While stuck in quarantine, what was there to do aside from watch all of Netflix? Okay, so I didn’t quite get there, but I did watch some great TV in 2020. This was the year where I said “fuck it” and watched whatever I wanted. By which I mean I watched a lot of kids’ cartoons.
I mean, I watched a lot of other shows too. Shows for grown ups. Whatever, I don’t have to prove myself to you.
Not all these shows came out in 2020 or even aired new episodes this year, but several of them did. The only qualification a show had to meet to make this list is that I had to have watched it for the first time in 2020. I won’t be ranking the shows; I’m just going to list them in alphabetical order.
Anyway, here are my favorite shows of 2020! My selections may (or may not) surprise you.
Avatar: The Last Airbender
Despite airing when I was in fifth or sixth grade, I never watched this show as a kid. I don’t know why, but it was probably for a petty reason. And Kid Me really missed out. But hey, now it gets to make my 2020 favorites list.
I don’t need to tell you why this show is incredible. You’ve definitely already seen it and know why it’s regarded at one of the best shows of all time. The character work is incredible, the plot is tight, and the world-building is detailed. I’ve seen adult fantasy shows that aren’t as well written as ATLA is. It’s phenomenal. And yes, we will be returning to this world again later.
I’ve been a fan of Bill Hader since he was on Saturday Night Live, but it wasn’t until I saw the interview he did with John Mulaney about this show that I was intrigued. This show is dramedy perfection. Hader and Co. balance the humor with the more serious themes and plots so well. The character work done on Barry is incredible. Who would’ve thought a show about a hitman who joins an acting class would wind up one of my favorite shows of the year?
Guy’s Grocery Games
Look, when we were in quarantine and sports were cancelled, this was the show my family watched together. Guy Fieri’s fun version of Chopped was a bright spot in the middle of a life-altering pandemic. Also, Guy Fieri is a really dope, charitable guy. I don’t have a lot to say about GGG, just know that I love it and couldn’t have gotten through quarantine without it.
The Haunting of Hill House/Bly Manor
I mean, you all knew this show would be here. Both seasons of Haunting are incredible. Hill House is a traditional horror story, while Bly Manor is gothic horror perfection. Not to mention all the lesbianism. I made both seasons of this show my entire personality for an entire month. The choice to use the same actors in both seasons playing different characters really takes Haunting over the top. It’s American Horror Story but well-written and without Ryan Murphy’s grubby little hands all over it. I love this show so much, it just might dethrone my former all-time favorite show (It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia).
Confession time: this is the show on this list I’ve watched the least of. I think I’m halfway into season one? But I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention this show and the sheer homoeroticism of an obsessive hunt for another woman. There’s a reason sapphics love this show, after all. The dynamic Eve and Villanelle have is so interesting and complex, even if you don’t ship them. I really need to catch up on this fantastic show.
The Legend of Korra
Okay, we’re back. This show is messy. Blame Nickelodeon for that! But, as much as it sometimes lacks cohesion, I still love this show. The animation is gorgeous. But honestly? It’s Korra herself that makes me love this show as much as I do. Dare I say, she’s one of my favorite characters of all time? Despite being the inferior show, I honestly think I prefer it to ATLA. I just think it’s a little more complex and mature. And Korrasami? Iconic. This show kicked the doors wide about for more queer representation on children’s programming.
This show made me fall in love with Star Wars again. A certain group of shippers really drove me away from the fandom and the franchise in the aftermath of The Rise of Skywalker. But this space Western about a bounty hunter who suddenly becomes a dad to a little green goblin reminded why I liked Star Wars to begin with. At its best, it’s filled with heart and adventure. Not only that, but The Mandalorian offers a fresh look at a beloved franchise. Din Djarin knows absolutely nothing about Star Wars and wants absolutely nothing to do with the main story. He’s just a guy going on countless side quests and flying around the galaxy. And really, isn’t that what life is all about?
She-Ra and the Princesses of Power
I ran a poll on Twitter asking whether I, a grown woman, should watch this show and the majority voted yes. And so I did. I’m so glad I gave this show a chance because it is so damn good. It’s ATLA for a modern audience. It’s also super queer, including two lesbian main characters. Yes, I am a huge Catradora shipper and I’m proud of it!!! I never saw the original She-Ra: Princess of Power from the ‘80s and I don’t plan to. The reboot is clearly superior and the only She-Ra you really need.
This is my Game of Thrones. I really like how this show has a different story in each episode, but they all come together in the end. Yennefer is my queen, Jaskier is my ideal self, and Geralt is my favorite grump. The world is expansive without feeling overwhelming. And, much like with The Mandalorian, we have a mercenary-type who obtains a child and accidentally becomes a dad. That’s what TV should be.
What were your favorite shows you watched in 2020? Tell me about them in the comments!