I’ve been wanting to break down all my favorite shows from this year. I really watched a lot of “tv” in 2020, but I’m probably not alone in that. It’s funny how you find a show you like and binge it, or sometimes try to make it last and then feel so lost when it’s over. There are some shows I wish I could go back in time and watch again for the first time, shows that stay with you, that you remember so vividly. I know that shows and movies are so subjective, you like what you like. I’ve suggested shows to friends and they didn’t like them and vice versa. Then there’s that terrible purgatory of the “show hole” where you’ve finished a series you loved and cannot find anything as good for a while. If you’re in that place, maybe this list will help. I’ve ranked my top 10 favorite shows and movies from both Prime and Netflix.
- The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel – Please watch this show! It is so delicious. There is a fair amount of cursing, so, beware, but I loved Mrs. Maisel, a wealthy New York divorcee turned stand up comedienne. It is full of 1950s fashion, backwards thinking and irreverent revolt against every institution. Love, love, love.
- Endeavor – Most favoritest show probably ever. It is British, a crime drama, set in the Sixties and stars super swoon-worthy Shaun Evans. I watched to the end of season six this year. Then I fell into a deep Endeavor-deprivation down spiral. I was so sad to leave my ‘friends,’ and would miss all the lingo I had come to know, like, “Mind how you go…”
- Homeland – Tenth and final season. This show is quite violent and dark and probably not for everyone. I had to watch it because my number one weakness is Spy Drama. I love spies, I especially love girl spies. And Carrie is such a beautiful, lovable f-up. It’s got middle east multi-layer political crisis and Russians and bureaucracy and Saul. Sometimes it was too much for me and sometimes it gave me so much anxiety because I know a lot of that stuff was going on in real life, but I stuck it out and I loved how it all went to hell in the end and then wrapped up happily like a Disney movie.
- The Durrells in Corfu – There is no show like this! It’s SO good. Set in the 1930s England, a widowed mother of four decides to move to Greece. It is such a beautiful setting and has great characters and acting. I could not get enough of this show.
- Hanna – So, ass-kicking girl spies hiding in European forests. Super secret intrigue and no one can be trusted. Hanna always out smarts everyone and manages to escape.
- Death in Paradise – best sappy-sweet, super formulaic British crime drama set in a fictional Caribbean island. You’ll fall in love with the head detective and after a couple seasons he’ll be off the show. A ton of seasons, a ton of episodes. There’s always a murder, exactly 4 suspects and they all have an alibi. All the feel-good reggae and dancehall hits. Beautiful island scenes.
- Homecoming – Sort of like Hanna, sinister government project with human test subjects, dark suspense and mystery. Will the protagonists figure it out, escape and bring down the bad guys?
- Counterpart – Fell in love with the Nationwide insurance guy. Nerdy sci-fi at its best. It’s the future? There are two parallel universes and everyone exists in both.
- Upload – Also sci-fi and kind of a little bit Black Mirror. Life the afterlife virtually. Weird and kind of light-hearted fun. Main female role is so cute, so likable.
- Ladies in Black – I’ll throw this one in. I’ve never heard anyone else mention this little gem. It’s about a group of women who work in a department store, in Australia, in the 50s. Really lovely and original.
Honorable mentions: Jack Ryan, Fleabag, Big Little Lies
- The Queen’s Gambit – Can’t stop thinking about this. It’s fairly dark, but… the clothes, the sets, THE CHESS. Anya Taylor-Joy is mesmerizing as the lead. It was very bingeable. So original. Kinda think I’m going to have to watch it all over again.
- The Crown season 3 and season 4 – I’ve been loving the Crown all along. It took me a while to get over the fact that they switched out the whole cast after season 2 (and will again for season 5). Some episodes are more entertaining than others. Some are so sad. But the characters just keep growing on you. Please watch it! Then tell me who your favorite family member is.
- Rita season 5 – No one I know has watched Rita, or upon my recommendation as far as I know. It’s in Danish and subtitled but that should not deter you. It is amazing. I highly recommend it. Especially if you are a school teacher. But also if you are a parent or a woman or a human of any kind.
- I’m Sorry – this is a show you watch and do not tell anyone you do. It’s so wrong. So funny. But so wrong. I loved it too much.
- Queer Eye season 5 – this show gets better every episode, every season. I get that it may not be your “cup of tea” but I LOVE a makeover and it’s like makeover to the 5th power. And Jonathan.
- Ozark season 3 – This drama pulls you in and you find yourself hooked and then so disturbed. It’s beyond dark. I really can’t do this kind of show anymore but dammit, Jason Bateman, you make dark so adorable. Such a good cast and so twisty turny and original.
- Sex Education – It took a few episodes but this became a favorite. Basic premise: high school boy and son of a sex therapist (Jillian Anderson) sells sex therapy to his classmates. It’s an honest and diverse look at sex and growing up. (Not for kids!)
- Black AF – I never watched Blackish, but fell into watching this and loved it. So worth it.
- The Goop Lab – SO GOOPY. If you’ve heard anything about Gwyneth Paltrow (GP) and her company Goop, you won’t be surprised by the cooky therapies they try on this show. I liked it. Let me know if I’m crazy.
- Last Tango in Halifax – Two English senior citizens meet after 60 years and fall in love. Their families don’t. I’m not sure why I’m putting this last, it was very well done. It’s got some very downer, depressing, heavy bits… but I really got into it.
Honorable mentions: Derry Girls, Workin’ Moms, The Good Girls, Atypical, Down to Earth, The Duchess, The Good Place