From Netflix to Amazon, streaming giants had a big year in 2019.
Amazon’s Fleabag and Netflix’s When They See Us received several Emmy nominations, while CBC/Pop TV show Schitt’s Creek found new life on demand. (And, while not technically a streaming service, HBO continues to make great shows — which you can stream with HBO Go.)
As we head into the New Year, here are my favorite shows from 2019.
Schitt’s Creek (Pop TV)
If you’re a fan of Arrested Development, you’re familiar with the basic set-up for Schitt’s Creek: a wealthy family loses everything. However, the Roses have shown they can change for the better. Season 5 follows Johnny, Moira, David and Alexis as they strengthen their ties to the town they once mocked, and longtime sidekick Stevie finally gets her moment in the spotlight.
With only one season left, it’s about time for Schitt-heads everywhere to say goodbye.
When They See Us (Netflix)
When five young black and Latino boys were accused of brutally beating and raping a Central Park jogger in April 1989, many of New York’s most powerful people — including Donald Trump — painted them as guilty.
In When They See Us, audiences see the case from the boys’ perspective. The miniseries follows the group, later known as the Central Park Five, as they are coerced into making false confessions, sentenced to prison and eventually exonerated years later.
“It was a famous case that allowed me to interrogate all the different parts of the criminal justice system,” director Ava DuVernay told NPR.
While she said her “purpose is not to change anyone’s mind,” this must-watch series forces audiences to examine the criminal justice system head-on.
Fleabag’s titular character kicks off the show’s second and final season with a declaration: “This is a love story.” In the six episodes that follow, creator Phoebe Waller-Bridge weaves a tale of romance and scandal (enter, Hot Priest). But she also explores what it means — and what it takes — to have faith.
We may have seen the last of Fleabag, but after big wins at the Emmys and a $20 million a year deal with Amazon we certainly haven’t seen the last of Waller-Bridge.
The Good Place (NBC)
On the surface, The Good Place is confusing: A group of humans try to navigate an afterlife divided between good and evil using moral philosophy as their guide. But the teachings of Kant and Locke aside, the series is really about unbridled hope.
Season 4 catches up with Michael, Eleanor, Chidi, Tahani, Jason and Janet as they attempt to prove that humanity can, in fact, be redeemed — and that every individual has the capacity to grow.
With Kristen Bell and Ted Danson leading one of the best ensembles around, it’s pretty forking good. Catch up while you can — the final slate of new episodes begin airing Jan. 9 on NBC.
Building on Succession’s stellar first season, the HBO drama finds the Murdoch-esque Roy family fighting to protect their media empire from a hostile takeover — but that doesn’t mean they’ve stopped warring with each other.
As the company faces threats on all fronts, siblings Kendall, Roman, Shiv and Connor jockey for leverage with their father (and CEO) Logan, a master manipulator who cares about power above all else.
If that’s not enough to make you subscribe to/pony up for HBO Go, rapper Pusha T likes the show so much he agreed to remix its opening theme, releasing the aptly-titled track “Puppets” just in time for the Season 2 finale.
Libby Berry is a digital producer at WBEZ. Follow her @libbyaberry.