Dean Daley’s favourite things of 2020

Surprise, they're all TV shows

2020 has been quite a sad and depressing year.

I spent most of my time in my home and sometimes hanging with roommates, but this wasn’t a great year overall.

From COVID-19 to George Floyd’s and Breonna Taylor’s deaths, not getting to travel, to going on stupid virtual dates, 2020 was straight-up trash. But, I did find some solace in things like video games, new consumer tech and, most importantly, TV shows.

So, while I really liked phones like the Z Fold 2, and Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales made me cry because it was so damn good, I’ve instead written about only my favourite TV shows of the year.

Drag Race

This year there were seven different Drag Race series. In fact, I couldn’t even watch them all because there were so many. Between RuPaul’s Drag Race, RuPaul’s Drag Race: All Stars, RuPaul’s Drag Race U.K., Drag Race Canada, Drag Race Holland, RuPaul’s Secret Celebrity Drag Race, and, last but not least, Rupaul’s Drag Race Vegas Revue, there was so much Drag Race content.

And for the most part, it was all very comforting, warm and much-needed. Additionally, Shea Couleé, Jaida Essence Hall and Toronto’s (and YTV’s) own Priyanka, were all queens of colour who won this year.

Further, RuPaul’s got you covered with another season of RuPaul’s Drag Race and RuPaul’s Drag Race U.K. starting this January that I’m super excited for.

I May Destroy You

I May Destroy You is a British comedy-drama created, written by and starring Michaela Coel from Chewing Gum. This series is touching, funny, beautiful, lovely, emotional, R-rated and definitely not for everyone. Coel plays a Twitter-star-turned-novelist who found her fame and is working on her second book, only to have to rebuild her life after being raped.

Coel is joined by Weruche Opia and Paapa Essiedu as her two best friends, Terry and Kwame, who are going through their own very difficult experiences.

I May Destroy You is available on Crave, and honestly, a lot of it is quite triggering and gut-wrenching, but if you’re down for an emotional rollercoaster, give it a shot.

Schitt’s Creek

Schitt’s Creek first premiered way back in 2015. I remember watching it live on TV each week and wondering to myself, “why am I watching this weird show?” Yet, I couldn’t stop watching the Canadian sitcom featuring Eugene and Dan Levy, Annie Murphy and Catherine O’Hara. While I haven’t always watched the show religiously, I finished the series this year, and it was honestly amazing.

I even teared up at the end.

If you’re looking for a feel-good comedy series, check out Schitt’s Creek and watch all six seasons of the hilarious, heart-warming, Canadian content.

You can find Schitt’s Creek on CBC Gem and Netflix.

Kipo and the Age of the Wonderbeasts

This young adult animated series launched three seasons this year.

The show takes place in a post-apocalyptic world ruled by mutated animals and follows Kipo Oak. She befriends Wolf (who isn’t a wolf, surprisingly enough), Benson, as well as Dave and Mandu, a pair of mutant animals.

The cartoon is pretty acclaimed for its representation of LGBT and POC characters and actually provides some information about animals, as well as tells an emotional story and features awesome music (seriously, check out the playlists on Spotify).

This clearly must have been a very emotional year for me because I also teared up at the end of the series. While some might describe Kipo as a young adult series, it’s definitely PG-acceptable.

If you’re someone who liked Steven Universe or She-Ra and the Princesses of Power (two animated series that also ended this year), you should definitely give this one a shot. You can find Kipo and the Age of the Wonderbeasts on Netflix.

Hollywood

Hollywood is a drama miniseries about a group of aspiring actors and filmmakers post World War II. The series’ characters are desperate to be film actors and filmmakers and work jobs that most people wouldn’t consider respectful. The series stars David Corenswet, Darren Criss, Jeremy Pope, Holland Taylor, Jim Parsons and Patti Lupone.

The TV show also looks at how difficult it was to be a filmmaker or actor while being a person of colour, a woman, or a gay back in the 1950s.

I thought Hollywood offered great acting and an interesting story about the ‘American Dream.’

You can catch Hollywood on Netflix.

BoJack Horseman

This year I discovered what was probably the saddest series I’ve ever watched: BoJack Horseman. I experienced some ups and downs during the pandemic, but if I watched BoJack Horseman during one of the downs, it would have likely made me more depressed.

BoJack Horseman is an animated adult ‘tragicomedy’ sitcom featuring the voices of Will Arnett, Amy Sedaris, Alison Brie and more. Roughly half of the show’s characters are anthropomorphic, like BoJack, a horse and older ‘Hollywoo’ star trying to make the best of his ageing life.

With all that said, I absolutely love the show. It a great watch that features hilarious and intriguing moments and others that broke my heart. Despite the sadness, I can’t wait to watch the show all over again. Todd Chavez being one of the only asexual characters in animation is also great.

The last season of BoJack Horseman hit Netflix in 2020 and though I only started watching the show this year, Season 6 was the ultimate finale to the series and offered suitable endings for all the characters.

The Boys

Filmed in Toronto, the second season of The Boys was a wild ride.

This season was bloodier, crazier and more intense than the first. With a crazy new ‘cape’ named Stormfront, a new cult and a mysterious figure literally blowing up people. There were crazy fights, deeper dives into some of the capes’ backgrounds, and some more laughs at The Deep’s expense.

If you want to watch superheroes murder each other in a very un-Marvel series, I’d definitely give The Boys a shot.

The Boys Season 2 is available on Amazon’s Prime Video.

We Are Who We Are

We Are Who We Are is probably the craziest non-superhero related series I watched this year. The show focuses on teenagers who live on a military base in Italy and get up to the whackiest things.

Drugs, alcohol, sex, rock and roll and inappropriate relationships — this show has everything. There’s a son who hits his mom while seeking a relationship with an older man (who works for his mom, by the way), while his other mom cheats on her wife with the son’s best friend’s mom. It also deals with a teenager trying to figure out their gender, and a Black military father who’s a big Trump supporter, as the show takes place in 2016 right before the election.

We Are Who We Are is crazy and definitely not for everyone, but if you’re into intense teenage dramas and are okay with some nudity, you might want to give this TV show a shot.

We Are Who We Are is available on Crave.

Special Movie Mention: No Hard Feelings (Futur Drei)

This film played during Toronto’s Inside Out film festival and won Best First Feature Film award.

The movie is in German and focuses on Parvis, a man of Iranian descent living in Germany who falls in love with another man, Amon, while befriending his sister.

Out of all the Inside Out films I watched this year, this was by far my favourite thanks to its drama, intensity and love.

While 2020 was a difficult year, I’m pretty happy to have been able to watch tons of different TV series and movies. This list could have been crazy long with shows like Lovecraft Country, Legendary, and High Fidelity on Crave, The Great on Prime Video, Love, Victor (the series that follows the film Love, Simon) and Netflix series like Feel Good, Dash & Lily and the second seasons of Sex Education and The Umbrella Academy.

Also, I’m currently loving the ongoing final seasons of Shameless and Grey’s Anatomy, which I’d include in this article, but the seasons may end horribly, so I’d rather wait until they end.

And don’t even get me started on all the anime I watched.

Hopefully, next year’s favourite things list includes actual places I’ve travelled to or new experiences outside my home.

Honourable Mention: I’ve now watched Bridgerton on Netflix, and it’s the Gossip Girl sequel that I didn’t know I needed.

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