The year 2020 will go down in history as one of the most forgettable ones because of COVD-19. Not many flicks were released in cinemas, as they were closed down due to the pandemic. However, the one sector that gained prominence throughout the year was ‘Over The Top’ media services, also known as OTT. Not only did Pakistan make its presence felt in the world of web series, but many new OTT platforms also made inroads into Pakistan. Let’s go through the top 10 OTT web series that came, that were watched and that became a sensation in 2020.
Churails (Zee 5)
Asim Abbasi’s web series revolved around a group of four women who wanted to make a difference, and open a detective agency under the guise of a Burqa Boutique. Starring Sarwat Gilani, Nimra Bucha, Yasra Rizvi, and Omair Rana, the show was Pakistan’s first entry into ‘Zee 5’ territory, and whoever saw it appreciated it as it was something different than Pakistan’s standard TV show format.
Ek Jhooti Love Story (Zee 5)
Bilal Abbas and Madiha Imam led the cast of Ek Jhooti Love Story where in order to escape from their problematic lives, they chat with each other, using fake profiles. Things go from bad to worse when they fall in love with their alter egos but are made to marry each other, the real ones. Without using sex and vulgarity as a tool, Mehreen Jabbar’s web series for Zee 5 was a throwback to the 80s when meaningful, clean content was king.
Lucifer Season 5 (Netflix)
Ever since Lucifer was revived by Netflix, it has become one of the most-watched web series on the OTT platform. The first part of the fifth season introduced new characters including Lucifer’s twin brother (also Tom Ellis) as well as his father (Dennis Haysbert). The success of the season prompted Netflix to move forward with the next season, and delay its plans to cancel the series!
The Queen’s Gambit (Netflix)
Not many would have believed had they been told at the beginning of 2020 that a show revolving around chess would emerge as the most popular one on Netflix. The Queen’s Gambit follows the rise of Beth Harmon (Anya Taylor-Joy), an orphan chess prodigy, who becomes the world's greatest chess player in the 1950s and 1960s while struggling with drug and alcohol addiction. The miniseries performed exceedingly well across the world, making it to the top 10 web series of 2020.
Emily in Paris (Netflix)
Emily in Paris managed to become popular all around the world because of its storyline and execution. It follows the life of one Emily Cooper (Lily Collins), who moves from Chicago to Paris for an unexpected job opportunity. Tasked with adding the American touch to a revered French marketing firm, she tries to adjust to a different culture and challenges of life in alien conditions while juggling her career in the process.
The Crown Season 4 (Netflix)
The most controversial season of The Crown also grabbed the viewer’s attention especially since it introduced the character of Princess Diana, Queen of Hearts. Since she was the only public figure from the usually reserved Royal family, she was loved by all except for her husband and in-laws. The Royal family wasn’t happy with Netflix taking creative liberty and making its own version of Prince Charles and Princess Diana’s marriage, but the audience loved it for it gave them what they wanted to see.
Hunters (Amazon Prime)
Film legend Al Pacino made his TV debut with Hunters and if that doesn't make you switch to the series, nothing will. Hunters takes place in the late 1970s where a diverse band of Nazi hunters discover that Nazi war criminals are conspiring to create a Fourth Reich in the U.S. Add to that the elements of Operation Paperclip and you have a thriller that will keep you engrossed for its entire duration.
Paatal Lok (Amazon Prime)
Paatal Lok revolves around a failed assassination attempt and how the central characters become part of the bigger picture. Starring Jaideep Ahlawat, Gul Panag, Neeraj Kabi, and Abhishek Banerjee the series is loosely based on Tarun Tejpal's 2010 novel The Story of My Assassins. It not only did well when it was released but went onto win most of the awards at the inaugural Filmfare OTT Awards including best series, best actor, best original story, best screenplay, and best direction.
Scam 1992: The Harshad Mehta Story (Sony Liv)
In the 1980s, Harshad Mehta was the king of the Bombay Stock Exchange; this web series follows his rise and fall for he did fell down after becoming one of the most powerful men in India. Pratik Gandhi’s performance was loved by all, as he played the character of a guy who grew from nothing to something, and then nothing again. You can call him a hero or an anti-hero, but Harshad Mehta was right in his mind, in whatever he did. This is his story!
A Simple Murder (Sony Liv)
With an ensemble cast featuring Mohammad Zeeshan Ayyub, Yashpal Sharma, Priya Anand besides others, this Sony Liv series takes you into the days when crime and comedy were a thing. No character is as straight as an arrow here and while the story revolves around a murder, an affair, a heist, the series grabs the audience’s attention like never before.