Awards Daily TV contributor Joey Moser names his list of the Best TV Shows of 2018.
When I sat down to think of my favorite shows of the year, I realized that I didn’t have enough room to honor everything I wanted to. I stupidly thought that I wouldn’t have enough shows to fill out my top ten. Silly me–especially I’m the one bitching the most that there’s too much television going on. I’m still not caught up.
I have to give a shoutout to my honorable mentions:
- Homecoming for truly expanding on a podcast that I considered pretty great
- Hulu’s The Bisexual for devoting a show to the complications of sexuality
- Big Mouth for staying true to its scary puberty roots
- RuPaul’s Drag Race for being RuPaul’s Drag Race
- A Very English Scandal for giving me chemistry between Hugh Grant and Ben Whishaw
- Murphy Brown and The Conners for proving me wrong about reboots
- Maniac for taking us on a trippy ride
- The Alienist for being thrilling and dirty
10. Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert (NBC)
Holy hell this was such a great time. As a big fan of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s rock opera, I had high hopes for the live adaptation. The bombastic score gets in your head and you have to almost pray it away–even though you don’t want it to go anywhere. Casting John Legend in the title role was brilliant, and you see the payoff immediately when the audience sees him. They are dying to get as close to him as possible. The costume design (I’ll miss Judas’ spangly frock) and production design were theatrical and appropriate. But the biggest thing to be thankful for? Brandon Victor Dixon’s lauded turn as the conflicted Judas. Superstar was a heavenly event, yes, but Dixon’s turn made it soar.
9. Nailed It, Queer Eye, The Break with Michelle Wolf, The Joel McHale Show with Joel McHale (Netflix)
Netflix pumped out some great reality shows for us to binge, so I don’t care if you think I’m cheating! I will use this as an opportunity to shame the streaming platform for canceling Michelle Wolf’s talk show-stand-up-mash-up. God forbid we have two women talking about current events! Joel McHale reminded us that reality TV content is some of the most ridiculous stuff out there, so he will be missed. Queer Eye had the potential to be an unnecessary reboot when it turned out to be one of the most heartfelt, bingeable shows out there (can you believe?!). What else can I say about Nailed It? It simultaneously celebrates cooking shows and allows us to laugh at how overproduced and silly they are.
8. The Haunting of Hill House (Netflix)
Even though it’s loosely based on a novel from 1959, The Haunting of Hill House feels fresh. It’s difficult to maintain a credible amount of dread for 10 episodes, but the series is grounded in pain and grief without feeling hokey or forced. I was so focused on the drama between the family that the scares made me jump and scream throughout the season. The camera glides around like its own spirit. It knows when to stop, when to start, and when to observe.
7. Superstore (NBC)
Why can’t this show find a bigger audience? This sitcom has always been strong when it comes to delivering workplace shenanigans from a group of reluctant family members, but the writing stepped up this season. When America Ferrera’s Amy goes into labor, she has to decide whether she wants to let Jonah to spend a fortune on a hospital room to deliver her second child. They are also tasked to take their relationship to the next level while everyone watches. Literally. A sex tape (“it’s not a tape!”) scandal kicks off the season.
6. The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story (FX)
Versace has the potential be unfocused and tawdry, but Ryan Murphy delivered a tragic story of how the LGBT community was ignored and shunned in post-AIDS America in the late 1990’s. Darren Criss is given the monumental task of playing Andrew Cunanan–the Tom Ripley of his career. He doesn’t glamorize him. He’s charismatic but his insides are troubled and rotten. It’s the performance of the year.
5. Sharp Objects (HBO)
You can’t have a list this year without including this gothic series. I’m personally obsessed with Amy Adams’ voicework as a journalist chasing demons while being stalked by the ones from her own childhood. Patricia Clarkson’s performance just curls around you and you don’t notice how dangerous she is until it’s too late. And Eliza Scanlon is one of the most breathtaking finds of this season.
4. The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (Amazon)
I admit that I was a bit terrified to start the second season of Amy Sherman-Palladino’s Emmy winning comedy series because I am still so in love with its initial run. Do not fear a sophomore slump, because Mrs. Maisel is still exquisite and still exquisitely funny. While the show does focus on Rachel Brosnahan’s Midge, it gives generous space to all its characters. Marin Hinkle is sublime in the first few episodes as she basks in her love of Paris and Tony Shalhoub gives a tightly wound and hilarious performance as Midge’s harried father. The chemistry between Brosnahan and Alex Borstein remains the best on television. They take Midge’s act on the road, and I am dying for them to come to my town!
3. Making It (NBC)
There is something gentle and lovely about a group of people just making crafts in a barn when the outside world is just such a garbage fire. There’s no screaming. There aren’t any bitter contestants or bitchy, forced storylines. Amy Poehler and Nick Offerman are hosts that don’t get in the way. The opposite of war isn’t peace–it’s creation. Yes, that’s a quote from Rent. No, I will not apologize.
2. Pose (FX)
Ryan Muphy understood the history and importance of the characters in his latest drama, and it may end up being his best show yet. Between Versace and Pose, Murphy has created honored the LGBT community in ways he hasn’t before. He wants us to remember our own history and the people who allowed be the people we are today. Pose is opulent and dramatic and just fierce. The performances by Mj Rodriguez, Indya Moore, and Billy Porter are some of the best of the year. I can’t wait for season 2.
1. Killing Eve (BBC)
Find me a more enjoyable, more talked about show of the year. Sandra Oh returns to television in a meaty role, and we realize how much we missed her. The show succeeds because of how well it mixes comedy and thrills in a police procedural. Eve Polastri and Villanelle had the best will they/won’t they the entire year, and it was delicious.