Unlike other media outlets “best of” lists that often feature TV series and films that don’t match up with the general viewer, I’m sharing a few of my favorite TV series of 2020. Yes, some may be cheesy, perhaps even stupid, but they were the series that made me smile, laugh, and sometimes cry during a year that we’d all like to forget.

Ted Lasso

The year’s best new comedy series (not to mention the best new series on TV in the last five years), Ted Lasso is so good that it’s worth the investment in the mediocre Apple TV+. As the titular character, Jason Sudeikis is the coach that we all want - even if it means he’s never coached the sport or knows how the game works. A modern-day Major League, Ted Lasso is funny, endearing, and a must watch and will have you rooting for Lasso and his AFC Richmond Football Team.

The Queen's Gambit

The surprise hit of quarantine, Anya Taylor-Joy crushes it as Beth Harmon, an orphaned chess prodigy who eats the men alive in this engrossing drama that follows Harmon’s rise to the top. Taylor Joy’s performance captivates audiences as she battles not only a game that is generally unfriendly to women but also an addiction to painkillers and alcohol.

The Flight Attendant

HBO Max gets a call out for this silly, fun murder mystery that finds alcoholic flight attendant Cassie Bowden (Kaley Cuoco) waking up next to a dead body and her mission to solve the case before she goes down for a crime she doesn’t think she committed. Being an alcoholic and having blacked out much of that night doesn’t make it any easier.

The Cabin With Bert Kreischer

Stand-up comedian Bert Kreischer goes off the grid in this laugh-out-loud Netflix series as he invites his comedian and famous friends to tackle the mind, body, and soul. With an eclectic list of guests including Caitlyn Jenner, Kaley Cuoco, Gabriel Iglesias, and many more, Kreischer's joy of being naked is taken to new heights in a "reality" series bound to make you smile.

Tiger King

In the beginning of the pandemic, if you hadn’t watched this outlandish documentary about Joe King and his private zoo, you couldn’t fully participate in any workplace Zoom let alone social media conversation. While it most likely won’t win any awards, there is no series that brought America together more than Tiger King. Heck, it made Carol Baskins TikTok famous and even got her on Dancing With The Stars!

Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist

It's hard to believe it was nearly a year ago when I wrote my original review. In the year’s most heartwarming news series, Zoey (Jane Levy) exits an MRI to find that she can hear the inner thoughts of those around her through music. With an all-star cast and some of the best performed and choreographed musical routines on TV, sit back and enjoy the ride as Zoey navigates her love life and her father’s terminal illness. Season one is currrntly streaming on Peacock. Season two debuts January 5th.

A Teacher

Adapted from a rarely seen 2013 independent film of the same name, FX on Hulu's (whatever the heck that is!) controversial new series A Teacher tackles a high school teacher Claire Wilson's (Kate Mara) torrid affair with Eric (Nick Robinson), her 17-year old male student. Every high school boy's dream and every parent's nightmare, A Teacher> divides its season into two halves: the first following Eric and Claire’s steamy affair and the back half detailing the fallout of their inappropriate dalliance. The series won't win an award for the best new series, but it will stay with you long after you finish watching the 10-episode season.

The Baker and the Beauty

Unfortunately this series didn't survive the pandemic after ABC canceled it in June, but it still makes my list of favorites. When Noa Hamilton (Nathalie Kelley), a famous model, entrepreneur, and actress falls for Daniel (Victor Rasuk), an every day baker, can the two survive the limelight suddenly thrust on them and Daniel's family bakery? Credit ABC for its attempt to have a series that focuses on a Latino American family — if only they could have given it more time. With only nine episodes, The Baker and the Beauty is an easy binge and provides a nice escape from reality.

Love, Victor

Not quite a sequel to the popular movie, Love, Simon, this TV series follows Victor Salazar (Michael Cimino), a high schooler who is struggling with his sexual identity. As Victor imagines his life with both men and women, Simon acts as his spiritual guide as Victor attempts to figure out who he is and what (or who) he wants. Shame on Disney who moved this series that addressed homosexuality from Disney+ to Hulu to avoid controversy.

Emily in Paris

A series that many people perhaps loved to hate, I particularly enjoyed Netflix's new binge-tastic romantic comedy. Starring the captivating Lily Collins, Emily in Paris follows a young, fashionable influencer as she moves across the pond to beautiful Paris. Reminiscent of show creator Darren Star's 80's and 90's hit TV shows like Beverly Hills 90210 and Sex and the City, viewers will fall hard for the heart, humor, and hotties in this 10-episode spirited series.

Movie Reelist Contributor: Mark Eaton
Mark is an entertainment junkie, spending much of his leisure time watching movies, TV, or listening to any and all genres of music. Most evenings, after finishing a day of work and hanging with his wife and kids, Mark can be found in an eternal battle with his DVR, trying to clear it before another 5-6 hours of shows are recorded the next day. Still reeling from his unpaid gig for the Detroit News where he was fired for being too cruel with his American Idol recaps, Mark is thrilled to be sharing his wicked sense of humor with Movie Reelists.

Leave a comment...