Rating every show I watched in 2020

Mimi Jeandheur, Features Editor

With an arsenal of streaming services at my fingertips and a quarantine-induced duration of free time, 2020 was the one-time opportunity for a several month-long TV series binge fest. Naturally, some shows were better than others, and I feel compelled to share my opinions on each series I watched in the past year.

I debated making this list a ranking in order of best to worst, but I concluded that such a list would offer more confusion than clarity. Attempting to pit a gritty, historical true crime thriller against the most self-aware, yet insufferable high school comedy-drama leaden with eight musical numbers in a 40 minute run-time (Yes, I’m talking about “Glee”) just sounds like an exhausting endeavor. Thus, this list is in the chronological order in which I watched each show. 

1. “The Morning Show”

Around this time last year, “The Morning Show” was finishing it’s first season run, premiering a new episode on Apple TV every Friday for me to cry about over the weekend. Starring familiar faces Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon and Steve Carell alongside a less recognizable, but still intensely talented cast, the world of network news television amidst a sexual misconduct allegation was one of the most immersive I’ve experienced through TV. “The Morning Show” portrays the reality of sexual assault and subsequent trauma, corporate greed, the cutthroat industry and it doesn’t get preachy. I gushed about it to family, friends, my teachers and now I’ll gush about it here. 9/10.

2. “The Good Place”

It’s difficult to reconcile the fact that the season finale of “The Good Place” came out less than a year ago, but somehow it is technically a show that I watched in 2020. As a follower of the show since season one, I held a certain fondness for the characters and the afterlife they wander through. While the storyline continued to get more elaborate and ask bigger questions with every season, I did observe the jokes becoming more formulaic and predictable the longer I spent watching. By the fourth season, I truly was just watching the show for the plot (and I don’t mean that euphemistically). 7/10.

3. “Mindhunter”

I watched this show solely for Jonathan Groff; the fact that I enjoy true crime was an added bonus. “Mindhunter” is fascinating, and the fact that it’s based in non-fiction amplifies my fascination even more. Despite my best efforts, the show isn’t exactly bingeable, a testament to the terrific portrayals of real-life serial killers from the 1970s– it weighs heavy on the brain and heart. The literal screen brightness is very dark too. 7/10.

4. “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt”

First off, this show is exhausting to watch. If “Mindhunter” is sepia tones and dramatic monologues, “Kimmy Schmidt” is a nuclear rainbow. (I googled ‘nuclear rainbow’ to discover that it is actually the name of a cocktail, which checks out rather conveniently). Still, the show is objectively great. The premise, a 29 year old adjusts to life in NYC after spending her formative years kidnapped and locked in a bunker as part of a doomsday cult, is original to say the least. The plotlines were more overarching than in other sitcoms I’ve been exposed to, and the jokes are packed into the script like sardines. I can’t say I’d ever find it in me to rewatch this particular show, but it was certainly fun while it lasted. 6/10.

5. “Parks and Recreation”

This show doesn’t need any sort of introduction, and I probably can’t contribute anything that hasn’t already been said about it. A wonderful show for all six seasons, and I’m glad quarantine gave me the time to finally get to it. 8/10.

6. “Russian Doll”

I watched this show twice through back to back because one time wasn’t enough to fully process the genius of Natasha Lyonne, Amy Poehler and Leslye Headland’s minds. Watching this time-loop nightmare makes me feel smart, even if I miss most of the details and easter eggs that permeate throughout the whole first season. Every aspect of this show contributes to “Russian Doll” being an intricate, funny, emotionally fulfilling masterpiece. The cinematography is glorious (especially in the finale, oh my goodness), the acting is poignant and the script essentially invented the concept of the motif. 10/10/10.

7. “Glee”

I could not tell you why I watched all six seasons of this show. I could not tell you why I bought the season one DVD from Goodwill for $5 after I’d already finished the show on Netflix. I’m sorry. And I will do better. 3/10.

8. “BoJack Horseman”

After suffering through the last three seasons of “Glee” where consequences for characters’ actions were but a myth, “BoJack Horseman” was a breath of fresh air. Repercussions for past actions are this show’s bread and butter, and the deeper into each season I got, the more I dreaded BoJack’s past wrongdoings inevitably catching up to him. The show takes advantage of its cartoon format to create a story that is as creative visually as it is on paper. I can not emphasize enough how responsible “BoJack Horseman” is of its characters and their growth, its plot and the issues it covers. I cried a lot. 9/10.