Top 10 Best TV Shows Of 2020

Hulu Netflix shows

2020 will be remembered as the year of the pandemic. Right behind the pandemic should be television and how it captivated my life for 365 days. This past year, I’ve never watched more television in my life. Every week, a new TV show grabbed my attention and dominated my discussion within my social circles.

This is the first year where my list for top 10 TV shows was harder to make than my top 10 movies. That speaks volumes for me personally. As a result of the pandemic, I haven’t gone to a theater since February 2020, which is depressing. However, television filled my void admirably. I was willing to try more new shows because of my abundance of free time. There were so many tv shows to watch that I even missed out on notable programs like I May Destroy You and The Boys.

Below is my list for the top 10 best TV shows of 2020.

10. Devs (Hulu)

Devs FX on Hulu
Devs FX on Hulu

Can man play God? That’s one of the questions behind the sci-fi mystery, Devs. Set in San Francisco, a young software engineer (Sonoya Mizuno) named Lily works at the tech-giant, Amaya. When her boyfriend dies on the job, Lily investigates the company’s CEO, Forrest (Nick Offerman), which leads her down a dangerous but compelling path. Framed as a murder mystery, Devs dives deeper into themes of free will, determinism, and quantum computing. Many will be turned off by the show, but if you enjoy the work of Alex Garland (Ex Machina and Annihilation), Devs is a weird sci-fi thriller with a satisfying conclusion. Plus, it’s beautiful to watch.

9. PEN15 (Hulu)

My favorite premise on television belongs to PEN15. Co-creators Maya Erskine and Anna Konkle play 13-year-old versions of themselves in the year 2000 while being surrounded by actual teenagers. The show sounds silly and childish, but it’s a stroke of genius. The gag never loses its charm, and the show hilariously dives into themes of adolescence in their own charming way. I cringe for all of the right reasons. Don’t forget to set your away message on AIM before watching.

8. ZeroZeroZero (Amazon Prime)

Zerozerozero Season 1, Episode 7 Andrea Riseborough and Dane DeHaan CR: Stefania Rosini/Amazon Studios

Remember March? That feels like five years ago. Right before the world went to shit, ZeroZeroZero hit Amazon Prime video. The story centers around the cocaine trade and involves three groups: the Mexican cartel, the American brokers, and the Italian mafia. The story tracks how cocaine is shipped from Mexico to Italy. It’s a fascinating look into a corrupt world and how power is worth more than gold. Standouts from the show include Harold Torres as Manuel Contreras, a rising soldier in the Mexican army, and Dane DeHaan as Chris Lynwood, one of the cocaine brokers who battles Huntington’s disease.

7. Unorthodox (Netflix)

If Normal People did not air in 2020, then Unorthodox would be the show that moved me the most. Unorthodox plugs viewers into the ultra-Orthodox community in Brooklyn, NY. It’s here we meet Esty Shapiro (Shira Haas), an unhappily married teenager who decides to escape to Berlin and find her estranged mother. It’s a beautiful and delicate look into a world that at times, feels like a foreign country, not a neighborhood in Brooklyn. The brilliant Shira Haas is a star, and her captivating and emotionally-gripping performance is one of 2020’s best.

6. Dave (FXX/Hulu)

Hi, I’m Dave. The surprise of the year belongs to Dave, the fictionalized tale of Lil Dicky and his quest to become the best rapper in the world. Dave is borderline ridiculous at times with milk boards and shitty hikes. However, Dave is more than just dick jokes. It has subtle nuance and tackles real problems in a caring way, highlighted by the standout episode dedicated to GaTa’s bipolar disorder. The show really hit its stride towards the end with “Ally’s Toast,” and ended with one of my favorite scenes of the year. At the end of the day, Dave makes me laugh more than any other show on TV.

5. The Queen’s Gambit

The winner of the “show that came out of nowhere to captivate the nation” was The Queen’s Gambit. Somehow, a show about chess became the sexiest thing on television. The Queen’s Gambit chronicles the life of Beth Harmon (Anya Taylor-Joy), an orphan chess prodigy that strives to become the world’s best player in the 1950s and 19660s. As an average chess player, I was so captivated by the show that I found myself researching The Sicilian Defense and Queen’s Gambit. It’s as entertaining of a binge-watch as you’ll find all year. Anya Taylor-Joy is a captivating performer. From her stylish outfits to her killer instinct, Taylor-Joy has a magnetic look in her eyes that reminds me of a young Jennifer Lawrence and Emma Stone. I just want to hang out Beth and drink a cocktail over a game of chess. Buy your Taylor-Joy stock now.

4. The Mandalorian

In my best Carl Weathers’s voice, “Mando!” Star Wars has reached new heights due to The Mandalorian. The bounty hunter tasked with returning Baby Yoda aka Grogu is an absolute blast. Even if you’re not a diehard Star Wars fan, this show is so fun and compelling that viewers can learn the ways of The Force without seeing any of the movies. Every episode is a fun adventure from start to finish. Season 2 continued to highlight where this show can go conceptually, and thanks to the recent Disney+ announcements, The Mandalorian will continue to open new doors in the Star Wars universe.

3. The Last Dance

The MVP of quarantine was The Last Dance. Spending two hours every Sunday night for five weeks with Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls was one of the few highlights of 2020. From his rise in the 80s to his dominance in the 90s, The Last Dance brought fans on an emotional journey into the mindset of one of the most influential athletes of the last 100 years. When my mom and sister, who don’t play sports, are raving about a basketball documentary, then you know it’s fantastic. Jordan’s speech about winning and leadership is in my top ten scenes of the year.

2. Normal People

Normal People Hulu
Normal People / Hulu

The show that brought me to tears was Normal People, Hulu’s adaption of Sally Rooney’s novel about two young adults who fall in and out of love over the course of a few years. Normal People is one of the most heartbreaking and purest depictions of young love I’ve ever seen. It floored me both emotionally and mentally. The chemistry between Paul Mescal and Daisy Edgar-Jones was undeniable. It’s the type of show that I will be thinking about for many years to come.

1. Better Call Saul

Better call saul
Rhea Seehorn and Bob Odenkirk in Better Call Saul / Greg Lewis/AMC/Sony Pictures Television

This was an easy decision. The best show TV show in 2020 was Better Call Saul. Most shows start off great and plateau in the middle seasons before declining towards the end. With Better Call Saul, it’s quite the opposite. Vince Gilligan’s prequel to Breaking Bad has gotten better every year, culminating with a perfect fifth season. Every episode is like watching a masterclass on acting, writing, and directing. The show is so strong that most fans care more about the status of the secondary lead, Kim Wexler (Rhea Seehorn), than the titular character, Saul Goodman (Bob Odenkirk). Bob Odenkirk, Rhea Seehorn, Jonathan Banks, and Tony Dalton all deserved Emmys for their performances. In particular, Seehorn can arguably make the claim that she’s giving the best performance on television today. She’s that damn good. Better Call Saul is no longer in the shadow of Breaking Bad. They are finally contemporaries.

Quick shoutouts to shows that just missed the cut and shows I didn’t get a chance to watch.

Honorable Mention: How To with John Wilson, Lovecraft Country, Ramy, Sex Education, Dash & Lily, The Real Bros of Simi Valley, Outer Banks

Did Not Watch: I May Destroy You (will 100% watch), The Boys, The Undoing, Ozark (Season 3), The Crown, Ted Lasso, Mrs. America, The Good Lord Bird

Editor’s Note: The Queen’s Gambit was originally at 4 and The Mandalorian was at 5. After a terrific Season 2 finale, The Mandalorian moved up to 4 while The Queen’s Gambit moved back to 5

What shows are on your top 10 lists? Leave your thoughts in the comments or tweet us, @unafraidshow.

The Last Dance: Michael Jordan’s Views On Winning And Leadership Will Be The Biggest Takeaways

Michael Jordan

On behalf of America, I want to personally thank The Last Dance for airing during the quarantine. Seriously, The Last Dance has been a small beacon of hope these past few weeks. Michael Jordan went six for six in the NBA and now he’s one for one in airing great documentaries during global pandemics. Take THAT, LeBron!

Note: I like and appreciate LeBron James. I can’t wait to watch your documentary in 20 years.

Tonight marks the final two episodes of The Last Dance. However, no matter what airs tonight, my biggest takeaway from The Last Dance happened last week. The clip I’m referencing focuses on MJ and the perception that he’s not a nice guy. These two minutes gave us insight into one of the greatest winners of all time.

“Winning has a price, leadership has a price.”

Was an MJ an asshole? I think it’s safe to say that at times, Michael Jordan was an asshole. MJ punched Steve Kerr in the face, insulted Scott Burrell 24/7, ran teammates out of town, and pushed guys farther than anyone had ever pushed them in their lives. There are different types of leaders. Some leaders get in your face while other leaders tend to back off. There’s no right answer to this question. The only way to measure the greatness of a leader, in this case, is through success. Did Michael’s methods lead to victories?

The answer is a resounding yes. If Jordan didn’t win six championships and six finals’ MVPs, then we’d look at his leadership methods a lot differently. Frankly, there would be no documentary about him either if he wasn’t one of the greatest basketball players of all time. I can’t shake this quote. “The one thing about Michael Jordan was he never asked me to do something that he didn’t fucking do.” It’s not like MJ was barking out orders and sitting comfortably on the sidelines. If you took 100 shots at practice, MJ was going to take 200 shots. If you’re lifting weights for one hour, MJ would do it for three hours. He talked the talk and walked the walk. Jordan was no hypocrite.

It’s difficult for me to comment on Jordan’s impact in the 1990s because I was 6 years old when he won his sixth championship. Through no fault of my own, I’ll never fully appreciate his greatness, both on the court and off because I couldn’t witness it firsthand. However, one thing I can value is his drive to greatness. Watching Jordan discuss the price of winning and leadership makes me want to run through a wall for him. I’ve been waiting for the moment where I won’t like Michael Jordan, and yet, after every episode, I find myself liking him more and more.

MJ may not have been perceived as a nice guy, but at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter. The results speak for themselves.

The Last Dance: The Most Underrated Play From Michael Jordan’s Final Game With The Bulls

1998 NBA finals Bulls vs. Jazz

“After watching The Last Dance, is MJ still the GOAT or is it LeBron? NEXT on *insert sports talk show*.” Turn on the television tomorrow morning and the “MJ vs. LeBron” debate will be nauseating so better yet, maybe skip the sports program and read a book, instead.

All pessimism aside, I, along with every sports fan in the world, am jacked up for The Last Dance, which premieres tonight at 9 PM EST on ESPN. Living in a world without sports has been more difficult than expected so The Last Dance comes at a time when society needs it most. ESPN has done fantastic documentaries in the past with OJ: Made in America and the 30 for 30 series so I have extremely high hopes for The Last Dance.

With ten hours of footage, there are going to be plenty of stories to tell about Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, Phil Jackson, and the Chicago Bulls. Between retirement, his gambling issues, and altercations with teammates, the world is going to get an inside look into what made Michael Jordan not only one of the greatest basketball players, but one of the greatest winners. To serve as an amuse-bouche for The Last Dance, let’s go to Game 6 of the 1998 NBA finals between the Bulls and the Utah Jazz. Rumor has it that MJ hit one of the most iconic shots of all time to win the game.

However, I want to focus on the possession before the game-winner. It’s what I call the most underrated aspect of Jordan’s last game for the Bulls. Everyone remembers Jordan’s iconic pose during the shot, but what we forget is how the Bulls got the ball back. With 41 seconds left, John Stockton hit a 3 to put the Jazz up 86-83. On the next possession, Jordan gets right to the rack and hits a layup with 37 seconds left to cut the Bulls’ deficit to 1. The Bulls need a stop. At the very least, Chicago could give up a basket inside the arc to keep it a one-possession game. In most situations, teams are going to play “No 3’s” defense and do their best not to foul. Force a tough jump shot, gather the rebound, and try to win the game on the other end. However, Jordan had other plans.

Did someone say cookies? Michael Jordan stole the ball from Karl Malone, one of the best scorers to ever lace them up, in the post, where Malone wreaked havoc on opponents for nearly 20 years. Because offense sells tickets, most people remember Jordan for his acrobatic finishes and iconic, clutch jump shots. However, Jordan’s defense seems to get lost in the shuffle. Michael Jordan is one of the best defenders of all time, and yet, his defensive excellence is somehow the most underrated aspect of his game. Jordan was a member of the NBA All-Defensive First Team nine times in his career. Jordan is tied with Kobe Bryant, Gary Payton, and Kevin Garnett for most first-team selections.

Wait, there’s more. Michael Jordan won the award for the NBA’s Defensive Player of the Year in the 1987-1988 season. Since Michael’s win, the only other guard to win the award was Payton in 1995-1996. Don’t worry, the defensive accolades continue. Jordan was the NBA’s leader in steals three times in 1988, 1990, and 1993. You can make a strong argument that MJ was better on defense than he was on offense.

So kids, next time you want to become the greatest basketball player in the world, make sure you can play defense.

Will you be watching The Last Dance? Leave your thoughts in the comments or tweet us, @unafraidshow.