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2020 new TV shows: What to watch this year

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In 2019, we were gifted — or cursed, depending on how easily you become overwhelmed — with hundreds upon hundreds of new scripted shows in addition to new streaming services in Apple TV Plus and Disney Plus. And in this year, this trend isn’t going to stop; rather, the streaming and TV space will get even more crowded with the launch of HBO Max, Peacock and Quibi, not to mention the immense slate of original programming sure to be released by existing services as well as network and cable television.

We know that’s a lot to sift through, so we’ve attempted to make next year’s what-to-watch list a little more easily navigable by highlighting some of our most anticipated returning and brand-new shows of 2020. Once you’re done with this list, if you’re looking for stuff to watch that’s already out, check out our best shows on Netflix roundup. So sit down and take a deep breath — we can get through this together.

Stephen King’s The Outsider

Premiere date and time: Jan. 12 at 9 p.m.

Where: HBO.

This adaptation of Stephen King’s 2018 novel takes place in a small town where a young boy has been found dead. To the shock of the town, the police arrest Terry Maitland (Jason Bateman), a respected teacher and Little League coach, who is accused of raping the boy and mutilating his body.

Maitland firmly defends his innocence, but there are seemingly no other suspects who could have done it. And then, in classic King fashion, things get weird. Based on the trailer, The Outsider has the small-town mystery of Sharp Objects mixed with the subtle underlying horror of Castle Rock, and it’s primed to be one of the best King adaptations to date.

Schitt’s Creek

Premiere date: Jan. 7

Where: Pop

Plagued with a truly Schitty title, Schitt’s Creek sadly flew under people’s radar for many years. But once the show hit Netflix, it didn’t take long for audiences to come to their senses and give this heartfelt and hilarious series a shot.

If you already have, you know it’s hard not to find something to love in the show, with its over-the-top characters, witty jokes, and poignant family and romantic relationships. But if you haven’t seen it yet, now’s the time to catch up before the final season. Wedding bells could be ringing for two or more of our favorite people …

The New Pope

Premiere date and time: Jan. 13 at 9 p.m.

Where: HBO.

Paolo Sorrentino’s gorgeous, surreal series The Young Pope (2016) ended with Jude Law’s Pius XIII in a coma and the Vatican in need of, you guessed it, a new pope. Enter Sir John Brannox (John Malkovich), who is primed to take up the coveted position in Pius XIII’s absence.

But just because the troubled (and troublingly attractive) Pius XIII is physically out of commission doesn’t mean his presence won’t be felt in this new follow-up series: Like an unholy ghost, he’ll haunt Brannox and the Holy See as they scramble to return order to Vatican City. And if The Young Pope is anything like the original series, we’re in for a visual feast — beyond just a Speedo-clad Law.

Star Trek: Picard

Premiere date and time: Jan. 23

Where: CBS All Access

Longtime Trekkie Alex Kurtzman is heading up this CBS All Access original starring Patrick Stewart, who will reprise his iconic role of Capt. Jean-Luc Picard 20 years after the Star Trek: Nemesis film. Expectedly, there are few known story details about Star Trek: Picard, but Kurtzman has hinted that the former captain of the USS Enterprise will tackle his emotions regarding the death of friend Data as well as the fall of the Romulan Empire. CBS’s other Trek show, Discovery, has received uneven responses from critics and fans alike, but with Kurtzman and Stewart at the helm of this newest installment, we’re a little more confident this time around.

BoJack Horseman

Premiere date and time: Jan. 31

Where: Netflix

Arguably Netflix’s best original show, BoJack Horseman has made us laugh, cry and break down in existential crises since 2014. We’ve followed BoJack (Will Arnett) and his friends through all their ups and downs (but mostly downs), and early next year, we’ll see if BoJack can maintain his sobriety and overcome his personal demons when Part 2 of the show’s final season releases. Part 1 followed a happier, healthier and stabler BoJack, fresh out of rehab and finally ready to hold himself accountable for his laundry list of regrettable actions that have hurt the people around him.

But just as he’s turning over a new leaf, his half sister, Hollyhock, meets a guy at a college party who reveals to her that BoJack had once gotten drunk with him and his friends and almost slept with one of them. This revelation is sure to test BoJack’s newfound resolve and threaten his most important relationship, the one he has with Hollyhock. But will he crumble under the weight of his guilt or continue to work toward self-redemption? We’re not sure, but we are incredibly worried about everyone’s fate.

Brooklyn Nine-Nine

(Image credit: John P. Fleenor/NBC)

Premiere date: Feb. 6

Where: NBC

Last year, Brooklyn Nine-Nine fans were shocked and enraged when Fox suddenly canceled the beloved New York-based, Andy Samberg-starring comedy. But Brooklyn Nine-Nine watchers were inspired by previous fan campaigns begging networks to renew cult-favorite shows, like the infamous Save Jericho campaign in 2007 that saw fans sending 20 pounds of peanuts to CBS (don’t ask).

The fan outcry over the cancellation of Brooklyn Nine-Nine quickly prompted NBC to adopt the show for itself. The upcoming seventh season may or may not be the series’ last, but we’re just happy for more Holt and more shouts of NINE-NINE!

Avenue 5

Premiere date: Jan. 19

Where: HBO

Not even a year after the series finale of the award-winning and raucous comedy Veep, Armando Iannucci is returning to HBO with a new comedy, this one set in space and starring House’s Hugh Laurie as the captain of a space tourism ship. The trailer…

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