When it comes to Pop Culture, the end of December means only but one thing. Every year around the end of December is when all those annual “Best of The Year In Pop Culture” kind of lists will come out. As you can tell by the title, I will be talking about what I thought was the best of the best, the top of the top, when it came to that of television in 2019.
There was a lot, like A LOT of amazing television in 2019. So much incredible TV filled this year, so to only highlight a few and not every single television series I thought was amazing was extremely difficult. It was tough, but this TV Nerd was up for the challenge.
There’s a lot to cover.
So let’s get started!
#10. Castle Rock
Castle Rock is a series on Hulu inspired by the stories of Stephen King. The show is an anthology series. Meaning every season has a new story, and a new cast. The story for Castle Rock’s second season centered around the character Annie Wilkes from Stephen King’s “Misery”.
The season is a prequel, showing how Annie Wilkes came to be who she became. The story showed who Annie was before “Misery”. Along with Annie’s story, the season was also about the town that changed her life.
Season 1 was intense and dark with brilliant writing. Season 2 was the same. Possibly better. With anthology series, for the most part, a new story is taken on each and every season. Each season stands on it own, with there being no connections between any of the series seasons. Although, Castle Rock is an anthology series that really does require one to watch Season 1 before Season 2. The first half of the episodes for Season 2 center around the current story being told. But as the season progresses connections between the first and second season slowly start to emerge and form.
In one of the latter episodes of Season 2 there is a very “OMG!” kind of moment that takes place. This moment is hugely connected to the first season. After this “OMG Moment” occurs more connections between the first two seasons start to surface. This moment and the moments that happen afterwards are why Season 1 is necessary to watch. Watching Season 1 is truly the only way to understanding why this “OMG Moment” in Season 2 is a big deal for the series as a whole.
Lastly, I can not talk about Season 2 of Castle Rock and not mention Lizzy Caplan’s performance. Caplan fully immersed herself into her role as Annie Wilkes. Caplan’s performance was completely and utterly captivating. With that being the case, I’d assumed when Golden Globe Nominations came out that her name would be included on the list for Best Actress in a Drama Series, for sure. Not only did I think she would be nominated, but I thought she was a front runner to win that award. Well, nominations came out. And Caplan was left off the list of nominees. A real shame. Because her performance as Annie stands out and is completely memorable.
#9. Veronica Mars
All Marshmallows (fans of Veronica Mars) were given a treat when this “gem of a cancelled way too soon series” got revived on Hulu this past Summer. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, if this series had been cancelled today it would have been picked up by another network in a second. But back in 2007 (when the series got cancelled) that whole thing of cancelled series getting picked up by other networks wasn’t quite happening back then as it is now today.
That aside, the revival was complete perfection, along with being completely devastating. Kristen Bell (Veronica Mars) was at it once again as the clever, witty, smart private eye who is never willing to back down until she gets to the truth of a case. In a time when it seems as though every series is either getting revived or rebooted unnecessarily, the Veronica Mars Revival reminded us all that there are some series that are deserving and worthy of giving a second chance to. (Click here to read my thoughts on the popular trend of TV Reboots and Revivals on television right now.)
This has always been a series where underneath its witty and clever one liners was one that dealt with an incredible amount of darkness and heaviness. The fourth season was no different. Veronica Mars is a series that has never held back or played it safe. This season that has never been more true. I’m not going to delve into the details of the latest season, as I am trying to keep this spoiler free, but a lot occurred. Something happened that was so shocking and unexpected that I’m still at a loss for words.
If a Season 5 on Hulu does in fact happen (which I very much hope it does) I have a feeling that the season will not be taking place in the town of Neptune, as it has for every season of the series thus far. Based on the finale, Veronica has gotten to a place where she is ready to move on from her hometown and set her sights somewhere new.
#8. The Politician
The Politician starring Ben Platt, made its television premiere last September on the popular Streaming Service Netflix. The series quickly became an instant new TV Favorite for this TV Nerd. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, if there is a TV Series that Ryan Murphy is involved in making I will be watching that TV Series!
The Politician has a very polished and glamorous feel to it, but don’t be fooled by all the glam and amazing fashion and decor. The show at its core is a dark drama. It’s a series that doesn’t shy away from covering serious issues about life and mental health.
The series follows High School Student Payton Hobart (played by Dear Evan Hansen star Ben Platt), who is running in his school’s election to be Student Body President. He has his life all planned out. He has two goals. First, attend Harvard University. And then become President of the United States. He sleeps, eats, and breathes politics. He’ll go to any length to be President of his school. But the question is, just how far is he willing to go to get that seat in office?
The series is as much about ambition as it is about politics. Raising the question of asking is too much ambition a bad thing? There is of course, nothing wrong with one having ambition and drive, along with some life goals to better one’s future. In this series though, that thing of ambition, drive, and life goals are set to the extreme. Ambition and politics kind of go hand in hand, so I thought that it was quite brilliant to use politics as a backdrop for this series.
The Politician is commentary on how one can go into something for the right reasons, but how that hope to make a difference can get side lined with ultimately just wanting to win. The show deals with the lengths of how far exactly someone would be willing to go to get what they want. And how in the end one may get what they were reaching for, but was it worth the cost of everything they had to do to get there?
#7. The Good Place
In its last and final season, NBC’s The Good Place is coming to an end. And I am so forking sad about it. This season shows everyone coming together to try and fix the afterlife, if you will. Their goal is to show those in charge how people can change for the better when just given some time and a chance.
Season 4 has had some quite incredible moments. My favorite moment of this season comes from the character of Simone (Kirby Howell- Baptiste). Simone is not buying that she is in the afterlife or dead for that matter. At the welcoming party that “The Good Place” is throwing for all its newcomers, Simon randomly breaks out into song. She starts singing the classic 90s gem “Semi- Charmed Life”. And her reasoning for singing this 90s tune? Well, this particular song was the one that was attached to her alarm clock in the real world. And she believes how if she were to sing the song that woke her up from her sleep in the real world she can wake herself up in “the good place”. This moment might be my favorite one from any television show ever. It was just so random. And Howell- Baptiste’s delivery of this hilarious moment was simply perfection!
I just have to give this show a shout out for being so incredibly clever, and The Good Place is anything if not clever. The way the series worked around not saying “curse words” was pure genius! This element of the series showed the brilliant creativity behind the creative team of The Good Place. The Good Place is the only show on television to find an alternative way to saying curse words. There’s nothing left to say on this matter except forking brilliant!
The Good Place has always been a series with a lot to say on life. Beneath its humor, it is a series with a message on how change is possible. And how it may be a journey to reach that change, but it is possible with some hope and effort.
All in all, The Good Place is a show that will definitely be missed. The decision to end the series after its fourth season came from the creator of the series, Michael Schur. A decision that caught many by surprise. Even though I will deeply miss this gem of a series, I feel Schur made the right call in ending the series in its prime. You want to miss a show when it ends. And The Good Place will definitely be missed.
#6. Living With Yourself
When I first heard about this new Netflix series, I was completely sold on it right away. Why, you may ask? Well, simply put, there’s two flipping Paul Rudd’s on it!!! What more could one want in a television series. If Paul Rudd is going to be on a TV Show I will most definitely be watching!
Let me tell you all now a bit more to what this television gem is about. It’s about a guy named Miles. He’s unhappy with… Everything in his life. He notices a co-worker of his at his office who always seems to be overly optimistic and happy. Miles asks him what he did to always be in a positive state of mind. He tells Miles about this spa he went to that re-energized him and his outlook on life for the better. Miles’s co-worker tells him how this spa is very exclusive, and how one has to be recommended by someone in order to be allowed in. Oh, and it costs $50,000 per visit. Miles need a change, wants a change. Thanks to a recommendation from his co-worker he calls the spa, and gets an appointment. Miles arrives at the spa. He enters as one person, and leaves as someone new.
Living With Yourself is a fantastic new series. Not only are there two Paul Rudd’s on the show (two!!!!), but it’s a great series about how we all want that quick fix to something in our lives that we want better. Although, Miles quickly learns that quick doesn’t always mean for the better or good.
The series at its core is an existential view on life. Showing how change in oneself is something that just can happen as the years go by. How sometimes we, ourselves, can not initially see how we may have changed over the years. Changing from who we were to who we have become. How we are incapable of seeing this change in ourselves as it is occurring. How we can become someone unrecognizable to ourselves and to those around us. How we can go from happy to sad. How we can go from feeling alive to feeling like we have forgotten how to live.
Many times when someone is in an emotional rut for years and years to get out of that state of mind can feel incredibly far away. The series raises the question of if an opportunity were to present itself that allowed one a do-over at life, would you take it? Would you become a better person thanks to a magical quick fix, or would that magical quick fix ultimately be your downfall?
Stay tuned for my next article where I will be continuing to discuss the best television series of 2019!
4 thoughts on “Top 10 Best TV Series of 2019… Part 1”
Great list so far Jodi! I always have so much fun doing these two! 🙂 Castle Rock season 2 was fantastic! Sorry that Veronica Mars got canceled especially after that awful ending…still mad about that lol.
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Glad to see another fan of Castle Rock Season 2! What a great season, right! I loved how the writers incorporated Season 1 into Season 2.
Overall, I thought Season 4 of Veronica Mars was a good one. But that ending, still not over it. I really do hope though that the show gets another season somewhere at some point. From my understanding, it sounds like Hulu didn’t cancel the show, but they didn’t renew it either. It was just so great to see Kristen Bell playing Veronica Mars on a series again.
Thanks so much for reading and for commenting =)!
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I’m so excited to hear you think season 2 may even be better for Castle Rock! We watched season 1 in the fall, but haven’t watched the second season yet. Have a happy New Year, Jodi. Always love your posts!
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Thanks so very much for your kind words. That means a whole lot =).
Castle Rock is such an incredibly interesting series. Glad to see you enjoyed Season 1. Yes, I did think both season were great. I would have to say that Season 2 was just slightly better thanks in part to Lizzy Caplan’s captivating performance. Still shocked she didn’t receive a Golden Globe Nomination this year for her work on the show. Just makes no sense.
Happy New Year!
Thanks so much for reading and for commenting =)!
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