The end of the year is almost here, which means it’s time to look back at the best 2019 had to offer.
2019 was an amazing year for television. There were some incredible new shows that stunned audiences and critics. And there were some returning shows that had their best seasons yet in 2019.
If you’re looking to watch the best TV shows 2019 had to offer, check out these shows.
No matter how old you are, coming of age shows are always intriguing.
This is probably true because they explore the most angsty and drama-filled times of our life — middle school and high school. We can all relate to the struggles of the characters because we’ve been there ourselves.
Since it premiered a few years ago, Big Mouth has reimagined the coming-of-age drama.
This witty and razor-sharp show has tackled topics that other coming of age shows have conveniently ignored. Perhaps it can do so because it’s on Netflix, or maybe because it’s a cartoon instead of live-action.
But whatever the reason, Big Mouth’s raw honesty about the most awkward and painful of life stages is always relatable and entertaining. And 2019’s season three is no exception.
Season three explores tough topics like #MeToo, gender identity, and toxic masculinity, but they do so in a way that manages to be both serious and hilarious. Big Mouth’s ability to reveal the best and worst of its characters as they grapple with the real world is why this show continues to be one of the best on TV.
One Day at a Time
Since it’s premiere, it’s been clear that Netflix’s One Day at a Time is telling a story that no other sitcom had ever tried to tell.
This one-of-a-kind show manages to be heartwarming, heartbreaking, and supremely hilarious all at once.
The show follows a multigenerational Cuban American family as they live and thrive in today’s America. While sitcoms have always centered on the family dynamic, there’s never been a sitcom quite like this about a family quite like this.
The show has been praised for its representation. There are very few shows out there focusing on Latinx families, especially a Latinx family led by a single mother and her mother, and even fewer that feature queer characters like the eldest daughter of the family, Elena.
One Day at a Time is also beloved by critics and audiences alike for exploring complex topics like the immigration crisis, teenage sexuality, addiction, and found family.
2019’s season three brings all these topics, especially addiction, into sharp focus. It’s the show’s most honest and emotional season, exploring mental illness in a way that few shows do.
This show is truly exceptional, breathing new life into the half-hour comedic sitcom.
True crime TV gets more popular every day.
And it’s not just a genre for serial killers stories anymore. The true crime genre has expanded to explore all kinds of crimes, including the ones deeply rooted in mental illness, like Munchhausen Syndrome by proxy.
The Act, which is streaming on Hulu, is not an easy show to watch. At times, it’s even excruciating. But like the car wreck you can’t help but stare at as you slowly drive by, The Act demands all of your attention.
This stunning show tells the real story of the murder of Dee Dee Blanchard by her daughter, Gypsy Rose’s, boyfriend.
But instead of focusing solely on the murder and the investigation, the show goes into a dark and twisty exploration of why Gypsy Rose wanted to kill her mother.
The Act takes the audience on a quietly terrifying and completely heartbreaking journey with Dee Dee and Gypsy Rose. The show feels like a slow draining of the spirit, which is an apt metaphor for the toll that Munchhausen Syndrome by proxy takes on its victims.
And the show is masterful at creating quiet tension, the on-edge feeling of “something isn’t quite right here.” Though the show doesn’t hide the fact that Gypsy Rose isn’t really sick, and that she eventually conspires to kill her mother, knowing the secrets doesn’t diminish the desire to find out how it all ended so horrifically.
If you’re a fan of true crime and you can handle the discomfort this show serves up, The Act is a truly one of a kind true crime show.
Showrunners Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuck have earned a reputation for creating groundbreaking shows that tell stories we’ve never seen on screen before.
And their crowning achievement very well may be Pose.
This show is groundbreaking for so many reasons. It has the largest cast of transgender actors ever. It tells the complex stories of trans and queer people without holding anything back. And it explores the AIDS epidemic like no other show ever has — from the perspective of those most impacted.
The second season of Pose managed to live up to and even exceed the first season, which is saying a lot. And unlike most shows, which rely on creating as much pain as possible for their main characters, the second season of Pose manages to infuse hope into many hopeless situations.
The second season delves even deeper into the way the AIDS epidemic is ravaging the queer community in the early 90s. In a show that centers on brown, queer folks living in poverty, you’d expect a lot of heartbreak. And there’s definitely plenty of that.
But in the midst of all that heartbreak, Pose always manages to provide an uplifting message — that the family we create can save us from anything the world throws at us.
If you’re looking for a revolutionary show that tells a story you’ve never seen before, Pose delivers on every level.
Speaking of shows that center heavily in the drama of the performance world, everyone’s favorite reality TV show, Dance Moms, made a surprise comeback in 2019.
Abby Lee Miller has been through the ringer in the past few years. She served time in jail for tax fraud in 2017. After getting out, she had spinal surgery and received a diagnosis of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. She’s been undergoing cancer treatments since her diagnosis.
With all this going on, it was unclear whether Dance Moms would ever have an eighth season. But Miller confirmed that the show began filming in January 2019 and that the new season would premiere in the summer of 2019.
Though Miller is in a wheelchair for the current season of the show, she hasn’t been slowed down at all. She’s more eager than ever to prove that her dancers have what it takes, and so does she.
The current season is a testament to perserverance and fans will not be disappointed. For all the details, check out dancenetwork.tv.
When They See Us
The Central Park Five case is one of the most infamous true crime cases in history.
The case embodies everything that’s wrong with the American justice system — the racism that causes cops to ruthlessly pursue a certain kind of suspect even when the evidence isn’t there; the pride that prevents the system from admitting that mistakes were made; and most importantly, the police tactics that lead to false confessions.
The Netflix documentary When They See Us, which was created, written, and directed by the incomparable Ava DuVernay, is a shocking exploration of the infamous case.
With an all-star cast and brilliant performances, this dramatized docuseries takes the audience deep into the details of the case. And it does something no other examination of the case has done — show us the lives of the Central Park Five before, during, and after the case.
The series not only tells the story of the case in a way that’s never been done before, it expertly explores the problems with the justice system that led to the false convictions of five children of color.
And When They See Us never fails to remind the viewer that these were, in fact, children whose lives were ruined. Children who grew up in jail and never got to live free until they were well into adulthood.
This heartbreaking and compelling show should be required viewing for every person in America.
Check Out All the Best TV Shows of 2019
These are just a few of the best TV shows 2019 had to offer. It really was an amazing year for new and returning TV shows.
Wondering how you can watch all these amazing shows? Almost all of them are available on Netflix or Hulu, so make sure your streaming subscriptions are up to date.
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