Like every band’s second album, season finales have a habit of splitting the fanbase (cough, Game Of Thrones). Going out strong is an achievement, so we tip our hat to 2019’s fondest TV farewells. *Spoilers ahead*
“The Good Place” Netflix/Hulu/Sling/Fubo
The fact that this is a “fall finale” is a mere technicality, as Chidi’s penny drop about the imperfection of life and therefore impossibility of perfect decisions was epic, sweet, and the destination we’d been heading to all along. “The answer” is coming in January. Dammit.
“Succession” HBO/Amazon Prime Video
In a show where everyone is horrible, Succession did the seemingly impossible: it dropped schadenfreude so satisfying that a cringeworthy business bro like Kendall Roy became a hero. Or did he? After two seasons of backstabbing and double dealing, the triple axel of this finale was the sense that Logan’s smirk may not be what it seems.
“The Deuce” HBO/Amazon Prime Video
Giving anything set in Times Square heart is a tall order, but George Pelacanos and David Simon’s exploration of its pre-Elmo seedy underworld did just that. Over three seasons, its cast of sex workers, bartenders, and general ne’er do wells struggled to escape their narrow existences by selling fantasies. Ultimately, it was about dreamers — who found varying degrees of success.
“Veep” HBO/Amazon Prime Video
Sure she cared about clean jobs, but the maddest queen on TV this year was Selina Meyers. The final season decisively answered what Selina’s priorities were and what she was prepared to do to further them. She may not have had a dragon, but she did burn it all down. Despite it all, one of the funniest, most cynical comedies of all time went out on a note that felt like something new: hope.
“Preacher” Hulu/Amazon Prime Video
The fourth and final season of Preacher concluded one of the most on-paper unlikely success stories of recent TV. The tale of a possessed West Texas preacher who meets a crazy cast of characters on an End Times quest stuck closely to its source material (the comic book series by Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon). But there was one major deviation in the finale, which kept it… sharp?
“The Affair” Sling/Amazon Prime Video
Is there any bigger plot twist than a happy ending? After five seasons of philandering, twists, #MeToo allegations — and also the world we live in — the writers of The Affair delivered the most subversive wrap up of all. See, we can have nice but heavily tarnished things.
“Silicon Valley” HBO/Amazon Prime Video
Computer programmers and moving introspection aren’t the most obvious combo, but Silicon Valley nailed it. The final season is a multi-layered joy that ditched the will-they-won’t-they story arcs of previous seasons to take on a much bigger question: are we too smart for our own good?