Dark Light

The 10 Most Impactful Shows Since 2020

The world shut down in 2020 so we did the only thing we could do and turned on the TV.

That’s a little simplistic, of course, but it’s undeniable that watching television became a big part of how many of us stayed grounded the last few years amidst COVID-19 lockdowns and WFH restrictions. Streamers knew this and turned on the gas, unleashing overwhelming waves of content. There was something for everyone and, in many cases, a little too much. You couldn’t watch everything. Some of us chose instead to sink back into familiarity — The Office, Seinfeld and Martin. Others chose one or two shows to really stick with — SuccessionLoki or Yellowstone.

But all of us missed something. There’s just no way to keep up to date on everything, nor is it even advisable. But if you are interested in making space for a new show — one of the new ones you heard about over the last few years — here are the ones we found have made the biggest mark. Here are our most impactful shows that started post-2020.

All Creatures Great and Small

This extremely charming adaptation of James Harriot’s novels follows a kindhearted veterinarian in Yorkshire who spends his time, well, he doesn’t do much if we’re being honest. The thrill of the show is its gentle pace and warm, soothing tone that glories in wholesome energy. It’s a balm for the soul.

Lovecraft Country

On the less “soothing” side of the scale was this excellent and terrifying trip down the mouth of madness. Lovecraft Country revisited the world created by H.P. Lovecraft with a keen eye for the famed horror author’s vein of stark racism — finding new terror in the ugliness of the antebellum south that goes far deeper than the creepy crawlies that populate it.

WandaVision

The MCU’s first foray into television was its weirdest, slowly peeling back the layers of a mystery wrapped in deliberately dated sitcoms. Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany worked wonders as Wanda and Vision, and built an emotional core to their relationship that resonated almost as hard as “Agatha All Along.” No wonder Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness is leaning so heavily on the Scarlet Witch in its marketing.

Ted Lasso

On paper, it shouldn’t have worked. Jason Sudeikis as an American football coach thrown into the world of European football? And it’s all based on an ad campaign? But the writers knew they were onto something and leaned heavily into Ted Lasso’s good-natured charm and folksy wisdom to create an anti-antihero unlike anything else on TV.

I May Destroy You

Michaela Cole’s blistering journey through trauma and healing after a sexual assault takes the agony, terror and reality of its subject seriously, providing a deeply human look at a subject that so rarely gets a perspective this courageous or wise.

Abbott Elementary

Jeanine Teagues and her band of co-workers aren’t all on the same page in terms of enthusiasm, pep or discipline, but they are united in the common goal of keeping their students alive and getting them educated, and what a ride it is. You hardly need our recommendation for this, given its runaway success, but it’s far and away the most promising new sitcom in ages.

Station Eleven

This show starts off extraordinarily harrowing, given its prescient glimpse of a world reeling from a sudden, mysterious pandemic. But its focus slowly evolves over time, and time is key to Station Eleven’s development. The gentle balancing of multiple eras before, during and after a flu wipes out much of humanity is one of its great feats. This sickness leaves only a few survivors, the remains of their culture and the struggle to build something new without sacrificing the things they loved. A remarkable achievement.

See Also

The White Lotus

We go on vacation to get away from it all, but life has a way of following us to even the most beautiful resort. That’s the idea behind Mike White’s White Lotus, which follows a collection to well-to-do white folks at a Hawaiian resort, and the ways they can never quite escape whatever it is they’re vacationing from. An uncomfortable, twisty and supremely well-delivered bit of razor sharp satire.

 

 

Reservation Dogs

Taika Waititi’s sharp comedy plays a little like Twin Peaks, following the strange and occasionally surreal adventures of a group of Indigenous teens trying to escape Oklahoma for a fabled land of freedom called California.

Severance

The most recent show on this list but also one of the best and weirdest, Ben Stiller’s speculative strange-fest tackles our relationship with work from a fresh, extremely odd angle that’s full of spot-on commentary and grim possibility.

© 2022 RELEVANT Media Group, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Scroll To Top