In times when the entire world is surfing, streaming and recommending, finding the right entertainment that suits one's taste may not be easy, considering platforms are varied and content widely distributed. However, as the year winds up, we bring to you the absolute best of movies and TV series from the streaming universe that landed in the year 2020.
The Outsider (Disney+ Hotstar)
Based on a Stephen King novel, The Outsider towers above the rest as one of the best horror offerings of the year. Cynthia Erivo (Holly Gibson) leads as a private detective with perceptive abilities and steals the show with her expressive face. Will Holly's unconventional ways find acceptance when Cherokee City is being haunted by the unknown?
Churails did not make much noise until after it was seen by a handful of streamers who could not help but spread the word about it. A unit of women vigilantes fight for their rights and of those wronged by the men and society. Produced and based in Pakistan, it breaks barriers with storytelling and universal themes. A must-watch for its ensemble cast and ingenuity.
Devs (Disney+ Hotstar)
From Alex Garland (Ex Machina, Annihilation), comes Devs, a sci-fi thriller that explores how dangerous a world controlled by technocrats can be, especially when they all tend to be such megalomaniacs and self-confessed, modern day messiahs. Devs carefully handles grief and revenge as central themes as one gets pulled into this wild ride from the word go.
Scam 1992: The Harshad Mehta Story (Sony Liv)
No wonder Hansal Mehta’s Scam 1992 has emerged as the highest user-rated show in IMDb’s Top 10 Indian Web Series of 2020 list. It earned acclaim for the thrilling portrayal of stockbroker Harshad Mehta, played by Pratik Gandhi, who single-handedly took the stock market to dizzying heights, and then met with a catastrophic downfall.
The Undoing (Disney+ Hotstar)
A murder in New York rocks a seemingly perfect family and the lives of those surrounding it. In unearthing of the motive behind the killing, things get even more complicated for those involved with no signs of atonement for the culprit. The Undoing offers one of the most satisfying and nerve-racking climax points and will certainly keep you on the edge of your seat.
Welcome Home (Sony Liv)
Welcome Home has nothing glamorous that one associates with the world of filmmaking but it stays honest to storytelling and presents us a satisfying cat-and-mouse thriller indeed. Based on a real-life events, you will be forced to look away at some points in this dark and riveting tale of disturbed minds.
The Queen's Gambit (Netflix)
The ultimate underdog story of the year, The Queen's Gambit has been creating noise for all the right reasons. You could not have imagined how much alluring the world of chess is until you have seen this mini-series fronted by the talented Anya Taylor Joy as Beth Harmon. Emotional and enthralling are two words that best describe this adaption for TV.
The Invisible Man (YouTube)
From Leigh Whannell, writer of the Saw series, comes this delectable stalker-horror movie fronted by Elizabeth Moss. What happens when a captive breaks free from the grip of a controlling narcissist? Will he let her go or make her life a living hell instead, is what it seeks to unravel. With a little help from technological gimmickry, The Invisible Man becomes a chilling offering.
Paatal Lok (Amazon Prime)
The crime series featured Jaideep Ahlawat as Hathiram Chaudhary, a washed-out Delhi cop, who lands the case of a lifetime when four suspects are nabbed in the assassination attempt of a prime time journalist. Jaideep features in a role of a lifetime and shoulders the responsibility right throughout.
The Mandalorian (Disney+ Hotstar)
Originally a bounty hunter, Mando became a hero for the ages after he teams up with Baby Yoda. The Star Wars spin off is backed by some real-life and relatable action sequences and an absolutely lovable background score. A treat for action lovers indeed, The Mandalorian is a work of visual and aural arts.
I know This Much is True (Disney+ Hotstar)
Mark Ruffalo brings an emotional tale of brotherhood and he is a delight to watch as twins Dominick and Thomas Birdsey. Even though 'sufferings' may seem too much at some point in time, verging on fatigue, Ruffalo never lets the screenplay slip away from him grip. He is a master in his art and it is at display here. It certainly is heavy stuff and evokes empathy in various degrees.
Story of competitive sports, docu-series Cheer rightfully captures the numerous highs, lows and obstacles faced by athletes. Additionally, in covering cheerleading, it showcases a world of near catastrophic injuries. Cheerleading is awe-inspiring and it puts to test the absolute limits of the human body and shines spotlight of every single performer and then the team as a unit.
Raised by Wolves (HBO)
Ridley Scott turns experimental in this sci-fi epic as he seeks to explore a fresh commentary on humanity. This one requires a certain level of engagement from viewers as it is idea heavy, but ends up being rewarding in many ways. Faith, androids and future are the order of the day in this convoluted journey.
Tiger King (Netflix)
A docu series about big cat collectors and zoo owners, Tiger King explores complicated relationships humans can have with animals. It has enigmatic and eccentric personalities as subjects, so much so that a movie based on the protagonist Joe Exotic was announced soon afterwards the series started getting attention for all the wrong reasons. One of the wildest shows of the year.
The Trial of Chicago 7 (Netflix)
Chicago 7 mirrors 2020's call for justice in film. It has an impressive ensemble cast, led by an efficient director in Aaron Sorkin. Ever been wronged by the system? This gives it back to them for you. Unabashed and noteworthy performances draw you even further into this dramatic retelling of a political plot about corruption. It can drain you emotionally.
Undekhi (Sony Liv)
It needs to be seen to be believed. Undekhi is an impactful comment about the dynamics of power in our society and our helplessness and obedience to it. The terror isolates you and then preys and torments till you are drained. This thriller is impactful in its narrative and has moments that will make you feel jittery and helpless.
The Social Dilemma (Netflix)
An eye opener, it offers a sensational view of how social networking platforms work, based on insights from ex-employees of some tech giants. It became very popular upon its release and is also cited by some as the most important documentary of our times. It tackles the pressing issue of our times-- addiction to social media.
The Call (Netflix)
The Call is based on a complicated premise of how two women connect over phone call in the past and present and influence each other's lives for better and worse. In a turnaround, a damsel in distress becomes a serial killer, and is on the loose covering up her tracks. The only thing that can stop her is the ringing of the phone and whether her friend-in-need answers it at the right time or not.
A Life on Our Planet (Netflix)
David Attenborough is calling our attention towards nature conservation in this poignant docu-series that is basically a wake-up call. As it brings enigmatic natural world to our screens, it also bares Attenborough's years of work as a naturalist, which is inspiring and beyond.
His House (Netflix)
A touching tale about immigrant lives that is driven by powerful imagery and horror motifs. Two Sudanese, Bol and Rial, arrive in Britain after losing their young daughter. They are offered an apartment by the city council, which they strive to make into a home. But haunted by visions of the past, loss and pain seeks to drive them away to where they started from. But will they?
I'll Be Gone in the Dark (Disney+ Hotstar)
A blogger and author turns detective while obsessively searching for a face behind the mask committing unspeakable crimes. For those digging true crime stories, this one is a must watch. It pays great attention to media coverage and social stigma attached to the investigation in times when crimes against women were committed over decades. A woman's quest for seeking justice for women. Beware, because behind every testimony is a dark reality.
Serious Men (Netflix)
Nawazuddin Siddiqui delivers a solid yet eccentric performance in a tale that entertains and educates without rubbing it in one's face. Dialogues here play a very critical and subtle role in commenting on the subject of class and caste it wants to bare.
Da 5 Bloods (Netflix)
Spike Lee reunites with BlacKkKlansman collaborator Kevin Willmott for this Vietnam War feature. Four US veterans return to the land that gave them nothing but pain to retrieve a stash of gold and pay tribute to their fallen brother. Like Lee has always striven through his works, Da 5 Bloods has serious political undertones. It shines light on racism and Black Lives Matter movement in the US that became a talking point this year again due to police brutality and death of George Floyd. Very contemporary and a certain topper in 'Spike Lee Joint'.
Quiz (Amazon Prime)
Three-part series Quiz derives from a real life scandal that mired the famous reality TV show Who Wants to Be a Millionaire. With this new adaptation, the makers seek to ensure the uncertainty over the incident with scathing commentary on people's habit of arriving to conclusion without any thought or nuance. Eagerly jumping on board things, especially on social media? Check this one out.
Zero Zero Zero (Amazon Prime)
Amazon's response to Narcos is equally marveling and addictive if not more. Based on inner network and implications of international cocaine trade, the production scale of Zero Zero Zero if very ambitious and has equally dramatic and great performances to back up the big bucks riding on it.