THE BEST TV SHOWS OF 2019 (so far)
From slapstick & sitcoms to deadly dramas, these are the TV shows that have stood out so far in 2019
Brooklyn Nine-Nine - Season 6 (NBC)
Nine-Nine! Now on NBC for a 6th season, Brooklyn’s least productive police department is back for another season of cop & robber hijinks. Though Season 6 featured the departure of Gina Linetti (Chelsea Peretti), the show has returned with trips into the past (young Scully & Hitchcock were hot?!) and fan favorites showing up again (Doug Judy with a new sister, Trudy Judy). Season 6 has also continued the more recent Brooklyn Nine-Nine tradition of incorporating real world issues into the show’s plot lines, with varying levels of success, in ways that enhance the empathy that emanates from shows in the Mike Schurniverse.
One Day at a Time - Season 3 (Netflix)
Gone (possibly?) but not forgotten, Netflix’s vivacious multi-cam comedy One Day at a Time brought life to a format that often feels stale. Featuring the day-to-day issues of a Cuban-American family and their adorably invasive landlord, One Day at a Time balanced cutting one-liners with topical discussions of real world issues in a way that was often as accessible as it was funny. Season 3 introduced more members of the Alvarez extended family, played by notable Latin actors including Gloria Estefan (who also sings the show’s delightful theme song), Melissa Fumero and Stephanie Beatriz. At its best, One Day at a Time was a showcase the brilliant Justina Machado and Rita Moreno to flex their charm.
The Other Two - Season 1 (Comedy Central)
Two 20-somethings, Cary and Brooke, struggle to make something of their lives when overnights, their teenage brother Chase becomes a viral star. From former Saturday Night Live head writers Chris Kelly and Sarah Schneider, The Other Two is arguably the strongest of Comedy Central’s new shows. As Cary and Brooke watch their young brother get sucked into the entertainment industry, the older, wiser siblings vacillate between protecting their younger sibling and giving into the temptations offered by fame. The Other Two also includes several well-known but underused comedians, including Molly Shannon as the siblings’ excitable mother Pat, Ken Marino as Chase’s doofus manager Streeter, and Richard Kind as Cary’s hapless agent/cabbie.
Pen15 - Season 1 (Hulu)
Relive all the painful awkwardness of middle school through the eyes of two 7th grade girls played by adults. Maya Erskine and Anna Konkle are co-stars and co-creators of the uncomfortably funny PEN15 on Hulu, and though both actresses are in their 30s, they play teenagers alongside the actual teenagers on the show. PEN15 derives much of its broad comedy from the way its stars struggle with their oncoming adulthood and changing bodies, but a lot of the fun is in the details of its early 2000s setting. An episode built around signing up for AOL Instant Messenger is sure to bring back weirdly specific memories for any child of the 90s.
Queer Eye - Season 3 (Netflix)
The Fab Five are back to zhush up the lives of eight more unsuspecting people. Netflix’s reboot of Queer Eye continues to preach the values of self-care and positivity through their third season, first in Kansas City. Each transformation the Fab Five perform is an empathetic journey. They open their guests up to improve them inside and out. This season features some of the biggest makeovers on the show to do, particularly the “Jones Bar-B-Q” episode, in which the boys give a pair of hardworking sisters a break from their busy lives running a barbecue joint. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, and you’ll learn some great tricks for making homemade Manuka honey face masks.
Russian Doll - Season 1 (Netflix)
Reliving the night of her birthday party over and over (and over) again, world weary New Yorker Nadia (Natasha Lyonne) tries to figure her way out of this crazy time loop. The new Netflix series, co-created by Lyonne, Amy Poehler, and series show runner Leslye Headland (Bachelorette, Sleeping with Other People), goes beyond Groundhog Day in its format with a mystery that involves elements of the timeline slipping away with each reset. The odd couple pairing of easygoing Nadia with the regimented and overly cautious Alan (Charlie Barnett) creates a fun dynamic as the pair haphazardly attempt to avoid death while getting to the bottom of their timeline problem.
All excerpts written by Zachary Shevich
True Detective - Season 3 (HBO)
Nic Pizzolatto’s brooding detective drama returned after a nearly four year absence with a story about the disappearance of two children that spanned several decades and multiple timelines. At the center of this year’s mystery was Mahershala Ali, portraying the enigmatic Detective Walter “Purple” Hays at different stages of his life. True Detective excels at leaving an intriguing trail of breadcrumbs for its characters and audiences alike, though the answers aren’t always as satisfying as one would hope. While the show’s third season felt like a return to the strong form of its first season, some of the lingering questions after the finale made this year’s True Detective a flawed but absorbing season of television.