By: Bill Cushing
It’s that time of year again. That time when all TV people start thinking about the best shows that they watched over the past year. As usual, it was tough to leave some shows off the list, but here are my picks for the best TV had to offer in 2020.
High Fidelity (Hulu) – A smart, and funny remake of the 2000 John Cusack film, based on Nick Hornby’s novel. Zoe Kravitz was terrific in the Cusack role as a romantically challenged record store owner in Brooklyn who ends up revisiting past relationships through music while trying to get over her true love. Unfortunately, Hulu decided to only do one season.
After Life (Netflix) – Ricky Gervais’ touching series about a grieving man trying to move on after the death of his wife. ‘After Life’ continued to deliver just the right amount of laughs and tears in its second season, telling us that our real purpose is not to seek comfort for yourself, but to comfort others.
Lenox Hill (Netflix) – Netflix riveting documentary series followed four doctors at Lenox Hill hospital in NY, and the real life drama that they and their patients deal with on a daily basis. This series captured a wide range of human emotion and delivered a special episode filmed during the early days of the pandemic.
Bosch (Amazon) – This Amazon series continued to be TV’s best cop show, even into its sixth season. Titus Welliver is perfect in his role as the title character. One thing the series does so well is the way it presents its dedication to the procedure of working a case, how each lead works to fill the puzzle in piece by piece. No police show does it better than Bosch. The upcoming seventh season will be its last.
Schitt’s Creek (Pop) – ‘Schitt’s Creek’ came to an end after six wonderful seasons. Each character received the carefully thought-out ending they deserved. Dan and Eugene Levy wanted to go out on their own terms and they did just that with a perfect finale that was followed by a sweep at the Emmys.
Yellowstone (Paramount) – Paramount’s modern day western series about the Dutton family delivered a rousing action packed season, highlighted by great performances by Kevin Costner and Kelly Reilly, and a heart stopping cliffhanger finale to end its best season yet.
The Queen’s Gambit (Netflix) – Anya Taylor-Joy gives one of the best performances of the year in Netflix excellent limited series about an orphaned girl who rises from chess prodigy to a world champion during the Cold War. A beautifully written and acted series with a great supporting cast.
Ozark (Netflix) – Netflix’s top notch crime drama continued its excellence in season 3, with Marty and Wendy Byrd’s riverboat casino scheme sinking under the weight of an FBI investigation. Jason Bateman, Julia Garner, and Laura Linney delivered their usual great performances, but it was Tom Pelphrey’s work as Wendy’s brother Ben that stole the show.
Ted Lasso (Apple TV+) – From beginning to end, Apple TV+’s heartwarming ‘Ted Lasso’ was the most surprising series of the year. This Jason Sudeikis-led series about an American football coach moving oversees to manage a Premier League soccer team is not only hilarious, it’s bursting with an optimism and sincerity.
My pick for the best show of the 2020 is…
Better Call Saul (AMC) – Back in 2015, people questioned why we needed a prequel to ‘Breaking Bad.’ Now after a sensational fifth season, many critics and fans think that it has surpassed its predecessor. I’m not ready to go there yet. But every year I’m continually amazed at the brilliance of this show. There is no better acting and writing on television. Bob Odenkirk, Jonathan Banks, and Giancarlo Esposito are superb. But Rhea Seehorn, in her role as Kim, is consistently the best actress on television. TV just doesn’t get any better than this, and I can’t wait to see how the upcoming final season will end.
Also, in consideration….. Curb Your Enthusiasm (HBO), Kidding (SHO), Upload (Amazon), The Outsider (HBO), The Unicorn (CBS), Homeland (SHO), Defending Jacob (Apple TV+), Little Fires Everywhere (Hulu), Hunters (Amazon), The Undoing (HBO), Dead To Me (Netflix).
If you have any questions about TV you can email me at BillsTVTalk@gmail.com. I will answer all of your questions and will feature some of the questions I receive in a future Mailbag column.
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