The Best Movies And TV Shows You Probably Missed In 2019
With each passing year, it gets harder and harder to keep up with every movie and TV show released. There are new shows being released practically daily between TV and streaming, while a never-ending sea of movies hits theaters and video-on-demand every single week. Who has enough time to keep up with it all?
Somehow, GameSpot does. And while we have plenty to say about the best movies and TV had to offer in 2019, there are also those titles that might have been overlooked in the crowded media landscape. Whether it was a poorly-timed release (Doctor Sleep), or the fact that it was released on a service most people don't know exist (Cobra Kai), each of the TV shows and movies below are well worth taking the time to track down and watch.
So take a look at the best movies and TV shows you probably missed in 2019 to properly prepare for your holiday binge. And while you're at it, don't miss the biggest TV shows and films we're looking forward to in 2020.
1. I Think You Should Leave with Tim Robinson (Season 1)
Don't worry if you haven't heard of comedian Tim Robinson before now. After you watch Netflix's I Think You Should Leave, he'll skyrocket to the top of your comedy favorites list. The Michigan native previously starred in the canceled Comedy Central sitcom Detroiters, but I Think You Should Leave is composed entirely of disconnected sketches--many of which are rejected remnants from Robinson's days writing on Saturday Night Live. Understanding this is crucial, because the show's humor is utterly unique, relying almost entirely on Robinson's strange mannerisms, idiosyncratic ways of speaking, and carefully chosen words (you'll never eat a "mud pie" the same way again). Robinson's sketches may have been too weird for SNL, but if you give this show a chance, you'll quickly be reminded why streaming is the future.
2. The Movies That Made Us (Season 1)
The Netflix documentary series The Toys That Made Us has had three successful seasons so far, and in late 2019, creator Brian Volk-Weiss delivered this equally entertaining spin-off. Like Toys, it is very much aimed at a certain demographic--i.e. people who were kids in the '80s and early '90s--and takes a similar deep-dive into the making of some iconic and much-loved movies. Season 1 covers four films--Home Alone, Die Hard, Dirty Dancing, and Ghostbusters--and looks at the production history of each, plus the impact they had upon release. There are a few notable omissions in terms of the interviews (Bill Murray, Bruce Willis, and Macaulay Culkin are nowhere to be seen), but all the key directors, writers, producers, and many of the supporting cast members of each movie are interviewed. The irrelevant editing style means that each hour-long episode is very funny and engaging, and while Donald Ian Black's wildly enthusiastic voiceover does grate after a while, The Movies That Made Us remains a fascinating must-watch for all nostalgic 30-and-40-something film fans.
3. One Cut of the Dead
Just when you thought that zombie movies and TV shows were running out of ideas, along comes a film like One Cut of the Dead. This Japanese hit takes an inventive approach to the genre and stands as one of the funniest, cleverest, and most enjoyable examples of zombie cinema in years. It's the sort of movie that benefits from being seen with little prior knowledge going in; what you think you're watching in the first 30 minutes--a one-take horror movie about a group of filmmakers being attacked by zombies--soon turns out to be something else entirely. There are some wonderful performances throughout, and a level of infectious joy in watching the storyline unfold so skilfully. It's now available on the horror streaming service Shudder and is highly recommended.
4. Ready or Not
Ready or Not is one of those movies where viewers may wish that they could have been a fly on the wall during the pitch because at its core, the premise for this movie is simultaneously basic and very silly. The movie follows a woman who marries into a wealthy family and learns that she must play a game of hide and seek on their wedding night. However, this is a deadly version of the classic children's game, one where the family is trying to kill the bride. Where Ready or Not shines is in the fact that it steps away from traditional horror by mixing things up: The hero of the story has a backbone, the villains can be bumbling fools at times, and the ending comes completely out of left field. While there is a comedic slant to the movie, it doesn't let the humor overshadow the story, which is very intense. Ready or Not is a weird and wild movie that ends up being a lot of fun, and we could all use a little bit of fun in our lives.
5. The OA (Season 2)
The mind-bending sci-fi series The OA is the sort of show that never played by the rules, and fans of Season 1 had to wait nearly three years for the second batch of episodes. Thankfully, the wait was fully rewarded. Creators Brit Marling and Zal Batmanglij delivered an incredible season that, while following directly on from the events of Season 1, was very much its own thing. The second season continues the story of Prairie Johnson (Marling) and her experiences after escaping from insane scientist "Hap" Percy, but it also introduced a gripping thriller subplot, as a detective hunts for a missing girl in San Francisco. There are parallel dimensions, supernatural houses, sanity-consuming video games, dancing robots, and psychic octopuses, and it takes several episodes for the pieces of the puzzles to start to fall into place. But viewer patience is rewarded by some unpredictable and enthralling sci-fi, along with plenty of moving emotional drama--and the season's ending has to be seen to be believed. The OA was canceled by Netflix soon after Season 2 was released, so there won't be a third season. But as disappointing as that is, we should be glad we got such an ambitious and unique show in the first place.
6. Cobra Kai (Season 2)
Cobra Kai is special. Sure, it's a continuation of the Karate Kid movies, so there is a huge nostalgia factor there. But once you remove the rose-colored glasses, it's still a tremendous accomplishment in television, and Season 2 was in no way a sophomore slump. It continues the story of redemption for Johnny Lawrence as he continues running the Cobra Kai dojo--while losing control to his former mentor John Kreese. Lawrence tries to establish a bond with his son--who is aligned with his former enemy Daniel LaRusso--and it all leads to what can only be described as a "karate riot," which works perfectly within the context of the story. There is no reason this series should be this good, and the only reason you've never heard of it or seen it is because it's on YouTube Premium, an overly-expensive streaming service with one amazing show.
7. Undone (Season 1)
Undone is easily one of the best shows to grace any screen in 2019. The rotoscope-style animated series from Bojack Horseman creator Raphael Bob-Waksberg and Kate Purdy follows a young woman named Alma (Rosa Salazar) who, after suffering a nearly fatal car accident, has a new relationship with time and space--and is suddenly visited by her late father. The end result is a beautifully animated world that takes her out of a typical reality to not only explore her own mental health, but also discover the truth behind her father's demise. Undone is a rare gem of a series that explores heavy topics like anxiety, depression, and suicidal thoughts, with a backdrop that shifts back and forth between typical reality and a lush fantasy world. This is a can't-miss series, featuring a heartbreaking and inspiring performance by Salazar, along with a wonderful supporting cast that includes Better Call Saul's Bob Odenkirk as her late father who guides her on this journey.
8. Doctor Sleep
The last few years have been very good if you're a Stephen King fan. From Hulu's Castle Rock to the It films, adaptations of the horror author's work have been top notch--so long as we pretend Dark Tower and Pet Sematary didn't happen. If you're a Shining fan, whether you stand by the novel or Stanley Kubrick's iconic film as the definitive take on the story, Doctor Sleep is a movie you should seek out. It manages to serve as a follow-up to both, while changing enough about King's Doctor Sleep novel to make it a new experience. This is a movie made with love by a true fan of the original, one that blends great performances from Ewan McGregor (adult Danny Torrance) and Rebecca Ferguson (Rose the Hat) with a compelling and spooky story, as Danny passes the torch to a young girl named Abra (Kyliegh Curran) who shines even brighter than he does.
9. This is Wrestling: The Joey Ryan Story
Whether you following wrestling or not, at some point in the past five years, you've probably come across a wrestler named Joey Ryan. He's the man whose finisher is called "The Dick Flip." If you grab his crotch during a match, the power of his penis makes you flip over. It's science. Earlier this year, the documentary This is Wrestling: The Joey Ryan Story was released, and the movie covers Ryan's rise as a wrestler, how his DDT Pro match against Danshoku Dino went viral, and Ryan building his own indie wrestling empire. Sadly, This is Wrestling has not been released on home video or digitally, and the only way you could have seen it was to attend one of the showings the movie had throughout the year. If you get a chance, seek it out--this documentary is a love-letter to wrestling in all its forms, even the comedic side of it, which plays an important role in the grand scheme of things. Who knew a movie about a wrestler with a powerful penis could be one of the most joyful documentaries of the year?
10. Doom Patrol (Season 1)
If you haven't watched Doom Patrol, we get it. It's on the DC Universe streaming service, which very few people have. That said, you're doing yourself a huge disservice by skipping one of the absolute best comic book TV shows of all time. Doom Patrol is about a group of absolute misfits who should in no way be considered heroes. It introduces concepts like farting donkeys that are the door to a pocket universe, a woman whose multiple personalities each have individual superpowers, and Brendan Fraser as a giant sarcastic robot. This show is ridiculous in the best way possible, while also managing to tell high-quality stories and exploring truly interesting characters. Watch it; you won't be disappointed.