In a year that felt eerily similar to a zombie apocalypse film, people were left with an intense need for escapism, as well as a way to kill time all without leaving the confines of their house. As the streaming wars raged on, countless new shows were released that provided comfort in a time of uncertainty and global panic.
After finishing finals this semester, and having no elaborate plans for winter break I became committed to creating the ultimate recap of the best shows of 2020. Through countless hours of research, and of course binge watching. I am excited to share my top shows of the year with The Fit Magazine readers.
For all that 2020 has taken it has given us some great content in the realm of television…
- Never Have I Ever (Netflix)
Mindy Kaling’s hilariously relatable comedic writing strikes again in her semi-autobiographical Netflix original series, Never Have I Ever. This series serves as the perfect palate cleanser that provides a refreshing take on the typical coming of age teen melodrama. The show focuses on likeable, yet inherently flawed protagonist Devi Vishwakumar, a first generation Indian-American girl. After losing her dad, and suffering a brief episode with paralysis, Davi sees her sophomore year at Sherman Oaks High as an opportunity to change her reputation. With the help of her two friends Fabiola and Eleanor the three girls set out on a mission to conquer this year of highschool, and finally become “cool” in the eyes of their peers.
Never Have I Ever holds such a special place in my heart not only because of its sheer brilliance, but also because of its ability to push the boundaries within the entertainment industry. Kaling writes to make viewers laugh, but more importantly breaks the glass ceilings for women of color, specifically Indian – American women who are often inaccurately portrayed or stereotyped within the confines of TV and Film. This show is such an easy binge that I found myself rewatching again with my family. I think I laughed even harder the second time!
- Schitt’s Creek (Netflix)
Any person who claims perfection does not exist clearly has not watched the final season of Schitt’s Creek. You may have heard about this show after the series dominated this year’s Emmy Awards winning all seven major categories including “Outstanding Comedy Series.” In a year filled with ample family time, it is only appropriate that I pay homage to my favorite television family, The Roses.
After losing their families fortune, the Rose Family is forced to leave their lavish lifestyle behind and move to the only town available to them, Schitt’s Creek. They find the adjustment harder than expected, as they try to create a new life for themselves. It is impossible not to laugh watching the remarkable comedic genius between Eugene Levy, (Johnny Rose) Catherine O’Hara (Moira Rose) as well as their co-stars and children Daniel Levy (David Rose) and Annie Murphy (Alexis Rose). The show has not only provided comfort for many, but also profoundly impacted the lives of viewers for its strong themes of self acceptance, family and love.
- Normal People (Hulu)
When I first heard that Sally Rooney’s best selling novel, Normal People was being adapted into a television show, I was extremely skeptical. While I thoroughly enjoyed the book, I was doubtful that the storyline and highly intricate characters could be captured accurately within a ten episode limited series. I am a huge proponent of the book is always better than the tv show, but Normal People just may be an exception to this rule.
A breakout performance for both Daisy Edgar Jones (Marianne) and Paul Mescal (Connell) who garnered critical attention for their roles in this series. Mescal was subsequently nominated for an Emmy and Daisy Edgar Jones was recently cast in the film adaption of Where the Crawdads Sing. Normal People tells the tumultuous love story between Marianne and Connell as they leave their small hometown in Ireland and venture to college and adult life. While these two characters are bound together by intense romantic chemistry, the series also addresses heavier topics such as mental health and domestic abuse.
- The Queen’s Gambit (Netflix)
The Queen’s Gambit will most likely go down as the most memorable limited series of 2020. After thirty years and nine rewrites, co-creators Scott Frank and Allan Scott were determined to see their dream adaptation of Walter Tevis’s novel come to fruition. The time and energy dedicated to this series is clearly seen when watching this show as it is nothing short of brilliant. The Queen’s Gambit is precise as it is unhinged, meticulously planned out, yet chaotic, and dark, but full of love and passion. The proof is in the numbers, as The Queen’s Gambit has become “the most watched scripted miniseries on Netflix” four weeks after the show launched the streaming platform.
The series focuses on protagonist Beth Harmon, played by Anya Taylor-Joy, an orphan turned chess prodigy who struggles with her traumatic past, tumultuous interpersonal relationships and substance addiction. The Queen’s Gambit serves in part as a social commentary as Harmon is constantly defying boundaries as a young female in the patriarchal world of chess. She lives in fear of committing her mother’s past mistakes crossing the line between genius and insanity.
- Love Life (HBO Max)
If you were a huge fan of the Amazon original series Modern Love, this just may be your next binge. Set in New York City, Love Life tells the story of Darby Carter (Anna Kendrick) through each of her relationships as they serve to mark the various stages of her life. The series focuses on both romantic and platonic love as the viewers become immersed in the life of Darby.
Love Life is my favorite performance by Anna Kendrick as she exemplifies a three dimensional female protagonist. In contrast to the typical romantic comedy female lead, Darby is far more complex than the archetype of “the girl next door.” She possesses a rich backstory filled with experience and motivation to further her career. Viewers watch Darby’s life through the lens of her relationships, as each chapter pushes her closer to her final soulmate.
Ted Lasso (Apple TV+)
The perfect antidote to toxic masculinity, Ted Lasso is a show about embracing vulnerability, and leading through kindness. A show perfect for anyone and everyone that honors the importance of teamwork, community and love. This series is not only hysterical and lighthearted, but also extremely profound.
Defending Jacob (Apple TV+)
Tragedy strikes the town of Newton after teenager Ben Rifkin is found brutally murdered in a park close to the local middle school. As district attorney Andy Barber begins to piece together the evidence for the case, he realizes his son Jacob may be involved in this crime. Perfect for anyone who loves a l thriller, Defending Jacob will have you constantly hooked as the truth of Ben’s murder begins to unravel
Jeffery Epstein: Filthy Rich (Netflix)
They say money can’t buy everything, but in the case of Jeffery Epstein his mass amounts of wealth provided him with quite a lot. Jeffery Epstein: Filthy Rich is a docu series that highlights life and heinous crimes committed by Epistein and his elite social circle including Prince Andrew, Bill Clinton, Kevin Spacey, and many more.
Love Is Blind (Netflix)
As a huge reality TV fan I would be remiss not to include one of my favorite guilty pleasures of 2020, Love is Blind. This series follows individuals as they partake in a social experiment to test if two people can fall in love without ever seeing each other face to face.
After many conversations and anticipation will these couples be able to handle seeing their future husband or wife for the first time at their engagement?