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I am excited to begin my Best of 2019 lists!  Let’s kick things off with my list of my favorite TV series of 2019.  What a year this was for TV!!!  I watched SO MUCH great TV, and even so, there were still so many shows I wanted to see but didn’t get to, including but not limited to: the third season of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Russian Doll, Barry, Living With Yourself, Undone, The Expanse, Fosse/Verdon, Chernobyl, Unbelievable, Ramy, Modern Love, Sex Education, and so many more shows.

Despite that, I had no trouble coming up with a whopping TWENTY-FIVE shows from 2019 that I absolutely loved.  Let’s take a look, shall we?

Before we dive in, though, please allow me to make a request for you to support my work here by clicking through to Amazon from any of the links on this site.  If you do, I’ll get a tiny percentage of the price of any purchase you make on Amazon for the next 24 hours.  You can use the Amazon banner ad at the top of the page, or any specific Amazon link within one of my blogs.  You don’t have to purchase the specific item I linked to!  Just use one of my links to get to Amazon, and then purchase whatever you normally would.  If all the readers of this site would just click through to Amazon through one of my links, whenever you do your shopping, it’d be a huge help towards keeping the lights on here.

OK, here we go:

25. From the Earth to the Moon OK, I’m starting the list off with a cheat.  This HBO mini-series came out back in 1998!  But this year, the series was released on blu-ray.  It was extraordinary to see the show in HD, and I was delighted that they took the time to redo the series’ visual effects, which were originally created in Standard Definition!  That was very cool and not anything I’d ever expected.  (The series would be even higher on my list if they hadn’t made the boneheaded decision to crop the original 4×3 full-screen presentation to a 16×9 image.  Growing up, I hated when widescreen films were cropped for 4×3 TVs, and the reverse is no better!!)  I adore this mini-series, executive-produced by Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg, which charts the Apollo missions that first put a man on the moon.  It’s as entertaining, and vitally relevant, as it ever was.  If you’ve never seen it, do yourself a favor and check it out.  Each one of the series’ twelve episodes is magnificent.

24. Jessica Jones The biggest disappointment of the inglorious end of Marvel’s Netflix shows … [continued]

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Josh Reviews the Premiere of Stumptown!

Stumptown is a magnificent comic book series written by Greg Rucka and illustrated by first Matthew Southworth and then Justin Greenwood.  It centers on Dex Parios, a private investigator in Portland, Oregon.  The series has been published periodically between 2009 and 2016 (though I continue to hope for new installments…).  I was excited when I heard that the series was being turned into a TV show for ABC starring How I Met Your Mother’s Cobie Smulders in the lead role!

I watched the first episode, and I was pleased!  It wasn’t flawless, but it was an entertaining hour of television and I think the series has a lot of potential.

This first episode is a loose adaptation of the comic book’s first story-line, “The Case of the Girl Who Took her Shampoo (But Left her Mini)”.  Dex is broke and owes the local casino, run by the Confederated Tribes of the Wind Coast, $11,000.  The head of the casino offers to wipe out Dex’s debt if Dex will help find her granddaughter, who has gone missing.  Dex agrees, and quickly finds herself in a world of trouble she didn’t expect.

The comic’s first issue opens with Dex getting shot, and then the story flashes back to retrace the steps of what happened.  This episode takes a similar approach, though it borrows a scene from a later Stumptown story, in which Dex gets thrown in the truck of a car by two coffee-loving goons.  This opening sequence of the show is terrific — probably the best part of the episode.  It’s very funny (the goons start singing along to the Neil Diamond song playing on Dex’s car’s broken tape-player) and then turns into a terrific action sequence, as Dex breaks out of the trunk and attempts to subdue the two guys, while the car careens out of control through traffic, leading to the car’s taking a huge jump off of a bridge (which is also a callback to a famous moment from the comic).  The show then flashes back, as the comic did, to show us how Dex got locked in that trunk in the first place.

What follows is a decently compelling mystery.  I love that Dex actually finds the missing girl, Nina, fairly quickly — but that turns out to be just part of the larger story.  That’s a clever twist.  This first episode has a lot of ground to cover, introducing the whole cast and Dex’s world, while also telling this mystery/investigation story.  It’s all done fairly well.

Cobie Smulders is well-cast as Dex.  I think she’s a strong choice to carry the show.  She’s beautiful and she can kick ass, and she has the acting chops … [continued]