Happy!, Legion, The Haunting of Hill House – what do they all have in common? Best damn TV shows of 2018 – and here’s why:
#10. Better Call Saul (Season 4)
Better Call Saul has taken its time expanding upon one of the most beloved TV universes of all time and although it will never truly be BREAKING BAD, it’s one helluva tremendous companion piece. This season we finally got to see Hectar get his bell and chair, as well as the construction of the infamous underground meth lab, which as a storyline may seem monotonous as Hell, but wound up a compelling and intriguing subplot. This was the best season yet and it’s only a matter of time at this point until we see Walter or Jesse show up. We are that close.
#9. Mayans MC (Season 1)
Sons of Anarchy will stand as one of the greatest and most shocking TV dramas of all time. Kurt Sutter’s expansion into the Mayans gang from that series, while creating a brand new storyline with compelling characters was a bold move for FX and one that had A LOT of hype to live up to. I think Mayans MC featured some of the best writing of 2018 and a finale twist that not only moves the show closer to SOA, but blew my frikken mind to smithereens. I couldn’t be happier with how Mayans turned out…
#8. Preacher (Season 3)
You wanted the comic? You got the comic bitch. Remember the first season of Preacher and how they slowly tried to warm viewers up to the concept of Heaven and Hell being actual places with God, Satan, angels and monsters blah blah blah — well now that we’ve gotten that out of the way — Preacher season 3 is a steamroller of over-the-top violence and fantasy action. It may not have been as dark and moving as the source material dealing with Jesse’s childhood, but it came damn close and I applaud them for giving it their all to adapt Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon’s masterpiece.
#7. F is For Family (Season 3)
F is For Family is the best animated series on Netflix. Bill Burr’s cartoon drama about a lower-middle class family surrounded by strange neighbours and real life inspired drama that you rarely see incorporated into an animated show is so well written and executed that you forget you’re watching a cartoon when a character is delivering an Emmy award worthy monologue. The show is strange (the guy in the above image is definitely a serial killer right?) but more than anything it is hilarious and more relatable than any other comedy sitcom today.
#6. Atlanta (Season 2)
Atlanta season 2 was all over the place. But in a great way. Donald Glover decided to take so many side-steps to the main narrative that the results could have been disastrous or just as mixed as Westworld Season 2, but even as crazy as these episodes became, everything came together in the end. Atlanta even felt like Tales From The Crypt at times, became the stories would get so dark and grim. The episode where Darius (Lakeith Stanfield) meets Teddy (PLAYED BY DONALD GLOVER – WHAT?!?) in that nightmare home is one of 2018’s biggest surprises. Glover decided to take a backseat and let Atlanta truly become an ensemble series by giving more time to his castmates and he nailed it. Atlanta was bigger, stranger and more compelling than the first season because of the creative risks Glover took and I love that he was willing to get so damn weird when he could have played it safe.
#5. Daredevil (Season 3)
The final season of Daredevil was the most action packed and exciting Marvel TV series yet. Introducing Bullseye and bringing Kingpin back into the main narrative was a wise choice because it brought this story full circle as Matt Murdock and his closest friends reunited to take down the man without fear’s main foe in the most epic showdown for a superhero TV series – ever. Every single performance was phenomenal. plus; both the writing and intense fight choreography will make this Daredevil series stand the test of time even when those cowards at Disney and Marvel Studios continue to pull their shows from Netflix. I’m really, really starting to hate Disney and cancelling such a bold and riveting series like this, was the last straw.
#4. The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story (Mini-Series)
Darren Criss’ performance as spree killer Andrew Cunanan is legendary. Think American Psycho meets Taxi Driver and we’re starting to get the whole picture here. Criss deserves every single acting award coming his way. I know that the title of the series has Versace in it, but American Crime Story is all about Andrew Cunanan. We dive deep into the psyche of a killer and although we will never know WHY he did what he did, you will damn sure have a better understanding what led Cunanan down this path of death. Writer Tom Rob Smith doesn’t sympathise with Cunanan so much as peel back the layers of mystery of his life, so that viewers get the entire story, including that of his victims who all deserved to have their stories told in a profound way. (full review HERE)
#3. The Haunting of Hill House (Mini-Series)
I don’t usually get into ‘haunted house’ flicks (not named The Conjuring I and II), let alone do I binge them, but holy shit this show guys… The Haunting of Hill House was a riveting and profound work of genius from Mike Flanagan. The way this family falls apart after suffering horrible tragedies and then comes together again as adults really gives the show this edge that I hate to compare to something like ‘This is Us’, but that’s kinda what it does – there’s a layer of drama that melds beautifully with the terrifying ghost scares and how about that Bent Neck Lady twist? When it happens, you will forever be changed in how you view a ghost story – it’s that good.
#2. Legion (Season 2)
It’s hard to talk about Legion without getting confused or spoilery, but let’s just say that by the end of Legion’s SHOCKING second season finale, I’m convinced that series showrunner Noah Hawley is a genius. His work on Fargo was splendid, but his unbridled and unhinged direction of Legion is mindblowing. There is no other Marvel adaptation this creative or groundbreaking and I’m floored that FX is letting him so loose with his strange set pieces, which include both a dance fight and song battle this season.
#1. Happy! (Season 1)
Thanks to Brian Taylor’s insane vision, SyFy has a genuine hit on their hands with this insane, complex, hilarious, disturbing and downright genius smallscreen adaptation of Grant Morrison and Darick Robertson’s Image comic mini-series. Not only is this leading man Christopher Meloni’s best acting performance since HBO’s OZ, but it could be his best ever and that goes for his little imaginary sidekick Happy himself, voiced by Patton Oswalt to perfection. Happy! goes places that the SyFy network has never dared to go before. Happy! is loaded with F-Bombs, giant insects getting blowjobs, imaginary friends fighting to the death (yes Happy isn’t the only little magical creature here) and there’s even what seems like a demonic entity that is possessing certain individuals in the cast. (full review HERE)
Top 5 Performances By a Leading Actor
#5. Bob Odenkirk – Better Call Saul
#4. Dan Stevens – Legion
#3. Bill Burr – F is For Family
#2. Darren Criss – The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story
#1. Christopher Meloni – Happy!
Christopher Meloni’s unhinged and over-the-top performance as a detective turned killer for hire who winds up talking to an imaginary fantasy creature in order to solve a kidnapping case, is not only comedic gold, but there are several smelly and wonderful layers to this character that I can’t think of any other leading performance being this memorable in 2018. Meloni’s portrayal of Nick Sax goes from deplorable asshole to lovingly sympathetic asshole hero by the end of season one and in the end we’re left with the best comic book adaptation of any medium in 2018.
Top 5 Performances By a Leading Actress
#5. Rhea Seehorn – Better Call Saul
#4. Sarah Bolger – Mayans MC
#3. Laura Dern – F is For Family
#2. Carla Gugino – The Haunting of Hill House
#1. Deborah Ann Woll – Daredevil
Karen Page wasn’t a character I was initially all that interested in when Daredevil first debuted, but Deborah Ann Woll’s performance in this final season was incredible. This is hands down the best work of Woll’s career and so much so that they even gave her an entire episode of backstory, LATE, in the season, delaying a crazy action packed confrontation and I STILL loved all of it. She was always a blast to watch in True Blood, but after this season of Daredevil we absolutely must have more of Deborah Ann Woll in major leading performances. She’s a badass.
Top 5 Performances By a Supporting Actor
#5. Oliver Jackson-Cohen – The Haunting of Hill House
#4. Navid Negahban – Legion
#3. Edward James Olmos – Mayans MC
#2. Wilson Bethel – Daredevil
#1. Patton Oswalt – Happy!
Patton Oswalt’s voice performance as the innocent little imaginary friend who tries to get a deadbeat piece of shit ex-cop to save a little girl is probably the most unexpected and welcome surprise of the year. Oswalt plays Happy as this innocent and overly optimistic little blue unicorn better than any other little animated creature you’ll see in any medium, but what really makes this character stand apart is when Happy (yes his name is the title of the series) starts to go off the deep end. So much so he does cocaine at one point too and if you’re good enough to play an animated character on blow, then you’re good enough to land my best supporting performance of 2018 award.
Top 5 Performances By a Supporting Actress
#5. Rachel Keller – Legion
#4. Elizabeth Reaser – The Haunting of Hill House
#3. Victoria Pedretti – The Haunting of Hill House
#2. Kate Siegel – The Haunting of Hill House
#1. Aubrey Plaza – Legion
Aubrey Plaza is known for her comedic chops and uncanny dry humour that steals every scene they hire her for, but her performance as a heroin addict turned super villain is easily the best thing she’s done to date. She was the Shadow King in season one, but in season two of Legion, she’s wound up in the real world to wreak havoc and add such a creepy new and unsettling edge to an already weird show.