2020 was definitely a year that heavily utilised our Netflix/Amazon Prime subscriptions. This year’s lockdown meant that we binged more telly than we usually would, resulting in trying out new shows and in my case, returning to some old, comforting favourites. This time last year, I put together a round-up of my favourite TV moments and episodes, so I thought I’d bring it back for 2020 in light of what’s been a ridiculously TV heavy year.
Come on, we knew this was going to be top of the list, right? Normal People has undoubtedly been my top telly highlight for this year, and at the time of writing, I recently completed my 15th binge. There’s so much that I love about Normal People – and no, it’s not just Paul Mescal (although he’s certainly a key factor). I love the soundtrack, I love how it portrays more modern issues such as mental health and consent, and I love how it’s relatable to pretty much young people in some way or another – whether it’s being the outcast at school, feeling like you don’t really fit in anywhere, or the general feelings you get with your first relationship. I know that Normal People was based on the book by Sally Rooney (which I’m ashamed to say I was completely unaware of until I discovered the TV show), and of course as soon as I finished my first run through of the series I dived straight into the book. While I loved the book, I must admit that for me the TV show pips it – but again, I could be biased due to Paul Mescal and his beautiful face.
All joking and thirsting aside though, I think Paul Mescal and Daisy Edgar-Jones did an amazing job as Connell and Marianne. While I know the idea of a second series is up in the air given that Sally Rooney hasn’t actually written any follow ups to the book yet, I would certainly love to see one. In the meantime, Daisy Edgar-Jones has become my ultimate style icon, while Paul Mescal sits at the top spot of my List. Think of that laminated list that Ross has in Friends.
Katherine Ryan has been one of my favourite comedians for quite a while now, purely because she says what she wants and she doesn’t give a shit. I’ve been a fan of her stand-up for a while, and when I read that she was bringing out her own sitcom, I was all over it. The Duchess is all about a single mother trying to decide whether or not she should have another baby – it’s wickedly funny and witty, and it’s Katherine at her absolute best. Every single episode made me laugh, and I especially love the bond between Katherine and her daughter, Olive (it was just me and Mama J growing up, so I relate in a way). I won’t spoil it for anyone, but I especially loved the final episode of the series which was not only hilarious but it also demonstrated the love between Katherine and Olive and how their bond triumphs any romantic relationship. It was easy to watch and follow, and made us laugh multiple times throughout each episode, and I sincerely hope they do another series. Can we also just take a minute to appreciate the sweater she wears in this snap too?
We were buzzing for Sex Education’s second season and it certainly didn’t disappoint! There were so many good scenes in this series – the insane party at Otis’ house, the weird ass school musical at the end of the season, the whole storyline with Adam and Eric, “wash your hands, you detty pig!” – it was all brilliant. However, the scene that stood out from the entire season? It was, of course, the bus scene. Anyone who’s seen it will know what I’m talking about. If you haven’t seen it, you need to watch it – even if the show isn’t your thing. It’s just female empowerment at it’s finest.
Kidding was one of those shows we discovered during peak lockdown when we’d ran out of stuff to watch (I’m pretty sure this was pre-Normal People). I’m quite the fan of Jim Carrey, so I was curious to watch it anyway. Kidding is a comedy-drama that follows Jeff Piccirillo, a children’s entertainer known as Mr Pickles. While he’s the much loved star of children’s TV show Mr Pickles Puppet Time, Jeff deals with personal trauma following the death of his son and the subsequent breakdown of his marriage. Despite the show being incredibly dark and heavy at times, you still get that classic quirky humour that Jim Carrey is famous for. At times, it was just plain weird, but it demonstrates overall that you never know what’s going on in the lives of those who entertain us and make us laugh, and that’s why I enjoyed the show so much. Plus, there were quite a few cute puppets at times. I was absolutely gutted to read that the show was cancelled earlier this year – although the second season rounded off fairly well so it’s a lot easier to accept the ending!
Ant & Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway
I’ve been a fan of Ant & Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway ever since it launched in 2002 (WTF – I was ten?!), this year really stood out for me – one episode in particular. This was the episode that aired on the 21st March – just a few days before the UK officially went into lockdown. The episode was one of the first shows to go ahead without an audience. Since then we’ve seen many popular shows go ahead without one, of course, but I distinctly remember this one as one of the first. It was an incredibly strange experience watching a show that usually relies so much on having an audience, and they did their absolute best to make us all laugh and give us some light relief despite the absolute shitshow that was coming our way. Despite the fact that the horrific events of the last few weeks were there in the background, it was a small smidge of happiness on what was quite a bleak Saturday night. I distinctly remember the final part of the show where they had Olly Murs singing Dance With Me Tonight against a backdrop of dancing videos sent in by the public. While the big picture was that we were headed for a shitty couple of months, and the whole thing was tinged with sadness, it was a few minutes of happiness and that feeling that we were all in it together.
I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here!
The events of the year certainly put our favourite shows in jeopardy, but through the magic of telly and the stars of said shows making sacrifices purely for our entertainment, we got there. Things were of course a little different, but having shows like Strictly and Bake Off coming back to our screens was that bit of normality we all needed. In the reality world this year though, my highlight has to be the recent series of I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here. While usually set in the Australian jungle, this year saw the series take place in a derelict castle in North Wales. While it was certainly different, and the new format took some getting used to, I bloody loved it. It was the distraction that we all needed. The lineup this year was fantastic too – while I’m glad that Giovanna Fletcher won it (because she’s just awesome), as I mentioned in my November wrap-up, for me, my winner was Jordan North. He made me laugh so much and you can tell that he’s just a genuinely lovely person. From throwing up on a cliff to enduring 10 minutes in a box full of snakes, he went through such a transition but still remained that relatable, funny Northern chap us Radio 1 fans love so much. On a site note too, I’ve mentioned before that I love the podcast he does – Help I Sexted My Boss – and they did a special daily run of episodes documenting Jordan’s time in the castle, which was also very funny and has kept me entertained during some shitty work days. On another side note, Ant and Dec were on top form this season too.
While it’s not exactly a new thing, this year saw the complete run of My Family land on iPlayer. Again, My Family is one of those shows I’ve been a fan of since the very beginning, but I sort of lost touch with it during its last couple of years. Despite that, the earlier episodes are ones that I go back to again and again, because they’re funny, entertaining, and just overly comforting when you’ve seen them so many times. I watched the older episodes with a smile on my face the entire time, and the beauty of the entire run being on iPlayer is that I’ve actually discovered episodes I’ve not seen before. While some of them are a little awkward to watch and admittedly, not as funny as the older ones, I’ve still discovered some gems that have had me chuckling away. It’s that classic British sitcom we don’t see much of these days, and I’ve certainly missed it.
What were your favourite TV moments of 2020? Let me know in the comments!