Lists · TV

The 25 Best TV Shows of 2019 So Far

The year’s best shows are the funniest, the most terrifying and, unexpectedly, the most filled with love.
Best Tv Midyear
By  · Published on June 27th, 2019

10. What We Do in the Shadows

What We Do In The Shadows Show

A spin-off on the 2014 film of the same name, Jemaine Clement and Taika Waititi invite mere mortals into the shadows for the bloody delightful FX series. Set in the mockumentary style, a la The Office or Parks and Recreation, What We Do In The Shadows follows three vampires of Staten Island in their daily — in this case nightly — lives and the shenanigans and hijinks they encounter or find themselves in. For fans of the original film, there’s little disappointment to be found here. Combining vampire lore with an absurdist, idiosyncratic look and tone, the series provided one of the best cameo episodes of the year with more than enough blood in its body for fans to sink their teeth into. The sardonic humor and wryness of its cast make for all-around standout performances, while the writing keeps the coffin cracked for possibilities. The series has been renewed for a second season. Hide the garlic, these vampires are here to stay. (Julia Teti)

9. Big Little Lies

Big Little Lies

A pop culture phenomenon in its own right, Big Little Lies walks the fine line between memeable high melodrama and vital storytelling about the inner lives of women. There are so many reasons to be thankful for this show. There’s the emotionally raw exploration of assault and abuse, which continues now as Jane (Shailene Woodley) and Celeste (Nicole Kidman) struggle to keep their composure when faced with harsh realities about Perry’s (Alexander Skaarsgard) true nature — with Bonnie (Zoe Kravitz) caught in the crossfire. There’s the wicked commentary on how to parent a generation whose world might be gone by the time they’re grown. And then there’s the downright delicious stuff, like Laura Dern’s screaming boss bitch Renata, Reese vs. Meryl in a battle between the short and the weird, angry-hot-nerdy Adam Scott, and, of course, that dreamily infectious theme song. With several episodes to go in its second season and no source material left to stick to, Big Little Lies is poised to be the prime-time gift that keeps on giving. (Valerie Ettenhofer)

8. Sex Education

Sex Education

Look, you guys. It cannot be all of your vaginas. Sex Education fell into our Netflix queues this past January like a delightfully unexpected handful of free condoms. The show follows the precocious (and ironically sexually reluctant) son of a renowned sex therapist, and the unexpected journey he and his ragtag pals take starting a sex therapy clinic at their high school. While the underlying gambit might not be all that earth-shattering (those doing the helping are in need of help themselves), Sex Education’s appeal is in its compelling characters, endearing indelicacies, and undeniable heart. It’s a teen sex comedy that respects its teens and manages to strike the delicate balance between sweetness and wisdom. What’s not to love? Sure doesn’t hurt that it’s gorgeous to look at either. (Meg Shields)

7. Killing Eve

Killing Eve

Season one of BBC America’s spy thriller Killing Eve took the world by storm last year, garnering a historic Golden Globe win for star Sandra Oh and a BAFTA for Jodie Comer. Self-defined as “untraditional,” Killing Eve gives a different female showrunner a chance to take the reins each season; Emerald Fennell took over from creator Phoebe Waller-Bridge, who stayed on as an executive producer, and Suzanne Heathcote (Fear The Walking Dead) will helm season three. Following a dramatic cliffhanger at the end of season one, Villanelle and Eve’s captivating game of cat and mouse further evolves into something even murkier. The already-cloudy lines continue to blur as each character scrambles to stay just one step ahead of the other. In addition to Oh and Comer’s enigmatic chemistry, Fiona Shaw is a scene stealer with her impeccable performance as Eve’s cryptic and ruthless boss, Carolyn Martens. Season one may have set a high bar, but with a killer follow up, Fennell and Waller-Bridge prove that was by no accident. With another twist-laden finale, we’re once again holding our breaths, desperate for Villanelle and Killing Eve’s return. (Kristen Reid)

6. I Think You Should Leave with Tim Robinson

I Think You Should Leave

When it comes to sketch comedy, the more ridiculous the better. I Think You Should Leave with Tim Robinson nails that. Each sketch is more bonkers than the last without ever feeling like it’s trying too hard to get the laughs. It’s hard to have a sketch show center around one comedian when some tend to sit in similar characters, but Robinson’s characters are so different and funny in various ways. It’s a show that you think you know your favorite sketch but then remember even better ones as you talk about it with other people. The only shame is that episodes are only 15 minutes long, but luckily we are due for more Tim Robinson since the show was renewed for a second season. (Emily Kubincanek)

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Liz Baessler is a frequent contributor and infrequent columnist at Film School Rejects. She has an MA in English and a lot of time on her hands. (She/Her)