Netflix is like an old friend. Whilst you may have gone off to expand your horizons, getting a bunch of niche services like DAZN (pronounced "Da Zone" according to Philly D), Netflix has been there, adding and removing things. Netflix series are generally pretty great because of they let the creator make the show they want, and don't oversaturate the writers' room. Without further ado, let's talk the best of Netflix's shows for 2020.
A tight, Harlan Coben mystery? Sign me the f*ck up. The Stranger has the same sheen as Safe, another Coben story that follows a wide range of characters surrounding a central mystery. This show is neat and easily watchable in less than 1 day so, if you're bored and want a fast-paced, deftly written show, give The Stranger a go.
Dead to Me (Season 2)
I love this show. Christina Applegate and Linda Cardellini's chemistry is astounding and I am so glad that Netflix chose to renew this show and that it's going out on its own terms. There is only so far you can go with a premise reliant on a Thelma and Louise-type dynamic and I'm glad this show hasn't gone the Good Girls route and made me have to hoist my disbelief on a flag pole in the summit of Everest. This season packs more laughs, more drama and offers up a great role-reversal from the first season, so give it a watch!
The Haunting of Bly Manor
I love anthologies. They're my favourite type of TV show because they enable you to have a complete story before moving on to the next one. They're a risky type of show to pull off because, by their very nature, there's no guarantee you'll be fully satisfied before the show rules a line under the chapter you've just watched. When Netflix renewed Hill House for a second season, it was clear that this show would be an anthology that the service could add to its arsenal of very good content. The series is led by Victoria Pedretti and features Oliver Jackson-Cohen, both returning from Hill House. This season also introduces T'Nia Miller, whom I loved in BBC's Years and Years - check that out if you're up for something outstanding.
The reason I loved this season was because it really does make you question why people enjoy horror. Do we like it because of cheap scares? Or, do we like it because it lets us experience the darkest sides of human nature without being the ones doing the deed. Though the season isn't necessarily as experimental as Hill House, it doesn't have to be because there's nothing to prove here.
There isn’t a show that defines 2020 as much as Tiger King, the story about how the criminally bonkers Joe Exotic used meth to coax people into... being husbands? Then had a feud with Carol Baskin, someone who may have ground her husband up into mince then fed him to tigers... I literally can’t even remember the finer details of Tiger King, only that it got popular because of lockdowns and subsequently catapulted Carol Baskin into meme-hood.
The Good Place (Season 4)
I know this isn't a Netflix original, it's a licensed show which has exclusive international distribution on Netflix. But, I saw it on the service so it's going there. This was the perfect show. Every single episode was essential and it genuinely redefined the sitcom genre in so many ways: from twists, to teaching us about ethics, to an original premise that is just so outlandish, it could only be a sitcom. This was the perfect show from beginning to bittersweet end. But, not bittersweet in the sense of people dying - the show is literally about these characters after they die. Bittersweet in the sense that we're probably never going to get another show like this for a good few years.
Schitt's Creek (Season 6)
Again, I know this isn't a true Netflix original, but let me tell you a story about this show. I first discovered it back in 2016 when I was with my family for a winter break. We had the fireplace all warm, the hot chocolate made and a game of Monopoly on pause whilst we scrolled Netflix for something to watch in the evening. We came across this show which had pretty average reviews but two seasons of episodes, so we decided to give it a go. 4 years later, the show has just swept every single comedy category at the legit-shit Emmys.
Schitt's Creek is like a warm hug of a TV show, with characters that love one another and love the audience. There's a definite message about family and independence from that family, but more than that the show realises its position as one that can influence the way in which love is represented on the small screen. There weren't any dramatic coming out scenes, nor any "will they/won't they" romances. With sitcoms, the older generation tends to get sidelined or resigned to be either aloof or over-involved; in this show, the older generation were fleshed out into fully realised characters, making their own way in this world.
Let me know what you think about this list; if you agree or disagree, @ me on Twitter (@StreamingBuffer)!
Until then, happy streaming!