The first TV series from sci-fi maestro Alex Garland (Sunshine, Ex Machina), Devs was the ambitious, out-there opening shot for “FX on Hulu,” a new slate of original programming that FX would produce solely for Hulu. And what a magnificent mind-bender it was. Devs, the story of a software engineer who stumbles onto a secret project to create a machine that, using advanced analytics and mechanics, can both see into the past and predict the future, was a malicious, melancholic trip into the age-old debate between free will and determinism. Groovy, unsettling, and thought-provoking.
For more, check out our Devs series premiere review!
The Haunting of Bly Manor
This year’s new Haunting series, from Mike Flanagan, shed some of the sheer terror of 2018’s The Haunting of Hill House and replaced it with a more somber, soulful love story about a handful of ill-fated partners and the ghosts of Bly Manor that inadvertently threw a wrench in their various best-laid romantic plans. A bit more of an emotional journey than its predecessor, The Haunting of Bly Manor wasn’t just a repeat of Hill House’s success, but instead a wholly new experience (based on the famous Henry James novella, The Turn of the Screw) meant to stick with you long after the cursed spirits vanish from the screen.
For more, check out our The Haunting of Bly Manor season review!
HBO’s terrific, terrifying, and topical adaptation of Matt Ruff’s novel, from Underground’s Misha Green, told the tumultuous tale of army vet Atticus “Tic” Freeman who, when returning back home to 1950s Jim Crow America, discovers that his family lineage connects to forbidden magic and sorcery previously denied to African Americans. From there, Lovecraft Country rocketed us into a raucous adventure that touched on everything from time travel to body horror to the infinite possibilities of the multiverse. As Tic, Leti, and their family waged war against societal demons like racism they also fought back against insurmountable odds in a fight for supernatural supremacy.
For more, check out our Lovecraft Country season finale review!
The Queen’s Gambit
Centered on a troubled, orphaned chess prodigy, The Queen’s Gambit was a smash hit for Netflix and a testament to star Anya Taylor-Joy’s magnetic presence as a performer. With emotionally intelligent writing, this exploration of competitive chess in the 1960s sparked a renewed real-world interest in the game, as Google search queries for chess doubled from October to November. With powerful themes of substance abuse and discrimination, a compelling style, and world class acting, The Queen’s Gambit is an absolute checkmate.
For more, check out our The Queen’s Gambit review!
Even though The Good Place and Schitt’s Creek gave us some outstanding, full-hearted “positive” comedy this year, 2020 proved to be a beast that demanded more uplifting, jubilant laughs. Enter Apple TV’s Ted Lasso, an effortlessly clever and joyous series from Scrubs’ Bill Lawrence starring Jason Sudeikis as an American football coach hired to, basically, inadvertently “Major League” sabotage an English football (soccer) team. But Lasso’s warm and wholesome heart proves to be so indomitable, and addicting, that nothing can keep his power of positivity from elevating all around him.
For more, check out our Ted Lasso Season 1 review!
Those are our picks for the best new TV series of 2020 – let us know in the comments what’s on your list that didn’t make ours, and be sure to cast your vote for our TV Series of the Year 2020 People’s Choice Award here!
There are plenty of other awards! Check out all our movies, TV, and comics nominees below!
Best Movies of 2020
Best TV of 2020
Best Comics of 2020
Be sure to check out all of our other movies, TV and comics of the Year award nominees as well as our picks for the best games of 2020!