The 10 Best And Most Bingeable TV Shows Of 2018
From 'Brooklyn Nine-Nine' to 'Killing Eve', it's been a huge year for ignoring your problems by watching TV.
I don’t know about you, but I watched so much TV in 2018. Just unprecedented amounts of good content beamed directly into my eyes — and I feel great! But with such an enormous amount of television to choose from, you might think it’s hard to choose the absolute best TV shows of 2018: but it’s not.
It’s not hard to choose because there is no metric for quality control — it’s simply my learned, wise and completely fallible opinion.
I just went and chose the shows that made me feel passionate about the medium, that will probably stick with me for years to come, whose characters and stories are now intertwined with my own stupid life.
Peak TV is an interesting time to think critically about television — there’s so much going on that even someone whose job is LITERALLY to keep up-to-date with TV cannot possibly hope to watch everything. As such, I’m sure there are shows not on this list that perhaps deserve to be. Also, there are definitely some critically lauded shows which I have conspicuously exempted because they are actually garbage — but I’m sure they will be leading the way on a million other lists.
Also, I re-watched Parks and Recreation twice this year, from start to finish. Just to be clear.
Anyway, let’s look at the 10 best tv shows from 2018, in no particular ranking.
10. The Good Place
The Good Place has been both lauded and sometimes stigmatised for having a big, bold premise for a sitcom: exploring ethics comedically with a bunch of dead people in hell.
It’s so easy to get so swept up in the flashy cliffhanger reveals, with the novelty of having philosophy 101 explained on network TV, and with the otherworldly setup. But sometimes you just gotta remember it’s a very silly comedy first and foremost.
And also that it does that comedy very well, even when it might not be hitting the same big and flashy plot tricks as the earlier seasons — yet.
We got the tail end of season 2 in 2018, which was an excellent season. Season 3 which will compete in 2019 has been less consistent (or maybe Australia just found those accents difficult to stomach), but still enjoyable and fun.
What can I say, I love the show, and it entertained me all year.
You can stream The Good Place on Netflix.
9. The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
Honestly, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel might be my favourite show of the year. Technically season 1 came out in 2017, but I didn’t watch it until 2018, and then we got season 2 on December 5, meaning the show NARROWLY fits into the best TV shows of 2018. Shut-up.
Set in 1950s New York City, this comedy-drama follows the legitimately marvellous Mrs Maisel, a brilliant, witty, fast-talking, upper-class housewife, whose perfect domestic life is suddenly shattered when she discovers her husband has had an affair. Also, he’s an insecure whiny baby. During this upheaval, she falls into stand-up comedy and absolutely slays at it.
Much like Midge Maisel herself, the show is incredibly confident, aesthetically pleasing, and witty rather than uproarious. As a massive Gilmore Girls fan, it’s a pleasure to take all the best bits of that show (inspired dialogue and beautifully rendered characters) and place them in a more cohesive and dramatically driven plot.
Rachel Brosnahan as Midge is astounding. I can tell I’ll be watching this show on repeat for a long time.
You can stream The Marvelous Mrs Maisel season 1 and 2 on Prime Video.
As Jared already wrote here: “Centering on New York’s late 1980s ballroom scene — a community which provided support, love and a platform of expression for queer and trans people of colour — Pose is perhaps the definition of ‘for us, by us’ with its record-breaking abundance of transgender actors in series regular roles.”
At the heart of the show, it’s about creating family. On another level, it’s about creating a new family and competing with your old family through the medium of dance. It’s an amazing, vibrant, gorgeous drama that is compulsive viewing.
Pose is available on Foxtel.
7. Queer Eye
There is no other show that I’ve written about more than this year’s reboot of Queer Eye, and I even recapped The Bachelor. There are a few mitigating reasons for this, namely a weird feud I had with Antoni, but mostly it’s because the show is just damn good and important.
From a positive and nuanced representation of queer men on the screen, to some truly heartwarming deconstructions of toxic masculinity, this show manages to hit you right in the feels. But, also importantly, it’s wholesome and fun, and benefits from actually brilliant casting.
Also, it taught me to French tuck my shirts and I look great.
You can stream Queer Eye on Netflix.
6. Killing Eve
*Chanting* Sandra Oh! Sandra Oh! Sandra Oh!
A tale about a beautiful-haired woman who just loves lady-assassins is obviously gonna be good — but I wasn’t prepared for just how great this is. It’s got the drama and action and grit of a good police behavioural, with some truly unexpected characters and narrative decisions. Plus, some of the oddest and goriest moments of sly humour on TV.
“I once watched a rat drink from a can of coke, right over there. It used both hands too — extraordinary.”
Killing Eve is available on ABC iView.
5. The Bold Type
Ah, The Bold Type. I love this show so much, and in many ways, I feel like I shouldn’t. But maybe that’s what society expects me to do?
Three Millennial women working at a fashion magazine in New York City, each with their own special power: writing, fashion and social media. It’s got the same kind of hyperbolic trash dramedy setting as Younger, but everyone is… young. The cast are wonderful and so fun to watch.
It’s so relentlessly enjoyable and honestly, I am evangelical about it. Plus it taught me everything I know about journalism. One of the best parts of the show is screaming with your friends every time Jane does something imbecilic.
Also, I came to Junkee Magazine to write stories that MAKE A DIFFERENCE.
The Bold Type seasons 1 and 2 are streaming on Stan.
4. The Chilling Adventures Of Sabrina
A goth reboot of iconic nineties teen-comedy Sabrina the Teenage Witch? Sign me up forever.
The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina could have gone so horribly bad in so many ways — instead, we’ve been treated to something that sits between the promise of early Riverdale and the format of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. It’s unabashedly having fun with witches and spookiness and teens versus Satan, while still taking itself seriously enough that we care about the various monsters and things threatening our protagonists.
It’s also peak glamorous-older-woman with silky hair TV, so of course, the gays are frothing.
Watch The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina on Netflix.
King in the North! Richard Madden is excellent.
A good action-thriller is hard to find these days, to be completely honest. But the UK produced Bodyguard is a show that masters tense stand-offs. There are scenes in this show that are just so anxiety-inducing that I was standing up to watch it, screaming silently.
Sure, I think we could make some strong arguments that the show propagates some pretty basic ideas of Middle Eastern terrorism, but oh my god it’s good TV.
Bodyguard is on Netflix.
2. Wild, Wild Country
If you’re not fascinated by the wacky idiots in cults, then I’m sorry to say, you’re probably in some kind of cult.
This documentary about the Indian guru Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, and more pertinently, his sinister assistant Ma Anand Sheela and their cult’s plan to build a new city in the American wilderness is just fascinating and compelling and perfect viewing. Cults are weird! You heard it here first.
But seriously — without editorialising or skewing too heavily, the documentary ends up as a kind of character piece on Ma Anand Sheela, showing her dangerous charisma and culty zest for life. It’s amazing to watch.
Watch Wild, Wild Country on Netflix.
1. Brooklyn Nine-Nine
Brooklyn Nine-Nine ticks all my boxes for a comedy — a lot of good absurdist jokes that actually make you laugh out loud, some loveable characters and just the right amount of wholesome feels.
Season 5 of Brooklyn Nine-Nine continued being goddamn hilarious, but it also ramped up the feel-good stuff. We got Jake and Amy’s wedding, we got Rosa Diaz’s rather expertly handled coming out story, and it’s just nice to know that the show keeps pushing itself. We also have probably the best cold-opening in TV history.
The only real issue this year is that we had less Gina Linetti. I know I said I wasn’t ranking these, but Brooklyn Nine-Nine was probably the winner of the best TV shows of 2018.
Watch Brooklyn Nine-Nine on Netflix.
All this good TV brings a tear to my dry, light-sensitive eyes. I hope 2018 was also a wonderful content-consuming year for you, and here’s to ignoring all our problems through the distracting medium of TV in 2019.
Patrick Lenton is the Entertainment Editor at Junkee. He tweets @patricklenton.