The Best TV Shows of the 2020s So Far

The Best TV Shows of the 2020s So Far

June 18, 2024

Share:

twitter
facebook
reddit
pinterest
link

In this dynamic era of storytelling, the 2020s have already gifted us with a plethora of groundbreaking and unforgettable shows that have changed the landscape of TV. These shows have taken the small screen by storm with their compelling narratives, nuanced characters, more accessibility to new talent, and stunning production values, leaving us yearning for more. Explore this collection that showcases the unrivaled power of television to ignite our imaginations and leave an indelible mark on our cultural landscape.

71. The Good Mothers

best

8.0

Country

Italy, United Arab Emirates

Actors

Barbara Chichiarelli, Francesco Colella, Gaia Girace, Marco Zingaro

Moods

Challenging, Character-driven, Emotional

With years of films depicting Italian crime syndicates, most focus on their leaders – the Dons, the Capos, and the Consiglieres. Most of them focus on the mafia’s men. However, in this series, it’s the women who are the stars of the show. Based on the novel of the same name, The Good Mothers is a compelling crime drama, focused on the women, not the men, of the ‘Ndrangheta clan. It’s from their perspective we see the mafia. The masterful way the series unfolds makes it clear that their lives are constrained, that this dated way of life still prioritizes the family over their individual women. It makes it all the more satisfying when they’re given the opportunity to retaliate, and when they choose to take that opportunity. And it’s so much better knowing that this was real.

72. Black Cake

best

8.0

Country

United Kingdom, United States of America

Actors

Adrienne Warren, Ashley Thomas, Cara Horgan, Chipo Chung

Moods

Binge-Worthy, Challenging, Character-driven

We don’t really know our parents the same way they know about us. Black Cake recognizes this, and takes that discrepancy to create a compelling mystery, expanding on that hidden world with themes of generational trauma, intercultural dynamics, and lost heritage. With the show doing justice to the book’s moments, the mystery of Eleanor Bennett’s former life is already compelling in and of itself, but it’s made even more so as her children try to make sense of it, changing their strained dynamic. It’s layered, well-written and deeply personal. It’s a unique story that has to be told.

73. Mr. & Mrs. Smith

best

8.0

Country

United Kingdom, United States of America

Actors

Donald Glover, Maya Erskine

Moods

A-list actors, Action-packed, Character-driven

If you’re expecting the sleek, playful, and totally over-the-top spy shenanigans of 2005’s Mr. & Mrs. Smith, you’re not going to find it in this 2024 version, not that it’s a bad thing. In fact, this show stands on its own, reinventing the spy couple into a professional partnership rather than an immediate spark that leads to marriage. This decision makes the show feel like the film’s opposite– as the longer runtime and naturalistic aura enables more focus on the incomparable Donald Glover and Maya Erskine rather than the explosions– but it makes the danger feel more unpredictable and not just action set pieces. Mr. & Mrs. Smith may not be the star-powered, guns-blazing action comedy we’re familiar with, but it’s certainly a more thoughtful, fresh take that improves on the concept.

74. AlRawabi School for Girls

best

8.0

Country

Jordan

Moods

Discussion-sparking, Gripping

With teen dramas crowding not just Netflix but all of TV, it’s easy to think that the Jordanian series AlRawabi School for Girls won’t be any different. But while it may share a lot of similarities with other coming-of-age stories, it stands out for its willingness to explore dark themes and cultural specificities without a pandering tone. It’s smart, mature, and complex enough to give us a feminist lead who weaponizes misogyny against other girls, for instance, or a fierce bully who eventually earns our sympathy. It’s hard to imagine the treatment being this sensitive, nuanced, and wholly engaging without the all-female cast and crew that AlRawabi thankfully has.

75. The Sympathizer

best

8.0

Country

Canada, South Korea, United States of America

Actors

Alan Trong, Duy Nguyen, Fred Nguyen Khan, Hoa Xuande

Moods

Challenging, Character-driven, Discussion-sparking

After the only war the Americans have lost, American post-Vietnam war portrayals tend to lean as patriotic revenge fantasies or romanticized disillusionment, but rarely do they portray the people caught in between. HBO’s The Sympathizer is an adaptation of the Pulitzer winning novel of the same name, and while it’s mainly an American production, Park Chan-wook and Robert Downey Jr.’s collaboration sticks to the Captain’s perspective, as the unnamed mole protagonist writes his confession years after from a jail in Vietnam. Chan-wook excellently mirrors his approach to Viet Thanh Nguyen’s agile storytelling, shifting time periods and languages the same way the Captain shifts perspectives, though Nguyen’s dry humor sometimes wavers when translated to the screen. Still, it’s certainly a well-crafted, ambitious depiction coming from a unique perspective.

76. Swagger

best

8.0

Country

United States of America

Actors

Caleel Harris, Isaiah R. Hill, James Bingham, O'Shea Jackson Jr.

Moods

Dramatic, Emotional, Heart-warming

Swagger could’ve easily been a generic sports drama about an ambitious prodigy who, against all odds and through sheer determination, makes it to the top. It is that, but it’s also so much more. Swagger offers biting commentary on race and economic realities, as well as heart-warming and relatable stories about family, love, and coming of age. It’s finely acted, with everyone from the kids and their parents to the coaches offering lived-in and realistic performances. The show is most reminiscent of the 2000 film Love & Basketball, which would make sense since the latter is directed by Swagger director Reggie Bythewood’s spouse, Gina Prince-Bythewood. Swagger and Love & Basketball have unique differences, of course, but both deeply understand and powerfully speak to the Black experience.

77. Tales From the Territories

best

8.0

Moods

Dark, Discussion-sparking, Thrilling

This documentary series has a gritty, Western vibe stemming from the marriage between old school rasslin’ footage and the accompanying hypnotic soundtrack. Legends gather around and take turns reliving the glory days, treating every fan-driven near-death experience as a badge of honor, showing how crazy everyone was on both sides of the fence. Between the rustic location they film in and the insanely casual delivery of terrifying stories, it’s easy to be transported to another time period and find it rather relaxing (much more so than sister series Dark Side of the Ring), an era that you almost wish would return, if there was a safer way to have it.

78. Young Rock

best

8.0

Country

United States of America

Actors

Adrian Groulx, Ana Tuisila, Dwayne Johnson, Joseph Lee Anderson

Moods

Easy, Feel-Good, Lighthearted

It’s a solid premise for a show, but it is a pretty scary premise that keeps you a little on edge. The interview segments are just realistic enough to put that image in your head, while the meat of the show is a visualization of a young Dwayne Johnson worrying about girls, keeping up appearances, and just getting by, all to make him appear more real and relatable. Presentation-wise, it feels very much like a lighthearted ‘90s comedy with matching fashion, tunes, and warm messages. Meta aspects aside, it’s effectively Rock’s tribute to his family growing up, full of earnest performances once it gets going.

79. Alexa & Katie

best

8.0

Country

United States of America

Actors

Eddie Shin, Emery Kelly, Finn Carr, Isabel May

Moods

Emotional, Feel-Good, Lighthearted

Alexa and Katie greets us with vintage Nickelodeon sitcom acting, which is far from the most inspiring. But the same can’t be said about this show’s premise and execution, which is incredibly heartfelt and commendable. Characters are supportive and mature where it counts, though it’s structured to feel like any other kids’ sitcom—which is to say that the intrinsic heaviness is handled well, and in line with Alexa’s desire that people not treat her any differently. The show is vulnerable and sweet, packaged in a familiar and comforting way for younger audiences learning to be brave with Alexa.

80. Such Brave Girls

7.9

Country

United Kingdom, United States of America

Actors

Freddie Meredith, Kat Sadler, Lizzie Davidson, Louise Brealey

Moods

Binge-Worthy, Grown-up Comedy

In an early scene in Such Brave Girls, Josie (Kat Sadler) compares herself and her sister Billie (Lizzie Davidson) to a more attractive woman. “She’s live, love, laugh,” she says, “We’re death, silence, hate.” At this point, you’d think Sadler, who is also the creator and writer of the show, and Davidson, who is Sadler’s real-life sister, are the types to indulge in their sadness and romanticize their dysfunction. Though that happens to some degree, Sadler is self-aware enough to steer clear of wallow territory and offer something insightful about mental health and the ways we cope (or fail to, anyway). Parents who dismiss depression are called out, as are social workers and supposed experts who stereotype people with the illness. But weirdly enough, the show is never downright cynical. Josie is sweet enough to cut through the darkness, as are her ignorant and selfish though ultimately well-meaning family members. You’ll probably recall Broad City and Fleabag while watching Such Brave Girls because of its unapologetic approach to both sex and suicide, but maybe more than those two shows, Such Brave Girls is willing to root its themes deeper into reality. It almost never brings up mental health without contextualizing it in the family’s low-income state, making it one of the most relatable and urgent shows you can watch right now.

Comments

Add a comment

Curated by humans, not algorithms.

agmtw

© 2024 A Good Movie to Watch. Altona Studio, LLC, all rights reserved.