The new year is rapidly approaching, so we here at The Fandomentals have taken a step back and looked at the overwhelming (and at times almost suffocating) amount of great television of 2019. Each show was picked by one of our writers and given a brief reason as to why they love turning into these shows week after week. Or if they binged them, why they walled themselves into their homes to finish the next episode.
With so much quality content available for streaming and on television it’s understandable if we miss things. It is becoming more and more impossible to see everything. The quality of television has risen to a staggering and dizzying degrees. As such, a few shows may slip through the cracks. These are the shows chosen by us writers to talk about to you the readers, in hopes to let you see that others feel the same way you do. But also, in hopes, we can help you find another great show to add to your already mounting queue.
How in the world did a remix/sequel of Watchmen end up being so good? While I’m still trying to figure Lindelof’s magic out, I don’t think there’s much question that Watchmen has some of the best TV that came out in 2019.
When They See Us
Ava Duvernay’s sharp and unflinching revisiting of the arrests of the Central Park Five is a palpable and necessary piece of media that is sadly far too timely. In the wake of #BlackLivesMatter and growing racial discord in the United States, Duvernay is unapologetic in the anguish viewers will feel as they watch these five teenagers be profiled, targeted, and we’re going to be blunt, outright tortured almost gleefully by a system that utterly failed them. Not that we should be surprised, the system was never built to be fair to them in the first place. No doubt the hardest show to watch on our list, we also think it’s the most mandatory.
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
I don’t know how this one always tops itself, but through 3 seasons Maisel still does. The jokes and characters have never been better. Few shows hit their stride immediately like The Marvelous Ms. Maisel did, and it hasn’t looked back since.
Two words. Baby Yoda. Okay, fine, that’s not all that works for this series. Pedro Pascal does not have an easy task acting under a mask at almost all times as our titular bounty hunter turned somewhat inadvertent new adoptive father of my precious Baby Yoda. But the show succeeds in strong performances from Pascal and a bevy of supporting characters including a delightful turn from Gina Carano as a former rebel shock trooper. While running from ne’er do wells, and the aftermath of a fallen fascist empire, The Mandalorian shines as a surprising tale of perseverance and found family.
2019 saw a lot of She-Ra come out, and the end result saw this show take the crown as possibly the best animated show out right now. Anyone with the slightest interest in animation owes it to themselves to watch.
Legends of Tomorrow
Legends of Tomorrow truly came into its own in its third season. The series finally found its footing, carving out a style all its own. One of absurdist humour and heartfelt relationships. Its fourth season doubled down on this, adding more of a magical flair to the science fiction of time travel and bringing new characters into the fold (or giving an old one a second chance in the case of John Constantine). This past year showed Legends isn’t afraid to throw out old conventions that aren’t working, nor does it hesitate to try new things, no matter how outlandish they may seem. The new year brings with it many changes to the Arrowverse, but Legends has already proven itself a pillar for this new era.
Let’s get this out of the way first. Euphoria is a gorgeous piece of television and should be a finger to the eye of anyone insisting that shows dealing with darker-themed material must also look gritty and miserable. Delivering a star-making turn from Zendaya as Rue Bennett, a recovering drug addict, Euphoria delves into the world of teenage struggles ranging from addiction, bullying, sexual assault, and more. While it would be easy for this show to stay in the grimdark gutters of all the darkness in these characters’ lives, Euphoria rejects that notion and also makes sure to show us their triumphs and brighter moments, reminding us why we root for Rue and her friends in the first place. It also doesn’t hurt that Euphoria is pretty effortlessly one of the most trans-positive pieces of representation (with Hunter Schafer’s compelling Jules Vaughn) out there at the moment.
What, you mean to tell us we can have a series of complex and compelling lady spies wrapped up in intrigue and shades of gray to black and our two leads aren’t punished for just existing as complicated women? The hell you say! Killing Eve has been a favorite at the Fandomentals since its debut, and for a series juggling so many threads, not to mention tension, the fact that Killing Eve continues to surpass itself is nothing short of astounding. Sandra Oh and Jodie Comer are putting out some of the best acting on television, period. Yeah, we said it, fight us. Also, congratulations to Jodie Comer on her well deserved Emmy Award this year!
Set during the period of the Troubles in Northern Ireland, Derry Girls uses this backdrop to show a coming of age journey for our characters as they deal with both typical adolescent growing pains, and the added weight of potential violence and actual violence that surrounds them. The show is also LGBT-inclusive as one of the core characters comes out to her friends as a lesbian, and their response (once they wrap their heads around the news) is delightful.
If there’s one thing we’ve seen this year, blowing your landing can completely ruin an entire series. Luckily, not only did Killjoys stick the landing, they delivered some of the best plot resolution seen, well, anywhere. Also, let’s give them a nod to not burying their gays and letting those ladies have a happy ending of their own! Rife with found family themes (something of a favorite on the Fandomentals), Killjoys never gives in to the prevalent cynicism, or “dark and gritty subversions” that are so popular right now. Instead, familial love guides our characters through their ultimate crucible and to the other side for an oh-so-satisfying conclusion.
Come back tomorrow for our Best TV Shows of the 2010’s!