2019 TV Year In Review

The List, 32 Total Seasons of Shows:

TV released this year:

  1. Escape at Dannemora (showtime trial on Amazon)
  2. The Dragon Prince season 2 (Netflix)
  3. The Umbrella Academy (Netflix)
  4. Doom Patrol (DC Universe) not finished
  5. True Detective season 3 (HBO Now)
  6. Game of Thrones season 8 (HBO Now)
  7. What We Do In The Shadows season 1 (Amazon Instant)
  8. Archer season 10 (Amazon Instant)
  9. Big Little Lies season 2 (HBO Now)
  10. The Boys (Amazon Prime)
  11. Bosch season 5 (Amazon Prime)
  12. Carnival Row season 1 (Amazon Prime)
  13. Titans season 2 (DC Universe) not finished
  14. Righteous Gemstones season 1 (HBO Now)
  15. Succession season 2 (HBO Now)
  16. Watchmen season 1 (HBO Now)
  17. Veronica Mars season 4 (Hulu)
  18. Jack Ryan season 2 (Amazon Prime)
  19. Silicon Valley season 6 (HBO Now)
  20. Mrs Fletcher season 1 (HBO Now)
  21. The Mandalorian season 1 (Disney+)

TV not released this year:

  1. The Dragon Prince season 1 (Netflix)
  2. Community season 1 (DVD)
  3. Community season 2 (DVD some Hulu)
  4. Community season 3 (Hulu)
  5. Bosch season 1 (Amazon Prime)
  6. Bosch season 2 (Amazon Prime)
  7. Bosch season 3 (Amazon Prime)
  8. Bosch season 4 (Amazon Prime)
  9. Deadwood season 1 (HBO Now)
  10. The Wire season 1 (HBO Now)
  11. Garth Marenghi’s Dark Place season 1 (DVD and YouTube)

Some Stats:

-Total Watch time: 9 DAYS 13 HOURS 15 MINUTES according to: https://tiii.me

-3 Seasons of Netflix Original content

-10 Seasons of HBO Original content

-8 Seasons of Amazon Original content

-2 Seasons purchased outright (What We Do In The Shadows and Archer from FX through Amazon)

-1 surprise excellent Disney+ show worth the price of that subscription all by itself

-12(?) people using my Disney+ login

Worst choices: DC Universe generally, just a huge joke of a streaming service. Just terrible and they still got my fanboy pity dollars for Titans season 1 and 2. I’ve never been more angry with myself and I actually do love to waste money on superhero stuff.

Jack Ryan season 2 was trash except for a few small OK action scenes. But the show won’t die. We, the US Public, love our non partisan super smart super soldiers. Tom Clancy’s nice boys in khakis speaking french and doing book reports for the president, ratings gold. They are doing a creative overhaul for season 3 making it a shared cinematic universe with Taylor Sheridan at the helm (Remember SICARIO!) doing a movie that’s probably a very bad and dumb Michael B Jordan Navy Seal Deep State Thriller that riffs on The Fugitive. I will watch season 3 but you should skip season 1 and 2.

Best Show: Escape at Dannemora – a recent history true crime prison break told plainly with the best dramatic performances of the year, captured with a cinematic eye like something from what you think of as the classic decades of popular, grown up cinema.

From director Ben Stiller of all people. Yes that Ben Stiller, no it’s not even close to a comedy). Barely TV because it plays like a movie and benefits from being watched all at once if you can plan a Saturday for it. Each piece is very interdependent and illuminates every other piece in a small way.

Most Watchable Show: The Mandalorian. If this isn’t TV, there’s no such thing as TV. High quality elevated Saturday morning cartoons for the whole family. Where a lot of prestige shows want to be movies, Mandalorian knows what it is and delivers episode to episode. I want 100+ more of these if Disney is willing to keep paying for them.

All of the Competent Cop Shows I Enjoyed: True Detective Season 3 (Mahershala Ali’s performance as an old man was so good), Bosch (all 5 seasons! Last year my comfort food like this was Justified), Veronica Mars (workmanlike adequate followup/revival of the old show), The Wire (always a classic)

Other Good Stuff:

HBO Comedies – just absolutely fine.

HBO Dramas – Watchmen was not as good as the movie (a bit too optimistic at the end!) but still good TV. Great catalog but miss me with the slice of life stuff.

Succession doesn’t count as a comedy. That’s a drama that over performed. Watchable on a level that Sorkin fans will say The West Wing/The Newsroom reached, darker and nastier than either of those but also better.

The Weird Ones: Garth Marenghi had an eyeball child, maybe the most unforgettable trauma I suffered this year. Thank you to my friends for introducing me to this mock 80s super irony novelist auteur procedural.

Everything that Under Performed (sorry!):

The ending of Umbrella Academy. What even was that? Maybe season 2 will make it worthwhile. Very much the serial pleasure, an ending is not what we were looking for.

Carnival Row – absolutely forgettable, clumsy basic social commentary, fantasy romance cover YA garb, be glad you missed this

The Boys – despite being a stellar adaption of an unadaptable 90s edgelord comic book text, it never escapes its bush era resentments, cynicism or politics. You can hear it yelling, “YOU DON’T KNOW HOW THE REAL WORLD WORKS. MOM!” as it smokes one (1) weed behind a gas station while on break. Upcoming Season 2 shows a lot of promise. Get back to the core bit that works, killing superheroes that deserve it with clever in universe mechanics.

Doom Patrol – essentially a DC Universe version of Doctor Who with super gore. A lot of spark, spunk and heart but none of the individual characters or performances were enough to keep me. The weirdness is a plus, the terrible network it’s on is a minus. A lot of promise and maybe I’ll finish this one later.

Game of Thrones – in my first episode of the season recap I said Game of Thrones needed to mean something… it never did.

“In Game of Thrones, you get the sense that these characters will never leave anything behind. No one, not one character in the smallest way leaves this world a better place really. You either win or you die, there’s not that complicated grey area that we have here in the real world, where small humane actions between people in their own small way add up to more, a richer more purposeful universe than just a bunch of titles, natural resource tiles out of a catan board game, with localized arbitrary sociological quirks mish mashed in a tangible details world building blender.

Like a pre teen boy throwing trash in a camp fire, burning whatever comes to mind or hand, there are some interesting colors that come from the breakdown of complex things. The only question that matters to me now is what will be left when this cable tv show is out of fuel. What will it all really, ultimately mean.”

Something that also under performed in 2019? ME. I totally forgot I was even in classes until I went back and read that recap. I had memory hole’d my hurt back and withdrawal from all my classes. Hopefully I’ll have a better 2020 personally. I am not planning on returning to academics.

 

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