The Best New TV Shows of 2020


We’re just a few months into 2020 and we’re already pining for the relatively halcyon days of 2019. But as bleak as things seem around you right now, things aren’t entirely apocalyptic, as you can still settle into your fortress of toilet paper and watch some TV. And as horrible as 2020 has been so far, it’s actually been quite generous with the amount of quality new TV shows that it has released. We’re keeping track of the best of the best right here so you can discover all the new shows worth watching. Whether it’s on Netflix, Hulu, or even a dinosaur like ABC, as long as it’s good, you’ll find it on the list below. We’ll also tell you where to watch it, link up a TV Guide review (if there is one), and show off a trailer so you can get a taste for yourself. Enjoy! Check back often, as this story will be updated throughout the year.MARCH Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness Joe Exotic, Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and MadnessPhoto: Netflix Premiered Mar. 20 | Watch on NetflixNetflix’s latest true crime miniseries is really nuts even by the standards of true crime miniseries. It tells the story of Joe Exotic, a private zoo operator who was arrested for hiring hitmen to kill an animal rights activist who was trying to shut him down. The docuseries makes it seem like everyone involved in the big cat industry is a larger-than-life personality, and none are larger than Joe, a charismatic gun-toting gay polygamist who won’t let anyone tell him what to do with his big cats. You can tell the filmmakers started out trying to make an issue-driven documentary about animal welfare, and then it turned into something else while they were filming it. It’s a truly wild journey that’s the absolute perfect binge for right now. – Liam Mathews [TRAILER]The Plot Against America John Turturro, The Plot Against AmericaPhoto: Michele K. Short Premiered Mar. 16 | Watch on HBOThis limited series, written by The Wire’s David Simon and Ed Burns, is based on a book by legendary novelist Philip Roth. It presents an alternate version of American history in which celebrity aviator Charles Lindbergh beat Franklin D. Roosevelt in the election of 1940 on a fascist, isolationist platform. It tells the story through the eyes of the Levins, a working class Jewish American family in Newark whose pursuit of the American Dream gets halted as America slides into fascism. The book was written during the George W. Bush presidency, but the limited series is a Crucible-esque allegory for the Trump era. The premiere will take you right back to how you felt in 2015-16, as Lindbergh’s rise makes people uneasy, but they don’t think he could actually be elected.. – Liam Mathews [TRAILER]ZeroZeroZero Walter Cordopatri and Giuseppe De Domenico, ZeroZeroZero Photo: Stefania Rosini/Amazon Studios Premiered Mar. 6 | Watch on Amazon Prime Video Amazon’s violent, prestige-y, multi-continental crime epic ZeroZeroZero, produced in partnership with Sky Atlantic and Canal , could potentially be the answer to Netflix’s Narcos. The slick series tracks the cocaine trade between Mexican, American, and Italian organized crime, and stars Andrea Riseborough, Dane DeHaan, and Gabriel Byrne as the Americans, who broker the deals and transport the coke via their shipping company. It also follows a Mexican soldier (Harold Torres) on the frontline of the drug war, and Giuseppe De Domenico as a Calabrian gangster who wants to take over his family business. – Liam Mathews [TRAILER]Devs Nick Offerman as Forest, Devs Photo: Miya Mizuno/FX Premiered Mar. 5 | Watch on Hulu Ex Machina and Annihilation director Alex Garland heads to TV for the first time with this philosophical sci-fi slow-burn. The limited series follows the story of a young software engineer, Lily Chan (Sonoya Mizuno), who investigates the secretive development division of the company she works for, which is run by a weird guy named Forest (Nick Offerman), because she believes it’s responsible for her boyfriend’s murder. Mostly, though, the show is about Garland’s obsession with building lightbulbs into the walls of the set to give everything a beautiful golden glow. Episodes release weekly via FX on Hulu. – Liam Mathews [REVIEW | TRAILER]Dispatches from Elsewhere Jason Segel and Eve Lindley, Dispatches From Elsewhere Photo: Zach Dilgard/AMC Premiered Mar. 1 | Watch on AMC Jason Segel created this experimental dramedy, and How I Met Your Mother fans are in for a real trip. Segel stars as Peter, a lonely man whose humdrum existence gets shaken up when he answers a flyer that gets him involved in a mysterious conflict between something called the Jejune Institute and something called the Elsewhere Society. It might be a game, it might be a conspiracy, it might be nothing, it might be something. Joining him on his quest are Simone (Eve Lindley), Fredwynn (Andre Benjamin), and Janice (Sally Field), who each get their own episodes as the season progresses. The show is heavily influenced by acclaimed screenwriter Charlie Kaufman (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Being John Malkovich), which means it’s whimsical and sad at the same time. – Liam Mathews [REVIEW | TRAILER]FEBRUARY High Fidelity Zoë’ Kravitz and David H. Holmes, High Fidelity Photo: Phillip Caruso/Hulu Premiered Feb. 14 | Watch on Hulu You’ve seen the movie, maybe you’ve even read the book, now you can watch the High Fidelity TV show! Nick Hornby’s novel about a record store owner with snooty taste and a penchant for Top 5 lists moves to Brooklyn and makes the main character a woman (Zoë Kravitz), showing romantic failures and the inability to accept your own faults isn’t just for white men. [REVIEW | TRAILER]Mythic Quest: Raven’s Banquet Rob McElhenney, Mythic Quest Photo: Apple Premiered Feb. 7 | Watch on Apple TV It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia’s Rob McElhenney is smart enough to know that video games are funny, but they’re not to be made fun of. Gamers are legion, after all. The game biz gets a loving send-up in Mythic Quest: Raven’s Banquet without making games the joke as McElhenney plays the egotistical creative director of a popular MMORPG about to release its first expansion pack. There’s a fantastic cast that includes F. Murray Abraham, Danny Pudi, and Charlotte Nicdao, and a midseason standalone episode is a great story of creativity vs. profits. [REVIEW | TRAILER] Netflix’s 2020 Original Movies and TV Shows: A Complete GuideJANUARY Awkwafina Is Nora From Queens Awkwafina, Awkwafina Is Nora from Queens Photo: Comedy Central Premiered Jan. 22 | Watch on Comedy Central Golden Globe winner Awkwafina gives growing up a shot in this stoner comedy that’s in the vein of Broad City. It turns out that adulting is pretty hard, but very funny. What sets Awkwafina Is Nora From Queens apart from others in its class is its Asian-American perspective and the fact that the character still lives at home with her dad and grandmother, who both play big parts in the show. [REVIEW | TRAILER]Cheer Cheer Photo: Netflix Premiered Jan. 8 | Watch on Netflix The documentary team behind Last Chance U goes off the field and onto the sidelines for this hardcore look at the nation’s best collegiate cheerleading program at Texas’ Navarro College. Cheer is so much more than just waifs shaking pompoms; literal blood, sweat, and tears flow as these young men and women aim to be the best, and the character that forms is more dazzling than any aerial flips. Plus: Jerry is the BEST! [6 REASONS TO WATCH CHEER | TRAILER]The Circle The Circle Photo: Netflix Premiered Jan. 1 | Watch on Netflix Imagine Big Brother but if everyone stayed in their rooms on WhatsApp instead of talking face-to-face, and you’ve got an idea of Netflix’s reality competition series The Circle. It’s meant to mimic the social media experience as contestants carefully build profiles to curry favor with others, and there’s an interesting twist that makes it all fun: Some contestants are catfishing, posing as others they think will be seen as better people. Most of it is coy cat-and-mouse, but every once in a while some genuine connections form. [TRAILER] Everything’s Gonna Be Okay Maeve Press, Kayla Cromer, and Josh Thomas, Everything’s Gonna Be Okay Photo: Tony Rivetti Premiered Jan. 16 | Watch on Freeform, Hulu Josh Thomas became a cult TV hero with his series Please Like Me, a coming-of-age comedy with dramatic elements. The laughs and tears continue in Thomas’ new Freeform series Everything’s Gonna Be Okay, about a twentysomething entomologist who takes guardianship of his two teenage half-sisters, one of whom is autistic. It’s sentimental, funny, and an authentic portrayal of the teenage experience. [JOSH THOMAS INTERVIEW | TRAILER]Little America Conphidance, Little America Photo: Apple Premiered Jan. 17 | Watch on Apple TV If you need a nice pick-me-up from the ills of the world, this anthology series from Kumail Nanjiani, Emily V. Gordon, and Alan Yang is a good bet. Each episode of Little America is based on the true stories of immigrants in America, showing off their successes and experiences in humorous and heartwarming fashion, like the Indian spelling bee whiz who ran his parents’ hotel after they were deported and petitioned Laura Bush to help him get them back. The best part of the show is that the challenges they face are systemic rather than from a few bad racist apples, and the stories vary wildly so they don’t feel repetitive. [REVIEW | TRAILER]Party of Five Niko Guardado, Brandon Larracuente, Elle Paris, and Emily Tosta, Party of Five Photo: Vu Ong, Freeform Premiered Jan. 8 | Watch on Freeform, Hulu We didn’t need a reboot of the mid-’90s drama, but we’re glad we got it. The update of the series about a white family who struggles when the parents are killed in a car crash moves thing to a Latinx family who must keep it together after the parents are deported for being undocumented. The result is the same — many tissues will be needed — but the importance and relevance is multiplied in this new Party of Five. [TRAILER]Seven Worlds, One Planet Seven Worlds, One Planet Photo: Nick Green/BBC America/BBC Studios Premiered Jan. 18 | Watch on BBC America The latest from the incredible BBC documentary team goes from continent to continent to highlight the variation of the planet’s wildlife in this new series. It may seem like more of the same, but the simple format of Seven Worlds, One Planet gives a more comprehendible picture of Earth’s biodiversity. And this may sound like a broken record, but the footage is positively stunning, somehow standing out above the team’s previous work. [TRAILER]Star Trek: Picard Sir Patrick Stewart, Star Trek: Picard Photo: Matt Kennedy, CBS Premiered Jan. 23 | Watch on CBS All Access Star Trek: Picard isn’t Star Trek: The Next Generation, nor does it have any ambition to be. Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart) is back, but there’s not much more in common between the two shows as Picard is a heavily serialized tale about the aftermath of Star Trek: Nemesis and Picard’s life 20 years later. And though it’s set far in the future, it resonates today with topic such as terrorism, government corruption, and immigration. [REVIEW | TRAILER]

(Disclosure: TV Guide is owned by CBS Interactive, a division of ViacomCBS.)

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