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The Best TV Shows Of 2020

As each new year dawns, TV fans always have something to look forward to: a slate of brand new shows set to appear throughout the year. Apart from the summer, when most TV traditionally takes a short hiatus, the Golden Age of Television has continued throughout the past decade with brand new shows popping up right and left — and with more streaming services and choices than ever, trying to choose what to watch can feel exciting and overwhelming at the same time.

If you need help choosing which prestige drama or quirky comedy to pick up next, we've collected the very best new television options of the year, from Netflix originals to HBO events to gripping miniseries. We're talking about shows that premiered in 2020 — while acclaimed shows like Westworld, Schitt's Creek, The Good Place, and Killing Eve came back for new seasons in 2020, we're going to show you the brand new series you might not have heard about yet. When it comes to brand new debuts that have blown away critics and fans alike, these are the best TV shows to hit your screen this year.


Sometimes, you just want a feel-good show about triumph, joy, and kindness, and right at the beginning of January, Netflix delivered with its breakout reality show Cheer. This six-part series tracks a nationally ranked cheerleading team from Texas, the Navarro College Bulldogs Cheer Team. We're invited to watch as they train and work towards their high-stakes performance in the annual National Cheerleading Championship in Florida, all under the direction of their experienced coach. Spotlighting five of the team members, Cheer shows just how hard these talented athletes work to achieve their goals, and the blood, sweat, and tears that go into cheerleading.

From the Bulldogs' hard work to the show's honest depiction of all the complications involved in modern cheerleading competitions, Cheer was an instant smash, earning critical raves for its first season. If you need a team to root for, you'll definitely want to check out Cheer.

The Outsider

Adapting one of Stephen King's many acclaimed works is pretty much always a recipe for success, whether it's on the big or small screen. HBO's The Outsider, adapted from King's novel of the same name, is no exception. One of King's most recent works — the novel was published in 2018 — the miniseries tells the story of Oklahoma Detective Ralph Anderson (Emmy winner Ben Mendelsohn), who arrests Terry Maitland (Jason Bateman), a respected citizen who coaches Little League, for the brutal rape and abuse of an 11-year-old boy. Though there's physical evidence tying Maitland to the crime, he still has an alibi, and it's Anderson's responsibility to break Maitland, even as the town stirs itself into a fervor in the background.

With a stellar supporting cast that includes Julianne Nicholson, Cynthia Erivo, Mare Winningham, and Bill Camp, The Outsider was a surefire win thanks to its excellent source material and pitch-perfect performances, and critics agreed. The series earned rave reviews, particularly singling out Erivo for her scene-stealing supporting turn. There are plenty of crime dramas on television these days, but The Outsider is a standout.

Awkwafina Is Nora from Queens

Ever since her breakout year in 2018, where she stole supporting scenes in movies like Ocean's 8 and Crazy Rich Asians, Awkwafina has become a huge Hollywood star. Though she recently won acclaim for her dramatic turn in 2019's The Farewell, for which she became the first Asian American actress to win a Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical, she's still primarily a comedic actor, which she displays to excellent effect in Comedy Central's Awkwafina Is Nora from Queens. Developed and written by Awkwafina herself, the show is based on the actress' true life (Nora Lum is her real name) her close relationship with her Chinese family, and her struggles as she tries to make it in New York City.

Critics loved Nora from Queens just as much as they've loved Awkwafina's other performances; despite tackling the familiar territory of chronicling a 20-something woman's struggles in New York, Awkwafina's performance and the show itself both earned overwhelming praise. If you want to learn more about Awkwafina's real past and love a good coming-of-age story, Awkwafina Is Nora from Queens is definitely for you.

The Stranger

A Netflix adaptation of a Harlan Coben novel, The Stranger comes by way of the U.K., casting British actors and creating yet another great English crime drama. The series stars The Hobbit's Richard Armitage as Adam Price, who is married with two sons. His life is turned upside down one day when a mysterious woman known only as the Stranger (Hannah John-Kamen) appears and tells him a secret about his wife, Corinne (Dervla Kirwan). When Corinne disappears during the aftermath, Adam must track down his wife, while the Stranger continues moving about town to blackmail and extort anybody with a secret they'd rather keep quiet.

Thanks to its excellent supporting cast and the gripping mystery of the Stranger, who reveals herself more and more throughout eight episodes, the series earned raves from critics, who praised its careful plotting and exciting tension. Whether you're a fan of Coben's work or new to his stories, The Stranger is absolutely worth a watch.

Dispatches from Elsewhere

Created by Forgetting Sarah Marshall and The Muppets star Jason Segel, Dispatches from Elsewhere is one of the only new shows to premiere in 2020 not based on existing source material, proving that original ideas are just as strong as ever. The show focuses on Segel's character Peter, a bored, listless data worker trying to find a purpose, who stumbles upon an enormous hidden puzzle that proves to be more engrossing and difficult than he ever imagined. Alongside Fredwynn (Andre Benjamin), Simone (Eve Lindley), and Janice (Sally Field), he works to uncover the mysteries of the Jejune Institute, which is run by Octavio Coleman (Richard E. Grant). Instead of setting the show in San Francisco, the home of an actual, similar experiment Segel discovered, the star and showrunner chose to film and set the show in Philadelphia, putting the city's natural grit and hidden cultural gems on gorgeous display.

Segel has spent his time since How I Met Your Mother writing some pretty solid projects, but this is his most ambitious effort yet, and it paid off handsomely. Dispatches from Elsewhere has earned praise from critics for its sense of wonder and its twisting narrative. Clearly, Segel's future as a showrunner is quite bright.

The Plot Against America

Adapted from Philip Roth's famous and acclaimed novel of the same name, the HBO miniseries The Plot Against America envisions a frightening alternate future that bears some unsettling resemblance to the world we live in today. In this different reality, Charles Lindbergh, the famous aviator who closely aligned himself with fascist efforts and the Nazi movement during World War II, becomes President of the United States and immediately targets the American Jewish population. As anti-Semitism spreads across country, one Jewish family in Newark, the Levins, must navigate their new reality and try to survive.

With an outstanding cast that includes Winona Ryder, Zoe Kazan, John Turturro, David Krumholtz, and more — not to mention an excellent story — The Plot Against America earned raves from critics for its "handsomely realized" revisionism, though they did note that it can be a difficult watch for some viewers due to its undeniable relevance in such a different time. The Plot Against America might be tough at times, but it's also already earned its place as one of the most important series of the year.

Little Fires Everywhere

Ever since Big Little Lies took television by storm in 2017, viewers have clamored for similar stories set in seemingly tranquil, wealthy suburban areas with drama simmering just underneath the surface. Little Fires Everywhere, a Hulu original based on the novel of the same name by Celeste Ng, fits that bill perfectly. The two shows even share a major cast member in common, as Reese Witherspoon heads up both series. In Little Fires Everywhere, she plays Elena Richardson, a 1990s housewife living in Shaker Heights, Ohio who finds herself at odds with Mia Warren (Scandal star Kerry Washington) and her daughter Pearl (Lexi Underwood), who stir up trouble among the Richardson family and in the neighborhood.

Despite the inevitable comparisons to Big Little Lies, Little Fires Everywhere is a standout in its own right. Its first season has had critics raving, particularly about Witherspoon and Washington's performances. Shaker Heights might not seem like the world's most exciting locale, but if Little Fires Everywhere is to be believed, it's much more dramatic than anyone ever imagined.


Created by Fleabag's Phoebe Waller-Bridge and her frequent collaborator Vicky Jones, HBO's half hour comedy Run boasts one of the most irresistible openings in recent television history. As Ruby Richardson (Merritt Wever) sits in her car outside of a supermarket, dreading going home, she receives a text that simply says, in all caps, "RUN." After responding in kind, Ruby rushes away from her entire life without a second thought and flies to New York, then boards a train to Chicago, meeting up with the person who sent the text — Billy Johnson (Domhnall Gleeson), her college boyfriend that she hasn't seen in 17 years. As the two grapple with their decision, they run into some unexpected hurdles, showing them the high-stakes consequences of their choices.

Wever and Gleeson are always a pleasure to watch, but their performances could make or break a series with this tight a focus. Luckily, their chemistry won over critics, who raved about their performances and the frenetic story supporting them. Ruby and Billy might want to escape their lives, but you'll want to dive headfirst into Run.


Kenya Barris' ABC sitcom black-ish has been on the air since 2014, and in 2020, Barris put himself on television — specifically, on Netflix — with BlackAF, an original mockumentary series that bears some serious similarities to black-ish. Barris stars as a fictionalized version of himself who created a TV series extremely similar to black-ish and wants to prove he's still in touch with his roots. To that end, he agrees to participate in a documentary film that follows him, his wife Joya (Rashida Jones), and their five children as they navigate their wealthy lives while remaining true to themselves.

Barris obviously has a healthy sense of humor, and clearly, BlackAF is the next step that allows this showrunner to show off his strengths in a whole new way. After it premiered in April of 2020, BlackAF earned positive reviews from critics, scoring a 60% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, proving that Barris' signature touch has succeeded once again.

Never Have I Ever

Between The Office and The Mindy Project, writer and showrunner Mindy Kaling has had an amazing career on the small screen, and Never Have I Ever is just the latest feather in her cap. The semi-autobiographical story of a young first-generation Indian girl growing up in California, Never Have I Ever marks the debut of star Maitreyi Ramakrishnan — an unknown actress discovered by Kaling and her team — who plays Devi Vishwakumar, a 15-year-old with big dreams who's about to start her sophomore year of high school. From there, she navigates life, love, and loss; shortly before the series begins, Devi loses her father unexpectedly, temporarily leaving her without the use of her legs.

Mixing a romantic comedy about young love and high school trysts with a pitch-perfect coming-of-age story makes Never Have I Ever an instant classic for audiences of all ages, for a number of reasons. As co-creator Lang Fisher said in an interview with Buzzfeed, the show is driven by a passion for representation. "Growing up, I don't think Mindy saw herself in any teen shows," Fisher explained, "and she wanted to make sure that that would be different for this generation." There's no question that Kaling achieved her goal, and with another hit under her belt, this creator has cemented herself as one of television's most important voices.


Adapted from Deborah Feldman's 2012 memoir Unorthodox: The Scandalous Rejection of My Hasidic Roots, Netflix's daring story of one girl's escape from a restrictive, conservative community, made waves when it premiered in early 2020. The miniseries stars Shira Haas as Esty, a 19-year-old woman in the Orthodox Jewish faith who is suffering through an arranged marriage in her repressed community. After escaping Williamsburg, Brooklyn, Esty makes her way to Berlin, Germany, to find her long-lost mother and establish a new life. However, her husband, Yakov "Yanky" Shapiro (Amit Rahav) comes looking for her after he finds out some life-changing news: Esty is pregnant.

Upon its release, critics and audiences loved Unorthodox, with Rotten Tomatoes' critical consensus calling the first season simultaneously "intimate and urgent" and praising Haas' central performance. Though the story is extraordinarily specific, most viewers can relate to Esty's desire to live in a different world, making Unorthodox a surprisingly universal story despite its tight focus.

Normal People

Based on the popular novel of the same name by Irish writer Sally Rooney, Hulu's original series Normal People tells the story of Marianne Sheridan (Daisy Edgar-Jones) and Connell Waldron (Paul Mescal), two teenagers whose love story spans years and social standings. When the two meet in secondary school on the coast of Ireland, popular student athlete Connell immediately connects with Marianne, a shy, bookish oddball, and their relationship intensifies away from the prying, judgmental eyes of their peers. However, when they both go to Trinity College, their roles reverse, and Marianne's intelligence is prized over Connell's brawn, creating an imbalance.

Hulu's series has proven just as successful as Rooney's acclaimed novel, earning raves from critics for its slow, sensitive, and thoughtful portrayal of a young couple throughout the years. Despite its often dark outlook on love and relationships, Normal People is a relatable, gripping story about young love and emotional hurdles, and with Edgar-Jones and Mescal at the helm, the story becomes even more powerful.


Afterlife comedies are all the rage these days, and in the wake of The Good Place's finale, fans can turn to Amazon Prime's new series, Upload. Set in 2033, the show follows Nathan Brown (The Flash's Robbie Amell), who dies young and is "uploaded" to a pre-programmed luxury heaven called Lake View by Horizen thanks to his wealthy girlfriend, Ingrid Kannerman (Allegra Edwards). Though Nathan is initially dismayed and dissatisfied by the neighborhood, he eventually comes around thanks to his assigned customer service representative, or "Angel," who is actually a living human named Nora (Andy Allo) who works for Horizen. However, as Nathan and Nora spend more time together, they start developing unexpected feelings for one another, and Nora starts looking into Nathan's untimely death.

Created by Greg Daniels of The Office and Parks and Recreation, Upload's wry humor and excellent central performances won over critics and audiences alike, and the show has already been renewed for a second season. If you're looking for a Good Place replacement, Upload will definitely keep you entertained.

Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist

The premise of Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist might sound pretty crazy, but thanks to grounding central performances and a big heart, creator Austin Winberg's series pulls off its gambit perfectly. Led by Jane Levy as Zoey, the show tells the story of a serious, often stern computer programmer in San Francisco who undergoes an MRI during an earthquake and emerges from the machine with a surprising new power. After her brain scan, Zoey can suddenly hear people — from strangers to her friends and family — singing when nobody else can, and quickly figures out that these songs are their "heart songs," meaning that they express the person's innermost hopes, desires, and feelings.

As Zoey tries to manage her new ability with the help of her musically talented friend and neighbor Mo (Alex Newell), she must also navigate a love triangle between an attractive new co-worker and her best friend, as well as help care for her ailing father (Peter Gallagher), who suffers from a terminal neurological illness that causes his body to deteriorate. Despite the objectively out-there premise, Zoey's Extraordinarily Playlist balances an imaginary power with very real problems perfectly, and Levy, with her lived-in performance and effortless charm, keeps the show from veering into absurdity.

Perry Mason

New takes on familiar characters are a dime a dozen, but in their latest revival of one of pop culture's most famous lawyers, HBO has yet another critical darling on their hands with Perry Mason. An origin story set in the 1930s, this new series casts The Americans star Matthew Rhys as Perry Mason just as he begins his career as a defense lawyer. Still struggling with his memories of World War I and going through a divorce, Perry, now in Los Angeles, is brought onto a headline-making case concerning the kidnapping of a young child, changing his life forever.

With backing from HBO and a cast that includes beloved stars like Tatiana Maslany, John Lithgow, and Shea Whigham, there's no surprise that critics fell in love during its inaugural season, saying that the show is "brimming with top notch performances and dripping in style," while focusing on a "compelling mystery." Perry Mason is a classic character, and with this new version of his story and Rhys in the lead, new generations will surely continue to discover his stories.

High Fidelity

Adapting a popular movie for television isn't always the best idea, but in the spring of 2020, Hulu proved nonbelievers wrong with their new version of High Fidelity, 20 years after the original film hit theaters. However, the new version comes with a twist: John Cusack's Rob, a record store owner looking for love in all the wrong places, is replaced by Zoë Kravitz as a new character, who's also named Rob and owns a cool record shop in Brooklyn. Navigating her love life amidst several exes, Kravitz's Rob is rough around the edges, but thanks in large part to Kravitz's pitch-perfect performance as she speaks directly to the camera, the show immediately succeeds in getting you to root for her.

Critics adored this new take on Cusack's classic film (based on the original novel by Nick Hornby), with the Rotten Tomatoes consensus saying, "High Fidelity's fresh take on a familiar track is as witty as it is emotionally charged, giving a curmudgeonly charming Zoë Kravitz plenty of room to shine." Unfortunately, Hulu canceled the show after its debut season, leaving fans with just ten episodes of this warm, funny show. Still, those ten episodes are absolutely worth a watch.

The Great

Historical dramas can so easily become a bit dry and boring, but in the case of Hulu's The Great, facts matter a lot less than camp, high drama, and glamour. Developed by Tony McNamara, who earned fame and acclaim in 2018 for his screenplay for The Favourite, The Great is relatively similar to McNamara's big screen venture, using modern language and other anachronisms to boost the entertainment value while still telling a somewhat true story. 

This time, McNamara put his focus on Catherine the Great (a sweet yet dynamic Elle Fanning) in the years before she became Empress of Russia, chronicling her difficult marriage to the hapless lout Peter III (a fascinatingly funny Nicholas Hoult). As Catherine adjusts to her new life in Russia, she begins to plot a coup, and it's hardly a spoiler alert to say that as the series continues, she's increasingly sure to succeed.

Upon its release, critics agreed that The Great was, well, great, thanks to McNamara's wildly "wicked" sense of humor and Hoult and Fanning's perfect performances. Catherine the Great has long been regarded as one of Russia's most important leaders, so it's fitting that her modern adaptation is so excellent.

Central Park

When Bob's Burgers co-creator Loren Bouchard comes out with a new series, critics and fans alike pay attention, which explains why his latest effort, AppleTV+'s Central Park, has proven to be so popular. The animated story of a family trying to save Central Park from being overtaken by a greedy developer told by local buskers through song, Central Park boasts a pretty impressive voice cast, including Tituss Burgess, Hamilton stars Daveed Diggs and Leslie Odom Jr., Josh Gad, Kathryn Hahn, and Stanley Tucci. Though Kristen Bell appeared in the first season as Molly, but due to the character's biracial identity, Bell has stepped down from the role, which will be taken by Emmy Raver-Lampman during the second season.

Unsurprisingly, critics went crazy for Central Park, with the Rotten Tomatoes consensus reading, "With warmth, wit, and a pitch perfect ensemble, Central Park is a joyously hilarious musical love letter to the Big Apple." With a second season on the horizon, fans can rest easy knowing their favorite animated New Yorkers will be back before long.

I'll Be Gone in the Dark

Based on Michelle McNamara's acclaimed book, HBO struck gold with the innovative I'll Be Gone in the Dark, which stands alone as one of the most personal and intimate true crime shows in recent memory. McNamara, who tragically passed away at the age of 46 in 2016, spent years hunting the true identity of a serial murderer known as the "Golden State Killer," and the series takes a creative approach to both her story and the legend of the Golden State Killer, chronicling the journey required for her to write the book in the first place. With voiceovers from Amy Ryan, plenty of assistance from McNamara's bereft husband — comedian Patton Oswalt, who provided essential information — and a careful hand from showrunners Liz Garbus, Elizabeth Wolf, Miles Kane, and Josh Koury, I'll Be Gone in the Dark doesn't glorify the murderer, but looks at the lives he impacted.

Critics loved the personal focus on McNamara's life and the Golden State Killer's victims, saying that the series ultimately "[weaves] together a heavy, but important tapestry of trauma, obsession, and survival." Ultimately, McNamara's efforts helped catch the serial killer after her death; now, I'll Be Gone in the Dark is yet another piece of her incredible legacy.

Mrs. America

Anti-heroes are nothing new, but anti-heroines are becoming more common, and the difficult leading lady of Mrs. America arrived on the small screen at just the right time. A joint effort between Hulu and FX, the 1970s-set miniseries Mrs. America tells the story of the battle over the Equal Rights Amendment, profiling both its champions and its opponents. The cast is peppered with some serious heavyweight performers playing real-life historical and political figures. With Cate Blanchett as anti-feminist Phyllis Schlafly, Rose Byrne as Gloria Steinem, Margo Martindale as Bella Abzug, Tracey Ullman as Betty Freidan, and Uzo Aduba as groundbreaking Black female Presidential candidate Shirley Chisholm (a performance for with Aduba won an Emmy), Mrs. America shows both sides of the debate over equal rights for women, casting Schlafly in a particularly unflattering light.

With this powerhouse cast, it's no surprise that Mrs. America succeeded right out of the gate, with critics saying, "Mrs. America captures the complicated life and times of Phyllis Schlafly with poise and style to spare, brought to vivid life by a superb ensemble led by another masterful performance from Cate Blanchett." Chronicling this important period of history is quite an undertaking, but Mrs. America pulls it off with distinction.

The Last Dance

Michael Jordan is one of the world's most legendary athletes, but it took until 2020 for a definitive documentary series about one of his biggest victories to hit the small screen. An original Netflix miniseries produced with ESPN, The Last Dance tells the story of Jordan's final season with the Chicago Bulls and their goal to win their sixth NBA title within eight years, despite mounting pressure from the entire world resting on Jordan's towering shoulders.

Combining archive footage with recent interviews, The Last Dance serves as a comprehensive look at one of basketball's greatest seasons, and critics lauded the series, saying that the show is a "compelling and comprehensive portrait of one of basketball's great teams," concluding that The Last Dance "confirms there's nobody quite like Mike or the team he led to victory." Even if you're not a sports fan, you'll still be fascinated by The Last Dance.

I May Destroy You

You might know actor and creator Mikaela Coel from shows like Black Mirror and Chewing Gum, but you've never seen her as raw, creative, or exposed as she is in HBO's I May Destroy You. Throughout this heartbreaking series, viewers follow Coel as Arabella, a millennial writer who wakes up after a wild night out with a few fleeting memories of being sexually assaulted. Initially, Arabella is on a simple mission to find out what happened to her, but as the series evolves, so does the narrative, creating a complicated, dark, and intense story of the realities of sexual assault, the prevalence of rape culture, the difficulties of social media, and what it means to seek revenge.

As the series continued, Coel was hailed as the next great creative mind on television, and thanks to a devastatingly perfect ending, I May Destroy You has earned its spot in the television hall of fame. Critics flocked to praise the show, saying that it is "at once brave and delicate, untangling the trauma of sexual assault with dark humor and moments of deep discomfort all held together on the strength of Michaela Coel's undeniable talent." I May Destroy You might destroy you, but you won't regret spending time in Coel's world.

The Queen's Gambit

2020 was a strange year for many reasons, but chief among them was the fact that chess became the focus of one of the year's hottest, sultriest shows. Based on Walter Tevis' novel and adapted for Netflix by showrunners Scott Frank and Allan Scott, The Queen's Gambit tells the story of Beth Harmon (Anya Taylor-Joy), an orphaned chess prodigy struggling with addiction as she tries to conquer a male-dominated world.

Critics and audiences alike went crazy for The Queen's Gambit, with reviewers calling it an "absolute win" and praising its writing, sharp direction, luxuriously beautiful production design, and Taylor-Joy's central performance. Audiences definitely showed the series plenty of love as well; after its October debut, the miniseries became the most-watched scripted show on the entire platform, and the show's popularity even reportedly got more viewers into chess in real life. Whether you're a longtime chess player or don't even know the rules, you'll definitely find something to love in The Queen's Gambit.

The Baby-Sitters Club

Ann M. Martin's seminal young adult series The Baby-Sitters Club has been adapted several times over, including a television series in the '90s and a 1995 movie led by Rachael Leigh Cook, but even fans familiar with the beloved books found the 2020 reboot extraordinarily refreshing. Created by Rachel Shukert, The Baby-Sitters Club offers up a much more modern take on the material, adjusting each young girl's stories to suit 2020.

If you're a longtime fan of Martin's books, you'll remember names like Kristy Thomas, Mary Anne Spier, Claudia Kishi, Stacey McGill, and Dawn Schaefer — played on the series by Sophie Grace, Malia Baker, Momona Tamada, Shay Rudolph, and Xochitl Gomez, respectively — and their 2020 counterparts are handled with grace and style under Shukert. Whether Stacey is dealing with diabetes, Mary-Anne and her father are trying to find balance despite his over-protective nature, or Dawn is protesting climate change, the girls always succeed when they work together. Add in some clever casting choices, like Clueless star Alicia Silverstone's appearance as Kristy's mother, and you've got a pitch-perfect reboot of classic, beloved material that can be enjoyed by audiences of all ages.

Dash & Lily

Netflix has spent the past couple of years cornering the market on excellent original romantic comedies, and in Dash & Lily, they let the teenage drama play out over the course of a series, rather than confining it to a single film. Based on David Levithan and Rachel Cohn's young adult book Dash & Lily's Book of Dares and led by showrunner Joe Tracz, Dash & Lily dropped in November, just in time for the holiday season.

The story of a budding romance between Dash (Austin Abrams), a moody teen who hates the holidays, and Lily (Midori Francis), who just wants to find love, Dash & Lily brings its main characters together one holiday season in New York City when Dash finds a clue hidden in a book at the famous Strand bookstore. As Dash tries to track down Lily, who left the clue in her search for love, the two are drawn together, and love blossoms between them. Audiences ate up the eight-episode season, with critics praising the series for its central performances from Abrams and Francis, calling it "a delightful rom-com adventure with plenty of holiday cheer." Even if the holidays are behind us, it's always a good time to check out Dash & Lily.

The Good Lord Bird

More and more famous big-screen actors are leading prestigious television miniseries projects, and Ethan Hawke, known for roles in everything from Before Sunrise to Training Day, joined the fray in 2020 with the dramatic Showtime miniseries The Good Lord Bird. Adapted from the 2013 historical novel of the same name by James McBride and recreated for television by Hawke himself and co-creator Mark Richard, The Good Lord Bird tells the story of real life American abolitionist John Brown (Hawke) and his ragtag army trying to free slaves throughout the United States. Told from the perspective of young slave Henry "Onion" Shackleford (Joshua Caleb Johnson), the series specifically focuses on a raid attempted by Brown's army; though it doesn't achieve Brown's specific goal of ending slavery, the raid eventually sets events in motion that will lead to the Civil War itself.

The Good Lord Bird earned rave reviews across the board after its October release, with critics praising Hawke's anchoring performance and the show's iconoclastic sensibility. For a modern take on real history, you'll definitely want to check out The Good Lord Bird.

The Flight Attendant

In the aftermath of The Big Bang Theory, the popular sitcom's stars are finally freed up to pursue other projects, and star Kaley Cuoco certainly made a splash with her first live-action post-Penny role. An original series for HBO Max developed by Cuoco's production company and adapted from the novel by Chris Bohjalian, The Flight Attendant focuses on Cassie Bowden (Cuoco), an adrift flight attendant who wakes up in Bangkok during a trip only to find her lover, Alex (Michiel Huisman), dead in bed next to her. As she tries to solve Alex's murder and prove her innocence, Cassie becomes a suspect, all while she struggles with a drinking problem.

Between the series' seriously involved central mystery, some seriously great supporting performances from familiar faces like Rosie Perez, Zosia Mamet (Girls), T.R. Knight (Grey's Anatomy), and Michelle Gomez (The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina), and Cuoco's excellent leading turn, The Flight Attendant proved to be a seriously fun yet dark romp, and critics and audiences devoured the first season so quickly that a second season was greenlit just weeks after its debut. If you're looking for fizzy escapism that also tackles some pretty big issues, The Flight Attendant is a perfect, bingeable choice.


After the overwhelming critical success of its original series Euphoria, HBO has branched out into more teenage-focused stories that highlight women, people of color, and members of the LGBTQ+ community, and Betty is a perfect continuation of this exciting new movement. Created for the small screen by Crystal Moselle and based on her 2018 film Skate Kitchen, Betty focuses on a group of young, "Generation Z" girls trying to make their way in the world of skateboarding, despite the fact that they're surrounded by men. (The name of the show itself comes from a catch-all insult that men shout at the girls at the skatepark.)

After its six-episode first season, Betty, with its fresh story and excellent central performances from newcomers like Dede Lovelace and Kabrina Adams, among others, became an immediate hit, earning a second season renewal and rave reviews from critics, who called it "earnest, audacious, and effortlessly cool," praising the show for "[capturing] the spirit of skating and friendship with style." If you're looking for a fresh, funny new watch, Betty is a perfect choice.

I Hate Suzie

If you're a longtime Doctor Who fan, you'll recognize star Billie Piper from her turn as Rose, a companion to both the ninth and tenth Doctors (Christopher Eccleston and David Tennant, respectively), but Piper's leading performance on her latest show, I Hate Suzie, bears no resemblance to sweet, loving Rose. Created by Piper herself alongside her frequent collaborator Lucy Prebble, who also worked with the actress on Secret Diary of a Call Girl and The Effect, I Hate Suzie tells the story of aging former pop star Suzie Pickles (Piper). After inappropriate photos of Suzie leak and spread across the internet, the difficult star has to fight to keep her life together.

In her native England, Piper is well-known for her stage work as well as her screen credits, and her talent is perfectly on display in I Hate Suzie, with critics applauding her bold, fearless starring turn, saying that the series is "a ruthless satire on stardom that is effortlessly carried by Billie Piper's manic performance." Whether or not you're familiar with Piper, you'll be blown away by her latest project, available stateside on HBO Max.

Lovecraft Country

Produced by Jordan Peele's company Monkeypaw Productions, HBO's buzzy original series Lovecraft Country owes some of its origins to the work of H.P. Lovecraft. However, like Damon Lindelof's Watchmen, it offers up a crafty new spin on its inspiration. Created by showrunner Misha Green from the novel by Matt Ruff, Lovecraft Country is led by Jonathan Majors' Atticus "Tic" Freeman, a Korean War veteran who traverses the United States in the 1950s to get answers about his family's mysterious past. Alongside his uncle George (Courtney B. Vance) and his childhood-friend-turned-love-interest Letty (Jurnee Smollett), Atticus discovers much more than he's bargained for, including monsters both cosmic and human.

With a twisting narrative, potent themes about racism, and astounding central performances from Majors and Smollett, Lovecraft Country hooked fans and critics right away when it premiered in the summer of 2020, highlighting Green's talents while further cementing Peele's status a horror legend and presenting another gripping story about the Black experience in America. Lovecraft Country may not be for the faint of heart, but horror fans won't want to miss out.

Ted Lasso

After spending several years honing his comedic skills on Saturday Night Live, Jason Sudeikis has returned to the small screen with AppleTV+'s original series Ted Lasso. Based on a character Sudeikis created during the United Kingdom's NBC Sports coverage of the Premier League, Ted Lasso tells the story of the titular American football coach — played by Sudeikis — who must adjust to life abroad while guiding his team, AFC Richmond, to victory... despite the fact that he has absolutely no experience with British football.

Anchored by Sudeikis' signature charm, humor, and wit and rounded out by an excellent British cast that includes Hannah Waddingham (Game of Thrones), Juno Temple (Dirty John), and others, Ted Lasso proved to be an instantaneous hit, with critics gushing over its "warm and winsome" attitude as well as its "unrelenting optimism" alongside "a charming turn from Jason Sudeikis." Even if you're not into British football, you'll find something to love in Ted Lasso.


On Christmas Day of 2020, Netflix and acclaimed showrunner Shonda Rhimes — the mind behind huge network hits like Grey's Anatomy, Scandal, and How to Get Away With Murder — gave audiences a pretty amazing gift with Bridgerton, the first project from a multi-million dollar collaboration between Rhimes' production company Shondaland and the streaming giant. Concocted by Rhimes protégé Chris Van Dusen, who worked on pretty much all of Rhimes' hit shows, Bridgerton brings Julia Quinn's historical novels to life on the small screen, transporting viewers to Regency-era London and its competitive, cutthroat high society. As families squabble amongst each other to maintain their status, a mysterious whistleblower, Lady Whistledown (voiced by beloved star Julie Andrews), threatens to expose everybody's secrets in her regularly published periodical.

Thanks to its steamy take on period drama, a diverse and talented cast, and Van Dusen's wry sensibilities, Bridgerton became an immediate hit after premiering on Netflix, earning raves for its performances, its elaborate production design, and its soapy, steamy plotlines. If you're looking for an engrossing, sexy romp, look no further than Bridgerton.