Joker’s Top 10 Television Shows of 2020

We all had a lot of time to binge and here were the best bits.

Special Recognition: Tiger King

Look, I’m not going to say that I thought Tiger King was the best show of the year, but I can say without a doubt that Tiger King was the most 2020 show. It was an absolute thrill ride into the most disturbed and depraved group of people you could get to sign a release. I don’t think we’ll see anything like it for a long time.

Probably because the king is in jail.

10) The Midnight Gospel – Netflix

Everything about this show was insane and somehow I think that made it one of the most original things on television. Essentially made of recordings of Duncan Trussell’s podcast with completely unrelated (or seemingly unrelated) images animated over them, this show ended up being a bunch of powerful and existential messages concealed in weird and wacky clips. 

And it’s hosted by a wizard, basically.

9) What We Do In The Shadows – Hulu

While some shows reinvent themselves a bit with their second seasons, this show instead decided to start expanding its universe beyond just the existence of vampires, bringing in ghosts, witches, and zombies while also giving its characters more fleshed-out and hilarious backstories. Also, it gave us Jackie Daytona, the ultimate human disguise.

What We Do in the Shadows | FX on Hulu
Also, Colin eats a corporation.

8) Lovecraft Country – HBO Max

An adaptation of Matt Ruff’s book of the same name, Lovecraft Country managed to combine the cosmic horror and monstrosities of H.P. Lovecraft with the existential threat and atrocities of racism in the United States. A number of the episodes and characters in this show were up at the top of television. Unfortunately, it did seem to get a bit off-kilter towards the end or it would be ranked higher. 

The show that taught white America about Sundown Towns.

7) Warrior – HBO Max

I only reviewed it last week, but this show brought Bruce Lee’s desire for a television show to life almost fifty years after his death and it is glorious. Filled with great action sequences, this show conveys the story of a martial artist in San Francisco during the late 1800s and it approaches that with an unwavering resolve towards accuracy. 

You can hear this photo beating you up.

6) Never Have I Ever – Netflix

A complete surprise to me, this show about a nerdy high-school girl trying to lose her virginity and achieve popularity was one of the best-written things I’ve seen in a while. It’s one of the funniest shows Netflix put out last year and I was surprised that it seemed to fade off of critics lists very quickly. Still, it’s going on mine.

The leads are all amazing.

5) The Queen’s Gambit – Netflix

If someone told me there’d be such a compelling mini-series about a woman playing chess in the 1960s, I’d have thought they were crazy, but this show managed to pull it off. Anya Taylor-Joy brought an amazing amount of charisma to a character that could easily have come off as shallow, often acting solely with her very expressive eyes. Also, it made chess awesome. Truly, a great accomplishment.

Smart is sexy.

4) The Mandalorian – Disney+

This show decided to use its second season to try and incorporate more traditional elements of the Star Wars universe into the series and rather than overshadowing the core characters, it made it clear that this was a universe filled with fun and exciting stories everywhere and that we’re only seeing a part of them. It’s what I wanted out of Star Wars for a long time. Plus, BABY YODA!!! (Now Grogu)

Behold the face of cuteness.

3) Perry Mason – HBO Max

It’s tough to do a new take on a series that ran from the fifties to the nineties, but HBO Max managed to pull it off. With a film-noir vibe and some new characterizations, this show made Perry Mason feel a little dirty while still emphasizing that he’s the good guy; the system he fights against is not. I hope they keep it going.

HBO Reveals PERRY MASON Premiere Date, Poster and Plot Details
It’s got hats, too.

2) Schitt’s Creek – Netflix

I hadn’t watched this show until it finished, but once I started I could not stop. It’s as funny as it gets and you will fall in love with the characters despite how much you would want to hate them at the start of the show. Containing as many moments that’ll make you cry as laugh, it deserves all of the acclaim it got. 

It also had a solid version of Cabaret.

1) The Good Place – Netflix

I would never have thought you could bring The Good Place to a satisfying end. It’s a show that starts off with the premise that all of the characters are already dead and, therefore, are already living an essentially eternal existence. However, somehow, the show managed to not only pull it off, but pull it off in a more touching and more real way than I could have ever thought. It was an amazing ride and we are all the better for taking it.

Plus, it had a promo with a sofa. Automatic win.

Netflix Review – Tiger King: It’s Grrrrr-reat!

Seriously, this might be the best documentary I’ve ever seen.

SUMMARY (Spoiler-Free)

Joe Exotic gained notoriety in 2016 when he was covered by John Oliver as a 3rd party candidate for President. His video introduction is below. I recommend it for everyone not at work.

Yes, there is Joe Exotic. The polygamous, polyamorous, broke, gay, kinky-sex loving, drug using, gun-toting, big-cat-raising redneck who wants to run the USA. If you skipped the video and just read that description, I bet you’re intrigued. Well, so was everyone else. Then, everyone was surprised… or not… by Joe Exotic being arrested for hiring a person to murder one of his rival big cat rescue owners. This story is ostensibly about Joe Exotic’s downfall, but it’s so much more than that.

END SUMMARY

I can only imagine that Rebecca Chaiklin and Eric Goode, the filmmakers behind this must be the luckiest people in the industry. After the first series of conversations and interviews with the people involved in this story, the documentarians must have gone home, popped every bottle of wine, and toasted to finding the most absolutely insane group of people that were not just willing, but yearning, to confess their sins on camera.

TigerKing - 1Joe
I mean… this man is clearly all you ever wanted in a subject.

When I started the series, I had imagined it would be a slow build up towards the presidential campaign and the eventual murder-for-hire trial that brought Joe Exotic to national news. I could not possibly have known that those are nowhere near the most insane stories contained in this documentary. While Joe is the focus of the show, it’s really the fact that everyone involved in his industry is, for lack of a better term, bat-sh*t crazy. Every episode just reveals another, more insane layer of the story. There is no slow build, it starts off with a heavy dose of eccentricity, quickly dives to madness, and swims around in the demented pool of the Big Cat culture until you’re almost questioning your own reality because you share it with these people.

TigerKing - 2Carole
Keep your eyes on her.

This show is, hands down, the best documentary I’ve seen, because it features not only a cast of colorful characters, but an amount of archive footage and evidence that make you feel like you were living through all of the bombshells which have been detonated around Joe Exotic. I cannot stress how much you need to see this show if you have any interest in trashy television. I lost track of time watching it, because it just keeps drawing you deeper down this rabbit hole of Tigers, drugs, cults, murder, and depravity.

If you want to check out some more by the Joker on the Sofa, check out the 100 Greatest TV Episodes of All Time, Collection of TV Episodes, Collection of Movie Reviews, or the Joker on the Sofa Reviews.

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