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Looten Plunder
Jul 11, 2006


Grimey Drawer

It’s that time of year again, lets see out the dumpster fire of a year by celebrating the less of a dumpster fire year of TV. I'm back for my sophomore year at the helm. I learned a lot from last year so I'll be looking forward to less spreadsheet wrangling this time around. This year has the potential for some really interesting results with previous juggernaut shows not making an appearance in 2020. This has led to the rise of even more streaming services. It will be interesting to see how the results are affected by number of people that were sitting binging TV they otherwise wouldn't have got around to watching. Anyway, lets do it!

:siren::siren::siren:Deadline is 10PM US EST Tuesday 19th of Jan:siren::siren::siren:

Results will be revealed at :siren::siren::siren:10PM US EST Thursday 21st of Jan:siren::siren::siren:

UPDATE: Results have been revealed and begin here

:siren:VOTING RULES:siren:
1. Every show you pick must have had a first time airing in its country of origin in full or in part during 2020. This could be a network show, a cable show, an online show, a TV movie (not movies from streaming services), it could even be a Youtube thing if you're down with what the kids are calling 'it'.
2. The joy of this thread is in getting to shout about your favourites and hear about the hidden gems that you missed and we can only do that if you talk about why you've chosen the shows you have. You can write a sentence, you can write an essay, whatever you like as long as you write something. Any lists posted without reasons for their picks will not be counted in the final vote.
3. If you want to list more than ten shows go for it but I'll only count your top ten. If you want to list less than ten shows then go for that too but I won't count it at all. If you don't want to rank your picks then that's fine as well but again, I won't count it.
4. Don't be a dick about other people's choices. This is a positive thread to celebrate the best of TV, not a place for people to get lost in an argument over which genre show in its third season poo poo the bed worst. If you want to be critical then take it elsewhere.
5. If you want to talk about spoilers in your post then by all means go for it but put a spoiler warning at the start of your list.
6. If you want to go back and edit your list after the fact then go for it, just shoot me a PM or post in the thread to let me know you have or I might not count it. Please ensure you edit your original post, don’t create a new list. I will periodically link user posts in the second comment of this thread.
7. Deadline for submissions is 11th January 00:01AM PST . I'll then do a live countdown of the final results some time after that at a time that suits the thread (that I'm able to do from the other side of the world.)

There you have it, it's as simple as that!

Archives

TVIV Poll 2012: https://forums.somethingawful.com/showthread.php?threadid=3523734
TVIV Poll 2013: https://forums.somethingawful.com/showthread.php?threadid=3591552
TVIV Poll 2014: https://forums.somethingawful.com/showthread.php?threadid=3686396
TVIV Poll 2015: https://forums.somethingawful.com/showthread.php?threadid=3754622
TVIV Poll 2016: https://forums.somethingawful.com/showthread.php?threadid=3800289
TVIV Poll 2017: https://forums.somethingawful.com/showthread.php?threadid=3840812
TVIV Poll 2018: https://forums.somethingawful.com/showthread.php?threadid=3876499
TVIV Poll 2019: https://forums.somethingawful.com/showthread.php?threadid=3905825

Top 15 TVIV Shows of 2019

Just to remind you guys, here's the top 15 shows that aired last year to also air this year: I remind you , this isn't a
15. Killing Eve
14. The Magicians
13. Brooklyn Nine-Nine
12. Bojack Horseman
11. The Crown
10. Joe Pera Talks With You
9. Ducktales
8. Doom Patrol
7. Dark
6. Agents of SHIELD
5. The Boys
4. The Expanse
3. What We Do in the Shadows
2. The Good Place*
1. The Mandalorian

*There was only 3 or 4 episodes but it's still eligble.

For Your Consideration
Some new shows that premiered this year that might be competing for your votes:
Avenue 5
Barbarians
Blood Of Zeus
Briarpatch
Deutschland 89
Devs
Dispatches From Elsewhere
Gangs of London
Hunters
I Am Not OK With This
Love Life
Lovecraft Country
Mythic Quest: Raven's Banquet
Perry Mason
Raised By Wolves
Ratched
Run
Snowpiercer
Space Force
Tales From The Loop
Ted Lasso
The Flight Attendant
The Good Lord Bird
The Great
The Plot Against America
The Queen's Gambit
The Third Day
The Young Pope
Tiger King
We Are Who We Are
ZeroZeroZero


That’s everything. Happy voting!

Looten Plunder fucked around with this message at 12:49 on Jan 23, 2021

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Looten Plunder
Jul 11, 2006


Grimey Drawer

Everyone's lists

bagrada
Oasx
ShakeZula
Jerusalem
Tiggum
VinylonUnderground
esperterra
Big Bad Voodoo Lou
DarklyDreaming
TelevisedInsanity
Escobarbarian
cant cook creole bream
nate fisher
Senerio
Open Source Idiom
cryptoclastic
Andrew_1985
fancy stats
Shneak
oh jay
Chairman Capone
Arist
Looten Plunder
Rick
BetterLekNextTime
Toxic Fart Syndrome
Something Else
bou
u brexit ukip it
Hobbes
Bulky Bartokomous
CeeJee
achillesforever6
]Tenzarin
X-O
Inspector 34
bowmore
graventy
Croatoan
Lurdiak
Eugene V. Dubstep
Yer Burnt
MyBuddyLee
Slamhound

Looten Plunder fucked around with this message at 23:11 on Jan 22, 2021

Escobarbarian
Jun 18, 2004




Grimey Drawer

Hooray, thank you, Looten! I very much look forward to seeing everyone’s lists.

Just a small note that WandaVision still hasn’t aired yet :)

Jerusalem
May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?



Awesome, this year has taken forever but I still can't quite believe this thread is back already. Man, there's at least a couple more series I wanted to check out before the end of the year, like Queen's Gambit, but I don't know if I'm gonna have the time to fit them in.

Toxic Fart Syndrome
Jul 2, 2006

*hits A-THREAD-5*

Only 3.6 Roentgoons per hour ... not great, not terrible.




...the meter only goes to 3.6...



Pork Pro

It's going to be really hard to remember everything I watched, because this year has been ten years long...

On the other hand, it should be simple because I think there were two shows this year. :v:

cant cook creole bream
Aug 15, 2011
I think Fahrenheit is better for weather


Can I vote for all three seasons of Kipo separately? I know 2020 time dilation and all, but it's really weird that all of this happened this year.

Open Source Idiom
Jan 4, 2013


cant cook creole bream posted:

Can I vote for all three seasons of Kipo separately? I know 2020 time dilation and all, but it's really weird that all of this happened this year.

I feel like that would be against precedent; in previous years you couldn't vote for The Good Place twice, even when it had aired the back half of one season and the front half of another.

Looten Plunder
Jul 11, 2006


Grimey Drawer

cant cook creole bream posted:

Can I vote for all three seasons of Kipo separately? I know 2020 time dilation and all, but it's really weird that all of this happened this year.

You don't vote for seasons, you vote for the show. See also: Survivor, Big Brother etc.

Looten Plunder
Jul 11, 2006


Grimey Drawer

Escobarbarian posted:

Just a small note that WandaVision still hasn’t aired yet :)

Oh, thought it was airing in December and would be eligble, my bad.

Looten Plunder
Jul 11, 2006


Grimey Drawer

Toxic Fart Syndrome posted:

It's going to be really hard to remember everything I watched, because this year has been ten years long...

It's crazy looking back on pre-pandemic stuff and being like "that was this year????"

Even stuff like The Last Dance which was prime pandemic content feels like forever ago.

esperterra
Mar 24, 2010

SHINee's back






stickied :discourse:

bagrada
Aug 4, 2007

The Demogorgon is tired of your silly human bickering!


I guess I'll start though I never have too much to say. Holy poo poo I didn't realize how much I cut back on my tv watching. There were tons of series where I watched 1-2 episodes and never got back to them. We cancelled our Directv very early this year because we weren't watching it enough even with the stay at home periods, but even keeping up several streaming services there wasn't much that I sat down and watched. Here's some brief thoughts about my top 10 if what I did get to.

10 Picard It was nice seeing Patrick Stewart again but the overall story and plot beats were a bit meh. The supporting cast didn't grab me too well either. I wish he'd stayed on the vineyard with his romulan staff, they were more interesting and maybe he could have played with his dog and had a wine war with Q who settled in and bought the vineyard next door. That would have been more fun.

9 Westworld I liked it well enough. This season basically came down to a worse Person of Interest and made me want to rewatch that show instead, but all the technology was fun to watch.

8 The Good Place This should be a higher show on my list than 8 but only a few episodes aired this year. I was happy with it but overall but I did find I don't really like serialized comedies. At least, without binging them. Moreso than dramas, having a weeks to months breaks in between episodes feels disruptive to me. Regardless it was a fun experiment and I feel like they sunk the landing, I just might wait for a streaming binge if another show tries that.

7 The Boys This was the best show I watched this year where I pretty much didn't like any of the cast. Karl Urban is great chewing the scenery but needs to get back to making more Dredd movies. I also had a coworker water cooler spoil some of the moments for me so I mostly watched it for the special effects.

6 Amazing Race This slot is usually Survivor for me and is pretty much a rotating slot with Big Brother, The Mole, Duck Dynasty, Storage Wars, American Pickers, that show with Ozzy Osbourne roadtripping with his son, etc. I've watched them with my Grandfather for our tv night for 20 years. I had to stay away mostly this year because of the pandemic and how my family decided to distance. Finally I started visiting for Amazing Race which we were glad to see again. It was weird watching Americans run screaming around airports and crowded foreign markets again. We didn't really care who won but also there was nobody egregiously unwatchable to root against either. It was a fine show and I hope they bring it back when they can.

5 Star Trek Discovery I'm a few episodes behind and its been said to death that they need to have Burnham sit down a bit and showcase the rest of the cast more. OG Trek at least had the trio, and the rest have been better at sharing the spotlight, but I guess they did have 20+ episodes per season instead of 13 or less. Still, I like this season more than the first two so far and it scratches the itch better than Picard until Orville comes back or Captain Pike gets his show. I do need to watch more of Lower Decks which I hear is better.

4 Devs I loved this show earlier this year. I distinctly remember thinking I should jot some thoughts into notepad for this very list since it would be 3/4 a year and I'd forget all about it. I decided not to and now I regret it. The story whiffed a bit but I liked the actors, the visuals and the sound of the show. I'm a big fan of Alex Garland and loved every movie he's been involved in.

3 Lovecraft Country This show made me confront myself a bit because I found myself thinking it is so ridiculous... then I imagined a white person in some of the roles and realized I've been privileged enough to see this kind of show all the time. Maybe not put together in this context, but still. It was a lot of fun to watch, many holy poo poo moments, seeing big budget Lovecraft is great. I don't think True Detective would have been hurt by adding a few shoggoths or a fox demon. This show is what I want American Horror Story to be. Real horror one moment, monsters the next, some Indiana Jones for flavor, weird sex scenes, sci fi wonder, time travel, this show had it all. I'm looking forward to what they do next.

2 Evil I miss shows like the X-Files and this fit in that niche pretty well. A great cast, always fun seeing Michael Emerson ham it up. The kids aren't as annoying as tv kids usually are, the VR episode notwithstanding. It could have used more episodes as well and I'm curious about season 2 after the crazy not-a-trailer they put out.

1 Mandalorian No surprise here, I'm a big Star Wars nut since my earliest years, though I fell off a bit since the Prequels and now I kind of want to go back and watch the Filoni cartoons. I have to apologize to Jon Favreau because I liked Vince Vaughn more in Swingers but after the Marvel movies and Mandalorian I feel I have to go back and rewatch the movie and give him another shot. Ironically Mandalorian's cartoony nature is rubbing me the wrong way a bit (I know its a meme that Stormtroopers can't shoot for poo poo but come on). I still appreciate it for what it does do well and for saving Star Wars from developmental hell after Disney hosed up the Sequel trilogy. Gotta love Baby Yoda.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U4ljtg5vXYQ

I may come back and flesh this out some more later but the above is pretty much literally the only 10 shows I watched this year. A couple of others like Doom Patrol but I didn't count them because the episodes I watched were from 2019 or earlier. My prayer for 2021 is that I can get myself to watch better quality tv but I foresee my list in 2021 or at least 2022 being all Disney Marvel/SW shows anyway.

bagrada fucked around with this message at 01:50 on Dec 26, 2020

sticklefifer
Nov 11, 2003

TOO EASY



I totally forgot Devs was this year. After everything in 2020 it seems like it came out ages ago.

Toxic Fart Syndrome
Jul 2, 2006

*hits A-THREAD-5*

Only 3.6 Roentgoons per hour ... not great, not terrible.




...the meter only goes to 3.6...



Pork Pro

:tviv:
Avenue 5 was this year???














This is going to be the hardest list... :ohdear:

Oasx
Oct 11, 2006

Greetings from Asbury Park

I had no doubt of what would be in my top 5, 5-10 I am a little more unsure about, but unless something surprises me this is what it is going to be. if I had a #11 spot I would put Ted Lasso there.


10. Schitt's Creek
Like many people I probably first heard about this show when it won 700 emmys, and I binged the entire series in a few weeks.
But still I wasn't sure whether to put it on my top 10. The show doesn't have many actual laughs, but it's amusing and by the end you are left with a good feeling, seeing a group of people grow and become better.

9. Raised by Wolves
A lot of style, and less substance, with a story that made less sense the longer it went. But it was still a compelling and weird watch.

8. The Mandalorian
Star Wars has always been at it's best outside the three trilogies, and Mandalorian is content to (mostly) stay away from the characters and plot of the movies.
It's just good solid wild west/star wars stuff.

7. The Good Lord Bird
"If someone came into our home and stole one of your sisters, two of your brothers, your mother, your grandmother,
chained them, raped them, forced them to work with no pay, only enough food to keep them alive,
and I met that thief, I would stab him through his eye socket the second I saw him.
I would kill his friends and anyone who laughed at his jokes.
And it wouldn't be murder, it would be justice."


Ethan Hawke puts on the performance of a lifetime in this story about the abolitionist John Browne, the show is over the top and very entertaining.

6. Devs
I can't remember any show with more style than Devs, the early episodes were just so cool for lack of a better word.
The story mostly fizzled out in the end, but Devs oozes atmosphere.

5. What We Do in the Shadows
The show did the exact same thing as it did in the first season, just a lot better in every way. Each episode was hilarious and clever.

4. Upload
Thanks to an awful trailer my expectations for this was rather low, but it turned out to be a sweet and funny show that also managed
to tell a compelling story about the troubles of capitalism. One of the most pleasant surprises of 2020.

3. Dispatches from Elsewhere
It's hard to talk about this show because I can't quite put into words what makes me love it so much. Suffice to say that it hit my sweet spot perfectly.

2. Agents of SHIELD
It's a top ten list and I am unable to not put it on my list.
Agents of Shield has been through a lot, and it managed to end on one of its best seasons, helped by Enver Gjokaj returning as Daniel Sousa.
Throughout the decreasing budget and seemingly endless corridors AoS was all about the characters and it ended perfectly.

1. The Good Place
Judging by laughs alone The Good Place is the best american comedy show ever, when you consider the clever writing and philosophical commentary on
what it takes to be a good person, it's taken to a whole new level.
It's going to be a long time before we see any show as good as The Good Place.

ShakeZula
Jun 17, 2003

Nobody move and nobody gets hurt.



I initially thought I would have a hard time filling out a top ten (gaming has massively outpaced TV-watching for dominance of my idle time), but after looking over a list of shows that aired this year I realized that all those jokes about 2020 being several years long must have been true, because I ended up with plenty of shows to spare!

Honorable Mentions:
Archer - A shaky start gave way to some vintage-quality episodes
Blindspot - Never a truly great show, but an enjoyable action series that stuck the landing on its final season
Lucifer - Rarely have I seen a show benefit more narratively from going to shorter, more serialized seasons.
Medical Police - Honestly I mostly liked this show because it reminded me of Childrens Hospital, even though they are of course two completely different shows

10. Westworld – I loved the direction the show took this season, expanding its scope beyond the limits of the park to show that most of mankind is trapped in the same kind of technological hell as the hosts, and in the process created a very interesting brand of banal dystopia. Plus they actually made me care about Maeve's storyline!

9. The Great – A fun, light historical romp that was elevated greatly by the performances of Elle Fanning and Nicholas Hoult.

8. The Good Place – The latter half of the final season aired this year, and was as funny and heartwarming as I had come to expect from the show. Not to mention a final episode that was essentially perfect.

7. DC's Legends of Tomorrow – I love these time-traveling goofballs, and the increased prominence of John Constantine has only made me enjoy the show more.

6. Harley Quinn – Discovered this show when it moved to HBO Max, and it's safe to say the first season would have been on my list last year if I'd been a DC Universe subscriber. Fortunately, the second season was at least as good.

5. What We Do in the Shadows – Probably the best pure comedy on television at the moment, they absolutely killed it in their sophomore season. Kind of weird that they just stuck a backdoor pilot for a show about a regular human bartender in the middle there, but it still worked.

4. The Magicians – A fantastic final season to a show that got better year after year. And capped off with an excellent series finale.

3. Marvel's Agents of Shield – See above, pretty much. The final season was basically a loving long-form tour through the show's history, and the finale was note-perfect.

2. The Mandalorian – This show just has the right recipe for the things that made Star Wars capture my heart when I was young, and mixes serial and episodic storytelling better than just about any show on television.

1. Better Call Saul – For my money this spinoff has surpassed its parent series, and that was only further solidified this year. My least favorite part of BCS over the years has been its continued focus on the cartel storyline (which felt like just a perfunctory Breaking Bad shoutout), but this season even made that storyline work for me in a big way. Bob Odenkirk and Rhea Seehorn both deserve to be showered in awards the same way Cranston was, but even if it never happens they firmly established themselves as powerhouses this year.

Jerusalem
May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?



I wanna give a shoutout to Lovecraft Country, which almost made the list but was slightly hampered by a couple of episodes that took away from an overall very strong season - had the season been a couple episodes shorter I think this could have been excellent. Instead it was only very, very good. I wavered between it and my #9 and #10 picks and in the end settled on leaving it out, but I wish I could have fit it in somewhere.


10. The Crown: The 4th season of this incredibly well-produced and gorgeous looking show suffered a little this year from a surprising lack of stories focused on the Queen herself - even the excellent Fagan is more about the episode's titular character. This wouldn't be such an issue if it wasn't for some episodes seemingly going nowhere and achieving nothing in the meantime: sure The Hereditary Principle reminds of a rather callous decision from the Royal Family's personal past.. but Margaret's part in it goes nowhere and seems to have no bearing on anything else that happens in the season, and the assassination of Lord Mountbatten in the first episode is a shock to the Royal Family and promises a focus on the IRA that... simply never comes. Instead, the focus of much of the show is on the arrival of two new female characters who couldn't be more different from each other or the Queen herself: Margaret Thatcher and Princess Diana. The former - wonderfully played by a near unrecognizable Gillian Anderson - comes on strong and dominates only to fade away to nothing as once again another Prime Minister comes and goes under the seemingly eternal reign of Queen Elizabeth II. The latter comes on quiet and ends powerfully, as Diana and Charles dominate media coverage and attention unlike anything seen since Elizabeth's own early run as the young Royal darling. Diana wows the public and the media, and the Royal Family are left looking monstrous or uncaring as a result (particularly Charles). It does however lead to a spectacular quote from Philip to the frustrated and emotionally fraught Diana as she navigates the hypocrisy and paranoia of her marriage:

Prince Philip posted:

Everyone in this system is a lost, lonely, irrelevant outsider apart from the one person, the only person, who matters. She is the oxygen we all breathe, the essence of all our duty. Your problem, if I may say, is you seem to be confused about who that person is.

It's a great line. It's just a shame that the series doesn't really back that up in season 4, and it is a real shame to "waste" the talents of Olivia Colman in this her final season.


9. Fargo: Too many characters introduced too soon hurt this series, but it pulled it all together in the mid-range of the season to surpass season 3 and start to approach the magic of season 1 (nothing on the glory of season 2, however) only for everything to fall apart in a final episode that was surprisingly pedestrian and predictable for a Noah Hawley show. Before that happened though, we got East/West in episode 9, a phenomenal road trip episode between Rabbi and Satchel that pays (rather obvious, to be fair) homage to The Wizard of Oz as well as offering an interesting peek into the unrealized potential of an alternate Season 4 we never got. But whatever the highs and lows of the rest of the season, however, it was always beautifully shot, incredibly well-edited, spectacularly cast, usually well-acted, and sounded fantastic. The show just needed a bit more focus, a few less characters, and a stronger ending. It's a show that I will remember for the middle rather than the start or the finish, but sadly I think the latter in particular will color the way the show is remembered for some time to come.


8. The Good Place: This season was on my list last year, but makes it back through again in 2020 thanks to the final 4 episodes airing near the start of the year. It was a pretty spectacular 4 episodes though, and holy poo poo that finale was absolutely incredible. It was that rarest of shows, one where the high expectations generated by the quality of the preceding seasons was met and/or exceeded in the finale. Seeing Eleanor and her crew "solve" the afterlife and achieve peace/contentment in each of their own very special and unique ways was an utter joy. The realization of what happens when you are no more was stunningly beautiful, and of course even the simple revelation of Michael's last name was handled with such breathtakingly simple perfection that it boggles the mind even to this day. A show that started, maintained and ended on such a sustained high note is more than remarkable, it is a miracle. That's what The Good Place was, and I am so happy I got to experience it.


7. Raised by Wolves: The trailer for this show had me rolling my eyes at the line,"You will be raised atheist!" but on strength of word-of-mouth alone I decided to give it a shot. I'm glad I did, because this show wasn't what I expected. Ever. Every episode took the show into unexpected and surprising directions, but very welcome ones. Watching Mother and Father's earnest efforts to raise their children against a backdrop of things beyond their (or anybody's!) comprehension, seeing the shift from protagonist to antagonist and back again, the introduction of religious elements, the rejection of the spiritual to it's embrace (in a number of different ways by different and unlikely people), the revelations of deeper puzzle pieces and the suggestion that perhaps all this is doomed to happen over and over, right the way to the unlikeliest of Adam and Eves who only arrive into the Garden AFTER the serpent... well, it was a bit of a mindfuck. But in a good way. There are no saints in this show, everybody's moral compass is skewed in some respect with perhaps the exception of Campion, but everybody is doing what they think is best. That's the problem, whether you (were programmed to) believe in it or not, the road to Hell is paved with good intentions.


6. What We Do In The Shadows: This beautiful show followed up on a fantastic first season with the benefit of knowing that the characters/setting had more than lived up to the excellent movie the series is based on. The writing and acting alike felt more confident, allowing the show to really play around with some fun ideas in the knowledge the characters/actors. The vampires very deliberate failure to grow and develop as people contrasts wonderfully with Guillermo the Familiar developing a thoroughly unwanted aptitude for vampire-hunting/killing, which comes to a head perfectly in the final episode as all his efforts to hide his heritage and skillset are undone and the vampires - predators all - are left with the uncomfortable realization that they owe their lives (and live with) somebody who is effectively THEIR predator. But the lack of (lasting) growth by the vampires doesn't mean they're boring, anything but, each episode that focuses on a specific vampire is a joy to watch, and Colin Robinson in particular really shines, such as in the episodes where he gets a promotion or goes toe-to-toe with an Internet and actual Troll. It's On The Run that stands out as perhaps the best episode of the season though, as we are introduced to Jackie Daytona: Regular Human Bartender, and his love of High School Volleyball and efforts to get them through to State. Matt Berry is a phenomenon, his earnest efforts to enjoy his new life made all the better by Mark Hamill's guest turn as Jim the Vampire, on an endless quest for vengeance his great rival was completely unaware of. Please watch this show.


5. The Queen's Gambit: I came late to this wonderful show, but I'm so glad I did before the end of 2020 so I could put it on a suitably high place on my list. It is certainly not without its flaws - mostly the surface level substance abuse stuff - but the characters, setting, cinematography etc are all top notch. All of the actors are operating at a higher level than almost anything I've seen any of them in before, as if they understood they were part of something of quality and rose to the occasion. It's a compelling story, part sports movie, part coming of age drama, part faux biography. The sport in question is chess, and in particular chess in the 1960s, which you would think would limit the appeal. Hell no, whether you have any interest in chess or not, the story and characters are absolutely fascinating, and the way the games are shot, structured and incorporated into the storytelling is phenomenal. It's meticulously made, quality drama produced at the highest level... but as great as all that is, the thing that REALLY makes this show something special comes from its lead actor. Anya Taylor-Joy as Beth Harmon is amazing in this, giving one of the most mesmerizing and spectacular acting performances of the year, if not THE most mesmerizing and spectacular. Every single time she is on the screen she dominates, just as her character does in every room she walks into (even rooms with the mighty Vasily Borgov in them), peoples eyes are drawn to her, people want to know what she is thinking and feeling... and more often than not, what she is thinking is something at a level far beyond what even the best chess players can manage. Watching Harmon as she reaches a point of maturity to understand that she can both ask for help but also that she can and should rely on her own incredible and unique talent at the appropriate moments is a wonder. Her realization that her mental image of the chessboard was not generated by the drugs or the booze, that Borgov is as intimidated by her as she is by him, that nobody has any claim or control of her as a person, all culminating in the beautiful final scene where she figuratively returns to her roots (playing against old men who enjoy the game purely for the enjoyment of it) and finds pure acceptance and admiration... well it's just an incredible experience, and one everybody should have for themselves.


4. The Mandalorian: I've seen it said a lot, and I think it is pretty accurate: this show recaptures the feel of watching the original Star Wars trilogy as a kid. There's something magical about it, there's a sense of this big loving galaxy and a shitload of things happening in and around the more intimate story we're seeing. It's a Western but it's a Samurai film too, which kinda fits in perfectly with George Lucas aping Kurosawa in the first place. Part of that magic is that the titular Mandalorian wants no part of all that grand nonsense, he's just trying to look after his kid. This is Lone Wolf and Cub... in space. Jon Favreau and Dave Filoni execute an amazing balancing act between the main storyline and a bunch of continuity/canon references/callbacks and developments. You've got tie-ins to the original trilogy, to the Rebels animated series, to books from the Extended Universe books etc... and it doesn't matter if you've never heard or seen any of that because the context of whatever you're seeing tells you everything you need to know. They even manage to indulge in some "smashing action toys together" stuff that not only doesn't feel out of place, but is actually genuinely exciting: perhaps the best example of this being the return of Boba Fett as an active Star Wars character. The pacing of this second season was far stronger than the first season which had a bad stretch of standalone episodes that felt a little too samey. There's more variety in this season, each episode felt like a winner, even the shortest and "worst" overall episode stands out brilliantly because of the aforementioned return of Boba Fett, just loving brutalizing some Stormtroopers. Hell, Bill Burr comes back from his one-off last season and ends up being a very compelling character. Most talk about this season though will focus understandably on the last few minutes of the final episode, even in spite of some rough CGI, as the Mandalorian, his team and their hostage watch in awe as the Darktroopers are dealt with. THAT was a moment that made so many feel like they were little kids again, that they were seeing something they'd always dreamed of seeing in Star Wars. The Mandalorian has been incredible so far at making people feel this way, and it's this among other reasons that makes me rate this season of the show so high even while acknowledging that it's really pretty pulpy by comparison to something like, for instance, The Queen's Gambit.


3. The Boys: Season 1 was a wonderful and genuine surprise, given how awful the source material was. Season 2 thankfully followed up by once again keeping the heart of Garth Ennis' characters/storybeats without indulging in his often juvenile grossout humor and soldier-worship. Avoiding the typical trope of characters just forgetting the lovely things another character did, Hughie refuses for a long time to just accept Butcher's return to the group after callously abandoning them to a fate of HIS making. The relationship Hughie started with Starlight isn't just smooth sailing after their reconciliation at the end of season 1, and hanging plotthreads from season 1 like A-Train's discovery of Starlight's relationship don't just get glossed over. There's also the introduction of a new character in Stormfront (an incredible performance by Aya Cash), a monster of a completely different (and old school) bent, which also leads to an incredibly cathartic moment and a hilarious and perfectly timed line that turns a committee-produced catchphrase into a genuine :hellyeah: moment: "Girls do get it done!". But while Stormfront, Butcher, Hughie, Starlight, Maeve, Frenchie, MM, Kimiko, A-Train, The Deep, Black Noir, Edgar etc all get plenty of interesting things to do, and some get whole episodes dedicated to them that are a lot of fun to watch... it's really Homelander's season. Antony Starr continues to blow me away with his performance. The ease with which he embraces fascism the moment it is offered to him as an option is no great surprise but still incredibly unsettling. His poison relationship with Stormfront and the complete openness with which she espouses her white supremacist views to him make him even scarier, as is the utter ease with which he discards those views the moment he no longer sees them as a pathway to the adoration he desires (and demands). He's scary precisely because he has no real ethos, no beliefs or ideology beyond wanting everybody to worship him as effectively a God. Where he goes in season 3 will be fascinating, because he's now lost the last thing that might have sparked even a modicum of empathy from him (his son) and he's fully aware of who in Vought International gave the OK for that to happen.


2. Harley Quinn: I missed the first season of this show, and the few clips I saw made it look like yet another DC property that mistook swearing, sex and violence as "mature" or "adult". Enough people talked it up that I finally gave it a chance, and ending up devouring everything before being left having to wait each week to eagerly see the latest episode. It became appointment television, a rare event as myself and friends would make a point of settling in to watch it together (only The Mandalorian got similar treatment this year). Yes there is swearing, sex and violence... but what makes this show sing is that it's a story about a character who has finally ended a toxic relationship and now finds herself torn between the person she knows she wants, wanting to do right by that person, and also fearing that she's just seeking co-dependency elsewhere. This beautiful, complicated and dangerous relationship is at the heart of an extremely dark and funny cartoon series that has a hell of a lot of fun playing around in the DC Universe and doesn't mind talking poo poo about some usually untouchable characters like Batman and Superman. Seeing how far Harley and her love interest will go to try and keep the ones (and especially THE one) they love happy, even at the cost of their own happiness, and how they eventually reach a point of decision on what they REALLY want... well it's just lovely. Really, genuinely lovely. Despite the show's black comedy it isn't cynical. There is a genuine, almost wistful sense of longing for something better, even from so-called "supervillains". Hell, the fact that the show is able to take a jokey twist on Bane and turn him into a wholesome and caring bad guy is reason enough to marvel (sorry) at it. They even make the Joker interesting, and do successfully what I've been hoping for a long time now: make the Joker/Harley split permanent instead of trying to celebrate that toxic and revolting relationship as has too often been done in the past. Also I haven't even mentioned Kite Man yet, and he is one of the best parts of the show. Hell yeah.


1. Better Call Saul: It's the best show on television. No qualifiers, no ifs, ands or buts. Nothing is better on television than this show, this marvelous spin-off/prequel to another extraordinary show. This season sees Jimmy having finally made the switch to Saul Goodman... legally at least. But Jimmy McGill isn't dead yet, and the conflict between his desire to finally put Chuck and the McGill name behind him for good, and his desire to be a success with and alongside Kim Wexler continues on unabated. As Jimmy hunts down every scumbag client he can find to build up a large base of repeat customers, Kim goes from strength to strength as a high powered corporate lawyer. You would think this would pull them apart, and indeed both are paranoid that this will be the case. Instead, even in spite of a hilarious subplot where they end up taking opposite sides of a property dispute it only ends up bringing them together more strongly than ever. Jimmy doesn't want to lose her but also fears corrupting her, while Kim fears Jimmy's attempts to run from the pain of his family and past means he'll want to leave her behind too. This all gets resolved in a simply phenomenal penultimate episode, Bad Choice Road, where the series antagonist - Lalo - confronts the two in their apartment only to bite off WAAAAAY more than he expected. Rhea Seehorn continues to go from strength to strength as Kim Wexler, every single season she is the best thing in the season (and the other actors are GREAT!) but every season she is better than she was in the last. The next season will sadly be the last, and everybody fears for Kim given she is nowhere to be seen in Breaking Bad. Her thrillseeking behavior as she ends the season excitedly telling Jimmy/Saul about her desire to sabotage their former mutual employer - Howard Hamlin - adds to the sense of concern, but that is what good television does. It makes you care about the characters, even ones you already largely know the "fate" of thanks to the show's status as a prequel. Better Call Saul is more than good television. This was the best show of the year.

Jerusalem fucked around with this message at 00:04 on Dec 31, 2020

Escobarbarian
Jun 18, 2004




Grimey Drawer

spoiler for my list but anyone who doesn’t have Saul as their 1 is completely loving wrong

Jerusalem
May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?



It really is an incredible show, every season just seems to get better which is loving crazy given how great it already was in season 1. The show SHOULD have peaked at Jimmy vs. Chuck and somehow it's just increased in quality AFTER what would have been the ultimate conclusion of most other shows.

Tiggum
Oct 23, 2007


Mostly because it's difficult to remember what I watched and when it was on unless it's written down, I only chose shows that are listed on the pogdesign TV calendar, otherwise there'd probably be some YouTube stuff in there as well and maybe some Australian shows - although probably not because I don't remember there being any good Australian TV this year.

So first, honourable mentions to The Flight Attendant, The Boys and The Umbrella Academy. And now here's the list.


10: Avenue 5
A solid sitcom with a novel premise and a good cast. Nothing revolutionary and probably destined to be mostly forgotten within a few years, but it was entertaining.

9: Future Man
Although it's a bit up and down from episode to episode, the quality from season to season was pretty consistent and changing the setting each time kept it fresh.

8: Dispatches From Elsewhere
I wasn't entirely satisfied with the ending, but it mostly worked for me, and it certainly didn't fall apart anywhere near as badly as Devs did.

7: Stargirl
Taking the best elements of the CW DC shows and the DC Universe shows and combining them into something that doesn't suck. Can't wait to see it go completely to poo poo in season two!

6: Archer
I wouldn't say it's back to the high standard of the early seasons, but I'm actually glad it got renewed for a twelfth season.

5: What We Do in the Shadows
With such a small cast and static setting it would be easy to run out of ideas, but that hasn't happened yet.

4: The Magicians
It remains a tragedy that the first season was so incredibly bad that I cannot, in good conscience, ever recommend this excellent show to anyone.

3: Harley Quinn
Who could ever have predicted that DC Universe or Kaley Cuoco would ever make good shows? Two each in the same year, even!

2: The Good Place
The Good Place architects as a parody of "progressive" liberals was a bit on the nose but other than that the final season was just about as good as it could possibly have been.

1: Bojack Horseman
Now this one absolutely landed the finale. I wasn't hugely impressed by the first season, but from season 2 onward it was excellent all the way to the end.

VinylonUnderground
Dec 14, 2020

by Athanatos


10) The Boys -- A fun superhero romp that hates fascists? I'm in.

9) Devs -- Lots of missed opportunities here. It reminded me a lot of Mr Robot and scratched a lot of the same itches. There were a couple better shows that could have been made from this one but it tried to reach for something greater even if it didn't quite grab that ring.

8) Raised By Wolves -- Real weird poo poo. It reminds me a lot of 12 Monkeys (the series) in that it decides to just go completely off the rails and is better for it. Just wild weird poo poo.

7) What We Do In The Shadows -- Continues to be just a blast. Funny as hell.

6) Avenue 5 -- What if Aniara but funny instead of incredibly depressing?

5) The Mandalorian -- S2 had some issues with focus since it included backdoor pilots to at least 2 probably 3 and possibly more. That diluted the story and let Filoni get really indulgent in a bad way. That said, Mando is the most fun I've had with Star Wars since I was a kid. When it hits, I'm just grinning ear-to-ear.

4) She-Ra -- I can't believe this was in 2020. Great ending to a great show. Another one that would be a contender for #1.

3) Bojack Horseman -- I can't believe this isn't #1. I've loved all of Bojack's journey and the ending was perfect. You are either on the train or you aren't but if you are it is great.

2) Better Call Saul -- A different beast from Breaking Bad. I liked Breaking Bad better but BCS is fantastic. As another poster said, it somehow manages to get better and find new highs. I have no idea why we deserve a show this good.

1) The Good Place -- A great conclusion to a great show. I spent a lot of time talking with my spouse about Buddhism and the nature of life, reality, etc. It's one of those rare shows that creates a space to talk about really big things.

Some (dis)honorable mentions as well, I'll probably add to this list as time goes on just for fun. Also, it has been a long hell year so I've forgotten some things that aired in 2020 because it feels like they aired a million years ago.

Dispatches from Elsewhere: Started out really strong then went off the rails in a bad way. I really want to sit and watch it with what's-his-face, the Muppet fanfiction guy, and just point at the screen and go, "See? This is why nobody likes you."

Perry Mason: Really wanted to like this one. Part of it was as a parent I bounced off the first episode *hard*. I love Matthew Rhys so if it gets renewed, I wish for better things.

Utopia: While it lacked the style and visual punch of the UK version, I had high hopes for future seasons (alas). The UK version drops like a stone after the first series because the writers were basically in a "dog that caught the car" situation. The US version would have hopefully been able to avoid that and I also liked having the baddies be a cult rather than a multinational conspiracy. It shifts the stakes in a way that makes sense even if the first season was beholden to the UK Series 1 in a way that was detrimental. We'll never know, wrong place, wrong time.

Pale Horse: Fun watching Rufus Sewell do his thing. While I was watching it, I really just wanted to watch Dark City (so I did). It's too bad, he was the breakout from Man in the High Castle so I was hoping he'd have something to springboard to that's better and bigger.

His Dark Materials: It's like The Incredible Hulk where some things that work well in one format absolutely fail to translate and His Dark Materials just always fails to land when it is adapted. Part of it is that the story necessitates child actors carrying the show which is always borderline impossible. Too bad.

Altered Carbon: The first season departed from the books in ways that made it worse, with the exception of Poe who worked really well. But it was still enjoyable. The second season was just a mess.

Plot Against America: Very timely, loved it. Too bad about the ending, though the source material shares that poor ending. There are some shows where even if they don't stick the landing they still work but other times if you don't stick the landing you just feel like a sucker for having watched the thing. This is the latter.

Upload: Fun Sci-Fi, mediations on wealth and what it means to be alive, theoretically it's the whole package. I feel like the people making the show think they are making something much deeper than they are. Imagine Elon Musk making "The Good Place".

Lovecraft Country: Another series bogged down by its source material. I think either a full anthology show or a more modern narrative show would have been amazing. The hybrid approach was the worst of both worlds. Still a really good show, it'd be 11 on my list.

Rick & Morty: As long as you don't talk about it online, this show is great. I'm violating that cardinal rule here so that's all I'll say.

Schitt's Creek: A satisfying solution to a show that has gone on for juuuust a little too long. I'm glad it was discovered on streaming and got to have a well-deserved victory lap.

Dark: Fun German time-traveling Sci-Fi. Well, "fun" is probably the wrong word. Let's go with "engaging".

The Expanse: Rewatching the show to get caught up so I've only seen the first two episodes of the new season. I expect great things.

VinylonUnderground fucked around with this message at 07:49 on Dec 31, 2020

esperterra
Mar 24, 2010

SHINee's back






I watched barely any television in English this year! And the 2020 shows I did either ended in January and barely count (and wouldn't have made my list anyway), I still need to finish, or are Westworld (which wouldn't make my list even if I couldn't crack 10 shows).

So this will be an odd list full of shows probably only I watched, and one show everyone needs to fuckin' watch asap tbh.

Anyway enjoy my list, in which the majority of things I talk about will be understood by barely anybody!

10. Canada's Drag Race
The debut season of my dear country's version of Drag Race felt cheap and scrappy as gently caress, and reminded me a lot of what I loved about when the flagship show was also young. Probably not as good as UK was last year, but still edged forward over the mainline seasons for me this year.

9. Record of Youth
There isn't much special about this kdrama, it's pretty much what you would expect from the genre, but Park So-dam is amazing as always and this poo poo is cozy as gently caress. It's been a good year for her tbh as she is also one of the main cast for the next show on my list!

8. Emotional Camping
I'm not entirely through this yet, and there's a couple episodes left yet to air, but this spiritual successor to Fin.K.L.'s Camping Club from last year is a loving blast. The cast is a great mix, and honestly you can't go wrong with a variety show that has Park Na-rae helping guide it.

7. I Live Alone
This show loving owns. 2020 hasn't been as fire as seasons past, with many of the best panelists either gone or far too busy to be on the show every week, but it still delivers every time and I always look forward to watching it while chilling on the weekend.

6. Good Girl: Who Robbed the Station
One of the best music competition shows I've seen since last year's Queendom. Mnet gathered a group of women involved in the rap and hip-hop scene from underground artists to idols and made them work together on different collaborations every week, competing against themed teams comprised of other artists not in the main cast. It was a lot of fun watching the different personalities mix and match, as well as different performance styles. Some good rear end music came out of this show.

5. Hyena
A funny, at times tense, sexy lawyer drama starring badass queen Kim Hye-soo and Ju Ji-hoon of Kingdom! I really don't need to say much more than that, this show was a blast to watch, and the chemistry between the leads is honestly ridiculous.

4. Hangout With Yoo
This show started off as 'What does Yoo Jae-suk do on his days off?' to him doing a bunch of weird rear end projects of an ever growing scale, and the last two heavily involved Lee Hyori. You can't go wrong with a Hyori/Jae-suk combo! The two main arcs of this involved forming temporary music groups, the first one consisting of Rain, Hyori and Jae-suk himself, and the second bringing together four generations of badass women in Uhm Jung Hwa, Hyori, Jessi and Hwasa. It loving owned fam.

3. Private Lives
I wasn't expecting to enjoy this quite as much as I did, I mostly watched it because Seohyun (who has been stepping her drat game up this year) from Girls' Generation was one of the leads. This show is just a super fun romp about con men conning con men and finding themselves wrapped up in things much bigger than their own schemes. It doesn't stray too far from the kdrama formula, but has a lot of fun with the typical format and cliches you'd find in them, and as a show from one of the cable networks it's a bit more mature than a lot of the typical fare. The majority of the leads are pretty drat incredible in their roles, knowing when to lean into the camp or the more serious drama of it all. They know exactly what kind of show they're in and are clearly having a great time doing it.

2. Hello Dracula
This two part mini series from JTBC (the same network as Private Lives) tells three separate but interconnecting stories about people overcoming a major problem in their lives. All three of them are compelling and well done, imho, but the main draw here is the story of An-na (Seohyun again! she's becoming quite the actress tbh) and her mother, Mi-young. An-na just broke up with her girlfriend of 8 years and has nobody to turn to, as her relationship with her mother has been strained ever since she came out to her years ago. Their story focuses on the two coming to terms with that truth and whether Mi-young can learn to even acknowledge something she's known since her daughter was young. It's a great little story and a touching, mature piece of representation very rarely seen on Korean television.

1. Extracurricular
loving watch Extracurricular. If you passed it by thinking it would be full of the trappings of a typical kdrama, do not let that stop you as this show shares far more DNA with western television, and if anything pokes some fun at the usual cliches of South Korean shows. It's an amazing season of television and one of the best things I've watched in years. Oh man and those performances?? Whew lad.

Extracurricular, Private Lives, Hyena and Record of Youth are all available on Netflix. I Live Alone (as Home Alone) and Hangout with Yoo (as How Do You Play?) are both available on KOCOWA, or Rakuten Viki with the KOCOWA add-on, and Emotional Camping (as Camping Vibes) is available on Viki. Good Girl and Hello Dracula are unfortunately not available in English in an official capacity.

esperterra fucked around with this message at 10:31 on Jan 1, 2021

VinylonUnderground
Dec 14, 2020

by Athanatos


Not sure if this is the right thread for this but any Kdrama that you'd recommend for a 3 year old? We've been doing a lot of Pororo/Tayo/Tittipo/Pinkfong/etc. My access to that world (beyond my daughter) is hardcore Korean Protestants, so I'm loathe so seek out their advice.

esperterra
Mar 24, 2010

SHINee's back






VinylonUnderground posted:

Not sure if this is the right thread for this but any Kdrama that you'd recommend for a 3 year old? We've been doing a lot of Pororo/Tayo/Tittipo/Pinkfong/etc. My access to that world (beyond my daughter) is hardcore Korean Protestants, so I'm loathe so seek out their advice.

Hmm, unfortunately I'm not super well versed in Korean programming for kids. I think Pororo may be available on Netflix tho?

VinylonUnderground
Dec 14, 2020

by Athanatos


esperterra posted:

Hmm, unfortunately I'm not super well versed in Korean programming for kids. I think Pororo may be available on Netflix tho?

We do youtube for the korean language kid programs. I was thinking of kid friendly dramas (if any?) in korean.

Escobarbarian
Jun 18, 2004




Grimey Drawer

Putting Extracurricular in my top 10 so at least one of esp’s shows will be in someone else’s list

(just kidding I’m putting it there because it deserves it)

Open Source Idiom
Jan 4, 2013


Is The Chilling Adventures Of Sabrina Part IV eligible for the 2020 competition or the 2021 competition?

Escobarbarian
Jun 18, 2004




Grimey Drawer

It came out today, right? So I would assume it would be eligible for this poll.

Open Source Idiom
Jan 4, 2013


Escobarbarian posted:

It came out today, right? So I would assume it would be eligible for this poll.

Google said midnight on the 31st, so I assumed it'd be considered ambiguous.

Oasx
Oct 11, 2006

Greetings from Asbury Park

It’s out now and it’s still December, so it’s eligible.

Big Bad Voodoo Lou
Jan 1, 2006


These are the shows I would rank 11-20, in no specific order.  They were perfectly fine and entertaining.  I enjoyed most of these shows most of the time, but I watched too much good TV this year, and they didn't crack my Top Ten.

Upload s1 (Amazon Prime)
The Queen’s Gambit (Netflix)
Doom Patrol s2 (HBO Max)
Bosch s6 (Amazon Prime)
Dead to Me s2 (Netflix)
Umbrella Academy s2 (Netflix)
DC’s Legends of Tomorrow s5 (CW)
Hunters s1 (Amazon Prime)
Fargo s4 (FX; now on Hulu)
Medical Police s1 (Netflix)

Now for my Top Ten, ranked in order:

10. Lovecraft Country s1 (HBO) – Probably the most ambitious and audacious show I watched all year, a 1950s period piece with a majority Black cast that contrasts fictional horrors (eldritch horror, body horror, cosmic horror) with real social horrors that continue to perpetuate today. Each episode had a very different feel, all harkening back to weird tales from pulp fiction – a creepy cabin in the woods, a cult of wealthy white wizards, a haunted house, an Indiana Jones-style adventure full of deadly booby traps, body swapping, a sex demon, a tour of the multiverse, malevolent spirits tormenting an innocent, and time travel back to one of the darkest hours in our history – and all while highlighting issues of racism, sexism, classism, homophobia, police brutality, and systemic inequality. If it sounds heavy, it sometimes is. There were uneven points and some aspects I didn’t love, but the show hits more than it misses. It deserves all the credit in the world for trying, and for being unafraid to shock audiences and make them uncomfortable. And it seemed to make Jonathan Majors and Jurnee Smollett into stars, which they deserve to become. It was definitely one of the shows that captured the zeitgeist of 2020, this hell year.

9. Snowpiercer s1 (TNT) – Another show that captured the zeitgeist, this was a bleak and grim postapocalyptic adventure, where survivors of a frozen planet live on a titanic train that hurtles around the dead Earth, trapped in strict social strata, with the first class passengers continuing lives of luxury while the tail section subsists in squalor. Of course there are class struggles, which lead to a murder mystery and a violent uprising. I think this show comes closest to the feeling of Game of Thrones, with its social order of dangerous, depraved haves and rebellious have-nots with nothing to lose, where life is cheap and justice and equality are unheard of. And I’m always thrilled to see my ‘90s crush Jennifer Connelly and the multitalented Daveed Diggs in anything.

8. The Good Place s4 (NBC) – We got the final four episodes of this triumphant show way back in January, which feels like a lifetime ago. A rare show that cracked us up, kept us guessing, and stealthily gave us ideas for how to be better people, The Good Place offered us humor, hope, and love over the last four years when we really needed all of the above. It culminated in a finale that was both beautiful and sad. I will never forget this show, and I’ll never stop recommending it.

7. Perry Mason s1 (HBO) – A wonderful neo-noir with a fantastic cast headlined by Matthew Rhys, Tatiana Maslany, Shea Whigham, and John Lithgow. Here, Perry Mason is a rumpled, low-rent detective in 1930s L.A., but the season is his origin story for becoming a legendary trial attorney. It’s another bleak and grim show, but we don’t watch noir for moral uplift or happy endings, do we? It’s gorgeous to look at and remarkably well made in every aspect. I hope HBO makes more.

6. Schitt’s Creek s6 (Netflix) – Now here’s a show we watch for moral uplift and happy endings. My wife and I had never seen this show or even heard much about it until it won all of the Emmys earlier this year, so we binged all six seasons and fell in love with it, after a slow start. This is the epitome of a feel-good show, detailing a rich, spoiled family’s fall from grace, and how they had to lose everything to learn how to be good people. The admittedly lousy town of Schitt’s Creek changed the Roses for the better, but they changed the town and its inhabitants for the better as well. Everyone made the most of their opportunities to grow and change, learned humility, and found success, friendship, love, and happiness they never dreamed would be possible. Who couldn’t use some of that right now? The last three episodes of the sixth and final season are just one scene of pure joy after another, and I guarantee you’ll cry happy tears when you aren’t laughing.

5. Ted Lasso s1 (Apple TV+) – Maybe the most pleasant surprise of 2020, an Apple TV+ show from Bill Lawrence, the creator of the great sitcom Scrubs, starring the affable Saturday Night Live alumnus Jason Sudeikis in the role he was born to play. Ted Lasso is a genial Midwestern college football coach hired to come to England to manage a struggling soccer team. He takes the gig, despite knowing next to nothing about soccer. But the show is first and foremost a character piece about one of the biggest mensches in fiction, right up there with Superman, Captain America, and Special Agent Dale Cooper. He’s a kind, empathetic, patient, loyal, and surprisingly wise mentor, friend, and boss. He helps, uplifts, and improves the lives of everyone he encounters. There is no cynicism here, but don’t get me wrong – it’s not a saccharine-sweet, glurgy, preachy show either. I hate that stuff, so don't worry. Also, it is often hilarious. While I harbored concerns about a show in 2020 about a clearly mediocre and undeserving white dude who gets rewarded with a good job he doesn’t belong in, I was proven wrong. Coach Lasso’s empathy and humanity make him the right man for the job, and it’s about drat time for that.

4. The Mandalorian s2 (Disney+) – We binged both seasons back to back late this year, and I enjoyed it more than anything Star Wars-related since the original trilogy of my youth. After eight movies in between that ranged from good (Episode VII) to unnecessary (Solo) to terrible (take a guess!), The Mandalorian distilled everything I have always loved about Star Wars and made it into a galaxy-spanning western and a homage to Lone Wolf and Cub. By now, I’m sure you’re familiar with the Beskar-armored bounty hunter who doesn’t remove his helmet for anyone, and the adorable and gifted child under his protection. Season 2 improved on Season 1 in almost every way by introducing new and old allies, raising the stakes, and tying the show into the larger Star Wars continuity. The finale was pure fan-service in the best possible way, but I had plenty of mark-out moments throughout the season, including when a familiar actor associated with other modern badass westerns showed up as an ally, and when a beloved Star Wars character reappeared for a redemption arc. This show is clearly a labor of love for everyone involved, and it showed.

3. Black Monday s2 (Showtime) – Another show we binged during the pandemic, and very possibly the least-known show in my Top Ten. A Showtime series about Wall Street iconoclasts and schemers set in the late ‘80s, it will bring to mind Scorsese’s excellent Wolf of Wall Street (the funniest movie he ever made) and John Landis’ 1983 classic Trading Places. Yes, it’s a sitcom, but an intricately plotted sitcom about some really smart, really awful people double- and triple-crossing each other as they claw their way to the top, like crabs in a barrel. Full of hilarious ‘80s references, terrible fashions, and ridiculously clever wordplay (from David Caspe, the creator of Happy Endings), this is the best and funniest show you’ve very likely never heard of. And on top of that, it will shock you with some major plot twists along the way. Plus, it stars Don Cheadle, Regina Hall, Andrew Rannells, and Casey Wilson, who elevate almost everything they’re in.

2. AEW Dynamite (TNT) – The hell year 2020 made me a pro wrestling fan again, after I drifted away from WWE 15 years ago, when the great Eddie Guerrero died tragicially. This brand-new wrestling federation owned by billionaire Tony Khan started airing on TNT last fall, but watching Dynamite on Wednesday nights became a pleasant routine for me during the pandemic, and something I would look forward to all week. I thrilled to the in-ring action, learned everything I could about the characters on the screen and their real-life personalities, and became a “mark” for several of the incredibly talented and charismatic performers, who regularly risk their health and safety to tell stories, take bumps, defy gravity, and sometimes bleed for our entertainment. As usual, I gravitated toward underdogs like Orange Cassidy, Sonny Kiss, John Silver, and “The Librarian” Leva Bates, mostly good guys and goofballs. But on AEW, even the main-eventers are all hard workers and generous performers who share the spotlight and don’t make everything all about them.

AEW Dynamite aired my favorite TV moment of 2020: “Le Dinner Debonair,” a taped segment where two pompous heel (bad guy) wrestlers tried to psych each other out over a steak dinner, only to transition into an old-timey Hollywood musical number with full choreography, where they both sang and danced. It was entrancing. This past week, a wrestler who went by the character name Brodie Lee died suddenly. He was a year younger than me, but in peak physical condition, unlike me. He was a giant man who played a convincing heel (bad guy) who I never appreciated enough on screen, but was apparently the nicest guy ever, with a wife and two young sons. Last night I watched the most beautiful episode of Dynamite, a fitting tribute to the man’s career and life, both cut far too short. I cried when they showed a montage of his best moments, set to my musical hero Tom Waits’ song “Ol’ 55.” It was a wrestling show made with care, pride, and love, from people who seem to love their jobs, their craft, and their co-workers. AEW doesn’t seem to suffer from the massive egos and backstage politics of the WCW and WWE, that I used to watch and get frustrated by. The veterans constantly “put over” (elevate) the young talent of tomorrow, and everyone collaborates and supports each other, even while pretending to cause each other grievous bodily harm.

1. Better Call Saul s5 (AMC) – The best-acted, best-written, best show on TV. It fills me with tension and dread the way its predecessor Breaking Bad did, but I argue this prequel/spinoff series has surpassed the original show. I always say comedians make excellent dramatic actors because they have so much inner darkness to draw from, and I think everyone realized that about series lead Bob Odenkirk a long time ago. But this season belonged to the best and most underrated actress on television, Rhea Seehorn, whose character Kim Wexler is the heart and soul of the show. She consistently amazes and astonishes. I’m still hoping for a flash-forward to a happy ending for Jimmy McGill, aka Saul Goodman, but the fact that Kim’s fate remains completely unknown makes her scenes that much more riveting. This might have been the best season yet, and that’s the highest possible praise.

Big Bad Voodoo Lou fucked around with this message at 07:07 on Jan 10, 2021

Jerusalem
May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?



Big Bad Voodoo Lou posted:

AEW Dynamite aired my favorite TV moment of 2020: “Le Dinner Debonair,” a taped segment where two pompous heel (bad guy) wrestlers tried to psych each other out over a steak dinner, only to transition into an old-timey Hollywood musical number with full choreography, where they both sang and danced. It was entrancing. This past week, a wrestler who went by the character name Brodie Lee died suddenly. He was a year younger than me, but in peak physical condition, unlike me. He was a giant man who played a convincing heel (bad guy) who I never appreciated enough on screen, but was apparently the nicest guy ever, with a wife and two young sons. Last night I watched the most beautiful episode of Dynamite, a fitting tribute to the man’s career and life, both cut far too short. I cried when they showed a montage of his best moments, set to my musical hero Tom Waits’ song “Ol’ 55.” It was a wrestling show made with care, pride, and love, from people who seem to love their jobs, their craft, and their co-workers. AEW doesn’t seem to suffer from the massive egos and backstage politics of the WCW and WWE, that I used to watch and get frustrated by. The veterans constantly “put over” (elevate) the young talent of tomorrow, and everyone collaborates and supports each other, even while pretending to cause each other grievous bodily harm.

That Brodie Lee tribute really was something special, somebody in the wrestling subforum called it a Viking Funeral and I loved that idea: a celebration of joy and love for a man taken too soon.

DarklyDreaming
Apr 4, 2009

Welcome to Disney XD Everyone!

Been a good year for animation nerds

10: She-Ra

A good story with good characters that concluded with a good ending, on any other year this would be the best animated series but uh...

9: The Owl House

Not quite the successor to Gravity Falls everyone wants it to be but it's more than halfway there

8: Jurassic World: Camp Cretaceous

The best work in the franchise in literal decades, which I will admit is a pretty low bar to clear but by the end I was genuinely invested in the characters. The dino-violence is exactly what your inner child has been asking for and it contains the best use of a Brick Joke in TV this year

7: Carmen Sandiego

I'll level with ya, this is exactly how you remember it, a dumb remake of a dumb cartoon series based on a dumb video game that only exists to teach kids geography. What makes it work is the art, which I would call a blend of early 2000's Disney and 1920's travel posters, that second one is extremely my poo poo. Not to mention every episode the animators set aside one scene just to show off how talented they are

6: Kipo and The Age of Wonderbeasts

I'm calling it now, a year (Or two years) from now when that Fallout TV series from the makers of Westworld comes out and we're all immensely disappointed I'm going to be right here telling you to watch this again. Managed to find that perfect balance between sparkly and serious

5: The Mandalorian

This managed to make Star Wars nerds like Star Wars again, which is an achievement in and of itself. Go read someone else's glowing review for a glowing review because in case you haven't noticed I'm bad with words

4: Lovecraft Country

Everything teenage me loved about 30's pulp horror, while having a conversation only adult me could have about their legacy

3: Primal

A career highlight from probably the best cartoon showrunners working today. Every frame belongs in an art museum and every scene might as well be screenwriting 101. If the words "Zombie Argentinosaurus" isn't enough to sell you on a show I don't know what to tell you

2: Better Call Saul

This is effectively the tenth season of one of the best shows to ever air on TV. How they manage to operate at this level for so long confuses and fascinates me but I know I'll be here long past the final ending

1: Dispatches from Elsewhere

I feel like it's impossible to really describe this show. I mean yeah it's one of the best unraveling mysteries on TV since ever, the characters are all standouts played by amazing actors and the cinematography is always amazing, but beyond that all I can say is that this show resonated with me on a deeply personal level that will stick with me for years.

TelevisedInsanity
Dec 19, 2008

"You'll never know if you can fly unless you take the risk of falling."


It's 2am when I started writing this, I have no idea when it will end. But here we go.

Televised Insanity Presents Top 10 TV Shows of 2020 Sponsored by Quibi

2020 is a year that gave us panic. Lots of panic. So much panic and lockdown and uncertainty, that we just have no clue what was around.

And your choices were streaming services or whatever weird poo poo networks would churn out. It just happened to be unscripted and game shows, which are my fortay. Horray.

Remember Celebrity Watch Party?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cxiOkyWr5Yk

Of course not, it sucked. It was FOX's attempt to do Gogglebox with Celebrities. It also was a clever device used to get celebrities to watch shows like Ultimate Tag and Labor of Love - two other shows that will not be deserving of any points in my Top 10 poll.

Here are three game shows that deserve SOME sort of celebration of 2020, that you might have forgotten, but were relatively decent

LAST ONE LAUGHING
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pVgONOcFL2w
Documental is one of the craziest Japanese Game Shows to ever exist, and Australia was the first to do an English-version. They got rid of the buy-in aspect of the show, but continued the ramped-up insanity of the comedians. a great way to spend a weekend

FLOOR IS LAVA
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A3zkedeWbYw
Netflix really picked up a sleeper hit with Floor is Lava, which is essentially "wipeout with orange drink". Teams of 3 compete against each other to see how can you best exit a room without touching a floor, and it was really silly

THE CRYSTAL MAZE
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tuLy_6BEZ6A
Adam from Adam Ruins Everything brings families from America to the UK Set to play the same challenges as the UK game show, but for a $25,000 cash prize. The show is faster-paced than it's original, but in terms of an adaptation, knocked it out of the park.

DON'T
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GOJfeBHEFpU
Adam Scott isn't really the best host, but what sells me on Don't is the snark and that comes in the form of Ryan Reynolds who turns another run-of-the-mill family game show into something that is more Mystery Science Theater 3000 riffing than game show. The challenges are very mixed on this show, but the concept is pretty decent.

THE WEAKEST LINK
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iYMcYhhB3mU
The Weakest Link got rebooted on NBC, but gone are the days of a $125,000 Target and Anne Robinson. Instead we got Jane Lynch and an ever-increasing tower that starts at $25,000 and works its way to $500,000 in the final round. The questions are still pretty straight-forward and obvious and the put-downs are still bare-bones awful. But that was expected. If you work as a bartender, prepare for the classic "you don't have to go home, but you can't stay here" chucklejoke.

Of course the toughest thing about 2020 was remembering what shows were 2020 and what were December 2019 or earlier... time was very slow.

I really wanted to give The Witcher some awards.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ndl1W4ltcmg

I am pretty sure I put Witcher on my list last year, but my memory has been cursed throughout 2020, so to tide myself over, I checked out all your fanfiction and fanart, and do agree that Jaskier should smooch Geralt, but that's just me.

ANYWAY LET'S GIVE OUT THE AWARDS!

10) The Eric Andre Show
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m5xQ1BhA2HQ

You should know about The Eric Andre Show by now, the wildest talk show around. Eric does street pranks. Celebrities are uncomfortable in studio. We'll Be Right Back meme. The season of vanity really changed the perspective of the set, including a story involving Hannibal leaving the show.

9) The Circle
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9-m4gFdrQ8M

While this sneak preview was out December 30th, The Circle was actually foreshadowing what our future would be in life under COVID-19. People talking on social media, people catfishing for likability. And above all else - the Joeys of the world showing it's okay to be a himbo mama's boy. A really fun reality concept that showed up to america this year.

8) Taskmaster
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=39n5LJel7qk

Technically, Taskmaster didn't get turned into an American project. The CW Attempted to air the UK Taskmaster, slightly edited for time, to try and get something, anything up, and unfortunately, it bombed and got cancelled after ONE episode, just one! However, Taskmaster still remains a cerebral comedy panel show where comedians think laterally and creatively really outrageous tasks to perform and complete, and will still continue to be the closest we will get to any sort of Japanese Variety Game Show that doesn't involve punishments for the loser. They also created a version in New Zealand which was also really fun to watch. Essentially, what if "The Genius" but Stupid?

7) A Toy Store Near You
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TZoHLEj2EQo

Probably a series you did not watch, but one that I need to recommend. What started out as a barebones documentary about mom and pop toy shop owners around the world, becomes a really fantastic story-within-a-story about how the nostalgia and toys that we all love (you're goons) has become a security blanket as life under coronavirus, and couples and families struggling to make ends meet, with lockdowns and secondary jobs. Sometimes it does get a little too close to home, but it's really one of the most fascinating human interest documentaries I have ever seen.

6) Marvel's 616
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1ODhWjCxydU

While I am positive many people will give Mando it's day in the sun, because it's "the only thing that's good on Disney Plus". I think I have to shine a light on another great documentary series. This one detailing elseworlds of Marvel Comics. From Japanese Spider-man to Marvel Cosplayers. Each episode tells a different story, and each episode is something different. Paul Sheer can't make a documentary and screws up, but it's fun nonetheless.

5) Moonbase 8
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zp8texKSj9s

Another sitcom you might have forgotten about, but one that I really encourage people watching. Moonbase 8 is a sitcom with John C. Reilly, Tim Heidecker and Fred Armisen as they play scientists trying to simulate life on the moon, in the hopes of one day being actual astronauts. As you might have guessed, the three are excellent improvisers so the scenes in which they are interacting are hysterical. But also, follows classic sitcom arc over episodes and series, which is rarely brought upon, except maybe from It's Always Sunny.

4) The Boys
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MN8fFM1ZdWo

I am actually quite surprised they got a Season 2, and it was filmed this quickly, and it surpassed my expectations that were blown away by the inaugural season. Billy Butcher is back, Homelander is back, and Fascists who love Capitalism is also back as well. It has a redemption arc, it has an irrempemption arc, and it has Fresca. gently caress Fresca.

3) What We Do In The Shadows
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bWEowLhqgkY

The Staten Island Vampires are back with a second season of What We Do In The Shadows. While we all suspected "mockumentary" to be a device used in comedy to be over and done with. The series adapts it even further with wonderful side-characters and interviews. They even got Jackie Daytona this year, and that guy is really swell. It also has more Colin, which I felt was necessary.

2) Supermarket Sweep
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gkf2WLAQnek

You have to expect one of the big game show nerds would put a game show near the top of his list. While the year did have all sorts of debuts - Hot Ones, a Who Wants to be a Millionaire Revival, and even a second season of "Card Sharks". My favorite game show to come out this year was the return of Supermarket Sweep on ABC. Leslie Jones brings her personality to the show, and the Supermarket itself doesn't look at all like it did in the 1990s. The Deli Counter looks retro, the dairy section has a plastic cow, you have beaten-down neil the security guard, head checker dc giving innuendo, and bethel the barista and richard the florist making sure the customers are satisfied. I never expected this reboot to be anything more than just the same show but with Almond Milk and Kind Bars. but they exceeded it immensely, with it's impressive set, dramatic bonus round, and fantastic sweep sweaters. Everything about this show is what gravitates me into this niche genre so much. And I am so glad the reboot delivered. Will it be on your list? Most likely not. But I am glad they were able to pace the show perfectly, mixing game, with frantic action in a way that just works in every angle.

1) How to With John Wilson
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w7aSybHRa6s

Hey New York. Sometimes you want a show that... speaks truth to power... but sometimes that power... is not really what you expected... and sometimes that power is as simple as.... a light switch.

But How To With John Wilson is this bizarre documentary snuf-film comedy show that essentially is just the bizarre antics of New York City, that John has recorded over a year, and his attempt to connect it to something relatively mundane, that gradually unravels into something so bizarre and weird, just about saying anything about the second act of the show would be major spoilers and ruin the surprises of the show. But if you want to know how to split a check or how to cover your furniture this is the show for you!


So What Does 2021 Hold?

Most likely, we are still going to see more game shows, Name That Tune, Masked Dancer and even The Hustler and The Chase are making it's debuts this week.

And as they are fast turnarounds, I can only expect more game shows to make it's strange debut. Maybe a revival of "I've Got a Secret" will come as a surprise. Maybe FOX will try and bring back Solitary, I simply do not know.

But if it's one thing I do know - the most important things that happened were the digital conferences of just about everything, from San Diego Comic-Con, E3 and DC Fandome. It felt like social media made everybody that much more connected.

So it would not surprise me if you saw more "nerdy content" this year going into next year, and not just Disney+ shows like Wandavision and The Mandalorian, but maybe MST3K getting a surprise third season with Jonah, or an attempt to do another slapdash DCTV show based on Blue Beetle, and if all else fails - G4TV is returning, so expect possibly Attack of the Show and X-Play returning.

And let's not forget the other favorite television show of 2020 - "Celebrity Zoom Meeting" which was just about all of daytime talk and late night talk as well. Expect more of that, and hopefully, eventually, we will all be safe, secure and happy and be able to throw viewing parties yet again, featuring all our favorite shows.

Stay Safe, I Love You!
-Televised Insanity

Jerusalem
May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?



TelevisedInsanity posted:

8) Taskmaster

Technically, Taskmaster didn't get turned into an American project. The CW Attempted to air the UK Taskmaster, slightly edited for time, to try and get something, anything up, and unfortunately, it bombed and got cancelled after ONE episode, just one!

Well it's hard to blame them, as we all know every single hit television show ever made all were getting enormous ratings right from the very first episode :shrug:

Escobarbarian
Jun 18, 2004




Grimey Drawer

Looks like it's time for this lazy idiot to finally post his list!!!!!!! As usual, I post a big list because there were just too many good shows to not at least mention. I mean, I'm listing 50 shows here and The Boys isn't even here! And The Boys ruled this year! anyway feel free to scroll down to the bottom if you just care about the top 10

50. Teenage Bounty Hunters
49. Grand Army
48. A.P. Bio
47. The Flight Attendant
46. The Baby-Sitters Club
45. The Great
44. Ramy
43. The Plot Against America
42. Steven Universe Future
41. Mythic Quest: Raven’s Banquet
40. Fargo
39. Brooklyn Nine-Nine
38. The Good Place
37. The Eric Andre Show
36. High Maintenance
35. Corporate
34. Upload
33. High Fidelity
32. The Mandalorian
31. Rick and Morty
30. Betty
29. Everything’s Gonna Be Okay
28. Little America
27. Dave
26. BoJack Horseman


Now we move on to the ones where I write a sentence or two!

25. Search Party - Another great season that brought courtroom drama into its list of crime pastiches. The lawyer was so fuckin funny

24. Schitt’s Creek - Wonderful send-off to a lovely show I'm very glad I finished.

23. The Midnight Gospel - Great mix of spirituality, psychedelia, and thoughtfulness, with incredible visuals and one of the most emotional final episodes of the year.

22. The Queen’s Gambit - Some pacing issues but when it was firing on all cylinders it was an almost hypnotic experience. Anya Taylor-Joy has the best face.

21. Joe Pera Talks With You - The kindest and most gentle show on TV, many of the season's best episodes aired this year, including a trip to the grocery store, a fashion show, and tips on packing a school lunch!

20. Lovecraft Country - A heavily flawed but undeniably effective show. Its strongest scenes and moments were almost the best of any show this year, but the overall storyline and other issues brought it down a ton.

19. Adventure Time: Distant Lands - Two specials that reminded me of everything I love about the world of Ooo. Funny, visually sumptuous, and heartfelt in equal measure.

18. Harley Quinn - We got most of the first season in 2020, which was strong enough, but 2 was such a fantastic improvement, legitimately hilarious with a perfectly-handled romance.

17. Kidding - The gently caress didn't more people watch this show????? An improvement on an already incredible first season but, just......none of y'all fucks watched it. smh

16. What We Do in the Shadows - Although it started dragging a bit towards the end this season was still funny as poo poo with a great Guillermo arc and perhaps the funniest single TV character this year - Jackie Daytona Human Bartender for life!!!

15. Doom Patrol - I was so happy and surprised when even after running out of Grant Morrison bits to adapt this series managed to be as funny, weird, and powerful as ever. Just such a shame COVID meant we didn't get a finale.

14. Never Have I Ever - Easily the best Mindy Kaling project and one of the best coming-of-age shows I've ever seen. Such an unexpected delight, and Maitreyi Ramakrishnan was a phenomenal lead.

13. Infinity Train - We got two seasons of Cartoon Network's best original series since Adventure Time this year, and they were both incredible, exploring identity struggles and cult brainwashing in a way that expanded the core concept while dealing with heavier themes but never forgetting to be funny and endearing. Looks like we may not get any more of this show, which is a huge shame.

12. Brockmire - This show was always solidly great when it was about alcoholism and baseball but the fourth and final season kicked it up a notch by setting it in a more dystopian near future and having Brockmire be perhaps the one person that could heal a fractured nation through baseball. Got weirder, smarter, more political, and in the end way better. What a loving great show, drat!

11. Better Things - Usually I rewatch some seasons that aired earlier in the year before I make my list but I didn't have time this year and this not being in my top 10 is the greatest casualty of that. I definitely remember this being as solidly amazing as ever, with loving incredible performances and writing and directing, but a lot more specifics than usual escape me.

ok, now THE ACTUAL LIST:

10. Mrs. America
A television show about attempting to ratify an amendment that was bombastic, fun, smart, witty, filled with what esperterra likes to call "fabulous cunts", and deeply infuriating. Wonderfully structured, with the individual character-focused episodes ensuring so many incredible actresses got to shine while also exploring the issues from many different angles. Drew a line from Schlafly and her gang to the current American political landscape so perfectly that it infuriates me just thinking about it!!!

09. Extracurricular
The first Korean-language show I've ever seen, I got into this because esp and whowhatwhere wouldn't shut up about it, and I am very glad about it!!!! Completely intense so much of the time, with great twists and exceptional characterisation - everyone's individual motives are completely sympathetic and understandable. Fantastic action, with the penultimate episode's climax being one of the best scenes of the year easily. Really hoping this one gets a season 2. STAN GYURI IMMEDIATELY

08. Babylin Berlin
Watched all of this German drama last year, and while the first batch of episodes (in either one or two seasons, depending on the territory) were already fantastic the 2020 season blew them out of the water. An incredible noir thriller with art deco and political intrigue to begin with, it expanded to provide more expressionism and mystery, while dealing with the stock market crash and bringing fascism's rising tide more to the forefront, plus keeping the killer pacing and magnetically intriguing characters.

07. The Last Dance
I'm really not a sports guy in the slightest, but Michael Jordan was someone I knew a lot about during my childhood (my dad worked in Chicago during the 97-98 season), and this was such a brilliant in-depth documentary on the people who built an incredible dynasty and the unbelievable talent at the centre of it. Very well-structured and entertaining (Jordan reacting to other people's comments was so funny) while laying out the talents and strengths of so many people (and the villainy of Jerry Krause). Only real issue was not enough on modern classic Space Jam.

06. Ted Lasso
Wait is there actually another show about sports on this list what the gently caress. Easily Apple's best original show to date, Bill Lawrence's best work since the first couple seasons of Scrubs, and the show that finally allowed me to "get" Jason Suedeikis. I don't want to be too cliched here but it is insane just how much I needed a show this kind this year, it is so naturally lovely and sweet in a way that might actually top Parks and Rec, the previous champion of the nice sitcom. The arcs are genuinely dramatically solid too, and seeing Sudeikis win people over never got old. And Juno Temple! drat!

05. Normal People
One of the best and most intimate romance stories on television in a very, very long time. The two central performances are extremely brave and raw and nuanced, and the writing is simply exceptional, immersive and heartbreaking in a variety of ways. Incredible work from the directors and cinematographers, bringing the beauty and longing of both the original novel and the adapted scripts to the screen. It feels weird to be like "and also the sex scenes were good!!!!" but the sex scenes were honestly some of the best I've ever seen, explicit while still being beautiful and not tawdry. Give that intimacy coordinator an award.

04. Dispatches From Elsewhere
I'm honestly a little surprised this ended up so high - it's definitely the show that moved around the most while I was making this list. In the end, though, I do truly believe it deserves to be this high - it's messy as hell, but extremely ambitious, with a fun try tone and an utterly fantastic central cast, especially previous unknown Eve Lindley as Simone. It's hard not to talk about this show without mentioning the controversial finale, which breaks from the mystery/drama format in a big way, but it paid off so well for me, revealing just how personal and heartfelt a project it really was. No word yet on a continuation of this universe, but I would really welcome it.

03. How To With John Wilson
I've never loved describing things as "human" - like, duh, art is created by and intended to be consumed by humans! - but this amazing docu-comedy absolutely ranks among the most wonderfully human things I've ever seen. Wilson's treasure trove of footage, mostly from the streets of NYC, reveals such a broad spectrum of human nature, and while you can see the influence of executive producer Nathan Fielder this show has so much more empathy than his previous work ever did, even for the most bizarre people John meets along the way (I would never dare to spoil the episode on 'coverings' for you, but....holy poo poo dude, my mouth was AGAPE). One of the most unexpected and deserved successes of 2020.

02. I May Destroy You
I have no idea how Michaela Coel went from a show like "lol what is sex i don't know how a condom works!!!!" to this, but it's an absolute masterpiece. Primarily about sexual assault and trauma in many different forms, all of which are handled so powerfully, it also expands in several different directions, with intelligent, layered thoughts on social media, influencer culture, callouts, toxic masculinity, and generally being a young adult in our era. Yet it's not just all brave bleakness, these characters are very lived-in and real, leading to a low-key hilarity at appropriate times. There's a drat good reason this is the most-acclaimed show of 2020 on Metacritic by a long way - it's near-perfect, and one everyone needs to sit down and watch.

01. Better Call Saul
This show has made my list every year since it started, and it's also improved insanely every year, but it wasn't until this season - maybe the best individual season in the Breaking Bad franchise to date - that it topped my list. And honestly, it wasn't even CLOSE. This came in at number one with a bullet as soon as the finale was over and it was never in danger of being removed. While this show has always been great, there's always been a little friction between the (consistently incredible) lawyering side and the (sometimes iffy) typical prequel-y cartel stuff. This season obliterated these issues, both by giving us the best cartel stuff yet and intertwining the two halves of the show in a wonderfully natural way. It's impossible to emphasise how much Lalo - introduced last season but truly coming into his own in this one - has brought to the cartel storyline, his charm and physicality making it feel exciting and alive in a way it never did. Jimmy is officially Saul, and his struggles with fully embracing his new identity lead to his most fascinating scenes - and Odenkirk's best work - to date, including an "I am the one who knocks" moment that is even saddier and funnier than the original, and a desert odyssey that equals Three Days Out. But I mean, the Kim stuff, the Kim stuff!!!!!!! gently caress!!!!!!!!!!!! Already my favourite character in this franchise, the writers took Kim to new levels, with her making shocking and unexpected decisions that nonetheless feel like they follow on completely naturally from what we've seen from her arc throughout the show, while the incredible, incomparable Rhea Seehorn (STILL not Emmy-nominated what the gently caress) makes giving the best performance on TV look loving easy. And most exciting of all, these actions took what seemed like a slightly predetermined end and blew it wide open, meaning I truly have no idea what's in store for anyone in the upcoming final season. And god, I didn't even get to the continuing gorgeous cinematography - still the best-looking show there is - or the perfectly-paced and edited action sequences. covid can you please gently caress OFF so they can start production on my favourite show currently airing and we can see how this amazing story ends!!!!! aaaaahhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!

wow if you read all that thank you, I love you and I love TV

cant cook creole bream
Aug 15, 2011
I think Fahrenheit is better for weather


Okay, I guess I will finally try to get together a list. I watched a lot of TV this year, but I feel like I'm drawing a blank here.

nonworthy mention
Raised by wolves had a great theme song and started out fascinating. But from there it sort of fizzled away. This is disappointing in a way which actually makes me remember this show, unlike all those were I can't recal if they were from this year.

Not quite there mention.
11 Upload
This is a fun satire about the future and the nature of death in a colorful setting.

List
10 Carmen Sandiego
This series is a fun romp around the world. The side characters are actually greatly written, which is impressive for such a cartoon.
9 Dead to me
Not much happened in this show, but since it is such a farce with tightly knit characters, who randomly keep meeting each other, it made me legitimately laugh out loud sometimes.
8 The Owl House
Ido enjoy how much fun the main character has at enjoying that weird world. Also the socially awkward love interest is cute.
7 Queens Gambit
I feel like I mostly loved that show because Anja Taylor Joy is weirdly beautiful in a unsettling way, like an alien mantis which will rip your head off. But it also made me get a bit into chess again and had a great visual presentation.
6 American Dad
Long time favorite, doesn't really seem to decline. Always Sunny in Philadelphia would have had a spot for a similar reason, if they had aired an episode this year.
5 Bojack Horseman
It was a fine end and there were some good jokes in there.
4 The Boys
Great costumes, exciting psychopath murderers. Incidentally Karen Fukuhara is especially great, even though she plays a mute mass murderer.
3Kipo and the age of wonderbeasts
On the other hand, that same actress is perfectly capable to voice an outspoken nerd, who tries to solve her problems in the post-apocalyptic society by befriending people. I do love this peace-seeking aspect of the show.
Unlike a lot of different shows, this one basically did a 2020 speed run, where they aired all three seasons in one year.
2 Agents of SHIELD
They really made a great victory lap for their final season. Not the best season but quite well done.
1 Harley Quinn
This show has so much fun, stomping around the DC universe. Basically, every single character is a better interpretation than what any other DC show would offer with regards to that.

Timby
Dec 23, 2006

Your mother!



TelevisedInsanity posted:


THE CRYSTAL MAZE
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tuLy_6BEZ6A
Adam from Adam Ruins Everything brings families from America to the UK Set to play the same challenges as the UK game show, but for a $25,000 cash prize. The show is faster-paced than it's original, but in terms of an adaptation, knocked it out of the park.


Sweet Jesus. Between the host and the contestants, this was almost physically painful to watch. I can't recall the last time I saw a game show this obnoxious. Good God, that family.

nate fisher
Mar 3, 2004

We've Got To Go Back


Honorable Mentions:

Upload - I feel like I watched this 2 years ago, but I do remember enjoying it.
The Mandalorian - Another solid season of what will be the most overrated show on this final poll.
High Maintenance - They could do 52 episodes a year and I would be ok with it.
Mythic Quest: Raven’s Banquet - Shocked how good this turned out.
Tiger King - The timing of this (March 2020 was the start of this insanity for most of us) stranger than fiction documentary made it a welcomed distraction and social media darling.
Umbrella Academy - Another great season. It came so close to my top 10.

Other Awards:

I Finally Watched It - That award goes to Peak Blinders since I finally watched all available seasons. While I was surprised by the tone of the show (it does everything that SoA wanted to do but a 100 times better) I really loved it. I predict this award will go to Better Call Saul in 2021.

Guilty Pleasure of 2020 - I became addicted to Yellowstone in 2020 despite the flaws and issues that normally drive me crazy. I can't wait until next season.

Best Episode of TV in 2020 - We Are Who We Are, Episode 4: Right Here, Right Now #4. It is an episode that could actually work as standalone episode (it is the crazy last day of an American solider and his young friends in Italy before he deploys to Afghanistan). It reminded me some of the movie Kids in the way you feel like you are spectator along for the ride. Also this episode has the best use of music in 2020 (especially CCCP Fedeli Alla Linea's Emilia Parnoica)

My Top 10

10: Queen's Gambit - I feel like the more I get away from this series, the less I will value it. While watching it I was like this is a top 5 show of the year, but now a few months later it barely makes my top 10. Great acting and I loved they way they made chess exciting.

9: The Great - Nicholas Hoult is just amazing. What a fun show.



8: The Good Lord Bird - The biggest fault I had with this show was it never reach the level of it's first episode again. Still Ethan Hawke reached to levels of Nicholas Cage overacting (in a good way) that I didn't know he was capable of.



7: The Last Dance - I grew up an UNC fan (I was born in NC) and the first basketball game I remember watching as a kid was UNC winning the National Championship with Jordan. This series celebrates him (one can argue too kindly at times) and is a nice time capsule into what I consider the greatest decade of basketball.



6: Ted Lasso - The true surprise hit of 2020. The show expertly circumvented character archetypes and tropes in ways that made the show seem fresh and original.

(the top 5 was really hard and could completely switch around depending on my mood)

5: What We Do In The Shadows: - Episode 6 of season 2 was very close to my episode of the year. Yes the whole season was great, but the Jackie Daytona detour was a highlight of 2020.



4: The Boys: - I thought season 1 was great, but season 2 was even better. I hope season 3 doesn't get knocked into 2022.

3:The Crown - Quality wise alone, this is currently the best series on TV.



2: The Expanse - So far season 5 has been The Expanse at it's best. I feel like if season 5 aired completely in 2020 this would be my show of the year.

1: We Are Who We Are - Despite wasting Chloe Sevigny in this, despite being a show that is very hard to recommend to anyone, despite having a main protagonist that can be very annoying at times, despite it is about a generation I completely do not understand (at my age I shouldn't), this is the best thing I watched in 2020. The show haunts me in the same way the loss of my own youth haunts me. I can't explain it, but long after I forget about this season of The Crown I will remember certain things from this series. Also best soundtrack of 2020.

nate fisher fucked around with this message at 21:12 on Jan 9, 2021

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Jerusalem
May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?



I am so glad people are out there spreading the message of the joy that is Jackie Daytona: Regular Human Bartender.

Escobarbarian posted:

But I mean, the Kim stuff, the Kim stuff!!!!!!! gently caress!!!!!!!!!!!! Already my favourite character in this franchise, the writers took Kim to new levels, with her making shocking and unexpected decisions that nonetheless feel like they follow on completely naturally from what we've seen from her arc throughout the show, while the incredible, incomparable Rhea Seehorn (STILL not Emmy-nominated what the gently caress) makes giving the best performance on TV look loving easy.

It is baffling to me that she doesn't have a giant collection of Emmys, let alone that she doesn't have any nominations. I pray her career just takes off to new heights after this final season, she's just spectacular.

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