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

15. Maniac


If you went looking in the right places this year, you may have found opportunities to lose your mind. Although, in fairness, perhaps those aren’t the right places. Still, it feels right for the Cary Fukunaga-led Netflix show Maniac. We lost our minds in the show’s many diversions, suggestions, and disorientations. We then lost our minds in another way: becoming evangelists for this wild, colorful, impressively well-acted show that’s basically the algorithm telling us what we should like. You win this one, algorithm. – Neil Miller

14. The Americans

The Americans

The best genre fiction, whether in the form of stories, TV shows, or movies, works on two levels. The first is that very genre hook, which in the case of The Americans, is a story about Russian spies posing as everyday Americans with a house, kids, and regular jobs. That setup leads to scenes of action, suspense, and political intrigue, all of which the show handles beautifully. It also succeeds brilliantly on the second level, though, by pairing its genre beats with rich characters, strong emotion, and a growing commentary on the idea of family. These are objectively bad people who murder innocents, but as the series comes to a close our concern for them is palpable leaving viewers watching with fists clenched with concern for the well-being. – Rob Hunter

13. GLOW


Like another Jenji Kohan show, Orange is the New Black, GLOW pivots away from the central conflict of Ruth Wilder (Alison Brie) and Debbie Eagan (Betty Gilpin) in its second season. They still get some heated moments together especially in the ring where their match leads to bone-crushing results. But some of the strongest moments in the second season focus on the individual stories of the supporting cast. Episode 4, in particular, has Tamme “The Welfare Queen” Dawson (Kia Stevens) is unable to tell her college-bound son about her current profession. It is heartbreaking to see this character portray a stereotype she is trying to overcome. Another character that gets his time in the spotlight is Bash (Chris Lowell). Bash had a falling out with his longtime friend and butler, Florian. While trying to locate his friend, Bash discovers things about Florian he never knew and makes him question his own identity. There is one episode that towers over the rest of the season and that would be episode 8 “The Good Twin.” The episode starts as if we were watching a GLOW television episode; complete with sketches, musical numbers, and wrestling matches. The PSA about child kidnappers called “Don’t Kidnap” might be one of GLOW’s best scenes. Nevermind the bizarre sketch where Sheila “the She Wolf” (Gayle Rankin) has a bad date with a goat. It’s a culmination of everything I love in GLOW, with great humor and memorable characters. I’m looking forward to next season which will see GLOW become a live show in Vegas. – Max Covill

12. The Haunting of Hill House

Haunting Of Hill House

Shirley Jackson’s 1959 novel reached the screen twice before this year’s masterful limited series on Netflix, but neither can compare to what Mike Flanagan accomplishes with the tale. He updates it to modern times, but it’s the scope and additional time afforded that help lift it towards brilliance. It remains an effective haunted house tale made horrifying through terrifying visuals and frightening artistry. More than that, though, it becomes an intensely affecting look at the heavy weight of grief and regret. The past is a powerful burden capable of haunting our darker moments, and it can lead us towards revelation or a devastating conclusion. The choice isn’t always ours to make. – Rob Hunter

11. Killing Eve

Killing Eve

More cat and cat game than cat and mouse game, Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s thrilling adaptation of the Codename Villanelle book series follows an MI5 agent (Sandra Oh) as she hunts for a stylish, badass, psychopathic assassin (Jodie Comer) who is coincidentally also tracking her. The tension between the two women, one gleefully bad and the other dangerously curious, propels the eight-episode first season forward so that it’s no wonder that the series steadily gained viewers episode-over-episode. Oh is captivating as a dorky, impulsive government official, while Comer steals every scene she’s in, traipsing across Europe with a creatively murderous MO and terrifying charisma to boot. – Valerie Ettenhofer

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