Mercado on TV: 2020 – A bad year delivered some great television

• There was a lot to watch in 2020 but nothing was better than a surprise package

2020 was great for TV because in lockdown, there it was, hours and hours of great stuff and all of it guilt-free. And despite more TV to watch than ever, many returned to the comfort of old favourites like A Country Practice (7Plus).

There was a lot to watch in 2020 but nothing was better than a surprise package like Unorthodox (Netflix), The Comey Rule (Stan), The Queen’s Gambit (Netflix), Mrs America (Foxtel), Call My Agent (Netflix) and White House Farm (Foxtel).

Overseas docos included Freeman (ABC), Visible: Out On TV (Apple), Tiger King (Netflix) and Natalie Wood: What Remains Behind (Foxtel). Locally, Save This Shark (Nat Geo), Big Weather – and how to survive it (ABC), Addicted Australia (SBS) and Further Back In Time For Dinner (ABC) were standouts.

Best Aussie dramas of the year were Mystery Road (ABC), Halifax: Retribution (Nine), Wentworth: Redemption (Foxtel) and Operation Buffalo (ABC). Just quietly, my favourites were The Heights (ABC) which soared in its second series and The Beach (SBS) which was pure beauty.

Well done Neighbours (10Peach) for showing the rest of the world how to keep making TV in the age of coronavirus. The Bold and the Beautiful (Ten) went one step further by bringing in mannequins for kissing scenes. Now a mannequin that looks like Hope (Kim Matula) is telling Thomas (Matthew Atkinson) to kill Liam (Scott Clifton). Really.

With cinemas closed, streaming services brought us movies like Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga (Netflix), The Very Excellent Mr Dundee (Amazon Prime), I Am Woman (Stan) and, the biggest streaming hit of the year behind Hamilton (Disney), Borat Subsequent Moviefilm (Amazon Prime).

At Home Alone Together (ABC) was the first and best coronavirus satire show. Aunty Donna’s Big Ol’ House of Fun (Netflix), Regular Old Bogan (7mate) and LOL: Last One Laughing Australia (Amazon Prime) proved that political correctness has not killed Aussie comedy.

James Manning can remind me of everything I’ve forgotten when we do our final podcast for the year. But the show that defines 2020 for me is Schitts Creek (Netflix). That was the perfect place to escape to in lockdown. Have a good summer everyone. 

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