Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
We may earn a commission from links on this page

The best TV of 2019: The ballots

The best TV of 2019: The ballots
Graphic: Natalie Peeples
We may earn a commission from links on this page.

The A.V. Club’s list of 2019’s best TV was determined by a voting body made up of staffers and contributors, who each submitted a ranked ballot of their top 15 shows of the year. Each of those ballots, ranked from best to still quite excellent, can be found below.

The best TV of 2019: The ballots

Danette Chavez

1. Lodge 49
2. Fleabag
3. BoJack Horseman
4. Russian Doll
5. Watchmen
6. Better Things
7. Pose
8. When They See Us
9. One Day At A Time
10. Undone
11. Barry
12. Vida
13. On Becoming A God In Central Florida
14. Los Espookys
15. Tuca And Bertie

The best TV of 2019: The ballots

Erik Adams

1. Barry
2. Lodge 49
3. Watchmen
4. Fleabag
5. The Other Two
6. Documentary Now
7. Los Espookys
8. I Think You Should Leave With Tim Robinson
9. Ramy
10. The Good Place
11. You’re The Worst
12. What We Do In The Shadows
13. Pen15
14. The Dark Crystal: Age Of Resistance
15. One Day At A Time

The best TV of 2019: The ballots

Sam Barsanti

1. Barry
2. Mr. Robot
3. Chernobyl
4. The Mandalorian
5. Brooklyn Nine-Nine
6. Righteous Gemstones
7. Watchmen
8. Arrow
9. DC’s Legends Of Tomorrow
10. Marvel’s Jessica Jones
11. The Good Place
12. Game Of Thrones
13. Crazy Ex-Girlfriend
14. I Think You Should Leave With Tim Robinson
15. Stranger Things

The best TV of 2019: The ballots

Angelica Cataldo

1. The Mandalorian
2. Barry
3. Dollface
4. Stranger Things
5. Bob’s Burgers
6. It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia
7. Russian Doll
8. Unbelievable
9. What We Do In The Shadows
10. Succession
11. Living With Yourself
12. Game of Thrones
13. Pen15
14. Dead To Me
15. Sex Education

The best TV of 2019: The ballots

Randall Colburn

1. Succession
2. Watchmen
3. Fleabag
4. Chernobyl
5. Ramy
6. Russian Doll
7. Stranger Things
8. On Becoming A God In Central Florida
9. I Think You Should Leave With Tim Robinson
10. Euphoria
11. Unbelievable
12. Barry
13. Veep
14. Lodge 49
15. True Detective

The best TV of 2019: The ballots

William Hughes

1. Fleabag
2. Russian Doll
3. BoJack Horseman
4. I Think You Should Leave With Tim Robinson
5. Infinity Train
6. The Other Two
7. Tuca And Bertie
8. The Good Place
9. Documentary Now!
10. Primal
11. Archer
12. Nailed It
13. Rick And Morty
14. The Great British Baking Show
15. The Mandalorian

The best TV of 2019: The ballots

Gwen Ihnat

1. Succession
2. Watchmen
3. BoJack Horseman
4. Fleabag
5. The Crown
6. Stranger Things
7. Documentary Now!
8. The Good Place
10. Queer Eye
11. Russian Doll
12. Fosse/Verdon
13. Schitt’s Creek
14. Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
15. Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events

The best TV of 2019: The ballots

Baraka Kaseko

1. Barry
2. BoJack Horseman
3. Russian Doll
4. Tuca And Bertie
5. When They See Us
6. Fleabag
7. The Good Place
8. What We Do In The Shadows
9. A.P. Bio
10. Corporate
11. One Day At A Time
12. Problem Areas
13. A Black Lady Sketch Show
14. Crazy Ex-Girlfriend
15. The Other Two

The best TV of 2019: The ballots

Alex McLevy

1. The Good Place
2. Succession
3. Russian Doll
4. Watchmen
5. Mr. Robot
6. Fleabag
7. Barry
8. Chernobyl
9. When They See Us
10. The Other Two
11. Doom Patrol
12. Veep
13. Pen15
14. I Think You Should Leave With Tim Robinson
15. The OA: Part II

The best TV of 2019: The ballots

Shannon Miller

1. Undone
2. The Good Place
3. Schitt’s Creek
4. Russian Doll
5. Documentary Now!
6. Pose
7. Watchmen
8. Derry Girls
9. On My Block
10. Crazy Ex-Girlfriend
11. Big Mouth
12. Tuca And Bertie
13. Euphoria
14. Elite
15. Carole And Tuesday

The best TV of 2019: The ballots

Kelsey J. Waite

1. Fleabag
2. Undone
3. Watchmen
4. Succession
5. Russian Doll
6. When They See Us
7. Gentleman Jack
8. Barry
9. The Dark Crystal: Age Of Resistance
10. Chernobyl
11. Broad City
12. Mindhunter
13. High Maintenance
14. Los Espookys
15. Better Things

The best TV of 2019: The ballots

LaToya Ferguson

Disclaimer: As tends to be the method behind my madness, my list was carefully curated in order to both root for the underdog more often than not and to especially use math to attempt to game the system. But I am not without reason, which is why I didn’t make my number 15 my number 1, even though I mightily considered it.

1. The Other Two
2. Lucifer
3. Succession
4. Legacies
5. On Becoming A God In Central Florida
6. Fleabag
7. DC’s Legends Of Tomorrow
8. Sherman’s Showcase
9. The Righteous Gemstones
10. Barry
11. This Way Up
12. You’re The Worst
13. The Good Fight
14. Brockmire
15. Whiskey Cavalier

The best TV of 2019: The ballots

Kyle Fowle

1. Lodge 49
2. The Righteous Gemstones
3. Mr. Robot
4. BoJack Horseman
5. Billions
6. You’re The Worst
7. Succession
8. When They See Us
9. Watchmen
10. Better Things
11. Russian Doll
12. The Good Place
13. Queer Eye
14. Mindhunter
15. True Detective

The best TV of 2019: The ballots

Kate Kulzick

1. Fleabag
Phoebe Waller-Bridge, intense discussions of faith and love, those pesky foxes, and the most shocking glance to camera in recent TV history. What’s not to love?

2. Unbelievable
Many shows have approached the difficult topics of sexual assault and trauma. Few have done it with the humanity, grace, and clear-eyed honesty of this based-on-a-true-story miniseries.

3. Russian Doll
It’s hard to find a new way into a time loop narrative. Natasha Lyonne did so, and did it with style.

4. Schitt’s Creek
Season five had one great episode after another, delivering emotional highs like Stevie’s turn as Sally Bowles and Patrick’s tear-jerker of a proposal without straying too far from the delightfully silly comedy that fuels the show.

5. Crazy Ex-Girlfriend
Making a single musical episode is tricky. Rachel Bloom and Aline Brosh McKenna made the best musical series in TV history, sticking the landing with a pitch-perfect ending.

6. Steven Universe
The show may have only had a handful of episodes this year, but Steven’s joyous, tearful fusion with himself and the confident simplicity of the series-ending “Change Your Mind” is enough to earn its place on this list.

7. Watchmen
It’s difficult to know exactly where to rank this series without seeing the final few episodes, but it cemented its place in the Best of 2019 discussion with its premiere and only grew from there. Not only is it the biggest, most refreshing surprise of the year, it’s prompted some of the year’s most thoughtful and personal TV writing.

8. Queen Sugar 
Oh, Nova. The writers may have had to work overtime to spark the instigating drama for the season, but there’s no arguing with the fallout. In its fourth season, the show remains one of the most compelling, and most critically overlooked, dramas on TV.

9. Veep
Selina, Gary, and the Dubonnet. While not the show’s strongest season, its finale was brilliant and brutal, another perfect send-off in a year full of them.

10. Jane The Virgin
It had its ups and downs, but this series never strayed far from its emotional core, the Villanueva women, centering their essential goodness and the strength of their connection right to the end.

11. Pose
The drama, the lewks, the history; there are any number of strengths to recommend this series. Come for the representation and the love, stay for Billy Porter, MJ Rodriguez, and Patti LuPone tearing the house down.

12. Barry
Bill Hader continues his excellent work in season two, somehow finding more to say after what would have been a great series finale. But who are we kidding—it’s all about that fight choreography in “ronny/lily”.

13. Superstore
The series found a new gear in 2019 as it broached union organizing, the allure of a management position, and the devastating, season-ending ICE raid and subsequent arrest of Mateo. Not only is this the best sitcom on network TV, it’s consistently the most thoughtful and nuanced.

14. One Day At A Time
It may not have packed quite the emotional wallop of seasons one and two, but season three had plenty to say about family, relationships, and responsibility. Between Schneider’s arc, Justina Machado’s terrific work as Penny, notably in “Anxiety”, and national treasure Rita Moreno, this remained one of the most engaging series of the year.

15. The Good Place
It’s very much an open question whether this series will stick its dismount, but its final season has been a playful, emotional one regardless, gifting fans with Michael the 50-foot demon squid, the return of Vicky, and the same philosophical and metaphysical quandaries that have been the backbone of the show throughout its run.

The best TV of 2019: The ballots

Myles McNutt

1. Watchmen
2. Unbelievable
3. Chernobyl
4. The Other Two
5. Russian Doll
6. Fleabag
7. BoJack Horseman
8. Mindhunter
9. Looking For Alaska
10. The Mandalorian
11. Pose
12. Lodge 49
13. GLOW
14. Schitt’s Creek
15. Game Of Thrones

The best TV of 2019: The ballots

Noel Murray

1. Fosse/Verdon
2. The Good Fight
3. The Good Place
4. Lodge 49
5. Succession
6. Watchmen
7. Derry Girls
8. Russian Doll
9. Chernobyl
10. Perpetual Grace Ltd.
11. Infinity Train
12. Pose
13. GLOW
14. Game Of Thrones
15. Star Trek: Discovery

The best TV of 2019: The ballots

Vikram Murthi

1. The Deuce
2. Lodge 49
3. Succession
4. Watchmen
5. Barry
6. Fleabag
7. You’re The Worst
8. Superstore
9. Brockmire
10. Mr. Robot
11. I Think You Should Leave With Tim Robinson
12. Documentary Now!
13. Rick And Morty
14. Bob’s Burgers
15. The Other Two

The best TV of 2019: The ballots

Dennis Perkins

1. The Good Place
In its fourth and final season, Michael Schur’s blessedly bananas creation has mastered the art of its afterlife’s twists and turns so deftly that it’s best just to trust in the roller coaster construction and hang on. Planned from the start as Schur and company’s deceptively deep delve into the moral and ethical questions of human existence, this impeccably cast and written sitcom hurtles toward its January 30 all-or-nothing denouement with the comic-cosmic confidence of the divine.

2. Big Mouth
A splashy, sticky, hilarious rebuttal to those who whine about comedy being too safe these days, Nick Kroll, Jennifer Flackett, Andrew Goldberg, and Mark Levin’s coming-of-age series puts the most explicitly outrageous material in the mouths of barely pubescent middle schoolers. An animated Freaks & Geeks for the Netflix set, Big Mouth proves that pushing comedy boundaries doesn’t mean reining in “edgy” comedy, as much as finding ways to do it better.

3. Rick And Morty
4. Barry
5. Killing Eve

6. I Think You Should Leave With Tim Robinson
Robinson, late of Saturday Night Live, crafted an entire sketch series out of those oddball conceptual sketches the show would squeeze in at 10-to-1 on Sunday morning. Centering on the perpetually pop-eyed Robinson’s all-too-relatable terrors of public humiliation, the show is as singularly, uncomfortably funny as its creator.

7. Last Week Tonight
As much public service as topical comedy at this point, John Oliver’s endlessly ballsy and insightful political dissections still find time to make the world’s largest cake, troll the FCC over robocalls with a giant foam finger, and launch a lavish Times Square musical number to flip off the litigious target of one of their previous stories.

8. Crazy Ex-Girlfriend

9. Tuca And Bertie
That even the supposedly boundless new TV landscape called streaming couldn’t make room for a second season of this outrageously warm and funny animated series from BoJack Horseman‘s Lisa Hanawalt shows just how little corporate thinking will ever change, no matter the format.

10. Documentary Now!

11. Los Espookys
Speaking of the 10-to-1 SNL slot, this six-episode series from current Saturday Night Live writer Julio Torres, former SNL-er Fred Armisen, and co-creator/co-star Anna Fabrega is as weird, warm, and wonderful as a show bursting with fake blood, severed heads, and absurdist plot twists gets. Plus, a slyly winning celebration of creativity and friendship should always have room for the odd tentacle-monster.

12. Fleabag
13. What We Do In The Shadows
14. Brooklyn Nine-Nine
15. Russian Doll

The best TV of 2019: The ballots

Allison Shoemaker

1. Fleabag
Love stories aren’t always about romantic love. This one is, and isn’t. There’s Fleabag and the priest, and there’s Fleabag and her sister, and there’s Fleabag and herself. But there’s also Fleabag and us. She dumps us at the end of season two, when she leaves the camera behind. She’s outgrown us. It’s a perfect ending, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t a wallop to the heart.

2. Unbelievable

3. Russian Doll
What a concept! And what a pair of performances. Natasha Lyonne isn’t hurting for praise, so let me salute Charlie Barnett, without whom the show would simply not function.

4. Undone
Rosa Salazar’s fantastic lead performance is the key that unlocks this emotional internal mystery, captured in a breathtaking combination of rotoscoping and other forms of animation.

5. Crazy Ex-Girlfriend
I have written tens of thousands of words about this show for this site. Instead of rehashing it all, I want to use this space to remind and/or alert you to the fact that this year Crazy Ex-Girlfriend aired an episode-length Cats parody about yeast infections that turned “Macavity” into “my cavity.”

6. Succession
Shakespeare meets Austen meets the heat-death of media meets the inevitability of blood-sucking soullessness from people who value power and money above all else meets that incredible theme song.

7. When They See Us
Ava DuVernay’s brutal miniseries is essential viewing, and not just because Jharrel Jerome and the rest of the young cast are astonishingly good.

8. The Good Place
This season might not have the breathless daring of the last two, but its heart runs fathoms deep, and the last three episodes of the year are among the series’ best.

9. Watchmen
In my defense, I filed my ballot before seeing the three most recent episodes of this series. Knowing what I know now, this would be higher.

10. One Day at a Time
Awards are silly but Justina Machado deserved all of them for “Anxiety” and “Drinking And Driving,” and so did Todd Grinnell.

11. Pose
No single moment of TV this year has lived with me like Candy (Angelica Ross) lip-syncing to “Never Knew Love Like This Before.” An incredible moment in a great season.

12. A Black Lady Sketch Show
Two things: I am a sucker for a good unconventional post-apocalyptic story. I am also Awkward. In. The Body! How could I not love this? It was a good year for sketch, but A Black Lady Sketch Show’s “Basic Ball” made me laugh harder than almost anything else this year, and “Invisible Spy” is one of the best recurring sketches on TV in years. Plus, they got Patti LaBelle!

13. Vida
Tanya Saracho’s Vida is rightly lauded for its excellent performances, incisive writing, and commitment to centering queer, female and non-binary, and Latinx voices both in front of and behind the camera. But you know what? It’s also one of the best-looking shows on TV. The cinematography is top-tier. The direction is impeccable. It’s beautiful, immersive, often dreamlike filmmaking.

14. The Other Two
Two incredible performances, sharp, smart writing, a bottomless well of empathy, and “Marry U At Recess.” Bless.

15. Evil
The biggest TV mystery of 2019 is this: How on earth is Evil airing on CBS? The DNA of this series from The Good Wife/The Good Fight creators Robert and Michelle King is the stuff of pure, undiluted CBS, to be sure: hot people you know from other TV shows (Mike Colter, Katja Herbers, Aasif Mandvi) team up to solve a case of the week, with a throughline of the miraculous not all that surprising on the network that brought you Touched By An Angel, Joan Of Arcadia, and God Friended Me. But the demon named George would like to alert you to the fact that Evil is significantly weirder, funnier, sexier, and far more ambiguous than its trappings would suggest.

The best TV of 2019: The ballots

Caroline Siede

1. Chernobyl
Few shows have so perfectly embodied the idea that the more specific something is, the more universal it can feel. The incredible level of historical detail in Craig Mazin’s absolutely terrifying HBO miniseries adds up to a timeless, relevant exploration of oversight failures, government inaction, and unlikely sources of heroism.

2. When They See Us
Like Chernobyl, When They See Us is a harrowing watch that draws crucial connections between the recent past and the present. But creator Ava DuVernay has the even more personal aim of reclaiming the stories of five men who had their youth stolen by the corrupt criminal justice system. Alongside Selma and her documentary 13th, When They See Us is another a crucial piece of DuVernay’s ever expanding portrait of black American history.

3. Succession
Considering I ranked Succession as my number one show of last year and that I consider its second season even stronger than its first, its placement on this list is really just further testament to how great Chernobyl and When They See Us are. As they say, you can’t make a Tomlette without breaking a few Gregs.

4. The Other Two
If The Other Two were just a hilariously biting satire of modern-day celebrity culture, it probably still would’ve earned a spot on my list (and a spot in the Difficult People-shaped hole in my heart). But what impressed me most about the show is its commitment to actually depicting nuanced character evolutions, even in its fully wackadoo world.

5. Fleabag
The first season of Fleabag brought a fresh comedic voice to some fairly familiar TV topics. The second is wholly (and holy) original, swinging between uproarious hilarity and heartbreakingly profundity. Kneel, indeed.

6. Fosse/Verdon
Fosse/Verdon delivered consistent sky-high quality in a “never know what you’re gonna get” package that took on the flavor of a new Bob Fosse/Gwen Verdon collaboration each week. Add in all-time great performances from Michelle Williams and Sam Rockwell plus scene-stealing turns from Norbert Leo Butz and Margaret Qualley, and this FX limited series very much earned its jazz hands—and the grateful thanks of musical theater fans everywhere.

7. Russian Doll
A lot of shows claim to be like nothing else on TV, but this darkly comedic sci-fi mystery earns that distinction over and over (and over) again. Hopefully its success will inspire people to check out the other great work of co-creator/director Leslye Headland, including Bachelorette and Sleeping with Other People. 

8. Jane The Virgin
Despite a borderline unforgivable misstep in bringing one beloved character back from the dead, Jane The Virgin ended its run with the same humanistic, unapologetically romantic approach that earned it the No. 1 spot on my ballot of the best TV shows of the decade.

9. Crazy Ex-Girlfriend
While the final season of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend wasn’t the show’s flashiest or funniest, it was exhilarating to watch the series stick the landing on Rebecca Bloom’s carefully plotted, four-season-long mental health journey.

10. Pose
Moving into the 1990s and dropping the unnecessary suburban couple from the first season allowed Pose’s sophomore outing to put even more of a focus on the experiences of gay and trans people of color. The show’s unique blend of heart, humor, and humanity provides a vital throughline from the past to the present, all while reclaiming the narrative of whose history gets explored on TV.

11. Good Trouble
Even if, like me, you’ve never seen The Fosters, don’t let that stop you from checking out its fantastic spin-off series, Good Trouble, which explores complex Millennial/Gen Z issues in a way that many shows strive for and few do as well. Plus it gets extra points for squeezing a season and a half into one calendar year.

12. Barry
Despite my fears that Barry’s second season would be an unnecessary addition to a pitch-perfect first season that felt very much complete, season two effectively expands the show’s increasingly grim mythology. Plus it gives Sarah Goldberg’s Sally one of the most compelling subplots of the year as she grapples with the challenge of turning a past abusive relationship into art.

13. Younger
In its past few seasons, Younger has become one of TV’s best portraits of women and their careers—a topic Megan Angelo explored in detail for Glamour. Plus this season featured Sutton Foster, Hilary Duff, and Miriam Shor singing “9 To 5.” What’s not to love? 

14. On Becoming A God In Central Florida
Surreal barely even begins to describe this dark comedy about a multi-level marketing scheme in 1990s Orlando. But, most importantly, On Becoming A God gives Kirsten Dunst a juicy starring role to sink her braces-lined teeth into. Let the Dunst Renaissance begin!

15. Ramy
It’s a joy to watch Ramy Youssef’s comedic voice emerge so fully formed in the rare comedy about young people who yearn to embrace their family’s religious tradition, not rebel from it. Come for the nuanced look at millennial Muslim American life; stay for the very unexpected turn the season finale takes.

The best TV of 2019: The ballots

Eric Thurm

1. Mob Psycho 100
The premise of Mob Psycho 100 breaks a lot of “rules” of how TV is supposed to work. The protagonist, middle school student Kageyama Shigeo, is an unbelievably powerful psychic, so skilled that he’s never really in danger of losing a battle. Yet Shigeo, a.k.a. Mob, only cares about being well-liked. And not because he wants to be socially successful (though he does), but because he has a remarkably defined idea of what it means to live a good and meaningful life, and that idea includes relationships with other people. The Good Place is about trying to figure out how humans should act. Lots of other shows are about ignoring that question entirely. Mob Psycho 100 is about doing the work to actually be. It helps that Mob is surrounded by remarkably well-defined, goofy characters who are simultaneously incredibly cool and deeply pathetic, while animation powerhouse Studio Bones captures the fluid, amateurish feel of the original webcomic. Even as the popularity of anime grows, it still feels like we’re a ways away from anime series winding up on American year-end lists. Hopefully whenever it happens, it’ll be something as breathtaking, visually inventive, and heartfelt as Mob Psycho.

2. Watchmen
3. The Righteous Gemstones
4. Tuca And Bertie

5. Sarazanmai
Sarazanmai is a bit of a departure for director Kunihiko Ikuhara—it’s about boys. Ikuhara is, perhaps, best known for Revolutionary Girl Utena, an enormously popular (and enormously gay) ’90s anime series that serves as one of the primary influences on Steven Universe, and his work often delves into lesbian relationships. (One series is named Yurikuma Arashi, which roughly translates to “Lesbian Bear Storm.”) Ikuhara’s latest heavily features kappas, frog spirits that pull an organ out of people’s butts; demonic otters representing abstract concepts; and some very bizarre musical sequences, all in the service of a simple (really!) story about three boys trying to connect with each other, and with the world. If that sounds like your bag… well, if not, it’s only 11 episodes.

6. Undone
7. The Magicians
8. Succession
9. Billions
10. Los Espookys
11. What We Do In The Shadows
12. Barry
13. I Think You Should Leave With Tim Robinson
14. Russian Doll

15. JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Golden Wind
JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure is a ridiculously long-running series about incredibly beefy boys in weird outfits punching each other in increasingly complex ways. In Golden Wind (which, admittedly, started airing at the tail end of 2018), a group of absurdly dressed mafioso with good hair scheme to discover the identity of their boss, traveling through the Italian countryside on a journey that includes a computer that makes clones of people, a magic fishhook, a shark that appears in people’s soup in order to eat their tongues, and a lot of Prince references. There’s a lot to recommend the franchise, which is so sincere and over-the-top that it sometimes hurts. But, if you’re looking for something with gorgeous, ridiculous animation that hits in the rough vicinity of campy superhero material, the best reason to check out JoJo—and Golden Wind in particular—is the boys. The boys. The boys.

The best TV of 2019: The ballots

Kayla Kumari Upadhyaya

1. Pen15
Emma Erskine and Anna Konkle truly made television magic with their little webseries about the turmoil of puberty. The conceit is absurd—two thirtysomethings playing middle schoolers amid a cast of actual middle schoolers—and yet it works incredibly well. Pen15 captures a specific moment in adolescence but also a specific moment in time: the music, the fashion, the cultural references, and the ridiculously good AIM episode all make this show a perfect snowglobe for the year 2000.

2. Vida
Vida continues to be a quiet but powerful revelation in the premium cable comedy landscape, centering the lives of Latinx women in East Los Angeles and exploring queerness in that community with specificity and a broad scope that accounts for differences in class, family, and race. It’s smart, funny, and also wildly sexy—with some of the most realistic and captivating queer sex scenes on television.

3. One Day At A Time
I wrote about this show in the Big List both last year and this year, so it is very dear to me. Elena Alvarez is one of the best television characters of the decade.

4. The Good Place
A series that not only considers empathy but actively champions it, The Good Place is a special weirdo. Kristen Bell and Ted Danson obviously anchor the hell out of it, but the show has also delivered breakout stars like Manny Jacinto and William Jackson Harper. It’s hilarious and bizarre, but it also legitimately folds moral philosophy into its narrative, making for a sharp series that promotes kindness and community, and that’s refreshing as hell—er, the Bad Place.

5. Pose
Pose has always been important, ambitious television, but it trimmed the excess and zeroed in on its best stories in its most recent season, which in turn buoyed the show. The way the show renegotiates ideas of family, love, and survival is smart and nuanced and steeped in the language of QTPOC. And its explicit emphasis on queer joy still feels revolutionary.

6. Sex Education
Came to the show for the Gillian Anderson, stayed for the thoughtful and funny contemplations of young sexuality and coming-of-age. Sex Education is a weird delight, but it’s one that understands teen anxiety, awkwardness, and desire very well.

7. The Good Fight
The Good Fight no doubt descended into madness this season, but isn’t that what 2019 feels like anyway? No show is better at capturing Trump-induced paranoia better, and The Good Fight does so while also being a compelling legal drama with a singular sense of humor.

8. When They See Us
Ava DuVernay focuses on the people and communities at the heart of the Central Park Five, yielding a deeply emotional, incisive, upsetting series that doesn’t milk this moment in history for plot tension or drama but rather just lets the stories breathe and burn. The performances are incredible.

GLOW gets a scenery change, heading to Vegas this year, and it shakes things up for all the characters, putting new stakes on the already complicated and interesting relationship dynamics at play in this unlikely family. It’s a smart series about women’s ambitions, women’s work, and the boundaries that break down between the personal and the professional. Betty Gilpin and Alison Brie continue to be overlooked in their performances.

10. A Black Lady Sketch Show
In its first season, A Black Lady Sketch Show is already well on its way for sketch series legend status. It’s funny, of course, but it’s also got a penchant for taking things in unexpected directions, sometimes changing the conceit of the sketch midway but still organic and smooth in its tonal and scope shifts.

11. Mrs. Fletcher
Kathryn Hahn is a star, and this series finally uses her to the max. It’s a quiet, awkward, instantly immersive contemplation of desire, fantasy, and entering new stages of life, and the dual stories it tells of a mother and son complement each other very well even while diverging greatly. It’s the sleeper hit of the year.

12. Killing Eve
Sandra Oh and Jodie Comer are two of the most compelling television co-stars in the game right now, and they make the sly, seductive spy thriller instantly arresting. It’s easy to be obsessed with a show so steeped in obsession.

13. Succession
I was admittedly late to the Succession game, but here I am, fully converted. The yacht-set season finale contains every piece of what I love about this show, which is such a beautifully constructed symphony about deeply ugly people.

14. BoJack Horseman
The depressed alcoholic animated horse show continues to break my heart over and over with its gutting, extremely well written stories about addiction, loss, grief, and identity crisis.

15. You’re The Worst
I will miss this show and its relentless interrogation of happiness and romance and friendship and the often crushing pursuit of all three that dooms humanity! It sticks the landing on its final season.