There was so much content in 2020, and there are so many voices on the site that it became impossible this year to wrangle it all down into a single top ten list, or even a top 20 list. Instead, this year, the folks here responsible for most of the TV coverage have written their own top ten lists, so theres a breadth of coverage, and yet, we still left off a number of great TV shows. Here they are, however, for your scrolling pleasure.
2. How to with John Wilson: A beautiful, humanistic portrait of the world around us, in all its quirks and bizarreness. I think Ive cried during every single goddamn episode, even the one with the guy trying to grow his foreskin back. Yeah, you read that right!
3. Betty: An expansion of the gloriously lived-in world filmmaker Crystal Moselle created with Skate Kitchen, Betty is a love letter to New York City and a middle finger to every misogynist these girls skate by.
4. The Last Dance: Who knew Michael Jordan would gift us so many gifs and memes in this sprawling, engrossingly, profoundly megalomaniacal portrait of the Chicago Bulls years of success? My thanks to him for this brief moment of joy in 2020!
5. I May Destroy You: Michaela Coel didnt leave anything unsaid in this comedy-drama series inspired by her own sexual assault. Im not sure I have a nuanced-enough vocabulary to discuss the questions this show is asking about sexual agency, desire, and abuse, but I will say each episode had me nodding vigorously in recognition of the messy power dynamics that can creep into sexual encounters while also nursing a stomachache at the discomfort of it all. Brutally honest storytelling that doesnt let you relax, and is better for it.
6. I Know This Much is True: Melodramatic in typical Derek Cianfrance fashion, but Mark Ruffalo is doing career-best work here in twin performances that broke my heart. Im a sucker for Cianfrances specific talent for making absolute misery look aesthetically beautiful, and all the details of this miniseries the gauzy filmstock, Harold Budds evocative score gripped me even harder. No, not for everyone, but very thoroughly my shit.
7. Dead to Me: Few comedies have ever, I think, built the interior lives of women better than Liz Feldmans Dead to Me. In its second season, Dead to Me ramped up the soap opera pacing of its episodes, layering cliffhangers and twisty plot turns and a goddamn twin character played by a returning James Marsden. But this show belongs to Christina Applegate and Linda Cardellini, whose pitch-perfect performances really capture how womens friendships can cycle from obsession and codependency to support and love, and back and forth and back again. Deeply cathartic and often low-key brilliant.
8. A Teacher: The rare case of a miniseries that improves upon its source material. Hannah Fidell adapts her 2013 drama film for a 10-episode series that benefits from the performances of Kate Mara and Nick Robinson and pulls a sly bait and switch, with the first half of the season almost making you believe the affair between teacher and student is a love story. The back half of the season, which slams down the insidious effects of this abuse, is a devastating watch that makes clear Robinsons talent.
9. P-Valley: Stripping as a performance, one that requires intentionality and thoughtfulness, should be familiar to anyone who has seen either the Magic Mike films or Hustlers (for which Jennifer Lopez was wrongfully denied an Oscar!). This Starz series takes that same approach, giving its cast of mostly Black women the chance to explore the relationship between what they get out of dancing as performers vs. what the audience gets out of watching them perform what is the balance there? What do they give, and what do we take? Its a question that P-Valley keeps flipping on its axis, and its one of the best shows this year about why and how we work.
10. Shaun the Sheep: Adventures from Mossy Bottom: Charming, glorious, amusing, perfect. Shaun and the crew make pizza. Shaun and the crew hold a dance competition. Shaun and the crew help clean up a polluted pond. Shaun and the crew are out here doing the most in the best animated series of the year; if your heart doesnt swell at any of this, you might be a bad person? Just saying!
2. I May Destroy You: Brilliant and brutal. I dont know if Ill ever feel emotionally prepared to watch it again, but I guarantee I wont stop thinking about the show, or Michaela Coel, for a long time.
3. Ted Lasso: This was probably my favorite show of the year, and along with Mythic Quest, the one Ill return to the most. Its already in my comfort TV rotation with shows like Brooklyn 99, Parks & Recreation, and Scrubs.
4. Mythic Quest: Ravens Banquet: With Charlie Day, Rob McElhenney, and Megan Ganz behind the show, it was obvious Mythic Quest would be very, very funny. What was unexpected was the level of heart theyd find in a game developers office.
5. The Mandalorian: - I mean, obviously.
6. Survivor Season 40: I actually didnt watch Survivor after the first season until I was convinced to try this years all-winners iteration. I have now gone back and watched many, many seasons of the show, which proves (to me, anyway) just how good this season was.
7. The Last Dance: You may not think you need a ten-hour documentary about Michael Jordan and the rise (and eventual breakup) of the 90s-era Chicago Bulls. You would be wrong.
8. Gangs of London: Its a crime drama co-created by Gareth Evans (The Raid movies), and after that sentence youre either completely in or completely out. (Note: unsurprisingly, its very, very violent.)
9. Dispatches From Elsewhere: The show came and went quietly and I still think I didnt love the finale, but it was a wildly inventive show, and the emotional highs it hit were reminiscent of other AMC shows I loved that went largely ignored at the time, like Lodge 49 or Halt And Catch Fire.
10. The Good Place/Schitts Creek (tie) - Is it cheating to have a tie? Whatever. These two are here on my list as a celebration of both shows, which ended their runs early this year.
2. How To with John Wilson: Going into this show knowing almost nothing about it was a perfect experience. What a weird, delightful, and surprisingly poignant little gem of a thing this is.
3. The Queens Gambit: Sure, we all know that a show about a female chess champion in the 50s/60s would be this good, right?
4. Better Call Saul: Somehow, this show gets better and more surprising every season, and if you think it hasnt surpassed the excellent show its a prequel to, youre wrong. Im already feeling the gut punches of the final season and am equal parts excited and devastated.
5. The Good Lord Bird: As Dustin noted back in October, this show is more Coen Brothers than (sadly) the most recent season of Fargo, and in the best possible way. Its a dark and serious show that also manages to be wildly weird and funny, with Ethan Hawke giving a bananas perfect performance.
6. Normal People: When I say that this show made me feel every exact beat of discomfort, heartbreak, and joy that the book did, I mean that in the best possible way. This is a flawlessly rare adaptation that holds up to those who love the source material and those coming to it fresh. Just a perfect, beautiful show.
7. I May Destroy You: Speaking of a beautiful show, this was one of the hardest shows of the year to watch because there are so many painful moments of utter devastation. But holy hell does it reward the journey and touch on so many important issues of the moment.
8. Upright: I literally do not know a single person who watched Tim Minchins road trip show, because its an Australian show that you can only watch on Sundance Now in the States. And thats a true travesty because Upright was sad and funny and quietly perfect.
9. High Fidelity: All I can say is, its complete bullshit that were not getting a second season of this show. Thats all 5 entries on my list of top 5 bullshit things right now.
10. Dave: There are a lot of things I would never have predicted about this year, but one of them for sure is that a show from Lil Dickey that prominently advertised itself with him popping out of underwear like a little dick would be one of the funniest shows of the year. But thats 2020 for you!
2. Ted Lasso: Turns out emotional maturity was the biggest surprise of the year.
3. Dark: It improbably pulled a conclusion out of its own quagmire, and I cant stop thinking about it.
4. I May Destroy You: Hits so close to home, I still havent finished it. And I mean that as a compliment.
5. DuckTales: Watch the Launchpad-as-James Bond episode and tell me it wasnt one of the most perfect pieces of entertainment this year. Ill wait.
6. What We Do In The Shadows: Two words Jackie. Daytona.
7. The Boys: Bombastic yet exhilarating, it was the perfect distraction this summer.
8. Kingdom: This historical Korean zombie drama was the unexpected COVID documentary of the year.
9: Brooklyn Nine-Nine: This show manages to repeat the same gimmicks each season, but in fresh ways that never feel like a rut. Though, honestly, Andre Braugher would be reason enough to rank this show in the top.
10: The Mandalorian: Its been a rough year, just let me have my Baby Yoda space show, please.
2. Haunting of Bly Manor: The Haunting of Bly Manor is less spooky than it probably should be, but what it lacks in scares it makes up for in heart. It evocatively explores the human memory, the comfort it brings, the sadness it causes, and the dangers of living in the past. The series is bolstered by exceptional performances by Victoria Pedretti, TNia Miller, and Rahul Kohli.
3. Ramy Ramy Youssef takes his character (also Ramy) to painful lows in Season 2. Seriously, its astounding the levels of terrible Ramy achieves as a person, but that is perhaps why the show is still so good and compelling. It isnt afraid to explore the selfish abyss that Ramy seems to exist in, and of course, I love the way the series is very specific in its exploration of the character as an Egyptian-American.
4. Sex Education: Its hard to believe that Season 2 of Sex Education came out just this year, but it did. This gem of a show continues its deep dive into sex, emotional entanglements, trauma, queer identity, and addiction. Its astute and witty, funny and smart. Also, Gillian Anderson plays a sex therapist, which adds 50 bonus points to a show that is already a standout.
5. Little Fires Everywhere: Putting Kerry Washington and Reese Witherspoon together onscreen was a brilliant idea. Little Fires Everywhere was very comfortable challenging the ideas of motherhood what it means to be a good mother, generational trauma, the idea of mothering as a sacrificial act, and the perceptions that often uphold white motherhood when compared with the treatment of mothers of color. The building intensity alone was phenomenal.
6. Schitts Creek: Schitts Creek had such a heartwarming final season and it ended perfectly. This show was (and still is) the quintessential comedy that genuinely cared for each of its characters and their growth. Its the kind of show that never let me down or lost its charm, and thats a triumph all on its own. Schitts Creek may be over now, but well always have the gifs.
7. Zoeys Extraordinary Playlist: This musical dramedy surprised the hell out of me. I was prepared to dislike it and wound up crying and smiling through the episodes instead. An MRI gone wrong leads Zoey (Jane Clark) to hear people sing their feelings, but the series strength is in its handling of grief in a thoughtful, intimate way.
8. The Boys: There is such a thing as too much blood and violence and The Boys very often toes that line. If Season 1 hinged on the idea that superheroes are evil, Season 2 doubled down on it by including white supremacy by way of Aya Cashs Stormfront. When it strikes the right balance between its darkness and sociopolitical commentary, its pretty great.
9. Never Have I Ever Maitreyi Ramakrishnan is a damn star and she brings so much life to Devi, a teen whose fathers death drives her to push her feelings aside to focus on having sex instead. This is another show that focuses a lot on grief (Im starting to sense a pattern here for me), but its balance of humor, heart, and the intriguing relationship between Devi and her mother (Poorna Jagannathan) ground the show. It premiered about a month after COVID lockdowns too, so it helped to ease some anxiety.
10. Harley Quinn Season 1 of the show was good, but Season 2 finally gave us a relationship between Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy. It was glorious and everything Id hoped it would be. While the first season focused a lot on Harleys separation from the Joker, the second season brought her into her own. The animated series is genuinely funny and wild, offering a fun twist on beloved characters, and remains one of the best of what DC has to offer.
2. Normal People: Its an achy, messy, sexy-as-hell will-they, wont-they Ross-and-Rachel on steroids love story, but every moment feels true and after 12 episodes, I wanted another 12 immediately.
3. Mythic Quest This series would make my top ten if only for the quarantine episode the best one from any show taped during the early part of the pandemic but the first season actually aired before the pandemic, which is hard to believe. I dont give a damn about video games, but Mythic Quest merged Its Always Sunny with the one thing its always been missing: A big heart.
4. The Great: I love Russian history, and while I dont love stuffy costume dramas, this one was fun, and funny, and sexy, and Nicholas Hoult plays a terrific doofus villain. Its every bit as good as The Favourite, from the same creator, Tony McNamara.
5. What We Do in the Shadows: I dont know why it always takes me a while to get to a season of What We Do on the Shadows you need to be in the right mood, I guess but as with the first season, I binged the entire second season in one sitting and its one of the best nights I had in 2020.
6. I May Destroy You: The Michaela Coel series is the most cited show among our lists, and theres a good reason for it. Its honest, unflinching, and difficult to watch, but the most necessary series of 2020.
7. Better Call Saul: Aside from Watchmen and The Leftovers, Saul is my favorite drama of the last decade. Its so good that I often take for granted how good it is. So, clearly, do the Emmy voters, who criminally overlooked Rhea Seehorn again (and failed to award Bob Odenkirk even after five nominations for the role).
8. Good Lord Bird: There were a few shows that I couldnt bring myself to watch in 2020 because everything was already so bleak (The Plot Against America, Mrs. America), and I expected that Good Lord Bird about the abolitionist John Brown would fit into that category, as well. But Ethan Hawke, working from James McBrides brilliant novel turned Good Lord Bird into the second most entertaining history lesson of 2020 (behind The Great).
9. Sex Education: Sex Education is my shit: A coming-of-age comedy/love story with lots of awkward sexual encounters and amazing music from Ezra Furman, who is my favorite musical discovery of the last 5 years.
10. Better Things Better Things is consistently one of my favorite shows on TV, but one I infrequently write about because I dont know what to say. Its funny and sad, and emotionally affecting, and maybe the most transportive show on television.
Spoilers: 'The Flight Attendant' Sticks the Landing, Books a Season 2 Takeoff |Good for Her: The Art of Vengeance in The Dressmaker
Header Image Source: Apple TV+
The Best TV Shows of 2020 - Pajiba Entertainment News
- 'The Gray Man' Has Massive Debut on Netflix - ScreenCrush - July 28th, 2022
- 50 Most Memorable Danny Glover Movies Ranked Worst To Best - Looper - June 14th, 2022
- 5 best movies and shows on Prime Video this weekend: The Boys - Amazon Adviser - June 5th, 2022
- Poll: What's the Best Korn Album? - Vote Now - Loudwire - June 5th, 2022
- Stories of the subcontinent: Films from India, Pakistan, Nepal illuminate 75th anniversary line-up of Cannes Film Festival - The Financial Express - May 17th, 2022
- Selling Sunset's Christine Quinn Has Officially Exited The Oppenheim Group, But Is That A Good Thing? - msnNOW - May 4th, 2022
- Ten Movies That Were Saved by Their Ending - 25YearsLaterSite.com - April 8th, 2022
- Top 10 movies from 2021 that take your breath away! - Financial World - April 8th, 2022
- 15 Years Ago: The Failure of 'Grindhouse' Heralds a New Era - Ultimate Classic Rock - April 8th, 2022
- Lzzy Hale + Katie Daryl Return for New Seasons of AXS' 'A Year in Music' + 'Top Ten Revealed' - Loudwire - April 8th, 2022
- Crack At it Again - Brewster Suspect Arrested in Danbury, Again - i95rock.com - April 8th, 2022
- Top 5 Zombie Base Building Games (Build, Defend, Survive ... - March 27th, 2022
- Top 10 Reasons the Zombie Apocalypse Could Really Happen ... - March 27th, 2022
- HORROR TEN SPOT: Top 10 Asses - March 27th, 2022
- 60 Best Zombie Movies of All Time | Stacker - March 27th, 2022
- All time best end-of-the-world movies to watch in 2022 - Digital Boom - January 23rd, 2022
- 2022s big TV and movie anniversaries - Polygon - January 9th, 2022
- The George Romero-Helmed Stephen King Adaptation We'll Never Get To See - /Film - December 14th, 2021
- The 15 Best Sci-Fi Movies Of 2021 Ranked - /Film - December 14th, 2021
- Google Has Revealed All the Movies and TV Shows We've Been Searching for in 2021 - Concrete Playground - December 14th, 2021
- How Shaun of the Dead Got a Boost From Hollywood and Comic-Con Geeks - Gizmodo - November 29th, 2021
- A Kickass Zombie Movie Is Back From The Dead To Terrorize Netflix - We Got This Covered - November 13th, 2021
- Fans Go Wild As Shang-Chi Arrives On Disney Plus - We Got This Covered - November 13th, 2021
- Day of the Dead interview with star Christopher Russell - 1428 Elm - October 20th, 2021
- Best Zombie Movies Streaming on Hulu, HBO Max, and Amazon Prime - IndieWire - September 5th, 2021
- James Gunn and Craig Mazin made The Boys six years before the comic - The Digital Fix - August 10th, 2021
- Michigan Congressmen and Women Can Work Together, Some Times - wbckfm.com - wbckfm.com - July 11th, 2021
- Netflix's 'Resident Evil' Anime Shows Off Exactly Why People Love the Franchise - Thrillist - July 11th, 2021
- The best TV series to watch on Netflix, Amazon Prime, Now, BritBox and more this July 2021 - iNews - July 11th, 2021
- No Hands Clapping - by Jonah Goldberg - The Remnant - The Dispatch - July 11th, 2021
- 50 Best Zombie Movies of the 21st Century - Cultured Vultures - July 1st, 2021
- Fewer in NJ getting COVID, and most are unvaccinated, Murphy says - New Jersey 101.5 FM - July 1st, 2021
- In Between The Poop And The Pope 105.7 The Point - 105.7 The Point - July 1st, 2021
- How many Halloween movies are there ? The complete Michael Myers timeline to watch before Halloween Kills arrived - Sportskeeda - July 1st, 2021
- Lucifer And Army Of The Dead Top Nielsens As Cruella Debuts On Disney+ - Forbes - July 1st, 2021
- What to watch on Netflix Top 10: Most popular shows May 28 - Tom's Guide - June 1st, 2021
- Box Office is Back Thanks to A Quiet Place Part II and World War Z - Film School Rejects - June 1st, 2021
- Army of the Dead Is One of Netflix's Biggest Hits with 72 Million Account Views and Counting - MovieWeb - June 1st, 2021
- New from Netflix in June: series, films and documentaries Explica .co - Explica - June 1st, 2021
- 10 greatest movie trilogies of all time - The Independent - May 21st, 2021
- Army Of The Dead (2021) - Rotten Tomatoes - May 21st, 2021
- The 10 Best Alien Invasion Movies - Cinelinx - May 8th, 2021
- 40 Years Ago: 'Friday the 13th Part 2' Makes Jason a Killer - Ultimate Classic Rock - May 8th, 2021
- Underappreciated Gems The Top 10 Most Underrated Movies of the Past 5 Years - Hollywood Insider - April 23rd, 2021
- If Browns Take a Wide Receiver in Round 1... - Yardbarker - April 23rd, 2021
- Former Bengals Great Gives His Thoughts on Penei Sewell and Ja'Marr Chase Debate - Yardbarker - April 23rd, 2021
- Ozzie Albies and Dansby Swanson are showing us why early-season stats can be meaningless - Yardbarker - April 23rd, 2021
- Cubs place OF Joc Pederson on 10-day injured list - Yardbarker - April 23rd, 2021
- 3 Browns Players Who Could Be Impacted By Draft Picks - Yardbarker - April 23rd, 2021
- Eagles could move up in first round of NFL Draft? - Yardbarker - April 23rd, 2021
- Steve Kerr weighs in on Kelly Oubre Jr. coming off the bench - Yardbarker - April 23rd, 2021
- Chargers Top 15 Players They Could Take at 13 - Yardbarker - April 23rd, 2021
- Q2 Montana this Morning top stories with Victoria Hill 4-5-21 - Yahoo News - April 5th, 2021
- Every Alice Cooper album, ranked from worst to best - Louder - March 9th, 2021
- Ranking the Live-Action Members of Superman's Supporting Cast - tor.com - March 9th, 2021
- 3 Asian Actors Making Their Hollywood Debut This Year, Thanks To Marvel - Tatler Malaysia - March 9th, 2021
- 20 Best Movies About Viruses and Pandemics - Parade - February 16th, 2021
- Edgar Wright: All Of His Movies, Ranked According To Box Office Gross - Screen Rant - February 16th, 2021
- Horror Fans Reveal The Movie Scenes That Made Them Physically Ill - We Got This Covered - February 16th, 2021
- This week on "Sunday Morning" (February 7) - CBS News - February 9th, 2021
- WandaVision Episode 6 release date and spoiler; Everything we know so far - Republic TV - February 9th, 2021
- The Weird Old West: Horror And Fantasy-Themed Westerns - Looper - February 5th, 2021
- Our 9 favorite war films from the 60s - We Are The Mighty - February 2nd, 2021
- Cinema: top 10 horror and horror in 2021 - Inspired Traveler - February 2nd, 2021
- The Best Disney and Nickelodeon Pop Stars, Ranked - Vulture - January 25th, 2021
- Ten of the Best Recent Horror and Sci-Fi Movies to Stream Right Now - tor.com - January 22nd, 2021
- The Top 10 Horror Movies We're Waiting To See In 2021 - Flickering Myth - January 22nd, 2021
- Cambridge rated the best place to survive a 'zombie apocalypse' - Cambridgeshire Live - January 22nd, 2021
- 10 Post-Apocalyptic Movies That Every Sci-Fi Fan Should Watch in 2021 - OtakuKart - January 15th, 2021
- 'The White Tiger', 'Malcolm & Marie', 'Don't Look Up', 'Red Notice': New Hollywood movies to be streamed on Netflix - DNA India - January 15th, 2021
- Best new movies coming out in 2021: On streaming and (hopefully) in theaters - syracuse.com - January 9th, 2021
- Xbox Live Games with Gold titles for January 2021 revealed - Shacknews - January 9th, 2021
- 2021: Very insightful industry predictions - Property Industry Eye - January 3rd, 2021
- Best Horror Movies of 2020 - Sprout Wired - December 31st, 2020
- The top 10 films of 2020 - CBC.ca - December 28th, 2020
- The 10 Best Horror Games of 2020 | Game Rant - GameRant - December 28th, 2020
- 10 Games that Helped Me Stay In Touch With My Friends During 2020s Lockdown - IGN India - December 28th, 2020
- SwitchArcade Round-Up: 'BIT.TRIP' Series, 'Door Kickers', 'DungeonTop', and Today's Other New Releases and Sales - Touch Arcade - December 28th, 2020
- Peninsula, The Call & more: Here are the top 10 Korean films of 2020 that you should watch - PINKVILLA - December 19th, 2020
- What vets can learn from It's a Wonderful Life - We Are The Mighty - December 19th, 2020
Reviewed and Recommended by Erik Baquero