(Photo by Netflix)
The Best TV Shows of 2019 (So Far)
In a world in which the most anticipated TV return of the year, Game of Thrones — the title we all expected would be a top contender in this list — crashed and burned in a fiery three-episode Rotten streak to end the epic HBO series, we can’t help but be surprised about the midyear lineup in our ranked list of the best TV shows of the year through late June.
We collected all of the Certified Fresh TV and streaming titles of 2019 so far — the season premieres that occurred January through today that are Fresh with at least 20 critics reviews (five of those being from Top Critics) — to provide you with a list of the best 2019 TV shows you should be watching, according to critics. They are listed below from those that were Certified Fresh at 75% or above, but subsequently fell below that threshold for CF designation, to this year’s 10 members of the 100% club, an enviable group whose members have gotten a positive review from every critic who’s seen them.
The year’s surprises so far:
- Fleabag supremacy — although fans of Phoebe Waller-Bridge won’t be surprised at all; the writer-actor is also creator of Killing Eve, and scores with that title’s second season, as well
- A Discovery of Witches in the top 5
- Controversial HBO documentary miniseries Leaving Neverland at No. 11
- HBO miniseries Chernobyl not making the top 10
- Los Espookys season 1 joining the 100% club — congrats!
- Doom Patrol representing DC Universe streaming service in the top 25
- Les Misérables representing PBS in the top 20
- Animated newcomer Tuca & Bertie in the top 10
- Cobra Kai on the list at 88% (while season 1 remains at 100%)
- Another drop for The Handmaid’s Tale: season 1 – 94%, season 2 – 89%, season 3 – 82%
- World War II adaptations battling it out on Hulu: George Clooney’s Catch-22 wins at 87% with Das Boot at 84%
- Chris Pine–starring I Am the Night holding up the rear at 74% (which means it dropped from 75%)
- Same with Jordan Peele’s The Twilight Zone reboot at No. 61
- Game of Thrones being absent from this list, which is both surprising and sad
Did your favorite 2019 show make the list? Have a look at our ranking and see what series from this year are Certified Fresh.
Adjusted Score: 78.612%
Critics Consensus: Chris Pine inhabits I Am the Night with the roguish gravitas befitting a noir -- even if this entry into the pulp genre is more straightforward and languidly paced than some viewers would like.
Follows a teen who was given away at birth and begins to research the secrets of her past with the... [More]
Adjusted Score: 80.451%
Critics Consensus: The Twilight Zone explores the strangeness of the modern world through Rod Serling's winning formula, creating a thought-provoking -- if not always spine-tingling -- showcase for Jordan Peele and his exceptional crop of collaborators.
Viewers enter another dimension with Jordan Peele and Simon Kinberg's modern re-imagining of the classic. CBS All Access' The Twilight... [More]
Adjusted Score: 78.903%
Critics Consensus: Marrying filmmaker Gregg Araki's frisky style with heady conspiracies and literary allusions, Now Apocalypse's bodacious aesthetics and philosophical pondering may prove too deliberately offbeat and garish for some.
This surreal, coming-of-age comedy series follows Ulysses (Avan Jogia, "Tut," "Twisted") and his friends Carly (Kelli Berglund, "Lab Rats," Dolly... [More]
Adjusted Score: 83.548%
Critics Consensus: The Umbrella Academy unfurls an imaginative yarn with furtive emotion and an exceptionally compelling ensemble, but the series' dour sensibility often clashes with its splashy genre trappings.
Oddball billionaire Sir Reginald Hargreeves (Colm Feore) dies of a heart attack. His death brings together for the first time... [More]
Adjusted Score: 80.483%
Critics Consensus: This animated anthology has enough creative Death to satisfy cyberpunk aficionados who Love their Robots to have some Heavy Metal influence, but the series' lofty ambitions are often undercut by a preoccupation with gore and titillation.
Terrifying creatures, wicked surprises and dark comedy converge in this NSFW anthology of animated stories presented by Tim Miller and... [More]
Adjusted Score: 84.58%
Critics Consensus: Though at times hard to watch, Euphoria balances its brutal honesty with an empathetic -- and visually gorgeous -- eye to create a uniquely challenging and illuminating series, held together by a powerfully understated performance from Zendaya.
Following a group of high school students as they navigate love and friendships in a world of drugs, sex, trauma... [More]
Adjusted Score: 83%
Critics Consensus: Marie Kondo makes for a delightful instructor on Tidying Up, gently encouraging us all to cut out all the clutter from our lives.
Tidying Up with Marie Kondo follows a loving family of four who have relocated to a Los Angeles apartment from... [More]
Adjusted Score: 83%
Critics Consensus: A worthy Serial supplement that isn't without flaws, The Case Against Adnan Syed fleshes out the life of Hae Min Lee and gives context to in the complicated boon of true crime entertainment.
The series will explore the 1999 disappearance and murder of 18-year-old Baltimore County high school student Hae Min Lee, and... [More]
Adjusted Score: 83.613%
Critics Consensus: The second season of Discovery successfully -- if stubbornly -- cleans up the problematic storylines of Trek past while still effectively dramatizing new takes on the lore.
After answering a distress signal from the U.S.S. Enterprise, season two of STAR TREK: DISCOVERY finds the crew of the... [More]
Adjusted Score: 84.29%
Critics Consensus: Fun, feisty, and fueled by the chemistry between its charismatic leads, Whiskey Cavalier overcomes its familiar structure to deliver an attractive take on a well-worn formula.
A high-octane, hour-long action dramedy that follows the adventures of tough but tender FBI super-agent Will Chase (codename: "Whiskey Cavalier"),... [More]
Adjusted Score: 84.29%
Critics Consensus: Like a pleasant visit to a place you used to live, Tales of the City provides ample nostalgic comforts, while maintaining the series' mission of celebrating the diversity of San Francisco on its own terms.
Middle-aged Mary Ann returns to San Francisco and the eccentric friends she left behind.... [More]
Adjusted Score: 82.645%
Critics Consensus: The Handmaid's Tale's third season reigns in its horrors and inspires hope that revolution really is possible -- if only the story would stop spinning its wheels and get to it already.
Adapted from the classic novel by Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid's Tale is the story of life in the dystopia of... [More]
Adjusted Score: 87.483%
Critics Consensus: Sam Rockwell and Michelle Williams give viewers plenty of razzle and dazzle in Fosse/Verdon -- a straightforward miniseries that is hampered by rote biographical tropes, but still shimmies with the requisite glitz, grit, and all that jazz audiences crave.
Based on Fosse, the biography written by Sam Wasson, this eight-part limited series tells the story of the singular romantic... [More]
Adjusted Score: 89.128%
Critics Consensus: A smörgåsbord of heavenly imagery and irreverent hilarity, Good Omens works thanks to to Michael Sheen and David Tennant's very-nearly-holy (or maybe unholy?) chemistry -- though, at only six episodes, it's a rare adaptation that may have benefitted from being a little less faithful to the good book.
In series 1, the year is 2018 and the Apocalypse is set to descend upon humanity. An angel and demon... [More]
Adjusted Score: 84.226%
Critics Consensus: A delightfully off-kilter combination of satire and science fiction, Weird City lives up to its name and then some -- even when it retreads familiar genre ground.
A comedic exploration of the everyday lives and struggles of people living in a technologically-advanced city named Weird.... [More]
Adjusted Score: 85.551%
Critics Consensus: Das Boot possesses the atmospheric pressure of its cinematic forebear while adding new depth to its compelling ensemble, making for a riveting international production.
During the Autumn of 1942, in occupied France, U-612 is now ready for its maiden voyage, preparing to head into... [More]
Adjusted Score: 87.193%
Critics Consensus: An intriguing tangle of mystery and melodrama, what The Society lacks in levity -- and at times clarity -- it makes up for with its surprisingly thoughtful exploration of community, culture, and what it means to grow up.
The Society follows a group of teenagers who are mysteriously transported to a facsimile of their wealthy New England town,... [More]
Adjusted Score: 91.741%
Critics Consensus: Driven by Mahershala Ali's mesmerizing performance, True Detective's third season finds fresh perspective by exploring real world events -- though it loses some of the series' intriguing strangeness along the way.
1980: Will and Julie Purcell, the children of feuding parents Tom and Lucy Purcell, go missing a week after Halloween... [More]
Adjusted Score: 88.387%
Critics Consensus: Luther returns in fine form from its extended exodus with a grizzly mystery and the welcome reappearance of Ruth Wilson's psychotic villain, Alice Morgan.
Idris Elba, known for playing drug dealer Stringer Bell on The Wire, is back in the fifth seies of Luther... [More]
Adjusted Score: 89.677%
Critics Consensus: Dead to Me doesn't always deliver on the gallows humor that it promises, but the sterling duo of Christina Applegate and Linda Cardellini elevates the series above its pulpier aspects -- offering a deeply moving relationship shaped by mutual grief.
Jen (Christina Applegate) is a sardonic widow determined to solve her husband?s recent hit-and-run murder. Judy (Linda Cardellini) is an... [More]
Adjusted Score: 92.58%
Critics Consensus: Though not quite as sharp as Joseph Heller's seminal novel, Catch-22's handsomely rendered, hilariously horrifying exploration of war still soars thanks to its stellar cast and reverent adherence to its source material.
Based on Joseph Heller's seminal novel of the same name, Catch-22 is the story of the incomparable, artful dodger, Yossarian... [More]
Adjusted Score: 89.322%
Critics Consensus: While Cobra Kai's subversive kick no longer carries the same gleeful impact of its inaugural season, its second round is still among the best around -- no amount of mid-life crisis and teenage ennui's ever gonna keep it down.
COBRA KAI returns, and a new rivalry between opposing dojos is born. What was once a personal feud between Daniel... [More]
Adjusted Score: 90.613%
Critics Consensus: An anxiety producing dramatization of real world events, The Hot Zone is a sobering reminder of exactly how deadly a disease can be.
Recounts the terrifying true story of the origins of the Ebola virus, a highly infectious deadly virus from the central... [More]
Adjusted Score: 93.128%
Critics Consensus: Years and Years scathingly critiques the present with a nihilistic projection of the future, leavening the devastating satire with a buoyant sense of humor and characters who are easy to become invested in.
Series 1 follows a family from Manchester whose lives converge on one crucial night in 2019.... [More]
Adjusted Score: 92.258%
Critics Consensus: Suranne Jones' boundless charisma brings the indomitable Anne Lister to vivid life in Gentleman Jack, a gently revelatory series that mines terrific humor from the icon's unapologetic forward-thinkingness - although the series isn't as willing to ruffle feathers as she was.
Series 1 follows Anne Listers efforts to restore Shibden Hall to its former glory.... [More]
Adjusted Score: 92%
Critics Consensus: Mrs. Wilson is a handsomely crafted mystery, filled with startling period details and a sterling performance by Ruth Wilson as a determined widow braving the eye of heartbreak.
Set in 1940s and 1960s London and 1930s India, the series follows Alison Wilson, who thinks she is happily married... [More]
Adjusted Score: 95.58%
Critics Consensus: Bawdy, heartfelt, and surprisingly wise, Sex Education is a raucous romp through a group of teenagers whose sexual misadventures are so thoughtfully rendered, adults could learn a thing or two from them.
Feeling pressured by the rumor that everyone in his class is having sex except him, awkward teenager Otis (Asa Butterfield)... [More]
Adjusted Score: 98.837%
Critics Consensus: Stranger Things transforms itself into a riveting -- if familiar -- summer ride that basks in its neon-laden nostalgia without losing sight of the rich relationships that make the series so endearing.
It's 1985 in Hawkins, Indiana, and summer's heating up. School's out, there's a brand new mall in town, and the... [More]
Adjusted Score: 92.226%
Critics Consensus: Line of Duty's sterling ensemble all maintain a stiff upper lip, but audiences' limbs will be quavering throughout this tense fifth season that dives deep into moral murk.
Line of Duty returns forafifth series, as AC12 continues to hunt for any corruption lurking within the police.... [More]
Adjusted Score: 94.483%
Critics Consensus: The OA's second season provides satisfying answers to its predecessors' most maddening enigmas, all while maintaining the singular ambience that fans have come to crave.
The "mind-bending" story returns with The OA Part II, which follows OA as she navigates a new dimension, one in... [More]
Adjusted Score: 91.677%
Critics Consensus: Disturbingly nuanced performances from Patricia Arquette and Joey King make The Act a convincing case for the ongoing dramatization of true crime stories.
The Act is a seasonal anthology series that tells startling, stranger-than-fiction true crime stories. Season One follows Gypsy Blanchard (Joey... [More]
Adjusted Score: 95.645%
Critics Consensus: Sharp social commentary and a star-making performance from Aidy Bryant help Shrill overcome its familiar comedic sensibilities to create a show that proves self-acceptance isn't one size fits all.
From Executive Producers Lorne Michaels and Elizabeth Banks comes Shrill, a comedy series starring Aidy Bryant (Saturday Night Live) as... [More]
Adjusted Score: 97.322%
Critics Consensus: With the titillating cat-and-mouse game still rooted at its core, Killing Eve returns for an enthralling second season of considerably higher stakes, hilariously dark humor and a captivating dynamic between characters, solidifying its position as one of the best spy thrillers out.
Killing Eve is the story of two women, bound by a mutual obsession and one brutal act: Eve, an MI6... [More]
Adjusted Score: 94.613%
Critics Consensus: The Magicians conjures a mind-bending fourth season that reinvigorates the ensemble with heady twists and spellbinding turns -- all leavened by the series' signature glib humor.
A group of twentysomethings studying magic in New York discover a real-life fantasy world that poses a great threat to... [More]
Adjusted Score: 94.613%
Critics Consensus: A cornucopia of visual wonder and environmental advocacy, Our Planet's breathtaking cinematography explores more of this beautiful, blue marble while presenting an urgent call to action to its inhabitants.
The ambitious four-year project has been filmed in 50 countries across all the continents of the world, with crew capturing... [More]
Adjusted Score: 96.193%
Critics Consensus: With game leads and a wickedly witty senes of humor, The Other Two skewers and celebrates pop culture with equal aplomb.
Two siblings work towards finding themselves, while confronting the dueling emotions of envy and pride brought on by the overnight... [More]
Adjusted Score: 99.29%
Critics Consensus: Delightfully absurd and ridiculously fun, What We Do in the Shadows expands on the film's vampiric lore and finds fresh perspective in its charming, off-kilter cast to create a mockumentary series worth sinking your teeth into.
Set in New York City, What We Do in the Shadows follows three vampires who have been roommates for hundreds... [More]
Adjusted Score: 96.032%
Critics Consensus: By unearthing previously suppressed histories, Surviving R. Kelly exposes the dangers of enabling predatory behavior and gives necessary voice to its survivors.
Celebrated as one of the greatest R&B singers of all time, R. Kelly's genre defining career and playboy lifestyle has... [More]
Adjusted Score: 96.032%
Critics Consensus: Honest and genuinely affecting, Special lives up to its name with a funny -- if a bit too concise -- first season brightened by Ryan O'Connell's infectious charms.
A young gay man with cerebral palsy branches out from his insular existence in hopes of finally going after the... [More]
Adjusted Score: 96.129%
Critics Consensus: The Good Fight's third season pulls no punches, doubling down on the social commentary while maintaining the show's sensational delights to create one of the best dramas on TV.
Spin-off of "The Good Wife" about a high-profile law firm in Chicago.... [More]
Adjusted Score: 95.967%
Critics Consensus: Viewers willing to suspend their disbelief will find much to enjoy in Pen15, wherein Maya Erskine and Anna Konkle reprise their adolescent selves -- stirring up plenty of yucks and pathos amidst the farce.
Maya Erskine and Anna Konkle star in this adult comedy, playing versions of themselves as thirteen-year-old outcasts in the year... [More]
Adjusted Score: 97.871%
Critics Consensus: DC Universe finds breakout material in this iteration of Doom Patrol thanks to a fully committed cast and the writing's faith in weirdness.
A re-imagining of one of DC's most beloved group of outcast Super Heroes: Robotman, Negative Man, Elasti-Girl and Crazy Jane,... [More]
Adjusted Score: 97.613%
Critics Consensus: A delightful, delicate dance of light and dark, Pose's second season achieves a striking balance between the grittiness of reality and the glamour of the runway.
Three years later, it's 1990 and the ball scene is being exposed to the mainstream for the first time, forcing... [More]
Adjusted Score: 97.709%
Critics Consensus: Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt ends with a final season that's as topical as it is cheerily irreverent.
Season 4 follows Kimmy Schmidt (Ellie Kemper) as she continues to adjust to the 21st century and learn more about... [More]
Adjusted Score: 97.709%
Critics Consensus: Andrew Davies' deft adaptation of the oft-retold Victor Hugo classic affords viewers a newfound intimacy with these outcasts and revolutionaries, who are ably brought to life by a star-studded cast.
Victor Hugo's masterpiece comes to television in a six-part adaptation by multi award-winning screenwriter Andrew Davies. Dominic West stars as... [More]
Adjusted Score: 99.838%
Critics Consensus: Brash and bonkers as ever, Veep bows out with an unapologetically absurd final season that solidifies its status as one of TV's greatest comedies.
The new season of VEEP finds Selina Meyer trying to gain traction in early primary
states, wooing uber-wealthy donors while navigating... [More]
Adjusted Score: 101.677%
Critics Consensus: Ava DuVernay pulls no punches in When They See Us, laying out the harrowing events endured by the Central Park Five while adding a necessary layer of humanity to their story that challenges viewers to reconsider what it means to find justice in America.
Five teens from Harlem become trapped in a nightmare when they're falsely accused of a brutal attack in Central Park.... [More]
Adjusted Score: 102.354%
Critics Consensus: Chernobyl rivets with a creeping dread that never dissipates, dramatizing a national tragedy with sterling craft and an intelligent dissection of institutional rot.
CHERNOBYL dramatizes the 1986 nuclear accident, one of the worst human-made catastrophes in history, and tells the story of the... [More]
Adjusted Score: 103.128%
Critics Consensus: Russian Doll may be stuck in a time loop, but this endlessly inventive series never repeats itself as it teeters on a seesaw of shifting tones -- from fatally funny to mournfully sad -- that is balanced with exhilarating moxie by an astonishing Natasha Lyonne.
Russian Doll follows a young woman named Nadia (Natasha Lyonne) on her journey as the guest of honor at a... [More]
Adjusted Score: 101.418%
Critics Consensus: Gorgeous and gripping, Big Little Lies's second season doubles down on the dark humor and gives its impressive cast even more juicy drama to chew on -- especially an excellent Meryl Streep.
Based on Liane Moriarty's best seller, Big Little Lies is a dark comedy set in a town by the seaside... [More]
Adjusted Score: 97.645%
Critics Consensus: With tables turned and alliances formed, Billions's fourth season goes full throttle with sharp dialogue, better rivalries, and bigger stakes.
When everyone is out for revenge, no one is safe. Former enemies Bobby Axelrod and Chuck Rhoades, and Wendy Rhoades,... [More]
Adjusted Score: 99.096%
Critics Consensus: An insightful and hilarious glimpse into the life of a Muslim American family, Ramy perfectly articulates the precarious nature and nuances of identity and announces Ramy Youssef is a talent to watch.
Ramy Hassan is a first generation Egyptian-American who is on a spiritual journey in his politically-divided New Jersey neighborhood. RAMY... [More]
Adjusted Score: 99.387%
Critics Consensus: Catastrophe hits its crescendo in a cutting final season that finds both the humor and heartbreak of simply trying to get by as a lover and a parent.
Sharon and Rob are back. So are their adventures navigating the murky waters of parenthood, in-laws, creepy bosses, court ordered... [More]
Adjusted Score: 105.902%
Critics Consensus: Crucial and careful, Leaving Neverland gives empathetic breadth and depth to the complicated afterlife of child sexual abuse as experienced by adult survivors.
The story of two families who allege that their boys were were sexually abused by Michael Jackson in the 1980s... [More]
Adjusted Score: 101.032%
Critics Consensus: Igualmente hilarante y horripilante, Los Espookys is an espooky good time.
From Julio Torres and Ana Fabrega, alongside Fred Armisen and Lorne Michaels of "Saturday Night Live," the primarily Spanish-language show... [More]
Adjusted Score: 101.032%
Critics Consensus: Incisively critical of the genre and equally delighted by its subjects, Documentary Now! nails mockumentary under the deft direction of Rhys Thomas and Alex Buono.
Featuring mockumentaries about faux people and events.... [More]
Adjusted Score: 101.419%
Critics Consensus: Following a period of uncertainty and a shift to NBC, Brooklyn Nine-Nine reemerges with its cast and tone wholly intact.
Return to the precinct for the sixth series of hilarity and hijinks at the hands of New York's not so... [More]
Adjusted Score: 101.419%
Critics Consensus: Glazer and Jacobson give the people exactly what they want in Broad City's final season - relatable content, questionable intimacy, and ingenious escapades through the glorious squalor of IRL NYC.
The cult hit web series Broad City comes compliments of the collective brains of Abbi Jacobson + Ilana Glazer (both... [More]
Adjusted Score: 101.709%
Critics Consensus: Tuca & Bertie skips right past Bojack Horseman's shadow with its chipper sensibility and madcap sight gags, bringing plenty of laughs as it addresses adulting anxiety and exalts the joys of friendship.
Tuca & Bertie is an animated comedy series about the friendship between two 30-year-old bird women who live in the... [More]
Adjusted Score: 101.613%
Critics Consensus: A Discovery of Witches smartly grounds its flights of fancy with a lived-in authenticity and harnesses the chemistry between its two star-crossed leads to make for a promising foray into the occult.
As Diana and Matthew embark on a journey to understand the secrets of the ancient manuscript, their relationship develops, and... [More]
Adjusted Score: 101.806%
Critics Consensus: As timely and tender as ever, One Day at a Time's third season manages to up to comedy ante without losing the intimate family moments that help it hit so close to home.
A remake of Norman Lear's classic 1975 sitcom revolves around a Cuban-American family headed by a recently separated military mom... [More]
Adjusted Score: 101.903%
Critics Consensus: Pamela Adlon fully asserts her authorial voice over Better Things in a triumphant third season that examines the exhaustion of motherhood with exhilarating artistry.
A single mom struggles to raise three girls while trying to maintain her career as an actor.... [More]
Adjusted Score: 102.096%
Critics Consensus: Barry follows up a pitch-perfect debut with a second season that balances darkness with comedy while steering clear of antihero overindulgence.
A comedy about a former marine working as a hit man in the Midwest who goes to the West Coast... [More]
Adjusted Score: 106.451%
Critics Consensus: Fleabag jumps back into the fray with a bracing second season that upholds its predecessor's frenzied wit and delicate heart, replete with Phoebe Waller-Bridge's indefatigable charisma.
Fleabag (Phoebe Waller-Bridge) is back for a second bite, and this time she is going toe to toe with the... [More]