2019 Was a Good Year For New TV

I don’t think I’ve ever watched as much TV as I have this year, and I don’t think I’ve ever thoroughly enjoyed TV as much as I have this year. There were great new seasons of old favorites, but the shows that really stood out the most to me are actually the ones that debuted this year. I’ve already granted glowing endorsements to two new shows, which you can find here and here, but little had I known there was so much more goodness ahead! So, if you’re looking for something brand-new to watch, try one of these:

 

1. Shrill

Tour-de-force Aidy Bryant stars in this adaptation of Lindy West’s book, “Shrill,” full of essays and memoirs based on West’s experiences as a fat woman in America. This is a show that tackles living as a fat person authentically and head-on. As Bryant’s character Annie navigates normal life, you really get to see how being fat in society can affect someone in all aspects. Her job, her love life, her relationship with her parents and also total strangers, or even her morning coffee run all have something to do with her weight in contexts where it should be irrelevant. Despite the hard-hitting subject matter, “Shrill” still manages to be a lighthearted journey of self-love and finding yourself when it feels like everything’s against you.

 

2. Euphoria

“Euphoria” was the quintessential show of the summer, swooping in on the heels of the “Game of Thrones” fiasco and turning our attention to modern high schoolers instead. It follows a number of teenagers struggling with a whole range of issues from drug addiction to sexual orientation to abusive relationships. This show is gorgeous above all else, but it’s also thought-provoking and unpredictable and a great source of Zendaya content. While Queen Z is the star of the show (and our hearts), the other actors and their characters also shine throughout the series and really come into their own as the season progresses, and it gets harder and harder to pick favorites. “Euphoria” alone is worth the HBO subscription. 

 

3. The Politician

Friends, Ryan Murphy has done it again. From the mind that brought you Glee, Pose, American Horror Story, and countless others comes his next big hit. This season of “The Politician” follows Payton Hobart through his campaign for senior class president and the complications he runs into along the way. (Subsequent seasons will cover other campaigns throughout his life.) “The Politician” dazzles the same as any other classic Murphy show, with stunning sets and sharp costume design, and intricate and intriguing drama to boot. As if that wasn’t enough to reel you in, the cast carries its own star power, featuring Ben Platt and Laura Dreyfuss (the “Dear Evan Hansen” reunion you were looking for) and the lovely Gweneth Paltrow. Trust me when I tell you: don’t sleep on “The Politician.”

 

4. Daybreak

“Daybreak” should be on your radar. It’s the most socially-conscious teen show I’ve ever seen, and that’s not even its defining characteristic. It’s a post-apocalyptic teen-comedy that started with one straight white boy’s quest to save his damsel in distress and then headed in so many directions I ‘d never expect. This show surprised me so many times that I am hanging on the edge of my seat to see what’s in store for season two. Each of the key characters receives enough time in the spotlight for you to fall in love with every one of them. Starring my very first celebrity crush, Colin Ford, and featuring two of my other faves, Austin Crute and Mathew Broderick, “Daybreak” is a truly original must-watch. 

 

5. Dickinson

Hailee Steinfeld’s at it again, putting her fiery personality to work on-screen and I am 100% here for it. “Dickinson” was a surprisingly great time – with the streaming wars upon us, I was concerned that AppleTV+ was going for quantity over quality, but that’s not the case here. The show is a portrayal of the life and times of classic poet Emily Dickinson with a modern twist (don’t let your eyes fool you with the set and costume design). Besides her lovely self, Steinfeld shares the screen at times with comedy legends John Mulaney and Jane Krakowski (who happens to be an alumnus of my high school). This period-piece-teen-drama is everything, and you can finish it before Apple charges you for a full subscription. ;)

 

Honorable mention: the return of “Veronica Mars.” While “Veronica Mars” is not a new show by any definition, the extra season Hulu produced this summer was a phenomenal additional conclusion to the Veronica Mars saga. Plus, I’m a sucker for Kristen Bell. I’d watch anything she’s in.

 

This year was a good year for TV in general, and there were so many good shows this year that deserve love, but often times it’s hard for a show to find its footing in the first season and these shows had no such trouble. In a world where fans have to campaign to keep their favorite content alive, it’s important to recognize greatness when you happen upon it.