‘Bridgerton’ and ‘The Queen’s Gambit’ Among AFI’s Top TV Shows of 2020

Netflix cleaned up big at the AFI Awards. Four out of the top 10 TV show shows of 2020 were from streaming service, the American Film Institute revealed when it announced its annual picks for the best television and movies of the past year on Jan. 25. Recent hit Bridgerton was one of the honorees, along with The Queen’s Gambit, The Crown, and Unorthodox. Several Netflix original movies were also on AFI’s list of movies of the year. 

‘Bridgerton’ one of the best shows of 2020, according to the American Film Institute

Daphne and Eloise sitting on couch
Phoebe Dynevor as Daphne Bridgerton and Claudia Jessie as Eloise Bridgerton in Bridgerton | Liam Daniel Netflix

Bridgerton was just released on Dec. 25, 2020, but it still made AFI’s list of the top television shows of the year. The recently-renewed period drama from Shondaland stars Phoebe Dyvenor, Regé-Jean Page, Nicola Coughlan, and Jonathan Bailey. The chess-focused limited series The Queen’s Gambit, the royal family drama The Crown, and the miniseries Unorthodox were also recognized.

Here’s the full list of the AFI Television Programs of the Year: 

  • Better Call Saul (FX) 
  • Bridgerton (Netflix) 
  • The Crown (Netflix) 
  • The Good Lord Bird (Showtime) 
  • Lovecraft Country (HBO) 
  • The Mandalorian (Disney+) 
  • Mrs. America (Hulu) 
  • The Queen’s Gambit (Netflix) 
  • Ted Lasso (Apple TV+) 
  • Unorthodox (Netflix) 

AFI’s Movies of the Year 

Riz Ahmen playing drums
Riz Ahmed as Ruben in Sound of Metal| Amazon Studios

On Monday, AFI also revealed its list of 10 honorees for movies of the year. It included four Netflix films. Here’s the complete list (and where to watch the winners): 

  • Da 5 Bloods (streaming on Netflix) 
  • Judas and the Black Messiah (streaming on HBO Max beginning Feb. 12) 
  • Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (streaming on Netflix) 
  • Mank (streaming on Netflix) 
  • Minari (in theaters Feb. 12, available to rent on-demand Feb. 26) 
  • Nomadland (in select IMAX theaters Jan. 29, in theaters and on Hulu Feb. 19)  
  • One Night In Miami… (streaming on Amazon Prime Video) 
  • Soul (streaming on Disney+) 
  • Sound of Metal (streaming on Amazon Prime Video) 
  • The Trial of the Chicago 7 (streaming on Netflix) 

What are the AFI Awards? 


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The AFI Awards recognizing “outstanding” films and television programs “deemed culturally and artistically representative of this year’s most significant achievements in the art of the moving image.” This year, the American Film Institute also gave a special award to Hamilton, recognizing the blockbuster Lin-Manuel Miranda musical for “excellence outside the Institute’s criteria for American film and television.”

A jury consisting of AFI Trustees, artists, critics, and scholars is responsible for determining which movies and TV shows will be honored each year. This year, jury members including Debbie Allen, Cynthia Erivo, Rian Johnson, David Mandel, Marlee Matlin, Amy Sherman-Palladino, Wes Studi, and Lulu Wang. Academics from major universities, film historians (including Molly Haskell and Leonard Maltin), and critics from outlets such as the Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, and Rolling Stone were also on the jury. Films recognized by the AFI are often top contenders for Academy Awards. 

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