Instep Today

2020: The year in pop culture

Instep Today
By Neshmeeya Abbas
Fri, 01, 20

What to expect from cinema, music and television in the age of streaming battles, comic book heroes and sequels.

Pop culture fans around the world are waiting to see what content is coming their way this year. With new music coming from both well-known favorites and newcomers; new miniseries with star-studded casts in the making and potential blockbusters, it looks like an entertaining year ahead. Instep breaks down what to look for including upcoming albums, shows, and movies.


Music industry icon Kesha’s reputation has been somewhat (permanently) stained by her behind-the-scenes activities during the late 2000s. Her fourth album High Road, releasing on January 31st, is an opportunity for Kesha to recreate herself as the bold and daring performer she is and can be. High Road will probably feature some of the singer’s classic up-beat pop songs we’ve heard throughout her early “Tik-Tok” years; but she doesn’t avoid getting serious for a song or two either. Get excited next week for this unexpected album is releasing almost 3 years after 2017’s Rainbow.

Besides Kesha, there is Migos. It’s been almost two years since Migos released an album. The hip-hop outfit, featuring rap icons Quavo, Takeoff, and Cardi B’s beau Offset, released their second album Culture II in 2018 and it instantly was No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100. That album featured hits like ‘Stir Fry’, ‘Motorsport’, ‘Walk It Talk It’ and amassed hundreds of millions of views on YouTube. Their 2016 hit ‘Bad and Boujee’ has almost reached a billion views. Migos: Culture III is finally releasing today and will be the final piece of the Culture trilogy.

January is also the month of Halsey. The artist has described her third album Manic, (released on January 17th) as her first album written in a manic state; a symptom of her bipolar disorder and subsequent album namesake. Consequently, she stated that the album will not be confined to a single genre, but will explore a multitude of musical selections; including hip-hop, rock, and country. The upcoming singer hit the spotlight after featuring in The Chainsmokers’ ‘Closer’ in 2016 and her own 2018 hit ‘Without Me’, a Justin Timberlake – sampling Hot 100 gem. There are big things in store for our favorite eccentric performer in 2020 and her album is not going to disappoint, given her past track record.


With too many streaming options, there’s just a lot of content coming up but not all of it lives up to expectations. But there are always exceptions to the rule.

Hulu’s Little Fires Everywhere, the first major series to star Kerry Washington after her Olivia Pope days in Scandal is premiering on March 18th. It will almost certainly be on everyone’s recommended lists given the fact that it is also produced by co-stars Reese Witherspoon and Washington.

The women-centric limited series follows two contrasting families in Shaker Heights, Ohio: the Richardsons, an affluent family with four children, and the Warrens, a mother-daughter duo who struggle to get by. Based on a best-selling novel, Little Fires Everywhere is set to unravel season one with eight episodes and from what we’ve seen so far, it looks like Little Fires Everywhere could become the next Big Little Lies.

Apart from Big Little Lies, Jason Bateman and Cynthia Erivo-starrer, The Outsider is another series based on a book that premiered just this month and should be on everyone’s binge-watch list.

This new horror-thriller creates trembling moments with every intriguing plot twist and cliffhanger. Based on the novel of the same name by Stephen King, The Outsider describes the story of a murder case that grows increasingly complicated when it’s speculated that supernatural forces are involved. It premiered on HBO on January 12th so catch this eerie miniseries on HBO. Stephen King knows his horror.


Hollywood never tires of sequels. And so, Top Gun: Maverick starring Tom Cruise is being made. The 1986 original put Cruise on the road to success. Add to that, Tom Cruise has been under constant pressure to give his die-hard fans a sequel. After more than 30 years of service as one of the Navy’s top aviators, Pete “Maverick” Mitchell is going back in the cockpit of the iconic fighter-jets. Cruise, 57, looks as if he just walked off the original, flashing that bright smile, still wearing those Ray-Bans and that bomber jacket — and continuing his knack of chasing jets on his motorcycle. The actor, a stunt-legend comes back as Maverick on June 26, 2020 but will this sequel do well. Time will tell.

Another major film coming in 2020 that cannot be neglected is Marvel’s Eternals that reunites Game of Thrones stars Richard Madden and Kit Harrington. Think of it as Avengers: Endgame, entering a revamp phase. New heroes and new teams need to be constructed to keep audiences on board for the next decade. On November 6 of this year, Eternals will unfold and tell the story of a team of immortal superheroes who have been protecting the earth for generations. The Rider director Chloe Zhao and an all-star cast including Angelina Jolie, Richard Madden, Salma Hayek, and Kumail Nanjiani may help ease the pain of 2019’s Endgame with this promising new superhero thriller.

In between Eternals and Top Gun: Maverick is James Bond: No Time to Die. It’s the fifth and final run for Daniel Craig as Agent 007 and we are curious to see what this action-hero legend has prepared for us in 2020.

Set to release on April 2nd, No Time to Die sees the iconic globe-trotting spy James Bond hot on the trail of a mysterious villain, who’s armed with a dangerous new technology. Cary Fukunaga, the franchise’s first American director could be the change the series needs as Daniel Craig says goodbye to an iconic role, essayed previously by the likes of Roger Moore, Pierce Brosnan and the incredible Sean Connery.