BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ - Just like 2020 was a difficult year for many people, that is also true for the entertainment industry. Many projects, music, television shows, and movies scheduled for release last year were delayed due the pandemic. Although those projects got pushed to later in the year and into this year, there were still many works that the public did get to enjoy. 

Early in the year, Netflix cranked out a few new shows that people got to binge while home during quarantine. The Top 10 trending shows shifted week to week, but many series found a weekly spot in the rotation, such as “The Office”, “Ozarks”, “Avatar: The Last Airbender”, “Outer Banks”, and “Cocomelon”. 

A popular Netflix original series was The Queen’s Gambit which was released on October 23. This historical drama revolves around an orphaned girl with prodigy-like chess skills and her journey to become the greatest player. 

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“I am not quite sure why it gained so much popularity. It does make chess, a game typically considered slow-paced and boring, quite exciting. It is also great to see a show centered on a young, determined woman,” Olivia Mazzaferro, Governor Livingston High School history teacher, said.

Outerbanks was very popular among high school students when it was released in April. It spent 9 days as Netflix’s number one on its top 10 list, and then spent 18 days in the number two spot. Its mystery and treasure hunt based plot made it a must see.

Junior Michael Labisi said, “The first night it came out I actually stayed up all night and watched the whole season in 10 hours, I think.” 

Since theaters were temporarily closed down due to the pandemic, many movies were released straight to streaming services. Films made-for-Netflix, Disney+, Amazon Prime, and other services gained popularity. At the end of the year, the streaming services also loaded their collections with holiday movies. 

Sophomore Caitlin Knorr said, “My favorite new release from Netflix was the movie Operation Christmas Drop.” 

Senior Fiona Uray said, “My favorite movie that came out this year was Emma.” This was an updated film adaptation of the classic Jane Austen novel and is available on Hulu or Amazon Prime.  

TikTok has been at the height of social media for a while now, and with the free time people had this past year many trends became quite popular among users. Dances are an ever present trend on the app and there are new ones every week.  Uray said that her favorite trend on TikTok was “No Nuance November”. This is a trend where users post videos explaining their hot takes and unpopular opinions on anything they want. 

Uray said, “It was nice to hear some different and interesting takes and widen my point of view.” 

Music was an exciting development during 2020. Artists like Ariana Grande, Miley Cyrus, and Lady Gaga were just a few who released new music for listeners to enjoy. Fans were surprised by Taylor Swift as she released two unannounced albums within the year, one in July and one in December. 

During the height of quarantine, people returned to the comfort of reading books, a pastime that seemed to dwindle in recent years. Freshman Sommer Sun read 50 books over quarantine. “I find it refreshing to pick up a book and get lost in the world and characters,” she said.  Her favorite book was “Six of Crows” by Leigh Bardugo.

Freshman Anna Mastropasqua also binged a few books this past year. She said, “I read a lot of new books. My favorite was probably A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Mass.”

Each year brings new sources of entertainment and culture. New music, movies, shows, and books allowed for an escape from all the crazy that came this year.