December 28, 2020
Great drama ran the gamut from British racism to American feminism, Mike Bartlett to Michaela Coel, with David Tennant unforgettable as Dennis Nilsen
- Radio and podcasts: Miranda Sawyer’s 10 best of 2020
- The Observer critics’ review of 2020 in full
1. The Plot Against America
Sky Atlantic; July
Philip Roth’s alternative history of an all too credible and brilliantly realised world, in which the bigot Charles Lindbergh won the 1940 presidential election. A direct parable of antisemitism in the 1930s, this six-part HBO adaptation by The Wire writers David Simon and Ed Burns managed much more, warning of little less than the slow “othering” of any race, or class, or creed, and the sly subtleties of culture wars.
2. Unsaid Stories
There seemed a new willingness to face up to homegrown racism, especially in the likes of Jimmy McGovern’s ambitious Anthony and Steve McQueen’s remorselessly powerful Small Axe series – but Unsaid Stories managed to first perform minor wonders, turned around in lockdown and only weeks after the killing of George Floyd. These four 15-minute shorts introduced huge themes; and a remarkable batch of new writers and actors, with Nicôle Lecky a standout in both categories.