TOP 10 TV SHOWS OF 2019
By Benjamin Carr
In regard to the environment, politics or peace, 2019 was not a banner year. But, luckily, there was really good TV to catch while the rest of the world burned, sometimes literally. With the addition of Apple TV+ and Disney Plus to our streaming options, there was more good stuff to watch.
The best programming came from expected and unexpected places, including galaxies far, far away.
10. Stranger Things 3 (Netflix)
The new season of the Netflix hit many heights, rebounding from the missteps of the last season. As the show entered 1985, complete with references to Back to the Future, the Cold War, The Neverending Story and scenes filmed at a rejuvenated Gwinnett Place, it was a blast. And Maya Hawke was the breakout new star of the season.
9. The Good Place (NBC)
There are only a handful of episodes left for this series, which nonetheless continues its tightrope walk of excellence, exploring deeply philosophical conceits about the meaning of life, goodness and eternity. And it remains completely hilarious. When it takes its final bows, it will hopefully be acknowledged as one of the best sitcoms ever made. And Ted Danson and Kristen Bell remain excellent, even though Manny Jacinto and D'Arcy Carden steal every scene they are in.
8. The Mandalorian (Disney+)
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker had nothing on the grit and tension available in this space-based Western about a rogue bounty hunter who finds something to fight for. Star Pedro Pascal does damn good work, though he barely got the chance to show his face, and Baby Yoda is kinda everything.
7. The Morning Show (Apple TV+)
The more this series continued, the better it became. In ten episodes, the Jennifer Aniston-Reese Witherspoon behind-the-scenes show was a wild, daring thing, tackling #metoo and the fakery of television itself. Alongside the stars, Billy Crudup is doing great work here. And Gugu Mbatha-Raw and Steve Carell played some of the most complicated, sad and difficult scenes of the year. The Morning Show was fantastic.
6. The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (Amazon Prime)
The third season of this comedy continued its winning streak as Midge finally found a bit of success in stand-up, opening for R&B star Shy Baldwin. The cast - particularly Rachel Brosnahan, Tony Shalhoub and Marin Hinkle - continues doing great work.
5. Fleabag (Amazon Prime)
The second and final season of this British comedy from Phoebe Waller-Bridge went into deeper, darker and even metaphysical places. The main character developed a powerful attraction to a priest, played by Andrew Scott, who saw her in a way no one else could. What resulted from their relationship was a masterpiece, particularly the heartbreaking, totally right ending.
4. Unbelievable (Netflix)
Kaitlyn Dever, Merrit Weaver and Toni Collette anchored this amazing, hard-to-take true crime miniseries from Netflix. The scenes where Dever, whose character was reporting a rape, confronted doubts and suspicion from the very people who were supposed to help her felt raw and cruel. As the series continued, it held up a mirror to the world.
3. Watchmen (HBO)
This continuation of the DC Comics classic from the 1980s explored American race relations in the most inventive and crazy entertaining ways. It took on a complicated premise with complete confidence, and it nailed it. As jaded heroes, Regina King and Jean Smart kick all kinds of ass. And the final shot of the whole thing was perfect.
2. When They See Us (Netflix)
Ava Duvernay's Netflix miniseries about the legal battles of five Harlem boys accused of a rape in Central Park is full of heartache, racism and cruel injustice. It is a stunning and important work.
1. Chernobyl (HBO)
This HBO miniseries about the Russian nuclear disaster- and the Soviet attempt to hide it - is among the best television ever made. It is gripping and terrifying, and viewers cannot turn away. Jared Harris and Stellan Skarsgaard do career-best work.