12 Best of Christmas: Best Television & Streaming of 2019

Yesterday, we covered what the best shows of the whole entire decade were and a few of the shows on this years list made it in there. However, there were several new shows that crept into the best of list this year and may go on to be part of the best next decade list after their strong showings this year. Here are the list of shows that you cannot miss this holiday season!

12. True Detective (HBO)

The last season of True Detective was such a mixed bag that it seemed HBO would scrap the whole thing. Luckily, they returned to what made the original so great and gave Mahershala Ali another opportunity to show just how phenomenal an actor he is.

11. The Boys (Amazon)

This show, as with all great comic book stories, is a metaphor to our current times. In this case, the superheroes being run by corporations, and hand tailoring your safety, are clearly standing in for how powerful people or businesses quite literally get away with murder. I won’t ruin much more than that, but be prepared for a truly gory and insightful look at abuse of power.

10. Orange is the New Black (Netflix)

The final season of this groundbreaking show was a true return to form. Every character was nicely fleshed out, while the writers used ICE detention centers to make a new point on the inhuman nature of our immigration and deportation system. Truly, a proper send off for one of the best shows of the decade.

9. The Marvelous Ms. Maisel (Amazon)

This season is certainly not as groundbreaking as the first, but the writing is so clever that it’s almost impossible to not get wrapped up in all the snappy dialogue. Amy Palladino whips up one clever situation after another and keeps you consistently entertained. Couple this with Rachel Brosnahan and Alex Borstein’s unforgettable characters, and you have a show that just keeps getting entertainment right.

8. Stranger Things (Netflix)

This season did much more that just up the ante on visual effects and spectacle. There were some genuinely emotional moments and some insanely memorable new characters to make this show worth returning to. Steve and Robin (newcomer Maya Hawke) manage to run away with nearly every episode they are in, but it’s a hilarious rendition of the theme for ‘The Neverending Story’ that will stick in the heads of fans for years to come.

7. Mindhunter (Netflix)

I did not think this show could get more compelling than the last one, but it manages to tidally captivate on multiple fronts. The excitement of putting the lead characters in rooms with classic serial killers is still a draw. However, viewing a families questions of whether a child could be capable of evil and a look into the police politics of an Atlanta kidnapping case are the real eye openers.

6. Watchmen (HBO)

Not just another bloody superhero show, ‘Watchmen’ extends upon the classic comic to dig deep into policing, vigilantism, and modern day racism. Given the current climate white supremacists, police shootings, and Black Lives Matter movements, it’s impossible to not feel the connection to our current times. Which is exactly what the original comic did for the Cold War era.

5. Unbelievable (Netflix)

This show starts by tearing apart your faith in institutions, and then proceeds to give you the finest example of what the human side of that same institution can do to right the wrongs of the world. Kaitlyn Dever’s heartbreaking depiction of the fear, confusion, and ultimate doubt of one woman’s experience with rape is truly unbelievable. Toni Collette and Merritt Wever also shine in this true story strength in the face of adversity.

4. Chernobyl (HBO)

This expertly depicted piece of history is one of the most thorough looks at a tragedy I’ve ever seen. The first episode of this show alone would be good enough to put it in the top shows of the year, but the whole thing only gets even more intense as the mini-series goes along. You may have thought you knew about this tragedy, but you don’t know anything. Don’t miss it!

3. Game of Thrones (HBO)

The most controversial show of all time pissed off just as many people as it pleases this year. And isn’t that exactly what we should have all expected? This is the show that cut off a main characters head in the first season and then gave us the red wedding. So, that the final season would give us the death of beloved characters and the depiction of another character that would possibly feel like a betrayal, should not have surprised anyone. The bottom line, is this season was one of the most expertly crafted seasons of television in the history of the medium. We can argue about the writing, but big budget television has never been more breathtaking!

2. Undone (Amazon)

This show came out of nowhere this year and blew away everyone. I really don’t want to give anything away on this one, but let’s just say that time travel is toyed with in a way that you have never experienced before. And the like action animation works brilliantly in conveying the separation of time and reality. Yet, it’s the human element that will draw you in and capture your interest. With 8 episodes at 23 minutes an episode, there is no excuse to miss this riveting piece of art.

1. When They See Us (Netflix)

Even after seeing the documentary about the Central Park Five a few years back, I could have never been prepared for this. Watching talking heads tell you how these children were manipulated into confessions is one thing. Watching it on display is gut wrenching. However, the best part of this mini-series is how each episode works as it’s own movie. I could not help feeling hope, even when I knew that hope was lost. It’s a testament to well played drama when you can be on the edge of your seat, even when you know the outcome. This show is an illuminating look at how systemic racism and the overt power of the DA’s office leads to the absence of justice. Ava Duvernay is one of the best filmmakers working today, and this is her masterpiece!

 

 

Best of the Rest

Catch-22

Modern Love

Living with Yourself

The Mandalorian

The Spy

The Morning Show

The Politician

His Dark Materials

The Crown

Jack Ryan

Nathan Ligon

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