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Pop Culture

The Best TV Shows of 2021 With Dallas Connections

Selling Sunset, WandaVision, Loki, and more TV series with actors from North Texas.
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Courtesy of YouTube

The children are out of school and the parents are off of work, so let the streaming marathons begin. Holiday breaks provide an opportunity to indulge in the escapism of television. For those who exist in a post-cable world, the abundance of streaming applications eliminate familial fighting over which show to watch first.

Whether you prefer to spend the last weeks of December catching up on the Marvel Cinematic Universe, just in time for Spider Man: No Way Home, or immersing yourself into the gaudy lifestyles of the rich and famous in Los Angeles, D Magazine has a few suggestions for you with local ties.

Reality TV

Selling Sunset (Netflix)

Remember the early ages of reality television, where Lauren Conrad chose Jason Wahler over a fashion internship at Paris couture week in the first season of The Hills? In 2019, series founder Adam DiVello struck gold with the casting of Dallas-born Christine Quinn, the villain and antihero of Netflix’s Selling Sunset. The show follows the real estate agents of The Oppeheim Group, a luxury real estate brokerage firm in the Hollywood Hills.

For over two years, Quinn has served as the foil to several agents (Chrishell Stause and Heather Rae Young) at the firm. This season follows her transition into motherhood, the reappearance of an old rival, and attempts to reconcile a relationship with Mary Fitzgerald, her co-worker, former roommate, and best friend. If you need non-stop drama packed with 40-inch hair extensions and designer apparel, cue up the Netflix.

Marvel Cinematic Universe

WandaVision (Disney+)

Marvel’s first (or second, if you consider the superhero shows on ABC and Netflix as canon) attempt to original, character-driven programming bewitched million of viewers across the world into the romantic life of Wanda and Vision, two unsung members of The Avengers. The series, which pays homage to various American sitcoms of the past, follows the mysterious reappearance of Vision after his death in Avengers: Infinity War. Throughout the episodic series, Wanda and Vision hide in plain sight as a normal couple living out the American Dream in the suburbs.

In episode five, Dallas-born and raised actor Julian Hilliard debuts as Billy Maximoff, the elder son of Wanda and Vision. Similar to his mother, Billy has telepathic and energy-producing abilities. Although Hilliard has not been confirmed for any additional Marvel projects, Billy’s voice closes off WandaVision with a horror-inspired cliffhanger, which leads into 2022’s Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. 

Loki (Disney+)

SPOILER ALERT: If you have not finished Loki on Disney+, please refrain from reading. Now, if you have finished Loki, the third Marvel Cinematic Universe series on Disney+, which introduces the Time Variance Authority, please continue.

The sci-fi fantasy series which picks up on Loki’s theft of the tesseract in Avengers: Endgame. The show follows the God of Mischief on his pursuit of Sylvie, his variant—the alternative version of Loki—and her revenge-filled journey to take down the TVA. On the final episode, Loki and Slyvie meet He Who Remains, the architect and mastermind behind not only the TVA, but the entirety of the MCU. Played by Dallas-raised actor Johnathan Majors, He Who Remains is a variant of Kang The Conqueror, a 31st century supervillain and genius, rumored to be the next big bad villain in the MCU. Majors’ next confirmed appearance will be in 2023’s Ant Man and The Wasp: Quantumania. However, it’s Marvel, so keep your eyes out.

Honorable Mention: Majors received an Emmy nomination for his portrayal of Atticus Freeman in HBO’s Lovecraft Country. The supernatural drama, debuted in 2021 to widespread and critical acclaim for Misha Green’s interpolation of Matt Ruff’s novel, which shares a name. The series is available to stream on HBO Max, the channel’s streaming platform.

Mystery Comedy

Only Murders in the Building (Hulu)

In an era where your favorite true crime podcast can be adapted into a movie or vice versa, it’s refreshing for a television series to poke fun at society’s current fascination of audio-driven investigative, true-crime journalism. Hulu adapts the pop-culture trend through the lives of three curious New York City residents (Grand Prairie’s Selena Gomez, Waco’s Steve Martin, and Martin Short), adamant to solve a building in their apartment building. Gomez shines against the seasoned veteran actors. The Golden Globe nominated series was renewed for a second season in September.

Docuseries 

Demi Lovato: Dancing with the Devil (YouTube)

In recent years, societal norms toward celebrity and child stars have shifted from a place of resentment to understanding. For those raised in the gossip tabloid generations, entertainers like Britney Spears, Lindsay Lohan, and Paris Hilton were unjustly demonized for their very public journeys through their mental health, drug addiction, and mistreatment by management and close ones at a young age.

Demi Lovato, one of the Disney Channel’s most prominent child stars, has been scrutinized in media for years, particularly her experiences with sobriety, drug addiction, and a highly publicized overdose. In her YouTube docuseries, Lovato narrates her years-long journey from young adulthood to current day in the public eye. Alim Kheraj of The Guardian describes the docuseries as an exploration of “the devastating consequences of living under these restraints and the pressure when your recovery becomes part of your brand.”

Romantic Comedy

Love Life (HBO Max)

The second series of HBO’s romantic anthology series centers Marcus Watkin (played by Garland’s William Jackson Harper), a New York book editor and author. Watkin’s tumultuous love life includes a divorce from his first wife, a second marriage with Mia (played by comedian Jessica Williams), and a surprise pregnancy with Becca Evans (played by Lesile Bibb). Harper told The Cut he was intrigued by the role because he would be able to act the emotional nuances of a Black man in love.

Crime 

Power Book II: Ghost (Starz)

Carrollton-born Paige Hurd stars In Power Book II: Ghost as Lauren, a romantic interest to Tariq St. Patrick, the show’s lead character. Patrick is a college student who balances his studies while trying to free his mother from being incarcerated for his father’s murder. For those unfamiliar with the Power universe, the series includes all the properties of a good soap opera: family drama, crime, murder, drugs, and, in Tariq’s case, a steamy love triangle.

If you want to fully catch-up, start season one of Power on The Starz App.

Author

Taylor Crumpton

Taylor Crumpton

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Taylor Crumpton is the former online arts editor for FrontRow, D Magazine’s arts and entertainment blog. She is a proud…

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