The Year in TV – 2019

Rated Greg’s Top 10 Shows Of The Year

  1. Fleabag (Amazon)
  2. Succession (HBO)
  3. Mindhunter (Netflix)
  4. Euphoria (HBO)
  5. Cobra Kai (Youtube)
  6. The Crown (Netflix)
  7. Southern Charm (Bravo)
  8. Friends From College (Netflix)
  9. Derry Girls (Netflix)
  10. What We Do In The Shadows (FX)

Honorable Mentions (in no particular order): The Mandalorian (Disney+), Watchmen (HBO), Mrs. Fletcher (HBO), I Love You Now Die (HBO), Barry (HBO), Dating Around (Netflix), Dark (Netflix), Crashing (HBO), The Loudest Voice (Showtime)

Fleabag (Amazon) – Season 2:  You check out Fleabag Season 1 because Season 2 has been socially publicized with a 100% approval rating this year.  You’re a little confused at first.  Why is she occasionally talking directly to the camera, breaking the fourth wall ala Zack Morris?  Actually not just occasionally, but seemingly once every 35 seconds?   It’s a unique avenue of perspective, but isn’t that overkill?  Maybe this just isn’t for you, like a lot of British shows that others love (Peaky Blinders is fucking dumb and I’ll say it to your face). But you stick it out because its only 6 episodes at 22-25 minutes a piece.  The end of each chapter leaves juuuuust enough intrigue to keep going.  By the end of season 1 Fleabag has grown on you, but not so much that you feel compelled to bring her up in conversation.   

Then you finally throw on Episode 1 of Season 2 and it ALL MAKES SENSE.  Of course people are raving about this show!  The Season 1 homework was all worth it.  You’re compelled to eat up the next 5 episodes consecutively but also consider savoring this masterpiece of television over the course of a week or two.  Each episode becomes more and more satisfying while painting a whole new light on the fourth wall structure.  Rated Greg thrives on hyperbole and he won’t disappoint here.  Fleabag Season 2 is the best rom-com this decade.

Best episode: The one at the restaurant

Succession (HBO) – Season 2:    Last year’s champion is sadly no longer my number one boy.  I wish I had the skill to talk like these assholes.  The Roy family saga is still just as good as the first season and remains the best written show on television, but Fleabag is the new, shiny thing thus gets the slight edge. 

Best episode: The one on the yacht

Mindhunter (Netflix) – Season 2:    After taking a year off, David Fincher’s Mindhunter made significant improvement in Season 2.  Netflix billed 2017’s first season as another cops vs serial killers show from the director of Seven, but viewers quickly learned it wasn’t exactly that.  There weren’t any cases to solve.  Instead the premise was rather about the onset of a real life FBI program in which they psychoanalyzed already captured deviants to improve their profiling capabilities and the toll this took on the personal lives of the FBI agents involved.  I still found it quite compelling but understand if it wasn’t what you were looking for.  

That said, if you are looking for a show about cops investigating shit, you should really check out Season 2.  It begins with a similar structure to the first season but soon a new, WILD real life case is introduced that I had never heard of before.  The agents now use what they learned about criminal profiling in the first season to investigate a string of mysterious Atlanta killings in the mid 80’s.  You’re still not going to see any car chases or shootouts, but it is remains thrilling filmmaking from Fincher. 

Best episode: The one with the stakeout

Euphoria (HBO) – Season 1:    I’ve heard secondhand that this was a really tough watch for the older generations.  The pilot for Euphoria is basically, I have to assume, the worst case scenario for what it’s like to be in high school in 2019 (drug addiction, social media driven depression, sexual assault, rampant glitter eye shadow).  It’s not like the 80’s and 90’s representations for high school life weren’t also angst filled, but there were definitely highs to go along with those lows.  Meanwhile, each of the kids at Euphoria High are doomed from the start. 

I will say that the pilot episode is without a doubt the most disturbing episode of the season and if you can make it past that you will likely find it rewarding, but if you can’t handle it I won’t blame you.  Nonetheless I found Euphoria to be absolutely captivating.  From a cinematography standpoint it’s the best looking show on TV, peaking with a carnival episode that’s unlike anything I’ve ever seen. 

Best episode: The one with the carnival

Cobra Kai (Youtube) – Season 2:   You know what’s a really fun high school show?  Cobra fucking Kai. The biggest setback of watching Cobra Kai was that you needed a Youtube Red account, however the company has already dissolved their premium service and all episodes will be made available for free very soon.  You can read more about my enthusiasm for this reboot of the ultimate underdog story here.  

Best episode: The one with the first day of school

The Crown (Netflix) – Season 3:    BY GOD THIS IS JUST GOOD SHIT. I fancy The Crown.

Best episode: The one with the moon landing

Southern Charm (Bravo) – Season 6:    These idiots take the title from Vanderpump Rules as the best reality show on TV. 

Best episode: The one with the ski trip

Friends From College (Netflix) – Season 2:    The most underappreciated comedy since Happy Endings.  Much like Happy Endings, this show about messy adult assholes was cancelled way too soon.  At first I blamed misleading bad reviews from critics for the cancellation, but perhaps the cast is just too busy/expensive to all keep together (most notably Keegan-Michael Key, Cobie Smulders, and Billy Eichner).   

Best episode: The one with the wedding

Derry Girls (Netflix) – Season 2:    This past summer the movie Booksmart was billed as “the female Superbad.” It’s a fair comparison and Booksmart is a good time.  However an even better version of “the female Superbad” is Netflix’s Derry Girls, about five friends acting a fool in early 90’s Northern Ireland.  You’ll likely need to watch this with subtitles because of the accents. 

Best episode: The one with the concert

What We Do In The Shadows (FX) – Season 1:    Based on Taiki Waititi’s movie of the same name, this comedy about vampires in modern day Staten Island seems stupid on paper, but I guarantee you will chuckle multiple times each episode. Just watch the clip below if you don’t believe me.

Best episode: The one with the trial

A Few Rated Greg Superlatives

Rated Greg’s Top 5 Lead Performances

  1. Phoebe Waller-Bridge (Fleabag)
  2. Russell Crowe (The Loudest Voice)
  3. Holt McCallany (Mindhunter)
  4. Kathryn Hahn (Mrs. Fletcher)
  5. Craig Conover (Southern Charm)*

*Never change, Craig

Rated Greg’s Top 5 Supporting Characters

  1. Tom (Matthew Macfayden) – Succession
  2. Hot Priest (Andrew Scott) – Fleabag
  3. Baby Yoda (A puppeteer) – The Mandalorian
  4. Jules Vaughn (Hunter Schafer) – Euphoria
  5. Colin Robinson (Mark Proksch) – What We Do In The Shadows

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