Arts & Entertainment

The Best Television of 2019 (So Far)

Including a modern 'Groundhog Day' set in the East Village of New York and the return of 'True Detective'
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The Golden Age of television showed no sign of slowing in 2018, with new gems such as assassin thrill-ride Killing Eve, explosive British drama Bodyguard and Sharp Objects, a psychological thriller from Gone Girlauthor Gillian Flynn.

Streaming services continued to dominate the conversation around the small screen with Amazon's Emmy-winning The Marvelous Mrs Maisel returning for a second shot. Netflix had a bumper year too, with new mind-bending series Maniac, the return of Making a Murderer, the last season of House of Cards and a reboot of Queer Eye that got everyone a little misty-eyed.

That might all be in the past, but 2019 is set to be equally bumper with the final instalment of Game of Thrones as well as the third season of Stranger Things, to name a few.

Here are the best things to grace the small screen, so far, this year:

Sex Education

Few series are able to show the experience of being young, let alone what modern teenagers sex and relationships are like. Netflix's new series Sex Education manages to translate adolescence accurately, almost like a Skins for the post-#MeToo generation.

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In the coming-of-age comedy we meet Otis Milburn, a 16-year-old boy at odds with his changing body and facing the repercussions of having two divorced sex therapists for parents. X Files actress Gillian Anderson is brilliant as his eccentric and overly chill mother who smokes weed with the class bully and displays graphic art throughout their house.

Dealing with issues like impotence, consent and abortion in a manner sadly missing from real sex education, it provides a lesson in how to broach these issues on-screen without dictating lessons.

True Detective (season 3)

True Detective's first season was an instant hit which melded the directorial talent of Cary Fukunaga and acting chops of Matthew McConaughey. It's third season is a return to form featuring Academy Award-winner Mahershala Ali and Stephen Dorffwho play a pair of detectives investigates a case of two missing children which spans decades.

Ali is especially brilliant, showing shows subtle differences in mannerisms which - as well as his helpfully greying hair - tell you which of the three points in his character's life you're watching. As with season one, there's a sense of creeping unease that hangs over things, from the dark nature of the case to the shady suspects and the thick woods where clues are discovered.

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Conversations with A Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes

Kicking off a year of 'killer content' which will see multiple projects based on Ted Bundy and Charles Manson, this four part series features never-before heard interviews with the serial killer.

It has been met with controversy, some feeling that it dwells a little too long on how handsome the killer was and how his good looks and charisma allowed him to get away with horrendous acts. What it does do well is explore how Bundy gathered cult-status and hordes of fans while on trial, with many people pledging devotion to him. While it certainly makes for uncomfortable viewing, it's a case that continues to provoke debate.

Russian Doll

Orange is the New Black star Natasha Lyonne finally gets a leading role worthy of her on-screen charm in this story of a women who relives the same New York party over and over again, each time dying in a myriad of unfortunate ways. Written and directed by Lyonne as well as Parks and Recreation star Amy Poehler and Leslye Headland, it refreshingly spotlights a woman in her late thirties, who is having fun and casual sex without needing to include a neat love story or romantic ending.

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Against the backdrop of death there's a lot of consideration of life as it throws up questions about friendship, family, sex and love. With looping narratives that become more interesting each time, Russian Doll is a madcap mixture between Groundhog Day and The Good Place.

This story originally appeared on Esquire.co.uk.

* Minor edits have been made by the Esquiremag.ph editors.

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Olivia Ovenden
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