The 2021 Golden Issue Award for Best TV Series

With another year passing by with people around the world staying indoors in hopes of keeping their friends and family safe during the coronavirus pandemic, audiences were given another year of compelling content on the small screen across a variety of genres. While 2020 saw viewers largely happy to take any content they could get, 2021 saw productions having to adhere to social distancing protocols to bring imaginative stories to life, while viewers were Tiger King-ed out, no longer settling for any new TV show they could get. Luckily, streaming platforms and TV networks rose to the challenge to deliver fans a number of impressive series to keep us laughing, frightened, and thrilled in 2021, though the team at could only offer one impressive program the distinction of the Golden Issue Award for Best TV Series.

And the winner of the 2021 Golden Issue Award for Best TV Series is...


Midnight Mass!

Filmmaker Mike Flanagan has become a juggernaut in the world of genre storytelling, not only thanks to films like Hush and Gerald's Game, but also his TV projects, most notably his The Haunting series for Netflix. Both The Haunting of Hill House and The Haunting of Bly Manor made waves with audiences for the compelling ways in which he blended together inventive tales of drama and tragedy with traditional horror elements, making for binge-worthy narratives. Flanagan continued this tradition with Midnight Mass, which marked a slight storytelling departure from his previous Netflix series, as it was a wholly original story as opposed to being inspired by iconic stories.

In addition to the story being one of his own creation, Flanagan has been vocal about the inspiration he drew from his own life to tell this tale, as it allowed him to process not only his own connections to religion, but also his battles with alcoholism. In addition to wrestling with these weighty topics, Flanagan also told a truly frightening story about an island community being infiltrated by a charismatic new religious figure, who was brought to life by the captivating Hamish Linklater.

With Flanagan having the freedom to tell this original story, it allowed him to entirely set the pace and tone of the series. This means that, while his other TV series managed to be effective, Midnight Mass found arguably the best tonal balance of the horror and drama, in addition to the series demonstrating Flanagan's more efficient narrative momentum. When the drama would start to lose steam, we'd witness a bizarre occurrence unfold, and when the terror would start escalating too far, the tension would dissipate to allow us to connect even more strongly with the daily struggles our characters faced. 

While Linklater's Father Paul hypnotized and broke the hearts of viewers, the rest of the ensemble was comprised of a number of Flanagan regulars, all of which played characters battling their own metaphorical demons. Audiences can't get enough of this company of actors Flanagan has amassed, with each new story adding more endearing figures to such a roster. 

With Midnight Mass, Flanagan proved that the most effective stories are the ones with the most heart and the inventive ways in which he tapped his own vulnerability to translate real-world struggles into both a disturbing depiction of otherworldly creatures and a commentary on misguided devotion paid off with arguably his most powerful story yet.

Congrats to the cast and crew of Midnight Mass for their Golden Issue Awards win!

The nominees for Best TV Series are:

  • Midnight Mass (Netflix) — WINNER
  • Cobra Kai (Netflix)
  • Heels (Starz)
  • Squid Game (Netflix)
  • What We Do in the Shadows (FX)