Issue #10: Farewell 2020, the year everyone became a TV addict

Ft. year-end lists with a twist

Hi,

Welcome back to the TENTH issue of Continue Watching, and also the last one for 2020! Can you believe it? We’ve been doing this for five months now, and in a year where nothing made sense and all our days merged into each other, the one thing that kept us tethered to reality was the fact that every month, on the 15th and 30th, we got a chance to talk to you. So, thank you for basically saving our 2020!

We decided not to do two essays for this issue. Instead, like any self-respecting listmaniac, we wrote year-end lists! The two of us watch TV very differently, so these are individual lists on topics that matter most to us (like fashion for Shahana and, um, crying for Kashika), instead of a combined top 10 list. We thought it’d be more fun this way, and it’s been a journey trying to remember everything we watched this year, especially because January and February have been wiped clean from our memories!

So, the one thing that people absolutely cannot stop talking about this week is Bridgerton. The new Shonda Rhimes show has been just the decadent delight many people were craving in this foggy last week of the year. We are savouring it, so we haven’t finished it yet, but we still have opinions about it, so let’s get to it.

CURRENTLY WATCHING

Shahana

Bridgerton: FINALLY! I love period shows and romances, and historical romance novels are a straight-up pleasure in my life. Following the lives of the eponymous Bridgerton siblings and based on the books by Julia Quinn, Bridgerton takes us into Regency England as young people try to find people to marry and avoid scandal, all while a Gossip Girl-esque anonymous writer named Lady Whistledown thwarts their attempts at the latter. Balls, extremely good looking people, flirting, and oh, the yearning. In the meantime, I'm really enjoying watching Regé-Jean Page (Simon Basset) lick ice-cream off a spoon. Streaming on Netflix.

The Alienist: A period show set in mid-1890s New York City, The Alienist revolves around Laszlo Kreizler (Daniel Brühl), John Schuyler Moore (Luke Evans), and Sara Howard (Dakota Fanning) as they investigate a serial killer who is murdering and dismembering street children. The first couple of episodes, where Kreizler talks about the psyche of the serial killer, is very reminiscent of Mindhunters, and I love serial killers and mysteries, so this is looking good. Streaming on Netflix.

Kashika

Bridgerton: If you’ve been reading this newsletter for a while, you know that I absolutely cannot stand period shows. While I wanted Bridgerton to be different, because of Shonda, my distaste for old-timey clothes and language is just too strong. And before you chide me with the assumption that I am rejecting it because the only thing that happens in it is relentless shaadi talk, please remember that I love Indian TV. I can watch sexual tension simmering between two beautiful people for YEARS. What I cannot watch is two balls per episode, convoluted old English, and an absolutely lukewarm fake dating trope. The latter physically hurt me. If the writers of Bridgerton would like some lessons in the art of handling fake dating on TV, I’d respectfully suggest they speak to someone who has written a Korean drama. Streaming on Netflix.

The Wilds: Eight teenage girls find themselves stranded on a deserted island, but what they do not know is that their parents are in on it. I thought the trailer didn’t do the premise much justice, and I was right. Watching teen girls come into their own after dealing with the shit that society relentlessly throws at them has always been very rewarding, and this show is no exception. It has been fun trying to figure out exactly why the girls were dumped on this island and what is the deal with the woman running this entire social experiment. Is it a cult? Is she a lunatic? Will all the girls make it out of there alive? The Wilds has already been renewed for season two, so I’m worried we won’t get too many answers at the end of season one, but it has been interesting nonetheless. Streaming on Amazon Prime Video. 

Tell us what you’re watching in the last few days of this year, which TV shows you’re looking forward to in 2021, and what TV habits you are planning to make or break in the New Year. We hope you enjoy our take on the year-end lists (beware of spoilers though), even if they’ve made this newsletter longer than usual (don’t forget to click on ‘view entire message’ to read the whole thing!). Once again, thank you for sticking with us through this year!

We wish you a very happy 2021! We hope that this New Year is a little better, a little calmer, and a little safer for all of us. 

Continue Watching (and reading!),

Kashika and Shahana

Shahana’s Top 5 Favourite Fashion Moments

The Queen’s Gambit: Beth Harmon’s Pleated Skirt and Chevron Top

Pretty much all of Beth Harmon’s looks are great, but this particular ensemble lives rent-free in my head. I’m 100% confident if I put that on and walked around, the amount of self-confidence I exuded would be enough to achieve all my dreams. 

The Undoing: Grace Fraser’s Pleated Metallic Givenchy Dress 

All her coats, yes, please. But this dress? Fabulous. This metallic dress changes between blue, gold, and pink undertones depending on where the lights hit it, so I don’t even blame Elena Alves for staring at her. I would too. 

Normal People: Marianne Sheridan’s All-Velvet Look 

There are multiple Marianne looks that I think were amazing. The oversized grey sweater that just casually falls off her shoulder, the black dress she wears in Italy, the knotted scarf and blouse combo at Trinity, but this all-velvet look is top tier. The silhouette looks like it would be unflattering, but on her, it doesn’t, and the blazer gives off a very The Secret History-esque dark academia vibe and I want it. 

The Great: Catherine’s Pink Gown 

The dress, the colour, the flower in her hair—all of it screams drama and demands to be noticed. After all, when one is on their way to stage a coup and take control of an empire, one must dress for attention. 

It’s Okay To Not Be Okay: Ko Mun-young’s White Portrait Dress

I want her entire wardrobe. Period. But especially this white dress. Literally everything she wears is gorgeous, even what she wears to bed. When I die, I want to be buried in this dress. 

Kashika’s Top 5 TV Moments That Made Her Ugly Cry

It’s Okay To Not Be Okay: Sang-tae tells his mom about the book he illustrated

IOTNBO is a show that made me cry a lot because so many bad things kept happening to the three main characters, all of whom I wanted to protect with my life. But in the last episode, after everything has been resolved, I didn’t expect to shed any more tears. I was wrong, and when the Moon brothers, along with Mun-young, go to the tree they’d planted in the memory of their mom and Sang-tae excitedly starts to tell her about his new career as an illustrator of children’s books, I howled so loudly that my mother came inside my room to ask me if I’m okay. When he says, “I’m so happy I don’t know why I keep crying,” I threw myself on the bed and sobbed for three minutes straight. 

13 Reasons Why: Tyler tells Clay about his assault

I stopped watching 13 Reasons Why because of the way Tyler’s assault was shown in season two. It was too much for me, and it made me want to never watch TV ever again. In the last issue, I wrote about unexpectedly going back to the show. In season three, after keeping his trauma to himself for months, Tyler tells Clay what happened to him. A horrified Clay asks him if he can give Tyler a hug, Tyler cautiously says yes, and the moment he hugs Clay, he breaks down. I have rarely heard such gut-wrenching sobs on TV, kudos to Devin Druid for portraying Tyler with such sensitivity, but this scene haunts me.  

Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist: Zoey’s dad sings to her

Full disclosure: I had to take a break from writing because I watched this video and started crying. I had no idea what I was in for when I started watching Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist, a show that no one I know watches. It had Lauren Graham and it was a semi-musical, that’s all I knew about it. The basic plot is that one day Zoey magically starts to hear other people's innermost thoughts through songs. In the first episode, we’re introduced to her family, including her dad Mitch (Peter Gallagher), who has progressive supranuclear palsy, which causes him to lose muscular faculties, making him unable to speak. At the end of the episode, Zoey tells him about her new powers and starts crying because she is scared and confused and just wants her dad to tell her what to do. Suddenly, Mitch starts singing to her. Even though they can’t talk, she can hear his thoughts, and they are full of love and assurance. It was such an unexpected moment, and the fact that it was Sandy Cohen singing it, I started bawling. Please watch this show! 

Schitt's Creek: David and Patrick’s wedding

I understand that this is not necessarily a sad scene. Schitt’s Creek is, in fact, one of the funniest shows of the year. But something about it coming to an end in such a perfect way made me super weepy while watching the finale. From the moment the Jazzagals started singing Precious Love, I started crying, and didn’t stop until I’d finished not just the episode but also the documentary, Best Wishes, Warmest Regards. I think some of it had to also do with the fact that it was April and the reality of the lockdown was setting in. I was just… unmoored. I called my brother and told him I’d howled watching the finale and he was very worried. 

Parenthood: All six seasons

I’ve written an entire essay about rewatching Parenthood in lockdown. I did that at the height of my homesickness in the lockdown and I cannot tell you how inconsolable I was during some scenes. I don’t think I can pick one particular moment where I ugly-cried, it was all a giant sobfest.

Shahana’s Top 5 TV Moments She Can’t Stop Thinking About

I May Destroy You: When Terry realises the two men she thought she had a spontaneous threesome with actually planned the entire thing

There are multiple moments on IMDY where I had to pause the show for a few minutes just to take things in, but the look on Terry’s face when she realises her fun and spontaneous threesome with two mysterious ltalian strangers wasn't what she thought it was haunts me. She technically agreed to have sex with them, but key information was left out; so even though legally, she consented, ethically, she did not. India doesn't even consider marital rape a criminal act, conversation on informed consent is a long way away—but vital conversation that needs to be had. 

The Haunting of Bly Manor: Hannah finally saying everything she wanted to say to Owen, but it was just a little too late

I love watching characters yearn, and Hannah's quiet longing for Owen the entire show (feelings that we discover later were returned) is achingly beautiful. The potential, the very concept of what-could-have-been, and the absolute tenderness between these two made my heart ache every time I watched them. The look on T'Nia Miller's face when she realises she's too late, the subtle expressions of regret—it plays on a loop in my head.

Mrs. America: When all the women walked out of the women's commission because Bella Abzug was fired

Multiple scenes in Mrs. America made me emotional, but this moment of solidarity among all the women just got to me. Without giving much away, Bella Abzug is fired from her position at the women's commission, and when she asks to resign instead, the men refuse. It’s meant to be an insult, and all the women on the commission band behind her and simply quit. It’s a statement that makes multiple points: one woman wasn’t a replacement for the other, and when you insult one of them, you insult all of them. And they won’t take it lying down.

The Bold Type: When Sutton tells Richard that she doesn't and probably won't ever want children

Marriage and children are supposed to be this thing that all women are supposed to want, eventually. And that's fine for those who do, but the treatment of women who say they don't infuriates me. When The Bold Type does something right, they do it very well. Sutton is meant to be in her mid to late twenties when this scene takes place. Her saying her career and husband are enough and she's just never going to want children—not now, not in five years or in 10, not ever—had me tearing up.

The Undoing: When Henry said he washed the hammer in the dishwasher twice and everyone went with it

I could populate this list just with the hundreds of questions I have from The Undoing (like for example, why did Jonathan hide the hammer in the firepit when the ocean was 10 feet away??), but this one really takes the cake. This is a house with staff running around all the time. This show establishes in the first episode that Henry doesn’t even clean up after making a smoothie. But this boy not only knows how to use a dishwasher, but he runs the cycle twice without anyone noticing? The nerve of the writers thinking they can get away with it.

Honorary Mentions (yes, this is cheating):

Defending Jacob: When Chris Evans showed up looking like a Hot Dad

Thank you, daddy.

Emily in Paris: Emily and her boyfriend having phone sex with the cover pulled up to her chin

Exactly what was he getting turned on by? What is happening here? Why is this show? Why did Good Girls Revolt get cancelled while this gets a second season?  

Kashika’s Top 5 TV Moments That Made Her Want To Go Out (in 2020!)

Dash & Lily: Leaving clues for each other all over New York 

Dash & Lily was one of the sweetest shows I watched this year. Two teenagers leaving dares and clues about their identity for each other as they slowly fall in love, sign me up! The dares took Dash and Lily all over New York - cafes, bookstores, concerts, cooking classes—and watching them made me physically ache for the freedom to be out and about in the city again.

Emily In Paris: Discovering a new city 

Even though this show was stupid, watching Emily discover Paris and fall in love with its food, culture, and people made me want to un-cancel the trip to Spain my best friend and I had so meticulously planned for August.

Never Have I Ever: Paxton kisses Devi in the car 

I have never wanted to go on a first date and nervously kiss someone before getting out of their car more.  

Normal People: Marianne and Connell eat ice-cream in Italy

Once again, the Italy scenes made me wonder when I’ll be able to take a trip to Europe again. I didn’t enjoy the show so much (nor the book), but it made me want to text my on-again-off-again ex of a decade (I didn’t, don’t worry!). 

The Bold Type: Kat and Jane sing a song to get Sutton out of bed

All of season four of The Bold Type made me miss hanging out with my friends fiercely, but what I wasn’t prepared for was how much it made me miss going to work. Being around people, working on a story together, and the collective relief at finally being able to finish a difficult task— when will I get to savour this again? God, I really hate working from home.

Recommendations

For our last issue of the year, we wanted you to tell us about TV shows that got you through this year. These are the shows you recommended, and what a great and varied list this is! 

Schitt’s Creek: The show that got the majority of our readers through this year, Schitt’s Creek is the perfect thing to watch when you’re down. It follows the life of the previously wealthy Rose family when they are forced to move to Schitt's Creek, a small town they purchased as a joke. Living in a motel now, the family has to not only learn to live without money but also with each other. 

Streaming on Netflix.

Recommended by our subscribers Aanchal, Sreeparna, Khushboo, Huda, Sukhmani, Bhaskar, Tawishi, and Mala ❤️ 

I May Destroy You: Written by and starring Michaela Coel, I May Destroy You follows young writer Arabella, who tries to rebuild her life and herself after she gets raped. Strong sexual violence triggers for this show, so we recommend caution when watching. Complex, and thoughtful, IMDY forces you to really think about the boundaries of consent. We loved the show so much, we dedicated an entire issue to it, which you can find here.

Streaming on Disney+ Hotstar.

Recommended by our subscriber Radhika ❤️

It's Okay to Not Be Okay: A K-drama that will have you binge-watching and crying your eyes out, this show follows the love story between Moon Gang-tae, a caretaker at a psychiatric ward, who is too weary and wrung out for love, and Ko Mun-young, a children's book author, who does not know what it is to love or be loved. A love story, fairytale, and murder mystery, IOTNBO inspired Kashika to write about it here.

Streaming on Netflix.

Recommended by our subscribers Sreeparna and Sakshi G ❤️

Diriliş: Ertuğrul: Often called the Turkish Game of Thrones, Diriliş: Ertuğrul is set in the 13th century and follows the life of Ertuğrul, whose son Osman I founded the Ottoman empire. With almost 500 episodes, this is a massive undertaking, so be warned before you begin. 

Streaming on Netflix.

Recommended by our subscriber Sukhmani ❤️

Line of Duty: Following DS Steve Arnott, an officer transferred to Anti-Corruption Unit 12 (AC-12) where he is partnered with DC Kate Fleming, Line of Duty is a good, engrossing watch for anyone who likes police procedurals that focus more on the investigation of the crime. This British police drama is very popular among those who enjoy the genre and is one of those shows you keep pressing ‘Continue Watching’ on.

Streaming on Netflix.

Recommended by our subscriber Sukhmani ❤️

Grace and Frankie: Absolutely delightful, Grace and Frankie follows the titular Grace (Jane Fonda) and Frankie (Lily Tomlin) who become friends after their husbands announce they are in love with each other and plan to get married. The two women end up living together, as they try to navigate setting up new friendships and romances in the wake of their husbands’ revelations. 

Streaming on Netflix.

Recommended by our subscribers Ankita and Mala ❤️

Mr. Robot: Rami Malek stars as Elliot Alderson, a cybersecurity engineer and hacker with severe mental health issues, who is recruited by an insurrectionary anarchist known as Mr. Robot. Mr. Robot aims to cancel all consumer debt by encrypting all the data of corporation E Corp, which happens to be a client of the company Alderson works at. If you’re interested in how Anonymous functions and also hate capitalism, this is a good watch.

Streaming on Amazon Prime Video.

Recommended by our subscriber Puja ❤️

The Rookie: An American police procedural, The Rookie stars Nathan Fillion as John Nolan, who becomes the oldest rookie at the Los Angeles Police Department. The Rookie is one of those shows you can watch while you scroll through your phone, but Nathan Fillion really elevates it with his performance. One can’t help but remember just how likeable his presence is, and be warned: watching this might inspire an odd desire to rewatch Castle and Firefly!

You’ll have to get creative to find it. 

Recommended by our subscriber Ishan ❤️

Kitchen Nightmares: Following Gordon Ramsay as he heads to failing restaurants to try and figure out what’s wrong and revive the business. If you like food and enjoy watching Gordon Ramsay behaving like an absolutely terrible human being (we said what we said, don’t @ us), then this will be a fun watch to keep you engrossed for a while. 

Streaming on Tubi TV. 

Recommended by our subscriber Ishan ❤️

Shin Chan: This has been an unusual year, and we don’t judge anybody’s coping mechanisms. You do you, boo. Shin Chan follows the adventures of five-year-old Shinnosuke "Shin" Nohara and his parents, baby sister, dog, neighbours, and friends. 

Episodes can be found on YouTube.

Recommended by Kashika’s brother Karan, with the express purpose of pissing her off 😡

The Good Place: Loved Parks and Recreation? Then you’ll love The Good Place. The basic premise follows Eleanor Shellstrop (Kristen Bell), who finds herself in the Good Place (meant to be heaven), run by architect Michael (Ted Danson), as a result of the way she lived her life. Eleanor realises within seconds that she was mistakenly sent there and must hide that while trying to become a better person so she truly belongs in the Good Place.

Streaming on Netflix. 

Recommended by our subscriber Huda ❤️

Money Heist: A Spanish heist crime drama, Money Heist follows two long-prepared heists led by the Professor (Álvaro Morte) on the Royal Mint of Spain and the Bank of Spain. Wildly popular when it was released, Money Heist jumps between multiple narratives and does a wonderful job of creating memorable characters and keeping viewers on the edge of their seats. 

Streaming on Netflix. 

Recommended by our subscriber Huda ❤️

The Crown: A historical drama about the reign of Queen Elizabeth II. The Crown starts shortly before Elizabeth’s wedding to Philip and the latest season has just introduced Diana, which is the season, let’s be honest, we were all waiting for. The Crown is perfect for those who’d like the illusion of watching prestige television with all the high-stakes drama of a daily soap. 

Streaming on Netflix. 

Recommended by our subscriber Huda ❤️

The Good Witch: A fantasy comedy-drama, The Good Witch follows the residents of Middleton, including Cassie and her daughter Grace (both of whom have the gifts of enchanted insight and magical intuition) as they welcome Dr. Sam Radford and his son to town. If you like Hallmark and Christmas films, and wish you could watch something with that vibe the entire year-round, The Good Witch is what you’ve been waiting for.

Streaming on Netflix. 

Recommended by our subscriber Payal ❤️

Virgin River: Based on the Virgin River novels by Robyn Carr, the show follows Melinda Monroe, who moves to a small town named Virgin River to work as a midwife and nurse practitioner. As expected, she finds more than she bargained for, and love and hijinks follow. Virgin River is another comfort watch, something you can watch knowing there will be a happy ending. 

Streaming on Netflix. 

Recommended by our subscriber Sakshi C ❤️

One Day At a Time: A reboot of the original show with the same name, ODAAT revolves around a Cuban-American family living in Los Angeles. While the show is mostly a lighthearted sitcom, it also focuses on issues like PTSD, the trials of single parents, racism, and homophobia. 

Streaming on Netflix. 

Recommended by our subscriber Aishwarya ❤️

Shout-Outs

Kashika

In preparation of the Gossip Girl reboot, I’ve been going back to some of the best writing that came out when the original was on air. This Vulture piece, about the reasons you should be able to love Gossip Girl without any guilt, is a favourite.

Shahana

If you are also watching Bridgerton and wondering if it’s “historically accurate,” because a Black man was a duke, then I welcome you to remember that people had sex and then immediately went to sleep, no washing up required. There are problems with Bridgerton, but this is not one of them. Please read Patricia A. Matthew’s wonderful review of it here. Speaking of the problem with Bridgerton, yes, that was rape, and Aja Romano dissects the frustrating decision by the creative team to leave that in there here


We hope you enjoyed reading this issue as much as we loved writing it. Please write to us if you have any feedback. We look forward to your emails, comments, tweets, and DMs with requests, criticism, recommendations, and anything else that you want to tell us. You can also follow us on Instagram here. And if you haven’t already, do subscribe!