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Julia Gołębiewska’s Top 3 TV Shows

Welcome to the first instalment of Studentenkrant’s Top 3 TV Shows. Each week, one of SK’s writers dives into their top three favourite shows of all time. Spanning different decades, runtimes, and genres, this series will confront readers with a diverse list of top tier television and explain to them what they are, why we love them, and why you should give them a watch!

This week’s writer: Julia Gołębiewska


I have an unfortunate tendency to fall head-over-heels for series that either end up disappointing in later seasons, get worse in spin-offs, or simply get cancelled before they get the chance to flourish. And sometimes it’s a combination of both. As a result, my reception of any given show is often retrospectively tainted by the awareness that whatever I loved has been, to some extent, ruined. This is not to say that I do not remember them fondly, but I am simply less inclined to ever revisit them. 

So when I find those few and far between shows that do not disappoint, but deliver exactly what they promise and more, I treasure, rewatch and obsess over them. When they touch me personally, like the three shows I picked for this article, I can do nothing more but sing their praise.

Honorable mentions:

  • The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance (Jeffrey Addiss & Will Matthews, 2019)
  • Troll Hunters (Guillermo del Toro, 2016-2018)
  • Dragon Prince (Aaron Ehasz & Justin Richmond, 2018-)
  • Our Flag Means Death (David Jenkins, 2022-2023)
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender (Michael Dante DiMartino, Bryan Konietzko, 2005-2008)
  • Arcane (Christian Linke & Alex Yee, 2021)
  • She-Ra and the Princesses of Power (ND Stevenson, 2018-2020)
  • Good Omens (Neil Gaiman, 2019)
  • Anne with and E (Moira Walley-Beckett, 2017-2019)
  • The End of the F…ing World (Jonathan Entwistle, 2017-2019)

The Owl House  (Dana Terrace, 2020-2023)
Available on Disney+

If watching the same show three times in less than a year is not proof of my absolute love for it, then I don’t know what is. The Owl House is your standard magical-otherworld-story where a teen heroine, Luz, gets accidentally transported into a land of witches and demons. As she finds it more appealing than the summer camp she’s  sent to, she decides to stay. Episodic at the beginning, the show soon reveals the underlying plots, mysteries and ups the stakes with each consecutive season.

The success of the show is due not only to the plot but, even more so, to the characters, all of whom are fantastically written and diverse, yet connected by the core theme of the show. While external forces want to control and force them into predetermined moulds, they all must realise that what the world perceives as flaws, weaknesses or even curses is simply a part of them that they need to stop fighting and just accept. And as a bisexual, neurodivergent young adult who has struggled all of her life to love and accept herself, I wish I had shows like this earlier in my life.

If there is one negative thing I can say about it, it must be the final season. For a reason unbeknownst to anyone, definitely unrelated to the rainbow representation in the show, Disney decided it doesn’t quite fit their “brand” and forced the creators to condense what should have been around twenty 25-minute episodes into three episodes with 45 minutes of runtime. Although the creators really did their best with the time they were given, what we were left with are cliff notes of what could have been an amazing season. 

However, while I specifically excluded from this Top 3 shows which were ruined by weaker later seasons, continuations, or cancellations, the third season of The Owl House by no means weakens the series as a whole. It only leaves you wishing that the show, in line with its core theme, was left alone to be its true and authentic self.

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend (Rachel Bloom & Aline Brosh McKenna, 2015-2019)
Available on Netflix

It’s a musical! What more must I add? I would still love this show if it wasn’t a deep and careful examination of mental health, depression and anxiety and how it is perceived in women. But it is, and I love it even more for it. The main character is Rebecca, a successful lawyer in New York city, who upon receiving a promotion at her law firm, flees the office in an anxiety attack.  She runs into a guy she dated during a single summer camp as a teenager and upon a short conversation decides to move across the United States to ♫West Covina, California♫ in the hopes  of being with him. She finds a job in a third-rate law firm, stacks her ex’s girlfriend in order to find a solution to all of her problems. 

You would think that the premise could hold for one maybe two seasons,  but what the show does well is allowing the main character to grow, realise the core of her problems and grow past them over the course of the four seasons. And that’s just the main character! The side characters are just as well developed with their own journeys and growth, allowing the creators to tackle issues such as abortion, male bisexuality, or substance abuse. The show also made history by being the first to allow the word *gasp* clitoris on primetime TV.

Over the Garden Wall (Patrick McHale, 2014)
Available on HBO Max

If there is one thing that is on my must watch list every October, it’s  Over the Garden Wall. The total runtime of all ten episodes is just under two hours. This little nugget is perhaps the best animated series ever made. That’s right, I said it! It is a masterful use of the medium that is animation, stylistically alluding to the eery, unsettling style of the early animation of the 1930s and 40s while also being distinctly Cartoon Network.

The music is both familiar, and the unsettling providing a fantastic backdrop to a story-telling work of art clearly inspired by the likes of Odyssey, in its episodic nature, or Alice in Wonderland, in its weirdness, while telling a deeply personal story of prejudice, death, hope and above all else a place of oneself in relationship with others. I could truly talk about this show longer than it takes you to watch the whole thing, but there really isn’t any need. Come Halloween season, give yourself time to get lost for a moment in the Unknown, feast your eyes on the best the medium of animation has to offer and enjoy a cast of icons like Elijah Wood, Christopher Lloyd, John Cleese and Tim Curry. Or watch it immediately, you can never watch this gem too many times.

Final Thoughts

I hope I don’t need to say much more to convince you to watch these shows. If you find whatever I mentioned appealing, please go check it out! Here I would like to say something about my honourable mentions. All of them are very good. Many of them might have been cancelled, gotten worse later on, had unfortunate spin-offs, or just took their damn time to come out (looking at you Arcane!), but they are all worth watching!

[Click here to read Julia’s Top 3 Movies article!]