The 26 Most Anticipated New TV Shows of 2020

Tiffany Haddish and Octavia Spencer in Self Made: Inspired by the Life of Madam C.J. Walker.
Tiffany Haddish and Octavia Spencer in Self Made: Inspired by the Life of Madam C.J. Walker.
Amanda Matlovich/Netflix

Last year, Apple TV+ and Disney+ entered the streaming wars, meaning that when it comes to deciding which new TV show to watch, there are now more choices than ever. Ryan Murphy’s Netflix deal includes a few new shows, and because Disney owns both Hulu and FX, so the streaming network is regularly airing FX series.

High-profile celebrities continue to gravitate toward prestige TV, too (welcome back, Bryan Cranston and Nicole Kidman), where this year we'll see them starring in book adaptation limited series and movies-turned-TV series. While there are dozens of new series we're eagerly looking forward to this year across all platforms—conventional and streaming—here are some of the most anticipated shows of 2020, including a few that have already started airing.

1. AJ and the Queen

Release date: January 10

Netflix’s new “Queen”-titled show has nothing to do with The Crown, but everything to do with working it. RuPaul stars as Ruby Red, a drag queen who travels across country with a 10-year-old stowaway named Amber Jasmine (AJ). RuPaul and Sex and the City’s Michael Patrick King created the show, executive-produced, and co-wrote several of the episodes. Throughout the 10 episodes, guest stars include Sex and the City’s Mario Cantone, Mary Kay Place, Jane Krakowski, and cameos from former RuPaul’s Drag Race contestants.

2. Star Trek: Picard

Release date: January 23

Finally, Patrick Stewart’s Jean-Luc Picard gets his own series, on CBS All Access. The show takes place in the 24th century, 20 years after the events of 2002’s Star Trek: Nemesis. Star Trek alums Jeri Ryan, Brent Spiner, and Jonathan Frakes reprise their roles, and Picard’s joined by new character Number One, an adorable pitbull.

3. McMillions

Release date: February 3

Between 1989 and 2001, McDonald’s offered a Monopoly game in which customers could win prizes, ranging from free food to millions of dollars. However, HBO’s six-part true crime docuseries—from Mark Wahlberg’s production company—explores how an ex-cop committed “fast food fraud” and how no one legitimately won the money.

4. Briarpatch

Release date: February 6

For the first time in her lengthy career, Rosario Dawson headlines a series. She plays Allegra Dill, a woman investigating the murder of her sister in a Texas town. Mr. Robot’s Sam Esmail returns to USA network to produce the southern noir anthology, which is based on the eponymous novel.

5. High Fidelity

Release date: February 14

Twenty-five years after Nick Hornby’s titular book was published and 20 years after the John Cusack film adaptation, High Fidelity returns—on Valentine’s Day, no less—as a Hulu series. This time, Hi-Fi cast member Lisa Bonet’s daughter, Zoë Kravitz, takes over the lovesick, music-loving Rob character. Dolemite Is My Name’s Da’Vine Joy Randolph fills in for Jack Black as the friends navigate dating in Brooklyn instead of Chicago.

6. The Good Lord Bird

Release date: February 16

Joshua Caleb Johnson as Onion and Ethan Hawke as John Brown in THE GOOD LORD BIRD
Joshua Caleb Johnson and Ethan Hawke in The Good Lord Bird.
William Gray, SHOWTIME

From Blumhouse Productions, this new Showtime series is based on James McBride’s 2013 award-winning fictional novel about real life abolitionist John Brown, who in 1859 raided an arsenal at Harpers Ferry, West Virginia in order to initiate a slave revolt. Ethan Hawke produces and plays Brown; Daveed Diggs plays Frederick Douglass, and Wyatt Russell plays U.S. Army Officer J.E.B. Stuart.

7. Year of the Rabbit

Release date: February 19

Veep writers Andy Riley and Kevin Cecil created this dark comedy series that originally aired last year on England's Channel 4. This winter, the show hits America on IFC, and stars FX’s What We Do in the Shadows star Matt Berry as the drunken and bearded Detective Inspector Rabbit. He and his team comically investigate murders during Victorian England and satirize terms like patriarchy and how people shouldn’t call a dead body “beautiful.”

8. Hunters

Release date: February 21

Hot off his Oscar-nominated Jimmy Hoffa role in The Irishman, Al Pacino stars as a Nazi hunter in 1977 New York City. Jordan Peele executive produced the Amazon Prime series, which also stars Logan Lerman, Carol Kane, Josh Radnor, Lena Olin, and Dylan Baker.

9. Amazing Stories

Release date: March 6

Kerry Lynne Bishé in 'Amazing Stories.'
Kerry Lynne Bishé stars in the reboot of Amazing Stories.
Apple TV+

Steven Spielberg’s two-season 1980s anthology series gets reimagined for Apple TV+, with Spielberg returning as one of many executive producers. Each episode will be based on fictional stories of wonder and will feature actors like Ed Burns and the late Robert Forster.

10. The Plot Against America

Release date: March 16

The Wire’s David Simon returns to HBO and re-teams with frequent collaborator Ed Burns for this limited series. Based on the 2004 Philip Roth novel, The Plot Against America reimagines an America in which Charles Lindbergh beats FDR in the 1940 presidential election and American turns toward fascism. The timely six-part miniseries stars Winona Ryder, John Turturro, and Zoe Kazan.

11. Little Fires Everywhere

Release date: March 18

Celeste Ng’s 2017 award-winning novel, about two disparate families living in a Cleveland suburb, gets the Reese Witherspoon limited series treatment for Hulu. The actress and producer stars as affluent mother Elena Richardson, and Kerry Washington—who also produces—stars as struggling mother Mia Warren. The title refers to both literal and metaphorical fires.

12. Self Made: Inspired by the Life of Madam C.J. Walker

Release date: March 20

Octavia Spencer in Self Made: Inspired by the Life of Madam C.J. Walker
Octavia Spencer stars in Self Made: Inspired by the Life of Madam C.J. Walker.
Amanda Matlovich/Netflix

When Madam C.J. Walker died in 1919, she was known as the richest black woman and richest self-made businesswoman in America, having amassed almost $1 million. The Netflix limited series, based on A'Lelia Bundles's On Her Own Ground, follows Walker (played by Octavia Spencer), who made her money selling cosmetics and hair care products to black woman. Tiffany Haddish, Carmen Ejojo, Blair Underwood, Garrett Morris, and Bill Bellamy also star, and Spencer executive produces with Kasi Lemmons and LeBron James.

13. Mrs. America

Release date: April 15

The 1970s saw a rise in women’s lib, but not every woman was on board for progress, especially Phyllis Schlafly. In the FX on Hulu miniseries Mrs. America, Cate Blanchett plays the anti-feminist activist, who was against ratifying the Equal Rights Amendment (it still hasn’t been ratified in every state). The rest of the all-star cast includes Rose Byrne as Gloria Steinem, Uzo Aduba as Shirley Chisholm (the first black woman elected to Congress and the first woman to run for president for the Democratic party), Tracey Ullman as The Feminine Mystique writer Betty Friedan, John Slattery as Schlafly’s husband, and Margo Martindale as Bella Abzug, one of the founders of the National Women’s Political Caucus. Captain Marvel’s Ryan Fleck and Anna Boden co-executive produce with Blanchett.

14. Penny Dreadful: City of Angels

Release date: April 26

Showtime’s Penny Dreadful creator John Logan and producers Sam Mendes and Pippa Harris spin off their macabre show and set it 40 years later in 1930s Los Angeles. Game of Thrones star Natalie Dormer plays a demon, Nathan Lane plays a LAPD officer, and Daniel Zovatto plays the LAPD’s first Mexican American detective, which taps into the era’s racism and supernatural theme.

15. Snowpiercer

Release date: May 31

Based on the 2013 sci-fi film co-written and directed by newly-minted triple-Oscar winner Boon Joon Ho and based on a French graphic novel Le Transperceneige, Snowpiecer the series, which will air on TNT, is set seven years after Earth has become a frozen post-apocalyptic wasteland. Wealthy and poor people are stuck on a perpetually moving train. Instead of Chris Evans and Tilda Swinton, the show stars a large cast that includes Daveed Diggs, Jennifer Connelly, The Americans’s Alison Wright and Sean Bean.

16. The Undoing

Release date: May

In this six-part dramatic HBO miniseries—based on the novel You Should Have Known by Jean Hanff Korelitz—Nicole Kidman re-teams with Big Little Lies creator David E. Kelley and stars as a successful New York therapist whose life unravels when she discovers her husband (Hugh Grant) might have been responsible for a murder. Emmy-winning director Susanne Bier directs and executive produces with Kidman and Kelley.

17. Genius: Aretha

Release date: May

Tony Award winner and Oscar-nominated actress Cynthia Erivo (Harriet, The Outsider) steps into the Queen of Soul’s shoes in the latest eight-episode installment of National Geographic’s ongoing Genius series. This marks the first time the program will feature a woman—the other two seasons focused on Picasso and Einstein—and the first time Aretha Franklin’s estate has authorized a scripted series about the late icon's life.

18. Hollywood

Release date: May

Ryan Murphy’s first produced and distributed Netflix show will focus on Hollywood in the 1940s; Murphy has called it his “love letter to the Golden Age of Tinseltown.” The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story Emmy winner Darren Criss executive produced the series and stars alongside Patti LuPone, Jim Parsons, Mira Sorvino, Samara Weaving, Rob Reiner, The Politician’s David Corenswet, Dylan McDermott, and Holland Taylor.

19. The Falcon and The Winter Soldier

Release date: August

Sebastian Stan and Anthony Mackie reprise their Bucky Barnes/Winter Soldier and Sam Wilson/Falcon roles, respectively, in this six-episode Disney+ series. The show picks up after Avengers: Endgame and is part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Captain America: Civil War’s Helmut Zemo (played by Daniel Brühl), Emily VanCamp, and Wyatt Russell round out the cast.

20. Ratched

Release date: September

In 1976, Louise Fletcher won an Oscar for portraying the evil Nurse Ratched in the film adaption of Ken Kesey’s 1962 book One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. (The film won in all five major Oscar categories.) The medical-pro-of-nightmares returns via Netflix in the form of an origin story, with Sarah Paulson playing the murderous Nurse Ratched. Ryan Murphy and Michael Douglas (who won an Oscar for producing the original film) executive produce, while Sharon Stone, Finn Wittrock, Cynthia Nixon, Don Cheadle, Vincent D’Onofrio, Rosanna Arquette, and Judy Davis also star.

21. Impeachment: American Crime Story

Release date: TBD

Not that impeachment. Ryan Murphy explores the more than 20-year-old Bill Clinton/Monica Lewinsky scandal, with Sarah Paulson starring as Linda Tripp, Beanie Feldstein as Monica Lewinsky, and Clive Owen as the impeached President Clinton.

22. Space Force

Release date: TBD

In 2019, Donalf Trump signed into existence the sixth branch of the military: Space Force. Greg Daniels, creator of The Office and co-creator of Parks and Recreation, saw an opportunity to form a Netflix comedy around the idea. Daniels enlists The Office’s Steve Carell, John Malkovich, Parks and Rec’s Ben Schwartz, Fred Willard, and Noah Emmerich; Carell will also produce.

23. The Haunting of Bly Manor

Release date: TBD

In 2018, Mike Flanagan had a hit with his Netflix horror series The Haunting of Hill House, based on Shirley Jackson's 1959 novel. This year, Flanagan continues his literary ghost story anthology. The Haunting of Bly Manor, based on Henry James’s 1898 novella The Turn of the Screw, sees a few Hill House cast members return: Henry Thomas, Victoria Pedretti, Kate Siegel, Katie Parker, and Oliver Jackson-Cohen. Pendretti plays a governess who looks after two children at Bly manor. She, of course, begins to see ghastly things.

24. Central Park

Release date: TBD

This summer Loren Bouchard, creator of Bob’s Burgers, brings a star-studded animated musical comedy to Apple TV+. The show’s about a group of workers who attempt to save New York’s Central Park. Josh Gad, Leslie Odom Jr., Daveed Diggs, Tituss Burgess, Kristen Bell, Stanley Tucci, and Kathryn Hahn supply the voices.

25. Run

Release date: TBD

'Fleabag' creator/star Phoebe Waller-Bridge poses with her many Emmy Awards in 2019
Phoebe Waller-Bridge poses with a handful of awards at the 71st Emmy Awards in 2019.
Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

Fresh off her many, many award wins for Fleabag, Phoebe Waller-Bridge returns with a new comedic show, this time for HBO. Emmy-winner Merritt Wever (Nurse Jackie, Unbelievable) plays Ruby, a woman who starts an adventure with old flame Domhnall Gleeson. Instead of starring, Waller-Bridge plays a supporting role and executive produces with longtime collaborator Vicky Jones.

26. Your Honor

Release date: TBD

Based on Israeli series Kvodo, Showtime’s Your Honor follows a New Orleans judge (played by Bryan Cranston), whose son gets involved in a tricky hit-and-run. Cranston executive produced the 10-episode legal thriller alongside The Good Wife and The Good Fight’s Robert and Michelle King. Michael Stuhlbarg, Hope Davis, Carmen Ejogo, and Margo Martindale co-star.

11 Fascinating Facts About Mad Max

Mel Gibson stars in George Miller's Mad Max (1979).
Mel Gibson stars in George Miller's Mad Max (1979).
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc.

What began as director George Miller's ambitious action film about a solitary cop (Mel Gibson) on a mission to take down a violent biker gang has evolved into a post-apocalyptic sensory overload of a franchise that now has four films to its credit—Mad Max (1979), The Road Warrior (1981), Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome (1985), and Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)—and additional sequels in the works. So let's obsess over Miller’s masterpieces even more with these 11 things you might not know about the franchise.

1. Director George Miller worked as a doctor to raise money for Mad Max.

Mel Gibson in Mad Max (1979)
Mel Gibson in Mad Max (1979).
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc.

Since the film only had a budget of $350,000, Miller scraped together extra money as an emergency room doctor to keep the movie going. “It was very low budget and we ran out of money for editing and post-production, so I spent a year editing the film by myself in our kitchen, while Byron Kennedy did the sound,” Miller told CraveOnline. “And then working as an emergency doctor on the weekends to earn money to keep going. I’d got my best friend, and friends of friends of friends of his, and Byron ditto, and I thought, ‘Oh my God, we made a film and it won’t cut together and we’re going to lose all their money.’”

Miller’s medical training is all over the film: Max Rockatansky is named after physician Carl von Rokitansky, a pathologist who created the Rokitansky procedure, a method for removing organs in an autopsy.

2. Mel Gibson went to the Mad Max audition to accompany his friend, not for the part.

Gibson was black and blue after a recent brawl with “half a rugby team” when his friend asked him to drop him off at his Mad Max audition. Because the agency was also casting “freaks,” they took pictures of Gibson, who was simply waiting around, and asked him to come back when he healed. When he did, Miller gave him the role on the spot. In a clip for Scream Factory, Gibson recalled the moment: “It was real weird. [Miller] said, ‘Can you memorize this?’ and it was like two pages of dialogue with a big speech and stuff. I was like, ‘Yeah, sure.’ I went into the other room and just got a gist of what it was and I came out and just ad-libbed what I could remember. I guess they bought it.”

3. George Miller paid Mad Max crew members in beer.

With barely enough money to finish the original film, Miller offered to pay ambulance drivers, a tractor driver, and some of the bikers on set with “slabs” (Australian for a case of 24 cans) of beer, according to The Guardian.

4. Real-life motorcycle club the Vigilanties played Toecutter’s gang for Mad Max.

Forget the money required to train stuntmen; Miller and crew hired real bikers to professionally ride into production. In an interview with Motorcyclist Online, actor Tim Burns said about working with them: “[The Vigilanties] all wanted to ride the bikes as fast as possible, as often as possible, by their nature. Their riding was individually and collectively superb.” Additionally, stuntman Dale Bensch, a member of The Vigilanties, recalled seeing the ad for the shoot at a local bike shop, and took a moment to clarify a mishap that had happened during production. Bensch said, “There’s an urban myth that a stuntman was killed, and that was me. The scariest thing was dropping the bike on that bridge. They took the speedo and tach off because they didn’t want to damage more than they had to. They wet the surface to make it easier, but I hung onto the bike too long and it flipped me over with it; that’s why it looked bad. But it’s a famous scene, so it worked out all right!”

5. Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior was inspired by the oil crises of the 1970s.

During an interview with The Daily Beast, Miller discussed the making of The Road Warrior. Of its inspiration, he said, “I’d lived in a very lovely and sedate city in Melbourne, and during OPEC and the extreme oil crisis—where the only people who could get any gas were emergency workers, firemen, hospital staff, and police—it took 10 days in this really peaceful city for the first shot to be fired, so I thought, ‘What if this happened over 10 years?’”

6. Mel Gibson only had 16 lines of dialogue in The Road Warrior.

Upon Fury Road’s release in 2015, social media lit up with complaints that Tom Hardy was underutilized, only there to grunt and utter a couple of one-liners. But just to remind you, in Mad Max 2, Mel Gibson only has 16 lines of dialogue in The Road Warrior.

On his use of sparse dialogue, Miller told The New York Times, “Hitchcock had this wonderful saying: ‘I try to make films where they don’t have to read the subtitles in Japan.’ And that was what I tried to do in Mad Max 1, and I’m still trying to do that three decades later with Fury Road.”

7. Mel Gibson says The Road Warrior is his favorite movie in the original trilogy.

Once upon a time Mel Gibson enthusiastically spoke about Beyond Thunderdome, telling Rolling Stone, "[The films are] a sort of cinematic equivalent to rock music. It's something to do with the nihilistic sentiments of the music of the ’80s—which can't continue. I say, let's get back to romanticism. And this film [Thunderdome] is actually doing that. It's using that nihilism as a vehicle, I think, to get back to romance.”

Years later, he told Playboy what he really thought of the films, namely that The Road Warrior was his favorite. “It still holds up because it’s so basic,” Gibson said. “It’s about energy—it didn’t spare anyone: people flying under wheels, a girl gets it, a dog gets it, everybody gets it. It was the first Mad Max, but done better. The third one didn’t work at all.”

8. Beyond Thunderdome was inspired by Lord Of The Flies.

Mel Gibson and Tina Turner in Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome (1985).
Mel Gibson and Tina Turner in Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome (1985).
Warner Home Video

Even though Miller and his producers were on the fence about a third Mad Max, they couldn’t help but give in. "George was sitting and talking to me about … quantum mechanics, I think," Miller’s co-writer Terry Hayes recalled to Rolling Stone. "The theory of the oscillating universe. You could say he's got a broad range of interests. And I said something about ‘Well, if there was ever a Mad Max III ...' And he said, 'Well, if there was ...'"

In a 1985 interview with Time Out, Miller recalled the story himself. “We were talking one day and Terry Hayes started talking about mythology and how where people are short on knowledge, they tend to be very big on belief. In other words, they take a few fragments of knowledge and, if you take like the Aboriginal tribes of Australia, they just take simple empirical information and using those little bits of the jigsaw construct very elaborate mythological beliefs, which explain the whole universe,” Miller said. “Terry was saying if you had a tribe of kids after the apocalypse who had only a few fragments of knowledge, [they would construct] a mythological belief as to what was before. And what would happen if Max or someone like that [came in] ... and it kicked off the idea of kids who were Lord of the Flies-type kids, and that led to this story.”

9. Tina Turner was cast in Beyond Thunderdome because of her positive persona.

According to Rolling Stone, Tina Turner beat out Jane Fonda and Lindsay Wagner for the role of Aunty Entity. On her casting, Miller told Time Out, “One of the main reasons we cast Tina Turner is that she’s perceived as being a fairly positive persona. You don’t think of Tina Turner as someone dark. You think of the core of Tina Turner being basically a positive thing. And that’s what we wanted. We felt that she might be more tragic in that sense. But more importantly [when] we actually wrote the character, as a shorthand way of describing the character we said someone ‘like Tina Turner’—without even thinking of casting her. We wanted a woman ... we wanted someone who had a lot of power, charisma, someone who would hold a place like that together—or build it in the first place. And we wanted someone who was a survivor.”

10. Mad Max characters’ names hint at their backstories.

One of the most peculiar quirks of Miller’s franchise has to be his bizarre character names. In an interview with Fandango, Miller explained exactly how he comes up with them: “One of the things is that everything in the story has to have some sort of underlying backstory. Not just every character, but every vehicle, every weapon, every costume—and the same with the language. So [the concept] was always found objects, repurposed. Immortan Joe is a slight adjustment to the word 'immortal.' The character Nux says 'mcfeasting' instead of using the word 'feasting,’” Miller explained, adding that his favorite name of all is Fury Road’s The Dag (played by Abbey Lee). “In Australia, the dag is sort of a goofball-type.”

11. George Miller is a proud feminist.

Director George Miller, recipient of the Feature Film Nomination Plaque for “Mad Max: Fury Road," poses in the press room during the 68th Annual Directors Guild Of America Awards at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza on February 6, 2016 in Los Angeles
George Miller poses with the Feature Film Nomination Plaque for Mad Max: Fury Road during the 68th annual Directors Guild Of America Awards in 2016.
Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images

Perhaps evidenced by Charlize Theron’s scene-stealing role as Imperator Furiosa, Miller is a proud, outspoken feminist. He told Vanity Fair, “I’ve gone from being very male dominant to being surrounded by magnificent women. I can’t help but be a feminist.” That female influence even stretched behind the scenes, with Miller asking his wife Margaret Sixel to edit Fury Road. “I said, ‘You have to edit this movie, because it won’t look like every other action movie,” Miller recalled. Moreover, feminist activist Eve Ensler also consulted on the film to offer, according to Ensler herself, “perspective on violence against women around the world, particularly in war zones.”

What Happens During a Jeopardy! Commercial Break?

Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek chats with the show's contestants.
Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek chats with the show's contestants.
Getty Images Entertainment

Jennifer Quail:

Typical Break One: First, if there are "pickups" (re-recordings where Alex misspoke or coughed or stuttered, or Johnny mispronounced someone’s name or hometown) to record, they do those. A stagehand brings water bottles for the contestants. The production team who wrangles contestants comes over and gives their pep talk, makes any corrections, like if someone is consistently buzzing early; and keeps you quiet if there are pickups. Alex gets the cards with the "fun facts" (there are about three, one highlighted, but which one he goes for is ultimately up to Alex alone) and when the crew is ready, they come back from commercial to Alex’s chat with the contestants.

Typical Break Two: If there are any pickups from the second half of the Jeopardy! round they do those, the water gets distributed, the production team reminds the contestants how Double Jeopardy! works and that there’s still lots of money out there to win, and Alex comes over to take a picture with the two challengers (the champion will have had their picture taken during their first match.) Then we come back to Double Jeopardy!.

Typical Third Break: This is the big one. There are pickups, water, etc. and they activate the section of the screen where you write your wager. One of the team members brings you a half-sheet of paper ... and you work out what you want to bet. One of your "wranglers" checks it, as does another production team member, to make sure it’s legible and when you’re sure that’s what you want, you lock it in. At that point you can’t change it. They take away the scratch paper and the part of the board where you write your answer is unlocked. Someone will tell you to write either WHO or WHAT in the upper left corner, so you do know at least whether it’s a person or thing. They make sure the "backup card" (a piece of card stock sitting on your podium) is turned to the correct who or what side, just in case your touchscreen fails. If everything’s ready, then as soon as the crew says, they come back and Final Jeopardy! starts.

There are breaks you don’t [even know about, too]. If there is a question about someone’s final answer, they will actually stop tape while the research team checks. Sometimes if something goes really off, like Alex completely misreads a category during the start of a round, they’ll stop and pick it up immediately. Those [are breaks] you’ll never notice because they’ll be completely edited out.

This post originally appeared on Quora. Click here to view.

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