The Best TV Shows of 2019

1 Feb

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25. (TIE) Back to Life & A Black Lady Sketch Show

24. You

23. Chernobyl

22. Dead to Me

21. Crazy Ex-Girlfriend

20. David Makes Man

19. Ramy

18. Gentleman Jack

17. Better Things

16. When They See Us

15. Bojack Horseman

14. Watchmen

13. Pose

12. Barry

11. Euphoria

10. Catastrophe – Sharon Horgan and Rob Delaney have quietly been one of the best duos on TV over the last few years. In the final season of this criminally underappreciated series, there’s a clear wistfulness that accompanies the typically witty, fast paced writing, one that gives due acknowledgment to the trials and tribulations of marriage and parenthood. It’s a really lovely show and quick watch, I highly recommend.

9. Succession – Season 2 takes a major step up from Season 1, delivering tighter writing that is less concerned with showing off and more concerned with deepening the complex dynamics between these characters. It’s extremely entertaining to watch, and the season really shines when it brings all its terrible characters together in a room.

8. High School Musical: The Musical: The Series – With this and “Noelle”, Disney+ immediately kicked all of Apple’s fall releases into the gutter. HSM: TM: TS is a jubilant, unabashedly cheesy good time with a big heart.

7. GLOW – Some may not have been fond of the third season’s minimization of the wrestling aspect of the story, but I think it does wonders here. It’s a full season of rich and rewarding character work, and it’s my favorite season thus far.

6. Undone – The rotoscope animation is stunning, but the show also tells an incredibly interesting mystery and a tender story about loss and memory.

5. Sex Education – Fun, sex positive storytelling and a colorful cast of characters make this one of the most genuinely enjoyable shows on television.

4. Fleabag – S1 snuck in at #15 on my 2016 list, but never did I expect this would blow up in the way it has this year. Phoebe Waller-Bridge deserves every bit of recognition, though. With Season 2, her writing is even sharper, even funnier, and the ending of the show hits like a ton of bricks. Andrew Scott also deserves recognition for his turn as the Hot Priest.

3. Unbelievable – Probably the most empathetic crime procedural ever, really taking care to place the victims rather than perpetrators at the forefront of the narrative. This is an angry and frustrated show, but it’s also deeply compassionate in a way we haven’t seen enough of.

2. You’re the Worst – This is one of the best half hour series ever made, and Aya Cash is a national treasure. Yet another final season this year sticks the landing beautifully, crafting an emotionally satisfying final arc for a couple that you can’t help but root for. The idea behind the show is that these are terrible people who are thus good for each other, but the show is so much more complex and incisive than that simple summation. It cares about these characters deeply in all their flawed glory, and that’s evident throughout.

1. Mr. Robot – Trust me, I’m surprised at this #1 pick as well. The final season sees a show that began declining after season 1 suddenly snap back into focus, delivering one of the boldest and most inventive final stretches of television ever. Literally every other episode in that last half of the season is an all time great episode. Most importantly, the show stays true to the emotional core of its main character’s journey, ending on a poignant but hopeful message. Somehow, this is the best show of the year.

HM: Los Espookys, The Act, The Deuce, Sorry For Your Loss, Mindhunter, Pen15, Mrs. Fletcher, The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance, This Way Up, Fosse/Verdon, Killing Eve, Veep, Santa Clarita Diet, Shrill, Russian Doll, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Work in Progress

9 Responses to “The Best TV Shows of 2019”

  1. Helene February 1, 2020 at 10:13 am #

    Seems I need to give Mr. Robot a chance again! Ty for the post.

    • polarbears16 February 5, 2020 at 8:34 am #

      Of course! Yeah I was very impressed by its ending but don’t blame anyone who quit beforehand

  2. Paul. Writer and Filmmaker February 2, 2020 at 12:53 am #

    Great list. I’m sure it’s an oversight, but Ava Duvernay/Netflix produced, When They See Us was incredible too.

    • polarbears16 February 5, 2020 at 8:33 am #

      Thanks! It’s at #16 actually

      • Paul. Writer and Filmmaker February 5, 2020 at 8:36 am #

        Ha-ha. The oversight is mine. My only (poor) excuse is I thought it would be higher. Or I was drunk when I read the post. Apologies for my error. 😊

  3. Keith February 3, 2020 at 11:22 am #

    I’m terrible. I think I’ve only watched one television show all year – The Mandalorian.

    • polarbears16 February 5, 2020 at 8:34 am #

      It’s tough to keep up with everything! Very understandable. Haven’t gotten to Mandalorian yet but have heard good things.

  4. Mr. Blue April 7, 2020 at 11:50 am #

    I am glad Succession made the list. Its the best show not many are talking about. So good.

    • Carson Maitland - Smith August 19, 2020 at 3:12 am #

      Care for some Fruit Salad, Mr. Blue? 🟦 – 🍌🍇🍎🍉

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