2019 will be talked about for decades as a masterful year for the movies.
From your Hollywood mega-blockbusters to small-budget indie passion-projects, from ambitious story-driven to grounded character-driven, from contemporary to vintage art house, from comedy to horror, this year's movies had something for everybody!
With such monumental achievements on the silver-screens, it is easy to overlook that some of the most thrilling entertainment came at the small-screens.
We are currently in the thick of the modern "golden age of television," and 2019 has continued the trend of riveting TV entertainment and then some!
In this list, we look at 7 TV shows (debut or returning) that gave the big-screens a run for its money, and fans a captivating experience.
7. The Boys (Season 1)
Amazon hit a home-run with this adaptation of the graphic novel by Garth Ennis and Darick Robertson (and trust us, IT IS GRAPHIC!).
The Boys is set in a dystopian alternate universe where superheroes are depicted as regular humans: corrupt, lustful, and narcissistic. The supes- as they are called- are manufactured and owned by the Vought Corporation, who cover their bloody tracks.
The status quo is threatened when the anti-superheroes vigilante coalition called The Boys wage war against the superhero faction The Seven.
The series is led by stellar performances from the veteran Aussie actor Karl Urban as the leader of the Boys, Billy Butcher; Jack Quaid as Hugh "Hughie" Campbell; Antony Starr as Homelander, the leader of The Seven; among others and is the complete antithesis of the superhero trope.
IMDb Rating: 8.8/10
Metacritic Score: 73 out of 100
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 84%
6. Mindhunter (Season 2)
Director David Fincher pulls out the big guns for the second season of Mindhunter, featuring the FBI's Behavioral Sciences Unit tackling cases like the Charles Manson Cult Murders and the Atlanta Child Murders.
Together, the trio is the linchpins of the FBI's Behavioral Sciences Unit. They interview imprisoned serial-killers to unravel the mysteries of their mind to catch other serial-killers on the loose.
The true-crime series retains what made its first season a hit, and stylizes real-world atrocities in such a way that you cannot take your eyes off the screen!
With impeccable performances by all involved, Mindhunter is Fincher's vision brought to life in all its gory detail.
IMDb Rating: 8.6/10
Metacritic Score: 83 out of 100
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 98%
5. The Mandalorian (Season 1)
Everything Jon Favreau touches turns to gold! (except for The Lion King)
The veteran director of Iron Man, Elf, and Chef took on the daunting task of telling a good Star Wars story, which, if the recent movies are any indication, is a fool's errand.
After the original Star Wars trilogy tore through the ceiling in terms of what is possible in movies, the ensuing film series dug a hole and buried all the good-will of the original trilogy. The final nail-in-the-coffin was the 2019 abomination, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.
Hope spawned anew for Star Wars fans with the Disney+ series, The Mandalorian. The series has lessened the stench of The Rise of Skywalker, and Favreau managed to capture the glory of Star Wars with stunning visual effects, an engaging plot, stellar musical score, not to mention BABY YODA!
Pedro Pascal stars as the Mandalorian in the acclaimed series that fans will not soon forget.
IMDb Rating: 8.9/10
Metacritic Score: 69 out of 100
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 94%
4. Stranger Things (Season 3)
Stranger Things has all the makings of a great TV show: a marvelous cast, an intriguing plot, elements of the supernatural, and '80s nostalgia.
Most of the central cast remains unchanged, and the stellar performances of the cast are repeated in the third season.
Coming off of highly successful previous seasons, Season 3 of Stranger Things jumps into 1985 and our beloved band of rugrats is now teenagers, fighting off growing adolescent needs, and holding on to the last dregs of their childhood while a more sinister evil threatens to take over their hometown of Hawkins, Indiana.
Stranger Things sticks to its established formula that made its previous seasons such a hit. Balancing humor, nostalgia, and heartwarming camaraderie with the sci-fi-horror monster trope, the third season of Stranger Things is a triumph for Netflix.
IMDb Rating: 8.8/10
Metacritic Score: 72 out of 100
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 90%
3. Killing Eve (Season 2)
Killing Eve has none of the supernatural sci-fi monster elements that we mentioned above. What it does have is a leading cast that is so good that it more than makes up for its lack of big-budget visual effects and action setpieces.
The plot revolves around Ploastri's obsession with female assassins, which lands her in hot waters when she crosses paths with the psychotic assassin Villanelle. The hunter becomes the hunted, and the two's mutual obsession with each other threatens everyone around them.
A critical success for BBC America, the series and the two leads, in particular, has bagged numerous awards, and with a thrilling second season, the awards may keep racking up.
IMDb Rating: 8.3/10
Metacritic Score: 87 out of 100
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 93%
2. The Witcher
After Game of Thrones' spectacular fall from grace, fans of fantasy-drama rejoiced at how The Witcher did the genre justice.
The first season of The Witcher debuted for Netflix in a big way. Starring as the Witcher himself, Geralt of Rivia is Henry Cavill.
With extensive world-building, Hollywood blockbuster-levels of visual effects, and rich folklore to reference, The Witcher showed with its acclaimed first season that it is here to stay!
IMDb Rating: 8.6/10
Metacritic Score: 53 out of 100
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 59%
There has perhaps not been a more successful TV show in 2019 as the HBO miniseries Chernobyl.
A retelling of the harrowing real-life nuclear disaster in the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in Ukraine, the 5-part miniseries recounts in haunting detail the magnitude of the nuclear reactor explosion.
The show is driven by lead performances from Jared Harris as Valery Legasov, a scientist in charge of the cleanup in the aftermath of the explosion; Stellan Skarsgård as Boris Shcherbina, a Soviet government official in charge of accompanying Scherbina; and Emily Watson as Ulana Khomyuk, a composite character representative of the scientific community. Likewise, actors Paul Ritter, Jessie Buckley, Con O'Neill, and Adam Nagaitis also joined the main cast of the show.
After an inferno breaks out in the Reactor 4 of the Chernobyl Nuclear Plant in Pripyat, Ukraine on 26 April 1986, firefighters, first-responders, scientists, and government officials race against time to stop the nuclear disaster from consuming all of Europe while keeping the magnitude of the catastrophe under wraps from the rest of the world in the height of the Cold War.
One of the most chilling and heart-wrenching television experiences in quite some time, Chernobyl, is a sobering reminder of how the world almost ended due to simple human neglect, communist idealism, corruption, and lies.
The last sentence of the series as narrated by Valery Legasov rings true even today:
"Where I would once fear the cost of truth, now I only ask 'What is the cost of lies ?' "
This is one series you should not miss!
IMDb Rating: 9.5/10
Metacritic Score: 83 out of 100
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 96%