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  • Writer's pictureJermaine Thomas, II

A Few of my Favorite Things: 2020 Edition

Updated: Mar 15, 2021

2020 gave me ample time to deep dive into television and music, so here are a few of my favorite picks, and some honorable mentions from this year!

Best Comedy: Insecure (HBO)

Emmy Award-Winning Series Insecure* that is. Even though it was a Creative Arts Emmy this time, I’m speaking into existence some Primetime Emmys next year! Insecure has been on a roll like no other these past few years. Every season is undeniably better than the last. This season delved into topics that don’t come up too often on the small screen such as ya know… Black people in general. (We still need more representation.) Anywho, Issa and the team came through with two more episodes this season, too!

Thinking of Season 4, people may immediately think about the plot that arched throughout the entire season, which was Issa and Molly’s friendship, but I also want to call some attention to the episode that focused on Molly and Asian Bae’s trip to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. That specific conversation Molly and Andrew had with Andrew’s brother in the pool showed the very fine line between Black people and non-Black people of color. Reasons why you should not lump Black and POC together example #94,297,492.

Honorable Mentions: I May Destroy You (HBO), Schitt’s Creek (Pop), Ramy (Hulu), Dave (FX on Hulu)

Best Miniseries: Mrs. America (Hulu)

This one right here took me up. I love, love period dramas. Mrs. America was unlike anything I have seen before. As you can probably guess, I don’t do a *whole* bunch of time seeing life through the eyes of Conservative White Women, because…. Why would I? But, this show forced me to look through their point of view. Mrs. America follows the battle of the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) focusing on Women’s’ Rights in the ’80s. Each episode follows a new prominent figure in the movement from both the conservative and liberal viewpoints. Shout out to Emmy Award winner Uzo Aduba who shined in her turn as Shirley Chisolm, she deserved.

TV is wonderful when it allows you to step into the shoes of someone who is unlike you. That is exactly what Mrs. America did. The writing was impeccable, it propelled the story and character development immaculately. Learning about the conservative dissent to the ERA in the '80s was... fun.

Honorable Mentions: Little Fires Everywhere (Hulu), The Undoing (HBO), Hollywood (Netflix)

Best Documentary Film: Visible: Out On Television (Apple TV+)

Visible: Out On Television was one of the most insightful, inspiring, heartfelt documentaries of the year. Visible follows LGBTQ+ representation since the invention of television. They truly leave no stone unturned in this five-part look at how television has shaped American society in a multitude of ways. Each part of the documentary covers a designated period of time, painting such vivid imagery of how American’s saw the culture through television. If I were to choose a documentary that taught me the most about a certain topic, this would be the one.

The last installment of the documentary is entitled, “The New Guard” was one of the most hopeful things I’ve seen all year. Visible truly exemplified the resilience of the LGBTQ+ community. It was invigorating to see how much LGBTQ+ representation is present in today’s media. No longer are the days where LGBTQ+ youth have to search and scour for representation, it is more readily available, and that matters! Representation is a very important step in finding self-acceptance and pride in who you are, and Visible truly moved that process along for me.

Honorable Mentions: The Last Dance (ESPN), Becoming (Netflix), The Remix (Netflix), Disclosure (Netflix), Hillary (Hulu)

Best Album: Ungodly Hour by Chloe x Halle

Let’s be honest, a lot of music that comes out today is not timeless. Almost as if it has a deadline that is sealed within the year of its original release. But Ungodly Hour? ChloexHalle disrupted the industry with this one. From the lyrics, the production, to the melodies, the gurls snapped undeniably. So much so that 4/5 of my Top 5 Songs on Spotify were from this album. My favorite part about this album is the lyrics. Chloe x Halle have a beautiful way of creating vivid stories in their songs that allow me to create little mental movies, I love the imagery. My favorite song from the album is “Don’t Make It Harder on Me.” What makes this song stick out is the clear blues and gospel influence that flank the instrumentation layered under the soulful interpretation of the lyrics by the girls. The only thing this album is missing is a Vinyl pressing! Hopefully, by mid-summer, they’ll bless us with it. *fingers crossed*

Honorable Mentions: ALICIA (Alicia Keys), Rainbow Boy (Keiynan Lonsdale), Bigger Love (John Legend), Lianne La Havas (Lianne La Havas)

Best Drama: Lovecraft Country (HBO)

Y’all knew the vibes. From episode one, Lovecraft Country drew me in like moths to a flame. Before Lovecraft premiered, I had not seen Black people depicted in such a breathtaking style. One of many things Lovecraft illustrated perfectly throughout the season is the feeling you get when you’re in a great mood but still can’t help to think about how something bad is bubbling just beneath the surface. Uneasiness constantly prevails. However, Black love, Black joy, and Black family prevailed as well.

Episode 7, “I Am” was my favorite episode of the season. This episode followed Hippolyta as she traveled through multiple dimensions on a quest to find who Hippolyta is outside of what the world tells her. Hippolyta's travels took her to Paris, performing on stage with Josephine Baker, to a galaxy far away, where she appeared as the superhero, Orinthia Blue, and many other places. At the end of her journey, Hippolyta connects once again to the essence of herself which was lost in translation through years as a wife and mother. It was quite a beautiful episode, featuring beautiful Black women front and center. #ProtectBlackWomen

­Honorable Mentions: Grand Army (Netflix), Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist (NBC), P-Valley (Starz)

Comment below if I mentioned any of your favorites, or left some out. I am always looking for new things to procrastinate with! :) Thanks for sticking with me through this wild year, catch you on the flip!

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