Kelsey Pfeifer
Best of the Year 2019

The Best TV of 2019: Shows, Stars, and Trends That Defined the Year

From undeniable hits to under-watched gems, there was something for everyone on TV this year

Best of the Year 2019
Kelsey Pfeifer

"There's too much TV" is a common complaint these days. But the thing is, so much of it is also good TV. Yes, the number of shows debuting new episodes every year is overwhelming and, frankly, impossible to keep up with. But the only reason anyone even cares about keeping up with so many of these shows is because they are delivering moving performances, side-splitting jokes, shocking twists, provocative dialogue, and incredible world-building week after week.

Whether you're looking at undeniable hits like Stranger Things and The Bachelor, critical darlings like Fleabag and Pose, or under-watched gems like State of the Union and Undone, there was something for everyone on TV this year.

TV Guide is celebrating this by breaking down the best shows, performances, and episodes of 2019, as well as reflecting on some of the trends that helped define the year and all the series and characters we lost. Check out all this and more below!

The 25 Best Shows

Best Shows of the Year 2019
Kelsey Pfeifer

With the decade coming to a close in just a few weeks, people have been busy reflecting on all the best TV of the past 10 years (ourselves included). However, don't let nostalgia distract you from all the great series we were gifted just this year! 2019 saw the debuts of limited series like Chernobyl and When They See Us, which told tragic true stories and helped audiences understand how close history always is to repeating itself, and fresh spins on beloved franchises, like Watchmen and What We Do in the Shadows. Plus, we can't forget the latest seasons of returning favorites like Successionand Schitt's Creek, which have both only gotten better with age. Keep reading for the 25 best shows of the year...

The 15 Best Performances

Best Performances of the Year 2019
Kelsey Pfeifer

With the deluge of television being produced these days, a great performance can be key to breaking through clutter. It can ground a moving true story, bring a dose of campy fun to a frothy escape, or can help you see an actor in a wholly new light. Some of this year's best performances earned Emmys for their outstanding work, some were overlooked entirely, and some might get their recognition next year, but who wants to wait for that? Keep reading for the 15 best performances of the year...

The 15 Best Episodes

Best Episodes of the Year 2019
Kelsey Pfeifer

A bad show can have a great episode, a great show can have an awful episode, but since we're in the business of honoring the greatest as we look back on 2019, we've put together a list of the greatest episodes of the year. Between origin stories, standalone flashbacks, moments of character clarity, and a gathering of pop culture's greatest vampires, our list has a little bit of everything that has one thing in common: Each episode left us panting in awe. Here are the 15 best episodes of 2019. Keep reading for the 15 best episodes of the year...

The Most Heartbreaking Character Deaths

Angela Ross on Pose, Emilia Clarke on Game of Thrones, and Jason Dohring on Veronica Mars
FX, HBO, and Hulu

2019 was a tough year for some of our TV favorites. Whether it was the shocking murders of beloved characters like Veronica Mars' Logan Echolls (Jason Dohring) and Pose's Candy (Angelica Ross), or the twisted death of a supporting player like Eleanor Lawrence (Julie Dretzin) on The Handmaid's Tale, it felt like TV spent the year doling out one shocking loss after another.Keep reading for the most heartbreaking deaths of 2019...

2019 Was the Year Show Titles Got Loooong

Kayvan Novak, Kirsten Dunst, and Tim Robinson

Historically, TV show titles are nouns (ER, The Jeffersons, ALF) or short, simple phrases (Three's Company, L.A. Law, Dirty Sexy Money) that communicate the premise of the show. But as of 2019, show titles are getting long and abstract. These conceptual phrases don't really tell you anything about what the show is about, but they certainly stand out in a sea of Emergences and Prodigal Sons and Daybreaks, and with the number of scripted series on TV hovering around 500 this year, shows have to do whatever they can to stand out. Keep reading about the good, bad, and just plain weird long titles we got this year...

TV Fashion Peaked in 2019

​Big Little Lies, Empire, Pose

Solid costuming has always been an essential element of on-screen entertainment, but the amount of shows letting their characters' garbs do some talking seems to be on a glorious upswing right now. Television is currently rich with thoughtful, evocative, and effective styling choices, and stand-out fashion moments have been particularly bountiful this year. Keep reading about 2019 TV's fashion icons...

10 Overlooked Shows That Deserved More Praise in 2019

Most Underrated Shows
Rod Millington/OWN/WB/AMC/Comedy Central

With all the Best TV of 2019 lists coming out and the repeated mentions of Fleabag, Succession, and Russian Doll-- all great shows mentioned in our Top 25 Shows of 2019 list -- scouring these end-of-year lists can become an exercise in futility. Oh, another vote for Chernobyl? GREAT. Season 2 of Barry? Duh, we've watched it three times already. We put together a list of the 10 best shows of 2019 that you probably won't find on any other list. Use it to find a new show to binge, use it to validate your own opinion, or use it to further understand just how much great television there is out there. Keep reading about the most underrated shows of the year...

All the Shows We Lost in 2019

Shows We Lost in 2019

Although the series finale of Game of Thrones -- and the disappointment all too many fans felt about it -- dominated the pop-culture conversation in 2019, there were plenty of other shows that said goodbye as well. Shows like The Big Bang Theory, which came to a satisfying end after 12 funny and evolutionary seasons, or You're the Worst, which ended with a non-traditional but appropriate wedding. There was also Counterpart, which ended with bioterrorism, Lethal Weapon, which ended with contention, and The Affair, which ended with... actually, we're still too upset to talk about that ending. Keep reading for all the shows we said goodbye this year...