Ranking the 10 best new TV shows of 2019
If we learned anything in 2019, it’s that you can always find a good new TV show to start watching.
Streaming services such as Netflix, Hulu and Amazon cranked out so many new TV shows that at times it felt impossible to try and keep up. Add in new shows from HBO, Showtime, newcomers Disney+ and Apple TV plus all the network stations and you’ve got enough TV to binge that you’ll never go bored again.
We decided to give you our opinions on 10 of the best shows that premiered this year. They were funny, gut-wrenching, and most importantly, redefined what a traditional TV show looks like.
10. ‘The Politician’ (Netflix)
Show creator Ryan Murphy has a production deal with Netflix, and “The Politician" was the first of many of his future TV shows. The story follows an overly ambitious high schooler at a fancy rich high school, trying to win a student body presidential election at any cost. It’s truly a reflection of the times we’re living in now, but it’s full of the Ryan Murphy camp that fans have come to love about his work.
9. ‘The Mandalorian’ (Disney+)
The TV show that brought the world Baby Yoda had to make this year-end list. Disney+ made the smart decision by launching with a TV show that “Star Wars” fans would tune in for, and gave the world Baby Yoda, arguably the purest and happiest thing to happen in 2019. It helps that the show is equally entertaining, too.
8. ‘Dead to Me’ (Netflix)
We weren’t sure what to expect when “Dead to Me” dropped on Netflix, but the fact that is stars veteran actresses Christina Applegate and Linda Cardellini was a good sign. What we weren’t expecting was a show with so many twists and turns you got whiplash. In the age of binge-watching TV shows, “Dead to Me” is the perfect example because you just had to get to the next episode to find the next clue.
7. ‘Watchmen’ (HBO)
This somehow became the superhero TV show we didn’t even know we needed. In 'Watchmen," superheroes are treated as outlaws and villains instead of friendly heroes that the comic books portray. It has a stellar cast (Regina King and Jean Smart are phenomenal), and it’s another huge hit for HBO after the network already had a big year with “Game of Thrones” and “Big Little Lies.”
6. ‘Unbelievable’ (Netflix)
Grab a box of tissues and hope for the best, because Netflix’s limited series “Unbelievable” will rip your heart out and put it back without apologizing. The subject matter is super heavy and intense, but the way the situation is handled makes the show digestible. Add in some top-notch acting from Toni Colette and Merritt Weaver as motivated detectives and newcomer Kaitlyn Dever showing intense vulnerability -- and you’ve got a show that you won’t want to stop watching until justice is served.
5. ‘The Other Two’ (Comedy Central)
Introducing the funniest TV show of the year that you probably haven’t even heard of. The first season of “The Other Two” premiered after “Broad City” on Comedy Central, so fans may have caught a few episodes of this hilarious show. A brother and sister must deal with their younger brother’s sudden viral internet fame, all the while trying to find their next move in the big wide world. There are some touching moments, but mostly it will make you laugh -- a lot. Plus, Molly Shannon stars in it. What could be better?
4. ‘Shrill’ (Hulu)
This is the first show from Hulu to make our year-end list and it stars “SNL” veteran Aidy Bryant as the lead character. Based off writer Lindy West’s incredible memoir, “Shrill” tells the story of a 20-something woman who is constantly being put down by the people in her life. Her boyfriend (if you can even call him that) doesn’t respect her, her parents think they’re being helpful when they’re not, and her boss sees no potential in her. By the end of the season, Annie is feeling better about herself and is confronting the people in her life who don’t make her feel good. It’s funny, witty and a little bit charming. Season two drops next year.
3. ‘Chernobyl’ (HBO)
Watching HBO’s “Chernobyl” is like watching a car crash happen in slow motion. You know that things are going to end in a disaster, but you can’t do anything about it and you definitely can’t look away. The show is based off the very real nuclear disaster that happened at Chernobyl. Most people know the story about how the disaster happened, but “Chernobyl” exposes the cover-up scheme that took place in order to mislead the public. HBO did a great job of uncovering the truth behind this event that, hopefully, will never happen again.
2. ‘Pen15’ (Hulu)
Remember how awkward it was to be in middle school or junior high? You’re going through the trials and tribulations of puberty, everything your parents say makes you angry and all you want is to be accepted by the cool kids. These feelings are exactly what “Pen15” so brilliantly captures, all the while making fun of just how awkward we all were at the age of 13. The creators of the show, Maya Erskine and Anna Konkle, also star as preteens, even though they are both in their early 30s. Despite not looking like the other middle schoolers, Erskine and Konkle embody what it means to be a 13-year-old trying to figure it all out.
1. ‘Russian Doll’ (Netflix)
On paper, “Russian Doll” sounds a lot like the classic film “Groundhog Day,” where Bill Murray keeps on reliving the same day over and over again. That’s exactly what happens in “Russian Doll,” starring the incomparable Natasha Lyonne, but as you find out, the show is so much more about reliving the same day over and over again. Lyonne also created the show, alongside “SNL” vet Amy Poehler and writer/director Leslye Headland, and together the women forged a show about mental health, addiction, death and the joys of living. You continue to watch because you want to see if Lyonne’s character can break out of the cycle of dying and waking up in the same bathroom at a party, but you end up learning a lot about yourself by watching the self-discovery that happens on screen.
Honorable mentions: "On Becoming a God in Central Florida (Showtime), “Euphoria” (HBO), "When They See Us (Netflix) and “Fosse/Verdon” (FX).
Did we miss your favorite new TV show of the year? Agree with our picks? Let us know in the comments below.
Graham Media Group 2019