This year, TV killed. Literally. Between the final season of The Americans, the first of HBO's Barry, Killing Eve, and The Assassination of Gianni Versace, much blood was shed on the small screen at the hands of spies, hit men, assassins, and psychopaths. Atlanta and Succession took searing aim at American ambition, The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina and The Haunting of Hill House gave us the creeps, and The Good Place went to a very good place.
Here are the best TV Shows of 2018, according to Popdust staff:
The Good Place
Chosen by Rebecca Linde, Staff Writer
There exists in my memory a corner so devoted to TV moments that were either devastatingly meta or brain-freezingly clever that I've had to evict certain mathematical faculties and the names of several acquaintances to keep the space clear and untouched. Among them: The Wire's Nick Sobotka showing up for the first time in two seasons just to heckle Mayor Carcetti (that makes sense for his character!); Max Braverman name-dropping Friday Night Lights while talking to Michael B. Jordan's Alex, who was on Friday Night Lights; Andy Samberg saying, "Pizza? Now that's what I call a Taco!" Now, I may need to rent out an entirely new brain for the space required to house the meta-cleverness of The Good Place. Creator Mike Schur has consistently proven my theory that the best sitcoms have "head and heart:" jokes that are either so outlandish or so simple that they could only be written by incredibly smart people, and characters that genuinely care about one another. The show is constantly shifting its very premise while musing on the meaning of existence without missing a single joke or heartbeat. This season gave us two of the smartest moments on TV: Eleanor confronting her estranged mother with the perfect delivery of "No, Mom, ya basic," and whoever had the idea to spend most of an entire episode replacing each member of the core cast with a version of D'Arcy Carden's Janet as each character. It was a total delight that ended in a real, emotional turning point, and also unlocked a new secret for a successful sitcom: cast D'Arcy Carden in every role.
Chosen by Meg Hanson, Staff Writer
Despite telling Conan O'Brien that he forgot how to act while directing the first three episodes of HBO's Barry, Bill Hader is masterful as lead actor, director, and writer in the series. The first season follows Hader's character, a traumatized ex-marine, as he transitions from hitman-for-hire to bad LA actor in an effort to process his blocked emotions. With absurdly likeable criminals and infuriating civilians, Barry gives us Henry Winkler as a self-aggrandizing "acting coach" helming Barry's attempts to "find truth" in acting. The series balances on a razor edge between irony and empathy, levity and morbidity. Game of Thrones co-creator David Benioff even praised the series but remarked to Hader, "That was pretty dark."
[Editor's note: D'Arcy Carden is also in Barry. Just saying.]
Bonus: The 2018 Popdust TV Awards
Best Supporting Role by a Parking Garage: The Americans
Best Ponytail Despite Having an Arm in a Sling: Kim Wexler (Rhea Seahorn), Better Call Saul
Most Intimidating Teen: Amma Crellin (Eliza Scanlen), Sharp Objects
Tightest Tush: Andrew Cunanan (Darren Criss), The Assassination of Gianni Versace
Most Heavily-Handed Diversity Casting: 9-1-1
Best Punch to the Boob: Haunting of Hill House
Most Unabashed Reliance on Studio Audience: Will and Grace
Deadest Eyes: Juliana Crane (Alexa Davalos), The Man in the High Castle
Most Charming Hairless Hit Man: Noho Hank (Anthony Carrigan), Barry
Most Relatable Child-Hater: Susie Myerson (Alex Borstein), The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
Painfully Still on TV for Some Reason: Supernatural
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