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2020 TV shows: every new series you need to watch this year

new tv shows 2020
(Image credit: Disney)

When we figured out 2019's best TV shows, we learned one big thing: there are too many good shows for most normal people to fit in nowadays, especially with more and more TV streaming services landing. Despite that, though, the number of properly great shows is much more manageable. If you're smart with your viewing choices and use your time wisely, you don't have to feel behind when you watch TV in 2020.

To help you decide what to watch in 2020, below you'll find a list of the biggest new TV shows coming your way this year as well as those that have already released, and we'll continually update this list with new entries so you never miss a moment of quality telly.

Now, here's a big qualifier: it's possible some of these shows will air next year now due to the current shutdown in the entertainment industries right now over the global health pandemic. We've provided the latest known airdate where applicable, and noted where production has been shut down. 

(Image credit: Amazon Studios)

Tales From the Loop

Where to watch it: Amazon Prime Video
Release date: April 3

Based on the iconic artwork of Simon Stalenhag, Tales From the Loop follows the exploits of humans that live above 'The Loop', a mysterious machine built to unlock the secrets of the universe. Stalenhag's work has inspired all sorts of media from board games to videogames, and this cerebral dose of sci-fi will surely be a delight to unpick.

best tv shows - resident alien

(Image credit: Syfy)

Resident Alien

Where to watch it: Syfy (US), TBA (International)
Release date: TBA

Alan Tudyk – voice of sarky droid K-2SO in Rogue One – brings his droll touch to another sci-fi project.  He’s playing Harry AKA Captain Hah Re, an alien biologist who crash-lands on Earth. Assimilating himself in a human body, he plots an escape back to the stars while government forces close in and culture-clash hilarity ensues. Based on the Dark Horse comic book, Resident Alien promises a crackle of social commentary alongside the extra-terrestrial whimsy.

best tv shows - star trek lower decks

(Image credit: CBS All Access)

Star Trek: Lower Decks

Where to watch it: CBS All Access (US), TBA (International)
Release date: TBA

Star Trek may have stalled on the big screen but on TV it’s healthier than a Tribble on heat. Here’s the latest expansion of the final frontier, the first cartoon to boldly go since Star Trek: The Animated Series in the ‘70s. And this one’s played for laughs. Created by Rick And Morty’s Mike McMahan, these are the voyages of the USS Ceritos, a Starfleet support ship that specialises in Second Contact. Tawny Newsome voices Ensign Beckett Mariner, who “just wants to ride her skateboard and eat her pizza in peace, man.” Somewhere Spock is raising an almighty Vulcan eyebrow…

tv shows 2020 - the watch

(Image credit: BBC America)

The Watch

Where to watch it: BBC America (US), TBA (International)
Release date: TBA 2020

Are you ready for CSI: Ankh-Morpork? From Wyrd Sisters to Going Postal, the late Sir Terry Pratchett’s Discworld novels have been faithfully served by TV across the years. This new BBC America show promises a spikier take. Essentially a magical police procedural, it focuses on the cops of City Watch, led by Game Of Thrones star Richard Dormer as Captain Sam Vimes. Don’t look for the usual high-fantasy trappings: we’re promised a grimier universe with an intriguing hint of cyberpunk.

best tv shows 2020 - truth seekers

(Image credit: Amazon Prime)

Truth Seekers

Where to watch it: Amazon Prime Video
Release date: TBA

Who ya gonna call? No, update your speed dial – there’s a new ghostbuster on the block. Nick Frost is Gus, broadband engineer and part-time paranormal investigator. Leading a team of spook-crazed amateurs he stumbles upon a conspiracy that could trigger Armageddon. Frost created the show with fellow Cornetto enthusiast Simon Pegg, who’s also set to pop up in this eight-part comedy horror. A Clockwork Orange’s Malcolm McDowell plays the cantankerous Richard.

best tv shows - Y

(Image credit: FX)

Y

Where to watch it: FX (US), TBA (UK)
Release date: TBA 2020

The title may be frustratingly Google-proof but the premise is killer. Based on Eisner Award-winning comic book Y: The Last Man, it’s the story of Yorick Brown – and his capuchin monkey, Ampersand – as they explore an Earth where a pandemic has wiped out all other male mammals. Expect some explosive gender politics among the post-apocalyptic thrills as the show holds a Handmaid’s Tale style cracked mirror to our own world. Warcraft: The Beginning’s Ben Schnetzer stars as Yorick.

The show's production has shut down due to the current crisis, though, so we could end up seeing it in 2020. 

best tv shows - cursed

(Image credit: Netflix)

Cursed

Where to watch it: Netflix
Release date: TBA 2020

Arthurian myth is given a YA twist in this new Netflix series. Co-created by comics god Frank Miller – the talent behind such revolutionary graphic novels as Sin City and The Dark Knight Returns – it stars Katherine Langford as Nimue, a teenage outcast destined to be the sword-brandishing Lady of the Lake. Teaming with rogue mercenary Arthur, she embarks on a quest for Merlin in an adventure that’s out to shake up the certainties of legend.

best tv shows 2020 - fargo

(Image credit: FX)

Fargo

Where to watch it: FX (US), Channel 4 (UK)
Release date: TBA

The strange crime story and spiritual follow-up to the famous Coen brothers film is coming back for season 4. Following the head of an African-American crime syndicate, we see an uneasy truce between Loy Cannon's gang and a rival Italian outfit cemented by the two groups trading their oldest sons. Expect more jet-black humour, casual violence, and financial skullduggery. Originally due for release in April, the current health crisis has put production on hold, so we could have a little wait on this one.

(Image credit: HBO)

Lovecraft Country

Where to watch it: HBO (US), Sky/Now TV (UK)
Release date: TBA 

There's some serious creative firepower behind this new HBO series - the executive producers are geek overlords Jordan Peele (Get Out, Us) and JJ Abrams (Star Wars, Lost). It's the story of Korean war veteran Atticus Black as he travels across 1950s America, encountering cosmic monstrosities torn from the cracked imagination of horror writer HP Lovecraft as well as the true life terrors of racism. It promises to be one hell of a road trip.

(Image credit: Marvel Studios/Disney)

The Falcon and the Winter Soldier

Where to watch it: Disney Plus
Release date: August 2020

Marvel makes a fresh stab at conquering TV with this direct tie-in to its big screen universe, the first of a whole squad of superpowered shows coming to Disney Plus over the next couple of years. Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie) and Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan) reunite in a post-Blip world, facing the threat of Civil War's Zemo and John Walker AKA US Agent, a brutal uber-patriot sanctioned by the government as a replacement for Captain America. 

The show's production has been shut down, though, and it's unclear if this will delay its previously announced August release date. 

Read more: Falcon and Winter Soldier

(Image credit: Jojo Whilden/AMC)

The Walking Dead: World Beyond

Where to watch it: AMC (US), Amazon Prime Video (UK)
Release date: April 12

There's a surprising amount of mileage in a post-zombie world. On the shambling, decaying heels of Fear The Walking Dead comes yet another spin-off based on Robert Kirkman's graphic novels. This one's set a decade after the original apocalypse and focuses on the next generation of survivors, the first to come of age on this nightmarish new Earth. Key to the story is ruthless paramilitaristic organisation CRM, who whisked Rick Grimes away in The Walking Dead season nine. 

(Image credit: Marvel Studios/Disney Plus)

WandaVision

Where to watch it: Disney Plus
Release date: December 2020

MCU series WandaVision will blend a classic sitcom style with the large-scale action that's now a trademark of the Marvel movies, which is an inventive combination. Elizabeth Olsen reprises her role as Wanda Maximoff, and Paul Bettany returns as The Vision, despite his dramatic death at the hands of Thanos in Avengers: Infinity War. This is perhaps the most intriguing of the upcoming Marvel shows on Disney Plus, bringing back characters from the movies' past like Darcy from the Thor movies (Kat Dennings) and Agent Jimmy Woo from Ant-Man and the Wasp (Randall Park). How is Vision still alive in this show? That's the main mystery to be unlocked, here. 

The series has been shut down over the current health crisis, though, so it's unclear if it'll affect that release date this year. 

(Image credit: Netflix)

Ratched

Where to watch it: Netflix
Release date: TBA

Every good villain deserves an explanation. Here's one for Nurse Mildred Ratched, sadistic antagonist of One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest. Created by American Horror Story's Ryan Murphy, this new Netflix show begins in 1947, charting the career journey that made her the authority figure of your nightmares. Louise Fletcher played Ratched in the 1975 movie – now Sarah Paulson follows that Oscar-winning turn, in a series she told THR is "complicated and dark… and totally terrifying."

(Image credit: Sky)

The Third Day

Where to watch it: HBO (US), Sky/NowTV (UK)
Release date: May 11

There's a tantalizing whiff of The Wicker Man about this mysterious new drama from Dennis Kelly, creator of conspiracy thriller Utopia. Set on a remote island off the coast of Britain, it's split into two parts over six episodes – Summer and Winter – as Jude Law and Naomie Harris encounter a local population intent on preserving the old ways… This unhelpful contribution to the UK's rural tourism industry comes courtesy of HBO and Sky. 

(Image credit: Frank Quitely/Mark Millar)

Jupiter's Legacy

Where to watch it: Netflix
Release date: TBA

Netflix established a street-level Marvel universe with such shows as Daredevil and Jessica Jones. Now that deal has expired – did Thanos snap his fingers in a Hollywood boardroom? – the streaming giant has turned to comic king Mark Millar for a fresh injection of imagination. This is the first Netflix/Millarworld collaboration, a dynastic tale of superheroes that sees a new generation of capes fight to escape the shadow of their legendary predecessors. 

(Image credit: Netflix)

The Haunting of Bly Manor

Where to watch it: Netflix
Release date: TBA

How do you follow a genuinely nerve-twisting viewing experience like The Haunting of Hill House? With another piece of paranormal real estate, naturally. Evolving into a property-themed anthology show, the second season takes on the gothic horror of Henry James's classic novel The Turn Of The Screw, the tale of a governess, two deeply spooky kids and a home filled with unspeakable dread. The Hill House cast returns, now playing new characters.

Read more: The Haunting of Hill House season 2

(Image credit: Lucasfilm)

The Mandalorian season 2

Where to watch it: Disney Plus
Release date: October 2020

The first live-action Star Wars TV series returns for a second season in fall 2020. Spoilers if you haven't seen the season one finale, but this new season is likely to focus on the search for Baby Yoda's home planet, as teased extensively in the closing moments of Chapter 8. Maybe we'll finally learn the name of Yoda's species this year. Or, maybe this is just a fun framework for some more high-grade and stylish Star Wars TV adventures from talented directors, which suits us fine.  

Read more: The Mandalorian season 2 

The Boys : Season 2

(Image credit: Amazon)

The Boys season 2

Where to watch it: Amazon Prime Video
Release date: Summer 2020

Once again poking the diseased underbelly of superheroics, Amazon promises a second serving of blood, F-bombs and ultra-violence. Karl Urban's back as Billy Butcher, leading a team of vigilantes determined to keep the spandex wonders in check. Aya Cash joins the cast as Stormfront, gender-flipped from the comic books but still packing the power of electrokinesis, and we're promised more of Breaking Bad's Giancarlo Esposito as Vought conglomerate CEO Mr Edgar.

Read more: The Boys season 2

(Image credit: CBS All Access)

Star Trek Discovery season 3

Where to watch it: CBS All Access (US), Netflix (International)
Release date: TBA

This prequel show is about to make a warp speed course correction. While the last season wallowed in Trekkie-pleasing continuity porn – hello, Captain Pike! – the crew of the Disco has now been hurled 900 years into the future, the furthest final frontier the franchise has ever explored. We're promised a new storytelling energy and a whole new universe, with intriguing reimaginings of everything from the Federation to the Trill homeworld. Set phasers to anticipate.

Read more: Star Trek Discovery season 3

Killing Eve

(Image credit: BBC)

Killing Eve season 3

Where to watch it: BBC America (US), BBC (UK)
Release date: 26 April (US), TBA (UK) 

The cliffhanger that closed season two threatened to finally make good on the show's title but Killing Eve has always traded in get-out-of-that. Inheriting TV's greatest game of consequences is new showrunner Suzanne Heathcote, continuing the deadly dance between Sandra Oh's Eve Polastri and Judie Comer as Villanelle, the most insanely watchable psychopath in history. Brace yourselves for another intoxicating collision of haute couture, sapphic tension and filthy murder.

Read more: Killing Eve season 3 release date

A still from Westworld Season 2

(Image credit: HBO)

Westworld season 3

Where to watch it: HBO (US), Sky/NowTV (UK)
Release date: Out now

HBO kept plot details under wraps for the third season of the android-heavy sci-fi series, revealing only that this set of episodes will feature (spoiler alert!) Dolores and Bernard's life away from the park. It's also got an extra injection of star power, with Breaking Bad's Aaron Paul and Black Swan's Vincent Cassel joining the ensemble. Episodes have begun in the US and UK.

(Image credit: Amazon / Becca Caddy)

Star Trek: Picard

Where to watch it: CBS All Access (US), Amazon Prime Video (everywhere else)
Release date: Out now

18 years after his last Starfleet command in Star Trek: Nemesis, Patrick Stewart reclaims the role that made him an icon. Famously protective of the character, Stewart was wooed by a pitch that sees an older, guilt-haunted Picard break out of retirement on a galaxy-spanning mercy mission. Look for some familiar 24th Century faces, including Brent Spiner's manchild android Data and Jeri Ryan as Seven of Nine. Picard isn't to all fans' liking, but the level of effects work in this show is off the charts. 

(Image credit: BBC)

Doctor Who season 12

Where to watch it: BBC (UK), BBC America (US)
Release date: Out now

Jodie Whittaker is back as television's time-traveling hero. This is a bigger, more confident run of adventures, which kicked off on New Year's Day with Bond-inspired two-parter Spyfall, pitting Time Lord and friends against a planet-threatening conspiracy – and found room for guest stars like Lenny Henry and Stephen Fry too. Returning adversaries included judicial space rhinos the Judoon and some creepily rusted Cybermen. 

(Image credit: HBO)

Avenue 5

Where to watch it: HBO (US), Sky/NowTV (UK)
Release date: January 19

"If I look at the present, I lose my sense of humor," writer Armando Iannucci told NME about his newest creation. Iannucci skewered modern politics with shows like Veep and The Thick Of It. Now he's fled contemporary Earth for the near-future, bringing Hugh Laurie with him as Ryan Clark, outwardly suave captain of tourist starship Avenue 5, a man only ever a parsec away from crisis. It's not as funny as it should be, but fans of Iannucci should give it a try.

(Image credit: Netflix)

Spectros

Where to watch it: Netflix
Release date: Out now

Netflix continues to champion global drama. Here's a Brazilian chiller-thriller that aims to splice authentic South American folklore with a pinch of Japanese ghost story. Quite the multi-cultural horror cocktail. Set in São Paulo it finds a group of modern day teens facing vengeful spirits spawned by events in the city a century ago. The showrunner of Spectros is Doug Petrie, no stranger to teenagers and the supernatural given his stint on Buffy The Vampire Slayer. 

(Image credit: Amazon)

Hunters

Where to watch it: Amazon Prime Video
Release date: Out now

"This is not a murder. This is a Mitzvah..." The mighty Al Pacino has his first starring role on TV in this ten-part Amazon Original. Set against the grimly atmospheric backdrop of 1970s New York, the series follows a group of Nazi hunters battling a genocidal conspiracy to create a Fourth Reich in America. It's a bloody blend of ‘70s cinematic touchstones Marathon Man and The Odessa File with a distinct crackle of 21st Century topicality. This first year is imperfect, but expensively made. We're still waiting on news of a Hunters season 2.

(Image credit: Netflix)

Locke and Key

Where to watch it: Netflix
Release date: Out now

Hulu and Fox both took a shot at adapting the magic-soaked comic book by Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez but it took Netflix to finally bring it to the screen. Third time's clearly the charm, or possibly the curse, given it's about three siblings discovering that their ancestral home in Massachusetts is a demon-haunted portal to extra-dimensional weirdness. It's now been released on Netflix – but will there be a Locke and Key season 2?

(Image credit: HBO)

The Outsider

Where to watch it: HBO (US), Sky/NowTV (UK)
Release date: Out now

The work of Stephen King continues to fuel our screen nightmares. Here's an adaptation of his 2018 novel, a bone-chilling paranormal spin on the standard police procedural. Rogue One's Ben Mendelsohn stars as Oklahoma cop Ralph Anderson, teamed with Cynthia Erivo as private investigator Holly Gibney. Faith and reason clash, Mulder and Scully style, as they hunt the truth behind the grisly murder of a local child. 

2021 and beyond

We know a few shows are likely to release in 2021, rather than this year. Joss Whedon's first original show in over a decade, Victorian horror series The Nevers, comes to HBO in 2021. Likewise, HBO's Game of Thrones prequel House of the Dragon is unlikely to release in 2020, and has a long path to being ready. There's no release date for Amazon Prime's The Lord of the Rings TV series, but it has a target date of 2021. Also on the fantasy front is The Witcher season 2, starring Henry Cavill. That will debut in 2021. We're also expecting Stranger Things season 4 to debut in 2021. 

Disney Plus has announced a lot of live-action shows based on its Marvel and Star Wars properties. On the superhero side, expect Loki starring Tom Hiddleston and Hawkeye starring Jeremy Renner in spring 2021 and fall 2021 respectively. It's unclear when Marvel's Moon Knight, Ms Marvel and She-Hulk series will air, but it'll either be in 2020 or 2021. Marvel also has animated series What If? in the works, which features MCU actors reprising their roles in alternate universe scenarios. 

Expect 2021 or 2022 to also bring the Obi-Wan spin-off to Disney Plus, starring Ewan McGregor. And who knows, maybe Lucasfilm has other projects in the works for Disney Plus we don't know about yet. 

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