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The Best TV Shows Of 2019

Every year, networks and streaming services release batches of new shows to compete against returning favorites and battle it out for critical acclaim, awards, and ratings, each hoping that their comedies or dramas will rise to the top of the pack and make waves with viewers and the industry. With the advent of streaming giants like Hulu, Netflix, and Amazon making their own award-winning, super-popular shows, networks have to vie for viewers alongside these radically different services. Even so, for audiences, it just means there's even more amazing TV out there.

With beloved veteran shows like Veep, Game of Thrones, Jane the Virgin, Gotham, and more ending their runs in 2019, there's plenty of room for new shows to wow viewers. With so many new shows premiering, it's a pretty competitive field, but these debuting series have captivated audience and critics alike — so from streaming gems to big network efforts, here are the very best TV shows of 2019.

Sex Education

In early January of 2019, Netflix kicked off the new year with its first critically acclaimed release — Sex Education, a raucous British teen comedy with a purposefully provocative title. Asa Butterfield, best known for his roles in The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, Nanny McPhee and the Big Bang, and Ender's Game, among others, plays the lead role of Otis, a young boy ashamed of his own sexuality who also has to deal with his mother (Gillian Anderson), a prominent and pretty invasive sex therapist who misguidedly wants to help him. After Otis accidentally helps his bully get past some of his own sexual inadequacies, he sets up his own sex therapy practice at school with the help of his gorgeous bad-girl classmate Maeve, to great success.

The show has already been renewed for a second season after the eight-episode first season premiered to great acclaim — which is fairly unsurprising, considering the show already had some serious pedigree thanks to Anderson, a veteran of period pieces and, of course, The X-Files. Beyond that, the show was soundly praised for its positive, open attitude toward sex, helping teenage and adult viewers alike grapple with their own insecurities as well as normalizing healthy sexual behaviors and attitudes, which is unfortunately a refreshing perspective for most television shows.

The Other Two

Over the years, Saturday Night Live has nurtured a pretty astounding amount of talent, and the minds behind The Other Two are a terrific example. In 2017, it was announced that former SNL head writers Chris Kelly and Sarah Schneider would be working on a scripted series with Comedy Central produced by longtime SNL head honcho Lorne Michaels, giving comedy fans something to get excited about — and Kelly and Schneider didn't disappoint. The two star as two siblings living in the shadow of their younger brother, a huge pop star in the vein of Justin Bieber who goes by ChaseDreams; with a supporting cast that includes comedy legends like Molly Shannon, Ken Marino, and Wanda Sykes, the show was bound to be a hit from the minute it premiered.

Critics agreed, praising The Other Two for its sharp writing, its solid skewering of pop culture, and the two leads, who pull double duty by starring in the show as well as writing, producing, and directing. With the advent of comedians who pull double, triple, and quadruple duty on their own projects, The Other Two fits right in with the rest of the pack and holds its own admirably.

Russian Doll

Natasha Lyonne has been a Hollywood fixture for years thanks to her roles in everything from But I'm a Cheerleader! to Orange Is the New Black, and once critics and audiences heard she would be creating her own show, they paid attention. As Nadia, a woman stuck in a bizarre time loop where she keeps reliving her death on her birthday with absolutely no explanation or context, Lyonne inhabits the role she was born to play, creating a project perfectly suited to her caustic wit and razor-sharp timing. Along the way, she meets Alan (Charlie Barnett), who is stuck in his own terrifying time loop, leading the two of them to work together to avoid death, solve their seemingly unsolvable problems, and, hopefully, track down Nadia's missing cat, Oatmeal.

The series' careful attention to detail, including small recurring motifs (especially the ironically cheerful Harry Nilsson song that plays every time Nadia's timeline resets) as well as Lyonne's anchoring lead performance and her intense involvement with the production (along with starring, Lyonne directed the season finale and came up with the concept) earned it rave reviews across the board. Though fans would certainly welcome a second season, it ended on a rare, perfect note, just in case it only sticks around for a single batch of episodes.


This Hulu comedy series might sound implausible, in that two adult women play their 13-year old selves surrounded by actual 13-year old actors, but showrunners Anna Konkle and Maya Erskine pulled it off, donning braces and bowl cuts to bring viewers back to 2000 and their own middle school experiences. Using their same first names, Konkle and Maya seemingly time-travel to play Anna and Maya, two best friends starting seventh grade who are plagued with intense insecurity and depend on each other to get through the minefield that is middle school, making their way through milestones like first kisses, stolen cigarettes, and leg-shaving with the other right by their side.

By portraying a painfully real version of middle school (the very name of the show is a reference to a particularly stupid prank), PEN15 succeeds thanks to its incredibly bold honesty, brought home by Konkle and Erskine's completely fearless performances as two young girls just trying to figure out where they fit in. Boosted by support from the Lonely Island, who produced the series, PEN15 scored great reviews from critics and viewers, cementing it as a coming of age story worth watching.

Miracle Workers

Based on a novel by acclaimed writer Simon Rich, TBS' limited series Miracle Workers, produced by Saturday Night Live creator Lorne Michaels and Lonely Island member Jorma Taccone, pairs two unlikely castmates — Harry Potter himself, Daniel Radcliffe, alongside beloved character actor Steve Buscemi. Radcliffe plays Craig, a low-level angel; Buscemi plays God, fighting with Craig over the fate of humanity. Buscemi's God is less than benevolent and has decided to simply blow up Earth so he can spend more time focusing on his hobbies, but Craig and his coworkers Eliza (Blockers' Geraldine Viswanathan) and Sanjay (Deadpool's Karan Soni) must work together to stop Earth's complete destruction and convince God to change his mind.

Though the show went through a few initial changes, including the departure of original star and executive producer Owen Wilson (who was originally slated to play God), it premiered to positive reviews, thanks in part to its stacked guest cast, which includes Angela Kinsey (The Office), Tim Meadows (Mean Girls), Titus Burgess (The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt), and even Chris Parnell and Margaret Cho as God's mother and father. Intended to move forward with new concepts past the first season, Miracle Workers feels particularly promising, and likely has a few more tricks up its sleeve.

Doom Patrol

Even though some people have doubts about spinoffs, for every handful of Joeys, there's a Frasier, and Doom Patrol falls in line with the latter. A spinoff of Titans, which also aired on the DC Universe streaming platform and starred Brendan Fraser, Matt Bomer, and April Bowlby, Doom Patrol adds a diverse new cast that includes Alan Tudyk (Firefly), Diane Guerrero (Orange is the New Black), and even James Bond himself, Timothy Dalton. The highly anticipated series premiered in early 2019 with a 15-episode first season focusing on a group of superheroes trying to save the world from an eerie supernatural villain known only as Mr. Nobody.

Called the "best reason" to sign up for DC's streaming service, the series premiered to overwhelmingly positive reviews, even earning a 94 percent score on Rotten Tomatoes. For a show that premiered on a newer platform and one that's based on a lesser-known DC property, this definitely speaks to Doom Patrol's watchability, much to the delight of diehard DC fans.

Umbrella Academy

An adaptation of the popular Dark Horse comic book series by Gerard Way and Gabriel Bá, The Umbrella Academy premiered in February of 2019 to plenty of buzz from fans of the original comic books and viewers excited about a new superhero series with a killer cast. Led by Ellen Page, known for her roles in Juno, Inception, and Whip It! as well as her activism on behalf of the LGBTQ+ community, the show centers on a mysterious school that houses seven students with supernatural abilities, along with focusing on their adult lives in the present day. Born during a mysterious event when 43 women around the world gave birth on October 1, 1943 despite not being pregnant or showing any signs of pregnancy, these children, given numbers by the Academy's headmaster Sir Reginald Hargreeves, try to suppress their supernatural abilities until, as adults, they must work to prevent an oncoming apocalypse.

Umbrella Academy earned pretty positive reviews from critics — and audiences clearly agreed, as the show was renewed for a second season, with the entire cast and creative team returning for a second go-'round at the Academy.


Led by Saturday Night Live standout Aidy Bryant in her first starring role, Hulu's Shrill is an adaptation of a book of essays by Lindy West, an accomplished writer who champions feminism and body positivity. Bryant doesn't directly play West (though West serves as an executive producer on the show), instead playing a fictional character named Annie who aspires to become a journalist while figuring out her messy personal life and building up her self-esteem along the way. Throughout the first season's six episodes, Annie stands up to her insensitive boyfriend, attends a life-changing pool party, and makes tough decisions, including exercising her right to choose in the first episode.  

Hailed as a game-changer for plus-sized women in its portrayal of Annie, a complex, lovable character who challenges stereotypes typically seen on television, as well as its willingness to tackle tough issues, Shrill was beloved by both critics and fans, who praised everything from Bryant's performance to the custom clothing created for the character. With only six episodes under its belt, fans are dying for more Shrill — and they'll get their wish, as Hulu has already renewed the series for a second season.

What We Do in the Shadows

If you loved the 2014 comedy What We Do in the Shadows, directed by Thor: Ragnarok's Taika Waititi and Flight of the Conchords' Jemaine Clement, then you'll love FX's television adaptation, which premiered in the spring of 2019. With a new cast and a new setting, the series focuses on three vampires living as roommates in New York City's Staten Island, which they are also trying to conquer for the entire race of vampires. Naturally, the trio gets into plenty of trouble, embarking on affairs with humans and struggling to assimilate even though they can only go out in the dead of night and are all centuries old.

Created by Clement, who oversees the show with Waititi, this Shadows naturally shares the charming awkwardness of the original film as well as shows like Flight of the Conchords, employing the same bumbling, deadpan humor that has characterized much of both Clement and Waititi's work — and it's earned rave reviews from audiences and critics. Putting absurd characters in universal situations has always been a calling card for both of these creators, and by returning to a concept they knew was successful and giving it new life, they ended up with another hit on their hands.


NBC has tried to return to its sitcom roots for years after the success of shows like Cheers, Frasier, and Friends, and after finding success with mockumentaries and experimental comedies like The Good Place, they're bringing some of their classic show styles back into the mix. Starring Natalie Morales, who has been seen on everything from Parks & Recreation to The NewsroomAbby's is making history as the first network series with a Cuban-American actress in the lead. The show focuses on an eponymous unlicensed backyard bar run by Abby, a bisexual former Marine who creates her own set of rules for her small speakeasy. Abby's has an impressive comedy pedigree, thanks to producer Michael Schur (who worked on The Office and is responsible for Parks & Recreation, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, and The Good Place) and co-stars like Neil Flynn (Scrubs, The Middle).

Anchored by Morales, an immensely likable presence, the show has received positive feedback from critics, who've praised her performance and the show's laid-back tone. NBC's obviously hoping to find a Cheers for a new generation — perhaps Abby's will carry on its torch.

The Twilight Zone

One of the most beloved series of all time — and the pioneering anthology that set the stage for shows like American Horror Story and Black Mirror — it was inevitable that The Twilight Zone would get another reboot eventually. It's only fitting that Jordan Peele, the auteur behind Get Out and Us, would be the one to take the reins. With Peele serving as the narrator, host, and executive producer, this new Zone has assembled an all-star cast, including Adam Scott, Kumail Nanjiani, Ginnifer Goodwin, Jacob Tremblay, Tracy Morgan, and Seth Rogen. Airing on CBS All Access, this edition updates classic episodes with new versions like the Adam Scott-led "Nightmare at 30,000 Feet," in which a journalist on a flight finds himself listening to an odd podcast about his flight crashing, as well as new stories like "The Comedian," starring Kumail Nanjiani as a struggling stand-up who realizes that as he makes jokes about his loved ones, they vanish from his life.

Though it's always difficult to revive a well-loved series, Peele's Twilight Zone has attracted positive attention for its standout cast as well as its fresh take on the anthology format. It's yet another successful horror outing for Peele, who's quickly becoming one of the biggest names in the genre.

Tuca & Bertie

Adult cartoon series are all the rage these days, from BoJack Horseman to Archer, and Netflix's short-lived series Tuca & Bertie was no exception. A Netflix original series created by cartoonist and writer Lisa Hanawalt, the animated series featured the voices of Tiffany Haddish (Girls Trip), Ali Wong (Always Be My Maybe), and Steven Yeun (The Walking Dead) as the core cast of Tuca, Bertie, and Speckle. Though each character is a bird, they all maintain very distinct personalities: Tuca, a toucan, is outspoken and brash, constantly struggling to hold down a job as well as managing her sobriety; Bertie, a songbird, takes her career at Conde Nast extremely seriously but dreams of being a baker; and Speckle, a robin and Bertie's boyfriend, works as an architect and is fairly uptight.

With a recurring cast rounded out by comedians and actors like Awkwafina, Richard E. Grant, Tessa Thompson, and even Isabella Rosselini, the show received glowing reviews from critics. Unfortunately, that didn't seal the deal for Netflix. In July of 2019, the show was cancelled, and fans and critics alike bemoaned the decision — not to mention the fact that Netflix may not have given it a fair shot (thanks to the streaming service's algorithm, the show wasn't even recommended to Hanawalt herself). However, at least we all have one perfect season of Tuca & Bertie to enjoy over and over again. It may be too late to get the show another season, but it's not too late for you to discover its charm.

The Act

Television has seen an abundance of true crime series over the past couple of years, from Making a Murderer to The Jinx, but if you're into true crime, make sure you don't miss out on The Act. Starring Academy Award winner Patricia Arquette alongside young actress Joey King (best known for projects like Beezus & Ramona and Crazy, Stupid, Love), the series tells the true and harrowing story of the Blanchard family. It's a story of lies, manipulation, murder, and Munchausen's by proxy (a mental disorder where the afflicted will purposefully make a loved one sick so that the loved one becomes entirely dependent). Over eight episodes, viewers watch Gypsy Blanchard (King), a wheelchair-bound child who suffers from a mysterious illness, begin to defy her mother Dee Dee Blanchard (Arquette), discovering that she was never actually sick at all. It all lurches toward the inevitable moment when Gypsy turns against her mother in the darkest possible way.

The show won rave reviews after its March 2019 release, and when it came time for awards season, the accolades kept rolling in, with Emmy nominations for Leading (King) and Supporting (Arquette) Actress in a Limited Series. Despite the fact that members of the Blanchard family have spoken out against the show, The Act has clearly earned its place in the true crime series hall of fame.

Good Omens

Adapting a work by the uber-popular fantasy writers Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett probably seemed like a sure thing for Amazon, and luckily for them, their 2019 miniseries Good Omens was met with plenty of goodwill. Released in May of 2019 on the company's Prime streaming service, the six-episode show was even written by Gaiman himself, who pulled double duty as a showrunner, working to bring his work with the late Prachett to the small screen. Telling the story of Crowley (David Tennant, best known for Doctor Who and Jessica Jones) and Aziraphale (Michael Sheen, who can be seen in everything from Twilight to Masters of Sex), a demon and angel who must work together to stop the Antichrist and hold off Armageddon on Earth, the series is infused with Gaiman's signature humor, wit, and intricate world-building, anchored by Tennant and Sheen's central performances and strong chemistry.

With a cast rounded out by huge names like Nick Offerman, Michael McKean, Jon Hamm, and even some voice work from stars like Frances McDormand and Benedict Cumberbatch, it's no surprise that the show was met with acclaim all around (putting aside one hilarious petition to cancel it that didn't even get the network right). However, before you dive into Good Omens, be aware that these six episodes are all you'll get; Gaiman has been fairly clear that there will not be a second season.


Even though many historical dramas across film and television focus on truly horrific events, there are still stories that need to be retold in new ways, and that's especially true of HBO's Chernobyl. Though most people have a passing familiarity with the nuclear disaster that struck the Soviet Union territory in 1986, this show goes more in-depth than any depiction of the Chernobyl disaster has gone before, creating a difficult and unsettling — but altogether necessary — watching experience. Created by Craig Mazin (whose previous body of work included the Hangover sequels, improbably), the show stars Mad Men alum Jared Harris as Valery Legasov, a real-life director at a scientific institute that tried to clean up after the unprecedented and catastrophic nuclear explosion.

Chernobyl contains plenty of staggering moments, from attempts to cover up the explosion and its cause to a truly harrowing episode where soldiers and veterans must kill household and domestic animals to prevent further contamination. The most upsetting story of all might be that of Vasily Ignatenko, one of the first firefighters to respond to the disaster, who ultimately dies a horrifying death. The difficult and extremely faithful efforts that the cast and crew put in were worth it; the show was met with universal adoration and received several nominations for the 2019 Emmy Awards, including nods for Harris and co-star Emily Watson, alongside one for Outstanding Limited Series.


In this day and age, it's more important than ever for television and film to depict different perspectives as often as possible, which is perfectly on display in Hulu's Ramy. A half-hour comedy with a healthy amount of dramatic elements, the show was created by its eponymous star, Ramy Youssef. As a first-generation American Muslim who must figure out how to balance his religious background and family against the modern millennial landscape, the show brings a shared experience for many Muslim Americans to life with heart, humor, sharp writing, and an anchoring performance by Youssef.

From finding a place in American society in the continued aftermath of 9/11 to navigating the dating scene despite his strict Egyptian family's reservations, the show has struck a serious chord with Muslim Americans and critics alike, earning great reviews for the show's debut season. Very few shows focus on such a specific yet universal experience, and thanks to Youssef, many young people can now turn on a show that is actually faithful to their lives, upbringings, and experiences in a divided America. Luckily for Youssef and his fans, the show has already been renewed for a second season.


Television biopics are nothing new, but the concept of Fosse/Verdon might have seemed like an unlikely success when it was announced in the fall of 2018. The story of famed Broadway director and choreographer Bob Fosse and his muse and romantic partner Gwen Verdon — played by Academy Award winner Sam Rockwell and Academy Award nominee Michelle Williams, respectively — the show also boasted a bona fide musical theater supergroup behind the scenes made up of Lin-Manuel Miranda, Thomas Kail, and Alex Lacamoire. If you're unfamiliar with those names, meet the creative team behind the juggernaut musical Hamilton — Miranda wrote the book and music, Kail directed the original production, and Lacamoire arranged and conducted the music.

Despite its seemingly niche subject matter, thanks to incredible performances by Williams and Rockwell, outstanding supporting turns from Broadway veterans like Norbert Leo Butz (Wicked, The Last Five Years), thrilling musical and dance numbers, and an ultimately gripping story of betrayal, power, and personal strife, Fosse/Verdon proved to be a critical success across the board. To top it all off, the limited series was nominated for a handful of Emmys; Williams, Rockwell, and young actress Margaret Qualley (who plays the famous performer Ann Reinking) all received acting nominations, and the series was nominated for Outstanding Limited Series to boot. 


Based on an Israeli series of the same name, HBO's daring teen drama Euphoria burst onto the scene during the summer of 2019, depicting everything from body issues to drug abuse to sexual assault, balancing over-the-top imagery with grounded performances and alarmingly real teenage issues. Produced by Drake and anchored by a stunning, raw central performance by Zendaya, Euphoria centers on 17-year-old Rue Bennett, a recovering drug addict returning to school while continuing to battle her ongoing addiction. The cast is rounded out by Maude Apatow as Lexi, Rue's childhood best friend (and yes, that is Judd Apatow's oldest daughter); transgender actress Hunter Schafer as trans teenager Jules Vaughn; model Barbie Ferreira as the body-conscious Kat; and Grey's Anatomy's Eric Dane as a Cal, a father hiding plenty of secrets. 

Euphoria stirred up plenty of controversy during its first season thanks to extensive male and female nudity, a graphic and realistic depiction of sexual assault, and its visual reimaginings of teenage drug trips, but that didn't stop the first season from racking up rave reviews. HBO clearly believes in the show as well — before the debut season had even concluded, they picked up Euphoria for a second season

Los Espookys

There's always room for another oddball, irreverent comedy on television, and creator Julio Torres certainly delivered with Los Espookys on HBO. Starring Torres, who is also a part of the writing staff for Saturday Night Live and who has produced some of the show's standout sketches over the past couple of seasons, the show also features Ana Fabrega (who co-writes the show with Torres), Bernardo Velasco, Cassandra Ciangherotti, and SNL veteran Fred Armisen.

By blending absurdist humor and perfectly dry writing with horror — the show focuses on a group of friends who want to make a business out of their horror obsessions as they navigate life in a Latin American country riddled with supernatural happenings — Los Espookys has scored great reviews for its inaugural season, and HBO has already renewed this spooky, kooky show for a second season. In case you can't get enough Torres once you catch up with Los Espookys, you can check out his stand-up special, My Favorite Shapes, which is also available on HBO.

South Side

Television shows don't always need to feature the rich and glamorous sides of society, and luckily, shows like South Side chronicle people who are perpetually down and out to hilarious yet sympathetic effect. Created by Bashir Salahuddin and Diallo Riddle, both of whom have been working as comedians, actors, and writers for years across various comedy shows and late-night outings, the show stars Sultan Salahuddin and Kareme Young as two friends in Chicago's South Side who are constantly trying to get rich via any number of ridiculous and ultimately unsuccessful schemes. As Simon and Kareem, Salahuddin and Young portray two recent college graduates struggling to find their place in the world, which is a pretty relatable concept for viewers both young and old.

The show debuted on Comedy Central in 2019 to overwhelmingly excellent reviews, and its Chicago setting even allowed it to do some good after hitting the airwaves. Thanks to South Side's success, Salahuddin was able to launch a non-profit called Lane 44, which will create jobs for aspiring young filmmakers in the South Side through films and television shows. Fortunately, it looks like this philanthropic project will continue on, considering that Comedy Central renewed the show for a second season.

The Righteous Gemstones

Eastbound & Down and Vice Principals proved that Danny McBride and HBO were a winning combination, and fans have been eagerly awaiting their next collaboration. 2019, it arrived in the form of The Righteous Gemstones, which McBride created in addition to serving as lead actor, executive producer, and director. Alongside John Goodman and Adam DeVine, McBride plays a member of the televangelist Gemstone family, who are obviously much more corrupt than their ultra-religious, pious exterior might seem. Through various manipulations, schemes, and fake charity projects, the family reaps their dubious rewards, constantly squabbling with each other over control of the empire.

Thanks to a talented comedic cast — which also includes Walton Goggins, Dermot Mulroney, and more — as well as its pitch-perfect writing that lampoons the entire televangelist industry (which, as John Oliver has made clear, is nothing more than a money-grubbing scheme), the show has received not only great reviews, but a second season order, which came barely a month after the show premiered in August of 2019. It looks like the conniving Gemstone family will continue to grace HBO's airwaves for quite some time.

The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance

Fans of Jim Henson's 1982 film The Dark Crystal were thrilled when Netflix announced that they were working on a prequel series to the classic dark puppet saga. Luckily, when the show finally premiered in 2019, it didn't disappoint in the slightest. Just like the original film, the entire cast is made up of stunning Henson Workshop puppet creations, performed by some of the finest puppeteers in the world and voiced by talented actors, working together to bring life to a story that's equal parts fantastic wonder and political drama. Executive produced by Henson's daughter Lisa, the series recaptures the handmade artistry of the movie while incorporating new technologies and a stacked voice cast.

Set in the world of Thra, Age of Resistance tells the story of three Gelfings named Rian, Brea, and Deet (played respectively by Rocketman's Taron Egerton, Split's Anya-Taylor Joy, and Game of Thrones' Nathalie Emmanuel) who discover the horrifying intentions of their seemingly benevolent rulers, the Skeksis. The ensemble voice cast is rounded out by Eddie Izzard, Lena Headey (another Game of Thrones alum), Academy Award winner Alicia Vikander, Helena Bonham Carter, Natalie Dormer (yet another former Game of Thrones actor), Andy Samberg, Awkwafina, Simon Pegg, Bill Hader, Keegan-Michael Key, and Sigourney Weaver, just to name a few. 

The ten-episode series has earned overwhelming acclaim from critics and audiences alike, who love its engrossing storyline, faithfulness to its source material, and artful direction by Louis Leterrier (Now You See Me). It remains to be seen if there will be a second season, but there's certainly more of Thra to explore.

The Boys

Between Marvel and DC, comic book adaptations are a dime a dozen these days, but only one television show dares to paint traditional superheroes in a less than flattering light (well, maybe two, once HBO's Watchmen debuts). That show is The Boys, Amazon Prime's streaming series about corrupt, callous "heroes" and a group fighting back against them. When the superheroes known as the Seven accidentally kill the girlfriend of Hugh "Hughie" Campbell (Jack Quaid), he joins up with the Boys, led by Karl Urban's tough Billy Butcher (Urban has appeared in countless projects, but may be best known for his supporting role as Eomer in the Lord of the Rings saga). Forced to reckon with the true nature of the heroes they once loved, the titular Boys (which include a few girls, despite the name) wage war on the Seven, determined to expose them once and for all.

This gritty, anti-superhero drama won over critics and fans almost immediately, and Amazon acted quickly, announcing that they were renewing the show during their panel at San Diego Comic-Con 2019, before the show had even premiered. Clearly, the streaming studio has full faith in The Boys, and now that the first season has concluded, fans must wait for the second season to clear up the lingering mysteries left in the finale's wake.

A Black Lady Sketch Show

Comedy can sometimes be a total boy's club, so to remedy that, HBO put its full weight behind a radical new sketch show, bluntly named A Black Lady Sketch Show. Created by comedian Robin Thede, the former head writer for The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore (on which she made history as the first African American woman to serve as a late night head writer) who went on to host BET's short-lived The Rundown with Robin Thede, A Black Lady Sketch Show is, well, exactly what it sounds like. 

The sketch show features talented performers and comedians like Insecure creator Issa Rae (who also produces), Ashley Nicole Black (a former correspondent on Full Frontal with Samantha Bee), Nicole Byer (Nailed It!), Laverne Cox (Orange is the New Black), Lena Waithe (Master of None), Hollywood legend Angela Bassett, and even Patti LaBelle (who guest starred in one sketch) in a variety of skits lampooning the day to day life of black women in America. The show has been met with plenty of love since it premiered in the summer of 2019, and was subsequently renewed by HBO for a second season, so it looks like fans will be able to get more face time with these funny women before too long.

I Think You Should Leave with Tim Robinson

Saturday Night Live might be a breeding ground for some of the finest comedic talent around, but sometimes, they decline to air some of the odder sketches pitched by their writers. Luckily for everybody, former SNL writer Tim Robinson, who previously appeared on Detroiters, now has a safe haven for some of his rejected sketches, which found a home on his Netflix sketch show I Think You Should Leave with Tim Robinson.

Produced by the Lonely Island (Akiva Schaffer, one third of the comedy trio, also directed several episodes), I Think You Should Leave offers up some of the weirdest and most delightful sketches in recent memory, from a car focus group gone terribly wrong to finding the perfect Instagram caption to a competition to discover the "baby of the year." With Garfield houses, skeleton songs, and hot dog costumes, the overall conceit of the show is that throughout every sketch, the characters happily accept increasingly bizarre elements within normal, everyday situations. Lean in along with them and enjoy the ride, as many critics and fans have already done, and remember that it's okay if you can't quite choose which sketch is your favorite. Robinson and his crew aren't quite finished, either; the show will return for a second season on Netflix sometime in the future.

When They See Us

As streaming becomes home to more and more prestigious projects, big name filmmakers are turning to the medium to share important stories. That's exactly what Ava DuVernay, who made her mark directing Selma (an Academy Award nominee for Best Picture), did with When They See Us. A searing and unflinching look at the case of the famous "Central Park Five," this four-part Netflix original miniseries pulls no punches about the real-world injustice of five young African American boys who were falsely accused of raping a woman in Central Park in 1989 and imprisoned despite their innocence (four were sent to juvenile detention centers, and one to federal prison). When the actual guilty party was discovered in 2002 (he not only confessed, but was definitively linked to the crime using DNA evidence), most of the men had already finished their sentences, but they filed suit against the city of New York, finally winning a settlement and vindication almost two decades after their imprisonment, in 2016. 

DuVernay, who also wrote the series, directs with a steady and sure hand, making no secret of the fact that these men were the victims of wrongful imprisonment and racial prejudice. With younger actors as the Five supported by veteran performers like Vera Farmiga, John Leguizamo, and Niecy Nash, it's no wonder that When They See Us earned universal acclaim, including eleven Emmy nominations

Dead to Me

There are plenty of dark comedies to choose from on television right now, but definitely don't sleep on Netflix's Dead to Me, an extremely worthy entry into this trendy genre. Starring two accomplished and well-known actresses, Christina Applegate and Linda Cardellini, this edgy show from comedian and writer Liz Feldman (and executive produced by Will Ferrell and Adam McKay) tells the story of two women who bond over their shared widowhood and forge an extremely intense friendship. Between the two of them, they create a perfect yin and yang; Jen (Applegate) is still deeply grieving, while Judy (Cardellini) seems much more optimistic. However, the show is stocked with plenty of twists, and before too long, it seems as if Judy might not be who she claims, leading Jen down a potentially dangerous and hurtful rabbit hole with her new companion.

Despite the bleak premise, the show is often incredibly funny, letting Applegate and Cardellini riff on each other. It doesn't hurt that there's a great supporting cast that includes James Marsden, Ed Asner, and more. Dead to Me was an immediate hit for Netflix, who paid attention and renewed it for a second season. On top of that, it also scored some love at the Emmys, where Applegate was nominated for her role.


True crime dramas make up one of the most popular genres across the entirety of pop culture these days, whether they're dramatizations like The Act or documentaries like The Jinx. Still, Netflix's Unbelievable, which hit the streaming service in September of 2019, stands out from the pack. The series is based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning 2015 ProPublica exposé "An Unbelievable Story of Rape."

Created by Susannah Grant alongside Ayelet Waldman and Pulitzer Prize-winning author Michael Chabon, Unbelievable opens on Marie (Booksmart's Kaitlyn Dever), a Washington State teenager who is accused of lying to the police about a brutal sexual assault. After showing us her harrowing story and traumatic experience with the police, the story introduces us to two Colorado detectives, Karen Duvall (Merritt Wever) and Grace Rasmussen (Toni Collette), investigating an eerily similar case who eventually stumble across Marie's record. Most shows about sexual assault aren't handled by women, but thanks to a sensitive, bluntly feminist approach by Grant and incredible performances across the board from Wever, Collette, and Dever, Unbelievable is a difficult yet cathartic show for any viewer, earning rave reviews and its place among the best projects of the year. 


Ever since Zack Snyder adapted Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons' seminal 1987 graphic novel Watchmen in 2009, fans have been wondering if there would ever be another on-screen return to that dystopian world. Finally, a full decade later, HBO and Damon Lindelof (Lost, The Leftovers) have delivered in full, offering up a sort of sequel to the original Watchmen story, spanning a full limited series. 

Thanks to a powerhouse cast that includes Academy Award winner Regina King, TV legend Don Johnson, venerated actor Jeremy Irons, Coen Brothers staple Tim Blake Nelson, and Fargo star Jean Smart, among others, Watchmen provides a familiar yet new spin on Moore and Gibbons' story, setting its events long after the original material but using the same universe as a backdrop. In this reimagined take on Watchmen, Lindelof includes original characters like Silk Spectre and Ozymandias while telling the story of a world where the police must mask themselves and hide from a violent terrorist group known as the Seventh Kavalry, creating a brand new story within the Watchmen universe that's just as compelling as the original narrative.

His Dark Materials

Philip Pullman's seminal novel The Golden Compass was adapted into a feature film in 2007, and was met with bleak reviews and worse box office returns. Hopes for sequels were dashed, leaving fans of Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy in limbo. Luckily, Jack Thorne, the writer best known for the Tony Award-winning stage play Harry Potter & the Cursed Child, teamed up with HBO to produce a new, bigger, and better version of Pullman's work, which hit the small screen in the fall of 2019.

Thorne and his talented cast — which includes James McAvoy, Ruth Wilson (The Affair), Dafne Keen (Logan), Lin Manuel-Miranda, and more — manage to bring Pullman's fantastical world to life in the series, which was renewed for a second season before the first one even premiered. From daemons (manifestations of a person's soul that appear as animal counterparts) to armored bears to witches and aeronauts, His Dark Materials fills the fantasy void left behind by the end of Game of Thrones, bringing viewers into its otherworldly universe every week. In its first season, it's already been met with praise from critics and Pullman fans alike.


After How I Met Your Mother ended in 2013, Cobie Smulders, who spent nine seasons playing the leading role of Robin Scherbatsky, was plenty busy. Not only did she join the Marvel Cinematic Universe, popping up frequently as Maria Hill, but she also appeared in the Netflix original series Friends From College. However, her next leading role arrived in 2019, when she was finally awarded her own network series.

Based on a comic book series of the same name by Greg Rucka, Matthew Southworth, and Justin Greenwood, ABC's Stumptown tells the story of Dex Parios (Smulders), a down-and-out Marine veteran who takes up a side hustle as a private investigator in Portland, Oregon. Dex has certainly had a rough go of it — not only did her childhood sweetheart die in front of her in Afghanistan, but she struggles with gambling debts and unemployment. In order to boost her PI practice, she involves her best friend Grey McConnell (New Girl's Jake Johnson), whose shady criminal past ends up helping Dex solve local crimes. She's also got some help from the police department itself, enlisting Detective Miles Hoffman (Michael Ealy) to send her cases whenever the Portland PD needs assistance. During its first season, Stumptown has made a considerable critical splash thanks to Smulders' anchoring performance and clever plotting, and fans can only hope it continues running on ABC for quite some time.

The Politician

Just in case Ryan Murphy wasn't busy enough running shows like American Horror Story and American Crime Story, he's also in the midst of an enormous development deal with Netflix, with up to ten projects in the pipeline. His first project for the streaming platform, The Politician, fits right in with the rest of his oeuvre, thanks to an over-the-top story, heightened performances, and of course, an appearance from his favorite leading lady, Jessica Lange.

Starring Tony Award-winner Ben Platt, The Politician brings Murphy's signature brand of crazy drama to something as banal as a high school election, where Payton Hobart (Platt) is taking his first step in his ultimate goal of eventually becoming the President of the United States. Aided and abetted by his conniving friends and hapless mother (Gwyneth Paltrow), Payton wages war against the popular River Barkley (David Corenswet), even though the two share an explosive secret. As a play for sympathy, Payton chooses the clueless and seemingly cancer-stricken Infinity Jackson (Zoey Deutch) — even though her real problem is her grandmother Dusty (Jessica Lange), who is keeping Infinity captive thanks to an acute case of Munchausen's by proxy — and does everything in his power to win the race, no matter how sinister. Thanks to committed performances by Murphy's cast and a twisting ending that leaves viewers hoping for more, The Politician will definitely please longtime fans of this unique showrunner.

Modern Love

Anthology series have made their mark on the 2010s, from American Horror Story to Fargo to True Detective, and in the back half of the decade, a new one emerged thanks to a long-running New York Times feature. In 2019, Amazon introduced the new anthology series Modern Love, based on the newspaper column of the same name and featuring huge stars, with each installment telling an intimate, personal story on the small screen.

Each episode adapts a different beloved Modern Love column, from one woman's (Black Mirror's Cristin Milioti) story of navigating life and love in New York City with her kind and caring doorman by her side, to the realities of living with bipolar disorder (a highlight anchored by a stunning turn from Anne Hathaway), to a reporter's story of the one who got away (which offers up an ensemble cast that includes Dev Patel, Catherine Keener, and Andy Garcia). With other stars like Tina Fey, John Slattery, Andrew Scott (Fleabag), and more, Modern Love explores the biggest and smallest moments of everyday life in a sensitive and touching way. After it premiered to excellent reviews, it was renewed for a second season just a week after its release.


At first glance, Apple TV+'s new series Dickinson doesn't seem like it should work at all. The deliberately anachronistic series, which pairs today's hits from artists like Billie Eilish and modern lingo with the life story of celebrated poet Emily Dickinson, casts Hailee Steinfeld in the leading role as a young Dickinson struggling with her identity and family as she begins her writing career. In this bold interpretation of her life, Emily is openly queer and involved with her best friend Sue (Ella Hunt), who ends up getting engaged to Emily's arrogant brother Austin (Adrian Enscoe). (For the record, a romantic relationship between Emily and Sue is generally considered fact among Dickinson scholars.)

With a cast rounded out by Anna Barshynikov (as Lavinia, Emily's vain and funny younger sister), Toby Huss (as Emily's father Edward, who harbors huge political aspirations), Jane Krakowski (as Emily's mother, who shares her name and is constantly trying to constrain her rebellious daughter), Dickinson is bold, fresh fun, and gives fans of Dickinson and newbies alike a window into her past while still remaining relevant. Add in incredible guest stars like John Mulaney, Zosia Mamet, and Wiz Khalifa — who play Henry David Thoreau, Louisa May Alcott, and Death, respectively — and one of the best new shows of the year becomes even more delightful. 

The Morning Show

When it launched in the fall of 2019, AppleTV+ made sure its lineup was appropriately stacked, and its flagship series, The Morning Show, was the perfect way to start the proceedings. With a powerhouse cast headlined by Steve Carell, Jennifer Aniston, and Reese Witherspoon, The Morning Show details the turmoil behind the scenes of a typical network cable morning show amidst a scandal that mirrors many moments of the #MeToo movement. When the news breaks that Carell's character, Mitch Kessler, faces multiple accusations of sexual impropriety in the workplace — echoing NBC's own struggles with former morning anchor Matt Lauer — his co-anchor, Alex Levy (Aniston) must report on her friend's repulsive behavior herself. Before long, the network brings in a fresh face, Bradley Jackson (Witherspoon), a stubborn and brash field reporter who breathes new life into the program.

Thanks to an anchoring performance from Aniston, who is delivering some of the best work of her entire career, and extraordinarily turns from Carell and Witherspoon as well as other talented players like Billy Crudup, Mark Duplass, and Gugu Mbatha-Raw, The Morning Show is an excellent addition to the landscape of prestige TV, representing the dirty background of morning television in an incisive, intelligent way.