The Most Anticipated TV Shows of 2020

This is part of our 2020 Preview. Follow along as we explore all the things that have us mildly hopeful in the new year.


We know, we know, you’ve barely even changed your calendar to 2020. But the folks here at Film School Rejects are always looking ahead to the next great thing, and as we head into a new year — and decade — of television, there are a whole lot of next great things worth considering.

Plenty of exciting new TV projects that are currently in development didn’t make this list, if only because their announced production schedules (or lack thereof) indicate they’ll likely not be ready to air in 2020. The Game of Thrones prequel House of the Dragon, Amazon’s The Lord of the Rings, and Taika Waititi’s Time Bandits are all high-profile projects that we’re drooling over, but they seem more likely to be finished in 2021. The same goes for some of our favorite returning shows, like Euphoria, Stranger Things, and Succession, whose high-quality production may mean longer wait times between seasons.

In the meantime, we’ve got your guide to every prestige project, returning favorite, and intriguing reimagining worth checking out in the new year.

30. Ratched

TV power player Ryan Murphy’s big Netflix deal hasn’t exactly had the most promising returns so far (see, or don’t: The Politician), but Ratched seems poised to deliver exactly the type of soapy, shocking drama Murphy’s fans crave. The series will show the evolution of Nurse Ratched — yes, the one from One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest — from newbie to monster, and the role will be filled by none other than Sarah Paulson. Come for the fan-favorite actress, stay for the hugely impressive supporting cast, a near-endless list of greats including Cynthia Nixon, Corey Stoll, Sharon Stone, Vincent D’Onofrio, and Don Cheadle.

Where to watch: Netflix
When to watch: TBA


29. Locke & Key

An adaptation of Joe Hill’s popular graphic novel series has been in development in one form or another for close to a decade now, but it’s finally happening! The brutal and mysterious series follows a grieving family who moves into an austere Massachusetts house that holds many secrets, including keys with magical properties. A trailer drop seems imminent, but for now, the series’ Instagram page is sharing a series of eerie teasers that may double as clues to the story.

Where to watch: Netflix
When to watch: February 7th


28. Penny Dreadful: City of Angels

Penny Dreadful was the best show that no one watched. Or rather, the Showtime gothic horror series had a vocal, passionate fanbase, but remained underseen for its three-season run. After four years away, though, the show is poised to return in a new iteration, with a new subtitle and, more importantly, an all-new cast of characters. Game of Thrones icon Natalie Dormer stars as Magda, a demon she has called “an agent of chaos.” The sequel series is set in 1930s Los Angeles and centers on Magda and her sister Santa Muerte (Lorenza Izzo), who at least shares a name (if not more) with a holy figure of Mexican Catholicism. The series sounds as if it may be politically tinged horror, as supporting characters include a councilman, a union leader, and an architect. Maybe The Wire by way of Latin-American folklore? We’re on board for that.

Where to watch: Showtime
When to watch: TBA


27. Little Fires Everywhere

One of the most ubiquitous novels of 2017 is making the jump to the screen with Reese Witherspoon and Kerry Washington both in front of and behind the screen. The two produced the series, which is written by Liz Tigelaar, and they star as two very different mothers whose lives become intertwined through their children. Like Witherspoon’s previous project, Big Little Lies, Little Fires Everywhere is a drama that centers around families, forged relationships, privilege, and mysterious past events that will eventually come to light. You may as well stamp “prestige drama” on this one — hopefully in a good way.

Where to watch: Hulu
When to watch: March 18th


26. Fargo Season 4

After an up-and-down third season, I wasn’t sure anything would bring me back for Fargo‘s fourth outing, but I was wrong. Two words: Timothy Olyphant. Or, wait, if that’s not your thing, here are some more: Chris Rock. Jason Schwartzman. Ben Whishaw. Uzo Aduba. The plot of Noah Hawley’s generally excellent anthology series involves two warring Kansas City families, but I’d tune in to see these people read the phone book. There’s no trailer for this one yet, but fingers crossed we get one of those badass list-of-names teasers à la The Irishman.

Where to watch: FX
When to watch: TBA


25. The Mandalorian Season 2

I know The Mandalorian‘s first season just ended, but when it comes to massive Disney projects, it’s never too late to look ahead, and the series is projected to have a fall 2020 return. Will Mando (Pedro Pascal) find the land of Yodas, and if so, will any of them be as cute as OUR Baby Yoda? Did Carl Weathers and Gina Carano just wander off forever? Can we get the baby another ass-kicking nurse droid? The neo-Western space series’ first season was a refreshing departure from usual Star Wars fare, and it’ll be interesting to see which direction a second season takes. We’ll find out soon enough. In the meantime, I’ll be playing Ludwig Göransson’s banger of a theme song on repeat.

Where to watch: Disney+
When to watch: TBA


24. The Outsider

One of two Stephen King projects on this list, The Outsider is one of the master of horror’s newest books (released in 2018) and is already getting the HBO treatment. King’s adaptations have historically covered a range of tones, but this one still manages to set itself apart in a trailer that at first seems more like a true-crime story than a supernatural thriller. Jason Bateman, Ben Mendelsohn, and Cynthia Erivo star in the miniseries, which, if it’s anything like the book, begins with the arrest of a popular teacher accused of murder and evolves into a tense and twisted horror story with a lot on its mind. Esteemed writers Richard Price and Dennis Lehane are penning the majority of the season’s screenplays.

Where to watch: HBO
When to watch: January 12th


23. Gossip Girl

Sure, the original series ended with a reveal that’s universally acknowledged as convoluted and crummy, but fans still went wild at the thought of more Gossip Girl when the series’ continuation was announced last year. The new version will take place several years after the original and focus on the new relationship teens have with technology — vis à vis, of course, the titular havoc-wreaker. Though little else is known about the new series, returning executive producer Joshua Safran has promised audiences more representation in terms of both LGBTQ+ characters and characters of color. Also, Kristen Bell is back!

Where to watch: HBO Max
When to watch: TBA, but the platform launches in May


22. We Are Who We Are

Everything Luca Guadagnino does is interesting, and after Call Me By Your Name, the vibrant, surprising director has legions of fans for life. His latest project, billed as an HBO limited series, is as intriguing as one would expect. The series follows American teens coming of age at a military base in Italy and stars Chloë Sevigny, Kid Cudi (you read that right!), and IT and Shazam! breakout Jack Dylan Grazer.

Where to watch: HBO
When to watch: TBA


21. Sex Education Season 2

There are plenty of final seasons we’re anticipating this year, but a show has to really start with a bang to crack the list for a sophomore season. And Sex Education certainly did! The raunchy yet heartfelt British series has all the makings of a new teen classic, from a group of dynamic characters — chaste yet sexually knowledgeable Otis (Asa Butterfield), cool as a cucumber Maeve (Emma Mackey), excitable fashionista Eric (Ncuti Gatwa), and liberated mom Dr. Milburn (Gillian Anderson) — to a plot that’s at once hilarious and surprisingly sex-positive. Here’s hoping the second season keeps the series’ winning streak going.

Where to watch: Netflix
When to watch: January 17th


20. The Haunting of Bly Manor

Another highly anticipated sophomore outing is 21st-century horror master Mike Flanagan‘s follow-up to The Haunting of Hill House, which is set to put a new spin on a classic novella. Henry James’ 1898 horror story The Turn of the Screw is an unsettling read involving a nanny and two kids who are both adorable and potentially haunted. If Hill House is any indication, Flanagan’s version may be a loose adaptation, and like all his works, it will likely focus on emotional themes as well as authentic scares. First season cast members Victoria Pedretti, Henry Thomas, Oliver Jackson-Cohen, and Kate Siegel will all return in different roles.

Where to watch: Netflix
When to watch: TBA


19. Schitt’s Creek Season 6

Across the span of its first five seasons, Schitt’s Creek has evolved from a relatively mild fish-out-of-water sitcom to a rewarding and hilarious Emmy-nominated show about an over-the-top family following their (smaller than expected) dreams. The final season’s arrival has been heralded by an impressive billboard celebrating its central gay couple and a very on-brand trailer that promises lots of laughs and celebration. With the last batch of episodes just around the corner, it’ll be time for goodbye sooner than we’re prepared for. Luckily, Catherine O’Hara’s iconic creative pronunciations will live on via endless rewatches.

Where to watch: PopTV
When to watch: January 7th


18. The Falcon and The Winter Soldier

If Captain America is your cup of tea, the project that was planned as the first post-Endgame Disney+ series (until WandaVision moved up its release date) is probably already on your radar. Sebastian Stan‘s Bucky Barnes and Anthony Mackie‘s Sam Wilson are a solid dynamic duo on which to build the next phase of Marvel, and recent rumors swirling around a behind-the-scenes photo indicate that the first season of the series may lead directly into Chloé Zhao’s big-screen adaptation of Eternals. Much of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier is still under wraps, but the series will likely begin by exploring the mantle of Captain America that Steve Rogers left for Sam in the final scenes of Endgame.

Where to watch: Disney+
When to watch: TBA


17. The Devil in the White City

Leonardo DiCaprio first nabbed the rights to Erik Larson’s popular stranger-than-fiction story in 2010, and the story is finally in development at Hulu a decade later with him and Martin Scorsese on board as executive producers. Little is known about the cast, but the nonfiction story woven by Larson is engrossing enough to have us hooked from the get-go. The Devil in the White City follows two men in Chicago in 1893. One, Daniel Burnham, is the architect behind the World’s Fair, while another, Dr. H. H. Holmes, is a pharmacist and serial killer who stalks the city around the same time. With DiCaprio and Scorsese at the helm, this will no doubt be a dark and compelling piece of prestige TV.

Where to watch: Hulu
When to watch: TBA


16. One Day At A Time Season 4

The little show that could was saved by PopTV (the channel behind Schitt’s Creek) last year after being canceled by Netflix and shopped around to networks by showrunners Gloria Calderon Kellett and Mike Royce. Fans who got #SaveODAAT trending on Twitter are eager to see the series, which is produced by Norman Lear and follows a modern Cuban-American family, back on the air. While the new season is still coming together, cast and crew have been posting behind-the-scenes teasers that show that they’re just as excited for the new season as we are. When the heartfelt multi-cam sitcom last left off, Schneider (Todd Grinnell) was on the road to sobriety, Elena (Isabella Gomez) tentatively made up with her father (James Martinez), and Lydia (Rita Moreno) and Dr. B. (Stephen Tobolowsky) were back in Cuba for a surprise trip.

Where to watch: PopTV
When to watch: March


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Valerie Ettenhofer: Val is a San Francisco Bay Area freelance writer, TV lover, and cheese plate enthusiast. You can find her @aandeandval wherever social media accounts are sold.