The year might have ended but the list are still coming. Here is my top 12 television series of 2019.
Sometimes after you sit with a show for a while, your opinion of it can change, for better or worse. After my first watch, I found myself loving I Am Not Okay With This, but with time and space, I realized that most of what I felt was just falling short of what I had hoped. That doesn’t mean this show isn’t enjoyable, it is but it also isn’t as good as it could be. It falls just a little short and takes to long to finally get to what it needs to be. By the end, you think you are satisfied but in reality, you are just okay with this. Coming from the producers of one of my favourite shows, It’s The End of the F***ing World and coming from a graphic novel written by the same author then the show, I Am Not Okay With This as a lot of expectations to live up to. Using a very similar way of telling the story, by having the main character narrate their side of the story, but what was very effective in It’s The End of the F***ing World just doesn’t work as well in this.
I wanna start this review by saying that I have a love-hate relationship with this series. When the first season was released, I wasn’t exactly transfixed with the show. I thought the first episode was cringe, derivative and cliche in terms of its settings and characters. While I did find the premise of the show to be interesting, I just was not motivated to watch the rest of the show based on my reaction to the pilot. But when I heard that Anthony Mackie would be taking over the role of the protagonist in season 2 I decided I’d give the series another go. So it really wasn’t until about 2 years later that I finally watched and finished the rest of the first season, mostly due to the fact that I was very interested in how the second season would play out.
The first To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before was a nice little surprise when it came out last year. It wasn’t really what we expected when we all logged into our Netflix account to watch this romantic comedy. Instead of getting a movie that we would all forget and make fun of overtime, we got a film that actually was good. Yes, it did play into most of the young adult tropes that we are all very used to but the elevated cinematography for this type of film and a charming cast brought something refreshing and, quite frankly, unexpected. With all that and the success of the film, it wasn’t a surprise at all when a sequel was announced. Not only was one sequel was announced but the announcement came with the news that the third book of the series would also find it’s way to being adapted and on Netflix in the near future. But like any sequels, being able to recreate what had made it special could be hard, so the arrival of To All The Boys: PS I Still Love You was something that, while I was looking forward to it, I was also a bit scared. I had enjoyed the first film and really hope that I would find myself enjoying this one too.
Sometimes shows go through a sophomore slump, when they can’t quite find what made their first season stand out from the ground. So going into the second season of Sex Education, I was scared because not only did I really enjoy season one but with the ending, it was obvious that the show could go in a lot of directions. But after being able to watch all episodes of the second season before it’s released, I am happy to say that not only did it meet my expectations but it also exceeded them. Now, this review will be spoiler-free because I do believe that all the little twists and turns that happen on this show make it even better and I want everyone to be able to enjoy it and freak out just like I did when I was first watching it.
It’s the end of the decade, ten years have past and a whole lot of television with it. We hit peak television during the 2010s and not only that, but we saw the rise of the streaming services. It’s been a world of change, a world of amazing television and if you know me, you know that television is my favourite medium (I’m one of those who still have cable so imagine). It’s going to be interesting to see where the 2020’s lead us when it comes to television and storytelling, especially with the arrival of the “streaming war” and a large number of streaming services now available to us. But for now, let’s take a look back at my favourite shows of the 2010s.
We’re living in the golden age of television and the 2010s have been a great decade for TV series and TV storytellers alike. Not to mention the rise and domination of streaming services that have taken over the television landscape. ‘Binge-watching’ became part of global vernacular this decade and without Netflix, the way we view TV series would be incredibly different. Premium cable channels also dominated the television landscape this decade and we have HBO to thank for that. Shows that I picked for this list began 2010 onward, I don’t include any (except one) shows on here that began pre-2010 (Sorry Breaking Bad fans). Here are my picks for the best TV series of this decade, counting down from worst to best.
(Please note that this review is not spoiler-free as I had to go into detail to explain why I felt the way I felt.)
Nostalgia is probably the biggest thing in cinema and television right now. With all the reboots and sequels, the idea of nostalgia drives a lot of the film that we get. Sometimes it works, others not so much. But more then none, it creates a product that feels like something we have seen before. Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker feels like that, a product that was created simply to cater to the fans that felt betrayed by the previous instalment. Rise of Skywalker isn’t a bad movie per se, but when placed right after what I considered to be one of the best Star Wars movie ever, then it feels jarring and is not a satisfying end to a saga that spanned 40 years.
When Hustlers was first announced as part of the line up for TIFF, many raised an eyebrow. All we had really to base our expectations for the film was a trailer that, after watching the film, doesn’t do justice to the film itself. Based on an article published in New York magazine in 2015 from Jessica Pressler titled The Hustlers at Scores, Hustlers tells the story of Dorothy (Crazy Rich Asians’ Constance Wu), a stripper in New York City who with her mentor and friend Ramona (Jennifer Lopez) find themselves going from stripping to stealing from Wall Street guys during the aftermath of the 2008 financial crash. Smart and empowering, Hustlers takes an out-there story that seems implausible and creates a film full of fully-formed women that take no prisoners.
Just try to imagine the pitch meeting for Jojo Rabbit; a satire about a young boy living in Nazi Germany whose imaginary best friend happens to be Adolph Hitler. Jojo Rabbit is wild, funny and at times warm. You will feel bad for about 20 minutes for laughing at something Adolph Hitler said but then you relax and everything is okay. All of this would not have been possible had the film not been in the brilliant hand of Taika Waititi. I can’t imagine this film being made had Waititi not directed Thor: Ragnarok and the film had not been a commercial success. It’s hard to imagine any executive saying yes to this had he not been so successful with his films beforehand. But I am so glad someone said yes to this because it’s something special. While it will be interesting to see how Disney, yes Disney, market this film since it is now part of their slate since the acquisition of Fox, I will continue to hope that they do it right and this becomes a hit because it deserves it.