2020 was the year of hibernation.
And hibernate we did. Whether it was listening to music, endlessly baking banana bread, or virtual tours — we all found our vice this year. Ours here at the Secret Media Network? Watching TV shows. We’ve asked all the editors of the various cities that make up Secret Media to tell us their favourite series to come out of this unusual year. From shocking thrillers and dramas to adventures and comedies – here are some of the ones we were obsessed with this past year.
1. I May Destroy You (HBO, 2020)
Miriam Cacho Sol, Global Managing Editor of the Secret Media Network
What they had to say 📺: A must-watch. I thought it would be impossible for a show to surpass Fleabag (Amazon Prime), but it happened. This semi-autobiographical series directed, produced, and starred in by Michaella Coel shows a perspective on sexual assault we haven’t seen before.
2. The Queen’s Gambit (Netflix, 2020)
Gabriel Nunes, Secret Calgary Editor
What they had to say 📺: Quickly becoming Netflix’s most-watched scripted miniseries after being released in October, The Queen’s Gambit is a fascinating tale of Beth Harmon, an orphaned chess prodigy, and her journey towards becoming the best in a male-dominated competitive environment. Anya Taylor-Joy’s performance of Beth is exceptional, and it is easy to get invested in her success. The show is only 7 episodes, making it an easy binge-watch during the holidays (or any time, really).
3. The Mandalorian (Disney+, 2020)
Elliot McGowan, Secret Chicago Editor
What they had to say 📺: A lone bounty hunter looks after a young alien species and deals with constant danger in the process – Arguably the best to come from the Star Wars franchise since the very first film. Music, costumes, design, acting, storyline, all incredibly well done. Pedro Pascal, from Narcos and Game of Thrones, is again exceptional using predominantly his voice alone. The creators meticulously researched films, anime, video games, and everything in the Star Wars franchise to make it all align.
4. Ozark (Netflix, 2017-Present)
Arianna Gary, Secret San Diego Editor
What they had to say 📺: Jason Bateman and Laura Linney star as a married couple trying to keep their family out of danger as they carefully navigate the world of money laundering for a Mexican drug cartel. It’s a crime drama that takes Bateman out of his usual comedic roles and highlights the brilliance of both Linney and Julia Garner. It’s unnerving, clever, and will definitely have you googling where the heck the Ozarks even are.
5. Normal People (Hulu, 2020)
Rose Castro, Secret Boston Editor
What they had to say 📺: Based on the 2018 novel of the same name by Sally Rooney, the series follows the budding relationship between Marianne (Daisy Edgar-Jones) and Connell (Paul Mescal) all the way from secondary school to their undergrad years at Trinity College Dublin. A fantastic, raw and honest coming-of-age story. From the camera work to Paul Mescal’s brilliant break through role as Connel, it’s a total must-see if you enjoy romance.
6. The Undoing (HBO, 2020)
Chloe Mackenzie-Lee, Community Manager for Secret Media in the United States
What they had to say 📺: It’s a mystery psychological thriller television mini-series starring Nicole Kidman and Hugh Grant. Nicole Kidman is a therapist and her life unravels when she finds out her husband (Hugh Grant) might be responsible for a murder.
7. Dash & Lily (Netflix, 2020)
Chiara Carlini, Secret Milan Editor
What they had to say 📺: A romantic TV series that warms hearts. Two seemingly different teenagers get to know each other through a notebook. The show demonstrates how writing can open souls.
8. Unorthodox (Netflix, 2020)
Alice Lorenzato-Lloyd, Secret Bristol Editor
What they had to say 📺: Esty, a 19-year-old Jewish woman, is living unhappily in an arranged marriage among an ultra-Orthodox community in Williamsburg, New York. She runs away to Berlin, where her estranged mother lives, and discovers life outside her community and starts to reject all of the beliefs she grew up with. The story goes through waves of different emotions, for both the characters, and yourself, and it was a great eye-opener into a religion I admit I did not have much knowledge of.
9. Little Fires Everywhere (Hulu, 2020)
Lucile Bégeot, Secret Marseille Editor
What they had to say 📺: A great adaptation from the bestseller novel by Celeste Ng, with Reese Witherspoon and Kerry Washington starring as two completely opposite women, but whose lives end up being endlessly linked. A story about two different visions of education, with a great message on feminism and racial issues.
10. The Last Dance (Netflix, 2020)
David Ayllón, Community Manager for Secret Media in Spain
What they had to say 📺: An essential series for lovers of basketball, sports, or simply epic things in general. Michael Jordan is one of the greatest intergenerational figures in popular culture, and this documentary, narrated and edited with an award-winning finesse, honours his achievements.
11. This Is Us (Season Five)
Georgie Hoole, Executive Editor (UK/AUS+)
What they had to say 📺: I discovered This Is Us during the UK’s first lockdown back in the spring and it has been a great source of comfort for me. I’ve laughed, I’ve cried (so! many! tears!) and I genuinely miss the characters when they’re not on my screen. Season Five was released this year and it so cleverly comments on the current situation, with social distancing and the Black Lives Matter movement incorporated into the storyline. I can’t recommend it enough!
12. My Brilliant Friend (HBO, 2018-Present)
Brenda Béjar, Secret Mexico City Editor
What they had to say 📺: I love the books, and the adaptation does it a great deal of justice. The complexity of the characters is very well translated into the TV format. The directing, the casting, and the setting transport you to the time immediately.
13. Killing Eve (HBO, 2018-Present)
Kat Norman, Secret Amsterdam Editor
What they had to say 📺: This amazing series follows Villianelle, an assassin who is obsessed with one of the detectives intent on catching her. It has been hailed as a very progressive series, where two women star front and centre, with detailed and developed personalities.
14. Cheer (Netflix, 2020)
Ashlyn Davis, Secret Los Angeles Editor
What they had to say 📺: Breaking gender-norms, class divides, and the odd bone, Cheer is the series we all deserve. Within the first five minutes, taut bodies are thrust into the air, doing triple twists in slow-motion as a Jim Reeves track welcomes you to their world. This is preceded by gut-wrenching groans as the athletes plunge from human pyramids, smacking into the concrete surface below. It’s a six-part emotional roller coaster that showcases the awe-inspiring technicality, bravery, and mental resilience required to be a cheerleader.
15. Midnight Gospel (Netflix, 2020)
Giulia Trecco, Secret Sao Paulo Editor
What they had to say 📺: This small series could also perhaps fit into a podcast category because the 8 episodes of The Duncan Trussell Family Hour were adapted in this animation. A real journey through Buddhism, philosophy, and thorny themes like death. It was one of the best things I’ve watched this year — I was crying like a baby while watching the last episode.
16. Sex Education (Netflix, 2019-Present)
Amanda Viller, Community Manager for Secret Media in the United Kingdom
What they had to say 📺: This show is brilliant, breaking taboos about sex, gender norms, female character leads, sexuality, and intimacy. The show follows insecure teen Otis, who happens to have all the answers when it comes to sex advice, thanks to his therapist mom. So rebel Maeve proposes a school sex-therapy clinic.
[Featured Image Source: IMDB]