10 Netflix Originals of 2021 that will never be forgotten

Still from Netflix's Squid Game (Image via IMDb)
Still from Netflix's Squid Game (Image via IMDb)

Netflix never fails to give the best of both films and series every year. 2021 brought an end to multiple shows, but arrived with fresh new ones as well. Coupled with that, many iconic series have returned with new seasons.

Here's a look at the top 10 Netflix Originals that made 2021 better, ranked on the basis of tomatometer on Rotten Tomatoes:


10 Netflix Originals that made 2021 better

10) I Care A Lot

I Care A Lot, another of Netflix's most popular film productions, revolves around a shady legal guardian who lands herself in trouble after trying to defraud a woman with ties to a powerful gangster. The film gained recognition due to its leading lady Rosamund Pike who is known for her role in Gone Girl.

I Care A Lot holds a score of 78% on Rotten Tomatoes and an IMDb rating of 6.3. The film is available to watch on Netflix and according to the Observer UK:

"A gleefully vicious affair, carried by Pike, who wears a smile that could strip wallpaper at 40 paces, and whose vape smoke evokes a dragon preparing to burn the world down."

9) Money Heist

The popular Spanish heist crime drama, Money Heist or La casa de papel, revolves around two-long prepared heists led by The Professor. The narrative is told from the perspective of one of the robbers, Tokyo. The series is divided into two heists: one involving the Royal Mint of Spain, with the other targeting the Bank of Spain. The latter endeavor spans a total of five seasons.

Money Heist bid farewell this year with its final season which had a happy ending. The show holds a score of 83% on Rotten Tomatoes and an IMDb rating of 8.2. Money Heist is available to stream on Netflix and according to Ready Steady Cut:

"The characters engage with the soul. It feels like comfort food. Your heart paces, but you feel at home."

8) On My Block

Netflix's On My Block was probably the best show on the platform until it bid farewell with its final season this year. The series revolved around four teenagers navigating their way through high school in gritty South Central Los Angeles, where gangs and shootings are normal. Its final season brought the group back to settle unresolved issues and mysteries.

On My Block holds a score of 86% on Rotten Tomatoes and an IMDb rating of 8.0. The show is available to stream on Netflix. According to AV Club:

"The cast of OMB cement themselves as the rising talents they are... But even their sharp delivery isn't enough to distract from a narrative that not only comes across as rushed, but throws off a balance that once set the show apart."

7) The Harder They Fall

The Harder They Fall, a brilliant re-imagination of the West, revolves around rival gangs who come face-to-face when Nat Love learns about Rufus Buck's release from prison. The former now wishes to seek revenge on Buck for killing his parents.

What makes The Harder They Fall special is that it draws inspiration from real-life figures like Cherokee Bill, Trudy Smith, Nat Love, Stagecoach Mary, Bass Reeves, Rufus Buck and many more.

The Harder They Fall holds a score of 87% on Rotten Tomatoes and an IMDb rating of 6.6. The film is available to stream on Netflix and, according to the National Newspaper Publishers Association:

"This cowboy tale is unapologetically strong and Afrocentric, a la Black Panther. It's as cutting edge as it is retro."

6) Shadow and Bone

Shadow and Bone, another of Netflix's most popular series, follows a war-torn world where cartographer Alina Starkhov plies her trade. A sudden turn of events makes Alina realize her extraordinary powers. With this revelation, she could set her homeland free from The Fold, a dark entity, and monstrous volcras.

The show is based on a trilogy by Leigh Bardugo: Shadow and Bone, Six of Crows and Siege and Storm.

Shadow and Bone holds a score of 88% on Rotten Tomatoes and an IMDb rating of 7.7. The show has been renewed for another season and is available to stream on Netflix. According to Rolling Stone:

"Vitally for a genre series in a time when we're all pretty much over grim dystopias, the show has a human heart, a rollicking pace, and an honest-to-god sense of humor."

5) The White Tiger

A film adaptation of Aravind Adiga's 2008 novel of the same name, The White Tiger revolves around a rich Indian family's ambitious driver who uses his wit and cunning to escape hardship and rise to the top as an entrepreneur.

The White Tiger has received many positive reviews and was nominated at the 93rd Academy Awards for Best Adapted Screenplay. The film is available to stream on Netflix and according to the Boston Globe:

"Balram's tale is rich and ruthless enough for both approaches, and for any country built on a premise of one class eating another."

The White Tiger holds a score of 91% on Rotten Tomatoes along with an IMDb rating of 7.1.


4) Squid Game

The most popular show of 2021 and also the highlight of the year was Squid Game. The narrative revolves around a contest where 456 players, in financial debt, risk their lives to play a deadly game combined of children's games, all to win a ₩45.6 billion prize. The Korean show gained international recognition and became Netflix's most-watched series in 94 countries.

Squid Game holds a score of 94% on Rotten Tomatoes and an IMDb rating of 8.1. The show is set to return for another season after gaining so much plaudits, and is available to stream on Netflix. According to The Australian:

"The South Korean TV sensation taps into the universal apprehensions of pressing debt, strained family relations and the longing for a better life."

3) Hellbound

This series gave competition to Squid Game and became the world's most-watched Netflix show within a day. Hellbound is set in 2023-27 in South Korea where an angel suddenly materializes to deliver prophesies, called decrees, that condemn certain individuals to Hell at a specific time in the future, either seconds or years away.

Hellbound has a score of 96% on Rotten Tomatoes and an IMDb rating of 6.7. It is available to stream on Netflix. The show has been compared to Squid Game and according to The Guardian:

"Hellbound is a truly exceptional drama wrapped in only the lightest of genre thrills. It might currently find itself swept up in Squid Game’s wake, but I guarantee that, of the two, it’s the show that will still be talked about a decade from now."

2) Lupin

The highly-acclaimed series, Lupin, is inspired by the adventures of Arsène Lupin and revolves around Assane Doip, who is a gentleman thief out to avenge his father for an injustice inflicted by a rich family.

Both seasons of Lupin premiered this year, with the latest revolving around the kidnapping of Assane Diop's son.

Lupin holds a score of 97% on Rotten Tomatoes and an IMDb rating of 7.5. It is available to stream on Netflix and according to the Los Angeles Times:

"Credit the charm of performer Omar Sy with bringing this unlikely protagonist to life and infusing him with a depth that goes beyond the usual tough-guy-seeking-revenge narrative."

1) Narcos: Mexico

The third season of Narcos: Mexico dropped last month and with that, the popular crime drama bid farewell. Narcos: Mexico depicts the rise of the Guadalajara Cartel while an American DEA agent learns about the dangers of targeting narcos in Mexico.

The third and final season of Narcos: Mexico follows the emerging bosses of Tijuana, Juárez and Sinaloa cartels in a bid to stamp their authority in modern day drug trafficking.

Narcos: Mexico holds a score of 100% on Rotten Tomatoes and an IMDb score of 8.4. The series is available to stream on Netflix along with all of its previous seasons as well. According to The Daily Beast:

"The third and final season of the Netflix series comes equipped with a new showrunner in Carlo Bernard and plenty of chaotic shootouts, double crosses, and narrative twists."

Honorary Mentions: Netflix Originals of 2021 that will never be forgotten

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Honorary mentions of Netflix Originals of 2021 that will never be forgotten include Special, Jonas Brother: Family Roast, Cobra Kai, Lost in Space, The Power of the Dog, Mixtape, Fate: The Winx Saga, The Crew and Single All The Way.

Stream the best of 2021 on Netflix and have an early Christmas.

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Edited by Sijo Samuel Paul