Lists · TV

The 25 Best Shows of 2018

Here’s our definitive ranking of the best the small screen had to offer in 2018.
Best Shows
By  · Published on December 22nd, 2018

20. The End of the F***ing World

The End Of The F***ing World

It’s a dark British comedy, road trip, and coming of age story all in one. Describing this show as a British teenage Bonnie & Clyde is an injustice to what The End of the F***ing world is all about. Yes, the two leads are the most cynical characters you will come across, and yes one them is a potential murderer, but the writing makes these social rejects loveable. You will laugh at how blunt these two are, and cover your mouth at the actions they take to feel emotions. That’s the charm of The End of the F***ing World, the writing is clever enough to weave complex themes of youth together with the shock value of violence. “It’s strange. A lot of the time you don’t register the important moments in your life as they happen. You only see that they were important when you look back.”- Alyssa. The End of the F***ing World might have been one the first shows to air this year, but its clever writing and character study makes it an easy show to revisit. – Carl Broughton

19. Queer Eye

Queer Eye

We all needed some hope in 2018. The Queer Eye boys were here to give it. A Netflix reboot of the Bravo series of the same name fifteen years earlier, Queer Eye brings its new Fab Five to make over men (and women!) throughout Georgia and to warm all of our hearts. Antoni Porowski (food and wine), Tan France (fashion), Karamo Brown (culture and lifestyle), Bobby Berk (design), and Jonathan Van Ness (grooming) declare from the first minutes that their fight is not for tolerance, but for acceptance. Their journey sparks some of the greatest glow-ups reality television has ever seen: beards are trimmed, shirts are french tucked, and bigotry is met with the abundant love of these five glorious men. Whether homophobia can actually be combated with friendship and a haircut remains to be seen, but in a divided America, Queer Eye let us buy into the fantasy. We were blessed with two seasons this year, which saw the Fab Five settle into their roles and bring out the best in their guests — and in each other. After all, the joy isn’t just in seeing folks go from zero to hero; it’s in watching the Fab Five’s genuine love for one another radiate through the screen and make us feel like we, too, are queens. Hurry up, season 3. We need our boys back. – Megan Sergison

18. Brooklyn Nine-Nine


Brooklyn Nine-Nine’s comic consistency is one of the main reasons fans were beyond excited NBC saved the show for a sixth season. And while the Nine-Nine would have ended on a tremendous high note with Jake and Amy’s wedding, we also would have been left with a phenomenal cliffhanger. Will Captain Holt be named Commissioner of the NYPD? Doubtless, especially after the recent crop of teaser trailers. But it’s season five’s emotional maturation of Jake Peralta (Andy Samberg) that has kept the show not only relevant but necessary. In the 20th episode of this season, “Show Me Going” where Rosa (Stephanie Beatriz) responds to an active shooter situation, Jake combats his stereotypical masculine instincts to physically save the day by channeling that urge into providing emotional support for the rest of the squad. Our leaders must be brave, but as Holt (Andre Braugher) teaches Jake, true bravery comes from admitting fear. And true strength comes from having transparency about your emotions, especially with those who care for you. Straight facts: it’s rare to have such a nuanced representation of modern day masculinity, unafraid to challenge long-held myths. I hope that representations like Jake, Charles, Terry, and Holt will help build stronger, kinder boys for future generations. These teachable moments about positive masculinity is Brooklyn Nine-Nine’s way of deconstructing, and disempowering toxic masculine tropes of action-comedies and police procedurals. It’s also why Brooklyn Nine-Nine is one of the most important comedies on TV. – Jacob Trussell

17. Big Mouth

Big Mouth

If you couldn’t get the grating voice of Nick Kroll impersonating a middle-aged gym teacher out of your head all year, you only have hours of Big Mouth binge-watching to blame. The second season of Netflix’s hit animated series delivered much more than just hilarious voice acting and gross-out puberty humor, though. The show has been able to uphold its one-of-a-kind status and keep its fanbase by continuing to discuss difficult topics like depression and sexuality in a way that appeals to a wide variety of audiences. Those that came for John Mulaney in the first season stayed this time around for Andrew’s issues with his body and the path he takes in addressing his shame (said shame being personified in a truly genius way on the show’s part, by the way). Important conversations on body image and young girls, preteen drug use, toxic masculinity, and divorce make up key moments in Big Mouth’s follow-up season as well. Of course, fans of the series’ unique humor were also in luck, as the second season kept up the same, often hard to stomach laughs. Except Big Mouth isn’t hindered in any way by this kind of humor. In fact, the tricky nature of the subjects the show covers often could not be communicated nearly as well without an equally extreme style of comedy. For all the times you sat there and thought, did I really just watch that?, there were a hundred more times where Big Mouth’s second season made you feel as if it were the most relatable show on television. As Rick, the dysfunctional hormone monster would say, “What’re you gonna do?” – Kendall Cromartie

16. Barry


Barry is probably my favorite new show of 2018. If you can mix solid comedy with intense drama, I’m yours forever, and Barry manages that mix like nothing else out there. As a depressed hitman, Bill Hader is an unlikely beacon of hope, trying to find happiness and meaning through sheer force of will. I even wrote a piece earlier this year about the show’s refreshing optimism and the skilled way it pairs Barry’s hope for a better life with the obstinate idealism of a class of fourth-rate aspiring actors. But while Barry is wonderfully funny and light at times (Anthony Carrigan and D’Arcy Carden shine as a Chechen mobster and a too-confident actor, respectively) that perfectly executed levity only means that when the darkness comes (and it does come) it’s all the richer. Barry is an absolute gem, and I can’t wait for it to come back. – Liz Baessler

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