Monday, December 24, 2018

The Best TV Shows of 2018

It's been awhile....

The last time I posted was my Best TV of 2017 list. 2018 has been a busy year in more ways than one. I continue to work my SiriusXM and SNY jobs yet somehow still manage to watch a bunch of TV. Not as much as I used to, but I try to keep up.

Other than sports and an occasionally exceptional show, I'm pretty much off the networks. ABC, CBS, NBC and FOX need to step up their game - or exceedingly average programming will continue to lose long time viewers like me. 

It's all about Netflix, Amazon, Hulu and countless cable channels. Even YouTube is in the mix as it tries to be the best...around. 

Miniseries ] messed with my list this year. There were so many good ones, but do they qualify as "shows"? I separated these into their own category, but any of them could have checked in at number one.

A Very English Scandal (AMAZON)
Escape At Dannemora (SHOWTIME)
Wild Wild Country (NETFLIX)
The Looming Tower (HULU)
The Staircase (NETFLIX)
The Terror (FX)

Immerse yourself in any of the above and you'll be quite satisfied. Take your time. 

As for the rest of television, I've done my best to categorize the shows that stuck with me.

Wanderlust (NETFLIX)
Detectorists (HULU)
The Last Panthers (HULU)
The Little Drummer Girl (AMC)
Patrick Melrose (SHOWTIME)
Narcos: Mexico (NETFLIX)
The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story (FX)


Patriot (AMAZON)
It's eccentric and works on every level. Love the cast, the writing, and seeing a ton of my favorite actors (hello, John Locke and Clarence Boddicker). Just catching up now.


Queer Eye (NETFLIX)
My family feels I'm a worthy candidate. After watching a few of these, I realize they're probably right. 

Sweet show. I wanted more about the dogs than the families, but that's just me.


The Walking Dead (AMC)
If you're going to kill Rick, kill Rick. One of the things I really liked about this show was the feeling that no one is safe. That ended once Negan bashed some skulls. This is a book that started out great and I'm holding on to finish it. Barely.

This Is Us (NBC)
There's time to recover, but the first half of this season lacked the magic of the previous one.


Atlanta (FX)
I liked Teddy Perkins. Tried to watch the season a couple of times - but I haven't stayed. It's on too many Top Ten lists to ignore. I'll be back.

BoJack Horseman (NETFLIX)
Way behind on this. Looking forward to catching up.

Homecoming (AMAZON)
The first couple eps are slow, but it's Sam Esmail and I love his style. I'll finish.

Castle Rock (HULU)
I love Stephen King. I do not love this all.


The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (AMAZON)
Good show. Visually excellent. The actors are top notch. But it's way too schticky for me. 

Sharp Objects (HBO)
The ending was great. The slog through the 10 episodes to get there was rough. Too much style over substance. 

Succession (HBO)
Lots of people loved it. I am not one of those people. Didn't care about anyone in this family. The most interesting thing was watching scenes shot at SNY where I host Loud Mouths (weeknights at 5:30pm).

The Sinner (USA)
Westworld (HBO)
Silicon Valley (HBO)
The Handmaid's Tale (HULU)
The Deuce (HBO)
Last Chance U (NETFLIX)
Black Mirror (NETFLIX)


10. Cobra Kai (YOUTUBE)
Part of me wishes they skipped the sequels and went from The Karate Kid to this follow up three decades later. Johnny is washed up, Daniel is a car dealer, and old feelings never die. The story includes lots of callbacks to the original and a few surprises. This is how you revisit a mid 80's classic with what's left of the original cast in an entertaining way.

9. Bodyguard (NETFLIX)
So that's where Robb Stark has been hiding. Six episodes fly by in this BBC series where a war veteran turned policeman with incredible protection skills gets tasked to take care of the Home Secretary. The ending is not great, but the ride to get there will have you on the edge of your seat. 

8. The Kominsky Method (NETFLIX)
An acting coach helps his agent cope with the loss of his wife. Not the most original premise, but Michael Douglas and Alan Arkin showcase their chops and make it work. I'm still laughing at the second episode which shows all that a Hollywood funeral can be. 

7. Barry (HBO)
Now lets take an acting coach and have an assassin join his class. This HBO gem got better with each and every episode. Dark, funny and extremely poignant. Henry Winkler earned that Emmy, but Bill Hader was just as good in a tough role to pull off. In fact, this entire premise is tricky, but the showbiz satire mixed with some foreign hits worked quite well. 

6. The Good Place (NBC)
Remember when there were a bunch of comedies worth watching on network television? Neither do I, but The Good Place bucks this trend. This philosophical comedy is smart, stupid and surprising. Blake Bortles hasn't been the same.

5. The Good Fight (CBS ALL ACCESS)
Remember when there were a bunch of dramas worth watching on network television? Neither do I, but this spinoff of The Good Wife is just as compelling as its predecessor. Ygrette has moved on from Jon Snow to play the smart troubled daughter from a Madoff-esque family. The Good Wife supporting acting crew more than holds its own - and it's great to see all those guest judges again.

4. Atypical (NETFLIX)
An 18 year old who's on "the spectrum" is trying to figure life out, and his family is there for him. The acting and writing are exceptional, the laughs are well earned, and you feel so much for all the characters. It's genuinely heartwarming, and I'm glad there will be a season three.

3. Killing Eve (BBC AMERICA)
Barry wasn't the best show featuring a troubled assassin. Killing Eve is smart, funny, and gets pretty dark. Sandra Oh gets all the hype, but Jodie Comer is the one I marveled at. Didn't love the ending, but it didn't matter. This was the best new show of 2018.

2. The Americans (FX)
This is how you end a series. I've been on this Russian bandwagon since it started and 1987 was the right place for it to come to a stop. The disguises still crack me up, but Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys remain just as convincing. The finale was satisfying and full of surprises - a fitting end to an underrated drama.

1. Better Call Saul (AMC)
It's not better than Breaking Bad - but it's getting awfully close. The spinoff continues to be just as captivating as Jimmy McGill drifts into Saul Goodman territory. There are no better TV characters than Jimmy, Kim, Mike and Gus. We know how it turns out for most when Walter enters the picture, but for now, there's no better story worth watching.

Those are my favorites. Let me know what I'm missing.

Happy holidays, and here's to a great 2019!