For majority of 2020, streaming platforms became our only source of entertainment. While cinema-going got eliminated from our lives for several months, OTT platforms jumped in to fill the void with top notch content. Here are the shows and movies which made our drab work-from-home days a little more interesting this year.
Special Ops (Disney+ Hotstar)
The success of Special Ops lies in its ‘international’ feel and the huge canvas it operated on. Led by an excellent Kay Kay Menon, a variety of actors showcased their potential and demonstrated the need for such shows in Hindi. Leave aside shows, we haven’t made many good spy films in recent times, so it came as a pleasant surprise amid all the blood and gore the Indian OTT space is used to. The other remarkable thing about Neeraj Pandey’s show is its research-based approach towards covert operations behind enemy lines. Not so subtle but definitely stylish and engaging. – Rohit Vats
For someone who devoured shows on Zindagi channel long before ‘binge watching’ became a thing, the release of Churails on ZEE5 was one of the happy developments in 2020. Considering the scarcity of well-made women centric content, this Pakistani series held its own among the volley of male-dominated thrillers in the OTT space. A good mix of suspense and social consciousness, the show addressed women’s oppression without getting preachy at any point. It was so refreshing to watch a bunch of strong women set out on a journey of self-discovery, empowerment and sisterhood, exposing the hypocrisies of patriarchy. The nuanced storytelling, exemplary cinematography and production design made every scene a treat to watch. – Bohni Bandyopadhyay
Schitt’s Creek Season 6 (Netflix)
Bingeing on Schitt’s Creek season 6 seemed so relevant in the times we are living in as it emphasis on the importance of valuing human relationships. It gives out a message that each day is an opportunity to tell your close ones how much you love and appreciate them. The show revolves around the once-ultrawealthy, dysfunctional Rose family that falls on hard times as they readjust to life in the small town of Schitt’s Creek, which the father (Eugene Levy) bought as a joke for his son (Daniel Levy). Moreover, there’s so much to learn about self-acceptance, mutual respect, humanity, compassion, growth, and adaptability from its fully realised characters. And, there’s something so perfect about Schitt’s Creek season 6 sweeping all major categories at the Emmys this year. A story about acceptance, love, and inclusivity is exactly what the world needs right now. – Shrishti Negi
Dark Season 3 (Netflix)
There are only a few shows that you can watch again and again, Dark is that rare gem for me. I spent most of the lockdown re-watching the show. Firstly because it is that brilliant and secondly because multiple timelines floating in multidimensional worlds and a branched family tree like the Jonas is not meant to be understood in one go. You need patience, a pen and paper and lot of mental calculations. From endless discussions on paradoxes and God’s Particle to deciphering random riddles in German to brainstorming about space-time continuum and all those science classes that we bunked in school, Dark S3 kept me occupied for most of my quarantine time. After all, it’s a show better watched and discussed with others, because there’s nothing like being confused together. Apart from it’s mindbending plot, Dark is for surely one of the best in the sci-fi genre. It is definitely edgy, very smart in its execution and a cinematic masterpiece. It’s quite a dramatic ride with a satisfying finale. – Vaishali Jain
Scam 1992: The Harshad Mehta Story (SonyLIV)
It is a biography of an infamous stockbroker whose life journey, as traced in the series, is filled with dramatic thrills, highs and lows. With original elements in storytelling, filmmaker Hansal Mehta convincingly creates the world of the ’90s for us when middle class aspirations were at an all-time high due to liberalisation policies and an upward thrust for entrepreneurship. It has a terrific ensemble to deliver home the story of a heavyweight. – Devasheesh Pandey
The Good Place Season 4 (Netflix)
It is not very often that a showrunner decides to end their award-winning and adored television series at the peak of its popularity. So when Michael Schur announced that he was finishing his critically acclaimed comedy The Good Place with the fourth season, fans had mixed reactions. However, season 4 of this brilliantly-written after-life drama became one of the best endings ever written for a TV show. The beloved characters Eleanor, Chidi, Michael, Tahani, Jason and Janet got their true happy endings, but it wrecked us viewers. We will surely miss this show, that felt so much like a warm hug in our drab lives. But we are happy to see it maintain its superior quality by ending where it should.
Unpopular opinion: I love Schitt’s Creek, but Michael Schur should have won the Outstanding Writing Primetime Emmy for the series finale ‘Whenever You’re Ready.’ – Antara Kashyap
One Day at a Time (Netflix)
One Day at a Time is a combination of life and humour. I have laughed out loud and also gotten a lump in my throat. It encourages individuality, being proud of who you are and where you come from, and also diversity, respecting others’ belief and culture. It deals with real-life adversities such as addiction, family issues, drugs, sexuality, gender identity, adolescence issues and racism, among other things. Characters like Penelope, a single mother of two, Elena, an adolsecent who is gay but is never afraid to be herself, Alex, a teenager who wants to be the ‘man’ of the family, remain with you. Then there is Abuelita, Penelope’s mother, who is very traditional but understands her daughter’s depression and supports her in the treatment. She is not only supportive when her granddaughter comes out to her but also helps her in getting a girlfriend. She also forgives her grandson, whom she expects to be perfect, when he uses drug under peer pressure and out of curiousity. More so, male characters show sensitivity and vulnerability, while female characters are ambitious, passionate and supportive of each other. – Nilofar Shaikh