What was the best show of the 2018-19 school year?

Three Journal writers vouch for their favourite shows

Josh, Jonathan, and Lauren arguing over the best show.

The Lifestyle section is full of passionate television lovers who’ve shared their thoughts on various shows across 26 articles this year. To make one final plea before the summer kicks in, The Journal has gathered three TV-loving writers to make their cases for the year’s best show.

Survivor

When I tell people that my favourite show is Survivor, there are two potential reactions: “Oh, that’s still on?” or “That’s my favourite show, too!” 

Currently in its 38th season, the former cultural phenomenon is indeed still running—and it’s still improving each season.

Since settling permanently in Fiji in 2016 after spending 16 years filming in unique foreign locations, Survivor’s leaned heavily into season-specific themes and twists to keep the show feeling fresh. Last season pitted “Davids,” individuals who overcame significant obstacles to find success in life, against so-called “Goliaths,” those born into more fortunate circumstances. Fans and critics alike considered it to be among the best seasons in the show’s 19-year history.

Regardless of how convoluted such themes may seem, Survivor remains a microcosm of society. It brings people together from all walks of life to compete for a $1 million prize, while trying to outwit, outplay, and outlast each other along the way.

Yes, every once in a while, the cast can be a dud. However, when you remember the stakes involved and that somebody will always be eliminated at the end of every episode, you realize that even a bad Survivor episode is better than anything else on TV.

—Jonathan Karr

The Other Two

“Your teens are for working and your 20s are for resting,” a young influencer tells Heléne Yorke’s character Brooke in The Other Two’s second episode. When Brooke asks what the purpose of their 30s is, a group of young women with cool haircuts all answer in unison: “Making a global impact.”

This fast-paced life plan would seem far-fetched in any world other than The Other Two, which follows millennial siblings Brooke and Cary, played by Drew Tarver, in the aftermath of their 14-year-old brother Chase becoming an overnight sensation. 

Chase is the kind of pre-pubescent heartthrob who takes over Instagram—or, more likely, TikTok—with posed pictures and songs innocently asking young listeners to marry him at recess. His persona is completely ridiculous and totally realistic for the Jacob Sartorius-ruled planet we live in.

The Other Two is stacked with comedy pros and jokes well above the standard fare. What makes this sitcom stand out is the depth behind its satire of a culture that accepts being an influencer as a career path.

The show unabashedly explores its characters’ need for attention in a society where their dreams seem equally impossible to achieve and attainable through tapping a glass screen. 

The Other Two understands the desperation of craving love in a time when phones endlessly split our attentions and condense our affections into recklessly-awarded likes on social media. The show’s ability to convey this depressing message while simultaneously making me laugh at its ridiculousness solidifies its spot at the top of my watchlist.

—Josh Granovsky

Brooklyn Nine-Nine

This past year, I seriously trimmed down my list of TV shows in a failed attempt to stay up to date on my long watch list. Only the strongest survived the cuts, and one of this year’s clear winners was NBC’s Brooklyn Nine-Nine

Brooklyn Nine-Nine follows the dysfunctional detectives of Brooklyn’s 99th precinct, starring Andy Samberg as Jake Peralta. After being cancelled by FOX last season, the show was resurrected this year by NBC. Its new home has kept everything I loved about the show while breathing new life into its sixth season. 

Brooklyn Nine-Nine embraces the absurdity of typical cop shows, having the detectives solve outlandish cases like the recurrence of Jake’s frenemy, “The Pontiac Bandit.”

The show doesn’t shy away from approaching difficult topics, with this season’s “He Said, She Said” exploring the #MeToo movement. The episode handles a sexual assault case with sensitivity and respect, maintaining the show’s light atmosphere without making jokes at the expense of the survivor. 

If you’re looking for a fun show to make you laugh so hard you forget about your quickly-approaching exams, look no further than this one. B99 manages to explore serious topics while still being one of the funniest shows on TV. 

If none of that is enough for you, this season also featured Lin-Manuel Miranda as a guest star—what more could you ask for?

—Lauren Trossman

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