Top 10 Best TV Shows of 2019

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Top 10 Best TV Shows of 2019

VOICE OVER: Rebecca Brayton WRITTEN BY: Nathan Sharp
If you haven't seen them already, the best TV shows of 2019 need to be on your watch list.
Transcript
It’s been another great year for TV! Welcome to WatchMojo, and today we’re counting down our picks for the top 10 best TV shows of 2019.

For this list, we’re looking at the most critically acclaimed television shows of 2019. We’re including new shows and miniseries, as well as new seasons of returning shows. Since we’re focusing on their 2019 seasons, spoiler alert but “Game of Thrones” will not be on the list! Sorry, but that season is still not sitting well . . .

#10: “Mindhunter” (2017-) Season 2


After what seemed like forever, “Mindhunter” finally returned to Netflix in August. This season primarily focused on the infamous Atlanta murders that occurred between 1979 and 1981, involving the deaths of at least 28 people. While season two changed the formula by focusing on one specific case, rather than on various serial killers, it still included some memorable interviews, such as with David Berkowitz and Charles Manson. Upping the personal stakes of its leads, and diving ever deeper into the morbidly fascinating psychology of its villains, “Mindhunter” remained a well-crafted and highly entertaining true crime series.

#9: “Succession” (2018-) Season 2


It’s been a good year for HBO. From August to October, the network aired the second season of their acclaimed comedy “Succession,” following a power-hungry family who own a media empire. While the first season was certainly good, the second elevated it into the realm of premium television. Season two explored the characters on a much deeper level, was plotted in a much tighter and more extravagant manner, and contained some biting topical satire. Above all, it was refreshing, entertaining, and oftentimes very, very funny. Imagine if Shakespeare wrote “King Lear” as a dark comedy, and you have the essence of “Succession.”

#8: “I Think You Should Leave with Tim Robinson” (2019-) Season 1


Sketch comedy is extremely difficult to pull off, but Tim Robinson makes it look effortless. Of course, Robinson has some experience, having previously starred in and written for “Saturday Night Live.” Netflix saw his potential and offered him his own sketch show, and the result was one of the funniest and most outlandish shows of 2019. Each sketch is brought to extreme and often ridiculous lengths, and features a range of talented performers, including Andy Samberg and Will Forte. The show has a crazy and infectious energy, and it’s just something you need to experience to believe.

#7: “When They See Us” (2019)


Netflix knocked it out of the park yet again with “When They See Us,” a powerful miniseries about the infamous Central Park jogger case. Unlike a lot of true crime stories, this story is told in a very respectful and thoughtful manner, offering timely ruminations on justice, racism, and the American penal system. It makes for some incredibly difficult and challenging viewing, but the story is told with tender care and exceptional craft, complete with an Emmy-winning performance from Jharrel Jerome. It also makes a fantastic decision in focusing on each member and their individual stories rather than grouping them together as something like a news article or documentary may have done. It’s required viewing for 2019.

#6: “Stranger Things” (2016-) Season 3


After a significant break, “Stranger Things” was back in the summer of 2019. The third season embodied a ton of new influences, including the body horror and creature features of the 80s, “Mall Rats,” and Soviet-era espionage films like “Red Dawn.” The Starcourt Mall made for a vibrant and nostalgic setting; the season introduced beloved characters like Alexei and Robin; and finale had the internet abuzz with new theories and predictions. Sure, the formula is a little familiar by now . . . but when it’s this darned entertaining, we really don’t mind too much.

#5: “Watchmen” (2019-) Season 1


HBO’s “Watchmen” serves as a loose sequel to the comic, telling a new story that takes place 34 later. This allows the show to inhabit its own identity while still retaining the core elements that made Alan Moore’s comic series so popular. In the capable hands of showrunner Damon Lindelof, the show manages to be many things at once: a rich character study, a topical rumination on race relations and justice, and an exciting superhero story. It’s also stylish, gorgeously shot and scored, and filled with remarkable performances, especially from lead Regina King. In other words, “Watchmen” has both style and substance, making it one of the most intriguing viewing experiences of 2019.

#4: “Russian Doll” (2019-) Season 1


Take “Groundhog Day”, replace Bill Murray with Natasha Lyonne, and move it all to New York City . . . and you have the basic premise of “Russian Doll”. But the show is so much more than a retread of familiar material. Inventive, witty, and often poignant, “Russian Doll” is a high-concept, emotional rollercoaster brought to life by stellar performances from Lyonne and co-star Charlie Barnett. As in “Groundhog Day”, Lyonne’s character Nadia has some fun with her predicament, but she must also come to terms with what’s trapping her in the time-loop. Created by Lyonne, Leslye Headland, and Amy Poehler, “Russian Doll” manages to be both hilarious and deeply personal, providing rich thematic material to ponder and discuss.

#3: “Chernobyl” (2019)


Life can be not only stranger than fiction, but also much more horrifying. HBO drove this point home with “Chernobyl,” a five-episode miniseries about the Chernobyl disaster of 1986. It may forever remain the quintessential Chernobyl story, portraying the events in a hauntingly realistic and morose manner. The production values are outstanding, allowing the show to capture the magnitude of the disaster. It’s also extraordinarily acted, and features some unbelievable makeup work that grotesquely conveys what Chernobyl’s victims endured. It’s certainly not easy viewing, but it is compelling, and magnificently made.

#2: “Fleabag” (2016-19) Season 2


Created by Phoebe Waller-Bridge, who also stars as the titular “Fleabag”, this comedy-drama follows an angry, self-destructive woman in London as she struggles to get by. Her misadventures are punctuated by frequent commentary breaking the fourth wall. However, the show is so much more rewarding than a plot summary can possibly suggest. Waller-Bridge is an incredible talent, both writing and performing with heart, humor, and refreshing authenticity. The show’s second season was rightfully showered with praise and awards, including the Emmy for Outstanding Comedy Series, and if you haven’t checked it out, get on it!

Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions.

“The Boys” (2019-) Season 1

“Unbelievable” (2019)

“Veep” (2012-19) Season 7

“PEN15” (2019-) Season 1

“The Good Place” (2016-20) Seasons 3 & 4

“Fosse/Verdon” (2019)

#1: “Barry” (2018-) Season 2


Bill Hader had a fantastic year. He was the best part of “It Chapter Two”; aired the third season of his IFC comedy “Documentary Now!”; and brought viewers arguably the year’s greatest season of TV with his tragicomedy “Barry”. Hader and his team of writers deftly manage a tricky balancing act between quirky comedy, vicious satire, and tragedy, and Hader gave an Emmy-winning performance as the pained and wonderfully complex titular protagonist. Many critics and fans have compared it favorably to “Breaking Bad,” as it shares similar themes, tones, and plot devices. Give it a few more years, and we may be mentioning it alongside “Breaking Bad” in the pantheon of great TV.
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