Updated: Jan 7
With movie theatres shut down for the majority of 2020, TV continued to soar to new heights.
Flights are grounded, yet audiences were cleared for take off in the FLIGHT ATTENDANT. DEAD TO ME perfected a non-soapy soap opera. THE UMBRELLA ACADEMY had time traveling superheroes. BLY MANOR is a HAUNTING love story. Discovering WHAT WE actually DO IN THE SHADOWS is laugh. Immigrant's stories are so big yet so small in LITTLE AMERICA. A GOOD PLACE taught us what it means to be alive. And ZOEY gave us a playlist for your inner voice to sing-along to. This is the golden age of television.
Top 3 Runners Up
MYTHIC QUEST is the overlooked comedy of 2020. The creators of IT’S ALWAYS SUNNY IN PHILADELPHIA take on toxic masculinity in the video game workplace, making it relatable and funny. The Quarantine episode is the best of the series, showing a tender side of what isolation is like on the characters during the pandemic.
RAMY S2 spends more time on Ramy’s family and the show is better for it. The latest season is a comedic version of MINARI.
Top 10 TV SHOWS 2020
10. THE LAST DANCE
“I can accept failure, but I can't accept not trying."
Jordan sitting down to tell his legendary career over a glass of whiskey was the slam dunk of 2020. It pulled in audiences that don’t even like basketball as they experienced his teams win 6 rings over the course of 8 seasons. Watching him recount his career was pure fun, yet the game winning emotional punch was seeing the legend discuss the tragic loss of his dad.
9. WAYNE S1
I am thankful that WAYNE has a second life on Amazon Prime Video from the YouTube vault. Leave it to the writers of DEADPOOL to create the most heartfelt violent depiction of teenage abuse, love and the road trip of a lifetime.
WAYNE brilliantly manages to cross the teenage style of END OF THE F*CKING WORLD, the absurdity of GROSSE POINTE BLANK and most importantly, the heart of a John Hughes movie.
Season 1 doesn’t just appear on the screen, it BURSTS onto it. The assured style of director Steve Pink makes the ten episodes instantly accessible to binge.
Do yourself a favor and fall in love with one of the best TV shows of 2020.
8. BETTER CALL SAUL S5
The latest season flew under everyone’s radar and was just as good if not better than any season of BREAKING BAD. The show did this by taking the attention off Jimmy (Bob Odenkirk) and focusing on Kim (Rhea Seehorn in the best female lead performance of 2020). Jimmy becoming Saul is the reason audiences started watching this show, yet Kim possibly embracing the Saul way is what sets this season apart from the previous ones.
Also, the BAGMAN episode. Just stop what you are doing and watch it now.
Dave Burd AKA Lil Dicky partners with Jeff Schaffer (SEINFELD and CURB YOUR ENTHUSIASM) for the funniest show in 2020. Burd holds nothing back as he explores bold topics about bipolar disorder, white privilege and racism.
What holds this show together is the friendship between Burd and his real life hype man, GaTa. In the words of Lil Dicky, “If having GaTa be a part of my rap career is in fact cultural appropriation, then I really don’t have regrets. He’s like one of the best friends I’ll ever have out of it, so, like, I would do it again. I love this man.”
Yes, I love this man and his beautiful twisted new TV show.
6. THE BOYS S2 focuses on "the bad guys," politics and more absurd violence. Yet what ties it all together are the deeply flawed character's backstories.
"They are only human" after all and have the ability to gain a "second wind" in this must watch TV viewing event.
Huge kudos to a show that is so shockingly violent with men behaving badly to not just have a slew of female writers and directors but also feature more female empowerment moments than the last two WONDER WOMAN movies.
THE BOYS may not have started the fire in violent TV, but I am happy to report they are keeping it burning bright.
5. HOW TO WITH JOHN WILSON S1 awkwardly captured what we’ve lost due to the pandemic. At times, inspirationally hilarious and others heartbreakingly profound, this 6-episode documentary scaffolds a way to the root of what it means to be alive.
For more, check out Justin’s SFR from last year.
4. TED LASSO S1 comfortably settles into becoming the SCHITT'S CREEK of sports television. Thanks to lovable and easily quotable characters, it takes a simple genre format and turns it into the perfect binge worthy first season you can "believe" in.
Remember, don't "be a goldfish" and to sign-up for Apple TV + to watch the underdog comedy series of 2020.
3. SCHITT’S CREEK S6 is “simply the best'' fan service of 2020. With the show now complete, I miss my friends from the town of SCHITT’S CREEK.
There is a little bit of Alexis in all of us.
2. “Same thing that always happens. You didn’t know me and then you fell in love with me. And now, you know me.”
- BoJack Horseman
An animated show with a talking horse that captures life’s funniest moments while also deeply understanding how depressing it is to be alive. The haunting penultimate episode, THE VIEW FROM HALFWAY DOWN had me questioning my own life outside and if I am just a Zoe or a Zelda. Fans should tune in to see if BoJack becomes responsible for his own happiness, despite the fact he can’t even be responsible for his own breakfast.
Here’s to falling in love with BoJack. Even if it breaks your heart.
1. THE MANDALORIAN S2 was the only weekly television appointment viewing in 2020 that had audiences tune in every Friday.
I could gush over the brilliance of the latest season, but SFR’s contributor Mike does a much better job in his season 2. This is the way to his review.