Entertainment

Every TV Show We're Excited to Watch in 2021

We hope you like always having something in your queue.

2021 tv preview
Maitane Romagosa/Thrillist

In 2020, most people had more time than they expected to sit on their couches and watch countless hours of television. And, frankly, it looks like 2021 is not going to be much different. The good news is that there's plenty of TV to look forward to, ranging from returning favorites like Succession to highly anticipated new series like The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. Here are the shows to put on your radar, and for even more things to watch in 2021, check out our previews of the upcoming year in movies, on Netflix, and on HBO Max.

snowpiercer season 2
'Snowpiercer' | TNT

Snowpiercer (Season 2)

TNT, January 25
All aboard! TNT's take on the 2013 Bong Joon-Ho dystopian thriller is leaving the station for Season 2. This time around, a handful of exciting newbies including Sean Bean, Rowan Blanchard, and Steven Ogg join the cast. 
(Watch the trailer)
 

Resident Alien

Syfy, January 27
Peter Hogan and Steve Parkhouse's well-reviewed series of comics gets a Syfy adaptation, with Firefly's Alan Tudyk playing an extraterrestrial who crash-lands on Earth and waits to be rescued. To avoid a secretive government agency and keep busy, he poses as a doctor and solves the odd mysterious crime.
(Watch the trailer)
 

The Lady and the Dale

HBO, January 31
The Duplass Brothers are behind this four-part docuseries about a 1970s scam that shook the auto industry. The Lady and the Dale tells the story of entrepreneur Elizabeth Carmichael who developed the fuel-efficient Dale—the success of which prompted an investigation into its technology and her mysterious past. 
(Watch the trailer)

the investigation
'The Investigation' | Henrik Ohsten/HBO

The Investigation

HBO, February 1
In 2017, the murder of journalist Kim Wall by an inventor she had gone to interview out of his homemade submarine became one of the biggest, most frenzied true-crime cases in Danish history. The Investigation chronicles the police hunt for the killer and demand for solid evidence from the prosecution (played by Game of Thrones star Pilou Asbæk) over six episodes.
(Watch the trailer)
 

Firefly Lane

Netflix, February 3
Katherine Heigl and Sarah Chalke play best friends over the course of many years in this Netflix series that aims to make everyone feel cozy during the long, cold winter ahead.
(Watch the trailer)
 

The Equalizer

CBS, February 7 
Premiering right after the Super Bowl, the latest update of the '80s crime series finds Queen Latifah stepping into the titular role, the part played by Edward Woodward in the original series and Denzel Washington in a pair of gritty action movies directed by Antoine Fuqua. The CBS-produced, Denzel-less remake of Training Day never really caught on, but we have higher hopes for this series, which should give Latifah a fun star vehicle to beat up bad guys and save the day.
(Watch the trailer)
 

Crime Scene: The Vanishing at the Cecil Hotel

Netflix, February 10
 If you were a fan of documentarian Joe Berlinger's last true crime series for Netflix, Conversations with a Killer, you'll want to check out his next project. Crime Scene is a docuseries about the mythology of locations where infamous cases took place, with Season 1 focusing on LA's Cecil Hotel and the 2013 disappearance of Elisa Lam. 

clarice
'Clarice' | CBS

Clarice

CBS, February 11
The teaser for this Silence of the Lambs sequel series asks one question: "What do you do with all of your rage, Clarice?" Set one year after the movie's events, Clarice (which, for legal reasons, can't even mention the existence of Hannibal Lecter) will delve into the complicated personal history of FBI agent Clarice Sterling, played unforgettably by Jodie Foster in the 1991 movie, more forgettably by Julianne Moore in the Lambs sequel Hannibal, and Rebecca Breeder in the new series.
(Watch the trailer)
 

The Great North

FOX, February 14
Bob's Burgers writers, the Molyneux Sisters, are behind the latest network animated comedy. Nick Offerman leads the voice cast, playing a single dad named Beef Tobin who lives with his family in Alaska, in typical Nick Offerman fashion. His real-life wife Megan Mullally is also among the cast, as is Jenny Slate, and… Alanis Morissette.  
(Watch the trailer)
 

The Luminaries

Starz, February 14
An adaptation of Eleanor Catton's Booker Award-winning novel of the same name, The Luminaries follows a young woman who sailed from Great Britain to New Zealand during the 1860s gold rush and the strange events that unfold upon her arrival. It's a period piece mystery and sees Eve Hewson, Eva Green, and Himesh Patel among the cast. 
(Watch the trailer)
 

The Crew

Netflix, February 15
Kevin James stars in this new comedy as a NASCAR crew chief who finds himself at odds with his new, younger team as they try to modernize how things are done. 
(Watch the trailer)

kenan
'Kenan' | NBC

Kenan

NBC, February 16
Comedy fans have been watching Kenan Thompson stealing scenes since he was a tween on Nickelodeon, and as a fan-favorite SNL staple for years, so it's about time he got his own sitcom. The funnyman stars in the self-titled Kenan as a recently widowed dad trying to raise his two kids with the help of his bros. 
(Watch the trailer)
 

Young Rock

NBC, February 16
It's not Young Sheldon, it's... Young Rock, an NBC sitcom about Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson's childhood. The series stars Johnson as himself in 2032 running for president and looking back at his childhood with three other actors playing various Rocks over the years, at least one of whom has to say "Can you smell what the Rock is cooking?" or the deal's off.
(Watch the trailer)
 

Behind Her Eyes

Netflix, February 17
Sarah Pinborough's popular novel is getting the miniseries treatment. The thriller should be full of salacious twists over the course of six episodes, following a single mother whose life is turned upside down when she finds herself in an affair with her new psychiatrist boss, and later befriends his wife.
 

For All Mankind (Season 2)

Apple TV+, February 17
On its debut, For All Mankind set itself apart from the usual historical astronaut drama—for one thing, it begins with Soviet Russia landing a man on the Moon first. Kicking the American Space Program into high gear, this loss inspires a group of astronauts and engineers to go bigger than they'd planned to outdo the USSR in this alternate history take on the Space Race.
(Watch the trailer)
 

House Hunters: Comedians on Couches Unfiltered

Discovery+, February 17
Have you ever wondered what Dan Levy or John Mulaney's interior design taste is? Or wanted to see Seth Rogen roast somebody else's taste? This House Hunters spin-off, one of the many shows headed to the new streaming service Discovery+, finds comedians and other celebrities helping new homeowners pick out their next pad. 

ginny & georgia
'Ginny & Georgia' | Netflix

Ginny & Georgia

Netflix, February 24
A dramedy about the titular mother-daughter duo—the daughter Ginny often being much more mature than her mother—who move to a small town for a fresh start, which proves to be challenging when secrets from Georgia's past resurface.
 

Punky Brewster

Peacock, February 25
Did you think Saved By the Bell was the only reboot headed to NBC streaming platform Peacock? Of course not! There's always more nostalgia to go around, including some for Punky Brewster. Soleil Moon Frye is reprising the role—no longer a pigtailed child, but all-grown-up, obviously—playing Punky as a single mom of three.  
(Watch the teaser)

The Falcon and the Winter Soldier 

Disney+, March 19
At the end of Avengers: Endgame, Chris Evans' Steve Rogers handed over his shield to Anthony Mackie's Sam Wilson, essentially crowning Wilson as the next Cap. Presumably, this Marvel show will feature Sam and Sebastian Stan's Bucky Barnes, Cap's best bro, teaming up to fight Helmet Zero and other bad guys.
(Watch the teaser)
 

Hemingway

PBS, April 5
Ken Burns' latest subject is none other than literary legend Ernest Hemingway. The three-part documentary not only delves into the writer's iconic career but the mythology and tragedy behind his life. 
(Watch the trailer)
 

Chad

TBS, April 6
Chad is a coming-of-age comedy about a 14-year-old Persian-American boy navigating his first year of high school. Created by SNL alum Nasim Pedrad, the show has a bit of an unconventional twist, as she also plays the titular Chad, a la PEN15
(Watch the trailer)

atlanta, donald glover
'Atlanta' | FX

2021 Dates TBA

American Horror Story (Season 10)

FX
Though it's not totally clear what the theme of the landmark tenth season of Ryan Murphy's campy horror series will be (maybe mermaids?), tons of AHS favorites—including Sarah Paulson, Evan Peters, Kathy Bates, and many more—are returning to make this cryptic seaside screamfest a special one. Get excited for whatever cast addition Macauly Culkin's role will be, and treat all of this as a creepy amuse bouche for Murphy's spinoff series American Horror Stories—plural—that's coming down the road. 
 

Atlanta (Season 3)

FX
As a social commentary on race and class masked as a show about a rising rapper that frequently experiments from episode to episode, it's hard to say, without a trailer, what exactly will happen in the upcoming seasons of Atlanta. One thing is for sure, though: It's likely to continue following the ceaseless struggle of Earn and Al trying to make it and failing miserably at both the hands of the music industry, systemic racism, and Earn's own poor decision-making. Expect to see that all play out on Paper Boi's first-ever tour, since Season 2 ended just as he and Earn were about to take off on a flight to Europe to join Clark County on tour.
 

Barry (Season 3)

HBO
Bill Hader's Barry has established itself as some of the most ambitious, darkly comedic shows out there. Chances are, Season 3 is going to be depressing as hell. After taking out a monastery of gangsters he murdered purely out of rage in the Season 2 finale, there's now no denying that the titular hitman bitten by the acting bug is a Bad Guy. He is not a reformed killer; he's a killer-killer. With the cliffhanger that Barry's acting coach Gene Cousineau (Henry Winkler) realizes his student's secret as he's being (wrongly) arrested for his cop girlfriend's murder, Barry should come back with a funbag of bleakness.
 

Better Call Saul (Season 6) 

AMC
When it debuted in 2015, Better Call Saul stood under the bald, fedora-sporting shadow of Breaking Bad, referencing Walter White's crimes and hinting that it would catch up to that show's iconic ending. Now, closing in on its 13-episode final season, the prequel series stands on its own as a vivid, wrenching crime series. Given the show's level of creative consistency, it's hard to imagine an ending that fails to satisfy.
 

The Boondocks

HBO Max
Aaron MacGruder's hilarious Adult Swim anime-inspired staple is getting rebooted for HBO's streaming service on a two-season order and a 50-minute special. Details are light, but we do know that Granddad and his grandsons, Riley and Huey, will have to deal with the neo-Nazis that have established a tyrannical regime in their comfortable suburb. The Boondocks never tiptoed around its bold leftist and racial politics, and we can't wait to see what's in store with MacGruder back as showrunner after stepping away in Season 4.
 

Bosch (Season 7)

Amazon Prime
As Amazon Prime readies its Lord of the Rings series, undoubtedly its biggest attempt to court the mainstream, the service will say goodbye to its longest-running show. Bosch has rarely picked up awards attention, appeared on critic's top 10 lists, or generated buzz on social media, but this character-driven police drama starring Titus Welliver is as sturdy and reliable as TV shows get. The final season, which reportedly draws its plot from Michael Connelley's The Overlook and Dark Sacred Night books, should be a fitting sendoff.

dead to me
'Dead to Me' | Netflix

Dead to Me (Season 3)

Netflix
It's time for Ben's (James Mardsen) dark secrets to take front-and-center in the upcoming season of this addictive series. Stock up on plenty of wine before the Thelma and Louise of streaming—Judy (Linda Cardellini) and Jen (Christina Applegate)—come crashing back onto your screens with their sometimes murderous intent.
 

Dear White People (Season 4)

Netflix
It's senior year for Justien Simien's Dear White People and the Black students fighting the embedded institutional racism at the mostly white Winchester University. Before graduation day (er, the finale), radio host Sam White (Logan Browning), young politico Troy Fairbanks (Brandon P. Bell), investigative journalist Lionel Higgins (DeRon Horton), and co. clash with the mysterious secret order that maintains the university's prestige at all costs.
 

Evil (Season 2) 

CBS
The clever, kooky, and genuinely scary show from The Good Wife creators Robert and Michelle King basically begged for a second season with the first's cliffhanger. Katja Herbers's Kristen Bouchard, a forensic psychologist helping priest-in-training David Acosta (Mike Colter) determine whether there's a clinical explanation for strange events or something demonic is afoot, might be—that's right—evil.
 

Foundation 

Apple TV+
Isaac Asimov took the world of science fiction by storm when he published his novel (and plenty of followups) about a vision of the future in which every major political event is predicted and planned for in advance by "psychohistorians," who have turned seeing the future into a science. This adaptation stars Lee Pace as the Emperor of the Galaxy and Jared Harris as the brilliant Hari Seldon.
 

Genius: Aretha

Nat Geo
Nat Geo's Genius biographic anthology series previously covered Albert Einstein and Pablo Picasso, and now it's turning its focus to one of music's greats, Aretha Franklin. Cynthia Erivo (Harriet, Widows) is taking on the iconic soul singer, meaning she'll definitely be putting some R-E-S-P-E-C-T on her name.
(Watch the trailer)
 

Gossip Girl

HBO Max
The new reboot of the 2007 CW series isn't another chronicle in the scandalous lives of Serena van der Woodsen and Blair Waldorf, but it will introduce a new crop of the Manhattan (and possibly even Brooklyn) teen elite and air all of their dirty little secrets in blog (Twitter? TikTok?) form. Original co-producers Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage are running the show.

i think you should leave
'I Think You Should Leave with Tim Robinson' | Netflix

The Handmaid's Tale (Season 4) 

Hulu
Escaped handmaid June has been planting the seeds for a full-blown revolution against the tyrannical Gilead, and Season 4 looks like it'll blow the floodgates off its hinges to make that crusade more realized.
 

Insecure (Season 5)

HBO
"If life doesn't look like how you imagined it, does that mean it's a success or a failure?" said producer Prentice Penny about the big theme of Insecure's upcoming season. With Issa and Molly's BFFship in a rocky place, and Issa in an even more confusing situation with boy-of-the-season Lawrence, the next installment is poised to be the most insightful batch of episodes to date.
 

I Think You Should Leave (Season 2)

Netflix
What delights could the second season of Tim Robinson's, dare-we-say, comedy masterpiece contain? Honestly, we couldn't even begin to predict, but if it's anything like the first set of sketches, it will be absolutely incredible.
 

Loki

Disney+
After escaping through time in Avengers: Endgame, Asgard's exiled trickster god accidentally falls in with the Time Variance Agency. The secretive organization keeps track of the various timelines in the Multiverse, tweaking some and eliminating others it deems too dangerous to exist, generally keeping the citizens of the timelines from traveling back and forth in time, and changing the past or the future. How this all ties in with the larger Marvel Cinematic Universe's Phase 4 storyline is anyone's guess.
(Watch the trailer)
 

The Lord of the Rings

Amazon Prime
The first of five very expensive Lord of the Rings seasons is headed to Amazon in 2021 as the company tries to serve up the next Game of Thrones before the next Game of Thrones (House of the Dragon) hits HBO. Set in the Second Age, this series will take place long before Frodo was running around The Shire, so it's a gamble to suss out what will actually take place in this Middle Earthian prequel.
 

Mare of Easttown

HBO
Kate Winslet stars in this HBO limited series murder mystery. (Her character's name is Mare. She is the "Mare" in question and presumably hails from some place named Easttown.) It's directed by Craig Zobel, whose most recent project was the troubled film The Hunt.
 

Midnight Mass

Netflix
Director Mike Flanagan can't stop churning out that creepy Netflix content. In August 2020, before The Haunting of Bly Manor hit the streaming service in October, the spooky filmmaker started shooting this new series that takes place on a desolate island and follows disturbing events that start to unfold among the community there after a mysterious young priest arrives.
 

The Nevers

HBO
Joss Whedon created this HBO drama about Victorian women with supernatural powers—think Buffy meets, I don't know, the Brontës—but, embroiled in controversy, left the project in November after the season's 10 episodes wrapped. Olivia Williams, Laura Donnelly, and Ann Skelly play three of the so-called Nevers, while Nick Frost, Tom Riley, and Denis O'Hare also turn up.
 

Nine Perfect Strangers

Hulu
Big Little Lies fans, assemble. This is another adaptation of one of BLL author Liane Moriarty's works, and it brings back showrunner David E. Kelley and Nicole Kidman, the latter of who stars as the director of a wellness resort where nine (seemingly perfect) strangers check in for a 10-day retreat that doesn't turn out to be like what any of them expected.

the old man
'The Old Man' | FX on Hulu

The Old Man

FX on Hulu
Jeff Bridges, a major movie star who has yet to make a play for prestige TV glory, stars in this thriller about a retired CIA officer who wants to live "off the grid" but keeps getting pulled back into the shady world he thought he left behind. Adapted from a novel by veteran genre writer Thomas Perry, and co-starring John Lithgow, Amy Brenneman, and Alia Shawkat, the show—think True Grit meets The Americans—is still scheduled for 2021, even after Bridges announced during production that he'd been diagnosed with lymphoma.
(Watch the trailer)
 

The Other Two (Season 2)

HBO Max
It's been a long wait for the second season of this still underrated show, which first premiered on Comedy Central in early 2019. Hopefully the story of the two aimless 30-something siblings of a tween pop star will gain more of an audience on HBO Max where its amazing songs can be fully appreciated.
 

Ozark (Season 4)

Netflix
The final season of the tense Missouri-set money laundering saga will be nothing short of shocking, we expect. The Byrdes keep getting deeper in bed with dangerous people—now, the cartel boss Omar Navarro and the FBI—and it's only a matter of time until the blocks crumble beneath them, sending their family and associates into a freefall.   
 

Peaky Blinders (Season 6)

Netflix
Our Peakies! The biggest question at hand after a doozy of a fifth season in Steven Knight's English mob series is: Who betrayed Tommy Shelby and caused his plan to take out political rival and literal fascist Oswald Mosley to fail? (We have some thoughts.)
 

Pieces of Her

Netflix
Toni Collette leads the cast in this adaptation of Karin Slaughter's popular thriller about a woman who tries to stop an active shooter, and the effects it has on her relationship with her daughter, who feels she witnesses a change in her mother after the traumatic interference.
 

Pose (Season 3) 

FX
The third season of Pose shut down production at the start of the pandemic and gave the supplies from medical sets to Mount Sinai. Ryan Murphy, in announcing the donation, revealed that in the upcoming episodes, Blanca will be working as an AIDS counselor. As for what else is in store that remains to be seen, but Pose remains one of the most big-hearted, groundbreaking series on TV.

succession
'Succession' | Peter Kramer/HBO

Station Eleven

HBO Max
This adaptation of Emily St. John Mandel's 2014 speculative novel, which followed a troupe of actors and musicians as they traveled an America ravaged by a flu pandemic, doesn't exactly sound like frothy post-2020 escapism. But, given the source material, it should be different from many of the more brutal dystopian tales of recent years. With Mackenzie Davis of Halt and Catch Fire in the lead role, Patrick Somerville (The Leftovers) serving as showrunner, and Hiro Murai (Atlanta) behind the camera, this should be a special one.
 

Stranger Things (Season 4) 

Netflix  
The Hawkins crew has to figure out how to get Hopper out of Russia in the next season of Stranger Things, presumably digging into its '80s-ness with its own interpretation of the Cold War.
 

Succession (Season 3) 

HBO
Who will win a kiss from daddy in this season of corporate heir war Succession? It certainly won't be Kendall Roy, who hung his father Logan out to dry on national TV in the last minutes of the finale over the gross misconduct handling Wayco Roystar's cruise ship scandal. We're delirious to know how this nuclear bomb will rattle the many circles of the loathsome, ultra-wealthy Roy family.  
 

Ted Lasso (Season 2)

Apple TV+
Apple TV+'s Ted Lasso, a fish-out-of-water story (based on an ad campaign), turned out to be a veritable hug of the series and one of the more surprising quality TV releases of 2020. With Jason Sudeikis' Ted—a jolly Kentuckian who is hired to coach the Richmond Premier League football club by its owner in a plot to humiliate her ex-husband—managed to win over his footie crew with infectious, if naive, optimism. Even after the finale's loss bumped the team down a league, there's so much potential in this puckish underdog story.
 

Tokyo Vice

HBO Max
The pitch for this HBO Max original, which was delayed by the pandemic but should debut next year, is pretty simple: Michael Mann crime drama. Following an American journalist (Ansel Elgort) as he reports on corruption in Tokyo's elite vice squad in the late '90s, with help from a detective played by Ken Watanabe, Tokyo Vice sounds like a potentially captivating mix of The Insider and another famous Mann production with the word "Vice" in the title. Sign us up!
 

Tuca & Bertie (Season 2)

Adult Swim
The beloved buddy comedy from BoJack Horseman illustrator Lisa Hanawalt, and starring Tiffany Haddish and Ali Wong as the titular anthropomorphic bird people Tuca and Bertie, will live to see another day, thanks to Adult Swim, after being canned by Netflix after its charming first season.
 

Uptown

BET
This three-part miniseries documents the story of the iconic Uptown Records, which helped launch the career of huge names in R&B and hip-hop, like Mary J. Blige, Notorious B.I.G., Sean "Diddy" Combs, and others. Label founder Andre Harrell, who was previously on board as an executive producer, died in 2020, but the show is still moving ahead. Many of the details are kept under wraps, but it should pay homage to his and his label signees' legacy.
 

The Wheel of Time

Amazon Prime
Will this series—Amazon's other bankable fantasy book series adaptation that's been in confusing development hell for years—really come out in 2021, as the oracle IMDb says? We won't hold our breath, but we are looking forward to finally seeing Robert Jordan's written vision of the Third Age, apocalyptic Breaking of the World, and hunt for the Dragon Reborn brought to life on the silver screen.
 

The Witcher (Season 2)

Netflix
Toss another coin to your local Witcher: Henry Cavill's brooding, wandering monster hunter Geralt of Rivia is coming back this year with all the "hmms" and "fucks" you could hope for. Video game and book series fans should be in for a little treat—we're betting Season 2 is adapting the first book of the main Witcher series, Blood of Elves. Ciri could be much older; Yennifer should still be on a mission to become the greatest sorcerer; Jaskier, without a doubt, will still be penning his annoyingly catchy bard songs. You can't escape destiny, Geralt.
 

You (Season 3)

Netflix
Murderous creep Joe (Penn Badgley) sets his eyes on a new target of obsession: blonde neighbor Natalie, who he peeped on in her backyard, engrossed in a book he almost certainly has at least five opinions on. Such wandering eyes when his girlfriend, the equally bloodlusting Love (Victoria Pedretti), is so pregnant! For shame, Joe. Season 3 will also feature an ensemble of the finest L.A. stereotypes, including a wellness guru, "momfluencer," and tech venture capitalist.

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