Top Ten TV-Shows of 2020

Rhea Seehorn as Kim Wexler, Bob Odenkirk as Jimmy McGill in Better Call Saul: Season 5, Episode 10 — Photo: Greg Lewis/AMC/Sony Pictures Television.

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!

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REVIEW: The Tomorrow War (2021)

Still image — Chris Pratt in ‘THE TOMORROW WAR’ — Available now on Amazon Prime Video.

Directed by Chris McKay (The LEGO Batman Movie) — Screenplay Zach Dean.

Several years ago, there was a time when me and my father would watch and rewatch science-fiction films so much so that we knew the dialogue by heart. I can’t possibly tell you the amount of times that I’ve seen, for example, Stargate, which I have a lot of love for. When I was a kid, my father would always steer me towards horror or science-fiction films, and therefore it was a great joy for me to be able to watch this film with my father. Although I had some problems with the film, I genuinely had a lot of fun with it, and I know that if I were still a kid today, then he and I would watch The Tomorrow War over and over again.

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REVIEW: The Mauritanian (2021)

Tahar Rahim as Mohamedou Ould Slahi in Kevin Macdonald’s THE MAURITANIAN – Photo: STX Films / Amazon Prime Video.

Directed by Kevin Macdonald – Screenplay by M.B. Traven, Rory Haines, and Sohrab Noshirvani.

Kevin Macdonald’s The Mauritanian is a legal drama based on Mohamedou Ould Slahi’s memoir Guantanamo Diary. The film tells the true story of Mohamedou’s experience as a detainee at the Guantanamo Bay detention camp, in which he was subject to so-called ‘enhanced interrogation techniques,’ which essentially amounts to torture. The film juxtaposes the perspectives of two lawyers — Lt. Colonel Stuart Couch (played by Benedict Cumberbatch) and Nancy Hollander (played by Jodie Foster) — who are both trying to make sense of exactly what made Mohamedou (played by Tahar Rahim) confess to crimes of terrorism. To do so, Nancy and Stuart must try to gain access to thousands of redacted classified documents.

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REVIEWS: Steve McQueen’s ‘Small Axe’ Film Series (2020)

Letitia Wright as Altheia Jones-LeConte in “Mangrove.” — Photo: Des Willie / Amazon Prime Video.

When British filmmaker Sir Steve McQueen makes a film, you pay attention. McQueen has quietly become one of the best directors of his generation with critical darlings such as the perhaps underseen Michael Fassbender-led films Hunger and Shame, the Oscar-winning Solomon Northup-biopic 12 Years a Slave, and his 2018 heist film Widows, which did not get the awards attention it deserved. In 2020, McQueen released a collection of films — an anthology — titled Small Axe at film festivals and later on, for example, BBC or Prime Video (on the Danish Broadcasting Corporation’s streaming service in my territory).

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REVIEW: Invincible – Season One (2021)

Omni-Man (left, voiced by J. K. Simmons) and Invincible (right, voiced by Steven Yeun) in “Invincible,” — Photo: Amazon Studios.

Series Created by Robert Kirkman — Available Now On Amazon Prime Video.

It’s always nice to see, when something you’ve loved for years is adapted successfully. Over five years ago, I read the first forty issues, or so, of Robert Kirkman’s Invincible, a superhero comic book series from Image Comics. I loved the comic book series back then, I still do, and I was excited when it was announced to be adapted as both an animated series and a film. That interest reached a fever pitch when the voice cast was announced. Steven Yeun (voicing Mark Grayson, Invincible), J. K. Simmons (voicing Nolan Grayson, Omni-Man), Sandra Oh (voicing Debbie Grayson), and Gillian Jacobs (voicing Atom Eve) voice the most pivotal characters, but it doesn’t stop there. Other great actors such as Seth Rogen, Mahershala Ali, and Walton Goggins all play important characters. Once you actually watch the show, you’ll see exactly why the cast is so star-studded. Because Invincible could be the ‘next big thing.’

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REVIEW: Sound of Metal (2020)

Paul Raci and Riz Ahmed in SOUND OF METAL — Photo Courtesy of Amazon Studios.

Directed by Darius Marder — Screenplay/Story by Darius Marder, Abraham Marder, and Derek Cianfrance.

If I’m not mistaken, Darius Marder’s first narrative feature film, Sound of Metal, was originally slated to be released in Danish theaters in December of 2020. However, when all of Denmark’s theaters were then ordered to close due to another lockdown as a result of the COVID-19 global pandemic, the film was basically put in some sort of limbo. This week, on April 12th, 2021, I finally got the chance to watch one of my most anticipated films of the 2020 awards season, when it was released on Amazon Prime Video. In short, it was definitely worth the wait.

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REVIEW: Coming 2 America (2021)

Eddie Murphy stars in COMING 2 AMERICA. — Photo Courtesy of Amazon Studios.

Directed by Craig Brewer (Dolemite Is My Name) — Screenplay by Kenya Barris, Barry W. Blaustein, and David Sheffield.

Craig Brewer’s Coming 2 America takes place 30 years after the events of the first film, and the sequel still follows Akeem (played by Eddie Murphy), who has now become king of Zamunda, as he tries to figure out who his heir to the throne will be. The neighboring nation conveniently called Nextdoria (you get the joke) has proposed that since Akeem has no male successor to the throne, his eldest daughter, Meeka (played by KiKi Layne), should be married to the eldest son of the leader of Nextdoria for the purpose of bringing the two nations closer together. But Akeem doesn’t like that idea, so he is looking for another way out of this problem. Continue reading “REVIEW: Coming 2 America (2021)”

Additional Bite-Sized Reviews, Jan. ’21: ‘Cobra Kai’ and ‘Uncle Frank’

Paul Bettany, Sophia Lillis, and Peter Macdissi in ‘Uncle Frank,’ — Photo: Brownie Harris/Amazon Studios

In this edition of my monthly movie and television catch-up article series titled ‘Additional Bite-Sized Reviews,’ I take a look at Alan Ball’s latest film, Uncle Frank, starring Paul Bettany and Sophia Lillis, and I talk about how I’ve binge-watched the delightful YouTube/Netflix Original Series, Cobra Kai. Continue reading “Additional Bite-Sized Reviews, Jan. ’21: ‘Cobra Kai’ and ‘Uncle Frank’”

Overview: June 2020

Overview provides my readers with a brief overview of the articles or reviews that I have written, as well as additional bite-sized thoughts on films or shows about which I do not intend to write thorough reviews. In June 2020, among other things, I wrote a lengthy spoiler-filled discussion of the story of The Last of Us: Part II, and I also, finally, reviewed the third season of Westworld.

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REVIEW: Troop Zero (2020)

Release Poster – Amazon Studios

The following is a review of Troop Zero — Directed by Amber Finlayson & Katie Ellwood (also known as Bert & Bertie).

Bert & Bertie’s Troop Zero is a feel-good dramedy about a young girl, Christmas Flint (played by Mckenna Grace), who looks to the stars in search of life and her mother. She lives in a trailer park with her widowed father, Ramsey (played by Jim Gaffigan), who has told his daughter that her mother is among the stars, comets, and meteors. Because of this Christmas is obsessed with space, and she sometimes uses odd descriptions to describe people in her life. For example, Christmas, at one point, calls Miss Rayleen (played by Viola Davis) an “an intergalactic warrior,” even though she is nothing of the sort. One day, Christmas overhears that girl scout troops will compete at a jamboree to have their voices recorded by NASA and sent into space. This is a dream come true for the perennially bullied Christmas, so she begins to assemble a group of misfits to compete as a girl scout troop at the jamboree, but she soon learns that the girl scout community will not easily accept unique newcomers. Continue reading “REVIEW: Troop Zero (2020)”