Kicking off our list of the best TV shows of 2020 is Normal People. The show follows a boy and a girl from a small Irish town, drifting in and out of each other’s lives as they grow up. Filled with twists and turns, Normal People will have you asking the age old TV show question: will they, or won’t they?
I May Destroy You isn’t the easy watching experience you may hope to come home too after a long day. The series follows writer/star/co-director Michaela Coel’s Arabella, a victim of sexual assault. Each episode sees her navigate her way through the aftermath of such a horrific event, exploring the trauma one can experience long after the assault itself. I May Destroy You is not only an entertaining show, but an important one too.
If there’s one show that’s captured the attention of streamers worldwide, it’s The Queen’s Gambit. The limited series, based on the book of the same name, follows the career of chess champion Beth Harmon. Through youth to adulthood, we see the trials and struggles Beth has suffered through to become who she is, making for a highly engrossing TV show.
The Undoing is a late entry into our list of the best tv shows of 2020, but it’s well and truly earnt its place. The crime drama plays by the usual rules, a mysterious killing, a family torn apart by lies (Big Little Lies you could say, as the series is helmed by the same creator). What makes the series stand out are the stellar performances from everyone involved.
The Last Dance is the first documentary series on our list of the best TV shows of 2020. The series follows the rise of the Chicago Bulls basketball team in the 1990s, led by the G.O.A.T. Michael Jordan. Watching Jordan play is like watching fine art or ballet, with a finesse that isn’t as common in the game today.
Gangs of London is one of the TV shows we can’t stop talking about here at Man of Many. Simply put, the series is a modern-day Peaky Blinders, with the gangs of London fighting it out for supremacy. A key part of this show is the suspense and cliff-hanger endings, leaving us itching for the next season.
The Mandalorian, AKA Disney Star Wars’ return to form. The series has single-handedly brought back fans who were burnt worse than Anakin on Mustafar by the most recent sequel trilogy. Often described as a Saturday morning cartoon for adults, The Mandalorian is The Way for the Star Wars Franchise.
Bojack Horseman is a Netflix animated series that is nothing like it seems. The anthropomorphic characters share more than the human shape, sharing the same emotions and burdens of humans. Protagonist Bojack Horseman is a washed-out 80s sitcom star struggling with his alcohol and drug abuse, in this depressing but humorous series you have to watch.
Another long-running animated Netflix series is Big Mouth. The series follows a group of teenage friends as they go through puberty, in the funniest, bluntest coming of age comedy you’ll find on TV. From hormone monsters to shame wizards, the way the series depicts the emotions felt by pubescent teenagers is fun and inventive. This is a series you’ll have a great time binging.
Acting opposite yourself has become a popular trend over the last few years, as seen in I Know This Much is True. This time Mark Ruffalo plays brothers Dominick and Thomas Birdsey, as Dominick tries to have schizophrenic twin released from an asylum. As each brother Ruffalo is lost within two unique characters, in a performance you have to see to believe.
The Good Lord Bird is Ethan Hawkes’ passion project. Created by and starring Hawke, the series sees him playing abolitionist John Brown, and follows the events leading up to the 1859 raid at Harpers Ferry. The performances are played through a lens of dark comedy, which helps to soften the confronting themes of slavery throughout the series.
Much like last year’s Watchmen series on HBO, Lovecraft Country is a TV show layered with commentary about the African American experience. Set in the 1950s, a black family must overcome monsters of discrimination as well as the actual monsters inspired by the works of HP Lovecraft. A must watch series for anyone looking for good TV shows that’ll make you think.
Brockmire is the long-running sports comedy series you may not have heard of before. The series follows a famous major league baseball announcer who’s trying to reclaim his career after a public meltdown over his wife’s many affairs. Starring the hilarious Hank Azaria, there are many laughs to be had with this great TV show.
Set in a 1930’s Los Angeles, Perry Mason is the noir period crime drama you didn’t know you needed. Perry Mason is a low-rent private investigator, suffering from the breakdown of his marriage and time in the war. Mason must step back into his role as a defence attorney when he takes on a case that’s more than it seems. It’s amazing to see such a dark and gritty remake of a show from the 1950s-1960s.
Created by Alex Garland, responsible for other thrillers such as Ex Machina and 28 Days Later, Devs is another great technological thriller. A computer engineer discovers a secret division in her company, who she believes could be responsible for the disappearance of her boyfriend. This is a TV series you’ll have to pay attention to, so go to the bathroom before you hit play.
Mrs. America depicts the fight for the Equal Rights Amendment movement during the 1970s, but not from the side you’d expect. Cate Blanchett plays Phyllis Schlafly, a conservative activist that stands against the amendment for equal rights. Through its all-star cast, the series depicts events of the movement from all kinds of perspectives, making for seriously engrossing TV.
The Great is a historical comedy that’ll have you in fits of laughter from the get-go. Stars Elle Fanning and Nicholas Hoult are brilliant, bouncing off one another with their deadpan performances. The series follows Fanning as a young German princess who is sent to marry Hoult’s Russian Emperor. This is all based on the real-life history of Catherine the Great, so don’t read into that unless you want spoilers.
Pen15 is one of the best coming of age, teenage girl comedy series on TV right now, period (get it?). What adds to the hilarity of the show is the lead protagonists from the series, who are meant to be in the 7th grade (13th for non-America readers) are played by 31-year-olds. Produced by the Lonely Island gang, you’re in for some spot-on and quirky comedy from Pen15.
Schitts Creek is the long-running, award-winning comedy series you’ve no doubt heard of already. If you haven’t, it follows the Rose family as they’re forced out of their lavish lives by bankruptcy and have to relocate to Schitt’s Creek. The father and son team of Eugene and Dan Levy off and on camera make this one of the funniest, most genuine shows on TV right now. after wrapping up its final season this year, now is the perfect time to get amongst the Schitt’s Creek celebrations.
Another documentary series in our list of the best TV shows of 2020, McMillions explores the great McDonald’s Monopoly game scam of the 1990s. The documentary holds no perspectives back, interviewing both the investigative team and the prize winners themselves. Much like the Monopoly game McDonald’s continue to run to this day, back in the 1990s a man working in-store was able to peel off the winning tabs and pass them off to friends and family. The outcome, a seriously good documentary series.
From the minds of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia comes Mythic Quest: Raven’s Banquet, a comedy about video game design. Rob McElhenney stars as the ambitious and outrageous boss, supported by a stellar comedy cast. The comedy here is just as sharp as It’s Always Sunny, meaning they’ll be no lack of laughter.
The Plot Against America depicts an alternate timeline where Charles Lindbergh won the U.S. presidential election against Franklin D. Roosevelt. For those unfamiliar with American History, and as the show explores, this essentially turns America into an isolated, white supremacist nation. While there are parallels that can be made between the series and our world today, the creative team doesn’t rely on this, telling a compelling story within its own world. This is a great series for the history buffs, and just as good for those learning as they watch.
Based on a true story, P-Valley is a drama series about the lives of strip club dancers working in the Dirty Delta. The mystery of certain characters is certain to keep you coming back, as well as the killer performances by all the cast involved. Think Jennifer Lopez’s Hustlers but with more gritty drama.
Unorthodox is the first Netflix original series to be primarily in Yiddish. This is probably because of what the shows about, and not some unusual accident. The series follows a young, ultra-Orthodox Jewish woman, who flees her arranged marriage for a new life abroad. The liberation depicted by lead Shira Haas is reflected onto audiences, as you celebrate her experiences of the wider world.
We take everything back we’ve said before, What We Do in the Shadows is the best TV show of 2020, if not of all time. The series, inspired by Taika Waititi’s film of the same name, follows the lives of three vampires on Staten Island. The humour of the show is wild and witty, finding laughter in the simplest and most mundane things. You’ll be kicking yourself for not watching sooner, and once you’ve binged all two seasons of this you can get onto the sister series Wellington Paranormal.
Upload is the dystopian comedy TV series that asks, what happens to us after we die… and upload our consciousness into a virtual world? Robbie Amell stars as a man who has done just that and is coming to terms with his decision. The series is witty and sharp with its humour, as well as being dramatic when it needs to be. If you like the comedy and relationships of The Office or Parks and Rec, Upload should be your cup of tea.
Although it feels like years ago that Tiger King came out, it definitely came out this year, we checked. Back when the biggest concerns of the world were whether Carole fed her partner to the tigers, before the world was stuck in isolation. The documentary series explores the rivalries between controversial animal park owners in the U.S., with a surprising (or not-so-surprising) murder mystery thrown into the mix. If you haven’t already, give this series a stream and become engrossed in the world of the Tiger King.
Dave is the comedic, fictional origin story of rapper Lil Dicky, on his rise to becoming one of the greatest rappers of all time. Unlike many other celebrity origin stories, however, Dave’s is filled with a lot more awkwardness and stuff-ups on his way to the top. The series benefits from having some seriously enjoyable raps littered throughout, and plot lines regarding friendship, mental illness, and commitment to your goals make this more than just a punchline comedy.
The Crown is a series you may have heard your mum or grandparents talk about over high tea. The series follows the British monarchy across different generations and political controversies, and this season we finally get to see the story of Princess Diana. There’s a reason this series has remained so consistently popular throughout its five seasons, and why it’s coming back for more. Listen to your grandma, and check this show out.
Closing out our list of the best TV shows of 2020 is Ramy, the comedy series that has everyone talking right now. Ramy follows star and creator Ramy Youssef’s fictional self, as he discovers through religion and his friendships who he is and who he wants to be. Along with the comedy this series can be dramatic and compassionate, really driving home the themes of identity and belonging. For these reasons and more, it’s earnt its place on our list of the best movies of 2020, and should find its place on your to-watch list.