The 10 best sci-fi/fantasy shows and movies of 2021

1 of 10

Whether you’re talking about the big screen or the small, 2021 was a pretty spectacular year for sci-fi and fantasy. Marvel came at us not only with great movies like Spider-Man: No Way Home, but five original TV series, some of which were even worth watching! And that’s just the start.  After several delays, Denis Villeneuve debuted his visionary adaptation of Frank Herbert’s Dune. The Expanse went out strong and The Wheel of Time started strong. There were even hits that nobody saw coming: who could have expected that a random Netflix show called Squid Game would dominate our lives for a while there?

Now that the year is over, we thought we’d take a minute and remember some of the incredible sci-fi and fantasy TV and movies on offer this year, starting with…

Elizabeth Olsen is Wanda Maximoff and Paul Bettany is Vision in Marvel Studios’ WANDAVISION, exclusively on Disney+.
Elizabeth Olsen is Wanda Maximoff and Paul Bettany is Vision in Marvel Studios’ WANDAVISION, exclusively on Disney+. /


Marvel Studios has owned movie theaters for years; the record-busting Avengers: Endgame was just the cherry on top of a very large, very profitable sundae. But what about TV? Could the studio that brought us Iron Man and Captain America dominate the streaming wars like it dominates the cinema?

Marvel intended to find out in 2021, starting with the release of WandaVision, a new limited series about Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen) and Vision (Paul Bettany). The company could not have chosen a weirder opening salvo. WandaVision finds Wanda trapped in a sitcom-themed fever dream of her own making, hiding from her post-Snap grief in a black-and-white cinematic funhouse modeled after The Dick Van Dyke ShowThe Brady BunchMalcolm in the Middle, and more. This show is by far the most experimental thing Marvel Studios has ever done, and it probably shouldn’t have worked…

…but it did. It worked really well, actually. People were hooked on the what-is-going-on of it all as the series pulled back layer after layer. Plus it was just fun; the sitcom angle allowed Marvel to get out of its comfort zone and experiment with different formats. And we can’t forget the musical segments. After the smash success of “Agatha All Along,” we might start seeing more songs pop up in Marvel projects — like Hawkeye, whose post credits scene was a full musical theater number called “Save the City” that guest starred Rent veteran Adam Pascal. Agatha was clearly a trendsetter.

The ending of WandaVision didn’t quite pay off the promising build-up, but this was still a delightfully trippy superhero journey. Even four more Disney+ series later, Marvel has yet to top it.  — Dan