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.
Start planning accordingly below.
Locke and Key (Netflix)
Premieres February 7th
Netflix’s upcoming adaptation of Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez’s 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)
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
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)
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
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
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)
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)
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)
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)
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