Putting together a simple list of the best ten television programmes for the year used to be a fairly simple matter. Now, with the explosion of platforms, – we added Amazon Prime in 2019 – it has become a more problematic. Once upon a time, for my retirement, I planned ploughing through a mountain of great books. Boy, has that taken a back seat to powering through the best the Golden Age of Television has to offer. And so far I still haven’t viewed the final season of GofT! And then there’s the issue of first run movies being shown on the small screen simultaneously as they’re released in the cinema. Where do they go? The venerable Stratton included three of them in his best new films of the last twelve months. The other thing that has tickled me in recent times is that my dear mother seemingly is now addicted to Mad Men, still to be bested as my favourite tele series of all time. In a perfect world I’d be re-watching it with her – but where is the time for that as quality new releases come streaming down seemingly almost daily. All that being stated, here goes my best for ‘19, along with those that almost made it.
1. The Loudest Voice (Stan)– when brave women stood up against a despicable man, brilliantly portrayed by Russell Crow.
2. Patrick Melrose (ABC) – the Cumberbatch has never been better and its Princess Margaret rocks.
3. A Confession (7Plus) – never has the law been an ass more than in this tale based on true events
4. The Crown (S3) Netflix – Margaret doesn’t rock quite as much but the quality continues with new headliners playing the royals.
5. Catch 22 (Stan) – the utter stupidity of war.
6. Mindhunter (Netflix) – you just can’t take your eyes off those serial killers.
7. Perfume (Netflix) – the best of several terrific German contenders – stylish and intriguing.
8. The Hunting (SBS) – the standout in an excellent year for local product, with the added bonus of being set around, for better or worse, the teaching profession.
9. Five Bedrooms (10Play) – for me ably filled the void left by ‘Offspring’, ‘House Husbands’ and ‘800 Words’.
10. The Pier (SBS) – sultry and intelligent, the best of several Iberian offerings I watched this year.
The Best of the Rest – Love on the Spectrum – ABC, Press – ABC, Total Control – ABC, The Roosevelts – an Intimate History – Netflix, State of the Union – ABC, Carnival Row – Prime, Mrs Wilson – ABC, Aberdeen – ABC, Killing Eve – ABC, The Cry – ABC, Endeavour – ABC, Grantchester – ABC, Monty Don’s French Gardens – Netflix, Australia in Colour – SBS, Billy Connolly’s Made in Scotland – 7Plus, Pagan Peak – SBS, Blood – SBS, Collingwood From the Inside Out – ABC, Nigel Slater’s Middle East – ABC, The Mediterranean with Simon Reeves – SBS, Hinterland – Netflix, Bad Move – Stan, Project Blue Book – SBS, The Spanish Princess – Stan, Diary of an Uber Driver – ABC, Utopia – ABC, Rosehaven – ABC, Unbelievable – Netflix, Tin Star – SBS, Years and Years – SBS, The Red Line – SBS, Outlander – Stan, Modern Love – Prime.
Graeme Blundall’s Best Television for 2019 – The Crown, Succession, Unbelievable, Pennyworth, Mindhunter, Watchmen, Lorena, Russian Doll, Chernobyl, Years and Years, The Cry, Lambs of God, Total Control, What We Do in the Shadows, Undone.
NB – Sad to see ‘Poldark’ finish up.