The 25 Best TV Shows of 2019 So Far

20. Schitt’s Creek

At present, Schitt’s Creek is the crown jewel of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and so it should be. Now finished its fifth season, the show tells of a wealthy family who loses their fortune — but find each other; making a home for themselves in a town they’d originally purchased as a joke. The recent, penultimate season picks up with our established relationships, prodding and poking them to test and breach their boundaries: Johnny is a wreck without Moira, David keeps taking swigs from the well of self-sabotage, and Alexis is…well, Alexis. Creator, writer, star, and director Dan Levy has cemented himself as a force to be reckoned with. Each season of Schitt’s Creek has only improved upon itself; peddling in steady transformations, loopy lightness, and the occasional hard truth. What makes the show so special is the humor it finds in how much its characters care for one another. That’s a rare gift. We’re lucky to have it. (Meg Shields)


19. The Twilight Zone

Between the pit of one’s fears and the summit of one’s knowledge rests The Twilight Zone. Never believing in art for art’s sake, co-creator and host Jordan Peele enthusiastically continues his pursuit of social thrillers by resurrecting Rod Serling‘s brilliant sci-fi anthology series. In the decades since its initial lifespan, The Twilight Zone has seen multiple attempts at new life, but few eras were as hungry for its particular brand of storytelling as 2019. As creators and viewers, we currently have a deep craving for our entertainment to speak truth to power, and every week this reboot forwent subtlety to scream its rage upon the screen. If you’re looking for a carbon copy of the classic series you may be disappointed or appalled. With runtimes stretching more than double, and a far coarser language spitting from its players, the new Twilight Zone is allowed to jab more bluntly. We need and deserve its edge. (Brad Gullickson)


18. Broad City

After five seasons, it’s time to say goodbye to Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer’s beloved Broad City. The final season was bittersweet and sincere: the perfect swan song for one of television’s most genuine friendships. It’s full of callbacks and Easter eggs without sacrificing the growth necessary for a strong finale. Glazer and Jacobson are as on top of their game as ever but Jacobson is a standout, embracing a new and exciting path in her onscreen alter ego’s journey. Abbi and Ilana are venturing into a new world without each other — and without us — and hard as it is to see the raunchy comedy go, we’re left with more hope than heartache. (Kristen Reid)


17. True Detective

After a long hiatus, True Detective returned with a grim story of the murder and disappearance of two children. Many people found the second season to be disappointing, but this third installment brought heartbreaking and surprising moments that made up for it. Mahershala Ali

balances playing his character Detective Wayne at three different points in his life perfectly. His chemistry with partner Roland (Stephen Dorff) makes the dark nature of the story a little bit more watchable. This season captures the obsession that follows an unsolved and mysterious case and brilliantly executes the investigation over three different time hops. (Emily Kubincanek)

16. Gentleman Jack

Based on the diaries and life Anne Lister, Gentleman Jack is a wholly different kind of period drama. With one of the best performances of the year provided by the impeccable Suranne Jones, Gentleman Jack introduces the world to the first recorded woman to collect her own land tax from her tenants and lead a life as a lesbian woman who toyed with gender identity. This first season chronicles Anne’s return to her home in Halifax in 1832. Having been jilted by yet another partner to whom she was devoted, Anne finds a flame in the young and rich Ms. Ann Walker. The series, draped in stunning period costumes and landscape, allows Lister to take agency over her own story, with Jones consistently breaking the fourth wall — addressing the audience directly. It’s the employment of and commentary on such necessary topics as female desire, mental health, and open sexuality that the series handles with absolute grace and intricacy much like the lace of Ms. Walker’s shawl. It’s a stunning, riveting series with orchestrations consisting of such an energetic verve. There’s such care handled in this series, and with a second season ordered, the brilliance of Jones and the excitement of Anne Lister’s life will return for yet another chapter. (Julia Teti)


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Liz Baessler: Liz has an MA in English and a lot of time on her hands.