The Most Binge-Worthy TV Shows & Movies of 2020

This year's greatest movies, tv shows, and documentaries by female filmmakers and writers to stream right now.

By Anna Jornlid

Anna Jornlid

In spite of the delays of new releases that the coronavirus may have caused, 2020 has still been (and will continue to be) a year riddled with great new movies and tv-shows made by some of the most creative female filmmakers and writers. And while you may be dreading a few more weeks of sheltering in place, we suggest that you pass the time by catching up on some of the must-see releases of the year thus far. From binge-worthy crime series to heart-felt dramas, below is a frequently-updated list of the best movies, tv-shows, and documentaries you can stream right now.


High Fidelity

Check out writers Veronica West and Sarah Kucserka’s new take on the Nick Hornby novel-turned-movie by the same name. Originally featuring John Cusack as Rob Brooks, a Chicago record store owner, this modern interpretation takes place in Brooklyn and stars Zoë Kravitz (also an executive producer of the show) as the iconic Rob, who revisits her romantic past.

 

EMMA.

Jane Austen’s beloved comedy about the perils of misconstrued romance is now reimagined in this new adaptation of EMMA. Starring Anya Taylor-Joy (previously seen in The Witch), this upcoming comedy-drama film is directed by Autumn de Wilde and written by Eleanor Catton.

Twenties

Created by the imitable Lena Waithe, BET.com’s new comedy series, Twenties, follows “a queer black girl, Hattie, and her two straight best friends, Marie and Nia” as they navigate the tumultuous ups and downs of life, love, and career.

Hillary

“I’ve got the kind of life you can’t make up,” teased Hillary Clinton with a tweet in January. “See for yourself on Hulu, March 6.” Directed by Academy Award nominee Nanette Bursteiner, her four-part eponymous documentary, Hillary, is finally here.

Never Rarely Sometimes Always

Writer-director Eliza Hittman is following up her 2017 Sundance winner, Beach Rats, with Never Rarely Sometimes Always—a moving coming-of-age story highlighting one of our time’s most divisive issues: abortion. If the rave-reviews are any indication, this film (following an unintentionally pregnant teenager traveling from her rural hometown to New York City in search of support) is an important must-see for all.

Little Fires Everywhere

Reese Witherspoon has teamed up with powerhouse Kerry Washington to produce and star in a Hello Sunshine TV adaptation of Celeste Ng’s best-selling book, Little Fires Everywhere. The story follows the lives of two families residing in Shaker Heights, Ohio, where a dramatic custody battle over a Chinese-American baby tears the town apart.

Home Before Dark

Inspired by the true story of Hilde Lysiak, a young investigative reporter who, at age 9, was the first to expose a murder in her small Pennsylvania hometown, Home Before Dark is a new mystery series created by Dara Resnik (Daredevil) and Dana Fox (Ben and Kate). The young detective drama had already been renewed for a second season ahead of its April premiere.

Mrs. America

Dahvi Waller’s mini-series, Mrs. America, is finally coming to Hulu/FX with an A-list cast including Cate Blanchett, Rose Byrne, Uzo Aduba, and Sarah Paulson. A true story of the conflict between the 1970s feminist liberation movement that fought to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment and the conservative organizer Phyllis Schlafly who helped defeat it, this highly anticipated nine-episode series peels back the layers of a political battle that, in many ways, shaped the current U.S. cultural divide.

Promising Young Woman

Emerald Fennell’s, Promising Young Woman is a thrilling comedic drama that follows Cassie (Carey Mulligan), a med school drop-out who, after an unknown incident, dedicates her life to punishing would-be rapists. As she sits alone in bars feigning close-to-blackout drunk, a familiar story ensues: A self-described “nice guy” offers to take Cassie home and eventually, without her consent, pushes her into a sexual act. For the men who ignore her pleas to stop? A horrible fate awaits.

Killing Eve (Season 3)

The critically-acclaimed crime show about a secret investigator, Eve (Sandra Oh), and her thrilling cat-and-mouse game with serial killer Villanelle (Jodi Comer) is back. Each season features a new female showrunner, so catch up on the first two seasons (written by Phoebe Waller-Bridges and Emerald Fennell, respectively) in anticipation of Suzanne Heathcote’s latest take.

Betty

Based on creator Crystal Moselle’s critically acclaimed 2018 feature, Skate Kitchen, this six-part, HBO miniseries follows a diverse group of young women as they infiltrate New York City’s male-dominated world of skateboarding. Betty, which is written by Crystal Moselle, Lesley Arfin (one of the writers behind HBO’s Girls), and Patricia Breen (who’s previously worked on Frasier and Big Love), covers everything from relationship drama to street fights and female friendships, making it an uplifting comedy radiating girl power.

Tammy’s Always Dying

Actor-turned-director Amy Jo Johnson’s dark comedy film, Tammy’s Always Dying, is being released on VOD after its Toronto Film Festival premiere late last year. The movie follows the dysfunctional relationship between Catherine (Anastasia Phillips) and her self-destructive, alcoholic mother Tammy (Felicity Huffman), in the wake of her terminal cancer diagnosis. It is a story about the torments of having to care for an unstable parent and the complexity of whether or not to try and mend a broken relationship.

Becoming

Yes, it’s true—an intimate documentary on the former First Lady is coming to Netflix. The just-announced feature is directed by Nadia Hallgren and will chronicle behind-the-scenes stories of Michelle Obama’s book tour, Becoming, unraveling the “life, hopes and connections” of the women she met following the release of her best-selling memoir.

LoveFraud

For the past 20 years, Richard Scott Smith has been charming unsuspecting women into love and marriage, only to steal their identities, wipe their bank accounts, and disappear. In LoveFraud (a binge-worthy docu-series that will be available on Showtime), filmmakers Rachel Grady and Heidi Ewing follow the troop of victims and their enlisted female bounty hunter as they execute what they feel the justice system failed to do—hunt down and revenge Richard Scott Smith.

How to Build a Girl

In this brisk comedy, Johanna Morrigan (Beanie Feldstein) is a 16-year-old who uses her colorful imagination to escape her mundane life in Wolverhampton, England. Although her social life is nil, she uses her skills as a writer to draft earnest reviews for a self-important, London-based rock magazine. Johanna’s new life as a rock critic forces her to choose between staying true to her positive spirit or turning into a ruthless critic. Based on Caitlin Moran’s own bestselling novel, this coming-of-age comedy—written, directed, and produced by women—traces the shaky road to womanhood through the lens of a quirky protagonist, and will be available on VOD.

 

Shirley

Director Josephine Decker’s thrilling new movie (with a screenplay by Sarah Gubbins adapted from Susan Scarf Merell’s novel of the same name) follows a newlywed couple, Rose and Fred, who move in with writer Shirley Jackson (Elisabeth Moss) and her husband. Although Shirley is too depressed to write or even get out of bed, she becomes fascinated with Rose and their shared affinity for macabre stories. Based on the real Shirley Jackson (horror author of The Haunting of Hill House), the film creates an enthralling “psychodrama” that chronicles two women’s twisted bond. Shirley will be available on VOD.

I May Destroy You

BAFTA-winning Michaela Coel explores “the question of sexual consent in contemporary life and how, in our modern landscape of dating and relationships, we make the distinction between liberation and exploitation” in her new 12-epsiode series. Produced by Coel’s FALKNA Productions, the story follows Arabella Essieudu (played by Coel), a young woman who is spiked by a date-rape drug and assaulted. To come to terms with what happened to her, Arabella embarks on a journey of self-reflection, calling into question every aspect of her identity. I May Destroy You will be available on HBO.

Miss Juneteenth

In director Channing Godfrey People’s first feature film, we follow single mom and former beauty queen Turquoise Jones as she navigates life in a small, segregated Texas town. Although being crowned Miss Juneteenth in her pageantry days disappointingly became the peak rather than the beginning of an improved life, Turquoise is determined to help her 15-year-old daughter become Miss Juneteenth, as well. The indie drama richly captures the determination of a woman who “takes on the burden of representing…generations of black women,” and looks at why, for many, reaching the middle class is becoming increasingly impossible. Miss Juneteenth will be available on VOD.

Transhood

Directed by Sharon Lease, Transhood follows the childhoods of four transgender kids (starting at age 4, 7, 12, and 15) and their families in Kansas City over the course of five years. An intimate display of challenges we all can relate to from our teenage years (acne, sibling rivalry, crushes), the first-of-its-kind documentary is also a moving examination of the meaning of gender, identity, and family in conservative America. Transhood will be available on HBO.

I’ll Be Gone in the Dark

This new docu-series by the Academy Award-nominated filmmaker Liz Garbus digs into the late author Michelle McNamara’s tireless commitment to unveiling the identity of one of history’s most prolific serial rapists and killers, Joseph James DeAngelo (better known as the Golden State Killer). Based on McNamara’s bestselling book, the documentary explores DeAngelo’s crimes while also giving a voice “to the survivors and their families [from] an era when sex crimes were often dismissed or hidden in shame.” I’ll Be Gone in the Dark will be available on HBO.

Stateless

Co-created by Cate Blanchett, written by Elise McCredie and Belinda Chayko, and directed by Emma Freeman and Jocelyn Moorhouse, Stateless is an Australian refugee-drama that follows four strangers in an immigration detention center, forced into a situation that pushes them to the brink of sanity. Based on a true story, the series paints a vivid picture of Australia’s historically troubled immigration policies and the “irreconcilable contradictions” of the country’s border protection. The TV show will be available on Netflix.

First Cow

Director Kelly Reichardt’s critically acclaimed film portrays the early 19th century Pacific Northwest with a gentle story that follows “two enterprising men, a cow, a crime, and a nation on the verge of change.” Offering a new take on the old Western film, First Cow is a beautiful depiction of loneliness, friendship, and pursuing the American dream. The film will be available on Amazon.

Saint Maud

Writer-director Rose Glass’ debut film, Saint Maud, is a thrilling horror movie about Maud, a newly devout hospice nurse, who becomes obsessed with saving the soul of her dying patient, Amanda, a former dancer living with late-stage cancer. As the movie evolves, the troubling relationship between the two escalates, and the distinction between reality and fantasy becomes increasingly blurred, making for a deeply disturbing film that dazzled critics and will keep you entranced from start to finish. The film will be available in theaters nationwide.


Every product we feature has been independently selected and reviewed by our editorial team. If you make a purchase through one of our links, The Helm may earn a commission.

Read next

TV and Film

How “Summerland” Director Jessica Swale Is Reforming the Film Industry

The accoladed theater director and playwright's highly-anticipated first feature film is a mixed-race lesbian love story set during World War II. Here, Swale opens up about filmmakers' responsibility to make the industry more just, once and for all.

By Anna Jornlid

TV and Film

10 Female-Led Foreign-Language Films to Stream Right Now

From "Portrait of a Lady on Fire" to "Tony Erdmann", we've listed the best films by international female filmmakers and where to watch them.

By Zohal Karimy

TV and Film

‘On The Record’ Documentary Unveils the Historical Silencing of Black Women

Hip hop journalist Kierna Mayo discusses why the #MeToo doc is bigger than its sexual assault allegations against Russell Simmons.

By Anna Jornlid

Literature

Films, Books, and Plays to Revisit While You're Social Distancing

A roundup of our favorite books, films, and plays by some of history's most notable women.

By Zohal Karimy

We use cookies to enhance your browsing experience. If you continue to use our services, we will assume that you agree to the use of such cookies. Read more in our Privacy Policy. OK