You’re in luck! At least one WoW Report writer likes End of the Year Lists. Other than RuPaul’s Drag Race, we now present STEPHEN RUTLEDGE’S TEN FAVORITE TELEVISION SERIES of 2019:
Schitt’s Creek (POP TV and Netflix), in its fifth season, the Canadian sitcom is funnier and sweeter than ever, and the character development continues to make every joke and every emotion hit harder. It remains the most heartwarming, heartfelt show on television. Catherine O’Hara‘s Moira Rose is the gift that keeps on giving. Her performance in The Crows Have Eyes 3: The Crowening will haunt me the rest of my life.
The Good Fight (CBS All Access) – Being buried by apocalyptic news is depressing, overwhelming, and sometimes surreal; kind of absurdity that makes it just fine for a legal drama to suddenly cut to an animated musical number about Roy Cohn. It is bizarre, funny, surprising and shockingly dark. Season 4 airs this spring.
High Maintenance (HBO) follows the stories of eccentric New Yorkers as told through the perspective of their weed guy. I watch it when stoned. It returns for season four in February.
Better Things (FX), writer-director-star Pamela Adlon‘s series about a 50-year-old actor and single mother where each episode is a perfectly shaped, droll, moving, sexy, disturbing, and profoundly sad short film.
Barry (HBO) – season two was even better than the first. The story of hit man who struggles to contain his rage, everyone in the ensemble gives revelatory performances: series co-creator Bill Hader, Henry Winkler, Anthony Carrigan, Sarah Goldberg, and Stephen Root are genius. Barry takes on with deep issues around morality and ethics while still being entertaining and cleverly produced. Season three begins in summer 2020.
Documentary Now (IFC) created by Hader, Fred Armisen, Seth Meyers, and Rhys Thomas who use their love of documentary films and combine it with comedy to present a unique take on the documentary form. Hosted by Dame Helen Mirren! Their spoof of D.A. Pennbaker’s Company OBC album documentary is the comic highlight of my 2019.
Fleabag (Amazon), I came late to loving this unsettling show, somehow thinking it was just a series about Phoebe Waller-Bridge breaking the fourth wall, and not really digging it until season two with the Hot Priest. Now, I see how wrong I was in my initial assessment. Genius.
Russian Doll (Netflix) produced by star Natasha Lyonne and Amy Poehler, this trippy series about a New York computer programmer coming unstuck in time is a witty mystery box with fabulous ensemble and a growly performance by Lyonne.
Veep (HBO), the final season is the darkest and funniest yet, with story lines about Chinese election interference, a campaign with MAGA-ish rhetoric, and Selina Meyer’s (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) horrifying decision to toss her most valued staff member under the bus in order to save her presidential campaign. The series finale was nasty fun and brilliantly acted by the decade’s strongest comedy ensemble; it was also a brutal look American politics.
The Crown (Netflix) – The addictive drama about the reign of Queen Elizabeth II often touches on lesser-known aspects of British history, as it chronicles both major and minor episodes in the queen’s life. Background information on modern British history and the royal family’s exploits keep me busy on Goggle. The new stars Olivia Colman, Tobias Menzies and Helena Bonham Carter helped ease the sting if saying goodbye to series originators Claire Foy, Matt Smith and Vanessa Kirby.
Happy Viewing in 2020!