It is kind of incredible just how much streaming services have overtaken the top tier of what we still refer to as ‘television shows.’ Perhaps we need to find another name for these series. Some of them are released all at once, some are released week-by-week, but almost all of the shows on my list were released on streaming services, and, in my case, I watched all ten of my top ten television shows on streaming services. In the 2020-edition, there are plenty of ‘familiar faces,’ as it were, but it’s also the first time that both Apple TV+ and Disney+ have made an appearance on any of my end of the year-lists. But where do the top shows on these relatively new streaming services land on my top ten, and what is the best show of the year? Let’s have a look!
#10 – The Haunting of Bly Manor – Netflix
“On the whole, I think The Haunting of Bly Manor is a very strong season of television. I think the reason why one might be a little bit disappointed by it is due to the fact that one may have expected more of a straightforward horror series, which I don’t think it is. The show is sometimes very unsettling, but what I ultimately remember the show for are the central relationships, and the beautiful but heartbreaking ending.”Jeffrey Rex Bertelsen, from my review of ‘The Haunting of Bly Manor‘.
#9 – Ozark: Season Three – Netflix
“The third season […] is great. It tells the story of both a cartel war and a war within the marriage at the heart of the show. I think it is very clear that the writers understand their show much better now. They find room for some comedy this season, and even still the show is very serious and intense. Laura Linney and Julia Garner are outstanding here.”Jeffrey Rex Bertelsen, from my article ‘What to Watch During the Coronavirus Pandemic, Part II‘.
#8 – The Boys: Season Two – Amazon Prime Video
I don’t know why it took me so long to get into this show. I had started the pilot a couple of times, and while I liked it, it didn’t immediately grow on me in the subsequent episodes. But, over the last couple of months, I gave it another shot and I stuck with it, and now I, too, have become a fan of this no-holds-barred version of a superhero universe. This show is just wild.
#7 – The Last Dance – ESPN Films / Netflix
Ah, yes, The Last Dance. I’m still a little bit shocked by just how hooked I was by this documentary about Michael Jordan’s final season with the Chicago Bulls. The documentary series truly had it all. I loved hearing about behind-the-scenes stories, his entire career, and hearing from Jordan himself on some interesting topics. This is a must-watch for anyone even remotely interested in sports.
#6 – Ted Lasso: Season One – Apple TV+
If you had told me a long time ago, that one day one of my favorite comedies would be based on a series of promotional videos for a sports broadcast in the United States, I probably would not have believed you. It makes more sense when you put it like so: that I have fallen in love with a charming, comforting, and optimistic workplace sitcom about football co-developed by the creator of Scrubs and starring the extremely likeable comedian Jason Sudeikis. Although the show was initially a hidden gem on a streaming service that is still finding its legs, it has become clear for all to see that this could become the role of a life-time for Sudeikis, who truly captures the hopeful outlook on life that the show’s titular character puts out into the world. Sudeikis is currently having quite a moment, in which everyone watching the show is just showering him with praise, and he truly deserves it.
#5 – The Mandalorian: Season Two – Disney+
“I do think that the second season of Jon Favreau’s The Mandalorian was one of the most exciting and thrilling television series of 2020. The season showed that the team behind the series had become more confident and adventurous, and the production design, musical score, and visual effects were still top-notch, while the show improved in other key areas. I, frankly, don’t think there is a single bad episode in the second season. I enjoyed it from start to finish.”Jeffrey Rex Bertelsen, from my review of ‘The Mandalorian: Season Two‘.
#4 – The Crown: Season Four – Netflix
“All in all, the fourth season of The Crown was consistently great — and predictably so — and I thought it was a bold but effective choice to focus so much on O’Connor and Corrin, whose performances are what I will remember this season for.”Jeffrey Rex Bertelsen, from my article ‘Additional Bite-Sized Reviews, Summer ’21‘.
#3 – BoJack Horseman: Season Six – Netflix
“I feel like every single season has had at least one unforgettable episode, and this season was no different. There can be no doubt that the penultimate episode of season six — The View From Halfway Down — is the the biggest highlight of the season, and I think it is also easily the most moving episode of this final season. In fact, I think it could’ve been one of the most unforgettable series finales ever made, if they hadn’t opted for a more low-key (and, perhaps, less-than-honest) final episode of the series, Nice While It Lasted.”Jeffrey Rex Bertelsen, from my review of ‘BoJack Horseman: Season Six‘.
#2 – Normal People – BBC / Hulu / RTÉ
“This is just a breathtaking show about people of different genders, degrees of popularity, and familial backgrounds going from young adulthood into actual adulthood and learning from challenging experiences all the while struggling with social interaction, as they eventually embrace digital communication. I know this isn’t a historical drama, I know this doesn’t feature dragons and white walkers, and I know it isn’t a crime thriller, but, make no mistake, this is the kind of must-watch television that sticks with you.”Jeffrey Rex Bertelsen, from my article ‘Additional Bite-Sized Reviews, Summer ’21‘.
#1 – Better Call Saul: Season Five – AMC / Netflix
“I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again and again until it gets the credit far and wide that it truly deserves. Better Call Saul isn’t just a worthy Breaking Bad spin-off, I think it is equally good and perhaps even more consistent, and I genuinely think it is the most succesful spin-off that I have ever seen. The show-runners and the writers’ room continue to top themselves and the outrageously fantastic cast continues to churn out stunning and jaw-dropping performances that can make you reconsider everything that you thought you knew about the show. The fifth season wasn’t just another great season, it was genuinely the best season of the show, with several episodes that ought to be considered as some of the greatest episodes in the entire series. I really hope that it can stick the landing once the spin-off comes to an end, and if it does indeed stick the landing, then there can be no doubt about just how exceptional this show is.”Jeffrey Rex Bertelsen, from my article ‘8th I’m Jeffrey Rex Awards‘.
But what was your favorite television show of 2020? Please feel free to write your list in the comments below.
– Article Written by Jeffrey Rex Bertelsen.