Best TV Shows of 2020
It’s time to take stock of 2020, which turned out to be so difficult for many people. Let’s start by looking at a few TV series that, in our opinion, deserve special attention.
Although we focused on high-profile TV series, we also did not pass by some TV shows that unfortunately remained in the shadow of the more popular ones. When creating this list, we were guided not by the level of popularity of TV series, but by their release dates. We warn you that this rating of TV series is very subjective like many other things in this world.
Dispatches from Elsewhere on AMC – Premiered on March 1, 2020
A real treasure in the world of TV series, Dispatches from Elsewhere pulls the most secret threads of the soul with its plot.
Four strangers who have become participants in either a scientific experiment, or a city quest, or even wandering around the back streets of their subconscious, are the main characters in the TV series.
Breaking the paradigm of modern serial production, Dispatches from Elsewhere does not allow the viewer to determine the genre of a TV show and even guess what he can expect from each new episode.
A completely unique TV show, Dispatches from Elsewhere has sadly received little attention from viewers. Maybe this is the highlight of this TV series, since not every TV show needs hype.
The Plot Against America on HBO – Premiered on March 16, 2020
David Simon, arguably the best showrunner known for The Wire, Treme, The Deuce and several other TV shows, is back with The Plot Against America, an alternative history TV series. The miniseries offers a scenario in which Charles Lindbergh becomes President of the United States in 1941 instead of Roosevelt, with the subsequent refusal of the United States to participate in World War II and the conclusion of an agreement with Nazi Germany. All events are shown as seen by members of the Jewish Finkel family living in New Jersey. Every day the atmosphere becomes more terrible as anti-Jewish sentiments are penetrating even America.
Although the TV show is entirely based on the novel of the same name by Philip Roth and does not suggest a sequel, The Plot Against America is exactly the TV series whose new season is highly desired.
Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Murder on Netflix – Premiered on March 20, 2020
At first glance, it seems that a documentary TV series about American private zoos is unlikely to tell any really interesting story. However, having released perhaps the craziest thing that was shown on TV in 2020, the creators of the TV show have found a real gold mine. Trainer Joe Exotic, the protagonist of the TV documentary series, runs a zoo, collects wild cats and calls himself the Tiger King.
Making the most of the main character, the authors of the TV show also tell some shocking facts from the biographies of his colleagues and opponents, forcing viewers to widen their eyes in surprise.
Probably the most exciting TV show of the year, Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Murder has surpassed many fictional TV fiction series.
Tales from the Loop on Amazon Prime – Premiered on April 3, 2020
Delicate like a breath of spring wind, touching like memories of summer in the country, Tales from the Loop is a film adaptation of books by the Swedish artist Simon Stalenhag.
For several years, Stalenhag’s illustrations have aroused the interest of Internet users with scenes from the Swedish countryside and strange mechanisms integrated into the lives of ordinary people.
Having decided not to delve into the history of the emergence of these very strange machines, the authors of the TV series show them for granted and tell stories similar to parables. As a result, we are dealing with a slowly developing plot that not only relies on gorgeous visuals, but also presents stories with incredible catharsis at the end. Probably the work of the great Ray Bradbury is the closest literary analogue of Tales from the Loop.
Hollywood on Netflix – Premiered on May 1, 2020
Having released the highly controversial Ratched TV series and the second season of The Politician TV show, Ryan Murphy has released a lot of projects in 2020. However, we present Hollywood, a TV show that is undoubtedly the benchmark in Murphy’s work. While the TV and cinema world revels in dramas, dystopias and speculations about a dire future, Netflix presented a glossy show about how Hollywood might have developed.
The showrunner shows the history of The Meg movie filming in the scenery of the Dream Factory, which took place in the post-war period. At some point, the plot of the TV series turns aside – in the end, the glossy television series turns into a real utopia.
Too sugary, positive and showing minority issues, Hollywood is still a great TV show that is perfect for today’s TV viewers who are often afraid to think about the future. Being too controversial, Hollywood is not a bigot TV show.
I May Destroy You on BBC and HBO – Premiered on June 7, 2020
Probably the most uncomfortable TV series, I May Destroy You deserve special attention.
Michaela Coel, a British actress who wrote, starred and directed several episodes, is in fact the creator of the TV show. Ultimately, taken as a basis for filming, the main story also belongs to Coel.
Arabella, a Twitter star and successful aspiring writer, leads a very loose lifestyle. After another adventure, she discovers that she has become a victim of rape. Trying to find out what happened that night, Arabella is going through serious life difficulties, trying to reassemble herself, going through different stages of mental trauma.
So why is the I May Destroy You TV series worthy of special attention? First of all, it is a very direct and honest conversation about what millions of women go through. Secondly, Michaela Coel does not make the main character a naive girl, but rather asks the audience a question: does a character who is obviously not very pleasant deserve compassion?
Quite difficult and uncomfortable, this drama TV series hardly makes someone want to watch it again. However, not every TV show is able to shed some light on difficult moral dilemmas – so, I May Destroy You is worth watching.
Perry Mason on HBO – Premiered on June 21, 2020
HBO bosses decided to shoot a TV series about the early years of the lawyer Perry Mason invented by the writer Erle Stanley Gardner. It is noteworthy that Gardner devoted more than 80 novels to the character – however, the show features a completely new plot. The TV series shows Mason as a simple WWI veteran who is not yet a lawyer. Perry tries to save the family farm and works as a private detective. However, one of the cases he is investigating not only changes Mason’s life, but also makes him to build his own legal practice.
Although Robert Downey Jr. was supposed to be the lead actor of the TV show, due to the busy schedule, he was forced to become only a producer. As a result, the choice fell on Matthew Rhys, who played the role of the young Perry Mason successfully.
Perry Mason TV series captivates with the extremely realistic sultry atmosphere of Los Angeles during the Great Depression, swirling intrigue and excellent acting. Originally conceived as a mini-series, it was renewed for a second season.
Ted Lasso on Apple TV+ – Premiered on August 14, 2020
Introducing Ted Lasso, the amazing TV series really worth watching. Based on an NBC Sports commercial, Ted Lasso is not the TV show you might expect. However, let’s go through everything in order.
Having bought the rights to broadcast English Premier League football matches, NBC Sports commissioned commercial videos to be filmed with Ted Lasso as the main character who is the American football coach who has come to the UK now to coach the soccer team. Obviously, the lion’s share of the jokes in these videos are about the differences between American and British cultures.
Having decided to order an entire TV series about the cheerful Ted Lasso, the Apple TV+ streaming platform get a wonderful comedy, which is one of the best in 2020. Quickly playing out all the jokes about the United States and Britain, the TV series started to focus on other important things – strength, kindness, growing up, feelings and optimism. We are waiting for the sequel, as it is almost impossible not to enjoy the image of Ted Lasso. Fortunately, Apple TV+ has commissioned filming for the second and third seasons of the TV show.
Raised by Wolves on HBO Max – Premiered on September 3, 2020
Although controversial, this TV series is nevertheless highly curious, with each episode prompting Google to ask ‘what was it?’. The TV show by Ridley Scott impresses with its unique design, superb picture, excellent cinematography and many other things – so, it’s really worth watching. Also, of note is the amazing performance of Amanda Collin, the Danish actress who played the title role (Android Mother). It seems that if Halloween in 2020 was celebrated on the same scale as it was before the pandemic, the Mother’s costume – along with the image of the Tiger King, of course – would be a real hit.
Since the incredible cliffhanger was used in the final episode of Season 1, we hope that all questions that have been raised will be answered with future seasons of the TV show.
Criminal: UK on Netflix – Premiered on September 16, 2020
Although this rating only takes into account new TV shows, we made an exception for Criminal: UK – the already excellent procedure managed to reach some transcendental level.
All four Netflix TV series released under the “Criminal” title share the same trick – filmmakers from Britain, France, Germany and Spain used the same set to film short seasons about professional investigators finding out the truth during interrogation. The TV series has been renewed so far only by a UK-based film crew who have released 4 great episodes that go far beyond boring investigations.
The plot of each new series contains a moral dilemma that TV viewers should think about. In addition, amazing acting is the highlight of each new story. Could you imagine that Jon Snow has such an acting talent?
The Good Lord Bird on Showtime – Premiered on October 4, 2020
The Good Lord Bird is a mini-series featuring 7 episodes about the life of a real historical figure. John Brown, arguably the most famous abolitionist opposed to slavery in the mid-19th century in the United States, freed slaves, fled from armed officials, and organized murder and riots himself. However, due to his activities, John was executed in 1859.
The Good Lord Bird is the creation of Ethan Hawke, a wonderful actor who not only played the title role, but also wrote and produced the TV show. The Good Lord Bird is the perfect mix of drama, slapstick, historical events and character fiction. John Brown is a very complex spectator whose striking image is made even more curious by Ethan Hawke’s excellent acting. You should watch this TV show even if you are not interested in American history.
The Haunting of Bly Manor on Netflix – Premiered on October 9, 2020
Filming the second part of his mystical anthology on Netflix, TV producer Mike Flanagan decided to take a different path. While The Haunting of Hill House told a chilling story of a family drama set in a spooky horror setting, The Haunting of Bly Manor is something new.
Spectators will be shown the picturesque 1980s. American girl Dani gets a job as a governess in a manor house lost among the English forests where strange things happen.
A horror TV series, The Haunting of Bly Manor is still quite cozy. Although it scares, shocks, makes you wonder at the disclosure of another secret, its atmosphere, amazing characters with whom you really want to make friends, and the main motives make the TV series light-melancholic and ideal for watching wrapped in a warm blanket – it’s not surprising that a TV show was premiered in October.
The Queen’s Gambit on Netflix – Premiered on October 23, 2020
The Queen’s Gambit is perhaps the most important TV series of 2020 that only the harshest critic could not accept. Although much has been said about this TV show, even a week before its premiere, no one had even imagined that a serial drama about a chess player would become such a great hit. However, this is not surprising, since The Queen’s Gambit is the perfect combination of brilliant script, impeccable direction, excellent work of artists and amazing acting talent.
While the popularity of chess game apps has grown hundreds of times over and Queen’s Gambit has become a bestseller again 37 years after its first publication, we are following the further fate of actress Anya Taylor-Joy, who – thanks to her role on the TV series – apparently made her way to Hollywood.
So, this concludes our ranking of the best TV series of 2020. It’s great that so many outstanding TV shows were released during that challenging year. However, we expect even more from 2021!
Next time we will talk about the most disappointing TV series released in 2020.
Меня зовут Игорь. Я из тех, кто постоянно выискивает себе новые увлечения. Начинал с зоологии и чтения в детстве и докатился до путешествий, кино и истории искусства. Не могу жить без новых книг, новых телешоу и новых стран. Свято верю в науку, доброту и то, что впечатлениями надо делиться. Учу языки, планирую поездки разного километража и пишу про кино и сериалы.