The 17 Best TV Shows of 2019 Are...

There was no shortage of television programming in 2019, and only some programs rose to the top.

By Lauren Piester, Chris Harnick Dec 19, 2019 12:00 PMTags
Best TV of 2019 - Schitt’s Creek, Fleabag, Watchmen, The Good Place, PEN15Steve Wilkie/CBC/ITV/Kobal/Shutterstock, BBC/Two Brothers/Luke Varley, Mark Hill/HBO, Colleen Hayes/NBC, Alex Lombardi/ Hulu

There was, and this is not an exaggeration, more than 3 million original TV shows on the air and across streaming services this year. OK, fine, that was an exaggeration, there were around 500 original shows, but it sure felt like 3 million. More TV is coming in 2020 as new streaming networks prepare for takeoff. With so many options out there, and a variety of TV tastes, it's nearly impossible to come up with a best TV shows of 2019 list. But we did. We did the impossible. You're welcome.

Below, we, your E! News TV experts, breakdown the 10 best shows of the year. The ones picked by Chris Harnick have a CH at the end of the blurb. Lauren Piester's have, you guessed it, a LP at the end of her TV show picks.

Did we agree on what shows were the best of the year? Read on to find out…

This Is Why Your Favorite TV Shows Are Ending

But yes, of course we have overlaps. We both have Fleabag listed because we have brains and watched season two of the comedy and it was really that wonderful. Listen to us. Listen to your friends. Watch Fleabag.

Anyway, without further ado, our best shows of 2019:


Aidy Bryant took on Lindy West's memoir and made it all her own, giving the world of TV a heroine unlike we've really seen before and getting more vulnerable than she ever has on SNL. The first season was just six short episodes, but they packed a hell of a punch. —LP

All Rise

One of the best new broadcast shows of the 2019 fall season was quite the surprise: an ensemble legal dramedy on CBS. All Rise is somehow both a realistic look into a Los Angeles court house and a pleasant bit of comfort food TV, filled with lovable or at least entertaining characters, enviable friendships, and a boss lady judge played by Simone Missick. What a delight. —LP


There is no other show on TV like Watchmen, and there may never be another, though hopefully it does usher in a new way to do superheroes and alt history. Regina King deserves the world. —LP 

Roswell, New Mexico

I wish I had watched the whole first season of Roswell, New Mexico live, but instead I watched almost all of it in one day, unable to stop. Jeanine Mason is an absolute star, and the show is like an old-school teen drama, complete with absolutely devastating, impossible romances, but full of adults. And aliens. If you're into that sort of thing, which I am, it's a journey so worth going on. —LP

Grey's Anatomy

2019 is the year that Grey's Anatomy hooked up Meredith (Ellen Pompeo) and DeLuca (Giacomo Gianniotti), and it's also the year that it sent her to jail. The fact that this show is 16 seasons in and still thrilling us like this is just an incredible feat. —LP


Season one of Phoebe Waller-Bridge's positively brilliant comedy was incredibly good, but you only needed to watch the first episode of season two to see that it was going to be somehow even better. The addition of the Hot Priest took this show from amazing to truly unbelievably breathtaking. No person should be as good at everything as Phoebe Waller-Bridge is but it's fine. I've accepted it. —LP

Russian Doll

Russian Doll, co-created by Amy Poehler, Natasha Lyonne, and Leslye Headland, is a masterpiece of storytelling from start to finish. I've never felt quite so satisfied after a binge watch, and I'm happy for more, but I wouldn't be super unhappy if I didn't get more. It's so perfect that I'm almost afraid of ever watching it again, in case I find something imperfect I missed the first time. Simply genius. —LP

The Mandalorian

I cannot say The Mandalorian is a perfectly written show. I'm not sure where it's going and I can't say the plot concerns me all that much, but it is a perfectly crafted show, visually and just in terms of bringing us Baby Yoda, a surprise pop culture phenomenon we can all get behind. The 30-some minute episode lengths also make for a truly joyous viewing experience and I can't wait to see what's ahead. —LP


The season one finale of Legacies gave me a feeling I haven't had since Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and watching the second season spend its first half exploring what happens to a whole school full of people when they forget about someone they love, all while they also have to fight off a plethora of silly monsters, has been just the perfect mix of heartbreak and absolute joy. —LP

This Is Us

I had begun to lose faith at the end of season three, but season four is maybe the best the show has ever been, because it turns out that focusing on the future instead of the past opens up a whole new world for the show and the entire Pearson family. Sure, Toby's Crossfit subplot is questionable, but I can forgive one little weak spot. —LP


What is there left to say about Phoebe Waller-Bridge and the brilliance that is Fleabag season two? It truly was one of the finest seasons of TV to ever grace screens. Everything worked. Perfectly. From Sian Clifford as Claire to Andrew Scott as the hot priest, Fleabag had some of the best comedic performances on TV this year.—CH


In its second season, Pose leaned in on what worked and delivered entertaining and emotional stories. Billy Porter was at the top of his game, Mj Rodriguez really leaned into her role as Blanca and Patti LuPone chewed up all the scenery (in the best way possible).—CH

Russian Doll

Natasha Lyonne, Leslye Headland and Amy Poehler delivered one of the most unique TV shows of the year. There was nothing like Russian Doll before. Wildly imaginative and instantly addictive, Russian Doll went unexpected places and kept audiences guessing episode after episode.—CH

The Good Fight

Even with a season that wasn't as good as the prior (sorry, not sorry), The Good Fight was one of the most entertaining and thought-provoking shows on TV. Anchored by Christine Baranski, who somehow has yet to receive an Emmy nomination for her work on the show, The Good Fight remains one of TV's top dramas. If only you watched it!—CH

The Other Two

This Comedy Central show delivered on all fronts, from a messy gay, fully developed male lead to biting Hollywood satire. And then there's Molly Shannon. Molly Shannon should be in everything. She stole the show as Pat, the mom to Brooke, Cary and music's latest star Chase Dreams. —CH


Seeing Regina King in any project is great, but seeing her as a masked police officer fighting for what she loves? It doesn't get better than that. Watchmen told a complete and satisfying story full of truly remarkable performances. Jean Smart! Yahya Abdul-Mateen II! Hong Chau! What a phenomenal TV experience.—CH

The Crown

Four words for you: Olivia Colman's single tear. Fine, if you need more, know this: Helena Bonham Carter delivered exactly what you wanted from her as Princess Margaret. Ditto for the Oscar-winning Colman.—CH

The Good Place

What does it mean to be a good person? Do you get points to try to be better? The Good Place asked those questions, and then some, in its wickedly smart final season. Find a show that balances morals and laughs as expertly as this NBC comedy. Please don't go!—CH

Schitt's Creek

Schitt's Creek has always been good, but in its fifth season the Pop TV comedy became legendary. Catherine O'Hara was never better as Moira Rose on the verge of her Hollywood comeback. The emotional journey of Dan Levy's David Rose hit new heights and inspired all the happy tears. By the fifth season, every actor was in peak form, knocking everything Levy and his team of writers gave them out of the park. —CH


Maya Erskine and Anna Konkle co-created this Hulu comedy and star as fictionalized versions of their 13-year-old selves, surrounded by other actors who are actually in their teens. It sounds crazy, but it works. Pen15 is a love letter to the early 2000s and is sure to make you laugh, then remember something from your youth you long ago repressed. The "AIM" episode is one of the best installments of television this year.—CH

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