• Mark Mathews

The Best TV Shows of 2019

Updated: Dec 27, 2019

As we approach the end of the decade it becomes that time of year again...

...it's time for the 'best of...' lists to begin to come out!

Now, over the next few weeks, I want to cover TV, Films and then, of course, the trickiest of them all...Music!

So, let's begin with TV, shall we?!

Here's my top five shows of the year.

Succession: Season 2

I couldn't really see how the first series of 'Succession', an absolute masterstroke of storytelling, could be topped.

How fucking wrong I was!

This second series continued on with the Shakespearean/Greek tragedy story of the Roy family - a billionaire media mogul family (think the Murdochs or the Redstones) that are at times the most vicious, unscrupulous villains you could ever meet, and yet also have moments of vulnerability and tragedy that paint them to be sorrowful, broken human-beings desperately trying to find their way and their purpose.

It is writing of the highest order, with storylines covering politics, sexual deviancy, greed, murder and loneliness that are all weaved together in the overall story arch of the struggle for absolute power.

The cast is absolutely phenomenal, with not a single bad performance from anyone involved in this production. For me, the old Scottish lovvie and thespian Brian Cox is a stroke of genius casting, as is the remarkably talented Kieran Culkin (Macaulay's brother) who is one of my favourite characters in the show.

But like I say, ALL the others are stupidly perfect too - Jeremy Strong's portrayal of Kendall Roy is heartbreaking, Sarah Snook's ability to convey a woman having to emanate a tough exterior in order to fight in the dog pit with the rest of her family, when in actual fact this just hides the vulnerable little girl beneath the surface is spine-tinglingly moving!

I could go on about each actor, but let's just leave it at they are ALL EXTRAORDINARILY GOOD!

This is not only the TV show of the year for me, I, in fact, put it up there as the greatest show of the decade...possibly of all time!


HBO's account of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster in 1986 was a compulsive, heartbreaking historical drama directed by Johan Renck, the music video director who worked with Madonna a fair old bit.

This series, however, could not be further from the material girl's stuff!

Between Renck and show writer Craig Mazin ('The Hangover Part II' and fucking 'Identity Thief'!!!) they created a horrific, claustrophobic watch that not only portrayed the disaster zone but also covered the administrative and governmental incompetence that happened behind the scenes.

And this is where the brilliance of this show comes into its own, because it didn't simply rely on the "action" of the radioactive disaster zone, but instead made the, perhaps slightly drier, parts of the story (the corruption, lies, and mistakes made by the men in power), just as fascinating and horrifying to watch.

A sad but beautiful piece of TV.

Bojack Horseman: Season 6 (Part 1)

One of the most socially conscious shows I've ever known, 'Bojack Horseman' has taken its viewers on a beautiful journey that has mirrored, the mood and feeling of the modern western world. Storylines that have covered addiction, mental health problems, abandonment issues and the search for purpose within this thing called life have made this show one of the best dramas to exist.

It's deep stuff...and it's all done with the main protagonist being a cartoon horse!

This is part one of the final season, (part 2 will come in 2020) as Netflix has decided it's time to end the show. Initially, I was gutted to hear this, wanting the show to just keep on going forever, but with some serious thought, I think it is wise for it to be wrapping up now as I would absolutely hate it for it to go on too long and lose its brilliance.

And with this first part of the final season, you can sense most of the threads being tied up, explanations and conclusions are incoming and this just feels right. There is a whiff of hope in the air and where I am sure the show will not end with everything being rosy and perfect (rightly so), there feels like a definitive full stop on the story in some form and it is one I am hungry to see out.

Raphael Bob-Waksberg, the shows creator, should be immensely proud of producing a truly endearing, emotional and multi-layered document of our current times. Amazing stuff.

Gone Fishing: Series 2

OK, now this is a bit of a curveball to mix this list up a bit - there's been a fair amount of heavy shit! However, I genuinely rate 'Gone Fishing' as a wonderful bit of TV that is actually quite punk rock in its defiance at being a conventional show in 2019.

With so much tackiness on TV, all vying for our attention by being outrageous, brash and basically cuntish, a show like 'Gone Fishing' actually makes itself stand out from the crowd by being the polar opposite: It's soft, gentle, slow and almost meditative in its production.

It's impossible to dislike Bob Mortimer and Paul Whitehouse at the best of times, but their friendship that we as the viewers are invited to watch, is so heartwarming and funny. It often feels like a study of life when you reach the twilight years of your life, and you know what? Getting older feels OK after watching this show.

I Think You Should Leave with Tim Robinson

As something that is easy to binge on and has some lovely, absurd moments, 'I Think You Should Leave' was perfect fodder this year. Tim Robinson is so bloody likable anyway and his absurdist take on normal situations is often hilarious - think 'Tim & Eric' and you're on the right trajectory.

It's by no means perfect, with some sketches working better than others, but as each episode is only twenty minutes long it was a series that was great for just whacking on instead of doing the "Netflix Scroll" for hours on end.

Now, at the time of writing the new series of 'Always Sunny in Philidelphia' and 'Rick & Morty' have not reached the Netflix UK shores, so I've not been able to watch them, which is something that I am actually pretty pleased about! If I had have watched them, I think it is safe to say that I would have had to make some changes to my top five and that would have been difficult!

So there you go! The Best TV Shows of 2019!

Next up we'll move onto my film picks of the year!

See ya then!

Hey, do you know one of the best things you could do for me and my music is to follow me on Spotify?! Click HERE and give me a lovely follow and if you fancy adding some of my tracks to a playlist of yours, even better! xxxx

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