1. Six the Musical: Fresh off the heels of Hamilton, Six tells the story of King Henry VIII’s wives, from their perspective, like you’ve never heard before. It was created by two students at Cambridge University while they toiled over finals. Amazing! Thanks to Six, I can now tell you the names of all of King Henry VIII’s wives, in order, which ones were divorced, beheaded (hint: it wasn’t all of them!), died, and survived. Can’t we just learn all history via Broadway musical?! (To be fair, I’ve only watched videos of Six performances on YouTube. One day I’ll see it on the stage!)
2. Mr. Robot Final Season: Part cyberwar melodrama, part mental health expose, the final season of Mr. Robot has had me on the edge of my seat, laughing and crying throughout each episode. And who can ignore Rami Malek’s incomparable acting skills, reflected in his 2019 Oscar for Best Actor a la Bohemian Rhapsody? (Start with Season 1 here.)
3. El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie: How many BB fans have worried about Jesse’s fate since 2013? 2013! We’ve waited long enough! El Camino was cathartic indeed, but I believe I would watch just about anything with Aaron Paul in it at this point. Next up for him, Westworld 2020! Eeeeee!
4. Mean Girls Broadway Musical: Everyone loves Tina Fey’s Mean Girls movie. Now imagine it in Broadway musical form! I was lucky enough to take my daughter to see this production at the Ohio Theater for her 16th birthday. It is SUCH a fun show! The vocals and dancing were amazing, and Damien pretty much got a standing ovation every time he opened his mouth.
5. Chernobyl: This was devastating and intense and hard to watch. That being said, it should be required viewing for anyone living on this planet that we adore.
6. Orange is the New Black Final Season: When social atrocities are out of sight, out of mind, they are easier to ignore. The final season of OITNB brings the immigration issue right into your living room, kids in cages and all. OITNB has always been stellar for calling attention to inequities in our criminal justice system, and the last season rose to that occasion once again, leaving a lasting impression that I just can’t forget. (Start with Season 1 here.)
7. Deadwood: The Movie: “Be in my joint in two hours. We’re forming a f***ing government” has always been one of my favorite lines in a show, ever. Al Swearengen was a straight-shooter with his words, and I absolutely loved his soliloquies. (If you’re new to Deadwood, watch it with the subtitles on. It’s downright Shakespearean.) Deadwood went off the air in 2006 with lots of ribbons unraveled. We really could have used another season. Or five. The Deadwood movie gave us some closure and let us say goodbye to our favorite Wild West entertainment entrepreneur.
8. The Good Place S4: While I do feel like the current season lacks the panache that came with the first three seasons, I still enjoy the cast of characters, which includes Kristen Bell, Ted Danson, and occasionally Maya Rudolph. My favorite character, though, is Janet, played by D’Arcy Carden, who appears human but it also omnipotent and operates like a computer. The show describes her as neither human nor an eternal being, not a robot or a girl. She is an anthropomorphized vessel of knowledge, akin to Artificial Intelligence. Her counterpart, Bad Janet, (with her disgustingly bad habits and demeanor) is a constant source of giggles. (Start with Season 1 here.)
9. Stranger Things S3: This is my daughter’s favorite show. She started school this year in thrifted 80s-inspired garb that had her looking like Elle’s twin from another dimension. I really struggled with the villain Billy in this season (so cringey!), but I guess that’s the point. I’m on board with anything that takes on a Stephen King vibe, and Stranger Things definitely fits that mould. (Start with Season 1 here.)
10. Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Final Season: I almost forgot this final season ran into 2019. This is one of the wittiest comedies I’ve ever seen, with jokes flying at a breakneck pace. It’s the kind of show you have to watch 3 or 4 times to catch them all. (Start with Season 1 here.) I’m glad that they ended the show deliberately, instead of drawing it out like many shows do. I will always credit Kimmy for these mental health tips:
- If you’re feeling down, stand in a power pose, hands on hips, eyes to the sky, and smile until you feel like actually smiling.
- When you’re stuck somewhere you’d rather not be, just start chanting, “I’m not really here! I’m not really here!”
- When you can’t solve your problems, just Bubreeze them away.
- And if you’re a lady, just remember, like the intro sings, “Females are strong as hell!”