Best TV shows 2020: all the must-see series coming this year

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Lauren Geall
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Normal People: Paul Mescal as Connell and Daisy Edgar-Jones as Marianne

From season two of Netflix’s The Politician to the BBC adaptation of Sally Rooney’s best-selling novel Normal People, 2020 is shaping up to be a fantastic year for TV.     

As far as years ago, I’m sure we can all agree that 2020 hasn’t been the greatest. Any plans we did have for this year have been decimated by the uncertainty of the coronavirus pandemic – and with so little known about when this all might end, you can’t blame people for crowning 2020 a bit of a write off.

If you’re looking for something to look forward to over the coming months – or simply want something to distract you from everything that’s going on at the moment – look no further than the variety of great TV shows which 2020 has to offer. While some great titles have already landed (we’re looking at you, Killing Eve), others are still set to be released. 

Of course, we can’t confirm whether some of these shows might get pushed back due to coronavirus-related production delays, but as far as we know, these fantastic shows are still set to be heading our way before the year is over. 

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From the hotly-anticipated BBC Three adaptation of Sally Rooney’s best-selling novel Normal People to season two of The Politician, here’s all the TV shows which have either been confirmed or are heavily speculated to air this year.     

  • Normal People

    Best TV shows 2020: Normal People.
    Best TV shows 2020: Normal People.

    Cast: Paul Mescal, Daisy Edgar, Sarah Greene, Aislín McGuckin.

    This new drama series based on Sally Rooney’s best-selling novel Normal People is set to be released on BBC Three later this month, and it’s safe to say we’re very excited. At the end of October, we got a first glimpse at the adaptation through a series of production stills, which featured Paul Mescal and Daisy Edgar as the story’s central couple, Connell and Marianne. And since then, we’ve been gifted a handful of beautiful trailers.

    The 12-part series will follow the story of two teenagers from separate backgrounds who navigate the difficulties of their relationship as the leave school and head to university.

    Normal People will land as a boxset on BBC Three on the 26 April.

  • The Nest

    Best TV shows 2020: The Nest.
    Best TV shows 2020: The Nest.

    Cast: Martin Compston, Sophie Rundle, Mirren Mack.

    The Nest is a new thriller for BBC One from the writer of the BAFTA-winning drama Three Girls. The five-part series is set in Glasgow and follows the story of a wealthy couple (Dan and Emily) who face life-changing consequences when they ask a teenage girl called Kaya to carry their baby.

    When 18-year-old Kaya comes into Dan and Emily’s lives life seems great, until things begin to unravel when the mystery of Kaya’s true identity – and why she came into the couples lives in the first place – begins to unravel.

    The Nest is now available to watch on BBC iPlayer. You can find our recap of the show’s devastating finale here.

  • The Politician Season Two

    Best TV Shows 2020: The Politician Season Two.
    Best TV Shows 2020: The Politician season two.

    Cast: Ben Platt, Judith Light, Bette Midler.

    It was only back in September that the first season of The Politician landed on our screens, and there’s already talk of season two coming next July. We know that the Netflix show, which followed the story of two high school students as they engaged in a race to become student body president, went into production for season two in November, because Ben Platt posted a tweet about returning to set.

    The show’s creator, Ryan Murphy, previously told Deadline that they’re “trying to get [The Politician] out for July” – let’s just hope they finished filming before lockdown started. 

  • Bridgerton

    Cast: Nicola Coughlan, Julie Andrews, Polly Walker, Phoebe Dynevor, Regé-Jean Page, Golda Rosheuvel, Jonathan Bailey.

    Shonda Rimes’ adaptation of the romance novels by Julia Quinn is made all the more exciting by the fact that Julie Andrews will be narrating the episodes. Following the story of a well-off family in Regency-era London, the new Netflix series will also feature appearances from Derry Girls’  Nicola Coughlan and Line of Duty’s Polly Walker.

    Speaking to Stylist about the show earlier this year, Coughlan said: “The show is so brilliantly written: it feels very fresh and very different. I’ve been shooting for seven months and everything is so secret, so I’m dying for it to finally come out.”

    All we know for now is that the show has definitely been in production for a while (it started filming in July 2019), and that it’s set to be released sometime this year.

  • Killing Eve, season three

    Sandra Oh and Jodie Comer in Killing Eve
    Sandra Oh and Jodie Comer star opposite one another in Killing Eve.

    Cast: Jodie Comer, Sandra Oh, Fiona Shaw, Kim Bodnia, Owen McDonnell, Sean Delaney, Nina Sosanya.

    Ever since season two of Killing Eve ended with a cliff-hanger, we’ve been on the edge of our seats waiting for season three, and if the first episode is anything to go by, it’s not going to disappoint.

    Series two ended with the – spoiler alert – murder of Eve (Sandra Oh) at the hands of Villanelle (Jodie Comer), who has since moved on and up in the world. Until she finds out Eve’s not actually dead and the game begins all over again. There’s a new showrunner in the shape of Suzanne Heathcote – taking over from Phoebe Waller-Bridge and Emerald Fennell – while Dame Harriet Walter and Gemma Whelan also join the cast. 

    The show’s third season was released two weeks early due to coronavirus; episodes are uploaded to iPlayer weekly at 6am on the Monday, and repeated on BBC One every Sunday at 9pm. You can catch the first episode now.

  • Run

    Run on Sky Comedy
    Best TV shows 2020: Run on Sky Comedy.

    Cast: Merritt Wever, Domhnall Gleeson.

    Vicky Jones, who collaborated on Fleabag with Phoebe Waller-Bridge, is at the helm of this new eight-part comedy thriller (PWB is also exec producer). At the centre is Ruby, played by Merritt Wever (of Unbelievable fame), who walks away from her family in the suburbs to fulfil a 17-year-old pact: if either her or her ex (Domhnall Gleeson) text each other “RUN” they would drop whatever they were doing, meet at Grand Central Station and travel across America together. 

    You can catch the latest episodes weekly at 9pm on Sky Comedy and NowTV.

  • Trying

    Cast: Esther Smith, Rafe Spall, Imelda Staunton.

    Apple TV’s first British-made comedy focuses on the anguish of wanting to have a baby, but not being able to. At the centre are Nikki (Esther Smith) and Jason (Rafe Spall) who can’t have a baby due to Nikki’s infertility, so decide instead to begin the adoption process. Imelda Staunton also stars as their relationship councillor, and if that’s not a sign of quality, we don’t know what is. 

    The whole series is set to drop on Apple TV on 1 May.

  • Insecure

    Cast: Issa Rae, Yvonne Orji, Jay Ellis, Natasha Rothwell, Amanda Seales. 

    Now in its fourth series, this is one of the smartest comedy dramas of the last few years – and it keeps getting better. Written by and starring Issa Rae, the show follows the lives, loves, mirror conversations and life choices (the good, the bad and everything in between) of her protagonist, Issa, and her excellent group of friends. This series promises work Issa actually cares about, new relationships, the effects of a baby on a circle of friends, and the way life changes when you turn 30.

    The latest series is coming soon on Sky Comedy, so keep your eyes peeled.     

  • Hollywood

    Best TV shows 2020: Hollywood.
    Hollywood: Samara Weaving as Claire Wood and Laura Harrier as Camille Washington

    Cast: Samara Weaving, Holland Taylor, Laura Harrier, Patti LuPone.

    Ryan Murphy’s latest Netflix series Hollywood is arriving on the platform next month, and it’s safe to say we’re pretty excited.

    Netflix’s official synopsis is pretty brief, but we know the series follows the story of “an ambitious group of aspiring actors and filmmakers” in Post World War II Hollywood – aka the Golden Age of Hollywood.

    However, that doesn’t mean the show is going to present the status quo – apparently, the series is going to explore an alternate version of history, exploring what would happen if “a band of outsiders were given a chance to tell their own story.”

    Hollywood will be available to stream on Netflix from 1 May.

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Images: Netflix/Getty


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Lauren Geall

As Stylist’s digital writer, Lauren Geall writes on topics including mental health, wellbeing and work. She’s also a big fan of houseplants and likes to dabble in film and TV from time-to-time.

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