2021 was another great year for binge-watching. These were the shows our Mercury culture writers neglected all our adult responsibilities for.

Squid Game Season 1

What’s left to say about Squid Game that hasn’t already been said? This Korean Netflix drama’s first season was unlike anything I’d ever watched before, using a series of games with the highest stakes possible to bring capitalism to its cruelly natural conclusion. I don’t usually enjoy watching stuff with a lot of gore, but the blood in Squid Game felt appropriate to me, necessary to drive home the sick game we’re all stuck in. Oh, and it’s somehow also funny and sweet, and spurned some truly meme-worthy absurd visuals. If you’ve managed to avoid this show until now, be sure to binge it soon. — BLAIR STENVICK

Dave Season 2

While this show’s first season was a fun look at Dave seemingly falling ass-backward into fame, season 2 explores the frightening headspace of Imposter Syndrome once he’s achieved it. The show appropriately begins with Dave in a foreign country, where he has no clue what he's doing. It sets up the ticking clock of an impending album release and a make-or-break awards show performance on the horizon as Dave battles writer's block. While Dave is still the comedic star, it’s the three-dimensional aspects of the supporting cast acting as competing voices in his head that provide much of the heart. The season finale hits like an emotional bomb comparable to any you’ll find on TV today. — RAY GILL, JR.

Pose Season 3

TV spoiled us for choice this year. Indian Country celebrated Reservation Dogs, a rollicking landmark for representation, and Rutherford Falls’s good-natured lampooning of whiteness. But I was most impacted by the glorious, life-affirming sob-fest that concluded Pose. The final season blasted us screaming with joy beyond our willing suspension of doubt, into a wonderland of BIPOC trans success where riches and true love rain down upon those who’ve previously struggled for scraps. The season invited viewers into a participatory fantasy true to the nature of ballroom, at a time when we need content—however fantastic—that supports our real-life sense of hope. — BRIAN OASTER

The Beatles: Get Back Docuseries

A seven-hour, un-narrated documentary of the Beatles trying to write their entire Let It Be album AND plan a performance, all within one month? Normally, NO THANK YOU EVER. But with the assistance of a strong edible, The Beatles: Get Back is an illuminating journey into a truly fucked-up creative process that also flips everything you thought you knew about the Fab Four on its head. The doc is compiled from hundreds (maybe thousands) of hours of the gang from their Twickenham studio sessions, and director Peter Jackson somehow edits the entire mess into a fun, sometimes boring, sometimes infuriating version of a prehistoric reality show—kind of like The Real World: Twickenham. The highlights: 1) Realizing that Paul McCartney did 98 percent of all the work, and yet was still a fuck-off most of the time. 2) John Lennon’s primary job—keeping Paul entertained. 3) Yoko Ono not causing one iota of trouble, quietly eating pastries and gum... that is, when she’s not YOWLING AT THE TOP OF HER LUNGS during a few of the band’s excruciating psych-jam sessions. 4) You, screaming at the screen, “Get Billy Preston to play the piano already! You were just talking about how great he is!” Or, “Where’s a good place to do your concert? HOW ABOUT ON THE FRIKKIN' ROOF??” 5) But the most revelatory aspect is discovering the Beatles wasted so much fucking time dicking around for an entire month to produce a few truly terrific songs. And while their process is a money- and time-wasting nightmare that somehow produced greatness, The Beatles: Get Back shows, in no uncertain terms, how the sausage gets made. And for type-A workaholics like myself, a nice indica blend is the perfect way to put you in their mindset, and force you to relax already. — WM. STEVEN HUMPHREY

Real Housewives of Salt Lake City Season 2

Financial crime. Marital rifts. Blurred lines between religions and cults. Constantly shifting relationship dynamics. A threat to drown a woman in the lake behind her house. No, I’m not listing off HBOMax’s entire slate of original programming—I’m talking about one show, RHOSLC, that spins all these lines of intrigue into the best new reality show we’ve seen in years. RHOSLC made a splash in 2020 with a few iconic lines, but it really hit its stride in 2021 with the arrest of Jen Shah for financial fraud, resulting in an episode that documents the immediate reactions of her co-stars in real time, while they’re trapped together in a giant van. You can’t write shit this good. — BLAIR STENVICK

Arcane Season 1

As a nerd, Arcane is the kind of show I should've been eagerly anticipating. Instead, its sudden appearance on Netflix hit me like a semi-truck plowing through an intersection. But, like, in a good way. The animated series is based on the super-popular video game, League of Legends. I've never played LoL, but that didn't hurt my appreciation of the show one bit. The art style is eye-popping. The science-fantasy action is over the top. And the characters are colorful, complex, and tragic in this tale of crime, invention, revolution, and inequality. Just maybe skip the theme song by Imagine Dragons. — CAMPY DRAPER

We’re Here Season 2

I am not one to usually enjoy any part of the RuPaul’s Drag Race cinematic universe, but wow, I loved the newest season of We’re Here. Bob the Drag Queen, Shangela, and Eureka O’Hara travel to small towns in the United States, adopt drag children, and perform a drag show within the course of a week. Queer community is at the center of the show. Finding a loving community when you live in a space that is largely conservative can seem impossible, and the show doesn’t stray away or try to sugarcoat how difficult it can be for queer or trans people who live in rural America, but each episode reveals how important and possible community is, even in the smallest of populations. — EMME LUND

Bridgerton Season 1

Netflix’s mega hit series Bridgerton technically debuted on Christmas day of 2020, but it’s eligible for this list because it wasn’t until January that people could come up for air to start processing all the beautiful costumes, elaborate setpieces, and deliciously horny bone sessions. The most memorable of the many close-ups of flawless bodies and perfect bone structure smashing together entails the duke going extremely and sexily down on the duchess on a ladder in the library. (Idea: A game like Clue, but it’s about where and how Bridgerton characters do it.) This show is the most opposite of our current sweatpants lifestyle a show could be, and we needed it bad. — ELINOR JONES