9 TV Shows That Made Us Forget It Was 2020

Never Have I Ever, What We Do in the Shadows, Ted Lasso
Netflix; FX; Apple TV+

Looking for escape was the story of many people’s lives in 2020—and TV was there to help.

Whether you were in pursuit of laughter to make you feel better or a gripping drama to escape reality, there were plenty of options, from comfort picks like The Great British Baking Show to a kind-hearted comedy like Apple TV+’s Ted Lasso. Here are some of the titles that allowed us to forget it was 2020, if only for a little while.

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

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

The good, the bad, and the infuriating. Plus, readers weigh in!
Community cast
Mitchell Haaseth / ©NBC / Courtesy Everett Collection


In a year where we were all in need of being cheered up, old favorites like Community saw a resurgence in viewership via streaming on Netflix and Hulu. The former NBC and Yahoo series—about a ragtag group of community college students—may have stopped airing in 2015, but the love for Joel McHale, Gillian Jacobs, Alison Brie, Donald Glover, Danny Pudi, Yvette Nicole Brown, and Chevy Chase, remains strong in 2020.

Never Have I Ever Netflix Devi

Never Have I Ever

This teen comedy from Lang Fisher and Mindy Kaling may have had its serious moments, but watching Devi (Maitreyi Ramakrishnan) and friends deal with high school struggles took our focus off the present for a few half-hour episodes. Devi’s attempts to come to terms with her father’s death offer a stark contrast to her hilarious plight to change her virginity status.

Ted Lasso Jason sudeikis
Apple TV+

Ted Lasso

Jason Sudeikis is a complete and utter ray of sunshine in Apple TV+’s comedy about an American plucked from his gig as a college football coach to lead an English soccer team, AFC Richmond. Along with the gaggle of team members he’s doing his best to motivate, the titular character endures some tough situations, all while wearing a smile. Ted Lasso had us believing we could do anything we put our minds to, except maybe drink tea. This fish-out-of-water tale brightened a dark year even further when Apple renewed it for two more seasons.

The Crown Josh O'Connor Emma Corrin

The Crown

While production on fan favorite shows was put on hold due to the pandemic, some treats were locked and loaded—like Netflix’s highly addictive royal drama The Crown. Despite the tough topics addressed in the fourth season, viewers were transported from 2020 to the 1980s as Princess Diana (Emma Corrin) entered the scene.

The Great British Baking Show

The Great British Bake Off (Netflix)

Like the competitors of Nailed It!, the people who appear in The Great British Baking Show (as it’s titled in the U.S.) may lack the expertise and rigor of conventional baking TV show contestants. But what they lack in expertise, they make up for with amicability. Rather than compete ruthlessly with each other, the bakers constantly step in to help each other complete the challenges. It’s a show infused with the kind of warmth that we all desperately need right now, which is what makes it so pleasant to watch.

Tiger King Joe Exotic Netflix

Tiger King

It’s no secret that Netflix subscribers were absorbed by the twisted true story of onetime zoo impresario Joe Exotic and his hatred for Big Cat Rescue’s Carole Baskin. The heavily referenced title became a sensation, delivering more shocks with each episode. Kicking off right as stay-at-home orders were being implemented, Tiger King was a shoo-in to take off.

Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist Jane Levy Skylar Astin
Sergei Bachlakov/NBC

Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist

It’s easy to get lost in musical numbers, and NBC’s dramedy provided just that escape for its viewers via Zoey (Jane Levy), who suddenly begins hearing people’s inner thoughts in song and dance. The show’s stunning performances—especially the ones related to Zoey’s personal drama with her sick father (Peter Gallagher) and her love triangle involving best friend Max (Skylar Astin) and coworker Simon (John Clarence Stewart)—left us in awe each week.

What we do in the shadows season 2 fx
Russ Martin/FX

What We Do in the Shadows

Season 2 of FX’s comedy about a group of vampire roommates living in Staten Island, New York, didn’t suck in the laugh department. With hysterical plotlines from energy vamp Colin’s (Mark Proksch) online trolling to Laszlo’s (Matt Berry) incognito life as bartender Jackie Daytona, What We Do in the Shadows gave viewers an entree to another world.

Better Call Saul Rhea Seehorn Bob Odenkirk
Greg Lewis/AMC/Sony Pictures Television

Better Call Saul

Breaking Bad‘s prequel about everyone’s favorite criminal lawyer upped the ante in its penultimate season. In events still careening toward the time in which Bad was set, Jimmy (Bob Odenkirk) becomes further entangled in the web of Gus Fring (Giancarlo Esposito) and the Salamancas’ ongoing feud. Stellar performances (especially from Rhea Seehorn) and edge-of-your-seat action made the “origin” story of Saul Goodman a perfect TV escape.