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The Best TV Shows of 2020

the best tv shows of 2020
the best tv shows of 2020

The TV Watercooler takes a look at the best scripted television shows that aired/streamed in 2020.

Star Trek: Picard

the best tv shows of 2020 star trek picard

The year kicked off with the highly anticipated premiere of Star Trek: Picard, set 14 years after Jean-Luc Picard’s (Patrick Stewart) retirement from Starfleet. The new series introduced us to some exciting new characters and brought back some favourites from Star Trek: The Next Generation and Star Trek: Voyager’s Seven of Nine (Jeri Ryan).

Canadians can stream the first season of Star Trek: Picard on Crave.

Curb Your Enthusiasm

the best tv shows of 2020 curb your enthusiasm

2020 kicked off with the 10th season of Curb Your Enthusiasm as Larry launched a new feud with Mocha Joe, dealt with #MeToo, “side-sat” with Cheryl, and got Susie an amazing painting.

Canadians can stream HBO’s Curb Your Enthusiasm on Crave.


the best tv shows of 2020 trying

A pleasant surprise from Apple TV+ in early 2020, the first season of Trying followed Nikki and Jason (Esther Smith and Rafe Spall) struggling to conceive and later decide to adopt.

Canadians can stream the first season of Trying on Apple TV+.

High Fidelity

the best tv shows of 2020 high fidelity

The gender-flipped adaptation of Nick Hornby’s High Fidelity premiered on Hulu (in the U.S.) and Crave (in Canada) on Valentine’s Day and explored Rob’s (Zoë Kravitz) great heartbreaks. Sadly, the series was cancelled and we won’t get to see a deep-dive into Cherise’s (Da’Vine Joy Randolph) love life.

Canadians can stream High Fidelity on Crave.

What We Do in the Shadows

the best tv shows of 2020 what we do in the shadows

The fourth season of the Toronto-shot What We Do in the Shadows brought some more hilarious moments as Guillermo (Harvey Guillèn) did his best to keep his secret slayer identity a secret from the vampires.

Canadians can stream both seasons of What We Do in the Shadows on FX Now.

Normal People

the best tv shows of 2020 normal people

The BBC/Hulu adaptation of Sally Rooney’s Normal People follows the complex relationship of Marianne (Daisey Edgar-Jones) and Connell (Paul Mescal) through secondary school and later as undergraduates. The breakout of the series, was of course, Connell’s chain.

Canadians can stream Normal People for free on CBC Gem.

Schitt’s Creek

the best tv shows of 2020 schitt's creek

Schitt’s Creek concluded its sixth and final season when we probably needed it the most, in the midst of the beginning of the pandemic. The happy ending provided us with some hope.

Canadians can stream all six seasons of Schitt’s Creek on CBC Gem for free.

Defending Jacob

the best tv shows of 2020 defending jacob

Based on William Landay’s best-selling 2012 novel, miniseries Defending Jacob tells the story about a DA and his wife dealing with the accusation that their 14-year-old son may be a murderer. We got some stellar performances from Chris Evans, Michelle Dockery and Jaeden Martell.

Canadians can stream Defending Jacob on Apple TV+.

Little Fires Everywhere

the best tv shows of 2020 little fires everywhere

Another limited series based on a bestseller, Little Fires Everywhere followed the intertwined fate of the picture-perfect Richardson family (which reunited Reese Witherspoon and Joshua Jackson) and the mysterious mother and daughter (Kerry Washington and Lexi Underwood) who upend their “perfect” lives.

Canadians can stream Little Fires Everywhere on Amazon Prime Video.

Search Party

the best tv shows of 2020 search party

The third season of Search Party was definitely worth the wait (due to the series moving from TBS to the new HBO Max) Dory’s (Alia Shawkat) insane trial arrived.

The true crime here is that Search Party still hasn’t been picked up in Canada. The fourth season will premiere on January 14, 2021 on HBO Max in the U.S.


the best tv shows of 2020 insecure

Insecure was another show that we had to wait over a year for, but it was also worth it (plus, we got 2 additional episodes in season four). Issa (Issa Rae) finally got a block party and some growth with Lawrence…but the season ended with a soapy twist.

Canadians can stream all four seasons of HBO’s Insecure on Crave.

Ted Lasso

the best tv shows of 2020 ted lasso

While the focus of Apple TV+’s initial offerings may have been hourlong dramas like The Morning Show and Defending Jacob, the breakout hit of the summer has to comedy Ted Lasso. Based on a series of promos for NBC Sports and starring Jason Sudeikis, the series is about an American college football coach who is recruited to coach a soccer league in England.

It’s a comedy with plenty of heart thanks to its cast which also includes Hannah Waddingham, Jeremy Swift, Phil Dunster, Brett Goldstein, Brendan Hunt, Nick Mohammed and Juno Temple.

Canadians can stream the first season of Ted Lasso on Apple TV+. A second season has been ordered!

The Duchess

the best tv shows of 2020 the duchess

Another fun series set in the UK, The Duchess starring Canadian comedian Katherine Ryan about a single mom raising her daughter in London.

Canadians can stream the first season of The Duchess on Netflix.

A Suitable Boy

the best tv shows of 2020 a suitable boy

Set in the political and cultural upheaval of 1950s India, the six-part series focuses on Lata (Tanya Maniktala), who is torn between romance and duty while the wayward Maan (Ishaan Khatter) has a perilous affair with a glabourous courtesan (Tabu).

The BBC’s miniseries based on Vikram Seth’s novel directed by Mira Nair had its Canadian premiere during TIFF in September and is now available on Acorn TV (with the finale arriving on Jan. 4, 2021).

I May Destroy You

the best tv shows of 2020 i may destroy you

Commissioned by the BBC and HBO, Chewing Gum’s Michaela Cole’s ground-breaking series I May Destroy focuses on a young woman trying to rebuild her life after being raped.

Canadians can stream I May Destroy You on Crave.

The Boys

the best tv shows of 2020 the boys

The Spice Boys came back with a new season in September which featured a short reunion, a lot of milk and a Nazi bitch.

Canadians can stream both seasons of The Boys on Amazon Prime Video. A third season is currently in pre-production.


the best tv shows of 2020 pen15

While we may have only gotten half of PEN15’s second season due to the pandemic, there was plenty of charm as Anna (Anna Konkle) and Maya (Maya Erksine) navigated a pool party, Anna’s parents’ divorce, a group sleepover, Maya’s first relationship, and a dramatic opening night.

Canadians can stream PEN15 for free on CBC Gem.

The Crown

the best tv shows of 2020 the crown

Enter Diana (Emma Corrin) and Margaret Thatcher (Gillian Anderson). The Crown was the perfect weekend binge that left many of us wanting more – as it usually does.

Canadians can stream The Crown on Netflix.


the best tv shows of 2020 industry

Another co-production between BBC and HBO, Industry was a welcome hit this past fall and has already been renewed for a second season. The first season follows a group of graduates from different walks of life, who compete for the very limited spots at a prestigious investment bank in London.

Canadians can stream the first season of Industry on Crave.

The Flight Attendant

the best tv shows of 2020 the flight attendant

Based on Chris Bohjalian’s novel and starring Kaley Cuoco, The Flight Attendant was a perfect pre-Holidays escape as we navigated finishing off work and Christmas shopping during a pandemic. The series follows Cassie, an American flight attendant who wakes up next to the dead body of one of her passengers.

Canadians can stream HBO Max’s The Flight Attendant on Crave.

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