11 Iconic Shows Saying Goodbye in 2021Written by Renata Martin
Since the invention of television, we’ve seen series that took over its decades, influencing not only pop culture but societies as a whole. Many can think of shows like The Sopranos and Friends as some of the most popular stories in the nineties programming, just like The Wire, Lost and Breaking Bad were for the 2000’s.
However, since the last decade, Netflix completely changed the game. Streaming services not only started popularizing older shows that didn’t get too much hype in the beginning, but also allowed for local content to reach international viewers and set off to produce dozens of series that would be available all at once, whenever and wherever the audience decided to watch them.
Because of this, we’ve arrived at a moment in time where the quality of television content has increased significantly, and among the many productions available, only the truly remarkable ones succeed. Such an impact is reflected in the number of viewers of each show, the response from the critics, the conversations they incite and the number of seasons they last.
In 2021, many successful shows that ran for years finally say goodbye to their fans, so we've put together a list of the most iconic shows that are wrapping up production this year and last airing either on 2021 or 2022. All of the following have over 100k reviews and a rating of 8+ on IMDb:
8.2 out of 914k reviews on IMDb
This post-apocalyptic tale about a group of people trying to survive among thousands of zombies became the most-watched cable drama TV show of the 2019-2020 season, and by September 2021, the first part of season 11 set it to become the most in-demand show in the world at the time, according to Forbes’ Paul Tassi and based on Parrot Analytics metrics. No big deal for a show that has been airing since 2010 and has eleven seasons. At all.
If you’re a fan that has been following the lives and struggles of these characters since puberty or college, don’t worry, there’s more to come. Although TWD is ending in February 2022, the universe surrounding it will continue to expand with at least five more productions – including a renewed Fear the Walking Dead and a Daryl and Carol spin-off.
8.8 out of 427k reviews on IMDb
I’m sure I’m not the only one who thinks that this show has one of the best groups of actors to ever perform on television. Cillian Murphy, Paul Anderson, Tom Hardy and Helen McCrory – just to name a few – all embodied their characters brilliantly. To be honest, 21 awards and 47 nominations do not make justice to what Peaky Blinders has built since 2013.
Despite having to postpone the filming due to the pandemic and the unfortunate passing of the fiercely talented Helen McCrory, whose character Polly was originally planned to go all the way until the very end, the series finally wrapped up in 2021 and will air its sixth and last season anytime around Spring 2022.
However, just like The Walking Dead, the finale of the series will not be the end of the story. Creator Steven Knight told Deadline that his plan from the beginning was to “end Peaky with a movie”, and it seems like that will be the case.
8.2 out of 405k reviews on IMDb
Talk about exceeding expectations? Money Heist knows something about it. In just four years and five seasons, the Spanish TV show managed to earn 31 awards and 36 nominations, as well as to become one of the most-watched series of all time after being picked up by Netflix, and one of the most-watched non-English-language productions on the platform just behind Lupin.
The series' famous Dali masks and red jumpsuits became one of the world’s most famous customs, with real-life protesters and criminals wearing them to demand justice or break the law all over the world, according to GQ.
The last episode of this emblematic series will air on December 3rd, 2021.
8.8 out of 365k reviews on IMDb
Breaking Bad keeps being popularly perceived as one of the best (if not the best) shows of all time. Naturally, when it ended the fans wanted more.
Better Call Saul achieved something that rarely happens, which is getting to be considered even better than its original greatest-of-all-time predecessor – of course, this isn’t everyone’s opinion, but for some, it is backed by the fact that it has earned not less than 36 awards and 209 nominations in a much more competitive era. Bob Odenkirk has been nearly as praised as Bryan Cranston once was, and for the fans, the lawyer’s side of the story fills so many plot holes that Breaking Bad couldn’t.
Premiered in 2015, Saul’s screen time lasted six years and six seasons – one more than Walter White and Jesse Pinkman’s. The series finale wrapped up this year and will air anytime around early 2022.
8.1 out of 295k reviews on IMDb
When the devil gets tired of hell, where does he go? To Earth, of course.
Lucifer is one of those rare cases where the show was going to be canceled, but the fans raved so much about it that they managed to bring it back. This also happened to Sense8, and both shows were given closure by Netflix.
Originally produced by Fox, Netflix saved Lucifer as it became a greater success than it ever was, with two awards and 18 nominations. The show starring Tom Ellis ran for three more seasons under the wing of the streaming platform, closing with six total seasons over the lapse of six years.
Its last episode aired on September 10th, 2021.
8.4 out of 273k reviews on IMDb
This may be the most beloved group of cops in the world, or at least among the viewers of the show. With a charismatic cast led by comedian and actor Andy Samberg, B99 was also canceled and then picked up, first by Fox and then by NBC.
Many will argue it cannot be considered the best comedy show of all time, with several competitors that left a bigger mark before and after its arrival. However, B99 is one of the few of its genre to present a whole group of characters that evolve throughout the series, becoming way more mature people than they were at the beginning. Also, speaking of awards, it got 14 wins and 118 nominations in total.
Like many successful comedy series, it lasted for several years. Premiering in 2013, its eighth and final season said goodbye on September 16th, 2021.
8.5 out of 221k reviews on IMDb
Eleven years and eleven seasons for a show which last episode aired on April 11th, 2021. You can’t tell me that wasn’t on purpose… otherwise, what a cool coincidence!
Following the lives of the Gallaghers, an American family of a single parent and six children, Shameless is an adaptation of the British production with the same name. The original series also ran for eleven seasons.
It truly is a challenge to adapt your own show and manage it to be even more successful than the original one, and Paul Abbott nailed it – earning 16 award wins and 69 nominations.
If I was him, I would take a big vacation after telling the same story for 17 years.
8.4 out of 219k reviews on IMDb
Jason Bateman, Julia Garner, and Laura Linney are fantastic actors that have made this show one of the darkest, most believable series on any streaming platform. So far, it has earned 19 award wins and 119 nominations, but this outstanding achievement goes to the creators and writers as well.
The success of this series lies not only in the performances but in the meticulous details that make sense of each of the otherwise absurd events.
The last season of the Byrde family odyssey in the Ozarks will premiere on January 21st, 2022.
8.6 of 121k reviews on IMDb
Has any other show brought as many tears to the eyes of its viewers as this one? Probably not.
59 wins and 235 nominations may back up the fact that this is one of the best-rated shows on the IMDb platform, which is unlikely when it comes to the heart-warming, ordinary-family-drama subgenre. That been said, This is Us success may lie in how relatable it is, unlike most of the other shows on this list.
Starred by Milo Ventimiglia and Mandy Moore, along with many other talented actors conforming the cast, its sixth and final season will premiere on January 4th, 2022.
Now, one of the following shows was not as popular as the previous ones as it hasn’t gathered over 100k reviews on IMDb, and the other one has a considerably lower rating; but I consider they’re both worth mentioning on this list, and here is why:
6.2 out of 119k reviews on IMDb
One of the most reliable ingredients for any audiovisual product to have success is superheroes. If you take one of DC’s most famous female characters and make a six-season show about it, it will probably have a large audience. This was the case of Supergirl, starring former Glee club member Melissa Benoist.
It had its ups and downs, which may be reflected in the low IMDb rating, but it still managed to create one of American TV’s most loyal fanbases. After seven years on air, it put down the gloves with 14 award wins and 48 nominations. The last episode aired on November 9th, 2021.
8.3 out of 79k reviews on IMDb
With a very modest award overview of just one win and five nominations, Atypical is – along with Peaky Blinders and many, many other great productions – the proof that trophies and formal recognition (or the lack of them) are not always an indicator of how well a story can be told.
It was one of those shows that started conversations surrounding complex topics and it broke through some stereotypes regarding neurodiversity. While it was criticized for hiring a neurotypical actor for playing the leading role of Sam, who is on the autism spectrum, they did try to right their wrongs by hiring neurodiverse actors to portray such roles from the second season.
Hundreds of TV shows have had twice the budget that Atypical had, yet achieved half its quality. And while the series is far from perfect, it also is one of a kind.
The last season premiered on July 9th, 2021.
Several other shows ended this year, including Grace and Frankie, Narcos: Mexico, Mom, Bosch, Good Girls, Last Man Standing, The Bold Type, Dear White People, The Kominsky Method, Lost in Space, American Gods, Goliath, Pose, Dickinson, Insecure, and even talk shows like Conan’s and Ellen DeGeneres’. The list is so much longer, and truth is, it will only get longer year after year, with a huge number of shows growing exponentially as the streaming platforms keep popping up out of nowhere and creating their own unique originals.
It’s good news to have so many options to choose from, especially because both technology and big budgets are allowing for more attractive, high-quality productions. While years ago we didn’t have as many top-notch alternatives out there, now it’s getting difficult even for the critics to choose which show is the best of the best. On the downside, quantity does not equal quality, and along with the great series to come there are also very poor, low-quality productions that will likely be launched just because and get canceled before they even get discovered by the public.
This overpopulation of TV shows can be overwhelming and platforms will have to decide whether to pour their money into so many original products or invest in those that are really worth it.
I guess we’ll have to wait and see and, in the meantime, let’s enjoy the great shows that are saying goodbye before we set off to new beginnings.
About The Author
Monterrey Institute of Technology
Bachelor's Degree in Communication and Digital Media
with certificates in Film Studies, Directing and Film Production