Skip to main content

The best TV shows of 2020 so far on Netflix, Hulu, HBO and other streaming services

Best TV shows 2020
(Image credit: Hulu via Twitter)

We're about a quarter of the way into 2020, and we're already swamped with amazing new TV shows to watch. Maybe you've started watching Westworld season 3, and are in awe at how expensive it looks, or perhaps you've just finished Castlevania season 3 and have a grim feeling of dread inside. Either way, there's plenty going on in TV right now, as a lot of us are faced with extensive time spent indoors. 

Below, the TechRadar team has selected its favorite shows of 2020 so far, with each writer giving their reason for putting a series on this list. If that doesn't give you an idea of what to watch, check out our best Netflix shows explainer for more recommendations, as well as the links below. 

We'll keep updating this list throughout the year with new suggestions. 

The Outsider

(Image credit: HBO)

Where to stream it: HBO Now/Go (US), Sky/Now TV (UK)

This moody Stephen King adaptation is the first big HBO drama of the year, featuring a stellar ensemble cast (Ben Mendelsohn, Jason Bateman, Cynthia Erivo, Bill Camp). After a local boy is murdered and the local little league coach, Terry Maitland (Bateman), is accused of the crime, detectives are tasked with figuring out why the evidence doesn't line up. 

It superficially looks like another season of True Detective (and it starts like one, too), but since this is based on a King work, it doesn't take long for the series to move in more of a horror direction. All 10 episodes are available now. – Samuel Roberts

I Am Not Okay With This

(Image credit: Courtesy of Netflix)

Where to stream it: Netflix

This dark teen comedy from the producers of Stranger Things and the director of The End of the F***ing World ends up feeling like an offbeat combination of the two. Syd (Sophia Lillis) discovers she has telekinetic abilities that only seem to manifest when she's angry, a familiar-but-perfect metaphor for teen angst. 

I Am Not Okay With This is only seven episodes long, and most of them only take 20 minutes to watch, so you can blitz through the whole run in the space of a single quiet evening. Let's hope we're not waiting forever for a second season. – Samuel Roberts

Castlevania

(Image credit: Netflix)

Where to stream it: Netflix

Castlevania isn’t just one of the best animated series on Netflix – it’s one of the best shows, period. Based loosely on Konami’s Castlevania video game franchise, it tracks the colliding lives of monster-hunter Trevor Belmont, magician and oral historian Sypha, and the big bad Dracula himself.

Full of gothic horror, bloodthirsty vampires and the kind of philosophical introspection rarely seen in such action-packed series, it’s real marvel – especially in how the world of the show expands with each season. The first season is really a movie – cut quite oddly into four brief episodes – but the second and third introduce a thrilling cast of characters, human and vampire alike, placing personal quests for justice, vengeance, or a quiet pint against a backdrop of undead armies mobilized in brutal war. The animation ain’t bad, either. – Henry St Leger

 Mythic Quest: Raven's Banquet  

(Image credit: Apple)

Where to stream it: Apple TV Plus

To be honest, I haven’t been the biggest fan of Apple TV Plus up until now. The Morning Show held my attention for a minute, and the lure of Oprah's Book Club definitely intrigued me, but for months there was nothing I wanted to watch. 

That was, until I saw the first season of Mythic Quest: Raven's Banquet

Produced by It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia’s Charlie Day and Rob McElhenney, and written by the phenomenally funny Ashly Burch, Mythic Quest takes us inside a fictional – and yet startlingly accurate – game development studio releasing its first expansion, Raven’s Banquet. While It’s Always Sunny focuses on a group of shameless, incompetent bar owners, Mythic Quest focuses on talented, but ultimately moody and unpredictable developers whose comedic exploits in the world of game design are both ignoble and ludicrous, simultaneously.

If you like the humor of It’s Always Sunny but wish it explored the foibles and constantly shifting landscape of video games instead, Mythic Quest is for you. – Nick Pino

BoJack Horseman

(Image credit: Netflix)

Where to stream it: Netflix

You've heard about this show since 2014 when it was one of the first animated shows on Netflix, but now it's maybe time you actually watched it? That's especially the case as it's now all finished. The second half of the final season dropped on Netflix earlier this year, and it's as great as ever.

It's heart-wrenching, difficult to watch and still somehow soothing to experience BoJack's journey through to its very end. If you're looking for a binge worthy show right now you may not want to consume all six seasons in one go considering the way it deals with difficult topics, but the fact BoJack’s creative team stuck the landing makes it one of Netflix's very best. – James Peckham

Narcos: Mexico

Narcos: Mexico

(Image credit: Netflix)

Where to stream it: Netflix

The original Narcos series, following the true crime rise and fall of Columbian drug kingpin Pablo Escobar, was always going to be a tough act to follow. His ludicrous empire was beyond belief, and in Wagner Moura Netflix found the perfect actor to channel his calm menace.

Narcos: Mexico got off to a good start, but Moura’s absence was felt, despite the cast featuring the likes of Diego Luna and Michael Peña. Season 1's ending however opened the floodgates for a complex second season, in which Luna’s Mexican drug lord, feeling the pressures of deals gone wrong, friends betrayed and dangerous business partners is now on the back foot. A more thoughtful and intimate second series, and certainly worth a binge. – James Peckham

Curb Your Enthusiasm

(Image credit: Sky)

Where to stream it: HBO Now/Go (US), Now TV/Sky (UK) 

Curb Your Enthusiasm comes back whenever creator and star Larry David has ideas for his part-scripted, part-improvised sitcom, and this season, which is coming to close, maintains the same form as ever. Even if its cast is noticeably older – the show has been on the air for over 20 years – the awkward social situations and excellent cameos never stop. 

In this season, Larry wears a MAGA hat to get out of a social engagement, and starts dating ex-wife Cheryl's sister Becky (Kaitlin Olson), which she's obviously not delighted about. The celebrity cameos are off the charts: this season brings stars like Timothy Olyphant, Clive Owen, Vince Vaughn, Isla Fisher, Laverne Cox and more. You've also got Mad Men's Jon Hamm popping up, whose appearance in any sitcom is usually a sign it's in excellent health (see also 30 Rock, Parks and Recreation, Curb Your Enthusiasm). Curb is always a treat. – Samuel Roberts

High Fidelity

(Image credit: Hulu)

Where to stream it: Hulu (US), TBA (UK)

Hulu quietly has two of the best new shows of the year. High Fidelity, an adaptation of the Nick Hornby novel (the basis of the John Cusack movie), is about a woman who reflects on her past failed relationships through music. 

Still, life doesn't seem that bad for Rob (Zoë Kravitz), who owns the coolest-looking Brooklyn record store you've ever seen. With ten breezy episodes that are certain to tap into some of the music you love, this is a solid reason to get Hulu in the US if you haven't tried it already. – Samuel Roberts

Devs

Devs series

(Image credit: Raymond Liu/FX)

Where to stream it: Hulu (US), BBC (UK, airdate TBC)

From Alex Garland, the director of Ex Machina and Annihilation, Devs is a moody treat of a tech thriller miniseries that blends in elements of sci-fi and horror. After her partner goes missing while working for secretive Silicon Valley tech pioneers, Lily Chan (Sonoya Mizuno) finds her boyfriend dead, and suspects the tech company had a hand in his (extremely shocking) demise.

Four episodes are now on Hulu, which hosts the show after it airs on FX as part of a deal to put the cable network's big hitter series straight onto the streaming service. In the UK, the BBC has the rights to stream the show, but it hasn't released yet. – Samuel Roberts

Star Wars: The Clone Wars

(Image credit: Lucasfilm/Disney)

Where to stream it: Disney Plus

Honestly, while the seventh and final season of The Clone Wars is releasing on Disney Plus right now, I'm here catching up on the past seasons. What a pleasant bonus it is for Disney Plus to have hours upon hours of a good Star Wars show I've never seen fully before. Years ago, I bounced off of season 1 then never gave The Clone Wars another go. Now, I'm giving it a more committed effort. 

With seven months until the next major Star Wars event, The Mandalorian season 2, there's plenty here to tide me over, and I've got the rest of Rebels to get through after that, which I never finished either. What sold me on The Clone Wars, actually, was this excellent video from YouTube channel Cosmonaut Variety Hour, which makes a convincing case of how the show turns Anakin Skywalker into a proper character for the first time. – Samuel Roberts