It’s hard to keep track of all the TV shows available to us, but 2020 did treat us to some gems. This post won’t necessarily be highlighting shows released solely in 2020 but shows that caught my attention throughout the year. Here are the best TV shows I watched in 2020.
The Boys (Season 2): The second season of The Boys was equally as diabolical as the first. However, the second season had a level of intimacy that, within the chaos, provided greater insight into the struggles and mental state of The Boys. Homelander continues to be as unhinged as ever, yet the scene-stealer was in the newcomer, Stormfront, who proved to be charming, calculating, and a full-on Nazi. She made her presence known and caused a whole lot of trouble for this band of misfits.
Dark: Few shows have messed with my head as much as Dark did. Credit to Katja for introducing me to this gem. Dark is an intricate web of cause and effect that had me hooked to the edge of the seat. The show packs plenty of twists and turns that are as heartbreaking as they are shocking. With a moving performance from the cast, this show follows the anger, confusion, and desperation of all parties that get caught up in this time-travelling mess.
The Umbrella Academy (Season 2): Along with The Boys, The Umbrella Academy has got to be the best superhero show available to viewers. This dysfunctional family treated us to a series of chaos and hilarity. Once again, we see that the Hargreeves are stronger together. There’s plenty of laugh-out-loud moments, but beneath that are tender moments that are sincere in their execution, giving us relatable portrayals of day to day struggles. The third season will be a game-changer, and I can’t wait to see how the second season’s finale shapes the trajectory and dynamic of the Hargreeves family.
Haikyuu: Everyone should know by now that this reader has a weakness for sports anime. Haikyuu is one of the best anime productions this novice viewer has seen. It’s incredible to see how emotionally charging a volleyball game can be. The beauty of this anime, and the manga, is in the team dynamics. Haikyuu is about the underdogs and learning to trust your teammates both on and off the court. The show oozes personality and will melt your heart and make you howl with laughter.
Dark Side of the Ring: A surprising addition to the list, but Dark Side of the Ring provided an insight into the dark side of professional wrestling. It’s a fascinating series, one that treats the often ridiculed world of professional wrestling with the modicum of respect it deserves, highlighting the fallout of personal and corporate vices that heavily influenced the trajectory of the lives of these professional wrestlers, without vilifying the artistry of this brand of sports entertainment.
The Last Kingdom (Season 4): The Last Kingdom is one of the best historical drama to grace our screens. The latest season simultaneously introduces a politically frail Saxon landscape whilst expanding the world and introducing new players looking to manipulate this political tension for their advantage. The burden of legacy becomes the heart of the season, with the show introducing Uhtred’s children as a means of reflecting the changes in the political landscape as Saxons and Danes become accustomed to living alongside one another. As always, the battle sequences were tense and engaging, but it’s the characters that carry the heart of this journey.
Rise of Empires – Ottoman: Netflix’s historical docudrama, Rise of Empires: Ottoman, is an informative series that spotlights the conquest that would lead to the rise of one of the most formidable empires to shape the course of history. The central conflict focuses squarely on the young sultan, Mehmed II’s ambition to conquer Constantinople. Along the way, we get an insightful exploration of his character at his best and worst. History fans do not want to miss this show.
Giri/Haji: Technically cheating since I finished this at the end of 2019, but this Japanese/English BBC production is an example of crime drama at it’s finest. Sent to London with the task of bringing his brother to justice, Tokyo detective, Kenzo Mori, is tested to his limits as his time in London forces him to confront lingering family tension and the limits of brotherly love. It’s the characters that make this show such as we take the time to explore the relationships that shape them, for better and worse. The cat and mouse chase between brothers is a thrilling chase but shatters the world they once knew.
Free! Iwatobi Swim Club: Okay, do not let the aesthetic pandering fool you into thinking this show lacks any real depth. This show gets a lot of flack for it’s fan-servicing, but this show is all about the personal and professional struggles of characters in the world of competitive swimming. This show has a level of relatability that’s incredibly moving like the struggle to find a purpose, fear of not being good enough, injury setbacks, the transition of competitive swimming from school level to world level, and a visually striking and heartening journey of friendship.
The Haunting of Bly Manor: Bly Manor may lie on the softer side of horror, but the richness in its cast and their compelling performance adds a layer of sincerity and depth to these characters. Yes, Bly Manor is more romantic than Hill House, but it’s also a beautiful love story burdened by a tragic history.