2020 was definitely not one of the best years yet, and even if we are not quite out of the tunnel we can look forward to 2021, hoping that normality is going to be brought back in our lives, finally. Not everything was so bad about 2020, though: here it is my top 5 ranking of the best series I watched during last year.
2020 is a year to remember. In the future we will all look back at it, one day, and we will see it as the year where digitalisation prevailed in every aspect of our lives.. While I won’t focus on the dramas, tragedies and economic crisis it brought with it, we hopefully won’t have to remember this year as the year when cinema’s experience started to disappear, in favour of streaming platforms. Streaming platforms like Netflix, Disney+ or Amazon Video revolutionised the way video entertainment reaches people, and, while this is a big improvement to watch TV series in a totally different – and let’s admit it- in a much better way compared to the past, this doesn’t mean that these platforms have to replace our cinemas. This is not the right place to talk about this, though, so let’s just focus on what these streaming platforms are doing so well: delivering us with amazing TV series! Let’s dive then into my personal Top 5 series of 2020!
5. The Mandalorian
The fifth place is taken by the first live action series focused on Star Wars universe, and it is well deserved. The environment, the characters (some nostalgic feelings, too, cough cough) and the story told are all brilliant elements and populate both seasons abundantly, and everything reaches its apex during the last three episodes of the series, which are undoubtedly the best episodes of the series so far. The use of Stagecraft technology is astoundingly beautiful, rendering the planets we visit alongside Pascal’s Mandalorian and his little green friend a masterpiece within the VFX world. The soundtrack is still amazing and catchy, and I couldn’t stop myself from humming it for hours after every episode. The Mandalorian is a total delight for Star Wars‘ fans, but it falls on the trap of not properly introducing some characters to the bigger general audience, and sometimes Dave Filoni assumes the viewer watched his previous works Star Wars: Rebels and Star Wars: The Clone Wars, which are directly tied into the live action series’ world. From these two animated series comes another thing I didn’t totally enjoy about season 2: its structure. Too many episodes feel like a secondary quest of a RPG game, and the vertical plot is too invasive, sometimes: a structure that pays out extremely well for an animated series with over 20 episodes but that doesn’t really hit the spot in a series that has only 8 episodes for season. Thing is, when things get real The Mandalorian is a great series that deserves all the credit in the world.
4. BoJack Horseman
In early 2020 BoJack Horseman‘s journey on Netflix came to an end, too, with the last part of the last season hitting the platform in February. BoJack is not the typical story someone would expect: irreverent, humorous but sometimes brutal to watch because of the high emotional charge it brings with it, this journey will change some of your perspective in your life when you finish it. Among amusing animal-related references and jokes, BoJack Horseman is a story of an attempt to redemption, a redemption that might never come because of the many demons of his main character that, no matter how hard he tries, systematically screws up everything he touches. If you haven’t watched it yet give it a try, but be prepared for the journey ahead of you: it is going to be a rollercoaster of emotions, and you are going to love it.
3. The Boys
Amazon Video‘s series The Boys released its second season during the second part of 2020 and after the brilliant first season the expectations were high, and it didn’t fail to deliver. This season keeps straight on the same line started before and improves constantly, both on quality than on its level of over the top violence alongside with its irreverence that strongly identify this different take on superheroes content. During a year without any Marvel product hitting our screens, The Boys fills up this void in the best possible way: action-packed episodes, splatter scenes, amazing characters and a never boring story lead you from the start until the very end. If you add some stellar performances such as Antony Starr as the mentally deranged Homelander, or Aya Cash aka Stormfront and the already beloved Karl Urban/Billy Butcher, the picture is perfectly wrapped up. Can’t wait for season 3.
2. The Umbrella Academy
It was hard to decide between The Umbrella Academy and The Boys for the second place, but in the end I decided to go with the first, despite I loved them both for different reasons. One of the main reasons why I decided to put TUA first is mainly due to technical reasons (apart from the fact I watched it twice in a week and the second time it was even better than the first one…): The Umbrella Academy is a much more all-round series and it has a better direction overall, having some amazing and iconic scenes.
Every character is different and their evolution during the episodes is marvellous to watch, between a wacky moment and the other. A series that is so fast-paced and exciting, packed with several references (even to the Marvel superheroes…), and you can’t help being fascinated by its weirdness, its funny moments and its impactful emotional situations, which aren’t certainly missing. A must watch for the genre’s fans!
1. Better Call Saul
There couldn’t have been anything different on the first spot, let’s be honest: Better Call Saul is one of the best shows nowadays, and with season 5 it reached heights never explored before by the series. From season 1 to season 5 every episode has constantly improved and raised the quality, to finally get to several breath-taking moments and situations: from having its own identity, completely separated from Breaking Bad, the series ultimately evolves in a mixture between the two series without abandoning its true core and centre, by staying true to its own characters all the time. While beloved characters from BrBa may have returned, indeed, the main show stealers are always the main protagonists, Jimmy/Bob Odenkirk and Kim/Rhea Seahorn and the relationship dynamics between the two: this, though, doesn’t mean the other actors or storylines aren’t given enough attention or aren’t giving great performances, but it’s just the opposite. The cast and their storylines are astonishingly good, too, and the fact that Jimmy and Kim are still the show stealers, along with Michael Mando as Nacho, makes you wonder about the insanely high quality of the show. The final episode of season 5 is one of the best I can remember, and it sets out perfectly an explosive last season, which can’t come soon enough. Better Call Saul is the proof that 2020 wasn’t totally rubbish, after all. Best show of the year.
What are your favourite shows of 2020? Let me know your thoughts on the subject, and here’s to us and another year of great TV series. Cheers!
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