It’s a new year and that means there are new things to be excited about. So I’ve picked the 20 things I’m excited about in 2020. Some of these things are still fairly ill-defined and some of them are happening today. Literally today. Let’s get to the things that I think will be good but don’t come back and yell at me if I’m wrong! Oh, also I’m not just listing new seasons of existing shows because that’d be too easy.
Medical Police – The tagline for this Netflix comedy series – “They’re Cops and Doctors! At the Same Time!” – is pretty great already. But here’s the thing you need to know. This is a Childrens Hospital follow-up. They came right out and said it’s set at a hospital in Brazil and now we know that Erinn Hayes, Rob Huebel, Ken Marino, and Rob Corddry are reprising their roles from the original series. It looks like the focus is on Hayes and Huebel, since their characters were already both doctors and cops, but I’m on board for whatever this team is going to do. (January 10)
All My Favorite Shows Come to an End – Yes, my three favorite shows all end this year. The Good Place wraps up on January 30, BoJack Horseman on January 31st, and GLOW launches its fourth and final season sometime in the fall. This is going to be a rough year. Especially that one-two punch at the end of January. At some point this year, I assume I’ll die of pure grief.
Avenue 5 – The title is not great, but come on. Armando Iannucci, creator of Veep and The Thick of It, brings us this HBO sci-fi comedy with Hugh Laurie as the captain of a cruise ship in space. So let’s look forward to another show full of glorious misanthropy and creative obscenities. The cast includes spunkyfaves Zach Woods and Jessica St. Clair, so we’re in good hands. (January 19)
The Plot Against America – David Simon and Ed Burns adapt a Philip Roth novel for HBO. Simon and Burns (The Wire) are two of my favorite TV creators, Roth is one of my favorite novelists, and The Plot Against America is maybe my second favorite book of his. It’s an alternate history where Nazi sympathizer Charles Lindbergh beats Roosevelt in the 1940 Presidential Election and pushes the nation toward fascism. Is this going to be a very different experience to watch in 2020 than it was to read the book in 2004? Oh, you know it. (March 16)
No Time to Die – It’s Daniel Craig’s final outing as James Bond, and I’m geeked. The trailer is awesome, director Cary Fukunaga is amazing, and there are some great additions to the cast this time out. Captain Marvel‘s Lashana Lynch as the new 007 is a really fun idea that outraged dopes with little to no reading comprehension. (She’s not James Bond! Bond is retired so they reassign his number!) I loved Ana de Armas in Knives Out and it’ll be fun to see her paired with Daniel Craig again. We’ve even got Phoebe Waller-Bridge contributing to the script and I’m already giving her credit for the “Bond. James Bond?” in the trailer. (April 8)
Cyberpunk 2077 – From CD Projekt Red, the game studio that brought you The Witcher comes this open world adventure RPG game about, you know, cyberpunks. That’s not even a genre I care for, but this game looks wild. Like, I can’t even say why exactly this is so anticipated except that it seems to be big and good. Man, I really have to get back to playing games regularly. (April 16)
Marvel Stuff – It’s going to be hard for Marvel Studios to top 2019, which included Captain Marvel, Spider-Man: Far From Home, and the highest-grossing movie ever, Avengers Endgame. And so, they’re not even going to try. For the first time since 2016, they’re releasing only two movies. One, Black Widow, is a spin-off about a character who died, played by an actress who occasionally goes on talk shows to defend pedophiles. The other, The Eternals, is based on an old Jack Kirby series that nobody has ever heard of. But. That Black Widow trailer looks pretty good, even though I feel like Scarlett Johannson has been visibly disinterested in playing the character since Winter Soldier. David Harbour and Florence Pugh (who I’m hoping becomes the new Black Widow) class the joint up and it looks fun. We have yet to see anything about Eternals, but here’s the thing. I’m a huge Kirby fan and Eternals is the one thing I just can’t get through. Here’s what the original series was about – every episode the main characters meet a supporting character who explains the plot of Chariots of the Gods and then they worry about a space god who’s going to stand still for fifty years. So they’ve got their work cut out for them. But it’s not like Guardians of the Galaxy had been burning up the sales charts before the movie. There’s so much room to do something new, but the only thing we know now is that the cast is great and Kumail Nanjiani got just crazy jacked. We also have a Disney+ series to look forward to, Falcon and the Winter Soldier. That should be pretty good! Or it means those characters are exiled from the movies and they need something to do with them. Marvel’s TV strategy is very confusing at this point. (Black Widow May 1, Eternals November 6, Falcon and Winter Soldier TBA)
Avengers – What Avengers thing do I mean this time? Well, it’s the video game from Square Enix! There’s already been criticism that the characters don’t look like the movie, but you know, that’s a separate license. Anybody who thought they would is dumb. (I’m taking broad stands on issues that aren’t important to me this year.) I’m still not clear on how the gameplay works – it looks like the Arkham games but there are multiple Avengers and one Batman so I don’t know if character selection is stage specific or if you have to commit to playing Thor the whole time or how they handle that. But it looks fun and I want to smash. (May 15)
Wonder Woman: 1984 – I’m not at all interested in DC’s other big movie release this year – Birds of Prey looks like a superhero movie aimed at theater kids and I admire the swing, but that’s not for me. But Wonder Woman, man. For one thing, it’s all the people who made the first movie good and now they’re not hamstrung by having to make it look like Zack Snyder. There are colors that aren’t brown! The trailer has almost no slo-mo action scenes! The fact is, we get Kristen Wiig as Cheetah and Pedro Pascal as Max Lord, one of my all-time favorites. I mean, I don’t like villain Max nearly as much as JLI founder Max, but I’ll take whatever version I can get. Plus, Wonder Woman uses her lasso to swing from a bolt of lightning and I am in. (June 4)
Top Gun: Maverick – Let’s be honest. The first Top Gun is iconic but also not all that good once you get past all the flash. And a sequel after 34 years sounds like a terrible idea. But ever since the Mission: Impossible movies got good, I’m pretty sold on Tom Cruise doing stuff. I’d like to think that this will be something other than a military recruitment tool this time out, but I have to admit, that trailer makes jets look awesome. Plus, Jon Hamm is in it! And so is Lewis Pullman who killed it in Bad Times at the El Royale and Catch-22, so we might have something here. (June 26)
Bob’s Burgers: The Movie – Yeah, that’s right. The Belchers are getting their own movie. Given how rock solid the show still is after ten seasons, I have no reason to believe this will be anything other than great. There aren’t many specifics. We know it’ll be a musical (not surprising), and the creators have indicated on social media that we’ll see Bob’s mother for the first time and learn the name of the town where the show is set. That’s all I need! (July 17)
Bill and Ted Face the Music – The long-rumored Bill and Ted threequel is actually happening, with Alex Winter and Keanu Reeves reprising their roles. Not much is known at this point but they have daughters, Gotham and Barry breakout Anthony Carrigan is playing Death’s son, and Kid Cudi plays himself. And let’s face it, they’re going to have to address the very different paths the stars have taken over the years. I think this is going to be fun and that shouldn’t be a controversial stand. (August 25)
The Many Saints of Newark – This is either going to be huge or it’ll be a two-city release that hits streaming immediately. But this is that long-discussed Sopranos prequel movie. James Gandolfini’s son plays the young Tony Soprano, Dickie Moltisanti appears for the first time. Probably somebody plays a still quite old Uncle Junior. I feel like The Sopranos takes up so much less space in my brain than it used to but I’ll be there on opening night. Because, man, David Chase might be a jerk but when he decides to make something, it’s an event. (September 25)
Tenet – Formerly known as the untitled Christopher Nolan project, this mysterious movie involves espionage and time travel and the trailer is rad as hell. That’s all I have to work with, but we’ve got a ways to go. (November 13)
The Tomorrow War – We don’t know a huge amount about this movie, but if you’re a Doughboys listener, you know this is the movie Mitch was shooting for months. It’s a big action movie with a great cast – Chris Pratt, Yvonne Strahovski, Betty Gilpin, J.K. Simmons, Sam Richardson, and the aforementioned Mike “Spoonman” Mitchell. I’ll be honest, I’m going to watch anything that helps support Mitch anyway, but I’m in love with this cast. (December 25)
Superman – Identity – Our friends at DC Comics made the news with the announcement that Superman would go public with his identity and do away with Clark Kent. And while I think it’s a huge mistake to do away with such a key part of the mythos in any kind of a permanent way, there are already rumblings of another continuity-altering Crisis in the works, so there’s always that out. For now, I think it’s a really interesting idea to explore, especially as the Marvel movies have all but done away with the concept of secret identities. That’s not something the public necessarily associates with superheroes anymore, and I think it’ll be fun to see Superman lean into that. Again, it’s a wild move to dispense with the very important idea of Clark Kent, but let’s see what happens. (Ongoing)
House of the Dragon – This Game of Thrones prequel is clearly a cash grab. It’s set 300 years before the original and focuses on the Targaryen family but none of the ones you know or have ever heard of have been born yet. But I’m interesting in spending some more time in Westeros. And, to sweeten the pot, the showrunner here is going to be Carly Wray who wrote the best episode of Westworld, several of the best episodes of The Leftovers and Mad Men, and the terrific Looking Glass episode of Watchmen. When I see her name in the credits, I know it’s going to be good. Her involvement takes this from mild interest to totally sold. (TBA)
Westworld – I know I said this list isn’t for new seasons of existing shows, but we only get Westworld every two years and the last season finale means another radial reinvention. I can’t imagine we’re ever going to see the park again, which is wild since for two seasons, we only saw the park. The trailers make it clear that we’re going to see Bernard and Dolores out in the world, Aaron Paul is in the cast, and it looks rad. I’m ready to see what a show does after it blows up its premise twice in two years. (TBA)
Perry Mason – Look, HBO is doing a miniseries reboot of Perry Mason, setting it in 1932, and it starts Matthew Rhys and Tatiana Maslany. I’m not old enough to have cared about the original Mason, but I got very excited when I found out it exists, and that’s something. (TBA)
Untitled Tina Fey / Robert Carlock Project – That’s right, there’s not even a name. The creators of 30 Rock and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt are developing a show for NBC and Ted Danson is in it. I couldn’t ask for anything more. (TBA)
What are you looking forward to? Let me know! Let’s get psyched!