Yet again, we polled The Music team and contributors to pick out the best of the year 2019. The TV Show Of The Year picks were dominated by streaming services.
Last year, the first season of Fleabag, adapting writer and star Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s 2013 one-woman Edinburgh Fringe show of the same name, became available on ABC iView and Amazon Prime Video, after premiering in the UK in 2016. The stage show, remounted in London this year, was screened in cinemas through National Theatre Live in November.
The second season, which screened only on Amazon Prime in Australia, picked up Emmys for Outstanding Writing, Directing, Comedy Series and Lead Actress this year. It continues the story of the horny, restless 30-something woman known only as Fleabag.
Except this year, we were gifted with the addition of Sherlock’s Andrew Scott as ‘Hot Priest’.
The Hot Priest set a fire in the loins of women – and men – everywhere, smashing taboos and giving us the electric yet impossible love story we craved after the grim ending to season one.
The intimacy the audience feels with Fleabag seems to come from the show’s willingness to break the fourth wall – she directly addresses us with quips and asides, inviting us into her inner world. It's an inner world that seems oddly familiar to some of us millennials, living in a world where the promises of our childhood, of the turn of the century, technological change and the postmodern era, remain unfulfilled. We don’t know who we are or what to do or how to be in the world – and we’re clutching at whatever we can, be it sex or grief or a guinea pig.
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“I just think I want someone to tell me how to live my life,” Fleabag pleads to Hot Priest, “because, so far, I think I’ve been getting it wrong.” Same.
Fleabag’s dark comedy was counterbalanced by HBO’s disturbing, Emmy-winning miniseries Chernobyl, about the 1986 nuclear disaster in the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic. It illuminated the human and environmental cost of such disasters, as well as the enormous strength and selflessness of people in the aftermath in the face of a government cover-up.
The rest of the top ten came to Australia primarily via Netflix – which says a lot about our TV viewing habits in 2019. The top two were joined by shows like Stranger Things, Russian Doll, When They See Us, Mindhunter, BoJack Horseman, The Good Place and Unbelievable. The outlier came with the return of Veronica Mars, which streamed on Stan.
3. Stranger Things
4. Russian Doll
5. When They See Us
7. BoJack Horseman
8. The Good Place
9. Veronica Mars
2018: The Good Place
2017: Stranger Things
2016: Stranger Things
2015: Game Of Thrones
2014: True Detective
2013: Breaking Bad
2012: Breaking Bad
2011: Breaking Bad
2010: True Blood