6 TV shows we enjoyed watching in 2019

Our top TV shows of 2019. (Photos supplied)
Our top TV shows of 2019. (Photos supplied)

Cape Town – It's the golden age of television, and this year the small screen gave the big screen a run for its money.

From saying goodbye to Game of Thrones, to the heart-breaking When They See Us, to the record-breaking local series, Trackers.

We enlisted the Channel24 team to choose their top TV shows of the year.


Formula 1: Drive to Survive

Available on: Netflix

I'm a sucker for a good docu-series. Like the type of intrigue and obsession kicked up by Making a Murderer. I love finding out about things I know nothing about and discovering a whole world hidden behind a thin veil of mystery that reveals itself as each episode goes by.

Earlier this year, I found a 10-part documentary series that would suck me into a world I hardly knew existed and has now become part of my daily life.

Had you asked me in January this year if I knew who Max Verstappen was, I'd have frowned in confusion. The name Charles Leclerc meant absolutely nothing to me. Daniel Ricciardo wasn't someone I'd ever heard about. But now, almost a year later, I'll talk your ear off about how I think Mad Max had a stellar year on the track, how Ferrari's Leclerc is slowly stealing the spotlight from his teammate, and how The Honey Badger, with his signature pull-up socks, is my absolute favourite on-and-off the track.

Formula 1: Drive to Survive, a documentary series produced in collaboration with Netflix and Formula One, follows the 2018 Formula One World Championship and unlocks the door to a world so interesting that it gripped me from the very first episode and never let go. I got hooked so quickly that I started to watch the 2019 Grand Prix races live, followed all the teams and drivers on social media, and even downloaded the F1 app on my phone so I can stay updated with the latest developments. In the blink of an eye, I went from racing rookie to F1 fanatic, and it's thrilling! - Herman Eloff (Editor)

Jane the Virgin

Available on: DStv Now and Netflix

When I first read the premise for Jane the Virgin back when it premiered in 2014, I'll admit, it just seemed a bit too far-fetched. But that meant now, or over the last few months, at least, I was able to binge all four seasons of the show before the fifth and final season aired. And when I got into it, I realised that those soap-opera-like tropes are the real magic of the show. Some of my favourite moments was watching the drama play out after the artificial insemination, the turkey baster insemination, the faceless woman, and the twisted twin – I know, straight out of a telenovela, right!? Season one to four of Jane the Virgin was full of twists and turns, and while it tugged at my heartstrings, it was never too heavy for me to come home to after a long day. Season five is much of the same, with a few more laughs, cries on Abuela's porch bench and a lot more bumps along the way to Jane's happily ever after. But despite desperately not wanting the show to end – inhala, exhala – I'm so invested I can't wait to see everyone get their happy ending. – Bashiera Parker (Royal and International News Editor)

Russian Doll

Available on: Netflix

It's very seldom that a show comes along that surprises me. Least of all a show where a woman, whose life is a total mess, repeats the same day repeatedly. But Russian Doll does. Created by its lead, Natasha Lyonne along with Leslye Headland, and Amy Poehler, this show that premiered in February, captured not only my attention but my imagination as to what could happen next. Not only that, but it sent a message that I've found to be painfully true: it's ok to ask for help with your mental health and to be open about it with others. Watch it and thank me later. Happy birthday baby. - Alex Isaacs (Music Editor)


Available on: Showmax

The second half of Vikings season 5, kicked off in 2019. Despite my concerns about it being the first season without Ragnar Lothbrok as the lead (Travis Fimmel), the heroic quests, epic battles and interwoven storylines kept me coming back for more week after week.

The most significant character development we see in season 5 is from the sons of Ragnar, Ivar the Boneless (Alex Høgh Andersen), Bjorn (Alexander Ludwig), Hvitserk (Marco Ilsø), Sigurd Snake-in-the-Eye (David Lindström) and Ubbe (Jordan Patrick Smith).   

Ivar the Boneless asserts his position as a leader and reigns with terror and public displays of brutality. His cruel and selfish character traits as a child only intensify as an adult, as he manipulates his followers to do his dirty work.

The most savage murders and betrayals come from Ivar the Boneless this season – and the show producers did not hold back on the gore!

You can look forward to unexpected alliances and shocking betrayals, as the sons of Ragnar vow to avenge their father's death. – Graye Morkel (Editor, The Juice)

Raising Dion

Available on: Netflix

Hollywood heartthrob Michael B. Jordan teamed up with Netflix to bring to life this 9-part series (based on a comic book) about a boy who, shortly after his father's death, discovers that he has superpowers.

Right off the bat, this show had two things going for it – my love for superheroes and Michael B. Jordan.

Ja'Siah Young, who plays 8-year-old Dion, delivers a stellar performs as he depicts what it would be like for a child with supernatural abilities to navigate everyday life.

Representation is also a very important part of this story. The hero in the series is a young, black boy, raised by a strong, single mother.

While we get to experience the fun, fantasy side of a superhero's world, we also see the real-life struggles Dion faces as a person of colour.

Though it had a bit of a slow start, the thing I liked most about this show is that it was something I could watch alongside my nephews while still enjoying it as an adult as well. – Nikita Coetzee (Content Producer, The Juice)


Available on: Showmax

One of the most talked-about shows of the year and rightly so. The series gives a raw, unflinching look into the lives of Generation Z. I binged the series in one sitting, and after it, all I wanted to do was curl up in the foetal position on my bed. It's a hard watch that will shake you to the core as it explores topics such as drug addiction, sex and violence without any filters. The script is brave and unafraid of delving into these often-taboo topics. The cast each give nuanced portrayals breathing life into their characters. The standout is without a doubt Zendaya, who gives a masterful performance. Shame on the Golden Globes for snubbing her! As Herman said in his review: "Euphoria is not for the faint-hearted or conservative, but if you're wanting to see what it takes to be a teen in 2019 – this show is a helpful vessel into exploring a world very few really understand." – Leandra Engelbrecht (TV and Movies Editor)

Compiled by Leandra Engelbrecht

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