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The best TV shows of 2019, so far

From Game of Thrones to Love Island and the best of Netflix

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It’s near impossible to keep up with TV. There’s just so much more of it — so many episodes, so many seasons! The medium just keeps going, even when it’s not initially supposed to (ahem, Big Little Lies season 2). So unless you know exactly what kind of show you’re looking for, it’s easy to get overwhelmed.

With that in mind, we’ve put together a list of the very best TV shows of 2019. This is everything that’s debuted this year (so far) that’s worth catching, from new shows to returning series. On this list, you’ll find everything from zany sketch comedies to fuzzy bears to contract killers and, you know, Game of Thrones.

New shows

As Valery Legasov and Ulana Khomyuk, Jared Harris and Emily Watson stand over a table covered with documents in Chernobyl
Jared Harris and Emily Watson in Chernobyl.
Photo: Liam Daniel/HBO

Chernobyl

Centered around the Chernobyl nuclear disaster of 1986 and its subsequent fallout, the HBO miniseries Chernobyl is a master class in creating tension in events to which the end is already common knowledge. The Terror and Mad Men’s Jared Harris stars as Valery Legasov, the deputy director of the Kurchatov Institute, with Stellan Skarsgård as Boris Shcherbina, the Council of Ministers’ deputy chairman, and Emily Watson as Ulana Khomyuk, a nuclear physicist (and a composite character). Their task is to contain an unfathomable (and ongoing) crisis, as the officials who should be providing them with help continue to deny that anything is wrong in order to project the image of total control.

Series creator Craig Mazin’s point is clear: The truth will always come out, making the damage done by willful deception all the more heinous given how preventable and ultimately useless it is. The series’ dissection of abuse of power and devaluing the truth also rings uncannily true in today’s landscape, making the increasingly brutal effects of the disaster especially harrowing to watch. —Karen Han

Stream on HBO Go/HBO Now

From Doom Patrol, the team of the same name.
From Doom Patrol, the team of the same name.
Jace Downs/Warner Bros. Entertainment

Doom Patrol

There are adaptations of obscure comic book characters, and then there’s Doom Patrol, a TV series based on the most simultaneously absurd and high-concept superhero team in the DC Universe, available only on the company’s subscription-based streaming-and-digital-comics platform. But Doom Patrol is the best superhero show on the air right now, period.

In a nutshell, Doom Patrol is a group of superheroes whose tragically gained powers leave them ostracized from normal society. Instead of dimming the wildness of Doom Patrol for a larger audience, DC Universe’s series presents the characters largely intact, filling the show with messages delivered via donkey fart, mental subway systems, and megalomaniacal talking cockroaches.

Starring an improbable cast that includes Timothy Dalton, Alan Tudyk, Brendan Fraser, and Matt Bomer, Doom Patrol’s weirdness is anchored in an unvarying series of incredible performances, tied to captivating characters Get in on this one now, while it’s still too young to be called a cult favorite. —Susana Polo

Stream on DC Universe

friends Jules and Rue press their foreheads together on Euphoria
Jules (Hunter Schafer) and Rue (Zendaya) share a tender moment.
HBO

Euphoria

Euphoria is technically a teen drama in the sense that it is a drama about teens. However, it avoids many of the kitschy hallmarks of the genre: Mysterious deaths, potential supernatural occurrences, and rigidly divided cliques don’t have a place in HBO’s first show for teens, which tries to lean into a more realistic portrayal of adolescence. Sure, there are cheerleaders and football players and nerds and goth kids, but every character gets their due diligence under the hand of showrunner Sam Levinson. The series has caught some flak for its somewhat gratuitous nudity, and more than once has pushed the boundaries of provocation with touchy topics like real person fanfiction and drug abuse. While the series constantly has me muttering, “Do teens today really do this?” — and I was a teen, like, two years ago! — it’s beautifully shot and utterly enthralling. Featuring stunning performances from Zendaya, Hunter Schafer, Barbie Ferreira, and others, Euphoria is one of the most compelling series of the year. —Palmer Haasch

Stream on HBO Go/HBO Now

in the middle of a crowded restaurant, Aziraphale, dressed in lighter colors, and Crowley, dressed in mostly black, have a toast on Good Omens
Aziraphale (Michael Sheen) and Crowley (David Tennant) share a toast in Good Omens.
Photo: Chris Raphael/Amazon

Good Omens

Based on the 1990 fantasy novel by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett, Good Omens follows an angel (Michael Sheen) and a demon (David Tennant) as they try to stop the end of the world. There’s also a precocious Antichrist, a delusional witch hunter, a deliveryman to the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, and so much more. It’s a book adaptation that sticks closely to the source material, never sacrificing much in tone and quality to streamline the story or add more details. The third episode, in particular, begins with a 20-minute intro recounting events that weren’t in the books: all the times Crowley and Aziraphale crossed paths over the centuries. Every moment of the show makes use of Gaiman and Pratchett’s distinct prose, and Sheen and Tennant’s absolute mastery of their characters. It’s a series that revels in what it is: an adaptation of an iconic book that knows exactly what made it special.

Ultimately Good Omens is a love letter — between Crowley and Aziraphale, to Terry Pratchett, to long fans of the novel, to British television, to humanity. —Petrana Radulovic

Stream on Amazon

Will Forte and Tim Robinson in I Think You Should Leave with Tim Robinson.
Will Forte and Tim Robinson in I Think You Should Leave with Tim Robinson.
Eddy Chen/Netflix

I Think You Should Leave with Tim Robinson

To see Tim Robinson is to love Tim Robinson. From his brief stint on camera in Saturday Night Live to Comedy Central’s too-pure-for-this-world sitcom Detroiters, Robinson has proven to be a rare comedic gem, and nothing makes that more clear than his new Netflix series. I Think You Should Leave with Tim Robinson is the purest distillation of his particular sense of humor, which escalates everyday scenarios of embarrassment and denial to an extreme. Awkward though the setups may be, they’re not really cringe-inducing — it’s almost freeing when Robinson gets to let loose and scream. —KH

Stream on Netflix

the members of the horror group Los Espookys are dressed as aliens and gathered around a table upon which one of them is covered in wires.
The cast of Los Espookys carrying out an extraterrestrial job.
Jennifer Clasen/HBO

Los Espookys

It’s rare that a comedy’s visuals are as striking as its jokes, but Los Espookys manages just that. Whether it’s the lightning-blue hair of Julio Torres as Andres or the set of a cupcake-pink American embassy, this show is all about the aesthetics — pink, goth, or otherwise. The debut season of the show follows four friends, Renaldo (Bernardo Velasco), Tati (Ana Fabrega), Andrés (Julio Torres), and Úrsula (Cassandra Ciangherotti), as they try to run a successful horror group called Los Espookys.

Throughout the season, there is a sense of distance between the four friends. What with the self-absorbed Andrés, irked by his mind parasite that wants him to download an HD copy of The King’s Speech, and the extremely grounded and hardworking Úrsula and her dim-witted sister Tati, who literally wants to be Cirque du Soleil, the differences between the four friends seem irreconcilable. The distance between all four is only closed, mentally and physically, through the forced hugs and warm personality of Los Espookys’ leader, Renaldo, whose earnest love of horror and the group unites them. This show absolutely charmed me with its oddities, and has planted a mind parasite in me. —Ana Diaz

Stream on HBO Go/HBO Now

a couple, covered in colorful paint, kiss as a third contestant looks on in Love Island
Contestants on Love Island get colorful.
Colin Young-Wolff/CBS

Love Island

Love Island has been a mainstay of U.K. television for years now, but 2019 marked the first time that American audiences could join the fray. The concept is simple: one island, full of beautiful, ripped, and highly successful men and women. The name of the game is to find love — and the best couple wins $50,000 at the end of the run.

Contestants have to couple up with complete strangers from the get-go, and as time progresses, the couples have to be shifted and re-established. The result is madness. Participants have to get to know people to find their match while they’re already shacked up with someone, which is a recipe for betrayal, hurt feelings, and moving love stories. Even the couples that seem like a match made in heaven will suddenly fall apart the second a new, more enticing islander is introduced to the villa. Better yet, smart couples will try to trick the viewer into believing they’re endgame material. You never know who to trust.

Love Island also knows how to stir the pot here. Games sometimes force people to admit feelings, or to fool around with contestants who are already a part of an existing couple. Islanders will be shown what other people said in confidence to other people. Viewers can vote for people to do things, or to be thrown off the show without ceremony. Nothing is set in stone. A single episode of Love Island has more drama than an entire season of a TV show, and it does that while revealing the basest ugly truths about attraction. It is horrible and despicable, which is to say: You must watch it immediately. —Patricia Hernandez

Watch on CBS

Heléne Yorke and Drew Tarver in The Other Two.
Heléne Yorke and Drew Tarver in The Other Two.
Comedy Central

The Other Two

A viral YouTube single transforms 13-year-old Chase Dubek into “ChaseDreams,” a Justin Bieber clone packaged by publicists to attract hormonal tweens. The burst of fame, sadly, transforms his older brother, Drew, a struggling actor, and sister, Brooke, an ex-dancer, into “the other two.” Exploring manufactured pop entertainment and the depression-laden quest of making it in show business, this Comedy Central series from former SNL head writers Chris Kelly and Sarah Schneider is blisteringly funny, even as humiliation lurks around every corner. From the heist-like orchestration of Chase’s first public relationship to Drew scoring a breakout commercial role as “Man Who Smells Fart,” Kelly and Schneider match Hollywood cynicism with deep love for their characters and a quirky specificity that comes naturally to shows set in New York. When ChaseDreams debuts “My Brother’s Gay,” an ode to his brother’s sexuality that slaps, Drew’s one-part-livid-one-part-vain reaction is quintessential The Other Two: eccentric, peering, and relentlessly ridiculous. —Matt Patches

Watch on Comedy Central
Buy at Amazon

Maya Erskine and Anna Konkle as their teen selves in PEN15.
Maya Erskine and Anna Konkle as their teen selves in PEN15.
Hulu

PEN15

Everyone who attended middle school in the early aughts will recognize the distinct style of PEN15. From the boy-band-heavy soundtrack, to the Limited Too-esque costumes, to the agony and the ecstasy of AOL Instant Messenger, it’s a dose of nostalgia that’s cringe-inducing more often than it’s warm and fuzzy. The Hulu show, which stars real life BFFs Maya Erskine and Anna Konkle as fictionalized versions of their 13-year-old selves alongside actual teen actors, treats its heroines with a genuine warmth while not shying away from the gross and awkward moments that make up 90% of our middle school memories. Only Bo Burnham’s Eighth Grade has treated that singular, hopeful angst of millennial teendom with such a hefty dose of both realism and compassion. —Emily Heller

Stream on Hulu

Kaoru and her fuzzy friends in Rilakkuma and Kaoru.
Kaoru and her fuzzy friends in Rilakkuma and Kaoru.
Netflix

Rilakkuma and Kaoru

The stop-motion animation of Rilakkuma and Kaoru is reason enough to watch this anime. Every frame is lush and beautiful, fully realizing the year’s transition from spring to summer to autumn to winter and back around again. But the slice-of-life series also juxtaposes the mundane elements of office worker Kaoru’s life with the magical childlike whimsy of the bears, painting a pretty accurate picture of what it’s like to navigate your twenties when you’re feeling left behind. —PR

Stream on Netflix

Natasha Lyonne as Nadia in Russian Doll.
Natasha Lyonne as Nadia in Russian Doll.
Photo: Netflix

Russian Doll

We’ll never hear Harry Nilsson’s “Gotta Get Up” the same way again. When Nadia (Natasha Lyonne) becomes stuck in a live-die-repeat cycle that resets to the night of her 36th birthday, Nilsson’s song cues up every time she’s sent back to the beginning. As the iterations progress, it becomes clear that there’s more going on than initially meets the eye. The appeal of the series lies in unpacking those layers, and just how carefully creators Lyonne, Leslye Headland, and Amy Poehler deal with themes of inherited trauma. —KH

Stream on Netflix

Aidy Bryant dancing at a pool party in Shrill.
Aidy Bryant in Shrill.
Allyson Riggs/Hulu

Shrill

Aidy Bryant, Saturday Night Live scene-stealer, has never been more charming than in Shrill, Hulu’s new series based on the memoir by writer Lindy West. Bryant (who developed the show with West and Parks and Recreation’s Alexandra Rushfield) plays Annie Easton, loosely based on a young Lindy West. Season 1 follows Annie as she learns to take up space, love her “big titties and fat ass,” and stand up for herself against her slacker boyfriend, snarky boss, micromanaging mom, and a vicious troll, played to indignant man-baby perfection by fellow SNL-er, Beck Bennett. The first six episodes are delightful and empowering; we’re rooting for Annie from the jump and it’s thrilling to watch her start to root for herself. —EH

Stream on Hulu

Steve Coogan as Alan Partridge in This Time with Alan Partridge.
Steve Coogan as Alan Partridge in This Time with Alan Partridge.
BBC

This Time with Alan Partridge

It’s been a while since we last saw the self-important, shameless, and utterly inept broadcaster Alan Partridge (Steve Coogan). Though he’s been kicking around since 1991, Partridge’s last screen appearance was in Mid Morning Matters with Alan Partridge in 2016, and in Alpha Papa in 2013 before that. This year, he’s made his triumphant return (on the BBC, no less) with This Time with Alan Partridge. The six-episode comedy series, in which Partridge becomes co-host of This Time, a Good Morning Britain-esque talk show, is a blast, more than sharp enough to please longtime fans and new viewers alike. —KH

Watch on BBC One

Dressed in white, Jena Malone dances in an otherwise empty house.
Jena Malone dancing in Too Old to Die Young.
Amazon

Too Old to Die Young

Nicolas Winding Refn’s Amazon series is one of the strangest projects to hit streaming in recent memory. The 10-part series, which clocks in at 13 hours, was co-written by Refn and Ed Brubaker and is Refn at his most Refn. Scenes stretch on and on even though not that much happens in them, to the point that when events finally culminate in violence (and they always do), it feels explosive.

The series follows two men — one, a corrupt cop beginning to find a new line of work as a sort of vigilante, and the other, a cartel lord seeking to avenge his mother’s death. Their paths inevitably cross, but only after a deliciously drawn out lead-up that showcases the ugliest aspects of humanity. It’s a grueling ride, but Too Old to Die Young is also incredibly ambitious and totally committed to the vision of its creator in a way that few, if any, other shows can boast.

Stream on Amazon

A toucan and a songbird stroll down the street.
The two birds of Tuca & Bertie’s title.
Netflix

Tuca & Bertie

Alas, poor Tuca & Bertie, canceled after just one season. There is no shortage of adult-oriented animated series out there, but there is a shortage of adult-oriented animated series tailored for women. Enter Tuca & Bertie, the delightfully zany and surreal Netflix original that handles the nuances of adulthood and relationships with the utmost charm. What other show would tackle workplace harassment by having the main character’s boob eject itself from her body? At its heart, this was a story of two women navigating their lives; they just happen to be bird people, living in a bird city that’s full of other animal and plant inhabitants, buildings with boobs, ghost cakes, and jelly lakes. Tuca & Bertie balanced its wacky humor and its heavy storylines with an accomplished finesse — which, given its creator’s BoJack Horseman pedigree, makes sense — but at the same time, took an optimistic perspective to life, something that lots of adult animated comedies tend to shed for a nihilistic approach. It was refreshing and charming and incredibly fun — and it will be greatly missed. —PR

Stream on Netflix

Natasia Demetriou and Matt Berry in What We Do in the Shadows.
Natasia Demetriou and Matt Berry in What We Do in the Shadows.
FX

What We Do in the Shadows

The TV take on Jemaine Clement and Taika Waititi’s 2014 mockumentary comedy is, against all odds, just as charming as the original movie. With the action transplanted to Staten Island, the series quickly travels into new territory. Though most of the main vampires seem like direct analogs to the film’s cast, they quickly blossom beyond those markers, and the exception to the rule — the “energy vampire” Colin — is a delightful expansion of the world’s lore, with guest stars like Nick Kroll and Vanessa Bayer along for the ride. —KH

Watch on FX
Buy at Amazon


Returning series

The red panda Retsuko’s eyes light up as she performs a particularly intense bit of metal karaoke.
Retsuko scream.
Netflix

Aggretsuko

Aggretsuko charmed adult fans of Sanrio in its first season by just being so damn relatable. The second season brings back everything about the red panda we love — her struggles at her job, her frustrations vented into heavy metal karaoke sessions, her quirky friends — but also deepens Retsuko’s character arc. The first half of the season deals with a particularly terrible co-worker — and one who might not be so bad. The second half finally gives Retsuko what she’s been after the whole season (i.e., a handsome, smart, charming, nice, capable boyfriend), only to ask her to do some deep thinking about whether this relationship is something she desires. It’s mature and nuanced take on what happens when what one person wants out of a relationship isn’t what the other wants. Of course, because this is a Sanrio world, the conversation happens in a karaoke bar through heavy metal, but that only adds to the charm of the show. Sometimes in order to have those heavy convos, you gotta do it with heavy metal. —PR

Stream on Netflix

Bill Hader and Anthony Carrigan in Barry.
Bill Hader and Anthony Carrigan in Barry.
HBO

Barry

Did Barry need a second season? Maybe not, as creators Bill Hader and Alex Berg delivered a perfect first run of season 1 episodes dealing with a conflicted assassin who tries to work through his feelings by taking acting classes. But the show continues to be both funny and surreal as it explores just how hard it is to leave a life of violence. This is the show that finally earned Henry Winkler an Emmy, and found comedic gold in Anthony Carrigan’s Noho Hank, an albino Chechen mobster who never fails to be a ray of sunshine in the criminal underworld. The tone may be hard to describe, but its internal consistency holds everything together with confidence and grace. —Ben Kuchera

Stream on HBO Go/HBO Now

Maggie Siff and Asia Kate Dillon in Billions.
Maggie Siff and Asia Kate Dillon in Billions.
Jeff Neumann/Showtime

Billions

Billions is the rare show that I can’t stop watching while simultaneously hoping that every major character dies in a car accident. I mean, where else are you going to get a chance to see Paul Giamatti with a safety pin pushed through his nipple? The show explores legal and financial corruption, as men who speak mostly in pop culture references go to war with each other over who is less able to realize when they have enough money and power (although that status quo was upended when a gender non-binary character named Taylor Mason was introduced and forced a community defined by toxic masculinity to think about gender pronouns for the first time).

“I’m a masochist. In order to achieve sexual gratification, I need to be tied up, punched, kicked, whipped or otherwise tortured by my loving wife,” Giamatti’s character Chuck Rhoades tells a gaggle of reporters as he’s running for an attorney general seat, which is a situation you’ll either find hilarious or ridiculously off-putting. That reaction will likely tell you very quickly whether you should start watching Billions. —BK

Stream on Showtime

A reunion gets sidetracked in Brooklyn Nine-Nine.
A reunion gets sidetracked in Brooklyn Nine-Nine.
Vivian Zink/NBC

Brooklyn Nine-Nine

The little show that could, Brooklyn Nine-Nine was canceled by Fox and then picked up by NBC a day later. Good news: the show hasn’t missed a step on a new network. Centered on the NYPD officers of Brooklyn’s 99th precinct and their mishaps and starring Andy Samberg as Detective Jake Peralta, the series — now in its sixth season and already renewed for a seventh — is as terrific as ever, if not even better. The latest season has a higher density of jokes and a seemingly increased drive to dig into deeper issues (e.g., police brutality, racism) that it had only touched lightly upon before. —KH

Watch on NBC
Stream on Hulu

Rob Delaney and Sharon Horgan in Catastrophe.
Rob Delaney and Sharon Horgan in Catastrophe.
Ed Miller/Amazon

Catastrophe

Like all the best British imports, Catastrophe didn’t overstay its welcome, though I’m still sad to see it go after four six-episode seasons. The show was rivaled perhaps only by HBO’s departed Duplass Brothers sitcom Togetherness in terms of sincere, unflinching, vulgar-yet-sweet portrayals of parenting, marriage, and relationships. But most importantly, it was always hilarious, whether in its side-splitting physical comedy — usually riffing on everyone’s favorite large adult son, the oafish Rob Delaney, and his misadventures as an American in London — or its biting dialogue.

For all of Rob’s (Delaney) and Sharon’s (Sharon Horgan) personal flaws, and all the pain that they’ve inflicted on each other, each is the other’s rock. “I just didn’t like seeing you adrift in there on your own,” Rob tells his wife, as he joins her for a dip in the ocean during the final moments of the series. Whatever rip currents lie ahead, they’ll face them together. —Samit Sarkar

Stream on Amazon

Rachel Bloom in Crazy Ex-Girlfriend.
Rachel Bloom in Crazy Ex-Girlfriend.
The CW

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend

Ending a TV show well is hard. Ending a musical comedy TV show that deals with the darkest mental health issues well seemed impossible. Crazy Ex-Girlfriend creators Aline Brosh McKenna and Rachel Bloom (who plays the titular crazy ex-girlfriend, Rebecca Bunch) stuck the landing, though, providing satisfying closure for every character in the quirky ensemble without neatly solving all of their problems. That they finally answer why the heck everyone’s been singing this whole time is just a bonus.

Bloom is a musical comedy savant with a glorious weird streak. Her strike zone is in absurdist self-deprecation, which is on full display in musical numbers like “The Sexy Getting Ready Song” and “You Stupid Bitch” (the lyric “poopy little slut” alone deserves an EGOT). Throughout its four seasons, Crazy Ex was beloved by critics, but the fan base remained relatively small, but passionate. Now that the entire show is streaming on Netflix, we’re hopeful that it will continue to find devoted converts. —EH

Stream on Netflix

James Urbaniak, Taran Killam, and John Mulaney in a parody of the Company documentary in Documentary Now!
James Urbaniak, Taran Killam, and John Mulaney in a parody of the Company documentary in Documentary Now!
IFC

Documentary Now!

Documentary Now! is one of the most lavishly produced inside jokes in human history. Each episode is a parody of an existing documentary and, while some of the humor still lands even if you’re not familiar with the source material, most jokes require the viewer to have seen documentaries like 1922’s Nanook of the North, 1969’s Salesman, and 2010’s The Artist is Present.

Raise your hand if you have seen both 1975’s Grey Gardens and the Talking Heads’ concert film Stop Making Sense and want to see a talented cast and creative team make fun of both in different episodes. Because if you’re one of the maybe two dozen people who omnivorously devours every documentary made in the past hundred years, this is a show made just for you, and perhaps no one else. —BK

Watch on IFC
Stream on Netflix

Fleabag (Phoebe Waller-Bridge) casts a knowing glance back over her shoulder as she sits in a pew of a church, listening to a service.
Fleabag (Phoebe Waller-Bridge) attending a church service.
Image: BBC

Fleabag

Fleabag is six hours of perfect, razor-sharp television. Last time we saw Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s Fleabag, she was at rock bottom. At the opening of season 2, she’s doing … better. Incrementally better. But in real life and in Fleabag, “doing better” is not the same as having a reckoning with yourself. Over the next six episodes, Fleabag digs deeper into our heroine’s brain: We learn more about the aftermath of her mother’s death, her family, and how she’s coping with it all. That makes Fleabag sound sad, and sure, it hits hard. But it’s also refreshing and uplifting to watch a show written from a place of such utter competence. Phoebe Waller-Bridge knows her character inside and out, and miraculously walks her to a place where I’m no longer worried if she’ll be OK in the end. —Simone de Rochefort

Stream on Amazon

Daenerys (Emilia Clarke), flanked by Varys (Conleth Hill) and Jorah Mormont (Iain Glen) in Game of Thrones.
Daenerys (Emilia Clarke), flanked by Varys (Conleth Hill) and Jorah Mormont (Iain Glen) in Game of Thrones.
Helen Sloan/HBO

Game of Thrones

For better or for worse, there’s no denying that the final season of Game of Thrones is the TV event of the year — it’s appointment viewing in a landscape where the concept has almost completely died out. With all of the characters finally gathered and more money than God to back production, the series is going out with a bang, with every character set-up paying off in these last few episodes. Doom is descending upon Westeros in the form of White Walkers, and even in the face of ecological disaster, the question of who will end up on the Iron Throne remains up in the air. Will it be Daenerys, with her two dragons? Will it be Jon, who now has a legitimate claim to rule? Will Cersei make it out alive? There’s only one way to find out. —KH

Stream on HBO Go/HBO Now

Christine Baranski, Audra McDonald, and Rose Leslie in The Good Fight.
Christine Baranski, Audra McDonald, and Rose Leslie in The Good Fight.
CBS

The Good Fight

CBS’ The Good Wife spinoff arrived two years ago as America settled in for the Trump era. Three years later, it’s pure catharsis for anyone oppressed by the status quo and dulled down by escalating political drama (although the focus, rightfully, is on hardships for women). Built with the legal framework of The Good Wife, The Good Fight is less case-of-the-week procedural than baroque theatre ripped from the Brechtian playbook — complete with orchestral walk-and-talks, musical asides (courtesy of Jonathan Coulton), and fourth-wall-breaking monologues. Season 3 finds Diane (Christine Baranski) taking radical steps to combat an ethics-less administration, Maia (Rose Leslie) stuck in a legal limbo exacerbated by privilege, Lucca (Cush Jumbo) juggling child-rearing with career advancement in a working world that questions her abilities, and Adrian (Delroy Lindo) and Liz (Audra McDonald) dealing with a #MeToo eruption that could jeopardize the firm. The world is spiraling out of control, and “fighting the good fight” becomes more and more ambiguous as the show’s characters struggle to put out fires. Adding to the blaze is new cast member Michael Sheen as a Roy Cohn-esque lawyer with anarchistic tendencies. Truly, there is no show embodying the here and now more than The Good Fight. —MP

Stream on CBS All Access

Ben Sinclair in High Maintenance.
Ben Sinclair in High Maintenance.
HBO

High Maintenance

High Maintenance got its start on Vimeo, gaining popularity through 10- to 15-minute comedy shorts. Ben Sinclair plays The Guy, an unnamed character who sells and delivers weed. The show follows him, his clients (not all of whom are recurring), and the people he meets. Season 3 is still funny, but the show’s grown into something akin to a personal diary, a form of voyeurism without the shame. High Maintenance offers unexpectedly poignant glimpses into the lives of New Yorkers, finding a little more pain in the world.

In between fun interludes like an elderly woman raving on the sidewalk, we see how others mourn for the death of a loved one or dealing with the messy parts of a divorce. Episodes can pivot from lighthearted comedy to a gut punch in a matter of minutes, but it’s what makes the show so genuine. Small touches like Vinnie’s Pizzeria boxes, the Instagram-famous rainbow bagel, even The Guy needing to take a desperation shit at the Brooklyn Public Library are constant love letters to Brooklyn. It’s fantastic. —Ashley Oh

Stream on HBO Go/HBO Now

Andrea Savage in I’m Sorry.
Andrea Savage in I’m Sorry.
truTV

I’m Sorry

Fill the Curb Your Enthusiasm-sized hole in your heart with Andrea Savage’s punch-drunk sitcom about family, marriage, parenting, and the scarce moments adult life affords for true bliss. Season 1 lifted heavily from Savage’s own life, while season 2 delves into deeper, more awkward territory. The writer and star is a pro when it comes to slinging foul language and R-rated musings — after her mom nip-slips in the public pool, Andrea tells her husband (Tom Everett Scott), “Do you see a family resemblance in the nipples? Because I’ve always thought I’ve taken after my father in that way” — but the show hits another level whenever “Andrea” stumbles into unwindable territory. In one season 2 episode, Savage’s alter ego accidentally emails her daughter’s kindergarten a sexually explicit email that, for the impressionable, should not be reprinted here. Dealing with it is a horror show for Andrea, but a pleasure for those of us tuning into I’m Sorry. —MP

Watch on truTV
Stream on Netflix

She-Ra, voiced by Aimee Carrero.
She-Ra, voiced by Aimee Carrero.
Netflix

She-Ra and the Princesses of Power

After spending the first season laying down exposition and getting every character where they needed to be, She-Ra and the Princesses of Power spent the next season focusing on the specific character dynamics, while still sprinkling in greater worldbuilding. The power of friendship continues to be a theme throughout all-ages animation, but She-Ra explores nuances of these relationships, not shying away from feelings of inferiority, emotional abuse, and neglect. It makes the world-ending stakes even higher, especially when the villains have reason for sympathy. —PR

Stream on Netflix

Pike (Anson Mount) and Michael Burnham (Sonequa Martin-Green) in Star Trek: Discovery.
Pike (Anson Mount) and Michael Burnham (Sonequa Martin-Green) in Star Trek: Discovery.
CBS

Star Trek: Discovery

Discovery’s sophomore season only improves from its divisive first, incorporating plenty of the familiar as it continues to deliver on the true mandate of every Trek: To boldly go where no Trek series has gone before. With the threat of the Klingon-Federation war no longer raging, Discovery season 2 has the time for monster-of-the-week style episodes and fleshing out the characters of the bridge crew, and takes full advantage. Peacetime also allows the series to embrace its Federation roots more, particularly by adding characters like Captain Pike and even Lieutenant Spock to the cast.

But, and not to spoil anything, the second season also launches Discovery into the great unknown, in an ending that will either leave you tantalized, or simply confused, about where season 3 could take our beloved crew. —SP

Stream on CBS All Access

As Amy looks skeptical, Jonah attempts to wrap her up in toiler paper as their coworkers do the same to each other.
Amy (America Ferrera) and Jonah (Ben Feldman) attempt a toilet paper mummification.
NBC

Superstore

Superstore is technically a show about what it’s like to work in a big-box store, but at its heart, it is truly a show about people. Everyone working at Cloud Nine has their own struggles, but Superstore makes viewers care about subjects like teen pregnancy while leaning into the fact that its employees are a barely functioning train wreck. Over the years, the show has perfected the dynamics between different characters, and it’s a joy to watch them all together, trying to make things work as the company cuts costs and starts nonsensical initiatives. This is a show that understands how much it sucks to have a low-end job in 2019 — and it recognizes that the only way to get through it is to lean on each other.

In season four, Amy (America Ferrera) works her way up to store manager, which opens the show up to a tackle a wider set of considerations than ever before. Perhaps most notably, Superstore’s ongoing undocumented immigration storyline comes to a head this season. With the current political climate in America, Superstore’s handling of the topic isn’t just current — it feels necessary. Plenty of shows can make you laugh. Superstore is the rare program that actually stands for something while also being funny and smart as hell. —PH

Watch on NBC
Stream on Hulu

The gathered cast of Terrace House: Opening New Doors.
The gathered cast of Terrace House: Opening New Doors.
Photo: Netflix

Terrace House: Opening New Doors

Terrace House: Opening New Doors takes the Real World-like reality TV series back to mainland Japan this season, settling in the town of Karuizawa. A rotating cast of three men and three women live in a house together, some to find love and others to work on their careers. Once a cast member feels they’ve accomplished their goal or wants to move out, they do so whenever they want and a new person fills their place. In between segments of their lives, a panel of hosts and comedians offer colorful (and highly relatable) commentary. Terrace House isn’t your typical expletive-laden reality TV fare; it’s an earnest look at housemate life, social dynamics in Japan, and what happens sometimes when those dynamics are tested. —AO

Stream on Netflix

Jimmy and Gretchen stand back-to-back on a dark street, lit by colorful lamps.
Jimmy (Chris Geere) and Gretchen (Aya Cash).
FXX

You’re the Worst

You’re The Worst doesn’t just upend everything you know about romantic comedies — it will make you question how you love others in your day-to-day life. At this point, “will they or won’t they” is a tired subject, but You’re the Worst makes it feel new by digging deep into what it’s like to maintain a relationship in the face of long-standing trauma and mental health struggles. It is the only show I’ve ever watched that materially represents what an actual relationship looks like, free of cliche or unlikely situations. And, without spoiling too much, it is also a show that recognizes that our most meaningful, life-shattering relationships aren’t romances — they’re friendships.

If nothing else, the final season of You’re the Worst is worth watching to see Aya Cash’s incredible (and heartbreaking) performance as Gretchen Cutler. I had to rewind key scenes multiple times just to digest the rawness of Gretchen’s hurt. Months later, I’m still thinking about her. —PH

Stream on Hulu