The 20 best TV shows of 2019 so far, according to critics

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“Chernobyl”
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HBO

2019 has crossed its halfway point, and there have been some wonderful TV shows so far this year.

From miniseries based on real-life tragedies like HBO’s “Chernobyl” and Netflix’s “When They See Us,” to acclaimed shows that ended their runs like “Veep” and “Fleabag,” 2019 has delivered well-reviewed shows from the start.

We turned to Rotten Tomatoes to find out what 2019 shows have been the most loved by critics so far. HBO leads with five shows in the top 20, followed by Netflix and FX with four each.

We ranked the 20 shows by their Rotten Tomatoes critic score, and broke any ties with audience scores. We excluded shows that began their latest seasons in 2018, but ran through 2019 (sorry, “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend”).

Below are the 20 most well-reviewed TV shows of 2019, so far:


20. “Killing Eve” season 2 (BBC America)

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BBC America

Critic score: 92%

Audience score: 90%

What critics said: “Maybe Killing Eve is different because it’s funnier. Maybe it’s because it’s made by women-or because murderous rage seems, right now, like a relevant basis for female bonding.” – New Yorker


19. “The Magicians” season 4 (Syfy)

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Syfy

Critic score: 93%

Audience score: 53%

What critics said: “The Magicians has done something I have never experienced on a show before: It gave me a chance to grieve.” – io9


18. “Legion” season 3 (FX)

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FX

Critic score: 94%

Audience score: 92%

What critics said: “There are enough hallucinogenic thrills in Legion’s third season to keep the rest of it from falling apart, even as time travel threatens to force the characters to do that very thing.” – The Ringer


17. “What We Do in the Shadows” season 1 (FX)

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“What We Do in the Shadows”
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FX

Critic score: 94%

Audience score: 94%

What critics said: “With all the riches of the vampire myth in literature, folklore, art and cinema to plunder, What We Do In The Shadows is visually arresting, smart and witty.” – Financial Times


16. “The Good Fight” season 3 (CBS All Access)

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CBS All Access

Critic score: 95%

Audience score: 60%

What critics said: “It’s my firm belief that The Good Fight would be the most meme-d show on television if more people were watching it.” – Vulture


15. “Special” season 1 (Netflix)

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Netflix

Critic score: 95%

Audience score: 88%

What critics said: “Feels like a finely-tuned, precision-crafted Web series, with potent little zingers stitched into every exchange – along with the occasional sledgehammer.” – Boston Globe


14. “Big Little Lies” season 2 (HBO)

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HBO

Critic score: 96%

Audience score: N/A

What critics said: “It’s harder now to ignore, watching the early episodes of Season Two, that Big Little Lies is offering up some of the best psychological storytelling on television.” – The Atlantic


13. “Veep” season 7 (HBO)

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HBO

Critic score: 96%

Audience score: 77%

What critics said: “Everyone is either a fool, a knave or a monster in HBO’s hilariously scabrous political satire starring Julia Louis-Dreyfus. After seven seasons, Veep ends its run with its sharp teeth fully intact.” – NPR


12. “Pose” season 2 (FX)

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FX

Critic score: 96%

Audience score: 87%

What critics said: “The most glorious thing about Pose remains unchanged: At its heart, it’s simply a family drama. The family is one its characters built themselves, in a world where love can be scarce.” – RogerEbert.com


11. “When They See Us” miniseries (Netflix)

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Netflix

Critic score: 96%

Audience score: 91%

What critics said: “DuVernay makes an effective artistic choice by filming much of this through a blue filter, so that the boys’ world is enveloped by a Kafkaesque indigo gloom from which they – and the viewer – can find no escape.” – Newsday


10. “Chernobyl” miniseries (HBO)

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Liam Daniel/HBO

Critic score: 96%

Audience score: 98%

What critics said: “With renewed interest in the 33-year-old disaster has come a curious sense of moralizing proprietorship – which makes you wonder what, exactly, people are getting from the miniseries.” – BuzzFeed


9. “Ramy” season 1 (Hulu)

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Hulu

Critic score: 97%

Audience score: 81%

What critics said: “The writing is rich and layered, the references are topical … and ‘Ramy’ explores topics and themes that feel quietly revolutionary.” – Detroit News


8. “Documentary Now!” season 3 (IFC)

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IFC

Critic score: 100%

Audience score: 55%

What critics said: “The fake documentary skewers the pretentiousness and earnestness of documentarians, as well as the fact that people are willing to utter the most ridiculous and self-incriminating statements when facing a camera.” – Washington Post


7. “Tuca and Bertie” season 1 (Netflix)

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Netflix

Critic score: 100%

Audience score: 67%

What critics said: “Tuca & Bertie is raucous, heartfelt, surreal, and distinctly female.” – AV Club


6. “Better Things” season 3 (FX)

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FX

Critic score: 100%

Audience score: 69%

What critics said: “To its major credit, Better Things simply refuses to make concessions to the classic sitcom form … Sometimes the more mirthful stuff is jammed in a script’s nooks and crannies.” – Wall Street Journal


5. “Los Espookys” season 1 (HBO)

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HBO

Critic score: 100%

Audience score: 84%

What critics said: “[Los Espookys] successfully captures the feeling of living in two spaces simultaneously that is often common to anyone juggling multiple selves within their identity – like immigrants, say, or artists.” – Vox


4. “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” season 6 (NBC)

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NBC

Critic score: 100%

Audience score: 88%

What critics said: “Comedies can often feel strained at this advanced age … That doesn’t happen here. If anything, the series feels more in a groove than it did when it was young and new and still surprising.” – Rolling Stone


3. “Barry” season 2 (HBO)

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Peter Iovino/HBO

Critic score: 100%

Audience score: 89%

What critics said: “The unique excellence of the second season is how adroitly Hader and co-creator Alec Berg find ways to raise the stakes for Barry while keeping the show’s tone darkly amused.” – Vanity Fair


2. “Fleabag” season 2 (Amazon Prime Video)

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Amazon

Critic score: 100%

Audience score: 97%

What critics said: “Season 2 is a towering accomplishment, proving what many have suspected since her debut: Waller-Bridge is operating on a higher plane, and she’s kind enough to take the audience along with her.” – Indiewire


1. “Dark” season 2 (Netflix)

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“Dark”
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Netflix

Critic score: 100%

Audience score: 98%

What critics said: “Dark’s second season more than delivers on the series’ characteristic and circuitous time-travel action.” – Polygon