The Year in Cheers & Jeers: Stick a Fork in 2020!

Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist the outsider The boys
Sergei Bachlakov/NBC/Lionsgate; HBO; Amazon Prime Video

Love Baby Yoda? Same. Still miffed about DWTS? That makes sense. TV has been nutso for months with shutdowns, delays, last-minute cancellations and oh-so-many plot twists that either irked or overjoyed fans from all corners of the channel guide. So in honor of the end of this mess of a year, we round up what had us clapping and yelling at the TV in 2020.

Matt Roush's Top 10 TV Shows of 2020See Also

Matt Roush's Top 10 TV Shows of 2020

These are the shows that most surprised and/or satisfied during the challenging months of 2020.
NBC

CHEERS

To Kelly Clarkson, Drew Barrymore and Tamron Hall for keeping us company. Sassy, earthy and honest, the lovable trinity of talk-show hosts have become the best kind of daytime distraction for so many folks in need of some uplifting interaction while working from home.

Janine Rio Kay Bless This Mess Season 2 Finale

JEERS (Readers Weigh In!)

To ABC for canceling Bless This Mess. I was very disappointed (and surprised) by this decision. We were just getting to know all of the offbeat, hilarious townsfolk featured in the show, and the episodes were really starting to click! Not many comedies offer that many laugh-out-loud moments per half hour. —Craig

DISNEY +

CHEERS

To The Mandalorian for delivering more than just Baby Yoda. Who needs movies when the rollicking space Western from Disney+ is bringing cinematic action, clever links to theStar Wars canon and (non-edible!) Easter eggs aplenty? And don’t even get us started on that season finale. WHAAAAAAT?!!!

STARZ

CHEERS

To Outlander for thinking outside the box. On top of taking some big emotional swings with Claire and Jamie, Season 5 of the Starz time-travel epic threw us creative curveballs like an episode partly in black-and-white and the harrowing season finale peek at what the Frasers’ lives would have looked like in the ’60s.

Friends Cast Perry Cox LeBlanc Kudrow Schwimmer Aniston
Warner Bros. / Courtesy: Everett Collection

JEERS

To COVID for testing our patience with so many production delays. Honestly, we’re starting to wonder if we’ll ever see Friends reunite, Chip and Joanna Gaines get their Magnolia Network up and running or even another season of Stranger Things. OMG, is this the Upside Down?!

Netflix

CHEERS (Readers Weigh In!)

To Somebody Feed Phil. This Netflix show is truly wonderful. A travelogue. A food show. But most importantly, Phil Rosenthal is a true ambassador of goodwill. He is such a sweet man, and his discussions with his elderly parents at the end of each episode are a lovely way to end this fun show. —Gay

zoey's extraordinary playlist cast
Sergei Bachlakov/NBC/Lionsgate

CHEERS

To musicals worth tuning in for. Between Netflix’s star-studded The Prom with Meryl Streep and James Corden, Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist on NBC and Disney+’s impossibly named but easy to love High School Musical: The Musical: The Series, we can’t stop singing the praises of TV’s current crop of song-filled smashes. Brava, all around.

2019 series finale gallery big bang theory
Michael Yarish/CBS

JEERS (Readers Weigh In!)

To the networks for using laugh tracks to tell us when to laugh. If the line is funny, we’ll respond accordingly — we don’t need to be cued. —Dick

Nancy Drew Cast Gallery
Miller Mobley/The CW

CHEERS

ToNancy Drew for writing a bold new chapter for literature’s teen gumshoe. Thanks to an A+ ensemble led Kennedy McMann‘s complicated Miss Drew, some serious scares and a twist that dared to upend 90 years of story, it’s no mystery why the CW’s sexy, smart take on the supersleuth stood out among TV’s myriad reboots and revivals.

Quibi Screens
Quibi on Facebook

JEERS

To Quibi for taking “short form” a bit too literally. Launched in April and shuttered in October, the streaming platform that boasted big-name stars in bite-sized content designed to be watched on mobile devices lasted almost as long as a fully charged iPad.

Supernatural Series Finale Ending Sam Dean Heaven Reunited
The CW

CHEERS

To grand finales. Although it pained us to see them go, at least Arrow, The Magicians, The Good Place, Supernatural, How to Get Away with Murder, and Schitt’s Creek all served up top-notch, mostly satisfying series enders that reminded fans why they fell in love with them in the first place.

Stumptown I'm Sorry GLOW
ABC/Tony Rivetti; truTV; Ali Goldstein/Netflix

JEERS

To renewal take-backs. Not only were GLOW, Live PD, Kirsten Dunst‘s comedy On Becoming a God in Central Florida, and Drunk History abruptly axed after being renewed, but Cobie Smulders‘ terrific Stumptown, I’m Sorry, and The Society had their plugs pulled with new seasons already in the works. This is not a cancel culture we can support!

Ron Batzdorff/NBC

CHEERS (Readers Weigh In!)

ToThis Is Us for offering an alternative take with “What if Jack (Milo Ventimiglia) didn’t die?” This is exactly what the NBC show is all about: giving us different perspectives and all kinds of surprises. —Chris

The Carol Burnett Show 1960s tv
Courtesy of Shout!FactoryTV

CHEERS

To Amazon for stocking every episode of The Carol Burnett Show. Families trapped together should be glad they’re not stuck with Mama (Vicki Lawrence), Eunice (Burnett) and Ed (Harvey Korman) and instead can stream the legendary 11-season sketch show, which landed on Prime Video at long last this summer.

Gillian Anderson The Crown Margaret Thatcher
Netflix

CHEERS

To Gillian Anderson for pulling the most diverse double-duty. The X-Files alum blew us away as liberal shrink Jean Milburn in Netflix’s Sex Education, then broke our hearts as a shockingly sympathetic Margaret Thatcher in Season 4 of the streamer’s The Crown. Let’s just put the truth out there: She’s amazing.

Justin Chambers Grey's Anatomy
ABC/Mike Rosenthal

CHEERS (Readers Weigh In!)

To Grey’s Anatomy‘s innovative storyline explaining Alex Karev’s (Justin Chambers) departure. Death has been used way too many times to write off a character on this ABC show and began to feel like a cop-out. Alex reuniting with his ex, Izzie, was bizarrely out there — and totally entertaining. —Sharyn

KUWTK-10 Years On E!
E!

CHEERS

ToKeeping Up with the Kardashians for leaving us wantingnothing. Honestly, after 14 years, more spinoffs than successful marriages and God knows how many injections, the only thing left for the First Family of Oversharing to do is go away, which they promise to once Season 20 wraps in 2021.

The Unicorn and the Catfish
Erik Voake/CBS

CHEERS

To Black lives mattering on screen. Hats off to all the series that have tackled BLM, like the lovely “It’s the Thought That Counts” episode of CBS’s The Unicorn. In the December 3 show, Black father Ben (Omar Miller) explained with eye-opening honesty to his well-meaning but confused white friend Forrest (Rob Corddry) why even the gift of a plastic blue squirt pistol could put his child at risk. “It’s not about the color of the gun,” Ben simply stated. “It’s about the color of my son.”

Extreme Makeover Home Edition
HGTV

CHEERS (Readers Weigh In!)

To HGTV for bringing back Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. Watching the second episode, where the refugee family from the Congo was welcomed by the people of Ogden, Utah, after such trauma in their homeland, I was reminded once again that this is what America is and should be. —Chris

 

Too Hot to Handle Cast
Netflix

CHEERS

To reality competitions with winning ‘tudes. All of sudden, it seems like the most entertaining unscripted outings feature sarcastic narrators (Too Hot to Handle, The Circle), quotably quippy judges (Legendary), dogs as action heroes (The Pack) or the LOL-able hosting of Nicole Byer (Nailed It!). If this is a trend, we are #loving it.

 

HBO The Outsider
Bob Mahoney/HBO

JEERS

To the Emmy snubs we’re still sore about. For as much as the Academy got right, (yass, Zendaya!), it’s so wrong howRamy, The Outsider‘s phenomenal Cynthia Erivo and Better Call Saul‘s Bob Odenkirk were wholly ignored. And let’s not even start on the triple-diss of Reese Witherspoon‘s work in The Morning Show, Big Little Lies, andLittle Fires Everywhere. Not. Even. Right.

Alex Trebek Jeopardy
CBS Television Distribution

CHEERS

To Alex Trebek for his unquestionable grace. The late Jeopardy! host’s wit, bravery and willingness to share his cancer battle secured his legacy as a true winner in life’s Tournament of Champions.

 

Space Force Season 1 Netflix
Netflix

JEERS

ToSpace Force for failing to launch us into hysterics. The only thing crazier than a plan to send the U.S. military into orbit is how the stellar talents of Steve Carell, Lisa Kudrow, and John Malkovich could be so eclipsed by the Netflix comedy’s uneven writing that confuses silliness and screaming for satire.

Chicago PD Atwater Med Natalie Crockett Fire Kidd
Matt Dinerstein/NBC; Elizabeth Sisson/NBC; Adrian S. Burrows Sr./NBC

CHEERS

To doing right by first responders. At a time when simply reporting for duty has become a life-or-death situation, NBC’s One Chicago franchise and ABC’s The Good Doctor stepped up big time to represent the real-life struggles our everyday heroes are facing.

The Conners Cast Photo ABC
ABC/Andrew Eccles

JEERS

ToThe Conners for bumming us out. There’s a fine line between slice-of-life comedy and cutting too close to the bone. And the ABC sitcom’s heavy focus on the family’s money woes — which drove a despondent, uninsured Dan to declare his death wouldn’t even benefit his kids — reflects a harsh reality almost too painful to laugh at.

John Krasinski, Some Good News, YouTube News Show
Some Good News

JEERS

To Some Good News‘ not-great fate. At the start of the pandemic, John Krasinski‘s homemade web show was a happy reminder of humankind’s best side, full of upbeat stories and celeb gags. Then he sold the idea to ViacomCBS for a ton of money and they’ve yet to make good on their plan to produce new episodes.

Council of Dads Series Finale What Would Have Happened Next
Seth F. Johnson/NBC

JEERS

To the death of Council of Dads. Like so many of 2020’s short-lived feel-good shows, the NBC drama about three men who stepped in to help the wife and five kids of their late friend was emotional, optimistic and, unfortunately, doomed. Even though it began with a tragedy, the life-goes-on vibe never failed to touch our hearts. Thankfully, we still have ABC’s A Million Little Things and Hallmark holiday movies to bring us the ugly cries.

 

Roku
courtesy of Roku

JEERS

To streaming platforms that don’t flow everywhere. Peacock doesn’t work on Amazon Fire TV sticks, Apple TV+ won’t run on all Google devices and HBO Max just got to Roku. If y’all don’t start getting along, we may just reconsider keeping our cable packages.

the boys
Amazon Prime Video

CHEERS

To TheBoys for not kidding around. Like the evil twin of theArrowverse shows, Prime Video’s primo adaptation of the graphic novels about vigilantes battling a secretly corrupt team of superheroes led by Antony Starr‘s amoral Homelander soared to become streaming service’s highest-rated original series. Not only that, it scored a third-season renewal before Season 2 launched and there’s already a spinoff in the pipeline.

dwts-changes
Andrew Eccles/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images via Getty Images; Eric McCandless via Getty Images

JEERS

To Dancing With the Stars for showing Tom Bergeron the pas de door. The perfect host was shuffled off ABC’s dance floor without even a chance to take a bow after 15 years. That’s some jive right there.

The Great British Baking Show PBS
Courtesy of PBS

CHEERS

To The Great British Baking Showfor mixing up the usual recipe. Netflix’s cozy cooking gem is generally as light as a puff pastry, so we were gobsmacked when things took a darker turn with the surprise elimination of fan fave Hermine. Sometimes ya need a little spice.