The golden age of television continues. Welcome to WatchMojo, and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the "Top 10 Best TV Shows of 2018."
For this list, we’re taking a look at new shows and ongoing series that defined television in 2018.
This Netflix miniseries reunites Emma Stone and Jonah Hill over ten years after Superbad, although Maniac has more in common with Black Mirror and Inception. Stone and Hill star as two lost souls who sign up for a pharmaceutical trial that takes them somewhere over the rainbow. Although they were apparently strangers before the trial, our protagonists become intertwined through a series of dreams involving con artists, elves, and stolen lemurs. This allows our leads to slip into a variety of different roles and for director Cary Joji Fukunaga to experiment with a wide range of styles. For the viewer, it’s a twisted ride as we accompany these characters from A, to B, to C.
Who would’ve guessed that a comedic talent like Phoebe Waller-Bridge would develop one of the 2018’s most intense thrillers? That’s not to say Killing Eve is without its darkly humorous moments. In fact, the comedy only adds to the tension as we’re never sure whether to laugh or fear for the characters. Likewise, it’s not easy to define the relationship between Sandra Oh’s Eve and Jodie Comer’s Villanelle. One’s a determined MI5 officer, the other is a psychotic assassin, and both are obsessed with one another. You could see these women killing each other, but you can also see them falling in love, making for an unpredictable showdown between two captivating actresses.
This modern spin on Shirley Jackson’s gothic horror novel will make any adult viewer feel like a kid again, although not in a warm, fuzzy, nostalgic way. Rather, it takes audiences back to a time when the supernatural seemed more plausible, bringing back the fear of creatures that go bump in the night. The series centers on the Crain family, who grew up in the mysterious Hill House and are still traumatized by their experiences there. In addition to being chillingly crafted, The Haunting of Hill House is one of the most well-edited shows of recent memory, seamlessly blending the lines between the past and present as childhood demons return to open old wounds.
Sharp Objects is another show that explores childhood trauma, although the story here is grounded in gritty realism. At the same time, it’s also a dreamlike experience where the characters can’t wake up from their worst nightmares. With echoes of True Detective and The Killing, this HBO limited series is an atmospheric adaptation of Gillian Flynn’s first novel. Amy Adams gives a hard-hitting performance as Camille Preaker, an unstable reporter who returns to her hometown where she must confront both her inner demons and a Woman in White who’s been murdering young girls. Just as he did in Big Little Lies, director Jean-Marc Vallée packs every scene with building dread, amounting to a jaw-dropping payoff.
Some of William Shakespeare’s most celebrated plays begin as comedies and then take a sharp turn into tragedy. Barry is also in the spirit of a classic tragicomedy, finding an unlikely balance of side-splitting humor and gut-wrenching heartbreak. Bill Hader plays the titular Barry Berkman, a former U.S. Marine, a hitman, and an aspiring actor. Searching for a new identity, he adopts the stage name of Barry Block, which might be the most complicated role he’ll ever take on. This HBO series not only brought Hader his first acting Emmy, but also resulted in a long overdue Primetime Emmy for the great Henry Winkler, who steals every scene he’s in as an oblivious acting coach.
The second season of Westworld saw the hosts finally taking control of their own narratives... at least, that’s what we were led to believe. Since this is Westworld, it’s rarely clear what’s real, what’s artificial, and who’s trustworthy. The days of white hats and black hats are long gone, as not even Dolores can be classified as a hero or villain at this point. Each character is a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma, ultimately asking the greatest question of all: what does it mean to be human? While the entire cast delivered stellar work this season, the standout was arguably Thandie Newton, who won a Primetime Emmy for her supporting role.
Since the first season dominated almost every major category at the Primetime Emmys, The Handmaid’s Tale had great expectations to live up to going forward. This Hulu series was every bit as thrilling, devastating, and relevant in season two, however, showcasing phenomenal performances from Elisabeth Moss, Yvonne Strahovski, and Ann Dowd, among others. The show also managed to become even more shocking, which left some viewers divided. Whether or not you felt the showrunners went too far, nobody can deny that this series is 100% uncompromising in its depiction of ignorance, corruption, and sexual abuse. It’s by no means an easy show to get through, but it is one that the world needs right now.
Donald Glover established himself as one of the most talented entertainers in the industry long before creating this FX series. Throughout the first two seasons of Atlanta, though, Glover has only grown as a performer, storyteller, and director. In addition to elevating Glover to another level of prestige, this surreal show has made stars out of supporting players like Zazie Beetz, Brian Tyree Henry, and Lakeith Stanfield. Season two also marked the debut of Teddy Perkins as himself… of course this hilariously turned out to be Glover in whiteface. Since the episode scored Glover multiple Primetime Emmy nominations, he naturally dressed as Teddy at the ceremony. We’re not sure who’s creepier: Teddy or Florida Man.
Among all the shows on this list, this adaptation of Charles Forsman’s graphic novel is the one that’s most likely eluded you. For anyone who appreciates black comedy and unconventional approaches to the coming-of-age genre, though, it’s a must-stream. We all feel the need to rebel at some point during our adolescence, either due to neglect, trauma, or bottled-up anger. The End of the F***ing World explores what happens when kids take rebellion too far, as well as when parents don’t take responsibility for their children. Alex Lawther and Jessica Barden give breakthrough performances as James and Alyssa, who both capture the darkest side of growing up.
Before we get to our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions:
- American Vandal – Season 2
- The Terror – Season 1
- The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel – Season 2
- The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story
- GLOW – Season 2
The Americans started to shake its underrated status in its final season, winning the Emmy for Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series. Matthew Rhys also took home the Lead Actor in a Drama Series award for his multi-layered performance. Rhys wasn’t the only one who turned in an acting tour de force, as Keri Russell, Holly Taylor, and Noah Emmerich rounded out this extraordinary ensemble. In the end, every major character had to choose what’s more important: loyalty to one’s country or loyalty to one’s family and friends? There’s no easy answer, leading each character to a final destination that may not be the happiest, but is certainly the most fitting for this enthralling series.
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