Best of the Year: The 10 Best but Overlooked Shows of 2019


It’s the end of the year, so we know exactly what you’re thinking: What are the 10 best shows on television? Gosh darnit, won’t someone give me a Top 10 Shows of 2019 list that isn’t the same as everyone else’s? We were thinking the same thing.

With all the Best TV of 2019 lists coming out and the repeated mentions of shows like Fleabag, Succession, and Russian Doll— all great series mentioned in our Top 25 Shows of 2019 list — scouring these end-of-year lists can become an exercise in futility. Oh, another vote for Chernobyl? GREAT. Season 2 of Barry? Duh, we’ve watched it three times already.

The Best TV of the Year: The Shows, Stars, and Trends That Defined 2019

So, we put together a list of the 10 best shows of 2019 that you probably won’t find on any other list. Use it to find a new show to binge, use it to validate your own opinion, or use it to further understand just how much great television there is out there.

Lodge 49 (AMC)

Where to watch: Hulu

Lodge 49the show on this list most likely to crack some Top 10s — is AMC’s indefinable gem about late-stage capitalism and fantastical alchemy (but mostly friendship), and continued its unique laid-back vibe in its second season as Dud (Wyatt Russell) went from wayward wanderer finding his way to healer to his sister and lodge mates. Paul Giamatti‘s guest run was a perfect fit, and a late-season trip to Mexico showed off everything this show does so well. You should have watched it. Now it’s canceled. Thanks a lot! –Tim Surette

Too Old to to Die Young (Amazon)

Where to watch: Amazon

Indie film director Nicolas Winding Refn didn’t think of this Lynchian crime drama as a limited series or a 13-hour movie or any other marketable concept that already exists; he thought of it as “streaming,” which apparently means “Something completely unbound from the strictures of film or television. Episodes can be 90 minutes or 30 minutes long, every glacially paced scene lasts for at least 10 minutes, and there’s a story with a beginning, middle, and end, but you don’t have to watch it in order.” And that’s not even really expressing how truly insane this hypnotic, excessive show is, or explicating how it’s one of the only works of art that truly captures the savagery and cruelty of Trump’s America. Amazon didn’t even market Too Old to Die Young outside of Europe, because they knew how few people it was for. But those 10,000 people know what’s up. –Liam Mathews

Corporate (Comedy Central)

Where to watch: Comedy Central

Comedy Central’s office-drone dark comedy Corporate doesn’t have the heart and soul of some of its other popular comedies, like The Other Two or Broad City, but that’s the point. Corporate is cynicism at its finest, dragging office life and corporate culture through the dirt via episodes about email etiquette, the pressures of ladder climbing, and career suicide. It’s dystopia for today. –Tim Surette

Years and Years (HBO)

Where to watch: HBO, Hulu with HBO add-on, Amazon with HBO add-on

Perhaps a casualty of the rash of subscription cancellations after Game of Thrones ended, perhaps a portrayal of a bleak future that was too close to home for viewers who don’t want to be reminded of the present, Years and Years somehow flew under the radar despite being the show with the most to say in 2019. The six-episode miniseries from Russell T Davies was like a serialized Black Mirror, portraying the worst timeline over the next 15 years as stomach-churning developments in technology (full-face Instagram filters!), politics (Trump and Pence breeding division for eight more years!), and finance (banks collapsing!) dragged the world into chaos. At the center of it all was a solid family drama filled with wonderful performances, which helped ease the depictions of the world as a flaming pile of burning tires. –Tim Surette

David Makes Man (OWN)

Where to watch: OWN

Moonlight screenwriter Tarell Alvin McCraney wrote this coming-of-age story about a young black youth in Florida pressured from two sides: His potential to be a success in school, and a local street gang that sees his smarts as an asset for their drug-dealing. The conflict of code switching and doing what he can to pull his family out of poverty added a new twist to a fable we’ve seen before. Most spectacularly, David Makes Man visualized this feeling of being pulled between worlds with moments of magical realism, coloring the serious subject matter with incredibly effective instances of beauty. –Tim Surette

Trigger Warning with Killer Mike (Netflix)

Where to watch: Netflix

Rapper and activist Killer Mike is one of the most iconoclastic and tough-minded public figures in American pop culture right now. His ideas are so opposed to the neoliberal status quo that it feels like he got away with something by making this show. Netflix CEO Reed Hastings recently said that the company isn’t in the truth to power business, but Mike made a Nathan for You-esque unscripted comedy explicitly about how capitalism fails black people. A funnier scathing indictment of the system you will not find. –Liam Mathews

Primal (Adult Swim)

Where to watch: Adult Swim

Genndy Tartakovsky‘s silent film miniseries Primal, about a caveman’s survival bond with a dinosaur, may be sans dialogue, but it’s packed with emotion and thrills that harken back to the old days of the silver screen. Artistically, the five-episode Primal shines with stylish animation that captures the ruthlessness of the world, but it’s the story of unlikely friends that holds everything together. –Tim Surette

Perpetual Grace, LTD (Epix)

Where to watch: Epix (subscription required)

There was zero chance that Perpetual Grace, LTD. would be a mainstream hit; it’s on hard-to-find Epix, it’s fantastically cryptic, and its indie sensibilities are… let’s say perpetual. But the neo-noir thriller starring Jimmi Simpson as a grifter and Ben Kingsley as a totally insane pastor is a marvel to behold, a moving work of art packed with risky choices that consistently pay off. Creator Steven Conrad, the man behind the equally awesome Patriot, makes television that prefers to linger on the fringe, which is supremely refreshing given the glut of copycats out there. Anyone with an interest in cinematography should watch this, STAT. It’s stunning. –Tim Surette

Larry Charles’ Dangerous World of Comedy (Netflix)

Where to watch: Netflix

Larry Charles directed Borat, so he knows a thing or two about provocative, dangerous comedy. This four-part documentary series about how comedy operates in situations where people are struggling to survive every day takes an open-minded, almost academic look at humor, through interviews with soldiers, comics who survived civil wars, alt-right creeps, and female Saudi Arabian comedians. He asks former Liberian warlord General Butt Naked what he thought was funny during the war (his enemies begging for their lives after he ambushed them). But no one impresses Charles with his dangerousness more than Boonk, a young black man with copious face tattoos who makes videos of himself going behind the counter at fast food restaurants and stealing stuff while screaming “Whole lotta gang sh–!” and never considers the very real possibility of someone shooting him. The comedy world is in the midst of a never-ending argument about what speech is allowed, and Charles shows what’s really at stake. Sometimes all you can do is laugh. –Liam Mathews

Letterkenny (Hulu)

Where to watch: Hulu

Pitter patter, let’s get this over with. The Canadian cult comedy about hicks, hockey players, and more cliques in the small town of Letterkenny returned for a seventh season of fast-paced wordplay as Wayne and his pals got a call-in public access show, but do plots even matter in this show? Not when the bawdy humor (amplified in Season 7), eccentric characters, and surprising heart are here. You can put Letterkenny on this list each year until creator Jared Keeso stops making it. –Tim Surette

Honorable Mentions: True Detective (HBO), Evil (CBS), High Maintenance (HBO), Kingdom (Netflix), American Soul (BET), The Walking Dead (AMC), Doom Patrol (DC Universe), Documentary Now! (IFC), Billions (Showtime), The OA (Netflix), Warrior (Cinemax), Dickinson (Apple TV+), Rilakkuma and Kaoru (Netflix), Tuca & Bertie (Netflix), Wu-Tang Clan: Of Mics and Men (Showtime), Line of Duty (Acorn TV/BBC One), Black Spot (Netflix), South Side (Comedy Central), Sherman’s Showcase (IFC), Derry Girls (Netflix), Mr. Robot (USA)

Source : TVGuide