• (L - R) 'The Bureau', 'War of the Worlds', 'Why Women Kill', 'Dublin Murders' and 'Zero Zero Zero' (SBS)Source: SBS
Check out our selection of the most popular TV series for 2020 now streaming at SBS On Demand. Did your favourite make the list?
By
Ally Caracatsanis

3 Dec 2020 - 8:49 AM  UPDATED 3 Dec 2020 - 10:03 AM

War of the Worlds

No matter how bad 2020 was, at least we didn’t have an alien invasion to deal with, but we did enjoy watching it with this new reimagining of HG Wells’ classic sci-fi novel. A clear favourite with audiences, this contemporary take is written and created by BAFTA award-winner Howard Overman (MisfitsMerlin) and stars Gabriel Byrne (Zero Zero Zero), Elizabeth McGovern (Downton Abbey), Léa Drucker (The Bureau) and Daisy Edgar-Jones (Normal People). We are pleased to share that a second season of the series is currently in production.

War of the Worlds is now streaming at SBS On Demand (also available with Arabic and Simplified Chinese subtitles).

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Zero Zero Zero

We just couldn’t get enough of those sweet Gabriel Byrne dramas at SBS On Demand this year, with narcotics drama Zero Zero Zero joining the list. This complex and dark crime drama also starring Andrea Riseborough (Birdman) and Dane DeHaan (Life) explores the meaning of globalisation by showing us three different worlds from three different perspectives all participating in a single shipment of cocaine.

If you have already watched Zero Zero Zero and want a show to fill the void, you can’t go past the Italian crime drama from the makers of Zero Zero Zero – Gomorrah.

Zero Zero Zero is now streaming at SBS On Demand.

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Dublin Murders

We know audiences also can’t get enough of a murder mystery, and this series brilliantly blends the first two books in Tana French’s bestselling Dublin Murder series to deliver an 8-parter full of psychological mystery and darkness. Dublin Murders focuses on two murder investigations led by ambitious and charismatic detectives Rob Reilly (Killian Scott) and Cassie Maddox (Sarah Greene).

The victims – a young talented ballerina and a vivacious free-spirited woman – are seemingly unrelated. Adding to the creepiness, the woods where the child was found is the same place where three children went missing over 20 years earlier and only one was found alive – that boy was Rob Reilly. You’ll watch this heart-thumping psychological thriller in record time.

Dublin Murders is now streaming at SBS On Demand.

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A young woman is found dead in a forest outside Dublin; what follows will change the lives of two detectives.

 

The Bureau

The fifth and (supposed) final season landed this year at SBS On Demand and viewers could not get enough of this award-winning French series. Intricately plotted and based firmly on real-life events, The Bureau is one of the most realistic and addictive spy drama series ever. If you haven’t started yet, you are in for an amazing ride. If you have watched it and are hoping for more, well, there have been rumours of another season possibly going into development, and we have our fingers crossed that those rumours are well founded. We will keep you posted!

The Bureau seasons 1–5 are now streaming at SBS On Demand.

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Riviera

If there was ever a year that you wanted a series to take you away to beautiful locations, such as the French Riviera’s Côte d’Azur, the picturesque canals of Venice, Italy and the romance of Buenos Aires, Argentina, it was this year. And so we were blessed with a third season of the mysterious and thrilling Riviera starring Julia Stiles, not to mention the fabulous costume design. Escaping by watching the lifestyles of the rich and murderous seemed to be something our viewers enjoyed very much this year. 

Riviera seasons 1–3 are now streaming at SBS On Demand

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Why Women Kill

Speaking of fabulous costumes, you can’t go past this series with all the style you need from the ’60s, ’80s and today. This dark comedy from Marc Cherry, the creator of Desperate Housewives, is led by Ginnifer Goodwin, Lucy Liu and Kirby Howell-Baptiste. They play three women across three different decades, who all live in the same house in Pasadena, California and who (as the title would suggest) commit murder. We meet Beth Ann Stanton (Ginnifer Goodwin) in 1963, Simone Grove (Lucy Liu), onto her third marriage in 1984, and Taylor Harding (Kirby Howell-Baptiste), who’s in an open marriage, in 2019. Each era is represented with exceptional colour, design and style, there are twists and turns aplenty and wonderful performances from the cast. And we are excited (and we think you will be too) that a second season is in production.

Why Women Kill is now streaming at SBS On Demand.

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The Salisbury Poisonings

This 4-part BBC smash hit series is based on the real-life 2018 assassination attempt on double agent and spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in the UK. Soon after the attack, it was discovered that lethal nerve agent Novichok was used, just half a teaspoon of which could kill 20,000 people, sending the local community into turmoil. Local policeman Nick Bailey and Head of Public Health Tracy Daszkiewicz worked exclusively with producers to capture the fear, uncertainty and immense heroism of the community who ultimately rose to the challenge of overcoming a lethal contagion. Very inspiring stuff, which saw some parallels with what we were experiencing with the pandemic.

The Salisbury Poisonings is now streaming at SBS On Demand.

LISTEN: Creators of 'The Salisbury Poisonings'

 

Reprisal

Reprisal follows a woman’s unrelenting journey of vengeance against a gang that tried to kill her. After her brother and his crew left her for dead, Doris (Abigail Spencer) has re-emerged many years later and many miles away into a new, seemingly quaint life in Detroit. Armed with the expected inheritance from the impending death of her husband, Doris embarks on a mission to destroy the gang. When her plans are thrown off course by a mobster who threatens to take the inheritance, Doris ruthlessly takes matters into her own hands, setting out to infiltrate the gang and take it down from the inside. Full of strong performances, rockabilly style and pulpy goodness, Reprisal is a thrilling binge-watch.

Reprisal is now streaming at SBS On Demand.

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Cardinal

Winner of 20 Canadian Screen Awards over its four seasons, Cardinal has become one of the most watched and loved series at SBS On Demand. Adapted from the crime novels by Giles Blunt, the series follows Algonquin Bay city detectives John Cardinal (Billy Campbell) and his partner Lise Delorme (Karine Vanasse). 2020 saw the arrival of the fourth and final season of Cardinal which meant it was time for a full series watch (or re-watch). In the final season, Cardinal and Delorme are challenged in fresh, frigid and frightening ways in the icy winter. If you love Nordic noir then this Canadian crime thriller is for you.

Cardinal seasons 1–4 are now streaming at SBS On Demand.

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Years and Years

It was going to be leaving SBS On Demand, but we brought it back because audiences couldn’t get enough of this critically acclaimed 6-part series. Starring Emma Thompson, Years and Years is set in 2019 Britain and follows its central characters through until 2034 – giving viewers a bleak glimpse at what life might be like in 15 years. And it is both frightening and fascinating, as it explores all the worrying trends we’re observing in our day-to-day lives. The show’s real-world ties weren’t accidental, either. Speaking about the show, creator Russell Davies recently said: “It’s a look at the future, but you feel it.”

Years and Years is now streaming at SBS On Demand (also available with Arabic and Simplified Chinese subtitles).

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This exceptional six-part series delivers a chilling, futuristic tale that taps into collective worldwide rage and chaos. ‘Years and Years’ is unlike anything ever seen on television but captures exactly what the world currently feels like. And it’s essential viewing.

 

The New Pope

All the Italian decadence (and possibly also the promos of Jude Law walking down the beach in speedos) made The New Pope a hit with audiences. The follow-up to Cannes Jury Prize-winning director Paolo Sorrentino’s The Young Pope, as the title would suggest, this season we have a new pope, played by none other than John Malkovich.

In the second season (spoilers for season 1) Pius XIII (Jude Law) is still in a coma, leaving the Cardinals and Vatican staff to search for a worthy successor (who is also malleable, of course). Eventually succeeding him after a few mishaps is the charming and moderate English aristocrat Sir John Brannox (Malkovich) with the name John Paul III. Quickly, the new pope realises it won’t be easy to replace Pius XIII who has become a Saint with thousands of faithful followers now idolising him. Like season 1 this season has fantastic acting, intrigue and a surprisingly awesome soundtrack (be right back, making a playlist).

The New Pope is now streaming at SBS On Demand (as is the prequel The Young Pope).

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In signature fine form, the Naples-born Sorrentino has added spice to papal proceedings, with John Malkovich now in the cast while Jude Law’s Pope Pius XIII lies in a coma.

 

 

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