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50 TV Shows You Need to See in 2020

Larry David's back to basics, Sabrina's casting more spells, and Stephen King is everywhere

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50 Most Anticipated TV Shows of 2020

    Television can’t stop, television won’t stop, and neither will you. Every January, we say the same thing, “There’s just no time for all these shows!” And yet by December (as you just saw), we have at least 25 shows we can call our top favorites with a smug face. This year’s no different, but it’s certainly more challenging, what with all the other streaming networks being added to the fold (see: HBO Max, Peacock, Quibi, Discovery/BBC).

    Each new network is arriving with a lineup of enticing titles. It’s a free-for-all in Hollywood right now, and everyone’s getting a piece of the pie. You love Stephen King? Get ready to bookmark four new shows! Need more Lovecraft beyond Color Out of Space? HBO’s got you covered. Steve Carell and Reese Witherspoon not cutting it out for you on The Morning Story? They have two more shows coming down the pipeline.

    It’s a little ridiculous, but then again, so is our pop culture addiction. At the very least, we can take solace in knowing that as things heat up across the world — politically, metaphorically, literally — we’ll have plenty of distractions to feed upon. It might cost you a penny or two (and an enduring GrubHub budget), but you won’t have to leave the couch. Depending on how much currency you place on “chill”, that’s a positive.

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    Start planning accordingly below.

    –Michael Roffman
    Editor-in-Chief


    Doctor Who (BBC)

    50 Anticipated TV Shows of 2020

    Doctor Who (BBC)

    Premiered January 1st

    This one’s a cheat, since, well, it’s already aired two episodes by now, but the 12th season of the modern revival of the BBC’s long-running sci-fi series has already shown signs of growth following its year-long hiatus in 2019. Jodie Whittaker’s effervescent Time Lord and her three charming companions still need some time to grow (the TARDIS remains overstuffed), but the two-parter “Spyfall” got the season off to a rollicking start. Showrunner Chris Chibnall seems more game to play with the show’s decades of lore, and the return of the Master (a devilish Sacha Dhawan) adds interesting wrinkles to the show’s fabric. –Clint Worthington


    Schitt’s Creek (Pop)

    Schitt's Creek, Catherine O'Hara, Season 5

    Schitt’s Creek (Pop TV)

    Premiered January 7th

    The Rose family may have lost everything in the series’ start, but they’ve brought big laughs, gained valuable personal growth, made both their hearts and ours grow three sizes, and become a zeitgeist show over five successful seasons. Their final chapter sees actors Eugene Levy, Catherine O’Hara, Dan Levy, Annie Murphy, and Emily Hampshire taking a bow at the top of their games, sending off their beloved characters in sentimental style. One final stay at the Rosebud hotel will bring David’s wedding, closure for the dear residents of Schitt’s Creek, and parting Moira-isms. We’ll miss you, bebe. –Meagan Navarro


    The Outsider (HBO)

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    50 Anticipated TV Shows of 2020

    The Outsider (HBO)

    Premieres January 12th

    Stephen King wisely capitalized on the true crime wave throughout the 2010s, and Hollywood is reaping the benefits. His Bill Hodges trilogy already warranted three seasons of Mr. Mercedes for the invisible Audience Network, and now HBO is cashing in on his 2018 thriller, The Outsider. Jason Bateman serves as not only executive producer, but also stars and directs the first two episodes, which can best be described as, “The first season of True Detective, had it actually indulged in the occult.” With network champ Richard Price on board — see: 2015’s The Night Of — and Ben Mendelsohn leading the crime scene, Constant Readers can expect a superior adaptation while casual subscribers can keep prioritizing their Sunday nights. –Michael Roffman


    The New Pope (HBO)

    50 Anticipated TV Shows of 2020

    The New Pope (HBO)

    Premieres January 13th

    Paolo Sorrentino’s HBO series The Young Pope was largely known for endless Twitter memes about Jude Law being a “hot Pope who fucks,” but amidst the glam chaos of its presentation was an eerily entertaining story about the politics of religion and the rise of authoritarianism via charismatic leaders. In The New Pope, the now-deposed Pope Pius XIII (Law) must contend with calculating replacement pontiff Sir John Brannox (John Malkovich). Characters comment on how much Brannox looks like Malkovich, if you want an idea of how strange and self-aware and oddly horny Sorrentino’s second season will be. –Clint Worthington


    Curb Your Enthusiasm (HBO)

    50 Anticipated TV Shows of 2020

    Curb Your Enthusiasm (HBO)

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    Premieres January 19th

    Everyone’s favorite “bald asshole” is back for a tenth go-around as Curb Your Enthusiasm returns yet again to HBO. As always, details are mum on what to expect, at least for a through-line, though a teaser suggests he causes some kind of ruckus with his Clear History co-star Jon Hamm. There also appears to be a semantical argument on the concept of a waiting room, and further rivalry between LD and Richard Lewis. This writer is admittedly intrigued to see how they handle the death of Bob Einstein, aka the Funkman, whose scolding presence was always a joy to watch. Knowing Larry David and his team of scribes, Epstein’s death will likely serve as a platform for a great bit. –Michael Roffman


    Star Trek: Picard (CBS All Access)

    50 Anticipated TV Shows of 2020

    Star Trek: Picard (CBS All Access)

    Premieres January 23rd

    It’s been more than 25 years since Star Trek: The Next Generation went off the air, and nearly 18 since Star Trek: Nemesis brought that crew’s adventures to an ignominious halt. But now, Star Trek: Picard promises not only a somber return from Starfleet’s greatest captain, but also the franchise’s first opportunity to advance the franchise’s in-universe timeline since 2002. With Patrick Stewart back in the saddle, once again ready to lend his talent and gravitas to this universe, and Star Trek itself finally moving past the prequels and reboots that have defined its past two decades, there’s good reason for Trekkies to be hyped. –Andrew Bloom


    Chilling Adventures of Sabrina (Netflix)

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    Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, 2020, New Season, Fire

    Chilling Adventures of Sabrina (Netflix)

    Premieres January 24th

    The witch is back, baby! Sabrina and the coven return in January 2020 to undertake another Chilling Adventure, this time after learning she’s not a Spellman after all, but the spawn of — wait for it — the devil himself. What could be cooler, errr, worse? Quite literally hellbent on saving her beloved boyfriend Nick Scratch from eternal damnation and bodily possession by the Dark Lord, Part 3 promises to be darker, campier, and more occult than ever. And you thought your family’s holiday party was dysfunctional… Needless to say, we’re not in Greendale anymore, Salem. –Irene Monokandilos


    The Good Place (NBC)

    50 Anticipated TV Shows of 2020

    The Good Place (NBC)

    Premieres January 30th

    Five episodes. That’s all that’s left of The Good Place. The show has only five episodes to save all of existence as we know it, to come up with a new system of ethical rules by which humanity should be judged, and to fit in as many sign-related puns and wordplay gags as possible. But that also gives the show’s audience only five more episodes to enjoy one of TV’s best ensembles, to marvel at another dose of surprising twists, and to watch Michael Schur and company land this always-inventive, endlessly empathetic series with fun and panache. Let’s forking do it. –Andrew Bloom


    Bojack Horseman (Netflix)

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    50 Anticipated TV Shows of 2020

    Bojack Horseman (Netflix)

    Premieres January 31st

    The horse from our favorite ’90s sitcom returns for his final few episodes. The first half of Bojack Horseman’s sixth season showed that, while Bojack may not be perfect, he is striving to be better. Coming into season six’s second half, the stage is set for Bojack to be confronted for his past wrongdoings. Will our horse protagonist end things on a comedic bang? Or will he fall in tragedy? For all the years we’ve spent watching Bojack and friends, for all the laughs and cries, the ending to Bojack Horseman is sure to be bittersweet. –Michael Pementel


    Briarpatch (USA)

    50 Anticipated TV Shows of 2020

    Briarpatch (USA Network)

    Premieres February 6th

    Critics have already gotten their first glimpse of Sam Esmails new show for USA at TIFF last year — Briarpatch, a twisty, surreal drama starring Rosario Dawson as a Senate staffer who returns to her hometown to solve her sister’s death. By all accounts, Briarpatch has some of the narrative excess of Mr. Robot but without devolving into Esmail’s patented myopia. Imagine the kind of Broadchurch-y small-town mystery we’re used to seeing lately, but with a zoo’s worth of escaped animals to contend with. If that kind of weirdness sounds up your alley, be sure to tune in. –Clint Worthington


    Locke and Key (Netflix)

    50 Anticipated TV Shows of 2020

    Locke and Key (Netflix)

    Premieres February 7th

    Netflix’s upcoming adaptation of Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguezs acclaimed graphic novel series finally brings the twisted Locke saga and their Lovecraftian Keyhouse to life. After the brutal murder of their father, three siblings move to their ancestral estate and discover a slew of magical keys. The only hitch is that an evil entity is determined to claim the keys at any price. An enticing blend of dark supernatural fantasy with heartbreaking family drama, Locke & Key bears the potential to continue Netflix’s prestige genre TV streak. Look out for It star Jackson Robert Scott as the youngest Locke sibling. –Meagan Navarro


    High Fidelity (Hulu)

    50 Anticipated TV Shows of 2020

    High Fidelity (Hulu)

    Premieres February 14th

    The most troubling thing about High Fidelity — either Nick Hornby’s novel set in London or Stephen Frears’ American film based in Chicago – is the idea that so many self-absorbed pop-culture junkies like Rob Gorden actually exist out there. What’s maybe more daunting, though, is trying to turn a story that pegged a certain type of ‘90s male and caught a generation’s imagination in the process into a series that can find relevance in 2020 and also not merely mimic its predecessors. Spike Lee has succeeded with She’s Gotta Have It, so it can be done. But I can also give you a quick top-five list why this series – excited as we are – will likely stumble. And a female “Rob” has nothing to do with it. –Matt Melis


    Hunters (Amazon)

    Hunters Jordan Peele Amazon TV show series new trailer premiere date release date

    Hunters (Amazon)

    Premieres February 21st

    Jordan Peele has not one, not two, but three shows in the works for 2020! While he’ll be exploring plenty of the supernatural, Peele looks to present additional thrills in his upcoming Nazi hunting show Hunters. Centered on a group of Nazi hunters in 1977 New York, the makeshift team set out to kill high ranking Nazi officials looking to bring about a fourth reich. Starring the likes of legendary actor Al Pacino, Hunters looks to present a fascinating narrative with high stakes drama, societal commentary, and plenty of violence. –Michael Pementel


    Better Call Saul (AMC)

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    Better Call Saul Season 5, Jimmy McGill, Bob Odenkirk

    Better Call Saul (AMC)

    Premieres February 23rd

    “S’all good, man.” By the end of the fourth season of Better Call Saul, Jimmy McGill (Bob Odenkirk) had changed names, beat the board, and put the past behind him. The fifth season sees the true roots of Albuquerque’s cheapest suit in court as he forges a path we all know too well. Seeing how El Camino gave Jesse Pinkman a proper ending this past October, it would appear Saul Goodman’s closing remarks are all that’s left in New Mexico for Vince Gilligan. Granted, this spinoff series won’t end with Season 5, but we’re expecting things to get particularly dicey for Mr. Goodman, setting up yet another ending in the Breaking Bad canon — an ending that will likely be in black and white. –Michael Roffman


    Devs (FX)

    Devs (FX)

    Devs (FX)

    Premieres March 5th

    Alex Garland has long established himself as the master of the intricate, cerebral sci-fi story that not enough people are going to see (Ex Machina, Annihilation). But with FX/Hulu’s eight-episode miniseries Devs, we’ll get to see his penchant for stories about technology, nature and identity played out in a longer format. The show stars Sonoya Mizuno as a computer engineer who investigates a mysterious tech firm called Amaya (led by Nick Offerman’s enigmatic Forest) in search of her missing boyfriend. It’s got the look of an amber-soaked Ex Machina with even cleaner lines, and we can’t wait to see what’s inside. –Clint Worthington


    Westworld (HBO)

    Aaron Paul in Westworld Season 3

    Westworld (HBO)

    Premieres March 15th

    For two seasons, Westworld offered viewers a lot of promise, a lot of mysteries, and a lot of mess. With so many loose threads and so many opaque reveals, it’s hard to know where the show will go in its third season. And yet, if its teaser is any indication, Dolores (Evan Rachel Wood) is finally taking the series out of the park and into a tantalizing glimpse of what the outside world looks like amid the series’s “10 minutes into the future” setting. As the incredible Aaron Paul joins the show’s cast, there’s reason for renewed hope that the series can go someplace new, hopefully match its best moments, and maybe sidestep its worst. –Andrew Bloom


    The Plot Against America (HBO)

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    50 Anticipated TV Shows of 2020

    The Plot Against America (HBO)

    Premieres March 16th

    You had me at David Simon, HBO. But then, you also had me at Philip Roth, or Winona Ryder, or John Turturro. Hot off The Deuce, Simon returns with yet another limited series event: a six-episode run based on Roth’s The Plot Against America. What’s that about? Here’s the logline: “an alternate American history told through the eyes of a working-class Jewish family in Newark, New Jersey, as they watch the political rise of Charles Lindbergh, an aviator-hero and xenophobic populist, who becomes president and turns the nation toward fascism.” If you recall, Simon and Ryder worked together on Show Me A Hero, one of this past decade’s great TV events. So, consider this in the queue already. –Michael Roffman


    Little Fires Everywhere (Hulu)

    50 Anticipated TV Shows of 2020

    Little Fires Everywhere (Hulu)

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    Premieres March 18th

    Adapted from the novel by Celeste Ng, Hulu’s eight-episode series stars Reese Witherspoon (who also produces) as the matriarch of a picture-perfect family who rents to a struggling artist (Kerri Washington) and her daughter (Lexi Underwood). If the novel is anything to go on, their collision will unravel secrets, crack familial firmaments, and push lines of race and class. We don’t know much about the show based on the trailer alone, but its brief date announcement trailer promises burning photographs, smashed wine glasses, and wary glances between Washington and Witherspoon. What more could you want, really? –Clint Worthington


    One Day at a Time (Pop)

    one day at a time netflix season 3

    One Day at a Time (Pop)

    Due out March

    After its miraculous rescue from cancellation by Schitt’s Creek network Pop TV, Gloria Calderon-Kellett’s warm-hearted multi-cam sitcom about the Alvarezes prepares for a fourth season of laughter, tears, and the requisite roars of applause that ensue whenever absolute legend Rita Moreno comes on screen. Fitting for its old-fashioned format, the move from Netflix to Pop also means a weekly release schedule and (gasp) commercial breaks. Still, if the Alvarezes can overcome anything, they can overcome this. And for fans of one of the best, funniest, most optimistic shows on television, it’s a bargain we’re willing to strike. –Clint Worthington


    What We Do in the Shadows (FX)

    What We Do in the Shadows, FX, Natasia Demetriou, Matt Berry

    What We Do in the Shadows (FX)

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    Premieres April 15th

    FX’s kooky horror comedy series What We Do in the Shadows returns this April for its second season, and we’re ready to sink our teeth into it. As we learned last year, Jemaine Clement and Taika Waititi’s 2014 mockumentary clearly warranted a series expansion, and there’s no telling where they might bring the vamps next. The debut run saw them attending city council meetings, escaping animal shelters, and preparing bi-annual orgies, rarely missing the witty satire and wicked blend of dark humor that the film possessed. So, yeah, we’re game for another romp through Staten Island, especially if Mark Hamill is going to be lurking around. –Samantha Lopez


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