The conclusion of my Top 25 Programs of 2019 series featuring my top five picks (one of which is my choice for Program of the Year) indicates several things. First, HBO is back in a big way, with two supershows -- Watchmen and Game of Thrones -- included below. The drama Succession is not among my top shows, but it seems to occupy a position of honor on almost every other Best of 2019 list, as do Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, the comedy Barry, the last blast of Veep and the limited series Chernobyl and Years and Years. I haven’t seen HBO in such fine form since the days of The Sopranos, Sex and the City, Six Feet Under, Band of Brothers and the early seasons of Curb Your Enthusiasm.) Second, even though there have been grumbles this year about Netflix offering too much content at the expense of quality, the limited series When They See Us and Unbelievable provide essential reality checks. Netflix is in top form, arguably telling the most uncompromising contemporary stories on television. Also, less really is more, especially when programming is promoted as something to binge. (Both dramas ran for eight hours, and eight was definitely enough. Unlike so many other streaming shows, including many on Netflix, there was no filler.) Third, my choice for Program of the Year proves that compelling television entertainment comes in all varieties and that broadcast can still be triumphant. Also, like many things in life, a TV program can get better with age, and a show need not be scripted to establish and maintain unbreakable emotional connections . And now ... the final five. (Scroll down for links to Parts one, two, three and four.)
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