The Best Television Episodes of 2019

2 Jan

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15. Watchmen, “A God Walks into Abar”

14. Bojack Horseman, “The Face of Depression”

13. Ramy, “Ne Me Quitte Pas”

12. Pose, “Never Knew Love Like This Before”

11. Catastrophe, “Season 4 Episode 6”

10. Succession, “Tern Haven” – This show thrives when you put everyone in a room and let them battle it out with each other. That’s exactly what this is, culminating in an incredible dinner scene.

9. Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, “I’m In Love” – There’s only one ending that feels true to Rebecca Bunch and her development over the last four seasons, and this is it.

8. The Deuce, “That’s a Wrap” – One of the more heartbreaking episodes of the year. It’s like a somber, slow rollercoaster that you can’t stop until it reaches its tragic end. Emily Meade has never been better.

7. Veep, “Veep” – Didn’t love the final season, but the series finale ratchets up the chaotic energy even more until you’re left marveling at just how ridiculous (and strangely sad) this all is.

6. Chernoybl, “1:23:45” – The series is about more than just the disaster itself, but the first episode is the most polished production, throwing you into the situation so effectively that you feel every single emotion on the ground. It’s like its own horror film.

5. When They See Us, “Part Four” – Jharrel Jerome’s masterpiece, and a harrowing, haunting depiction of a man at the whims of a system that does not care about him.

4. Barry, “ronny/lily” – Absurd, dark, and exhilarating, with incredible choreography and directing. One of the more audacious things I’ve seen on TV this year.

3. You’re the Worst, “Pancakes” – A happy ending, but in Jimmy-Gretchen form. The finale nails every emotional climax it’s required to, but also stays true to how imperfectly perfect our lead characters are for each other. The final scene is killer.

2. Mr. Robot, “407 Proxy Authentication Required” – There are a number of standout episodes in this final season, but this one is in a league of its own. It’s a bottle episode presented as a play, but its flashiness never gets in the way of the claustrophobic, harrowing emotional journey.

1. Fleabag, “Season 2 Episode 1” – A masterclass in dialogue, timing, delivery, and staging. This brutally hilarious dinner party is the pinnacle of the season and the series, as well as the best TV episode of 2019.

HM: “Aberfan” (The Crown), “Episode 7” (The End of the F***ing World), “Shook One: Pt II” (Euphoria), “The Wedding” (Undone), “Bonnie & Clyde” (The Act)

2 Responses to “The Best Television Episodes of 2019”

  1. Iceman January 3, 2020 at 10:16 am #

    Great list. And yet, I feel that most of the episodes this year wouldn’t hold a candle to your top five episodes from the first half of the decade. You doing any best-of-decade lists?

    • polarbears16 January 9, 2020 at 8:08 am #

      Don’t think I’ll have time to do best of decade, but yes this is true – some incredible eps this decade, led by “Ozymandias,” “Mizumono,” “International Assassin,” etc.

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