My Favorite TV Shows of 2020
Normally I abstain from making “Best of” type lists annually, mainly because I do not have the time see everything. I feel it would be a disservice to a movie/comic/show that I missed which deserved mention. But this year I am trying something different, for 2020, because I am a Positive Patrick who loves to share what he loves with the world, here is a simple list of my favorite television shows of 2020. Because I have to set some kind of criteria I am qualifying shows which had a season or series premier in the calendar year.
Doctor Who: Last season, the Thirteenth Doctor Jodie Whitaker, and her crew of companions charmed the time and space pants off of me and this season proved no different. 2020 saw the return of one of the Doctor’s greatest enemies, the Master played to maniacal perfection by Sacha Dhawan. With his return came a revelation which shook the Doctor to her core. As she went through her adventures this season with Graham, Yaz, and Ryan, the Time Lord increasingly had to grapple with the fact that the past she knew may not be accurate. It all led to the finale “The Timeless Children” which will no doubt impact the show for the foreseeable future.
Evil Lives Here: Like many other people, I am an addict for true crime entertainment. While most shows of this ilk have a nice formula they stick to, Evil Lives Here takes a different approach, they look at the family members who had to live with the monsters from the headlines. Parents, spouses, children, and siblings sit down and discuss what it was like sharing a home with monsters among us, giving a POV typically unseen in true crime. This season we hear from a man who tried to fix his sociopathic son; the wife of Oklahoma’s infamous “Ether Man”; and others with personal horror stories told with brutal honesty.
Schitt’s Creek: After 6 seasons, this acclaimed Canadian import went out with a bang. Centered on the preparation for David’s wedding, the Rose family each prepared themselves for the next chapter in their lives which could take them away from their adopted hometown. All four of these former vapid airheads have been changed forever by their time here as we get to see who they have grown into. Alexis Rose especially has a character arc which shows off just how much she has evolved over the years. Catherine O’Hara continued proving she is a comedic genius by making Moira Rose one of the most fun characters on television. Schitt’s Creek famously cleaned up on Emmy night (though how they missed giving a statue to Emily Hampshire for her role as Stevie is beyond me) and for a show this brilliant, that gold was richly deserved.
American Experience: The Vote: Even after all of these years, this PBS staple delivers some of the greatest historical documentaries around on a regular basis. This feat is nothing short of astounding. Of course, the stand out of 2020 celebrated the 100th anniversary of Women’s Suffrage with “the Vote”. This acclaimed four-parter takes an in-depth look at the pitfalls and triumphs during the battle for equality. Through the eyes of these brave women we get a firsthand look at the battle for equality as well as how it tied into the overall battle for equal rights in this country.
Dark Side of the Ring: The history of professional wrestling is one filled with controversy, scandal, violence, and secrets. Given that wrestlers are by nature larger-than-life storytellers, Evan Husney and Jason Eisener, give these grapplers a platform to share their accounts of some of the most famous and infamous moments in the sport’s history. In its second season the show kicked things off with a two-parter about the life and headline-grabbing crimes of Chris Benoit. The madness did not stop there as the rest of the season featured episodes on: the murder of Dino Bravo, controversial ECW talent New Jack, and the tragic death of Owen Hart. For a show it’s network initially had no faith in, Dark Side of the Ring has proven to be a hit with both critics and audiences thanks to it’s compelling look at a unique business.
Kim’s Convenience: After four seasons, the cantankerous Mr. “Appa” Kim maintains an everyday routine to open his shop and be driven crazy by his family. The charming and hilarious characters of this award-winning sitcom are still just likable as ever in this new season. At the heart of it all is Appa and Umma who celebrate their wedding anniversary with a party that Umma almost skips. Estranged son Jung (played by soon to be Marvel leading man Simu Liu) makes the biggest strides yet in normalizing his relationship with Appa. While daughter and recent art school grad Janet deals with a needlessly complicated love life all. Already a massive hit in it’s native Canada and growing in popularity internationally, Kim’s Convenience has already been unsurprisingly greenlit for two more season.
What We Do in the Shadows: Spinning off from the Taika Waititi and Jemaine Clement film, a documentary crew follows the four vampire housemates and Guillermo into a second season. Under Clement’s oversight, What We Do in the Shadows continues to expertly blend gothic horror elements with the best-written comedy on television. Energy vampire Collin Robinson proved to be a breakout character this season, especially after he was promoted to the boss at his office. The relationship between Nandor and his familiar Guillmero became strained to say the least upon the human discovering his destiny as a vampire slayer. Once again, we are treated to a number of fantastic guest-stars on the show, especially Mark Hamill as Jim the Vampire whose quest for vengeance crosses paths with human bartender Jackie Daytona.
Women Make Film: While filmmakers like, Patty Jenkins and Ava DuVarney, have become major players in Hollywood in recent years, women have been behind the camera since the dawn of cinema. In 2020 Turner Classic Movies sang the praise of these often unsung directors with this 14 part series narrated by talents like: Tilda Swinton, Thandie Newton, Debra Winger, and more. Each episode looks at different elements of filmmaking through the eyes of various women analyzing their styles and methods. Looking at over a century of movies from all over the globe means inevitably any viewer will be introduced to something brand new to grab their attention. Adding to the depth of this docuseries is the discussions bookending each episode, featuring author Alicia Malone, film studies Professor Jacqueline Stewart, and many of the women who have had their work featured in the series.
The Haunting of Bly Manor: Writer/director Mike Flanagan followed up his 2018 hit the Haunting of Hill House with this adaptation of the Henry James story Turn of the Screw. Hoping for a fresh start in England, Dani takes on the job of an au pair to two orphaned children who reside at Bly Manor. She and the fellow employees at the manor, Owen and Hannah, realize that something is off about these children and it probably has ties to the former au pair. Of course, in this place the spirits of the past tend to linger meaning Dani will eventually have to confront the supernatural. With equal parts horror and heart, Flanagan’s Haunting series is bound for greatness.
The Mandalorian: Last year this Disney+ series breathed new life into the Star Wars franchise as a whole, with a brooding Mandalorian bounty hunter protecting a mysterious infant. This season, Mando sought to reunite Force-powerful the Child, who we now know as Grogu, with his own kind, which of course proved dangerous as the Mandalorian explored further corners of the Star Wars Universe. Beloved characters like Cobb Vanth, Boba Fett, and Ahsoka Tano even found their way into the mix of things to the joy of fans. If the finale “The Rescue” did not leave you fighting back tears you may want to get checked out by a doctor. Encapsulating everything people love about Star Wars as a whole, the Mandalorian has earned every bit of adoration it has gotten.
Wild Bill: In 2020 Britbox imported this short lived crime drama to the US and I got sucked in hard. In need of a fresh start for he and his teenage daughter, renowned cop Bill Hixon moves from Miami to Boston, Lincolnshire to take over as Chief Constable. Featuring Rob Lowe in a far more serious role than he has played in a while, each episode features a case filled with twists and turns which will keep you hooked. Sadly we only get 6 episodes but all of them were winners.
Letterkenny: On the day after Christmas a lot of us pitter pattered to our TV’s to grab a Puppers and watch the newest season of this cult favorite. In true Letterkenny fashion, Wayne, Katy, Dairy, Squirrelly Dan, and the rest, gave audiences plenty of drinking, fighting, and thought-provoking conversations on a number of topics. We even got to see them impart their wisdom on the youth of the town in what was probably the funniest episode this season. This season also gave viewers a rare look at what happens when character have a quiet night in with the “Sleepover”. Letterkenny continues to be the gold standard of sharply written, dry comedy so quit being so f****** awkward pal and watch it.