We’re halfway through 2019, a perfect time to reflect on new series that entered the television landscape between Jan. 1 and July 1.
While it’s easy to find a returning show you enjoy, separating the wheat from the chaff among new series is more challenging. A record 495 original scripted broadcast, cable and streaming series aired in 2018, the FX network reported last December. That’s a lot to sort through. To ease that burden, some reflection into the past six months is required.
Here are my selections for the 14 best new television series of 2019, so far.
“The Masked Singer” (Fox, Jan. 2) — Despite the ridiculous premise — make B-level celebrities wear costumes hiding their faces and have them sing — this show works. Part karaoke, part mystery and flat out absurd, it’s nothing but fun.
“The Passage” (Fox, Jan. 14) — Mark-Paul Gosselaar shines as a federal agent in charge of acquiring human volunteers for testing that leads to subjects becoming vampires. When ordered to bring in a young orphaned girl (Saniyya Sidney) as a test subject, though, he decides to protect her instead.
“Deadly Class” (Syfy, Jan. 16) — Set in San Francisco in the 1980s, this series follows the life of Marcus (Benjamin Wadsworth), a homeless teen recruited into King’s Dominion, which is essentially Hogwarts but for assassins instead of wizards.
“The Widow” (Amazon, March 1) — Georgia Wells (Kate Beckinsale) has lived in isolation since her husband, Will (Matthew Le Nevez), died in a plane crash in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) three years ago. But when she sees him on TV, she heads to the DRC to find him.
“After Life” (Netflix, March 8) — Throughout the six-episode season, we see Tony (Ricky Gervais) slowly cope with the loss of his wife. What makes this series truly memorable is how brilliantly Gervais injects humor into complex subject matter. This is my favorite series of 2019, so far.
“The Act” (Hulu, March 20) — Joey King and Patricia Arquette star in this riveting drama about a girl trying to escape the toxic relationship of her overprotective mother.
“Hanna” (Amazon, March 29) — Fifteen-year-old Hanna (Esmé Creed-Miles) has spent her entire life training to fight those who hunt her and her mercenary father, Erik Heller (Joel Kinnaman).
“What We Do in the Shadows” (FX, March 27) — This show reminds me of “The Office” but with violence, adult situations and neck biting.
“The Twilight Zone” (CBS All Access, April 1) — Clever, addicting and weird in a good way, this is the type of reboot that viewers want. It honors the legacy of something great but moves it in a new direction.
“Our Planet” (Netflix, April 5) — Narrated by Sir David Attenborough, this nature series is not only visually impressive, but also incredibly informative and enlightening.
“Les Miserables” (PBS, April 14) — A compelling story still relevant today, this latest version of “Les Misérables” is a cinematically stunning and beautifully acted series.
“Ramy” (Hulu, April 19) — Ramy Hassan is a first-generation Egyptian-American who struggles to blend his American-inspired needs and desires with his family’s cultural heritage in this engaging comedy.
“Chernobyl” (HBO, May 6) — Intense. That’s the word for this mini-series starring Jared Harris, Stellan Skarsgard and Emily Watson. From start to finish, every episode bristles with intensity.
“Euphoria” (HBO, June 16) The drama gets turned up to 11 in this HBO series taking the teen genre to an entirely new level. This is a show certain to freak out parents of teenagers.
Gazette TV critic Terry Terrones is a member of the Television Critics Association and the Broadcast Television Journalists Association. You can follow him on Twitter at @terryterrones.