The TV event of 2019 was Game of Thrones‘ final season, and that was mostly a bust. Some great shows have taken the year off altogether (Better Call Saul) or came back so recently (Big Little Lies, Pose) that it’s hard to seriously consider them for a list of the best shows of the year’s first half. But this has, nonetheless, been a splendid six months of television. New talents and shows have made immediate impacts (so many that the list below didn’t have room for FX’s hysterical vampire comedy What We Do In the Shadows), while a slew of old favorites (Broad City, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, You’re the Worst) went out in very strong fashion. It’s been a period defined by shows about women, made by women, and more generally by intensely personal stories from atypical creative teams (often with those creators also playing the lead roles). The second half of the year has a lot to live up to if it hopes to match the best of this first half.