’t know how the producers could make a treasure-hunting show filled with teenage drama and romance all concentrated in the Outer Banks of North Carolina (fun fact: filmed in SC instead) but they did and I can’t wait for the second season! Season One was released on Netflix on April 15, 2020. They haven’t stated when Season Two will come out but here’s to hoping it’s next year! “On an island of haves and have-nots, teen John B enlists his three best to hunt for a legendary treasure linked to his father’s disappearance” (Netflix). Once you watch it, you’ll understand why it was so popular this past summer. With all its summer and beach feels, it’ll have you wishing it was summer again and getting that tan you miss. It was perfect watching it under the Florida sun but the sun’s glare didn’t help. If you love Gossip Girl and are still obsessed with teenage drama (bc who doesn’t?) this show is 100% perfect and please don’t skip it or else you won’t be in the Bahamas with us ;).

 Chilling Adventures of Sabrina The Teenage Witch

I’ve been a fan of Sabrina ever since watching the animated version during my childhood and imagine my excitement when I saw they came out with a real-life version of it. I’m a sucker for anything supernatural (if you haven’t guessed yet) and love rewatching the two Twitches movies so this movie was perfect for me. Like Riverdale, this show is a dark version of the childhood version but pretty interesting if you’re in it for all things witches. This is an entertaining watch and lowkey in the scary department (Riverdale is on another level, honestly). “Magic and mischief collide as half-human, half-witch Sabrina navigates between two worlds: mortal teen life and her family’s legacy, the Church of Night” (Netflix). The first season came out on October 26, 2018, and Season Four will be released on December 31, 2020. I saw on Instagram on the show’s official account that this is the last season of the show which is sad because I loved watching it. If you’ve watched Riverdale or are just interested in witches mixed with teen drama and romance, then you must watch this show. 

These are my favorite tv shows and movies that are coming really soon or have already come out! If you’re interested in any of them, I recommend watching the trailer on Youtube and if that’s not enough, watch the trailer and first episode on Netflix (if you have it or a friend does). If you’re not into any of them, that’s fine. I understand everyone has different tastes and my siblings and I have completely different tastes in music and shows. I hope you enjoy my list and the rest of 2020!

Michelle is a junior studying Human Biology on the Pre-Med Track. She is a writer and assistant editor for Her Campus MSU and a member of Pi Beta Phi fraternity. Her favorite things are her dog, Charlie, reading, and traveling!
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