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50 TV Shows We Can’t Wait to See in 2020

BoJack Horseman, Succession, The New Pope, and Schitt's Creek.
BoJack Horseman, Succession, The New Pope, and Schitt’s Creek. Photo-Illustration: Vulture, HBO an Pop

Every new TV year brings with it a sense of potential — for greatness, yes, but also disappointment. With dozens and dozens of new series entering the broadcast and streaming ecosystems, not to mention entirely new streaming services (hi, Quibi, can’t wait to see what you’re all about in 2020!), there’s no way every one of them can live up to their pedigrees and loglines, which have been crafted specifically to stoke our anticipation. And it works! A look at the year ahead reveals an impressive-looking roster of new series, not to mention some old favorites returning for another (sometimes final) round, and while not all of them will live up to their billing, we can’t help but hold out hope that television in 2020 will rise up to meet our high expectations. Either way, you can be sure we’ll be watching.

Schitt’s Creek (Pop TV, January 7)

Schitt’s Creek is returning, and it seems pretty clear that David and Patrick are definitely getting married! But the sixth and final season of the delightful family comedy still holds many uncertainties: Will Moira’s Crows movie actually happen? Will the Roses stay in Schitt’s Creek forever? Will Alexis perform “A Little Bit Alexis” in full? What will David wear for his wedding? Kathryn VanArendonk

Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist (NBC, pilot premieres January 7; series debuts February 16)

This new musical dramedy stars Jane Levy (Suburgatory) as a woman who gets an MRI during an earthquake and can suddenly see song-and-dance numbers breaking out all around her. NBC seems excited about this one; it’s unveiling the pilot early, on January 7, then re-airing it in February when the series begins in earnest. Having taken a quick, early peek, this Playlist seems to have promise. —Jen Chaney

Party of Five (Freeform, January 8)

This updated version of the 1990s drama comes from the same showrunners behind the original: Chris Keyser and Amy Lippman, joined by executive producer Rodrigo García. The basic concept — a family of siblings trying to manage a household and each other without their parents — remains the same, but the circumstances are straight out of the present moment: The Acosta family is torn apart when the mother and father are deported to Mexico, ripping them away from their kids. The initial episodes strike current emotional chords while also harking back to specific moments from the Salinger family’s story. —JC

The Outsider (HBO, January 12)

A 2018 Stephen King novel turns into a limited series with a definite The Night Of vibe, which is not a surprise considering that Night Of writer Richard Price is involved in adapting it. The Outsider starts out on standard crime-fare footing: A Little League coach, Terry Maitland (Jason Bateman), is arrested for the murder of a young boy. A detective (Ben Mendelsohn) has compelling evidence of his guilt, but Terry insists on his innocence. From that beginning, though, The Outsider goes in wild, wide-ranging directions. —JC

Sanditon (PBS, January 12)

An adaptation of a little-known, unfinished Jane Austen work, Sanditon ran on ITV in the U.K. last year and is now coming to PBS’s Masterpiece. It has the distinct flavor of an Austen story, but it also foregrounds some thoughtful changes in how the work tackles race and slavery. Also, like the best Austen adaptations, it features a hunky brooding hero who appears in one scene both naked and wet. —KVA

The New Pope (HBO, January 13)

Meet The New Pope, different from The Young Pope. Well, a little bit. Paolo Sorrentino’s audacious series is back for a second season with Pope Pius XIII (Jude Law), a.k.a. the young pope, in a coma and Sir John Brannox (John Malkovich) being recruited as a potential replacement. In case you saw the trailer and are now concerned: Yes, we still get to see Jude Law strut around in a Speedo. —JC

The Magicians season 5 (Syfy, January 15)

When it left off in season four, The Magicians made some storytelling choices that dramatically changed the series. (And many fans were not thrilled about it!) But it’s made the season-five return highly anticipated indeed, and it’s always exciting when a series makes a bold decision to shake things up. I’m hopeful about it! —KVA

Little America (Apple TV+, January 17)

Kumail Nanjiani, The Big Sick co-writer Emily V. Gordon (and Nanjiani’s spouse), Alan Yang (Master of None), and Lee Eisenberg (The Office) are among the executive producers of this anthology series about the American immigrant experience. The stories range from uplifting to comedic, and if you’re wondering if it’s worth an investment, the fact that Apple has already ordered a second season suggests it might be? —JC

Avenue 5 (HBO, January 19)

Veep in space? Not exactly, but Veep creator Armando Iannucci is the mind behind this new HBO comedy about a luxury-cruise spaceship that, in the not-so-distant future, experiences a disaster that could make its journey indefinite. Hugh Laurie, Zach Woods, and Josh Gad are among the stars. —JC

Awkwafina Is Nora From Queens (Comedy Central, January 22)

The possible soon-to-be Oscar nominee gets her own half-hour comedy based loosely on her own life. As Nora, Awkwafina is a young woman seeking purpose while living at home with her eccentric family, including her dad (Mr. Robot’s BD Wong), grandmother (Lori Tan Chinn of Orange Is the New Black), and cousin (SNL’s Bowen Yang). The concept may sound familiar, but here’s hoping Awkwafina and this great cast will freshen it up. —JC

Star Trek: Picard (CBS All Access, January 23)

A new Star Trek series is one thing. A new Star Trek series that returns to one of the franchise’s most beloved characters, Jean-Luc Picard, played once again by Patrick Stewart? With several characters from The Next Generation also returning? That means it’s time, once again, to ask whether maybe CBS All Access is worth checking out. (If you subscribe, you should also watch The Good Fight!) —KVA 

The Goop Lab (Netflix, January 24)

“This is dangerous,” says one voice in the trailer for The Goop Lab, the new streaming series spinoff of Gwyneth Paltrow’s Goop enterprise. “It’s unregulated,” adds another, a reminder that many of the wellness recommendations on the Goop site, and, presumably, in this Netflix show, are controversial, to say the least. “Should I be scared?” asks Paltrow in the sneak-peek clip. I don’t know, but I think audiences will be. I also think when this series debuts, the internet will have a collective stroke. —JC

The Good Place series finale (NBC, January 30)

In what officially qualifies as a “television event,” The Good Place will come to an end with a 90-minute block of programming that includes the final episode and a postshow hosted by Seth Meyers. How will the four-season exploration of human ethics and the afterlife wrap up all its loose ends? I don’t know, but I am hoping it involves one last Blake Bortles reference for the road. —JC

BoJack Horseman season 6, part two (Netflix, January 31)

One day after The Good Place calls it quits, the final episodes of BoJack Horseman will start streaming on Netflix. Which is just cruel, isn’t it? Having both these shows depart one right after the other is going to hurt. Make sure to savor what’s left of the Hollywoo satire, which begins its homestretch with BoJack, now out of rehab, working as an acting professor and making one final series of attempts to be a good (horse)man. —JC

Briarpatch (USA, February 6)

Written by podcaster and former Grantland staffer Andy Greenwald and developed by Sam Esmail’s production company, Briarpatch stars Rosario Dawson, is about murder, and takes place in a very noirish Texas. —KVA

Interrogation (CBS All Access, February 6)

You’ll never believe this, but there’s another crime-focused show to watch. This one takes a slightly different narrative approach, though. The episodes each focus on an interrogation related to the case of a young man accused of murdering his mother, but who insists he is innocent. As the press release for the series, which stars Peter Sarsgaard and is based on a true story, explains: “Viewers will see the day of the crime and then follow the evidence like a cold case detective, abandon the linear narrative, and determine their own investigative path by watching the episodes leading up to the finale in any order.” TL;DR: It’s choose-your-own-adventure scripted true crime. —JC

High Fidelity (Hulu, February 14)

The 1995 Nick Hornby novel, which was made into a 2000 John Cusack movie, is now a 2020 TV series starring Zoë Kravitz. The Hulu version hits many of the same beats as the previous pieces of source material: Kravitz’s character is named Rob, she owns a record store, she breaks up with a boyfriend, and revisits her top-five previous romantic splits. But turning over this record to hear the female flip side is still fun. Plus, Kravitz is great, and so is Da’Vine Joy Randolph in the role played by Jack Black in the film. —JC

The Good Lord Bird (Showtime, February 16)

In this adaptation of James McBride’s novel, Ethan Hawke plays abolitionist John Brown, Daveed Diggs plays Frederick Douglass, and Lodge 49’s Wyatt Russell will appear as federal army officer J.E.B. Stuart. No word yet if Hawke will be styled to look like Brown’s most famous painted portrait. — KVA 

Outlander season 5 (Starz, February 16)

Outlander returns for a fifth season set around the time of the American Revolution. Will the choices that Claire (Caitriona Balfe) and Jamie (Sam Heughan) make potentially prevent the United States from existing? More important question: How do these two continue to look so hot while aging? Is it because, through some space-time portal, they’ve accessed the beauty and wellness advice offered on The Goop Lab? —JC

Hunters (Amazon, February 21)

Hunters is an action drama about vigilante justice, but it’s not a typical superhero show. The vigilantes in this case are Nazi hunters determined to take out the remaining loyalists to the Third Reich lurking in 1977 New York. Their leader? An Auschwitz survivor played by Al Pacino. —JC

Better Call Saul season 5 (AMC, February 23)

Season four of Better Call Saul concluded with Bob Odenkirk’s Jimmy McGill announcing his new name: Saul Goodman. Season five sees him moving further to embrace his role as a dodgy lawyer and, presumably, inches us closer to the Breaking Bad timeline. Hopefully it also gives us lots more time with Kim Wexler and the best ponytail on TV. —JC

The Plot Against America (HBO, March 16)

HBO recently gave us one alternate history in the form of Watchmen, the graphic novel “remix” that imagined a world in which Richard Nixon never resigned, Robert Redford became president, and reparations were paid to black families affected by the 1921 Tulsa massacre. This spring, it gives us another in the form of this adaptation of the Philip Roth novel in which Charles Lindbergh is elected president and anti-Semitism begins to rise. David Simon is behind the limited series, which stars Winona Ryder, Zoe Kazan, and John Turturro. —JC

Little Fires Everywhere (Hulu, March 18)

Celeste Ng’s compelling 2017 novel about class and racial dynamics in suburban Ohio screamed out for the prestige-TV treatment. Now it’s getting it, via this Hulu series starring Kerry Washington and Reese Witherspoon, who are also executive producers, as women on opposite sides of the wealth and culture divide. —JC

Maplewood Murders (Quibi, April TBD)

Quibi is launching in April with a slate of reality shows, drama series, news shows, and some star-packed comedies. This is one of the comedies, a mobile-formatted series about murders in a small town starring Tina Fey, Fred Armisen, a bunch of other people you’ve heard of from SNL, and executive-produced by Lorne Michaels and Seth Meyers. —KVA 

Murder House Flip (Quibi, April TBD)

This reality series, to debut on the forthcoming, weirdly named mobile-streaming series, is exactly what its title implies. In each episode, homes in which murders or other crimes were committed get renovated both spiritually (think “This house is clean” à la Poltergeist) and physically. It’s basically true crime meets Trading Spaces, which means every suburban mom in America is going to love it, assuming they can figure out what Quibi is. —JC

Hollywood (Netflix, May TBD)

Ryan Murphy’s look at Tinseltown circa the 1940s marks the first Murphy project to be both produced and distributed under his Netflix deal. (Last year’s The Politician streamed on Netflix but was produced by 20th Century Fox.) In another Murphy-verse milestone, Darren Criss will star in Hollywood, marking his first collaboration with the television-generating machine since his Emmy-winning turn in The Assassination of Gianni Versace. —JC 

Search Party season 3 (HBO Max, May TBD)

After HBO Max launches this spring, a lot of programming both old (Friends!) and newish-old (a Gossip Girl sequel!) will become part of the WarnerMedia streaming service. That includes Search Party, the TBS millennial comedy/murder mystery that will move to HBO Max and be viewable as soon as the platform launches in May. Nearly three years will have passed since season two aired, but if you need to catch up, seasons one and two will also be available at launch. —JC

The 2020 Summer Olympic Games (NBC, July 24 through August 9)

Block out time on your calendar now to sack out in the air-conditioning and watch international athletes exert themselves in the hopes of winning a medal. The games will take place in Tokyo and feature some of the new — five sports have been added or are returning to the competition this year, including surfing, skateboarding, and baseball/softball — as well as some of the familiar. The familiar should include Katie Ledecky lapping the competition in the swimming events and powerhouse Simone Biles competing in what is expected to be her final Olympics, as well as the first Summer Games since the USA Gymnastics sex scandal. Basically, this is going to be the summer’s best drama. —JC

Barry season 3 (HBO, TBD)

The second season of Barry ended with a bang — several bangs, actually — and a whisper in the ear of Gene Cousineau (Henry Winkler) that revealed who really killed Gene’s girlfriend and cop, Janice. We can’t wait to find out what happens after that whisper.  JC

Big Mouth season 4 (Netflix, TBD)

One of the worst TV breakups of 2019 was the dissolution of the friendship between Nick (Nick Kroll) and Andrew (John Mulaney). Can the pubescent BFFs be oversharing friends again in season four? We will have to wait and see. —JC

Bridgerton (Netflix, TBD)

Shondaland’s first Netflix show is an adaptation of the much-loved romance series by Julia Quinn. While Shonda Rhimes’s production company is behind the series, the showrunner will be Grey’s Anatomy vet Chris Van Dusen, and it promises to be full of all the sexy dukes, grand estates, tense ballroom scenes, and sweeping love stories you can possibly handle. —KVA 

Central Park (Apple TV+, TBD)

Loren Bouchard, creator of Bob’s Burgers, is behind this animated musical comedy about a bunch of workers attempting to save Central Park. Apple TV+ has already committed to two seasons, which will feature the voices of two Frozen principals (Kristen Bell and Josh Gad) and two members of the Hamilton original Broadway cast (Daveed Diggs and Leslie Odom Jr.), plus Kathryn Hahn, Tituss Burgess, and Stanley Tucci. —JC

Devs (FX on Hulu, TBD)

Ex Machina and Annihilation writer and director Alex Garland’s new FX miniseries project is about a mysterious, powerful Silicon Valley tech company that, get this, might just be evil. The cast is led by Sonoya Mizuno as Lily, and also includes Nick Offerman as Forest, the company’s stringy-haired CEO. —KVA

Dickinson season two (Apple TV+, TBD)

We couldn’t get enough of the first season of this anachronistic, bonkers-as-a-talking-bumblebee portrait of the life of young Emily Dickinson (Hailee Steinfeld). Season two can’t come soon enough. —JC

The Falcon and the Winter Soldier (Disney+, TBD)

Hey, you like Marvel, right? This is a Marvel show! There will be characters you know! It’s gonna be like the other Marvel shows, but Sebastian Stan and Anthony Mackie are in it, so it’s also gonna be a bit more like the Marvel movies! —KVA

Fargo season 4 (FX, TBD)

After a long hiatus, FX’s anthology show Fargo is returning with a pretty compelling new cast, including Chris Rock, Uzo Aduba, Jack Huston, Jason Schwartzman, Ben Whishaw, and Timothy Olyphant. The season is apparently set in 1950s Kansas City, and will be about a clash between two rival criminal organizations. —KVA 

The Haunting of Bly Manor (Netflix, TBD)

Given that I could barely watch The Haunting of Hill House without shrieking aloud, and given that the second season of the Mike Flanagan horror anthology series will be roughly based on Henry James’s The Turn of the Screw — which means there are guaranteed to be creepy demonic children — the odds of me watching it without covering my eyes half the time are not looking good. —KVA 

Impeachment: American Crime Story (FX, TBD)

Will Americans be sick of the word “impeachment” by the time the next season of American Crime Story — a reexamination of the Clinton/Lewinsky scandal — premieres? That’s unclear for a lot of reasons, including the fact that the release date for Ryan Murphy’s next scandal-focused limited series is still up in the air. I suspect the idea of seeing Sarah Paulson as Linda Tripp and Beanie Feldstein as Monica Lewinsky, who acts as an executive producer, will still be an intriguing proposition whether it arrives before or after Election Day. —JC

Lizzie McGuire revival (Disney+, TBD)

Because we live in a world where all things from our childhoods are constantly being mined for their continuing potential as profitable intellectual property, and also because we must know what she’s doing with her hair these days, Lizzie McGuire is back. Hilary Duff is returning as McGuire, who starts the revival on the eve of her 30th birthday. No word yet on why this exists when I thought we’d all agreed that Lizzie grew up to be Kelsey on Younger. —KVA 

The Mandalorian season two (Disney+, TBD)

Is Baby Yoda back? How about now?

Okay, how about now?

Now? Damn. We’re going to have to wait almost a whole year, aren’t we? [Leans back and takes a long, dejected sip of bone broth.] —JC

The Morning Show season two (Apple TV+, TBD)

New episodes of the Jennifer Aniston–Reese Witherspoon Me Too drama are due out later this year. But if someone told me it was suddenly available, I’d pivot to watch it so quickly that I wouldn’t even bother finishing this sen—. —JC

Mrs. America (FX on Hulu, TBD)

You know the culture wars? No, not these ones. Not those ones in the ’90s, either. The ’70s culture wars, the ones with Phyllis Schlafly and the Equal Rights Amendment and Gloria Steinem. That’s this show, with a blockbuster cast. Cate Blanchett is Schlafly, Rose Byrne is Gloria Steinem, Uzo Aduba is Shirley Chisholm, Margo Martindale is Bella Abzug, and you are already putting this on your TV calendar. —KVA 

Normal People (Hulu, TBD)

Another of the many book adaptations onscreen this year, this one is Hulu’s adaptation of the ubiquitous 2018 Sally Rooney novel about young adulthood and relationships in Dublin. It features Daisy Edgar-Jones as Marianne, and refreshingly, it’ll be 12 half-hour episodes rather than the typical prestige model of hourish installments. —KVA

Perry Mason (HBO, TBD)

Matthew Rhys as famed 1930s detective Perry Mason in an HBO series? Yes, please.KVA

Quiz (AMC, TBD)

A limited series about the couple who cheated on the British version of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, this ITV co-production stars Fleabag’s Sian Clifford and Succession’s Matthew Macfadyen as the dishonest couple, and Michael Sheen as their co-conspirator. You may want to phone a friend to see if they want to watch it with you. (Sorry.) —JC

Run (HBO, 2020 TBD)

Phoebe Waller-Bridge executive-produces this comic thriller, in which she also co-stars opposite Domhnall Gleeson and Merritt Wever. I could write more sentences here, but I think you’re already sold after that first one, right? Yeah, that’s what I thought. —JC

Space Force (Netflix, TBD)

Greg Daniels, executive producer of The Office, reunites with Steve Carell for this comedy that explores the inner workings of the newest branch of the U.S. military, the Space Force, which has actually been created in real life. Space Force is not a docuseries, though. It’s a scripted one in which Carell will be joined by John Malkovich, Ben Schwartz, and Noah Emmerich, among others. Suggested tagline: In Space Force, no one can hear you say, “That’s what she said.”JC

Succession season 3 (HBO, TBD)

We don’t know yet when the Roy family will return, but we already can’t wait to see where the series picks up after the twist that ended season two and reignited the rivalry between patriarch Logan (Brian Cox) and oldest son Kendall (Jeremy Strong). We’re also very excited to hear Kendall’s follow-up to his enormously successful rap tribute to his father. His new hip-hop masterpiece: obviously a diss track. —JC

Y: The Last Man (FX, TBD)

The process of making this show happen has been long, messy, and fraught, but it seems as though Y: The Last Man may finally show up on TV sometime this year. Last year, Michael Green was replaced as showrunner and Eliza Clark (best known for working on Rubicon) took over; we don’t know much about the creative differences that spurred the change, but the comic adaptation about a world where all the men have died (except for one!) is still slated to come out later this year. —KVA

Your Honor (Showtime, TBD)

This Showtime limited series is a legal thriller set in New Orleans, starring Bryan Cranston as “a respected judge whose son is involved in a hit-and-run that leads to a high-stakes game of lies, deceit, and impossible choices.” Sure, you could probably knock out a couple episodes of that while folding laundry. —KVA

50 TV Shows We Can’t Wait to See in 2020