2020 is proving itself to be a year jam-packed with terrific shows on TV and on-demand services – just as well, given we’re all staying indoors more because of the global coronavirus pandemic…
Kicking off the brand-new decade, there are plenty of programmes to get excited about: from new offerings like Normal People and Keeley Hawes’s return to the force in ITV factual drama Honour, to some much-loved returning series, from After Life to Killing Eve and Ozark.
Read on for our list of all the best TV to savour in 2020 – and beyond:
Normal People – BBC Three
Sally Rooney has adapted her critically acclaimed novel Normal People for BBC Three. The modern love story chronicles the romance between Marianne and Connell (Daisy Edgar-Jones and Paul Mescal) – both from a small Irish town, but from very different backgrounds – whose relationship is tested at various junctures in their lives.
Normal People airs on BBC One on Mondays – but you can watch the whole series on BBC Three
Space Force – Netflix
A new workplace comedy created by The Office US favourites Greg Daniels and Steve Carell, Space Force will skewer President Trump’s proposal for a military “space force”. Lisa Kudrow and John Malkovich also star.
Space Force arrives on Netflix on Friday 29 May
Find out more about Space Force
The Luminaries – BBC Two
Casino Royale’s Eva Green is starring in the TV adaptation of Eleanor Catton’s Man Booker Prize-winning novel The Luminaries. The drama promises to be “an epic story of love, murder and revenge” and is set on the Wild West Coast of New Zealand’s South Island during the boom years of the 1860s gold rush.
Find out more about The Luminaries
Gangs of London – Sky Atlantic/NOW TV
Sope Dirisu and Joe Cole in Gangs of London Sky
Peaky Blinders’s Joe Cole heads up Sky’s violent new crime saga, in which the city of London is torn apart by the power struggles of international gangs attempting to take control on the capital.
Gangs of London airs on Thursdays at 9pm on Sky Atlantic – watch now on NOW TV
After Life series 2 – Netflix
Ricky Gervais in After Life (Netflix)
Ricky Gervais is back in this bittersweet comedy as a widower who, after contemplating suicide, decides instead to take his misery out on the rest of the world by saying and doing whatever he likes…
The second outing sees him still mourning his late wife, even as he works hard to be a better person – and Gervais has said that it “might resonate even more” in these challenging times.
After Life series 2 is available to watch now on Netflix
Find out more about series 2 of After Life
More on After Life
Killing Eve series 3 – BBC
Kim Bodnia, Jodie Comer, Sandra Oh and Fiona Shaw in Killing Eve (BBC)
Cat-and-mouse drama Killing Eve is back with a new female showrunner at the helm: Suzanne Heathcote, who has previously written two episodes of Fear the Walking Dead, takes over from Call the Midwife actress Emerald Fennell, who penned series season two (with Fleabag’s Phoebe Waller-Bridge having written the first series and who continues to be an executive producer on the show).
If you’ve seen the series three trailer, you’ll know, of course, that despite having been left for dead by Villanelle (Jodie Comer), Eve (Sandra Oh) is very much still alive and hiding in plain sight…
Episodes are released weekly on BBC iPlayer, or tune in to BBC One on Sundays at 9:15pm
Find out more about Killing Eve series 3
Killing Eve recap – what happened at the end of season two?
The Mandalorian – Disney+
The Mandalorian (Disney) Disney
New streaming service Disney+ launched earlier in the year in the UK, and this brand-new Star Wars spin-off series from Jon Favreau is one of the shows to look forward to. Starring Game of Thrones’s Pedro Pascal as the titular Mandalorian, it’s set in the Star Wars universe between the events of Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens.
There’s a free seven-day Disney+ trial; the service costs £5.99 a month or £59.99 a year.
Find out more about The Mandalorian
Ozark series 3 – Netflix
Sofia Hublitz, Laura Linney, Jason Bateman and Skylar Gaertner in Ozark (Netflix)
Long-awaited third season of the hit drama about a financial planner (Jason Bateman) who finds himself at the whim of a Mexican drug cartel. Showrunner Chris Mundy has said that the new season will see Ruth Langmore (Julie Garner) trying her best to be get closer to the Byrdes, and that it will see Marty further descend into darkness…
Watch now on Netflix
Find out more about Ozark series 3
The Last Kingdom
Alexander Dreymon in The Last Kingdom (Netflix)
The Last Kingdom, which has won a loyal army of fans, is based on the Saxon Stories novels by Sharpe creator Bernard Cornwell. Set in the 9th-century AD, the show tells the story of rugged hero Uhtred son of Uhtred, a Saxon boy who is brought up by Danes, after they capture him and decide to raise him as their own. Of course this leads to split loyalties and Uhtred is eventually accused of killing his adoptive father, forcing him to flee to another kingdom.
Watch The Last Kingdom season four on Netflix
The Last Kingdom season four: cast, trailer and plot
How is The Last Kingdom different to the books? The biggest changes from page to screen
Alex Rider – Amazon Prime Video
Otto Farrant as Alex Rider
Amazon will stream a brand-new eight-episode thriller based on Point Blanc, the second book in the popular long-running series of spy novels by Anthony Horowitz, with Otto Farrant as the title character.
Find out more about Alex Rider
Best Interests – BBC One
BAFTA-winning screenwriter Jack Thorne pens a brand-new four-part drama series, following a couple who must fight for their daughter’s survival — even if they don’t know whose best interests that might fulfil.
Find out more about Best Interests
Brooklyn Nine-Nine series 7 – E4
NYPD’s 99th police department is back once again to solve crime, catch bad guys and get up to all sorts of antics in their free time.
Brooklyn Nine-Nine series 7 airs on Thursdays at 9pm on E4 – catch up now on All 4
Find out more about Brooklyn Nine-Nine series 7
13 Reasons Why season 4 – Netflix
Dylan Minnette in 13 Reasons Why Netflix
The upcoming fourth and final series of the teen drama, on which Selena Gomez serves as an executive producer, will show the Liberty High School students preparing to graduate, whilst attempting to keep a lid of the secrets each of them are keeping after Bryce Walker’s murder.
Find out more about 13 Reasons Why season 4
The North Water – BBC Two
Set in the late 1850s and adapted from Ian McGuire’s novel, the four-part series will depict the harrowing exploits of a whaling vessel called Volunteer and its passengers, namely the ship’s doctor Patrick Sumner (Jack O’Connell) and the unhinged harpooner Henry Drax (Colin Farrell). Filmed on a ship, the series also stars Line of Duty and The Irishman star Stephen Graham, as the Volunteer’s captain.
Find out more about The North Water
Honour – ITV
Honour is a new two-part factual drama based on the true story of 20-year-old Londoner Banaz Mahmod, who was murdered by her family for falling in love with the wrong man. Keeley Hawes will star as the lead detective on the case.
Find out more about Honour
I Know This Much Is True – Sky Atlantic/NOW TV
In this harrowing serial drama based on the bestselling novel by Wally Lamb, Mark Ruffalo plays identical twin brothers in an epic story of betrayal and forgiveness, set against the backdrop of 20th century America.
I Know This Much Is True airs on Mondays at 9pm on Sky Atlantic – watch now on NOW TV
Homeland series 8 – Channel 4
The eighth and final season of Homeland, starring Claire Danes and Mandy Patinkin, brings an end to the long-running, ever-twisting political thriller.
Watch now on All 4
Find out more about Homeland series 8
Belgravia – ITV
Tamsin Greig and Alice Eve in ITV’s Belgravia
Downton Abbey creator Julian Fellowes has adapted his novel Belgravia into a six-parter starring Tamsin Greig, Alice Eve and Harriet Walter. The 19th century-set drama revolves around the Trenchard family, who attend a ball hosted by the Duchess of Richmond on the eve of the Battle of Waterloo, sparking a series of events that will have consequences for decades to come in London’s wealthiest neighbourhood.
Find out more about Belgravia
Jan 22nd – BBC Two
Created by and starring Michaela Coel of Chewing Gum fame, Jan 22nd promises to be a “provocative” series exploring the question of sexual consent in today’s world, where gratification is only a dating app away.
Find out more about Jan 22nd
The Trip to Greece – Sky One and NOW TV
Rob Brydon and Steve Coogan pack their suitcases once again, this time for a tour around the Greek islands. Expect plenty of moussaka, tzatziki, feta and bickering…
Watch now on NOW TV
Find out more about The Trip to Greece
Succession series 3 – Sky Atlantic and NOW TV
The Roy family is returning for another series following the shock plot-twist at the end of season two. Expect more twists, back-stabbing, exotic locations, and sumptuous clothes.
Find out more about Succession series 3
Outlander series 5 – Amazon Prime
Sam Heughan and Caitriona Balfe reprise their roles as the beloved Jamie and Claire in a fifth series of Outlander, which sees the pair facing new challenges, adversaries and adventures as the show delves into American history and continues the story of the Frasers settling in the New World.
Watch Outlander series 5 now on Amazon Prime Video
Find out more about Outlander series 5
The English Game – Netflix
The English Game (Netflix)
Former Line of Duty star Craig Parkinson, Edward Holcroft and Kevin Guthrie all star in Downton Abbey creator Julian Fellowes’s latest series about the history of football, exploring “how those involved in its creation reached across the class divide to establish the game as the world’s most popular sport”.
Watch on Netflix
Find out more about The English Game
The Nest – BBC One
Nicole Taylor, the BAFTA-winning writer behind Three Girls, is back with a brand-new Glasgow-set surrogacy thriller that explores the life-changing consequences of a wealthy couple asking a teenage girl to carry their baby.
Watch now on BBC iPlayer
Find out more about The Nest
The Politician season 2 – Netflix
The second run of Ryan Murphy’s hit drama will follow Payton Hobar (Ben Platt) four years after the events of season one as he runs for Senate in New York against complacent Democratic candidate Senator Standish (Judith Light)…
Find out more about The Politician season 2
The Barking Murders – BBC One
From Jeff Pope and Neil McKay, the award-winning team behind The Moorside and Appropriate Adult, this new factual drama is about the victims of “the Grindr serial killer” who drugged and murdered four young men he met on a dating app and will star Sheridan Smith and Stephen Merchant.
Find out more about The Barking Murders
Marcella series 3 – ITV
Marcella is due to return for a third series on ITV, with Anna Friel reprising her role as the troubled detective. The new eight-part season will “delve further into the psychology” of Marcella and follow her new line of work as an undercover cop.
Find out more about Marcella series 3
Noughts + Crosses – BBC One
Noughts + Crosses on BBC One
Malorie Blackman’s bestselling novel, set in a dystopian world where races are segregated and the ruling class is black, has been adapted for television. Peaky Blinders actor Jack Rowan and newcomer Masali Baduza lead the cast.
Watch now on BBC iPlayer
Find out more about Noughts + Crosses
Star Trek: Picard
Fans of Star Trek: the Next Generation, rejoice! Patrick Stewart has returned to the Star Trek universe after nearly two decades on shore leave, with his iconic Captain Picard starring in a new spin-off series that imagines his later years.
Watch Star Trek: Picard now on Amazon Prime Video
Find out more about Star Trek: Picard
Strike: Lethal White – BBC One
Sleuthing double act Cormoran Strike (Tom Burke) and Robin Ellacott (Holliday Grainger) will be back on our screens for a new four-part adaptation of JK Rowling’s latest crime novel, Lethal White. The story begins when Strike receives a visit from Billy, a troubled young man asking the detective to investigate a crime he believes he witnessed as a child.
Find out more about Strike: Lethal White
David Attenborough: a Life on Our Planet – Netflix
This documentary, in which the celebrated naturalist reflects upon both the defining moments of his lifetime and the devastating changes he has seen, was expected in the spring but subsequently delayed because of the coronavirus outbreak.
Find out more about David Attenborough: a Life on Our Planet
Too Close – ITV
Emily Watson (from Chernobyl) stars as a forensic psychiatrist in ITV’s upcoming three-part drama Too Close, based on the novel by Clara Salaman (written under under the pseudonym Natalie Daniels).
Read more about Too Close
The Crown series 4 – Netflix