One of the first big TV hits of 2019 sent us in a loop over and over again, returning endlessly to a bathroom mirror, a Harry Nilsson song, and that infernal greeting: “Sweet birthday baby!” And in some ways, Russian Doll makes for a perfect metaphor for the year in television. You’d finish a new series, and then boom, you’re back in the bathroom mirror. Gotta get up, gotta get out, gotta get home before the next show comes.
But like Nadia’s trips round and round through the same night and day, that cycle contained endless variations. Oh, and what variations there were. With more than 600 series making their way to air (or stream) in 2019, there was something for you, and probably quite a few somethings. Sure, Game of Thrones met its fiery end—not all of it bad, lest we forget!—but in the place of one big, conversation-dominating shows, we got many smaller ones. Hot Priest! Boar on the Floor! “A Little Bit Alexis,” “a legit snack, and “A God Walks Into Abar.” And that’s not counting that brightest of beacons, Baby Yoda, and yes we know it’s not actual Baby Yoda, but we’re not calling that little guy “The Child,” it’s Baby Yoda forever.
The downside of such bounty is that our list, like your viewing schedule, cannot possibly include all the greats. Some of our favorites won’t be found within—no Brooklyn Nine-Nine, no DC’s Legends of Tomorrow, no Veronica Mars/Ramy/Vida, the list goes on. But these are our picks for the greatest of a great year. Some will be back in 2020, some won’t. But whether your fave is returning or not, never fear: You’ll always have something to watch. Gotta get up, gotta get out…
Alec Berg Aline Brosh-McKenna Amazon Prime Annual Report 2019 Anthony Carrigan Ava DuVernay Barry BBC Bill Hader Bob Peterson Brad Falchuk Cate Blanchett Catherine O'Hara Charlie Barnett Chernobyl Conner O'Malley Craig Mazin Crazy Ex-Girlfriend Dale Dickey Damon Herriman Dan Harmon Dan Levy David Mandel Documentary Now! Emily Watson Eric Kripke Fleabag Fred Armisen Gloria Calderon Kellett Grammys 2020 HBO Holt McCallany I Think You Should Leave IFC Jack Quaid Jared Harris jemaine clement Jeremy Strong Jesse Armstrong Jharrel Jerome Joe Penhall Johan Renck Jonathan Groff Julia Louis-Dreyfus Justin Roiland Justina Machado Karl Urban Kate Berlant Leslye Headland Lisa Hanawalt Loren Bouchard Louis Leterrier Manny Jacinto Merritt Wever Michael Chabon Michael Schur Natasha Lyonne Netflix Nora Smith one day at a time Paul Simms Phoebe Waller-Bridge Rachel Bloom Raphael Bob-Waksberg Regina King Rita Moreno Russian Doll Ryan Murphy Sam Levinson Schitt's Creek Scott Michael Foster Seth Meyers Stellan Skarsgård steven canals Superhero Series Taika Waititi The Boys The CW The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance Tim Heidecker Tim Robinson Todd Grinnell Toni Collette Tony Hale Vanessa Bayer Veep Vincent Rodriguez III Zendaya