2019 has had some great television shows so far. With the year half way over I wanted to list some of my favorites of the year. The list is in no particular order.
- Euphoria (HBO) – Euphoria is about Rue Bennett, a 17-year old recovering drug addict trying to maneuver through high school. The show is full of characters that are navigating through drugs, sex, identity, trauma, social media, love and friendship. Pilot review
Euphoria is by far my new favorite show. HBO struck gold on Euphoria. The story is great, the characters are memorable, the soundtrack is killer, and the style of show is so different that it sets it apart from any other show. Show creator Sam Levinson is telling a personal story through specific characters, and again his style of filmmaking is so damn good. I look forward to watching this every week and it leaves me wanting the next episode immediately.
- What We Do In The Shadows (FX)- Based on the 2014 film of the same name, the show follows four vampires living in Staten Island that have been roommates for several hundred years.
If you have not seen the original movie, PLEASE GO WATCH IT IMMEDIATELY. This show is by far the funniest show I have seen all year. The writing and directing is so clever and the performances by the actors are hilarious. The plot is so nonsensical, but it works tremendously. Episode 7 is my favorite episode of any show this year and probably of the last ten years. The show is 30 minutes and is a very easy watch.
- The Act (Hulu) – Based on the true crime story of Gypsy Rose Blanchard and her mother Dee Blanchard.
As a true crime junkie, I was so excited Hulu decided to tell the story of Gypsy Rose Blanchard and her mother. There is a documentary that the show pulls from called Mommy Dead and Dearest and it blew my mind. Joey King as Gypsy Rose and Patricia Arquette as her mother, put on an acting clinic and both got nominated for Emmys for which they rightly deserved. The show is disturbing but so worth the watch.
- Chernobyl (HBO) – Based on the real-life Chernobyl nuclear disaster of April 1986 and the aftermath that followed.
Chernobyl is a fantastic mini-series and one of HBO’s best. The creator of Chernobyl could have slowed down and milked the series to get more episodes but thankfully they did not. Within 15 minutes of the first episode the disaster happens, and show gets rolling. The acting is so good, with Jared Harris truly standing out. The make up in this show is outstanding and shows how scary radiation really is. Chernobyl is dark, sad, and devastating.
- When They See Us (Netflix) – Based on the true crime story of the Central Park 5.
The story of the Central Park 5 needed to be told again after the documentary of the same name came out in 2012. When Ava DuVernay was attached to create this show, I knew it was going to be special. When They See Us is a gut punch and an emotional roller-coaster. It is a horrifying look at the United States justice system that ruined five children’s lives. You get the full gamut of emotions when watching this show, happiness, anger, sadness, and terror. The acting is superb with Jharrel Jerome as Korey Wise stealing the show. When They See Us review
- True Detective season 3 (HBO) – The story is about two cops investigating the disappearance of two children told over three separate time periods.
The first season of True Detective was one of the best shows of all time. The second season was rushed and was far less superior to its predecessor. The third season had a lot to live up to after the show took a four-year break. Season three was excellent and a return to form for True Detective. The story was compelling but at a slow burn pace. Every episode felt like it had stakes and left many cliff hangers. The acting was great with Mahershala Ali as Wayne Hays, one the detectives and Stephen Dorff as Roland West, his partner. Ali is great in anything he decides to do. The real surprise was Dorff, he was incredible and was robbed an Emmy nomination this year. The three timelines works very well and adds to the story greatly. True Detective is an anthology series, so you don’t have to watch season one or two to understand the story of season three.
- Barry season 2 (HBO) – Barry Berkman, played by Bill Hader, is hitman from the Midwest who travels to Los Angeles to kill someone and then finds himself joining an acting class.
I was late to the party for Barry. Up until three days ago I had not watched an episode. I was an idiot for not watching the show when it aired. Barry is so damn good. The show is hilarious and then gets dark and then gets hilarious again with a touch of emotion thrown in. Hader is great as Barry, it seems as a role he was born to play. Henry Winkler plays his acting coach and is awesome, you can tell he is having a blast playing the character. The show is peppered with great characters that are memorable. The episodes are 30 minutes, so it is an easy binge, if you were dumb like me and did not watch.
- Stranger Things 3 (Netflix) – Set in the fictional town of Hawkins, Indiana, in the 1980s, four friends discover something strange. [I literally cannot explain the plot of Stranger Things]
Stranger Things is a phenom. I felt cool because my girlfriend and I watched the first season before it caught fire. The first two seasons were really fun sci-fi television. The characters are great and memorable with Millie Bobby Brown literally becoming a superstar as Eleven. The story is wild but so so good. I think Season 3 may be the best season of them all. The writing, acting, and set design is phenomenal and is so creative. It really makes me wonder what is going on inside the head of the show creators, The Duffer Brothers.
- The Walking Dead season 9 (AMC) – The world is overrun by zombies and a group of survivors must survive not only the zombies but other people.
The Walking Dead has been my favorite series for a long time. I have been so invested in the characters and story for many years. The show has had some truly horrendous seasons and a lot of the fans dropped off a few seasons ago. The most recent season was one of the best in a long time. A new showrunner came on board and turned the show around. The Walking Dead truly felt like event television once again. The newest villains, the whispers are terrifying and are a true threat. The episodes actually feel full with a lot of the filler gone. With the season 10 trailer being shown in a few days at Comic-Con, I am excited to see what is in store for The Walking Dead.
A few other shows that will make this list but are still on air are:
- Big Little Lies season 2 (HBO) – The addition of Meryl Streep really made this show even better.
- Pose season 2 (FX) – This season is shaping up to be even better than the first which is really saying a lot. Review
- Snowfall season 3 (FX) – The stakes of this show keep getting bigger and better.
Shows that are coming out later this year that I am looking forward to:
Mr. Robot (USA), GLOW (Netflix), American Horror Story: 1984 (FX), Ozark (Netflix), Watchmen (HBO), Mindhunter season 2 (Netflix), Mr. Mercedes season 3 (Audience), The Mandalorian (Disney +)