TV Talk: Best of 2020

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.

What were your TV highlights of 2020?
What are you looking forward to in 2021?
Got any TV recommendations?

15 thoughts on “TV Talk: Best of 2020

  1. I was watching TV the other day and there’s this Amazon Prime ad, which is just a supercut of all their recent content – including The Boys. That was the moment it dawned on me that I FORGOT TO INCLUDE THE BOYS IN MY CONTINUED TV RANKING. I knew I was bound to miss stuff… I also didn’t even mention Nancy Drew, even if I am the president of the fanclub for one of the characters. THE SHAME!
    But less about me and more about your post! I think you managed to get a really good mix of shows in there!! (also, thanks for crediting me for Dark. You would have found it on your own eventually haha) I mean, there’s so many different genres and animation and real life and non fiction. I can’t say I have watched all of them, but the ones I know are obviously great ones, cause we both have taste.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. HOW COULD YOU FORGET ABOUT THE BOYS!! Homelander’s parenting alone should get a mention on any best-of list haha.
      I’m actually surprised I managed to watch all of these since I’m notorious for not completing shows haha. Thankfully, I’ve always got you to point me in the right direction haha.

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  2. I honestly have been wanting to watch the boys for so long, I think since the first trailer came out but I love superheroes and this one just felt so different and fresh. I so want to watch it asap so I hope I get to it but hearing everything you said about it just makes me sooo excited !! i’m so glad you loved it!!
    I think I watched like 4 episode of The Umbrella Academy but I didn’t get any further with it. I hope it continues to be a show you love !!
    My sister loves The Last Kingdom so I definitely would love to check it out especially from the way you described it. The rest of the shows on your list I haven’t actually heard too much about. Haikyuu definitely sounds like a show I would love though. Thank you so much for all your recommendations !!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The Boys is just a whole new level of superheroic chaos, and I say that in the best way possible. It’s such a fresh take on the genre, but the socio-political commentary running through it is equally as compelling.
      The Last Kingdom is one of the best historical drama’s I’ve ever seen. I’d highly recommend it to everyone.
      Haikyuu was the biggest surprise of the year. A lot of people had been raving about it, but I did not think I’d get as deeply invested as I did. It’s such a feel-good show with brilliant character dynamics. If you get the chance to watch it, I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I loved Dark and Umbrella Academy season 2 as well! Both of those shows are fantastic and I’m really glad that you loved them as well. 😀 I have yet to watch the 2nd season of The Boys, but hopefully I’ll get around to it soon.
    Haikyuu!! is one of my all time favourite anime/manga. I adore the characters in it soooo much! Also, I have a weakness for sports anime as well 😂

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Well, Haikyuu is the best one out there in my opinion. But I do have some other ones I enjoy! 😀 Kuroko no Basket, about basketball with some very unrealistic elements (in the physics sense that is). One Outs, about baseball with a lot of mind games and psychological battles. Prince of Tennis, which is the one that got me into sports anime and it’s an older one. Run with the Wind, about running which ended up being a lot more interesting than I thought it would. Eyeshield 21, about American football and I’m not sure how this one aged as I watched it a long time ago (and I do remember some problematic things from the manga). Sorry for the long answer 😅

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