Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Best TV Shows of 2018-19 - Part One

Beyond my general feelings about writing at the time, one other reason I could have cited last year for perhaps not wanting to continue these lists was the sense that we were entering a potentially weaker era for TV than there's been in some time, with so many defining series of the last half-decade (RectifyThe Americans, Halt and Catch FireThe Leftovers, etc.) ending in the last couple of years without a ton of immediate replacements, while others like Atlanta are still around but on an extended breaks. What was even going to be left? Not in the sense of there being nothing to write about on a general level, of course, but I mean midway through the year I could sense myself reaching for shows I mostly liked but didn't really merit this high of a spot.

And ultimately . . . I kind of did, to be honest. At the very least the first few entries on this list are shows that, to me, fell just a hair's breadth below the "great" threshold I usually like to see. I have basically no honorable mentions, other than perhaps You're the Worst, whose all-timer of a finale was so good that it retroactively made me like the (merely solid) rest of the season leading up to it a lot more. Perhaps Bob's Burgers would also count, were I current on it; the episodes I've seen of its eighth season, while reliably entertaining, would just miss the cut as well. It just wasn't that strong of a year. But . . . it was enough, largely on the strength of a set of dramedies—including several that premiered just before the end of the season—that have managed to carve out a place in a TV environment that's somewhat lacking its usual strength (or at least lacking its usual depth, as there still are a few standouts) in the realm of both the more traditional sitcom and the drama.

Omissions? Well, a few, including a couple ones that some folks would consider significant: Better Things, What We Do in the ShadowsBarry (I really did not click with the parts of season one I watched but I kind of feel it deserves another chance at some point), and Ramy are perhaps the most notable, in terms of shows that probably could have made a legitimate run at a spot. But I didn't get to them in time, alas.

Anyway, let's get to the main event. As usual there are spoilers but none that I personally would consider all that significant. (I'm not generally too much of a spoilerphobe though, so if you are, take that with a grain of salt.)