Awards Daily TV contributor Megan McLachlan names her list of the Best TV Shows of 2018.
There are too many shows on television. So much so that in constructing this Top 10 list for 2018, my favorites from 2017 that performed well in Season 2 (GLOW, Maisel) didn’t make it into my top 10 list this year—not because they were bad, but because there’s just too much great television.
Nevertheless, here are my 10 Best Shows of 2018.
10. Escape at Dannemora (Showtime)
I haven’t finished the series yet, but from the episodes I’ve seen, I had to include it somewhere, as it’s too good not to mention. The story of the 2015 prison escape involving Richard Matt (Benicio Del Toro) and David Sweat (Paul Dano) is director Ben Stiller’s best work to date and Patricia Arquette’s Tilly is Amy Adams’ biggest threat for that Emmy in the miniseries category. It feels like a miniseries that’s too big for its network, with a theatrical feel, which tells you this escape is unlike any other.
9. Camping (HBO)
There aren’t many shows that make me laugh out loud, but this one did during almost every episode. Call them unlikable characters, but you’re probably a male critic if you wrote that. I recognize the humanity in these people, in women—and men!—being flawed. Walt’s (David Tennant) 45th birthday is one camping trip no one will forget, although I bet they’d like to, and Jennifer Garner’s performance as Kathryn is my favorite of her career. Hilarious, sad, and revealing the cracks in the tough exterior of a woman having a nervous and physical breakdown. Juliette Lewis deserves an Emmy for her work as Jandice, the hippie foil to Kathryn’s uptight Insta-mom.
8. Murphy Brown (CBS)
Another show that male critics took a verbal beating to was this one, and I think it’s because it’s not for them (*Gasp!*). This one speaks to Baby Boomers having to work longer, delaying retirement, and also women hating Trump. I fall into the latter group, but also have two parents in the former category, so I found this show to be timely and more meaningful as the season went along (I’ll admit—the pilot isn’t great). Name another show that has a woman over the age of 70 enjoying one-night stands, living with her 30-something son, and getting into Twitter wars with the President. Even though it’s not necessarily an original concept, Murphy Brown feels fresh each week and reminds us why it’s Candice Bergen’s most iconic role (she falls back into the role easily, as easy as the audience’s suspension of disbelief that the Wolf network isn’t a stand-in for another conservative animal).
7. Waco (Paramount)
I was an adolescent when David Koresh and the Branch Davidians met their tragic demise in Waco, Texas, so maybe I went into this story with a different lens than others, but I found the Paramount true-story miniseries starring Taylor Kitsch as Koresh spellbinding, with electric performances all around, including Kitsch, Andrea Riseborough, Paul Sparks, Michael Shannon, and Julia Garner (who between Dirty John, Ozark, and this, is having an amazing year!). This miniseries leaves you feeling a roller coaster of emotions and gives you a glimpse of what the situation was like on all sides.
6. Schitt’s Creek (POP)
For any other show, late-in-life pregnancies, love-song professions, and couples’ reunions would sound cliche, but Schitt’s Creek never falls into the category of something you’ve seen before. Here’s my yearly plea for the Emmy’s to include the show and Eugene Levy, Catherine O’Hara, Dan Levy, and Annie Murphy for acting nominations. Don’t be a little Schitts.
5. Divorce (HBO)
Back in January 2018, I spoke with new showrunner Jenny Bicks about a more hopeful Season 2 of the HBO dramedy, and she was absolutely right. I loved the first season, with its realistic, wintry spell into the end of a marriage, but the second season looked at new relationships with a more optimistic lens for all of the people involved (although one couple faces true trials at the end of Season 2). HBO’s most underrated comedy comes back for Season 3 sometime in 2019.
4. Floribama Shore (MTV)
This is my most controversial pick. I mean, how else do you put an MTV reality show up against other series like ones about escaping prison or David Koresh? To quote Bill Hader’s Stefon, this show has everything! Pregnancy scares! Stalkers! Unrequited house crushes! House hookups! Mermaid training! There’s even a person named Gator Jay 231 Southside God. It’s been a while since I’ve had my reality TV fix, and this one does the trick, reminiscent of some of the best Real World seasons and also the only show other than Camping to make me continually laugh out loud every episode.
3. Sharp Objects (HBO)
Haunting, devastating, and you can’t look away. I couldn’t put down Gillian Flynn’s book, and this miniseries starring Amy Adams and Patricia Clarkson is even better than its origin material, especially that killer ending that wraps things up while reopening old scabs.
2. Timeless (NBC)
Season 2 was a miracle in and of itself, since NBC almost didn’t bring the sci-fi series back (a Hail Mary renewal at the last second), so there was pressure from the Timeless team to get it right—and they did! Lyatt hooked up, Wyatt’s wife returned, and *gulp* Rufus died. That cliffhanger gave the network reason enough to bring back the show for one last hurrah, and the series that refuses to die finally did on Dec. 20, with a fitting finale for Clockblockers.
1. Killing Eve (BBC America)
A man-vs-man cat-and-mouse chase is usually about who has the biggest ego (substitute ego for dick). This one, with two women, is about something more complicated, as it’s anywhere from one woman’s search for meaning in her career to another woman’s search for meaning in her short life to two women having an insane attraction/connection to each other. This series dares to go places most shows would be afraid to go, and it does so in a realistic sense. I’m not sure what’s in store for Season 2, but I can’t wait to see where it goes.
The Handmaid’s Tale, Baskets, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Atlanta, GLOW, Wrecked, Goliath, Homecoming, The President Show (which didn’t have enough episodes), The Conners, Roseanne, The Break with Michelle Wolf, RuPaul’s Drag Race (Season 10, Season 3 All Stars)