Hey guys and welcome to another episode ofStreaming with Suchin.
We’re about halfway through the year, so I figured now is a great time to look backand list the Best of 2020 so far.
I know, right?! “Best of 2020” sounds weird.
Implying that anything good at all, anywhere, has happened during the ongoing.
that is this year.
Saying 'Best of 2020' is like sayingwho's YOUR favourite serial killer? Oh, you love Ted Bundy? Yeah, personally I'm more ofa Manson guy myself.
Point is – it’s a futile, ridiculous exercise whichwill leave you exhausted, defeated and confused.
At this point, 'Best of 2020' just sounds like you'reranking the best WORST thing that's happened this year.
But, while the universe continues to burn and you sincerely wish you couldkick the world in the nuts right now, for many of us, what’s got us through itis watching stuff.
So, here’s looking at my favourite streaming showsand movies from the year so far.
We begin with Netflix, which has been instrumentalto keeping a lot of us going in lockdown.
Netflix continues to win the streaming wars withsome of the best movies and shows out there.
But, it continues to fumble around in the darkwhen it comes to its Indian content.
Again, the Indian originals this yearhave ranged from painful to sit through to fascinating concepts which just don't land.
The Indian originals that I enjoyed most were crime drama Jamtara, which was bumpybut sincere with some great performances, as well as Sooni Taraporewala’s inspiring film Yeh Ballet.
But, on the international front, Netflix continues to be.
While we've all been hooked to the likes of Tiger King, Too Hot To Handle and Money Heist, here are some of my favourites from the year.
We begin with Season 2of Narcos: Mexico.
The Narcos spin-off series is easily oneof the most underrated gems on Netflix, especially after this explosive second season, which took things to a whole new level.
Narcos: Mexico is badassand addictive and absorbing.
And it's all based on a true story.
It’s basically just a fantasticgangster drama on crack.
Next up is Messiah, which I maintain, is a fascinatingshow which just didn’t get enough love.
A mysterious figure emerges from Syriaand is proclaimed a messiah.
His following spreads all the wayaround the world, to the US.
But we don’t know who he isor anything about him.
Is he a hoax, or is he the Saviour? Despite a number of plot holes and the fact thatthe show asks more questions and it answers, Messiah is an ambitiousand weirdly hypnotic show which explores the messy intersectionbetween faith, religion and politics.
And I thought it really achieved something.
Next on my list is Mindy Kaling’scoming-of-age comedy Never Have I Ever.
I had a lot of problems withNever Have I Ever, largely down to its severe identity issues and its insensitive and clearly outsiderperspective of Indian-ness.
It's basically Introduction to Indian 101, packaged for white people.
But if you can look past that, it’s a sweet show thathad me care deeply about its central character Devi.
Despite its flaws, the show took me on a journeythat really stayed with me and I got entirely swept away by her story.
Next on my list isAlice Wu’s The Half of It which is one of the mostspecial things I’ve seen this year.
It’s a high school coming-of-agelove triangle rom-com which I know sounds so standard, but trust me when I sayyou’ve never seen it done quite like this.
It’s sensitive and delicate and wonderfuland washes over you in the best way.
For a film to be made about lovein this day and age, that still has something new to say, is nothing short of a triumph.
The Half of It is a sad, lonely and hopeful movie, and one that I’m deeply grateful for.
On the stand-up comedy front, Netflix had some great comedy specials this year.
Two of my favourites were Vir Das: For India, as well as Marc Maron’s End Times Fun, which were both drop dead hilarious, as well as deeply insightful.
Yeah, I see you therewith all the angry typing.
I know there's great stuff I’ve missed likeOzark and Dead to Me and After Life.
And while I appreciateall of your angry comments, that's the point of this.
To have a conversation with you guys.
So tell me what your favorite Netflixshows of the year have been so far, in the comments below.
And, onto Amazon Prime Video, whichcontinues to be like food at a wedding.
Great Indian stuff, but continental stuffthat’s.
Amazon continues to be responsiblefor the best originals from India with an almost spotless record this year, apart from the painfully forgettable misfirethat was Kabir Khan’s The Forgotten Army.
We begin with season 2 of Pushpavalli, whichis easily one of my favourites from the year.
Season 2 reunited us with our favorite mastermanipulator and stalker extraordinaire Pushpavalli, along with that host oflovably messed up characters.
The second season took thingsto new and unexpected places, whilst managing to strike thatdelicate tone of being hilarious, without ever shying away from the seriousnessand creepiness of the subject matter.
Pushpavalli is the rare show that explores how love andrelationships can bring out the very worst in a person and it’s THE definitive Indian dark comedy to watch.
Next up is Panchayat starring Jitendra Kumar, Neena Gupta and Raghubir Yadav.
Panchayat is a fish out of water story about a city boyforced to take up a job in a remote village.
While for me, it didn’t quite pack the same punch asTVF greats like Kota Factory or Hostel Daze, it’s another solid TVF entry withwonderful performances and casting, which really give the showa shining sense of authenticity.
Panchayat is full of heartand well worth your time.
Then, there was alsothe hard-hitting Paatal Lok, which I think is one of the strongest dramas to havecome out of the Indian streaming space so far.
Through a washed out cop’s investigation of ahigh profile attempted murder case, the show tells us the story of usand the state of the country today.
It's about oppression and abuse and all thethings in our society designed to divide.
It’s not the easiest show to stomach, full of violence and uncomfortable scenes, but it screams of the kind of attention to detailwe so rarely come across, along with some of the finest performancesyou'll see this year.
Paatal Lok is rich layered storytellingthat's designed to challenge and make you look inward.
On the stand-up comedy front, Amazon seems to have become a machine which justchurns out Indian comedy specials one after another.
The only one that reallystuck with me from this year was Naveen Richard's Relatively Relatable, which I thought was hilarious and absurdand confident in the best possible way.
Two quick special mentions.
also from Amazon, there was theambitious dark comedy Afsos, filled with immortal beings, secret societies and mystical monks.
While it didn’t quite come together for me, I enjoyed just how unique and wacky it was.
There was also season 2 of Amazon’s residentguilty pleasure – Four More Shots Please! For me, this was a much stronger season, which addressed some of the shallow storytellingand surface level drama of season 1.
I thought Season 2 wasthe kind of enjoyable, comfort watch which really helps youget you out of your own head.
And last but not least, we come to Disney+ Hotstar.
Easily the biggest development in theIndian streaming space this year was the official launch of Disney+ in India.
I might be wrong, but I thinkthis makes us one of the only countries to not only have access to everything Disney+, But also HBO’s extensive library which consists of pretty much all of thebest shows ever made anywhere ever.
But, as we know, Disney+ Hotstar really hasn'thad the best luck with their Indian shows.
They had 3 new original series this year – the forgettable Hundred, the unremarkable Special Ops.
But then last week, there was Aarya, which I absolutely loved.
Finally, Hotstar hasa winner on their hands.
Led by a phenomenal Sushmita Sen, who returns to the screen after 10 years.
Aarya is a crime drama about a woman who’s forced to take up the mantle ofher husband’s drug empire to protect her family.
From creators Ram Madhvani and Sandeep Modi, Aarya never lets up.
It’s wall-to-wall gripping, with sparklingperformances from an entire cast.
It's sophisticatedand impressive and addictive and I could not recommend it enough.
So, that’s my list! But, I think more than watchingall these great shows, my favourite thing this year has been getting to talk about themwith all of you guys, which has just been the best.
But yeah, that’s all from me, my bad jokes, Ted and Tiger Shroff.
We’ll see you on the other side.
Till then, happy streaming!.