Best TV Of 2019: 'Yellowstone,' 'Money Heist,' 'You' And More

Yellowstone Kevin Costner John Dutton Paramount Network Money Heist La casa de papel the Professor Sergio Marquina Álvaro Morte Netflix You Joe Goldberg Penn Badgley
Image by Paramount Network / Tamara Arranz / Netflix (center) / Netflix
The power of TV kept burning bright in 2019 with the follow-up installments of “Yellowstone,” “Money Heist,” and “You.” They were not alone as “Game of Thrones” returned for its final bow. In a year that witnessed television continue to soar, new shows readied to take the lead. Thus, continuing a trend that shows no sign of slowing down.

Television continues to be the hottest spot for heart-racing and immersive stories. Aiding in that was Netflix, which brought the heat with international favorites that made their way onto the U.S. side of the streaming service. Network television managed one spot on 2019’s best list. Cable (premium and not) provided the only counters to streaming’s steady supply.

These were the sixteen best television shows of 2019. Some will return, and others will not. Whatever the case, what they left viewers with this past year was stunning and stirring. For me, it does not get any better than these terrific TV shows. Will “You” two-peat as the year’s best show? Find out! These are the sweet 16!

Straight Forward Acorn TV Cecilie Stenspil Silvia
Image by Acorn TV

#16: Straight Forward

Con games, a heist, and double lives. What more could you want? As a fan of the crime drama genre, “Straight Forward” provided the perfect example of why I am. This Acorn TV series told a contained tale that made this viewer no less tempted to see a follow-up. The characters and storyline naturally made their case for one.

Sneaky Pete Giovanni Ribisi Marius Josipović Pete Murphy Amazon
Image by Amazon

#15: Sneaky Pete

It is sad to know that “Sneaky Pete” will not be back. Thankfully, its ending did not leave fans hanging. That would have been salt in the wound. “Sneaky Pete” finished as strong as it started, and that is an extraordinary story in the TV biz. Here is to the laughs, the cons, and all of the family drama. “Sneaky Pete” was one of the best.

The Punisher Frank Castle Jon Bernthal Jason R. Moore Curtis Hoyle Netflix
Image by David Giesbrecht / Netflix

#14: The Punisher

“The Punisher” gave fans a stellar second season. One that saw the phenomenal Jon Bernthal’s Frank re-team with the great Jason R. Moore's Curtis Hoyle, and team-up with scene-stealer, Giorgia Whigham as the spunky teenager, Amy. Season 2 was what I had hoped its freshman season would be. Action, drama, and character development in spades.

High Seas Alta Mar Eva Villanueva Ivana Baquero José Sacristán Pedro Villanueva Carolina Villanueva Alejandra Onieva Netflix
Image by Manuel Fernandez-Valdes / Netflix

#13: High Seas

The life, times, and adventures of Eva and Carolina Villanueva rocked the Bárbara de Braganza for two seasons in 2019. Actress Ivana Baquero is giving television the plucky heroine that it so desperately needs. Hence, I anxiously await the return of “High Seas.” Season 2 continued to incorporate the high drama of “Gran Hotel” with something edgy and romantic. Well done!

Absentia Angel Bonanni Tommy Gibbs Derek Crown Christopher Colquhoun Cal Isaac Matthew Le Nevez Jack Byrne Neil Jackson Emily Byrne Stana Katic Nick Durand Patrick Heusinger Julianne Gunnarsen Natasha Little Flynn Durand Patrick McAuley Alice Durand Cara Theobold Amazon
Image by Amazon / AXN / Sony Pictures Television

#12: Absentia

After a tumultuous first season, “Absentia” was reborn as the series that this viewer wanted it to become in Season 2. Successfully driven by the sensational performance of Stana Katic as Emily Byrne, the action thriller reached new heights as a story. “Absentia” also did something few did in 2019. It gave viewers a massive payoff!

The Order Sarah Grey Alyssa Drake Jake Manley Jack Morton Netflix
Image by Netflix

#11: The Order

This horror series about a college student joining a magical secret society could have gone off the rails, but it did not. “The Order” started its run by having a lot of fun. It had a slick and fast-paced story that mixed werewolves and magic with its own refreshing mythos. The year’s best horror series? Without a doubt.

Dark Charlotte Doppler Karoline Eichhorn Netflix
Image by Netflix

#10: Dark

The mind-bending thriller returned without losing touch of its core story as it continued unspooling its sprawling mythos. Time travel has not been this movingly rendered since Richard Curtis’ “About Time.” Like that film, “Dark” toys with science fiction for the sake of family-led drama. Not the other way around. Raw and riveting, “Dark” shined bright.

Black Spot Zone Blanche Laurène Weiss Suliane Brahim Martial Teddy Bear Ferrandis Hubert Delattre Franck Siriani Laurent Capelluto
Image by Ego Productions

#9: Black Spot

There is nothing else on this list quite like “Black Spot” (“Zone Blanche”). It deals with monsters, myths, and a town filled with secrets. The mood and atmosphere the show sets for Villefranche is distinctive, lush, and dramatically gratifying. In Season 2, “Black Spot” was not just a show. It was an experience and a mighty fine one.

Unauthorized Living Vivir sin permiso Àlex Monner Carlos Bandeira Jose Coronado Nemo Bandeira Giulia Charm Nina Bandeira
Image by Telecinco

#8: Unauthorized Living (Vivir Din premise)

Drama, intrigue, and loads of family politics. “Unauthorized Living” cast a spell on this viewer with its engrossing plot twists and thrilling reveals. The remarkable lead performance of Jose Coronado as the complex kingpin, Nemo Bandeira, marked the force behind it all. Adding to it was Àlex Monner's wonderful turn as Nemo's scene-stealing son, Carlos. This is one ride I cannot wait to continue!

Game of Thrones Arya Stark Maisie Williams Jon Snow Kit Harington HBO
Image by Helen Sloan / HBO

#7: Game of Thrones

How I mourn thee. “Game of Thrones” was more than its last installment. It was a story that spanned nearly a decade, and if you felt angry, sad, or bitter, it meant you cared. By the time musical maestro Ramin Djawadi’s magnificent score sent the Starks off, the tears shed by yours truly were emblematic of that. There is no doubt that television is now missing a titan.

The Blacklist Elizabeth Liz Keen Megan Boone Harold Cooper Harry Lennix Donald Ressler Diego Klattenhoff Aram Mojtabai Amir Arison NBC
Scott Gries / NBC

#6: The Blacklist

The push and pull, twists and turns, did not let up as “The Blacklist” came off a high-flying season. As an original viewer, I remain just as enthralled and curious to see what is going to happen next. A fantastic cast makes you care, excellent writing keeps you involved, and an incredible cast of characters keeps you grounded. “The Blacklist” nails it all.

Medici Daniel Sharman Lorenzo de Medici Netflix
Image by Rai 1

#5: Medici

As a costume drama enthusiast, “Medici” hits all of the best spots. Returning with a reset as a sharp Daniel Sharman took over the reins from Richard Madden as the grandson of Madden's Cosimo. Season 2 did not lose an ounce of steam. In fact, it arguably picked up quite a bit. Drama, romance, backstabbing, and feuds. “Medici: The Magnificent” lived up to its title. It was nothing but magnificent.

The Kominsky Method Michael Douglas Sandy Kominsky Alan Arkin Norman Newlander Netflix
Image by Ali Goldstein / Netflix

#4: The Kominsky Method

No sophomore slump here! Just another fabulous season of Netflix's “The Kominsky Method,” as the cantankerous banter between Michael Douglas and Alan Arkin’s sparky characters continued with aplomb. Season 2 flew by in an addictive flash. The addition of “Mad About You” star Paul Reiser only upping the ante of the finely assembled ensemble. This was one show I kept wishing would not end.

Money Heist La casa de papel the Professor Sergio Marquina Álvaro Morte Netflix
Image by Tamara Arranz / Netflix

#3: Money Heist (La Casa de Papel)

I binged all three seasons (parts) of “Money Heist” and am glad I did. It is a chess game masquerading as a heist thriller. For eight episodes, “Money Heist” kept ratcheting up the suspense as it dove at a different angle in its 2019 installment. Season 3 (Part 3) had a strong sense of its many moving parts as it left viewers anxious for its speculation-inducing return.

Yellowstone Kelly Reilly Beth Dutton Kevin Costner John Dutton Luke Grimes Kayce Dutton Kelsey Asbille Monica Long Dutton Jamie Dutton Wes Bentley Cole Hauser Rip Wheeler Paramount Network
Image by Paramount Network

#2: Yellowstone

The Western got back into the saddle for a second season that did not miss a step. “Yellowstone” has it all! Family drama, romance, and a suspenseful core story are part of the captivating ingredients that comprise the show. Led by Kevin Costner, no other series outdid what “Yellowstone” did with its nail-biting ten episodes. Simply put, “Yellowstone” was one of the best shows of 2019.

You Love Quinn Victoria Pedretti Joe Goldberg Penn Badgley Netflix

#1: You

“You” did it again. Where to begin? A year after blowing the proverbial doors off of television, the now-Netflix thriller returned for a second season that more than held its own with its first. Season 2 maintained the quality of its freshman effort with rich dialogues that set off its character study backdrop.

Penn Badgley's performance as Joe was easily one of the year's best. A multi-dimensional characterization that never played it safe. Awards season snubbed Badgley last year. As far as this TV viewer is concerned, no one had him beat in 2019, either. To his credit, James Scully (Forty) managed to hold his own with him.

Final Look Back

Great television moves you and makes you think. As someone who writes about it non-stop, it is a testament to TV in general that I still love it. Getting a chance to get inside the mind of a series did not lose any of its luster in 2019. It is thanks to the incredible creative minds behind, and in front of them, that is the case.

“Game of Thrones” will be an iffy selection to those reading, depending on how you felt about it. Despite my own reservations with certain things, it still left me highly emotional by the end. A sign of a job, well done. In terms of character-driven opuses, “Yellowstone” looks prized to carry its mantle.

The two shows may not seem more different, but they could not be more emotionally similar. It is about fighting over legacies and the never-ending intrigue of a family unit’s internal politics. When it came to compelling drama, “Yellowstone” gets my green light. As for “You,” there was no better surprise than the golden quality of its second season. A two-peat well-deserved.