Viewers see how America is reopening and rebuilding even though the COVID-19 pandemic still hasn't gone away, but the two hour program also deals with the breakout stars of popular culture.
Roberts promises "The Year: 2021" will look at the highs and the lows, the triumphs and the tragedies. The idea behind the special is simple: Before we move forward, it's best to look backward.
"We all need perspective, and time gives us that," she said. "We're always worried about the uncertainty, and we saw a lot of that this past year. You know what that means to me, uncertainty? Endless possibilities. It's how you look at it."
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Roberts and Executive Producer John R. Green offer many different perspectives.
"You see the wealth of ABC News, and by that I mean my colleagues," Roberts said.
We meet a diverse group of breakout stars like Jimmy Allen, the winner of this year's Grammy for Best New Artist.
In the show, Allen recalls the words of a friend even before he won.
"He said, 'You are a Black man nominated for a Grammy from the success you had in country music, Think about that,'" he said. "And I was like, 'Wow.'"
Amazement was often the common denominator, as the best of times were so often followed by the worst -- like the dark day in our history that came on January 6 at the U.S. Capitol.
"I've tried to block it out, and it's wrong," Roberts said. "We shouldn't block it out. We need to remember January 6. Think about that. Everyone was, '2021's here,' everyone's excited, and then six days into the new year, we saw what we saw."
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It's also a time to learn from yesterday and hold out hope for tomorrow.
"I'm an eternal optimist, and I know that 2022 is going to be that year," Roberts said. "I pray it's going to be that year for all of us just to come together."
"The Year: 2021" airs at 9 p.m. on this ABC station, and it will be available for streaming on Hulu Tuesday.