With so many great TV shows, both new and returning, it can be hard to figure out what to watch - so we're counting down the 10 best TV shows of 2019 (so far). Halfway through the year we've already said farewell to HBO's most-watched show of all time, Game of Thrones, while newer series have been moving in to fill the void.
Still to come this year are new seasons of The Walking Dead, Legion, and Preacher, as well as new series like Nancy Drew, His Dark Materials, and The Boys. As streaming services like Netflix and Hulu compete with traditional TV networks like HBO and AMC, there's more choice than ever before of what to watch and how to watch it.
Whether you're looking for a new show to binge on those lazy summer days, or simply wanting to see if your favorite made the list, here are our top 10 TV shows of the year so far.
10. Queer Eye
Prepare to laugh and cry (sometimes simultaneously) as the Fab Five help struggling souls in Kansas and Missouri with their look, their homes, their lifestyles and their relationships with others in Queer Eye season 3. Netflix's reboot of the makeover show has been a much-needed dose of positivity in an often depressing world, and this season's highlights include a pair of hard-working sisters who run one of the best barbecue joints in Kansas City (but have little time for self care), a camp counselor who forgoes simple things like showering and shaving, but wants to become a real role model for his son, and a widowed single father of two boys trying to make a fresh start in a new house.
9. The Umbrella Academy
We're not exactly running low on superhero movies and TV shows at the moment, but Netflix series The Umbrella Academy managed to stand out as one of the best new shows of the year. Based on the comics by Gerard Way and Gabriel Bá, The Umbrella Academy is one of two shows on this list that are predominately about the end of the world. A dysfunctional family of former child celebrity superheroes are brought back together by the death of their adoptive father and the return of their long-lost brother, Five, who has time-traveled to a post-apocalyptic future and needs their help to avert it. The show boasts a great cast, and a soundtrack that will make you want to get up and dance.
8. When They See Us
Ava DuVernay's Netflix miniseries When They See Us is hard to watch in one go, since you'll probably need to take breaks between each episode for the anger to cool off. Recounting the miscarriage of justice that led to the imprisonment of the group of teenagers known as the Central Park Five, When They See Us features outstanding performances from its young cast, and from established actors like Michael Kenneth Williams and Niecy Nash, who play the parents of the accused. An unflinching look at how the justice system can inflict extreme injustice, When They See Us is so powerful that it's caused a renewed surge of backlash against the prosecutors involved in the case. Be sure to watch all the way through to the fourth and final episode, which deals with their eventual vindication and release.
7. A Series of Unfortunate Events
2019 started off in style, with the third and final season of A Series of Unfortunate Events landing on Netflix on January 1. Based on the book series of the same name by Lemony Snicket (played by Patrick Warburton in the show as the ever-melancholy narrator), A Series of Unfortunate Events strikes a delicate balance between darkness and whimsy, as the three Baudelaire orphans delve into the various mysteries of the secret organization their parents belonged to, all while evading the clutches of the wicked Count Olaf. The show benefited from having a clear ending destination, which wraps up the story in a way that answers some of viewers' burning questions, while deliberately leaving a few mysteries to ponder. If you haven't seen the show before, now is the time to watch it in its entirety.
6. Russian Doll
Orange is the New Black's Natasha Lyonne co-created darkly comic sci-fi mystery Russian Doll with Leslye Headland and Amy Poehler, and also plays the lead role. Nadia is a cynical New Yorker whose night at a party turns into a nightmare when she finds herself stuck in a loop of dying over and over again. As she tries to figure out how she break the loop and stay alive, Nadia uncovers revelations about both herself and the strange situation she's stuck in, and the show gets progressively weirder of the course of its eight episodes. Stylish, funny, and fascinating, Russian Doll is a great new addition to Netflix's library.
5. Good Omens
Developed for TV by Neil Gaiman, based on the novel that he co-wrote with the late Terry Pratchett, Good Omens is the most fun you can have with the end of the world. The key to its success is the dynamic between stars Michael Sheen and David Tennant, who respectively play a fussy angel called Aziraphale and a flamboyant demon called Crowley. The pair first met in the Garden of Eden and have been on Earth ever since as the representatives of Heaven and Hell, but secretly came to an arrangement that allows them both to slack off and enjoy Earthly life. Suffused with Pratchett's distinctive brand of deadpan humor and lovingly brought to life by Gaiman, Good Omens is one of the best Amazon shows so far.
4. Big Little Lies
Big Little Lies season 1 was so good, it seemed nearly impossible the show could continue to keep the same level of quality into a second season - especially since the show was based on a single novel that was completely covered in season 1. However, Big Little Lies returned this year and is just as good, excellently exploring the effect the Monterey Five’s lie has on each of the women. One of Big Little Lies’ strength was exploring these flawed female characters with truth and authenticity, and season 2 continues to do so, becoming one of the best shows on TV in the process.
Bill Hader stars in Barry, a darkly comic HBO series about a hitman whose work leads him to an acting class, where he finds an unexpected outlet for his pent-up emotions. Both Hader and his co-star, Henry Winkler, won Emmy Awards for their performances in season 1, and season 2 delivers, as the tagline promises, "a killer second act."
Killing Eve creator Phoebe Waller-Bridge writes and stars in BBC and Amazon Prime series Fleabag. The titular Fleabag is a young woman who runs a guinea pig-themed café, has a troubled relationship with her family, and is struggling to recover from the death of her best friend. Season 2 introduces Andrew Scott as a new, forbidden love interest: a Catholic priest recruited for the wedding of Fleabag's father and wicked stepmother, who is dealing with a few demons of his own. Fleabag's second and final season is an outstanding follow-up to the first, thanks to Waller-Bridge's sharp writing and the electric screen chemistry between her and Scott.
After starring in AMC's excellent Arctic chiller The Terror in 2018, Jared Harris enters a different kind of nightmare in HBO miniseries Chernobyl. This dramatization of one of the worst nuclear disasters in history marries a story of scientists and workers desperately scrambling to contain the lethal radiation with a fascinating mystery, as Harris' nuclear physicist Valery Legasov tries to answer the question of how and why the reactor exploded in the first place. Chernobyl is particularly effective in portraying just how dangerous the invisible monster of nuclear radiation is - from the screams of Geiger counters to the unimaginable agony of first responders whose bodies burned from the inside out. At once a tragedy, a horror story, and a moving tribute to the thousands of people who sacrificed their lives to stop the radiation from spreading, Chernobyl is easily the best TV show of 2019 so far.