TV's Biggest Upcoming Shows To Watch In 2020 (And Beyond)
In many ways, 2019 felt like a transitional period for TV. After much build-up, Disney and Apple launched their own much-hyped streaming platforms at the tail end of the year, and they will be joined in 2020 by a variety of other services, including WarnerMedia's HBOMax and Peacock from NBCUniversal--as well as the recently released Quibi. For the first time in years, Netflix's dominance over the streaming market is in question.
But while the future of streaming is uncertain, for now, it's great news for audiences. In order to gain subscribers in this highly competitive market, all the platforms and networks had lined up a seriously impressive slate of shows in 2020. We were all set to enjoy a mix of returning series, new adaptations of much-loved novels and comic books, and some intriguing new titles.
But of course, a lot has changed since the start of the year. The coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak has caused major disruption across the entire entertainment industry, with shows and movies getting postponed and delayed on what feels like a daily basis. As a result, many of the series that were scheduled for the next few months won't appear until later in 2020--and shows that we expected to premiere in the fall may not arrive until 2021.
Nevertheless, there's plenty to look forward to, even if we have to wait a while to see it. So here's our guide to the biggest series to watch in 2020 and beyond...
Saved by the Bell
Peacock, November 25
The popular '90s high school comedy Saved by the Bell returns, with a new reboot series hitting NBCUniversal's Peacock streaming platform. The series is a "reimagining" of the original show, which mixes members of the original cast with new actors. The series is still set at Bayside High, and familiar (if older) faces include Mario Lopez as Slater, Elizabeth Berkley as Jessie, Mark-Paul Gosselaar as Zack, and Tiffani Thiessen as Kelly. The new cast includes Belmont Cameli and Haskiri Velazquez.
The Lego Star Wars Holiday Special
Disney+, November 17
The Star Wars Holiday Special was a notoriously terrible one-off music and comedy seasonal special that was screened in 1979, featuring all your favorite Star Wars actors looking like they'd really like to be somewhere else. It has never been aired again or officially released, but it is receiving a Lego homage on Disney+ in November. Like the original Holiday Special, this one will feature classic Star Wars heroes and villains gathering to celebrate Life Day, with newer characters such as Rey, BB8, and Kylo Ren also joining in the fun. If you've seen previous Lego Star Wars shows, you'll know that they can get surprisingly irreverent about the more ridiculous elements of the saga, making this a must-watch.
Pennyworth Season 2
Epix, December 13
The world of Batman extends far beyond the character himself, as the crime drama series Pennyworth shows. It follows Bruce Wayne's faithful butler Alfred Pennyworth as a young man working as a soldier-turned-security guard in 1950s London. Season 2 arrives in December, and once more stars Jack Bannon as Alfred, with Ben Aldridge as Thomas Wayne and Emma Paetz as Martha Kane. Season 2 focuses on the fight against the evil Raven Society and is set to introduce scientist Lucius Fox to the story, played by Simon Manyonda.
The Expanse Season 5
Amazon Video, December 16
Amazon's epic sci-fi series returns next month for its fifth season. This one is based on Nemesis Games, the fifth book in the The Expanse novels, and focuses on the crew of the Rocinante's attempts to get back home amidst an intergalactic "landrush," as thousands of humans leave the solar system in search of new homes. The show has had its ups-and-downs--including cancellation by SyFy in 2018. But with a dedicated fanbase and a supportive new home on Amazon, the show continues to impress, and it's already been renewed for Season 6.
CBS All Access, December 17
This upcoming year will be a much better one for CBS All Access, as the service has a few new original programs to check out including another adaptation of Stephen King's epic The Stand. Announced back in January 2019, CBS All Access ordered 10-episodes for the miniseries, which revolves around a planet that was destroyed by a plague, and there's a battle between good and evil survivors.
Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Part 4
Netflix, December 31
Chilling Adventures of Sabrina is one of many shows that Netflix has cancelled in 2020, but there are at least several more episodes left to be screened. The second half of Season 2 (aka Part 4) hits Netflix next month, and once more stars Kiernan Shipka as half-witch teenager Sabrina Spellman. The show has remained an inventive and compelling mix of teen drama and surprisingly dark horror, and the fast-moving trailer for the final eight episodes suggests a wild conclusion to the series.
Transformers War for Cybertron: Earthrise
Netflix, December 30
Earthrise is the second part of Netflix's animated Transformers show War for Cybertron, following July's Siege. The series is a tie-in with a Hasbro's War For Cybertron toy line, and the show focuses on the fight between Autobots and Decepticons for the future of their homeworld of Cybertron. Earthrise sees the Autobots stranded on another planet with a gang of Transformer mercenaries after them--check out the trailer here. The third part of the series is titled Kingdome, and that'll arrive in 2021.
Cobra Kai, Season 3
Netflix, January 8, 2021
The first two seasons of the Karate Kid spin-off Cobra Kai screened on YouTube Premium, but for Season 3, the show is moving over to Netflix. This is great news for fans of the continuing adventures Daniel and Johnny, 30 years after the original hit ‘80s movies. And fans of the films who haven’t had the chance to see Seasons 1 and 2 (or simply those who read the great reviews), will also be able to catch up on those on Netflix too.
Doctor Who: Revolution of the Daleks
BBC America, December TBD
The COVID-19 pandemic might have delayed production on the next season of long-running sci-fi adventure Doctor Who, but we're still getting the annual Holiday episode. Jodie Whittaker plays the time-travelling Doctor once more, and she'll be joined by John Barrowman, who will reprise his fan favorite role as adventurer Captain Jack Harkness from Season 1 of Doctor Who. And given the episode's title, the pair will presumably be taking on the Doctor's longtime exterminating alien nemesis the Daleks. The broadcast date hasn't been announced yet, but late December is a good bet.
Disney+, January 15
With The Falcon and the Winter Soldier delayed until next year, WandaVision will be the first MCU show to hit Disney+. We've known for some time that it wouldn't be a standard superhero show, and the recent trailer revealed just how strange it promises to be. Vision (Paul Bettany) and Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen) are now living in suburbia, trying to maintain "normal" lives, and much of the trailer suggests this will be presented in a classic sitcom format. But as MCU fans know, Vision was killed in Infinity War--something the trailer alludes to--and things are definitely not what they seem.
Cannibalistic serial killer Hannibal Lecter got his own TV show a few years ago, and now it's the turn of his Silence of the Lambs nemesis, FBI Agent Clarice Starling. Clarice stars Rebecca Breeds (Pretty Little Liars) in the title role, and the show is set six months after the events of Silence of the Lambs. Hannibal showed that there was plenty of mileage left in that character, so with any luck this new look at Starling should prove to be a successful new addition to the roster of great crime TV shows. It also stars Kal Penn (Designated Survivor), Michael Cudlitz (The Walking Dead), and Nick Sandow (Orange is the New Black).
Y: The Last Man is one of Vertigo's most beloved comic books. The series followed a man (Yorick) and his monkey (Ampersand), who were the last two males on the planet after a disease wiped out everything with a Y chromosome. Getting this comic adapted has been a bumpy ride, though. It was a TV show, then a movie, then a TV show once again. Most recently, Eliza Clark (The Killing) has taken over as showrunner, writer, and executive producer. Comic creators Brian K. Vaughan and Pia Guerra spoke about the show at NYCC 2019 saying this will be the series comic fans deserve. Let's hope FX does this amazing comic justice.
American Horror Story, Season 10
It's almost nine years since the hugely popular anthology show American Horror Story premiered, and the series doesn't show signs of finishing any time soon. In January, it was renewed for another three seasons, and Season 10 will arrive this year. The only image we've seen from the new season so far is this poster, which suggests an aquatic horror theme. The cast this time includes Home Alone star Macauley Culkin, as well as Kathy Bates, Billie Lourd, Finn Wittrock, Lily Rabe, Adina Porter, Leslie Grossman, and Angelica Ross. And fans will be excited to learn that series favorites Sarah Paulson and Evan Peters are also returning.
I Think You Should Leave with Tim Robinson (Season 2)
Tim Robinson's sketch show I Think You Should Leave was bizarre, easily one of the weirdest sketch comedy series in years. Robinson's unique brand of humor is absurdist and pushes the envelope for how far it's willing to go to deliver its comedy. While we don't know a lot about the upcoming season, series co-creator Zach Kanin told Variety that The Lonely Island will be involved.
Star Trek: Strange New Worlds
CBS All-Access, TBD
For many viewers, the best thing about Star Trek Discovery Season 2 was the addition of Anson Mount as Captain Christopher Pike. Mount wasn't the first actor to play Pike, but his charming, charismatic performance made him an immediate fan favorite, and there were demands for him to get his own show almost as soon as that season ended. In May this year, it was confirmed that this is happening, and Mount, Ethan Peck (as Spock), and Rebecca Romijn (as Number One) will return for Star Trek: Strange New Worlds. The new show will be set a decade before the original Star Trek series, and will follow the trio on adventures around the galaxy in the Enterprise.
The Falcon And The Winter Soldier
Disney+ may not pump out the quantity of original content that Netflix does, but it does have the most-hyped shows and movies, primarily from the worlds of Star Wars and the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The Falcon and The Winter Soldier was set to debut in August 2020, but will now arrive in 2021. Anthony Mackie and Sebastian Stan return to play their respective roles, and they'll be joined by Daniel Brühl reprising his role of Zemo from Captain America: Civil War.
Batwoman, Season 2
The CW, TBD
There's a pretty big change in the second season of The CW's Batwoman. Ruby Rose played the hero in Season 1, but she has now quit the series and the role of Kate Kane wasn't recast. Instead, a new character is taking on the Batwoman mantle. Ryan Wilder has been created specifically for the show, and will be played by Javicia Leslie, best known for her roles on CBS' God Friended Me and BET's The Family Business. Wilder is described as "likable, messy, a little goofy and untamed," and while we won't know what villains or adventures she will get involved in, it's exciting to see what Leslie will bring to the role.