One of the first big TV hits of 2019 sent us in a loop over and over again, returning endlessly to a bathroom mirror, a Harry Nilsson song, and that infernal greeting: “Sweet birthday baby!” And in some ways, Russian Doll makes for a perfect metaphor for the year in television. You’d finish a new series, and then boom, you’re back in the bathroom mirror. Gotta get up, gotta get out, gotta get home before the next show comes.
But like Nadia’s trips round and round through the same night and day, that cycle contained endless variations. Oh, and what variations there were. With more than 600 series making their way to air (or stream) in 2019, there was something for you, and probably quite a few somethings. Sure, Game of Thrones met its fiery end—not all of it bad, lest we forget!—but in the place of one big, conversation-dominating shows, we got many smaller ones. Hot Priest! Boar on the Floor! “A Little Bit Alexis,” “a legit snack, and “A God Walks Into Abar.” And that’s not counting that brightest of beacons, Baby Yoda, and yes we know it’s not actual Baby Yoda, but we’re not calling that little guy “The Child,” it’s Baby Yoda forever.
The downside of such bounty is that our list, like your viewing schedule, cannot possibly include all the greats. Some of our favorites won’t be found within—no Brooklyn Nine-Nine, no DC’s Legends of Tomorrow, no Veronica Mars/Ramy/Vida, the list goes on. But these are our picks for the greatest of a great year. Some will be back in 2020, some won’t. But whether your fave is returning or not, never fear: You’ll always have something to watch. Gotta get up, gotta get out…