By: Bill Cushing – Jan. 2019
It’s that time of year again. That time when all TV people start thinking about the best shows that they watched over the past year. As usual, it was tough to leave some shows off the list, but here are my picks for the best TV had to offer in 2018.
10. The Affair (Showtime) – Rebounding from an awful third season, top notch performances from the leads Ruth Wilson, Joshua Jackson, Maura Tierney, and Dominic West gave Showtime’s emotional drama series perhaps its best season to date.
9. Jack Ryan (Amazon Prime) – John Krasinski takes over the role of CIA analyst Jack Ryan made famous by Harrison Ford in the movies. He proves he’s up to the task in this fast paced, suspenseful, entertaining series.
8. Billions (Showtime) – Showtime’s financial thriller had a wildly entertaining third season. One of the show’s best tricks is how they can make you feel sympathy even for the greedy people that abuse their power. As usual, Damian Lewis and Paul Giamatti were mesmerizing.
7. The Deuce (HBO) – This excellent show from the creators of ‘The Wire’ about the birth of the porn industry in the ‘70s, because of its subject matter, tend to be overlooked. Maggie Gyllenhaal carried the show in its second season, but the rich writing gave every actor in this giant cast great material to work with.
6. The Handmaids Tale (Hulu) – Hulu’s futuristic drama series returned with a strong second season. While season 1 was a tour de force for Elisabeth Moss, Season 2 belonged to Yvonne Strahovski. The shows first season away from its source material remained grippingly unpredictable.
5. Barry (HBO) – HBO’s dramedy about a hitman who decides to get out of the business was wickedly funny at times and unnervingly tense at others. It also had an Emmy winning role by Henry Winkler and an excellent performance by Bill Hader as the title character.
4. Ozark (Netflix) – The Netflix drama built on its fine first season and came in with an even better second one. Jason Bateman and Laura Linney continued their fine work, but Julia Garner’s Ruth stole the show this year.
3. The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (Amazon Prime) – This show never fails to put a smile on my face. Rachel Brosnahan is a delight to watch in the title role. Tony Shalhoub is fantastic as her father. Great supporting cast.
2. Better Call Saul (AMC) – Breaking Bad’s prequel series finally saw Jimmy make his full transformation into Saul by the 4th season’s end. Seeing Jimmy’s transformation to Saul through the eyes of Kim was a real tragedy, and so well done. Rhea Seehorn’s performance as Kim was one of the best of the year.
And my pick for the best show of 2018 is…
The Americans (FX) – FX’s great spy drama went out on top and gave us one of the most surprising yet satisfying final seasons in recent memory. A riveting finale that saw basically every major character suffering some sort of terrible loss. It was a great conclusion to one of the best, most brilliant drama series of all time.
Just missing my list: The Kominsky Method, Sneaky Pete, Goliath, Bosch, Castle Rock, GLOW, Killing Eve, Atypical, Succession, Bodyguard, Escape at Dannemora, Counterpart
If you have any questions about TV you can email me at BillsTVTalk@gmail.com. I will answer all of your questions and will feature some of the questions I receive in a future Mailbag column.
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