A YEAR IN TV: 2020 Favorite TV Shows

I realized in 2020 that I am way more of a TV person than a movie person. Some of you might know from reading my TV posts or monthly wrap up posts that TV tends to be go-to way to relax during busy points in the school year, since I’m sometimes too tired to focus on reading, but don’t feel like going to bed just yet. I think nearly all of us leaned into television more than usual in 2020 for stay-at-home reasons. Since I do watch so much TV, I really tried to limit my absolute FAVORITES…which means that there is quite a lengthy honorable mentions list included in this post. 

Favorites 

Cheer (Netflix) – I’ve really come to love Netflix’s docuseries, including Cheer, which follows a competitive junior college cheerleading team. I’m a huge fan of this production’s team other Netflix docuseries, Last Chance U. They do such an incredible job of capturing these sports realities that aren’t generally understood by the everyday person. Both Cheer and Last Chance U follow junior college sports, cheerleading and football respectively, and the incredibly competitive atmosphere and setbacks experienced by those athletes. 

Never Have I Ever (Netflix) – I love, love TV shows that manage to make me laugh and cry, and Never Have I Ever was the perfect culmination of those feels. The show follows Indian American high schooler Devi, who’s dealing with the unexpected loss of her father while navigating high school dating and social life. Definitely stick out the beginning of the first episode – it takes a bit to get used to the narrating style, but this show is SO worth it. If you love YA books, you’ll LOVE this show. 

Sex Education S2 (Netflix) – One of my best friends & I managed to binge-watch the second season of Sex Education in a matter of days in the beginning of the spring semester. I didn’t think this show could get better, but season 2 had such great character development, plot, and so many surprises.

Beauty and the Baker (Amazon Prime) – All the hype surrounding ABC’s rom-com series, The Baker and the Beauty, did not lead me to watching the show (I did watch the first 2 episodes and just couldn’t get into it), but instead led me to watch the original Israeli romantic comdey show it was inspired by, Beauty and the Baker. Beauty and the Baker was one of my favorite quarantine binge-watches, and was genuinely so funny. I watched the English subtitled version on Amazon Prime. I’m holding out hope that they’ll include the show’s third season on there as soon as it premieres in Israel.

Schitt’s Creek S6 (PopTV/Netflix) – Although I would SO watch endless seasons of Schitt’s Creek, they couldn’t have ended this show on a better high than they did. I watched season 6 in real time on PopTV, but I rewatched most of the episodes as soon as it hit Netflix. I thought this final season and episode was just so perfect and has some of the funniest and most heartfelt moments of the show. I still can’t help but think about Alexis and Ted’s final scene together…not to mention the scene with Patrick, David, and the mattress. Whether or not you’re a Schitt’s Creek fan, I highly recommend also checking out the documentary, Best Wishes, Warmest Regards, about the show. 

The Babysitter’s Club (Netflix) – If there’s one show that perfectly captured some of my childhood reading nostalgia, it’s the first season of The Babysitter’s Club. This show is my favorite comfort TV show of 2020. It was the perfect blend of Ann M. Martin’s beloved books while also giving it a fresh take. The Babysitter’s Club does skew towards a younger/pre-teen audience, but I never had the feeling that I was too old to be watching it. I’m so happy this show will be bringing the books to a new generation of readers! I also recommend checking out The Claudia Kishi Club documentary special, which features YA author Sarah Kuhn. 

The Politician S2 (Netflix) – The Politician is another one of those shows I could just endlessly watch because of the incredible acting. Like season 1, the plot is so out of left field, but I love it so much and will gladly watch a third season ASAP. Once again, I’m also obsessed with Ben Platt’s musical performance on this show. 

Unorthodox (Netflix) – Unorthodox was definitely the best quality TV show I watched this year. In an unusual twist of events for me, I read Deborah Feldman’s memoirs, Unorthodox and Exodus, AFTER watching the show and instead of before. I actually liked that the show was more so inspired by her experience, rather than be an exact retelling or portrayal. 

16 and Recovering (MTV) – 16 and Recovering is up there with my all-time favorite documentary series, following a Massachusetts high school for students recovering from drug addiction and substance abuse. I am absolutely in awe and inspired by those students and the commitment and care of their educators. 

You (Netflix) – I know, I know, I’m a little late to the You train, but I for some reason thought I wouldn’t enjoy this one because I’m not a big fan of darker TV shows, but I was ultimately obsessed, and made me remember how much I love Penn Badgely. I did enjoy the first season more than season 2, but the ending has me super intrigued by what season 3 will bring. 

Honorable Mentions 

The Mandalorian S1 & S2 (Disney+) – I watched the first season of The Mandalorian during spring break in March, binge-watching it thinking that I wouldn’t be back home for a while (little did I know I’d be home for good 48 hours post-going back to campus…) and wanting to check out the Baby Yoda hype. I have to admit that like many, the Child is my favorite part of the show, but I’ve found myself more invested in the storytelling in its second season. 

Grace & Frankie S6 (Netflix) – Grace & Frankie is hands-down a Netflix FAVORITE of mine, and while I’m always happy to watch, I didn’t think this season was as strong as the previous ones. 

Love is Blind (Netflix) – Love is Blind reminded me a lot of The Bachelor, in the sense that it’s one of those shows that is so great to watch with friends. I watched some episodes with my sisters at home and my suite mate at school, while also freaking out about it in a few group chats with friends. I’m CONVINCED production is filming the second season right now.

The Morning Show (AppleTV+) – I got a free year subscription to Apple TV+ with my new MacBook, and I immediately starting watching The Morning Show, which totally met the hype. I don’t think I’m going to completely keep my AppleTV+ subscription after my trial ends (leave me your Apple TV+ recs in the comments), but I WILL renew it when the second season of TMS comes out. 

Below Deck (Bravo) – Similarly to my reading tastes, I am most definitely a fan of some high-browse TV shows.. and of course, some low ones, including Bravo’s Below Deck franchise. This was one of the first reality shows I really dove into in March with Below Deck S7 and Below Deck Sailing Yacht… and then Below Deck Mediterranean S5…and then Below Deck S8. 

The West Wing (Netflix) – The West Wing definitely has the potential to become one of my favorite TV shows, but I admit that my family and I have fallen behind on watching it, and I’m still in the beginning of season 3. I want to dedicate some of my time off from school this month to catching up on a few seasons. 

Indian Matchmaking (Netflix) – Indian Matchmaking was another fluffy reality show, but had a level of depth, following an Indian matchmaker who sets up Indian couples both in America & India. 

Selling Sunset S2 & S3 (Neftlix) – I know a throw around ‘favorite’ a lot one when it comes to Netflix’s reality shows, but there’s just something about Selling Sunset you don’t see in other reality shows – okay, yes it’s definitely the million dollar LA real estate. 

Family Karma (Bravo) – One of my best friends (the same one who got me into my Below Deck obsession) and I also watched Family Karma together, another reality show inspired by Indian-American life. This was the perfectly fluffy watch I needed in the beginning of quarantine while also exploring a culture we don’t see often on reality TV. 

Away (Netflix) – I remember hearing Spotify ads for Away on my commute to work this fall, thinking I would never watch it… but then found myself binging its ten episode season and crying over a few episodes over a long weekend. 

Special (Netflix) – I actually watched Special for one of my education classes, but what started as a homework assignment turned into one of my favorite TV shows this summer! 

Virgin River S2 (Netflix) – Virgin River has been my comfort watch in December for the past two winter breaks. It has a nice blend of being a mindless watch with some mystery in its plot.

Workin Moms S4 (Netflix)- Workin’ Moms is one of my favorite comedy shows on Netflix and still enjoyed this new season. However, I don’t know if it was because there were fewer episodes than normal, but I wasn’t a huge fan of the plot direction and didn’t feel as invested for some reason. 

Shtisel (Netflix) – Shtisel is another Israeli set show I decided to watch after loving Shira Haas’ performance in Unorthodox. I’m really looking forward to watching the third season hopefully in the near future, and I believe there is an American adaptation in the works through Amazon. 

If you’re interested in what my favorite shows from the past few years were (& again want to know how much TV I can consume in one year), check out my favorite TV show wrap-ups from 2019 & 2018

What were your favorite TV shows of 2020? Have you watched any I mentioned? Any recommendations for me? Share in the comments!

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