BEST OF 2020 January 18, 2021

BuzzerBlog’s Best of 2020: Best Shows of 2020

What did the BuzzerBlog staff think was the best game show of 2020? Read our personal results plus our official group ranking inside!

With 2020 being such an odd year, we decided it was not best to segment off new shows and returning shows. While there were several new games, the nitpicking between what is technically classified as new and not went beyond the spirit of what we wanted to do: celebrate the best of the best. The BuzzerBlog staff has a wide range of likes, but we came together and, in a recent live stream, put out our nominees for the best game shows of 2020. 

Below our final rankings you’ll find our personal lists. Do you have a different list? Be sure to let us know on Facebook and Twitter!

5: 5 Gold Rings (ITV, UK)
ITV’s 5 Gold Rings may top the list of shows we are most disappointed didn’t make it to America despite attempts (thanks, NBC). The game is essentially a large scale photo hunt, where pictures (or pictures representing trivia) are placed on a large floor screen and teams must race to put one of their “5 Gold Rings” in the correct spot. It’s an all-around solid show with few faults. The game is fast and fun, it looks great, and Phillip Schofield’s hosting is fantastic as always. The play-along factor is what sets this show apart from the others. There aren’t many shows which are as scream-at-the-television worthy as this one. We can’t really think of other shows that have made us stand up and press our fingers against the television, trying to find the answer, either. We’re still crossing our fingers that one day it comes to America, but for now we’re glad it’s having a nice life in the UK.

4: Holey Moley (ABC, US)
We didn’t know we needed a show as badly as Holey Moley as we did this year. There’s no reason Holey Moley should be as good as it is. On paper it’s an OK but average idea: combine the old stunt show Wipeout with mini-golf. We don’t know how they arrived at this, but the decision to make the show a surreal absurd wonderland of mini golf meets Peewee’s Playhouse is perfect. The second season kicked up the absurdism to higher gears (Steve Guttenberg as an Olympic diving judge?) which made it even more delightful. The show also deserves credit for excelling through the pandemic. Because they were unable to have executive producer Stephen Curry on set they decided to animate him which only added to the humor and joy of the show. It appears Holey Moley is casting for a third season and we couldn’t be more excited to see more soon.

3: Beat the Chasers (ITV, UK)
The now-iconic quiz show The Chase has been around since 2009 and only seems to get more and more popular. The height of the show’s frenzy came with the surprise smash hit of Beat the Chasers. A spin-off which essentially flips the show on its head, the show sees a series of contestants face off against up to all five Chasers at once for big money. The show was set up rather brilliantly…each series has constant battles which come down to the final few seconds. It’s arguably some of the most tense television seeing the clock in the final few seconds for each team. The chance to see the Chasers interact as a group has been funny and thrilling as well. The series has performed great in its UK home and is picking up steam around the world (even in countries The Chase isn’t on) so we expect to see this one around for a while.

2: Press Your Luck (ABC, US)
Press Your Luck is the best game show on primetime television and could be argued that it’s the best game show on American television right now. If you’d have told us five years ago that the old button-mashing luck-based game show with cartoon characters would be the pinnacle of primetime game show and what others should strive for we’d call you crazy. But Press Your Luck is near perfect. From the gorgeous set to Elizabeth Banks’s fantastic hosting performance to the always-exciting game play, we can’t get enough. The bonus round is easily the most exciting few minutes of American game shows at the moment. The slight tweaks between season one and two helped to bring out the excitement more and Elizabeth Banks only gets better and better. The personalized prizes in the bonus round are also a genius addition and we’re shocked no one’s tried a concept like this before. It allows for the contestant’s story to be told inside the game without stopping the show down. We can only hope Press Your Luck has a long, long life on ABC.

1: Jeopardy! (syndication/ABC, US)
2020 was the year of Jeopardy!. In a year marred by insane stupid news and constant stress and strife, having a stable, intelligent, reliable thing to turn to every night was perfect. Jeopardy! became the one half hour every day where you could tune out all the stresses of the world and celebrate intelligence. What set the show over the top this year was a combination of things beyond the daily show. ABC’s Jeopardy!: Greatest of All Time tournament ended up being a cannot-miss smash hit that arguably changed the game show genre for a long time. Without Jeopardy!: GOAT you weren’t definitively getting The Chase or Weakest Link or Celebrity Wheel of Fortune or GSN’s MasterMinds. You most likely weren’t getting many of the game shows you see now if it wasn’t proven, yet again, how popular primetime game shows and quiz shows can be. Our choice is equally a very emotional one. It was known that Alex Trebek was battling stage IV pancreatic cancer, but we weren’t expecting his death to hit us as hard as it did. It was known it was coming, but it devastated us and so many others to a degree we didn’t plan on. Alex stayed positive through his final episodes, never giving up, and gave us all a powerful closing message to live by. We cannot thank Alex enough for helping us all get through one of the most difficult years we’ve faced.

Below are the individual BuzzerBlog staff lists. Be sure to let us know what you think on our social media channels. We’re excited to see what 2021 brings us and we hope you join in!

1: Press Your Luck
2: Jeopardy!
3: Supermarket Sweep
4: 24 Hour Price is Right Pluto Channel
5: Beat the Chasers

1: 5 Gold Rings
2: Jeopardy!
3: Million Pound Cube
4: Holey Moley
5: Beat the Chasers

1: Jeopardy!/Jeopardy!: The Greatest of All Time
2: The Circle US
3: Taskmaster NZ
4: 25 Words or Less
5: Holey Moley II

1: Jeopardy!
2: Press Your Luck
3: Let’s Make A Deal
4: Rolling In It
5: Nailed It!