Nearly a year ago, to the day, I sat down and wrote about how people should be thankful for Peak TV and the wonders it had visited upon us in 2019. Only by having such a robust market could small but brilliant shows make their way into the mainstream and, in some cases, exist at all, including Prime Video’s “Fleabag,” Netflix’s “Russian Doll,” and Hulu’s “Pen15.”
The sentiment wasn’t wrong, but it does seem a bit foreign looking back, during a year that turned out to be so very different than the one before. This Thanksgiving, people face emptier homes (for many reasons) and our gratitude is rightly focused on the most basic of human needs: shelter, health, employment, and family, for those of us fortunate enough to enjoy them.
But there’s still room to reflect and respect those small things that have gotten us through the last 12 months. I’ve been lucky enough to transition my work to home, and I’m grateful. I miss seeing my family and friends, but tools like Zoom and Slack keep us connected, and I’m grateful. I’m grateful for cats and candy, for USPS and (god forbid) Twitter, for video chat therapy and for a deeply-flawed, irreparably archaic democratic election process that sometimes still works.
And, yeah, I’m grateful for too much TV. And too many movies. And too much entertainment at my fingertips to try and stave off the loneliness or depression or malaise or fear. When I can’t be close to my family, it’s a comfort to know we can watch the same things, laugh at the same jokes, make the same snide comments as we would be if we were all smashed onto the same sectional sofa.
In 2020, it’s maybe more important than ever to give thanks for the big things and the small things. As humans, it can be terribly difficult to stay alive and every little bit of comfort and peace we can manage, we should clutch to our chest and cherish for the tiny blessing it is.
So in this week’s episode of IndieWire’s TV podcast “Millions of Screens” hosts Deputy TV Editor Ben Travers, Creative Producer Leo Garcia, and TV Awards Editor Libby Hill are joined by several special guests from the IndieWire team, including TV Editor Kristen Lopez, Weekend Editor Ryan Lattanzio, and again, Associate TV Editor Steve “Recommendation Machine” Greene. We look back on the year and reflect upon those television shows that stuck with us the most and got us through some pretty tough times, including Netflix foreign series “Babylon Berlin” and “Dark,” HBO’s “My Brilliant Friend,” as well as Apple TV+’s “Ted Lasso,” honorary friend of the pod.
Ben also discusses his picks for the Top 10 TV series of 2020, a superb list that includes a few sure things (FX’s “Better Things”), a few old favorites (AMC’s “Better Call Saul”), and some stealth shows that may have escaped your radar (Starz’s “P-Valley”).
Plus, it wouldn’t be right to go another week without some discussion of Netflix’s “The Queen’s Gambit,” during which the streamer’s viewership numbers are speculated on, as well as the reported boom in chess searches happening on eBay and Google alike.
In keeping with ongoing social distancing mandates, this week’s episode was again recorded from the comfort of everyone’s respective United States-area apartments and we’re again offering viewers a video version of the podcast, as embedded above.
“Millions of Screens” is available on Anchor, Apple Podcasts, Breaker, Google Podcasts, Spotify, and Stitcher. You can subscribe here or via RSS. Share your feedback with the crew on Twitter or sound off in the comments. Review the show on iTunes and be sure to let us know if you’d like to hear the gang address specific issues in upcoming editions of “Millions of Screens.” Check out the rest of IndieWire’s podcasts on iTunes right here.
This episode of “Millions of Screens” was produced by Leonardo Adrian Garcia.