The 2010s changed television forever, with networks cutting out the middle man that is cable and offering its content directly to consumers through the streaming service market. Now conglomerates like Disney and Apple are entering the market, which will likely lead to smaller services crumbling under the weight of the behemoths.
However, the new standard has raised the bar for television storytelling. Whether it’s one percenter family dramas like Succession or cartoons about puberty like Big Mouth, there’s something for everyone. So much so that the medium is quickly outpacing film when it comes to garnering talent, audience attention, and offering something that’s not poised to become a franchise. This year will see the fruits of the decade’s labor, showcasing the final installment of television golden age, and teasing a quality of shows to come for the next generation.
These are the 10 shows of 2019, in no particular order.
Succession: Season 2
Amongst the landscape’s half dozen shows that focus on one-percenters’ and their dastardly deeds, HBO’s Succession reigns supreme for its dark humor and ability to make you feel empathy for some of the worst characters on television.
This series, which focuses on a family’s global media empire, draws inspiration from the Murdoch family and is primarily about fear. Specifically, the Roy families fear about the future as their ageing father begins to step back from the company. The second season showcased some of the sharpest acting, writing and directing seen on TV this year, and included one very shocking metaphorical mic drop
Big Mouth: Season 3
Game of Thrones: Season 8
Alright, so the series finale of Game of Thrones didn’t pan out the way most fans hoped or expected. However, during the early days of the final season, there was no bigger show on television. That’s no small feat considering the introduction of streaming and on-demand services has meant appointment television is all but dead. Nonetheless, Game of Thrones remains the single (and possibly final) show able to garner a global audience to the screen at one specific time.
Although the series’ heralded plot faltered, this season featured the most cinematic footage ever displayed for a television series. It broke countless records for longest battle scene ever recorded, as well as for the most views and most cost per episode. Game of Thrones: Season 8 was equal parts heartbreaking and spectacle to watch.
Watchmen: Season 1
The Righteous Gemstones: Season 1
When They See Us: Miniseries
Ava DuVernay masterfully raises awareness and offers socially conscious commentary on contemporary issues through the 1989 Central Park Five story. Watching this series to its entirety elicits many emotions, most of which are anger, frustration and a desire for change.
The show created a number of real-life repercussions, even forcing prosecutor Linda Fairstein to address her mishandling of the case. Although there’s little she can say to make what she did justifiable or reset the precedence she helped created in the process, When They See Us nonetheless show’s the power of television.