Scott Hardie | December 29, 2020
I assume that most of us have seen more TV this year than we normally would have.

What was the best TV you saw this year? What was your favorite? What would you recommend to the rest of us?

Erik Bates | December 29, 2020
Schitt's Creek
Probably my favorite of the year. I hadn't seen any of it until this year, so I binged it all in the course of a couple weeks.

Derry Girls
Great comedy about a group of girls growing up in Derry, Northern Ireland in the 1980s.

The Repair Shop
It's like Great British Bake Off and Antiques Road Show had a baby.

Tehran
Suspenseful spy thriller about an Israeli spy in Iran.

Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist
Clever twist to incorporate music so that it's not just a re-hashing of Glee with grown-ups.

Star Trek: Discovery
This season got pretty good. I was worried about the whole time jump thing, but they pulled it off pretty well. Not my favorite show of the year, but good nonetheless.

Scott Hardie | December 30, 2020
Good list, Erik. We were enjoying The Repair Shop until the contract ended and Netflix lost the remainder of season 2. We'll pick it up again at some point; it's not like there's a running storyline.

Kelly and I are also enjoying Discovery. I tire of Trekkers' relentless criticisms of it; yeah, it could be smarter, but it could also be a lot worse. It is full of endless surprises and delights and excitement.

Here are my top shows of the year, all recommended:

BoJack Horseman (Netflix) - The final run of episodes were a fitting conclusion to one of the funniest and darkest comedies I've ever seen. The show was always interested in redemption and consequences, so it wasn't going to lack for material in its final stretch. Highly recommended series if you haven't seen it.

Cosmos: Possible Worlds (Disney+) - This second season of Neil deGrasse Tyson's update to Carl Sagan's Cosmos is so good and so smart that it saddens me that more people didn't watch it. I learned more from any five minutes of this than in almost anything else I watched this year.

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO Max) - No show made me laugh as much this year. 2020 was brutal, but this show found ways to make levity while still grappling honestly with the horrors of current events.

Lovecraft Country (HBO Max) - I won't lie; this bleak and tense series has sometimes been hard to watch in 2020, and we still haven't finished the last of it because we've been taking it slow. Every scene is perfectly written and acted, and I appreciate the show's recontextualization of certain elements of American horror and American history.

The Last Dance (Netflix) - Fascinating. You don't have to like sports to enjoy this series about the 1990s Chicago Bulls (although I'm sure it would help), since this is really about personalities; specifically, the type of personalities that it takes to compete at this extreme athletic level. There are several psychological profiles here that make such a sharp impression that you can't forget them.

The Midnight Gospel - Trippy, psychedelic, and brilliant. It's not just weird for weird's sake; it's genuinely interested in profound questions about life and the nature of reality. It's shockingly deep.

Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness (Netflix) - Samir quoted Pauline Kael yesterday to say that if you watch enough trash, you recognize great trash, and this is great trash. As disappointed as I am that so many people bought into the show's misogynist misrepresentation of Carole Baskin, it was still tremendously entertaining and a comfort in the pandemic's difficult first days.

I also enjoyed new seasons of Holey Moley, Rick & Morty, The Good Place, The Great British Baking Show, The Mandalorian, Unsolved Mysteries, and What We Do in the Shadows, and new series Star Trek: Picard and The Amber Ruffin Show.

Erik Bates | December 30, 2020
I forgot to mention a close runner-up for favorite show of the year: Ted Lasso - it's an uplifting, good-natured comedy without the toilet humor or crassness that so many comedies feel they need to use these days.

Denise Sawicki | December 30, 2020
Cobra Kai is great fun and I'm not even a particularly big Karate Kid fan...

Scott Hardie | January 1, 2021
I intend to watch Schitt's Creek, Ted Lasso, and Cobra Kai soon, as I keep hearing good things about them all. Thanks for suggesting. :-)


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