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New TV shows 2020: what to stream on Netflix, Hulu and Disney Plus until the year ends

(Image credit: Disney Plus/Lucasfilm)

In this golden age of small screen entertainment, it's no surprise that there are many more promising new TV shows coming out than anybody could possibly watch. Despite the havoc the global health crisis has wrought on the industry, as with the new movies of 2020, exciting new and returning shows are re-emerging to jostle for your attention.

As the year is coming to a close the number of new TV shows still with a 2020 release date attached are dwindling, but there's still plenty to get excited for before the year's out. For royalists and period-drama obsessives we have season 4 of the Crown and new Netflix show Bridgerton, arriving on Christmas Day. There's also the escapist fantasy of His Dark Materials season 2 and biting BBC anthology series, Small Axe.

Next year, and further down the line, we have Stranger Things season 4, the Amazon Lord of the Rings TV show, and the Game of Thrones prequel - we'll add those upcoming heavy-hitters to the list when we have more details and confirmed release windows for them. So, when it comes to the new TV shows you can watch this year, and where to watch them where you are, let's get started.

The Mandalorian season 2

Release date: October 30
Where to stream it: Disney Plus (US, UK, AU)

The first season of the smash-hit space Western was the biggest reason to own a Disney Plus subscription, and The Mandalorian season 2 will be the biggest one to keep it. We know we'll find out more about Moff Gideon's mysterious Darksaber and we'll see the search for the homeworld of mini meme-generator, Baby Yoda. While some feared that Mando's adventure would be a high profile coronavirus casualty, season 2 finished filming before the pandemic, and all eight episodes are coming this year. 

The Crown season 4

Release date: November 15, 2020
Where to stream it: Netflix (US, UK, AU)

Olivia Colman will conclude her reign as Queen Elizabeth II alongside Tobias Menzies and Helena Bonham Carter later this year as the royal drama picks up in the late 1970s. While creator Peter Morgan hasn't detailed how far season 4 will go, we know it will explore the Queen's uneasy relationship with new Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher (Gillian Anderson), Prince Charles' relationship with a young Lady Diana (Emma Corrin), and the Falklands War.

Small Axe

Release date: November 15, 2020 (UK), November 20, 2020 (US, AU)
Where to stream it: Amazon Prime Video (US), BBC iPlayer (UK), Amazon Prime Video (AU)

With a star-studded British cast including John Boyega and Letitia Wright, and a script from Steve McQueen, comes Small Axe, an anthology series that couldn't be more timely. The six hour-long series of episodes tells five stories of different West Indian people living in 1970s London amid racial injustice and police brutality. The name of the show comes from a Jamaican proverb that means marginalized voices can challenge the establishment, and win.

His Dark Materials season 2

Release date: November 16, 2020 
Where to stream it: HBO Max (US), BBC iPlayer (UK), Binge (AU)

While we liked the first season of His Dark Materials, it did endure some mixed reviews and declining ratings. Regardless, HBO and the BBC are pressing on with His Dark Materials season 2, and it adds Fleabag's Andrew Scott to its star-studded cast. It will cover the second novel of Philip Pullman's beloved trilogy, The Subtle Knife, and it's highly likely Will and Lyra will meet as the mysterious Magisterium seeks revenge.

The Expanse season 5

Release date: December 16, 2020
Where to stream it: Amazon Prime Video (US, UK, AU)

Get ready for exciting times ahead, Expanse fans: not only will the show's fifth season make its way to Amazon Prime Video soon, but the ninth book in the series on which the show is based, Leviathan Falls, is also out next year. As with fellow Amazon Original, The Boys, the first three episodes of season 5 will launch straight away, with the remainder releasing weekly until February 2021, as we see The Sol facing the frightening new threat of Marco Inaros and his Free Navy.

new tv shows - bridgerton

(Image credit: Netflix)

Bridgerton

Release date: December 25, 2020
Where to stream it: Netflix (US, UK, AU)

Netflix subscribers and period drama fans are in for a treat this holiday season. Releasing on Christmas Day, Bridgerton is a lavish upcoming production based on the novels of Julia Quinn. Following a rich family living in Regency-era London, Bridgerton's sizable cast includes Julie Andrews, Ben Miller, and Derry Girls' Nicola Coughlan, and it looks like it'll prove a welcome treat for all the family on a cozy Christmas evening.

WandaVision

Release date: December 2020 (probably)
Where to stream it: Disney Plus (US, UK, AU)

WandaVision on Disney Plus promises to be quite unlike any other Marvel show or movie when it lands before the end of the year. Featuring Wanda/Scarlet Witch and Vision, the pair of heroes start to suspect that things are not what they seem in their idyllic suburban neighborhood as they adjust to life after the events of Avengers: Endgame. The release date was moved forward from Spring 2021, but that could be reverted amid the Covid-19 chaos. The first full trailer was just revealed this week – but it doesn't have a release date just yet.