2018 is coming to a close, but that doesn’t mean you have to end the year without getting caught up on the best TV out there. Here are our top TV 10 picks for 2018.
It’s not like Amy Adams has never done a dark production (Nocturnal Animals, Her), but never for TV in a title role. Adams portrays Camille Preaker, a shifty, heavy-drinking journalist who’s gone back to her hometown to investigate the murder of a girl, but we quickly find out that going back home isn’t just about the murder. The strain between her and her mother (Patricia Clarkson) is soon documented. Some of the best moments are the ones of Adams sitting in her car, drinking, driving, dazing—while montages of her childhood, the loss of her sister, her teenage cheerleader days, her cut arms, blood, all blur through. Adams is one of those actresses you just watch every move. There’s also a lot of focus on Camille’s 13-year-old half sister who’s playing everyone; Camille has a soft spot for her. The show is as much about the murder and town as it is about Camille’s place in said town. Anyone that’s moved away from their hometown started anew and used alcohol as the fuel to keep moving will find interest here.
Why has no one talked about this show? It’s a great comedy, something that’s definitely lacking these days. Jim Evans (The Big Bang Theory) and Cedric the Entertainer are two of the executive producers plus Cedric the Entertainer plays Calvin Butler, the bread and butter of the show. The premise: a white couple moves next door to a black couple where stereotypes and similarities are played out between old school mentality and whatever mentality we’re saying today’s is. Sure, there are some cheesy moments, but as a whole, it’s a show that tackles confusion with comedy. A recent episode saw Calvin and one of his sons bullied by young kids and it’s priceless. Another episode sees Tichina Rolanda Arnold (who plays Tina Butler) teaching Gemma Johnson, played by Two Broke Girls’ Beth Behrs, how to defend herself and the two ladies have a hilarious dynamic–Arnold in particular. Perhaps the biggest surprise is how hilarious the sons are too, and Dave Johnson (played by Max Greenfield) as the eager “let’s be friends” guy next door just works. Whoever cast for this show did a great job.
Maybe it’s because of Sandra Oh or because it’s cruel and vulgar and fun and weird, or maybe it’s because actress Jodie Comer is one sly killer that we’re all trying to figure out, but whatever it is this show is just different. Killing Eve is all about the cat and mouse chase and the fear that’s bottled up comes with spurts of matter of fact humour—people are being killed and it’s important, but it’s hard not to get lost in Comer’s entrancing attitude towards life, killing, knives, crime, humans etc. It’s nominated for two Golden Globe Awards and has pretty much landed on every TV critics list this year, in one way or another. Season 2 is said to dive more into who Villanelle (the assassin played by Comer) the psychopath is. Season 2 has already wrapped filming and here are some new photos from the season if you’re interested.
It’s so good to see some sports on TV, in a show, with a lead character that is sincerely humble and a roster that feels like real youth. Also, who knew Taye Diggs was this talented? We’re gladly surprised. All American follows Spencer James (Daniel Ezra), a star football player who’s received an opportunity to move from his hometown team to Beverly Hills and play for one of the best teams, one that scouts really care about. He’s switching sides, but not really. Ezra and Diggs carry the show, but then there are tender and trifling moments from Empire‘s Bre-Z, who is getting the attention she deserves on this show. Hopefully, we’ll hear more of her music. Speaking of music—All American has a strong soundtrack and it’s great to see talent like John LaMonica being represented.
First off, the Culkin brothers are killing it. Rory Culkin was pivotal in Waco and Kieran Culkin’s slimy performance in Succession is fun. The show is about a rich family of degenerates, well, degenerates that scheme before anyone can call them that. The overall cast includes Brian Cox, Sarah Snook and Jeremy Strong all showing what family drama can be like, especially when your father is the head of a media empire and loves power. They love power and the urge to get this is central to the show, especially for Strong’s character. It’s anything but a tender heartfelt family show and that’s what makes it believable. There’s something enthralling about watching a family ruin each other while having each other’s back.
Julia Roberts is another A-lister that’s migrated to the small screen for a Netflix-owned show. Homecoming is based on a facility made for veterans coming back from combat. It’s a place that is expected to help these soldiers integrate back into society. Roberts is the friendly face that greets them and is the woman at the forefront of their integration process. Sounds lovely and hopeful, but the facility is doing more than just helping heal veterans, they’re trying to erase memories. Roberts (who plays Heidi Bergmen) is the caseworker that is seemingly unaware, but as the show progresses her connection with one of the veterans, a newcomer to the facility, sheds light. It’s a show that presents what data collection could mean for the future, which is coming sooner than we think. It also stars Bobby Cannavale as well as Sissy Spacek and Jeremy Allen White (Shameless). Homecoming is a great binge that’s scored three Golden Globe nominations.
The Assassination of Gianni Versace
The show opens with the assassination of the famed fashion designer and works it way back, following the meanderings of Versace’s killer Andrew Cunanan and his drifter ways. How Cunanan’s speaks, his confidence, his web of lies, his strong social game—you can’t help but think how many ‘Cunanan’s’ are our friends after watching this show. His disregard for those that do not serve his immediate interest is articulated through both aggressive and calculated means. He doesn’t lose and the way he unravels is almost as fascinating to watch as is his way of controlling everyone around him. Watch this. It’s fascinating television and a great departure from Glee days for Criss. Criss recently announced he will no longer play LGBTQ roles, telling Bustle he wants to “make sure [he] won’t be another straight boy taking a gay man’s role.” The miniseries is up for four Golden Globes including Best Actor in a miniseries for Criss and Best Supporting Actress in a miniseries for Penelope Cruz.
If there is anyone that can give Darren Criss a run for the win of Globe it’s Benedict Cumberbatch who’s also nominated in the same category as Criss. Cumberbatch’s portrayal of an out of control addict feels so authentic. The five-part miniseries is up for five Emmy Awards including Outstanding Limited Series and we’re thinking it will clean up at the show. Cumberbatch, who is an executive producer, told Deadline that portraying an addict took some work: “We have seen the deprivations of addiction and sexual abuse in many courses of society, maybe not as much in this course of English society and so yes, it’s a very different take on something we know from other dramas.”
The Haunting of Hill House
Looking for a nightmare-driven synopsis that makes you shook for more? It was lauded as the new Netflix ‘it show’—everyone started watching and posting about. Adapted from Shirley Jackson’s novel, The Haunting of Hill House is not just a series, it has adopted a lot into the production. As series creator Mike Flanagan told Vulture, “We actually hid dozens of ghosts throughout the series, in plain sight and in the deep background of shots. We don’t call any attention to them, but they’re there. If you look in a door frame, or under the piano, or behind a curtain in a lot of otherwise ordinary scenes, you’ll see someone there,” Flanagan said.
It may have just started its run in late 2018, but even in its short time there’s been an impact, particularly for those that have dated a “Dirty John.” Who’s a DJ? A liar. A manipulator. A hustler and a sick person that gets glory out of controlling ‘his’ prey. Oh, and good looking, charming and “Mr. fix it” naturally. He can do it all—until you don’t want him. Or figure him out. Connie Briton (who plays Debra Newell, the woman conned) deserves serious praise for her acting. How Britton demonstrates the loss of will, ongoing confusion and fear while plotting the escape—it’s almost triggering to some extent. Eric Bana plays this kind of criminal-meets-psychopath exceptionally well, right down to the eyes. It’s a terrifying depiction of a real life situation, one that happens more often than many may even know and for this reason, it is must-see TV. Everyone should be prepared.