As millions were forced to stay home amid the coronavirus pandemic in 2020, people turned to television to pass the time.
Netflix users went on several wild rides. At the top of the year, reality TV fans couldn’t get enough of Love Is Blind, which started streaming in February. During the series, six couples got engaged without seeing each other. And while Diamond Jack and Carlton Morton didn’t even make it to their wedding day, the five other couples — Kelly Chase and Kenny Barnes, Jessica Batten and Mark Cuevas, Giannina Gibelli and Damian Powers, Amber Pike and Matthew Barnett, Lauren Speed and Cameron Hamilton— had a decision to make about their future together before they walked down the aisle. In the end, both Lauren and Cameron and Amber and Barnett exchanged vows … and are still together. While Giannina and Damian opted not to wed, their split didn’t last, and they are still going strong at the end of 2020.
As COVID-19 cases rose in the United States, TV fans met Joe Exotic and Carole Baskin on Tiger King,which started as a documentary about big cat conservationists and turned into a murder mystery. The streaming service didn’t just rule reality TV in 2020, however. In April, millions binged Outer Banks, a series about teenagers hunting for treasure tied to his father’s disappearance. Fast-forward to October and social media users couldn’t decide if they loved, hated or loved to hate Emily in Paris. In the end, star Lily Collins got the last laugh as the show was picked up for season 2.
“As disheartening as it sometimes is to read these things, it’s also a gift; you’re being allowed to improve,” the actress told Vogue Arabia about the criticism of the show.
That same month, The Queen’s Gambit dropped and suddenly everyone’s favorite quarantine activity was chess. According to The New York Times, sales of chess sets were up at least 125 percent after people met Anya Taylor-Joy’s Beth Harmon on the drama. eBay reported a 215 percent increase in chess sets and accessories.
“I get overwhelmed quite easily,” Taylor-Joy told The Guardian of the show’s success. “My brain can’t picture more people than 5,000, so 62 million households having seen it is something I can’t grasp. When things become this successful, it’s not about you anymore – it belongs to everybody.”
Netflix wasn’t the only streaming service or network with success in 2020. Scroll through for a list of the most talked-about shows of the year: