The Best New Television Shows of 2020 to Binge-Watch Right Now

We’re halfway through 2020, people. It can’t get any worse, right? (Furiously knocks on wood until knuckles bleed.) This is an incredibly dumb thing to say given the circumstances, but thankfully the year has given us some solid new television while we stay indoors screaming into pillows. If you’ve had difficulty remembering which new shows out there were good because you’ve been too busy trying to survive this hellscape, don’t worry! We’re keeping track of all the best new shows of the year right here.

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.


The Baby-Sitters Club

Kailey Schwerman/Netflix

Premiered July 3 | Watch on Netflix
Ann M. Martin’s cherished books about a gaggle of girls who set up their own baby-sitting business are updated for modern audiences with Netflix’s new adaptation. I know what you’re thinking, “For real, TV Guide? The Baby-Sitters Club?” Yeah! The show is a delight for all ages, faithfully adapting the books while also adding in episodes dealing with important current-day topics, such as transgender visibility and racism. It’s light and refreshing family-friendly TV, perfect for an easy summer binge with the family. [REVIEW | TRAILER]


I’ll Be Gone in the Dark

Michelle McNamara, I’ll Be Gone in the Dark

Robyn Von Swank/HBO

Premiered June 28 | Watch on HBO
This six-part series is based on the bestselling book of the same name and explores writer Michelle McNamara’s investigation into the identity of the serial predator she called the Golden State Killer, which led to the arrest of a suspect in 2018. Sadly, McNamara was not around to see the payoff of her work, as she died in 2016. This docuseries, directed by acclaimed documentary filmmaker Liz Garbus and executive-produced by McNamara’s widower Patton Oswalt, is a tribute to McNamara’s life and work as well as a harrowing true-crime documentary. -Liam Mathews [TRAILER]

Perry Mason

Matthew Rhys, Perry Mason


Premiered June 21 | Watch on HBO
You probably remember Perry Mason as an imposing defense attorney somewhere inside that imposing suit as he boiled down murder cases and, like clockwork, wrung out a confession from someone who wasn’t his client to prove his client’s innocence. Throw most of that out the window, as HBO reboots Perry Mason with The Americans‘ Matthew Rhys – who’s absolutely terrific — playing the iconic TV character as a slightly disheveled, grumpy, boozing, f—ing malcontent who’s working a case about a murdered baby in a dirty, grimy 1930s Los Angeles. The eight-episode season of private-eyeing and courtroom drama is bolstered by a wonderful cast, which includes Tatiana MaslanyJohn Lithgow, and Stephen Root, and a robust budget that brings Depression-era L.A. to gorgeous life under the watchful direction of Game of Thrones‘ Tim Van Patten. This is how prestige television is done — even if the story ultimately comes up a bit short, the performances and visuals are enough to keep you watching. [REVIEW | TRAILER]

I May Destroy You

Michaela Coel, I May Destroy You

Natalie Seery/HBO

Premiered June 7 | Watch on HBO
Rising super-talent Michaela Coel created, writes, directs, and stars in this timely and unflinching drama made in partnership with the BBC. She plays Arabella, an author who is drugged and sexually assaulted in a bar, and comes to with a vague memory that something bad happened to her, but she’s not sure who’s responsible. She tries to find out who did it, while also maintaining her friendships and finishing her book. The series deals with some intensely heavy topics, but it has a sly sense of humor that will make you laugh when you’re least expecting it. -Liam Mathews [REVIEW | TRAILER]



Michael Sheen, Quiz


Premiered May 31 | Watch on AMC
One of my favorite movies of all time is 1994’s Quiz Show, which stars Ralph Fiennes as a man who competes on a Jeopardy!-like game show and gets illegally groomed by the producers — answers to the questions included — to become their recurring champion to boost ratings. There’s a lot of similarity with AMC’s Quiz, but the difference is the contestants form the cheating ring and the producers are none the wiser. Well, at least initially. Quiz is also based on a true story; in 2001, Charles Ingram, along with his sister and her husband, devised a plan to win the big prize in the U.K.’s massive new hit series Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?, leading to a criminal trial that became a huge story overseas. Quiz is an incredibly entertaining three-episode miniseries, and it not only covers the scandal but the development of the show as well, for those of you who like to see what goes on behind the scenes. It’s also fun, and still manages to capture the tension of the game show even though you know what’s going to happen. As a bonus, the inimitable Michael Sheen stars as the host of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?, and he’s great as always. [TRAILER]

The Great

Elle Fanning, The Great

Ollie Upton/Hulu

Premiered May 15 | Watch on Hulu
This lavish period piece features powdered wigs, British accents, and flowing wardrobes, but it ain’t a stuffy drama for your mama. Tony McNamara, the screenwriter of The Favourite, penned this satirical look at Catherine the Great (Elle Fanning) as she ascended to power in Russia, and it’s based on facts. Well, some of them, anyway. The rest is made up to make it fun and entertaining. And it’s a hoot. Keep a close eye out on this version of Peter the Great (Nicholas Hoult), one of the all-time best depictions of royal doofusry to ever grace the television. –Kaitlin Thomas [REVIEW | TRAILER]

I Know This Much Is True

Mark Ruffalo and Mark Ruffalo, I Know This Much Is True

Atsushi Nishijima

Premiered May 10 | Watch on HBO
Ruffalo ruffalo ruffalo Ruffalo ruffalo. By that grammatically correct sentence, I mean this HBO limited series stars Mark Ruffalo in two roles. He plays Dominick and Thomas Birdsey, twin brothers with a complicated relationship. Thomas has schizophrenia, and Dominick has PTSD from taking care of him, serving in the Gulf War, and numerous other hardships. It’s written and directed by Derek Cianfrance, whose previous films include Blue Valentine and The Place Beyond the Pines, in case you weren’t sure if I Know This Much Is True was going to be really heavy. Cianfrance is one of the heaviest filmmakers in the game. The miniseries is based on a very popular, very long 1998 novel by Wally Lamb. –Liam Mathews [REVIEW | TRAILER]


Nina Moran, Ardelia “Dede” Lovelace, and Moonbear, Betty

Alison Rosa/HBO

Premiered May 1 | Watch on HBO
If Girls‘ Hannah Horvath spent less time telling everyone else how they were wrong and more time chilling on a skateboard, it might look a little like HBO’s new six-episode series Betty, a loving ode to female friendship, New York City, and vibin’. The show is an extension of Skate Kitchen, a 2018 film about a group of young female skateboarders, with the film’s director, Crystal Moselle, bringing back the same cast and characters for more stories about queer love and having your friends’ backs. It’s got that summertime, carefree, adventures-in-the-city feel down pat, if you’d like to live vicariously through its characters. [TRAILER]


Normal People

Paul Mescal and Daisy Edgar-Jones, Normal People

Element Pictures / Enda Bowe, Hulu

Premiered April 29 | Watch on Hulu
Sally Rooney’s best-selling novel Normal People, which chronicles a tender but complicated romance between two Irish teens from the end of high school through their college years, is faithfully and beautifully adapted for television in this Hulu limited series. Daisy Edgar-Jones and Paul Mescal star as Marianne and Connell, two teens whose upbringings couldn’t be more different but whose deep connection leads to an intense, all-consuming romance. Fluctuating power dynamics eventually put a strain on their relationship, as issues of class, privilege, submission, and emotional scarring compound an inability to communicate, leading to periods of friendship and intimacy giving way to months of no contact. The show, which is directed by Lenny Abrahamson and Hettie Macdonald, is a surprisingly honest look at young love and heartbreak. Also, there’s lots of skin. I mean lots. I just felt like I should say that… up front. –Kaitlin Thomas [REVIEW | TRAILER]

Never Have I Ever

Maitreyi Ramakrishnan, Lee Rodriguez, and Ramona Young, Never Have I Ever


Premiered April 27 | Watch on Netflix
Mindy Kaling co-created this teenage rom-com about an Indian-American girl named Devi who enters her sophomore year of high school determined to shed her nerdy image and get a boyfriend. Do I need to even tell you that things do not go as planned? It’s great, filled with fun writing and an energetic performance from its lead, Maitreyi Ramakrishnan, who meets every of Devi’s obstacles with spirit and a smile. It’s been a few since Netflix’s last horny teen hit; this looks like the next one. [REVIEW | TRAILER]

Middleditch & Schwartz

Ben Schwartz and Thomas Middleditch, Middleditch & Schwartz

Jeffery Neira/ NETFLIX

Premiered April 21 | Watch on Netflix
Laughter is the best medicine besides actual medicine prescribed to you by a qualified medical professional, so if you’re in need of some laughs, these three new, completely improvised comedy specials featuring Thomas Middleditch and Ben Schwartz are exactly what your doctor is probably also watching in April. Filmed at NYU, the first special is titled “Dream Job” and tells the story of two friends, one of whom has an important job interview that eventually spirals into an existential crisis. Who hasn’t been there? Next up is “Law School Magic,” which claims to be part The Breakfast Club and part The Chronicles of Narnia, and the final special is “Parking Lot Wedding,” and I’m not even going to tell you what happens because that would spoil the magic. –Kaitlin Thomas [REVIEW | TRAILER]

The Midnight Gospel

The Midnight Gospel


Premiered April 20 | Watch on Netflix
Adventure Timecreator Pendleton Ward‘s newest is a trippy, universe-surfing animated series about a podcaster who travels through the multiverse interviewing subjects about their specialties. Using audio from the Duncan Trussell Family Hour podcast and adding a weird, animated world around it, The Midnight Gospel is basically Rick & Morty meets Dr. Katz. It’s the perfect show for a hazy late-night on the couch: a colorful and comically intellectual escape, if the mood-enhancers you take to appreciate the visuals allow your brain to follow it. [TRAILER]

The Last Dance

Michael Jordan and Phil Jackson

JEFF HAYNES/AFP via Getty Images

Premiered April 19 | Watch on ESPN, ESPN+
This 10-part docuseries is ostensibly about the Chicago Bulls’ historic 1997-98 season, but it’s really an in-depth examination of Michael Jordan, who didn’t get to be the greatest basketball player who ever lived by being nice to people. His Airness is remarkably unguarded as he talks at length about the feuds and resentments that fueled his unparalleled career, accompanied by extraordinary archival footage from that season and interviews with dozens of people who were there, from Dennis Rodman to Barack Obama. It’s an incredible document of NBA history that basketball fans will find totally riveting. – Liam Mathews [REVIEW | TRAILER]

Mrs. America

Cate Blanchett, Mrs. America

Sabrina Lantos/FX

Premiered April 15 | Watch on FX on Hulu
The second show to debut as part of FX’s new streaming deal with Hulu, Mrs. America chronicles the messy history of modern feminism in the U.S. and the fight to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment in the 1970s (a fight that is still going today). The limited series, which will likely bring FX a slew of Emmy nominations in the acting categories, is largely told through the eyes of Cate Blanchett‘s conservative homemaker and hopeful politician Phyllis Schlafly, who staunchly believes a woman’s place is in the home even as she is quite often … not in the home. On the other side of the table are notable figures like Gloria Steinam (Rose Byrne), The Feminine Mystique author Betty Friedan (Tracey Ullman), and Shirley Chisholm (Uzo Aduba), the first woman to run for president for the Democratic party. But the compelling and thoughtful series is careful to not take sides in the discussion or draw any conclusions. It’s not perfect, but it’s still must-see TV. –Kaitlin Thomas [REVIEW | TRAILER]


Merritt Wever and Domhnall Gleeson, Run


Premiered April 12 | Watch on HBO
Early on in HBO’s new series Run, you’ll know that the two main characters (Merritt Wever and Domhnall Gleeson) totally have the hots for each other. Everything else about them? Well, you’ll just have to wait as the details are parsed out. But that’s the fun of the dark comedy, from Fleabag‘s Vicky Jones, in which old college flames fulfill a pact they made and run off together on a whim 15 years later, leaving their lives behind to recapture the love they had for each other as teenagers. Most of the series is set on a train to Chicago, creating a situation they can’t (and mostly don’t want to) escape from. There are twists, there are turns, and an uncomfortable feeling that these two people are either doing the exact wrong thing or the exact right thing, and that energy makes you feel like you’re part of the affair. [TRAILER]


Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness

Joe Exotic, Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness


Premiered March 20 | Watch on Netflix
Netflix’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 [REVIEW | TRAILER]

The Plot Against America

John Turturro, The Plot Against America

Michele K. Short

Premiered March 16 | Watch on HBO
This 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 [REVIEW | TRAILER]


Walter Cordopatri and Giuseppe De Domenico, ZeroZeroZero

Stefania Rosini/Amazon Studios

Premiered March 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]


Nick Offerman as Forest, Devs

Miya Mizuno/FX

Premiered March 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. –Liam Mathews [REVIEW | TRAILER]

Dispatches from Elsewhere

Jason Segel and Eve Lindley, Dispatches From Elsewhere

Zach Dilgard/AMC

Premiered March 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]


High Fidelity

Zoë’ Kravitz and David H. Holmes, High Fidelity

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


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 Guide


Star Trek: Picard

Sir Patrick Stewart, Star Trek: Picard

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]

Awkwafina Is Nora From Queens

Awkwafina, Awkwafina Is Nora from Queens

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]

Seven Worlds, One Planet

Seven Worlds, One Planet

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]

Little America

Conphidance, Little America


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]

Everything’s Gonna Be Okay

Maeve Press, Kayla Cromer, and Josh Thomas, Everything’s Gonna Be Okay

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]

Kipo and the Age of the Wonderbeasts

Kipo and the Age of the Wonderbeasts


Season 1 premiered January 14; Season 2 premiered June 12 | Watch on Netflix
Despite being set well after the apocalypse 200 years in the future when humanity is forced to live underground because giant man-eating mutants roam the surface of the Earth, this charming animated series based on a webcomic is pure delight. Following Kipo as she searches for her missing father, Kipo and the Age of Wonderbeasts is imaginative as Adventure Time and as thrilling as Avatar: The Last Airbender, but really sets out on its own because it’s relentlessly positive with a heroine who just wants to pet these fantastic beasts she comes across. The hip-hop soundtrack, diverse characters, and hilarious mutant animal gangs are just plusses on top. [TRAILER]




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]

Party of Five

Niko Guardado, Brandon Larracuente, Elle Paris, and Emily Tosta, Party of Five

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]

The Circle

The Circle


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]

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