Continuing our top 50 new tv shows of 2019 countdown…
Frayed is an Australian and British television comedy-drama series on ABC TV and Sky UK.
Frayed is set in 1988 and follows the story of Samantha ‘Sammy’ Cooper, a wealthy housewife in London. She is forced to return to her hometown of Newcastle in Australia after the death of her husband, when she is told his accumulated debts leave her almost penniless. She returns to Newcastle with her privately-educated teenage son and daughter, who have never visited Australia before. She moves in with her mother, a recovering alcoholic, and infantile brother Jim in her childhood beachfront home. She seeks work as the kids attend the local High School. Sammy revisits her past and the events that led her to flee the town as a teenager. She soon realises that everyone in her hometown hates her and she tries to get back to London, but she finds it difficult with numerous personal and financial obstacles along the way.
Perpetual Grace, LTD features Ben Kingsley, Jimmi Simpson, Luis Guzmán, Damon Herriman, Chris Conrad, and Jacki Weaver; with Terry O’Quinn, Kurtwood Smith, Timothy Spall, and Michael Chernus in recurring roles.
Perpetual Grace, LTD follows “James, a young grifter, as he attempts to prey upon Pastor Byron Brown, who turns out to be far more dangerous than he suspects.”
Based on the comic book of the same name by Garth Ennis and Darick Robertson, The Boys follows the eponymous team of vigilantes as they combat superpowered individuals who abuse their abilities. The series features an ensemble cast that includes Karl Urban, Jack Quaid, Antony Starr, Erin Moriarty, Dominique McElligott, Jessie T. Usher, Chace Crawford, Laz Alonso, Tomer Capone, Karen Fukuhara, and Nathan Mitchell.
The Boys is set in a universe where superpowered individuals, called Supes, are recognized as heroes by the general public and work for a powerful corporation known as Vought International that markets and monetizes them. Outside their heroic personas, most are arrogant, selfish, and corrupt. The series primarily focuses on two groups: the Seven, Vought’s premier superhero team, and the Boys, vigilantes looking to bring down Vought and its corrupt superheroes.
Years and Years is a dystopian science fiction drama television miniseries written by Russell T Davies.
The six-part series follows the Manchester-based Lyons family: Daniel is married to Ralph, Stephen and Celeste worry about their children, Rosie is looking for a new partner, and Edith is engaged in one humanitarian cause after another. Presiding over them all is Gran, the imperious Muriel. All their lives converge on one crucial night in 2019, and the story accelerates into the future, following the lives and loves of the Lyons over the next fifteen years as Britain is rocked by political upheavals, economic instability and technological advances.
Giri/Haji is a British television series which premiered on BBC Two in the United Kingdom on 17 October 2019, and was released internationally on Netflix on 10 January 2020.
Kenzo Mori (Takehiro Hira), a Tokyo detective, travels to London in search of his brother, Yuto (Yōsuke Kubozuka), who was previously assumed to be dead. Yuto has been accused of murdering the nephew of a Yakuza member, which threatens to start a gang war in Tokyo. As Kenzo attempts to navigate the unfamiliar territory of London to uncover whether his brother is alive and guilty, he becomes acquainted with DC Sarah Weitzmann (Kelly Macdonald) of the Metropolitan Police and Rodney Yamaguchi (Will Sharpe), a young half-Japanese, half-British sex worker. While searching for Yuto in London, Kenzo must also support his family back home in Tokyo. Kenzo’s investigation brings him into contact with dangerous elements of London’s criminal underworld.
Gentleman Jack is a historical drama television series created by Sally Wainwright. Set in the 1830s in Yorkshire, it stars Suranne Jones as landowner and industrialist Anne Lister. The series is based on the collected diaries of Lister, which contain over four million words and are written largely in secret code, documenting a lifetime of lesbian relationships.
In 1832, Miss Anne Lister leaves Hastings brokenhearted and heads to the lush landscape of Halifax, West Yorkshire, England to restore her uncle’s estate that she has inherited. While restoring the estate she finds that the family land has a coal mine and that it is being stolen by two brothers. This unusual lady landowner develops a potentially dangerous romance with another woman, which she records in a cryptic diary.
The Mandalorian is an American space western television series created by Jon Favreau for the streaming service Disney+. It is the first live-action series in the Star Wars franchise, beginning five years after the events of Return of the Jedi (1983), and stars Pedro Pascal as the title character, a lone bounty hunter who goes on the run to protect “the Child”.
Beginning five years after the events of Return of the Jedi (1983) and the fall of the Galactic Empire, The Mandalorian follows Din Djarin, a lone Mandalorian bounty hunter in the outer reaches of the galaxy. He is hired by remnant Imperial forces to retrieve the child Grogu, but instead goes on the run to protect the infant. While looking to reunite Grogu with his kind, they are pursued by Moff Gideon, who wants to use Grogu’s connection to the Force. The duo then travel to Mandalore so Din Djarin can redeem himself for the transgression of removing his helmet.
PEN15 is an American cringe comedy streaming television series, created by Maya Erskine, Anna Konkle, and Sam Zvibleman, that premiered on February 8, 2019, on Hulu.
PEN15 is described as “middle school as it really happened”. Erskine and Konkle – who were both 31 years old at the start of season 1 – “play versions of themselves as 13-year-old social outcasts in the year 2000, surrounded by actual 13-year-olds, where the best day of your life can turn into your worst with the stroke of a gel pen.”
Back to Life is a British dark comedy-drama co-written by Laura Solon and Daisy Haggard and starring Haggard and Adeel Akhtar that premiered on BBC One on 15 April 2019.
Miri Matteson has just returned home to Hythe, Kent, after serving an 18-year prison sentence. As Miri attempts to rebuild her life, she forms a friendship with Billy, who cares for the elderly woman next door.
The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance is an American fantasy television series produced by Netflix and The Jim Henson Company. It is a prequel to the 1982 Jim Henson film The Dark Crystal that explores the world of Thra created for the original film.
On the planet Thra, three Gelflings – Rian, Brea, and Deet – inspire a rebellion after discovering a horrifying secret behind their customarily worshipped rulers, the Skeksis, that threatens their entire planet.
Unbelievable is an American true crime television miniseries starring Toni Collette, Merritt Wever, and Kaitlyn Dever. It is about a series of rapes in Washington State and Colorado.
A dramatization of the 2008–2011 Washington and Colorado serial rape cases, Unbelievable follows “Marie, a teenager who was charged with lying about having been raped, and the two detectives who followed a twisting path to arrive at the truth”. The program draws from “An Unbelievable Story of Rape” (2015), a Pulitzer Prize-winning article by T. Christian Miller and Ken Armstrong for ProPublica and The Marshall Project. It also draws from the related book A False Report (2018), by the same authors.
Ghosts is a British sitcom first broadcast on BBC One in April 2019. The series follows a collection of ghosts from different historical periods haunting a country house while sharing the house with its new living occupants. The series is written and performed by many of the cast members of Horrible Histories and Yonderland. The series also airs jointly on both HBO Max and Britbox in the US and CBC Gem in Canada.
Alison Cooper unexpectedly inherits the vast but crumbling Button House from a 99-year-old distant female relative of hers. The house is haunted by numerous squabbling ghosts from across the ages who died on its grounds, who are invisible and intangible to the living. Ignoring their solicitor’s advice to sell the property, Alison and her husband Mike decide to move in and renovate it, with the idea of turning the house into a luxury hotel.
Wayne stars Mark McKenna, Ciara Bravo, and Joshua J. Williams and it follows a teenage boy who sets out to retrieve his late father’s stolen car with the help of a girl he has a crush on.
Wayne starts in Brockton, Massachusetts in present day. The titular character “sets out on a dirt bike with his new crush Del to take back the 1979 Pontiac Trans Am that was stolen from his father before he died.” The car is in Ocala, Florida. Wayne, Del, and a host of oddball characters go on a road trip to get it back. “It is Wayne and Del against the world.”
What We Do in the Shadows is an American mockumentary comedy horror television series created by Jemaine Clement that premiered March 27, 2019, on FX. The second television series in the franchise based on the 2014 film of the same name written by Clement and Taika Waititi, the series follows four vampire roommates in Staten Island, and stars Kayvan Novak, Matt Berry, Natasia Demetriou, Harvey Guillén, and Mark Proksch.
After an unexpected visit from their dark lord and leader, Baron Afanas, the vampires are reminded of what they were initially tasked with upon their arrival in Staten Island over a hundred years ago – total and complete domination of the New World. But what exactly is the best way to go about achieving said domination? Our vérité camera crew follows along as the vampires set out to answer this query.
Brassic is a British comedy-drama television series which premiered on Sky One on 22 August 2019 and became Sky’s most successful comedy in seven years. The series follows the lives of Vinnie O’Neill (Joe Gilgun) and his friends in the fictional town of Hawley.
Brassic follows the lives of Vinnie O’Neill and his five friends as they live their lives in the fictional northern English town of Hawley. The working class group commit various crimes to keep money in their pockets, but as they get older some of them start to wonder if there’s more to life away from the town.
Chernobyl is a 2019 historical drama television miniseries that revolves around the Chernobyl disaster of 1986 and the cleanup efforts that followed. It features an ensemble cast led by Jared Harris, Stellan Skarsgård, Emily Watson and Paul Ritter.
Chernobyl dramatizes the story of the April 1986 nuclear plant disaster which occurred in the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic, Soviet Union, telling the stories of the people who were involved in the disaster and those who responded to it. The series depicts some of the lesser-known stories of the disaster, including the efforts of the firefighters who were the first responders on the scene, volunteers, and teams of miners who dug a critical tunnel under Reactor 4.
The miniseries is based in large part on the recollections of Pripyat locals, as told by Belarusian Nobel laureate Svetlana Alexievich in her book Voices from Chernobyl.