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The Best TV Shows I Watched This Year

This article is part of a collection of my favorite media pieces in 2020.


A reformed classics skeptic once said “there’s nothing like the classics”. Community isn’t a new show, but it’s a timeless creative masterpiece of network comedy. I’ve sat down plenty of times to rewatch shows like The Office and Parks and Recreation, but in a year whose theme is “distraction”, the campus of Greendale Community College commands a certain air of innocent fantasy. Community never quite got the recognition it deserved, being nearly shelved a number of times before a final relegation to Yahoo’s short-lived streaming service, but the show was great when it aired, and it holds up excellently. Six seasons down, one movie to go.


Better Call Saul is probably the best thing on TV right now. The Breaking Bad prequel had big blood-spattered, meth-dusted shoes to fill, but five seasons in, it’s clear the series holds its own and even contends with its dad at its higher points. 

The early seasons of Better Call Saul are, admittedly, a little slower than Breaking Bad. Jimmy McGill’s first few chapters definitely have their high-tension moments, but his descent into the criminal underworld is a little slower, albeit in a way that feels perfect for his character. This is all mostly irrelevant to me, though, because I watched Season 5 this year, and by this point, no spoilers, Jimmy’s story is accelerating at full speed, with all the weight and gravity of his predecessor. If I’d been able to watch the series from start to finish this year, there’s little doubt it’d take the crown, but fellow fans and I will have to hold that fervor a little longer as the show’s already-long production schedule deals with the ongoing pandemic.


I watched a lot of TV this year, but Taskmaster was probably the show I needed most. Originally an off-hand recommendation from my brother given after watching the Big Fat Quiz of the Decade, this quirky, simple piece of English television became one of our favorite bits of entertainment.

Panel shows in general are a sort of uniquely British phenomenon made impossible here in part by the more reverential American celebrity culture and in part by stricter and more ad-hungry channel restrictions. Taskmaster takes five British comedians and pits them against each other in a series of whimsical, borderline nonsensical tasks. Most of the show’s humor and intrigue both come from the unexpected, unique, and overcomplicated methods the comedians use to complete the tasks – a task that requires participants to place three exercise balls on a yoga mat currently placed atop a tall hill is harder than it looks (gravity), for example, unless you simply… move the yoga mat to the flat ground the balls are already at.

It’s hard to adequately capture what makes the show so entertaining in text – it’s a formula that, with the wrong cast and improper execution, could be terrible, but each series introduces a new set of comedians whose interactions with the tasks, the hosts, and each other, keep the show captivating for each five-to-ten episode span.

There are ten series of Taskmaster, including the recently wrapped-up Series 10, and an additional special “champion of champions” series. Sara and I watched all of them this year, and most of them before the pandemic forced us to stay inside. Pre-lockdown, Taskmaster was a show we thoroughly enjoyed. During our ever-lengthening period of isolation, it offered us our standard entertainment positioned before a comfortable façade of British simplicity, something that’s hard to value from the perspective of Americans living through a horribly mismanaged pandemic packed inside a nightmarish election year. We watched nine+ seasons of Taskmaster before we could imagine what a worldwide disease outbreak would look like, and sitting down for series ten this autumn and winter returned us to that casual bliss, if only briefly.

Honorable Mentions

  • Mr. Robot
  • Schitt’s Creek
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