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.

Rewind Time With This Blockbuster-Themed Party Game

Recapture that '90s vibe with this Blockbuster-themed movie trivia game.
Recapture that '90s vibe with this Blockbuster-themed movie trivia game.
Big Potato Games/Hot Topic

With only one Blockbuster location left in the world, the good old days of wandering video rental store aisles and getting chewed out for late fees are definitely a thing of the past—but like so many relics from the '90s, the pull of nostalgia has ensured that Blockbuster (or at least the brand) won't disappear for good. Now the video store is back in the form of a party game from Big Potato Games that is designed to test the movie knowledge of you and up to 11 friends.

Marketing itself as “a movie game for anyone who has ever seen a movie,” the Blockbuster party game consists of two parts. In part one, players from each team compete head-to-head to name as many movies as they can that fit under specific categories (e.g., movies with Tom Cruise, famous trilogies, movies with planes). In the second half, two teams face off against each other to test their skills at a game of movie-related charades. The catch? Players can only describe movies in one of three randomly chosen ways: acting out scenes, rattling off a famous quote, or describing the films with one word.

The real selling point of the whole package is that Big Potato fit all the game cards and buzzer into a box that is virtually identical to the old-school Blockbuster VHS rental cases, right down to its distinct color scheme and shape. All it's missing is the membership card. 

The Blockbuster board game costs $24 at Hot Topic. That’s a fair price for getting the chance to rewind time.

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15 Clever Breaking Bad Easter Eggs Hiding in Better Call Saul

Patrick Fabian, Rhea Seehorn, Bob Odenkirk, Jonathan Banks, Michael Mando, Giancarlo Esposito, and Tony Dalton in Better Call Saul.
Patrick Fabian, Rhea Seehorn, Bob Odenkirk, Jonathan Banks, Michael Mando, Giancarlo Esposito, and Tony Dalton in Better Call Saul.
James Minchin/AMC

As evidenced by Breaking Bad, Vince Gilligan and his cohorts have an eye for detail that’s nearly unrivaled. If anything, Better Call Saul—which is originally set several years before the events of Breaking Bad—only proves the point. The series, which is about to kick off its fifth season, focuses on Jimmy McGill (soon to become Saul Goodman) and is full of references to its progenitor, some of which are pure fun, and some of which add a deeper meaning to what we already know. Here are 15 clever Breaking Bad Easter eggs hiding in Better Call Saul.

**Warning: Plenty of spoilers ahead for both series.**

1. Being Kevin Costner

In a throwaway moment in Breaking Bad, Saul mentions to Walt that he once convinced a woman he was Kevin Costner (“If you’re committed enough, you can make any story work”), and in the finale of the first season of Better Call Saul, we see the exact moment he was referring to. In case we thought that Saul was just making the story up for the sake of a pep talk, here’s the proof otherwise.

2. Neighborhood mainstay

If the diner where Jimmy first meets with the Kettlemans looked familiar to you, it’s for good reason. Loyola’s Diner featured in Breaking Bad as a mainstay of Mike’s—he met with Jesse there, as well as Lydia. It’s also, incidentally, a very real restaurant in Albuquerque. And while we’re on the subject of Mike and food, he’s been shown to be fond of pimento cheese sandwiches in both series.

3. Address unknown

David Costabile as Gale Boetticher in 'Breaking Bad'
Ursula Coyote, AMC

In Better Call Saul, it’s shown that Jimmy's office is at 160 Juan Tabo Boulevard (which is a real nail salon). Those of you with a head for directions might also recall that that’s the same street that the ill-fated chemist Gale Boetticher lives on, at 6353 Juan Tabo Boulevard. Breaking Bad fans were thrilled when the karaoke-loving chemist appeared in Season 4 of Better Call Saul (with hopefully more to come).

4. The Ignacio connection

Michael Mando as Nacho Varga in Better Call Saul
Michael Mando as Nacho Varga in Better Call Saul.
Michele K. Short/AMC/Sony Pictures Television

When he’s kidnapped by Walt and Jesse after refusing to help a busted Badger, Saul spits out a variety of nonsense in an attempt to stay alive. He also drops a name: Ignacio. So who is he talking about? As we learn in Better Call Saul, this refers to Nacho, who’s become one of the secondary leads on the show. “Nacho” is a nickname, short for Ignacio, which makes sense as a connection given how closely he’s been working with Jimmy/Saul.

5. Cheap tricks

Bob Odenkirk and Rhea Seehorn in 'Better Call Saul'
Michele K. Short, AMC/Sony Pictures

There’s another callback to the first time that Walt, Jesse, and Saul meet. Despite still having his hands tied behind his back, when Saul agrees to help Walt and Jesse, he tells them to each put a dollar in his pocket in order to secure attorney-client privilege. It seems that Saul got that idea from Kim, who, when she decides to help Jimmy after discovering he’s falsified evidence, tells him to give her a dollar for exactly the same reason.

6. Old afflictions

Bob Odenkirk as Jimmy McGill and Mel Rodriguez as Marco Pasternak in 'Better Call Saul'
Bob Odenkirk as Jimmy McGill and Mel Rodriguez as Marco Pasternak in Better Call Saul.
Michele K. Short/AMC/Sony Pictures Television

In yet another reference to that fateful first meeting, we learn that Saul isn’t bluffing when he tells Walt and Jesse that he has bad knees. He says the same thing when cops apprehend him in the first season of Better Call Saul. As to why he’s got bad knees to begin with, it all comes from his time as “Slippin’ Jimmy,” when he used to stage falls in order to earn a little bit of money.

7. Car talk

Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul in 'Breaking Bad'
Ursula Coyote, AMC

Saul Goodman drives a white 1997 Cadillac DeVille with the vanity plate “LWYRUP.” Jimmy McGill’s ride is much more modest: a yellow Suzuki Esteem with a red door. That said, in the pilot of Better Call Saul, we very briefly see a white Cadillac DeVille—Jimmy parks his car next to it, in a truly blink-and-you-miss-it allusion to what’s to come. (Gus, notably, is driving the same blue Volvo in both shows.)

8. Home sweet home

In Better Call Saul, one of the retirement homes that Jimmy visits in his quest to find new clients for his growing elder law business is Casa Tranquila. If it sounds familiar, that's because it's a key location in Breaking Bad as the home of Hector Salamanca, and the place where he kills his longtime nemesis Gus Fring. It’s a nice touch to revisit the location, especially given the fact that Better Call Saul gives us the story as to how Hector wound up in a wheelchair in the first place.

9. What's your poison?

There’s also a nice bit of brand continuity with the made-up tequila Zafiro Añejo. Gus poisons a bottle to get back at Don Eladio in Breaking Bad, and we see the same blue bottle pop up in Better Call Saul when Jimmy and Kim scam a cocky stock broker named Ken. Ken, for his part, seems to be reaping a constant stream of bad karma, as he’s also in Breaking Bad as a victim of Heisenberg’s wrath. He swipes Walt’s parking spot—and has his car set on fire for his trouble.

10. The little piggy

Though Mike is hard as nails, he’s got a soft spot the size of Texas for his granddaughter Kaylee. He gifts her a pink pig plush in Better Call Saul, which crops up again in Breaking Bad under slightly less cute circumstances. He uses the doll as a distraction when an assassination attempt is made on his life.

11. Word games

Giancarlo Esposito as Gus Fring in 'Breaking Bad'
Ursula Coyote, AMC

The first letters of the episode titles of the second season of Better Call Saul are an anagram for “FRING’S BACK.” It’s a granular sort of trick that the creators have pulled off before: four of the episodes of season two of Breaking Bad spell out “Seven Thirty-Seven Down Over ABQ.” In the season finale, a 737 plane does indeed go down over Albuquerque, or ABQ.

12. Sentimental value

Given that Saul’s Breaking Bad office has a lot of strange objects in it, it’d be easy to miss the octagonal desk. As it turns out, the offices of Saul Goodman aren’t the desk’s first home: it’s seen in the background of Kim’s office in Better Call Saul. It’s retroactive, sure, but it’s still nice to know that Saul has some mementos around.

13. Movie night

Bob Odenkirk and Rhea Seehorn in 'Better Call Saul'
Ursula Coyote, AMC/Sony Pictures Television

There’s also a little sentimental value in the name of Saul’s holding company, Ice Station Zebra Associates, which he uses to help Walt launder money in Breaking Bad. As we discover in Better Call Saul, Ice Station Zebra is Kim’s favorite movie, due to her father’s affection for it. Though Kim is physically absent from Breaking Bad, small details seem to tie back to her all the time.

14. Set dressing

Krazy-8, may he rest in peace, also shows up in Better Call Saul. The van that he drives has the logo for Tampico Furniture on it, and he’s wearing a uniform with the logo as well. Tampico is where Walt, as he recalls in Breaking Bad, bought Walter Jr.’s crib. Unfortunately, those fond memories aren’t quite enough to save Krazy-8’s skin.

15. Beware of bugs

Before Mike leaves Philly for Albuquerque, a bartender tells him to be mindful of tarantulas. The spider plays a key role in Breaking Bad later on, as a young boy’s pursuit of the bug puts him in Walt’s path—and Todd’s path, by proxy. Determined to make a good impression on Walt, and knowing that there can’t be any witnesses to what they’re doing, Todd shoots the boy in one of the most shocking and cold-blooded moments in the entire series.

An earlier version of this story ran in 2018.

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