Television 2018

Queer Eye 2018

2018 is arguably a more interesting year for TV programming than film. It’s impossible to watch it all, but here’s what we managed, in order from the best to the rest.

Queer Eye – YASSS! I never watched the original show, but this reboot is GLORIOUS!!! I dare you not to cry at the end of each episode! The cultural phenomenon that this has become since it aired has bumped this up to the number one spot! But even without the social impact it’s made, it’s still top 5 for being so joyous.

Succession – I’d only heard of this HBO show from Adam McKay and co. after its finale aired. The hype surrounding the finale intrigued me so I gave it a go. At first, I thought it was ok and wasn’t sure if I should keep going. I am SO grateful that I did! The finale is one of the best episodes of television I have ever seen! And there’s another episode late in the season that is also up there in terms of tension, pace and quality. I was floored by the end of season 1. I love these despicable characters in the Roy family (based on the Murdochs?). Wow wow wow! But seriously… that finale….

A Very English Scandal – What a miniseries this was! Can you believe Norman Scott never got his National Insurance Card!? Hugh Grant is in (another) career best performance, and the dry humour that director Stephen Fry has brought to this story, only enhances the absurdity of the situation. Certainly the best British television of the year.

Killing Eve – Everything about this show is wonderful. The performances, the plot, the writing – Phoebe Waller-Bridge has such a distinct and hilarious voice, putting herself into all of her writing. Sandra Oh is also a wonder! This show is a bonafied hit!

Bodyguard – It’s pretty much the most sensational show of the year, with all of the hype and insanity over the plot twists! It may not be as respectable as Jed Mercurio’s other big show Line of Duty, but it’s certainly more over-the-top, “watercooler tv”.

Kidding – Jim Carrey stars in this dark comedy drama series – his first regular television series since In Living Color. The episodes directed by Michel Gondry in particular are fantastic (most of the show is directed by him!). Frank Langella is the underdog here with his subtle and hilarious / mean performance. Carrey may deservedly take the spotlight in this story of a children’s entertainer coming undone, but Langella has way more laugh out loud moments.

Nathan For You – Technically this show is a few years old, but it only arrived on my UK Now TV subscription late this year. I binged seasons 1 and 2, and just finished Sky drip feeding me season 3 on a weekly basis. This show is poignant in its socio-economic commentary, so vulnerable in its human portrayals, and genuinely hilarious. I’ve never hurt so much from laughing and cringing while watching television. Absolutely genius.

The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story – Wow. Just wow. While not as good as ACS’s season one depiction of the OJ trial (nothing could be), this is well made, beautiful but bleak drama. And Darren Criss is a revelation – I have been underestimating him his entire career.

Patrick Melrose – Benedict Cumberbatch gives an excellent performance as Patrick Melrose! We’re definitely in peak tv!

The Good Place – More like The Great PlaceAm I right??? (Sorry). Anyway, The Good Place is the best and most groundbreaking situation comedy series on television.

RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars– Season 3 of All Stars opened the year and All Stars 4 is closing it. To focus on 3 – I love BenDelaCreme and very happy that finally someone from the inside has stood up to all of the show’s bullying and other issues. It’s one thing to claim to be a show about inclusivity, and another to actually be one. Also, Shangela was robbed!!!!!!!

The Good Fight – Definitely a stronger season 2 than 1. This show may be the most clever on televison. I love its absurd surrealism meets political commentary. Diane Lockhart is my hero!

Dogs – This Netflix documentary series is just amazing. Each episode so different from the next, all about dogs and how they fit into our lives. <3

James Acaster: Repertoire – A brilliant Netflix comedy package showcasing James Acaster’s Edinburgh Fringe shows. A huge breakthrough for the comedian!

Barry – Smart, funny, dramatic. Bill Hader and the rest of the cast are brilliant. One of the best new shows on television!

Who Is America? – Sacha Baron Cohen thrives in his original television format. This show shines when he’s exposing the hypocrisy and, well, just horrendous nature of America’s current political roster. But, I also just discovered Nathan For You this year (a bit late to the party), and Nathan Fielder (credited on some episodes of Who Is America?) does it better, especially when it comes to dealing with the everyday public.

Salt Fat Acid Heat – Is there anything more joyous than watching Samin Nosrat eat!?

Dynasties – BBC and David Attenborough continue to wow us with intimate nature documentaries.

Little Drummer Girl – This is just great television, with amazing directing by Park Chan-Wook and fantastic performances, in particular by Michael Shannon in a very against-type role.

Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown – I haven’t yet watched the final two seasons which aired in 2018, but, I have been powering through older episodes on Netflix. I am just so saddened (along with everyone else) about Anthony Bourdain’s suicide this year.

Flight of the Conchords: Live in London – It was a bit of a disappointment to hear that Flight of the Conchords were returning to HBO with a live concert show rather than more of their beloved series. Especially as we’ve all heard these songs time and time again (they’re still funny, but…). And then we got Flight of the Conchords: Live in London, with so many new and hilarious songs and a rehashing of a few old favourites. Their chemistry hasn’t faded at all, and if anything, all this show has done is make me want more from this legendary duo!

The Staircase – Netflix has compiled the years worth of content to display this epic documentary all in one go. It’s harrowing, upsetting and such a difficult watch. One of the finest true crime documentaries ever made.

Great News – The now-defunct show finally made its way to Netflix UK for its 2 season run. I don’t know why it was cancelled as it’s just so hilarious! Especially all of the British jokes!

Silicon Valley – FINALLY the show can thrive with the ousting of its weakest link T.J. Miller (blech)! Jared (Zach Woods) is still the strongest character, his delivery is everything!

American Horror Story: Apocalypse – The long-awaited Coven / Murder House crossover of American Horror Story has finally arrived. Some episodes are trash and some are genius. It’s really inconsistent, but it’s a lot of fun! The Murder House episode in particular is wonderful! And Cody Fern as Michael “Anti-Christ” Langdon is fantastic!

Nanette – Hannah Gadsby’s Netflix comedy special is not very funny at all. You will be wowed for very different reasons.

Sally4Ever – SO vulgar, so gross, so funny!

The Bisexual – Premiering to very mixed reviews, I found Desiree Akhavan’s Channel 4 show charming in its exploration of bisexuality and late coming-of-age.

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver – This show becomes more and more relevent the deeper we fall into the Trump pit of despair. A beacon of hope, a pillar of satire.

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend – Season 3 spiralled to what I thought was the point of no return for this show. But at least its home stretch brought us the amazing Fit Hot Guys song. Season 4’s plot is much more focused and concise, and already has a strong contender for its final season’s best song with new jack swing number Don’t Be A Lawyer. And Greg has finally returned…. No longer played by Santino Fontana who has been sorely missed since his early season 2 departure, but this new guy from Pitch Perfect is a decent substitute and adds something to the show that’s been missing since “Shit Show”. But I still, and will always, miss OG Greg!

Ellen DeGeneres: Relatable – Ellen is so likable, it’s ridiculous. Returning to standup after 15 years, her material is hardly groundbreaking as a 60(!!??)-year-old veteran of the industry, but watching her dissect her career, poke fun of herself, drop an F-bomb and reveal some highly personal thoughts on her former girlfriend’s death and her coming-out publicly is fascinating. Part standup set, part one-woman show, part TED Talk, she F-ing nails it with her comeback!

RuPaul’s Drag Race – Season 10 is the first one I’ve managed to watch as it airs. And this year I’ve caught up on all the seasons! I get it! I have issues with it, but I get it!

Good Girls – If Breaking Bad was a female-fronted comedy! Love the cast!!!

Insecure – Got into this one a bit late just as season 3 aired. Love Issa Rae!

The Affair – Season 1 of this show is a masterpiece, and a tight story with a simple and straightforward concept. They just about got away with season 2 to deal with the aftermath of 1. 3 was some of the worst and most pointless television of peak tv. Luckily season 4 got a bit back on track in its watchability, although it has strayed so far from its original concept, it feels like a different show! But the tragedy of this year’s storyline was immensely gripping nonetheless!

Future Man – This is the stupidest and silliest new show on television – and that’s why I love it. Also, the amount of Back to the Future references is inspiring!

Inside No. 9 – Season 4 is as weird as always. Interesting live halloween episode!!

Arrested Development – Part 1 of the long-awaited season 5 was tainted by the male cast’s bad behaviour before it even aired. In the words of Lucille Bluth, we may forget but we never forgive. In spite of controversy, this season is back to the show’s old form. Starting off slow, the season gets better with each episode – funnier and funnier.

Brooklyn Nine-Nine – The comedy show finished its run on Fox, to be picked up by NBC for 2019! I’m a season behind watching it on Netflix UK!

How to Get Away with Murder – The second half of season 4 continued to deal with the aftermath of Wes’s death and was much weaker than its first half – especially that God awful Scandal crossover!!! YIKES! But I think it’s now been proven that I will willingly watch anything starring Viola Davis and be enamoured.

A Series of Unfortunate Events – Season 2 keeps the kitsch going. I think it’s supposed to be for kids, but I love the gothic absurdity!

The Good Doctor – I don’t know why I even watch this medical procedural, but there’s something both comforting and fascinating in its formulaic structure and refreshing lead performance.

Disenchantment – I feel like this new series from Matt Groening needs time to grow into itself to become great. As is, it’s good.

Orange is the New Black – This has been possibly the weakest season in many ways, but with some excellent aspects to it and individual moments.

Better Call Saul – I feel like finally this show has figured out what it’s about. It’s taken a LONG time. And it’s much better off for getting rid of Chuck McGill!

Saturday Night Live – A decline in quality for this season of the show, but Weekend Update remains the funniest thing on television!

Westworld – Season 2 was a bit more off the rails than one, but that first Japanese episode was fantastic.

The Kominsky Method – Great to see Michael Douglas and Alan Arkin unite for a TV series. The writing and tone are a bit bland though.

Glow – Season 2 was much weaker than 1. But still an enjoyable watch.

Safe – Schlocky British Crime Drama starring Michael C. Hall’s put-on accent.

Lovesick – Season 3 of the British romcom starring one of my favourite singers Johnny Flynn returned to Netflix with a heartfelt / heartbreaking season.

Freaks and Geeks: The Documentary – A great nostalgic trip back to the show that started many comedy careers.

My Next Guest Needs No Introduction With David Letterman – Coming out of retirement, legendary talk show host David Letterman brings a monthly, low-key chat show to Netflix. His first guest was Barack Obama…. Hard to top that!

For the People – The latest Shonda show lives up to its soapy expectations!

Homecoming – It’s cool to see Julia Roberts join the prestige tv revolution, but I actually much prefer the podcast on which this series is based. I find Sam Esmail boring as he focuses on style over substance.

Derren Brown: Miracle – Interesting to see live theatre on Netflix. Derren Brown always puts on a good show.

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt – Part one of the show’s last season is still off the rails, and I still stand by my declaration that Titus deserves his own show. He is glorious, no matter what is going on around him.

Grace & Frankie – Each season gets weaker than the last, but there is always some good stuff touched upon in Grace & Frankie. And as always, Lily Tomlin has some great zingers!

The Innocent Man – Another Netflix true-crime documentary series, this time from John Grisham! I’ve only seen 1 episode so far, so it’s too early to say how gripping or angering this one is.

Making a Murderer – I’d already had true-crime documentary fatigue by the time season 2 of this Netflix sensation had aired. I gave up pretty early, but like to keep tabs on the case via the news instead.

Love – The third and final season of Judd Apatow’s Netflix series Love started weak in its first half, but the latter episodes were hugely enjoyable. I’ve always rooted for the leading couple to breakup, never a good sign, but still, I’ve always enjoyed this series in spite of its mediocrity. Its likability won out.

The Rachel Divide – An insightful documentary about the divisive Rachel Dolezal.

Atlanta – I gave it a go, but I got a bit bored by the start of season 2 and called it a day.

Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee – This long-running web series made its move to Netflix this year for its 10th season. How good it is completely depends on the guest, and your love of host Jerry Seinfeld.

13 Reasons Why – Season 2 is pointless. What is even going to be happening in season 3!!??

Discovery of Witches – This had everything that should appeal to me in a TV series – the supernatural and Matthew Goode. Alas, I only managed one episode and decided it was not for me after all.

Wild Wild Country – I found this acclaimed Netflix documentary too boring to watch.

Scandal – After quite the run, this show has finally ended. I gave up a couple of years ago, but it’s worth noting the cultural impact this show has had and its perpetuation of the rise of Shonda!!!

Chris Rock: Tamborine – Chris Rock’s Netflix special has a lot of good commentary, and some very good jokes. Not an overall amazing effort, but some solid moments!

Demetri Martin: The Overthinker – Demetri Martin was once my favourite comedian. I don’t know if his material has gotten stale or if time has moved on. But this special is not of the quality I would expect from the once great.

Divorce – Season 2 begins with the divorce. Finally. It’s got a lot of the right ingredients (Sharon Horgan behind the scenes, SJP and a stellar cast in front), but something about this show just falls flat.

Dave Chappelle Netflix Specials – Technically I think Equanimity and The Bird Revelation launched on Decemer 31st, 2017 but nobody had time to watch it that day… so keeping it for 2018. He’s fine as a comedian – never got into his work during the height of his career, so will never understand the hype.

Bob’s Burgers – I used to watch every episode, now I’m happy when I catch one when there’s nothing else to watch. But it is an old classic…

Maniac – While I can see why there’s a big budget and some hype for the Emma Stone / Jonah Hill Netflix vehicle, I was bored and uninterested after one episode.

9-1-1 – This Ryan Murphy melodrama is pure trash!

The Handmaid’s Tale – This was last year’s top-rated show. This year, I gave up. Huge quality decline in the show as it descended into torture porn.

Sharp Objects – HBO invested way too much of its cred in this Amy Adams / Jean Marc Vallée drama. I just had to stop watching.

My Brilliant Friend – This literary phenomenon is not for me. I lasted as many minutes into the television adaptation as I did pages into the book.

The Alienist – Great cast, flat show. A bit like Luther meets Mindhunter – but somehow not in a good way…. Made it through episode 1 before giving up. And I LURV Luke Evans and Daniel Bruhl…..

Lost in Space – If I had more patience, this reboot could be an intriguing watch. But as it stands, it’s too slow and corny to explore further.

Dancing Queen – I was so excited that Drag Race superstar Alyssa Edwards got her own reality show. Then I watched the first episode. And I was done. Such a waste.

Tig Notaro: Happy to be Here – Middling comedy from a likable person.

The End of the F***ing World – Originally airing on Channel 4 in 2017, this show made a bold move to Netflix in 2018. After watching the first episode, I still have strong admiration for star Alex Lawther, but found the show not quite for me.

Designated Survivor – This show is still so poorly written it’s hard to get through an episode… I’ve been watching in hopes of a bit of connection to its 24 roots (enough of the same key people involved to pique my interest, but not enough pizzazz to keep me hooked). Even Michael J. Fox’s story arc wasn’t doing it for me. Take a note from The Good Wife and use him wisely. He’s more talented and versatile than this crap he’s given to say and do.

Wanderlust – I thought watching Toni Colette on TV would be more engaging than this mediocre show about midlife sexuality.

John Mulaney: Kid Gorgeous at Radio City – I don’t get it. Maybe John Mulaney is an acquired taste. I enjoyed his SNL monologue though…

RuPaul’s Drag Race Holi-slay Spectacular – No Christmas special is truly good anyway, right? This very weird old-fashioned Christmas show is reminiscent of all of those made in the 80’s. So cheesy and only exists to plug RuPaul’s Christmas album (ok, so it does differ there from, say, Star Wars Holiday Special).

Courtney Act’s Christmas Extravaganza – It’s good to see Drag in the mainstream on UK television, with a good representation of LGBTQ+ culture. But…. This Xmas special is as cheesy and cringey as they come. Also, Courtney Act is definitely not one of the most enigmatic, talented or memorable alumna from RuPaul’s Drag Race – just because someone is one of the best singers from Drag Race, it does not make them a good singer in general (Adore Delano is the exception). Putting Courtney in a duet with someone as talented as Leona Lewis made this all the more obvious. Courtney Act seems like a nice person and is certainly pretty, but not quite the right choice for hosting their own show.

Seth Rogen’s Hilarity for Charity – Unwatchable comedy event! Even with some of the best talent attached, it is unbearable. I hope it raised money for a good cause at least!

Altered Carbon – I tried and failed to watch this dull AF show.

Instinct – Alan Cumming actually plays the first gay lead character on Primetime American Network television? That seems insane to me that he’s only the first! And it’s a huge shame that this show is garbage.

The Innocents – I couldn’t even get through 1 episode of this Netflix series. I think maybe I’m becoming more discerning in my old age?

Fred Armisen: Standup For Drummers – I love SNL, Portlandia and all of the small quirky roles Fred Armisen takes on in other people’s work. I could not cope with this standup for more than 5 minutes. It was like professional dad humour.

The Joel McHale Show with Joel McHale – I watched about 3 minutes of the first episode and gave up. I have no idea what is going on here or why it’s a thing… And then it was cancelled….


One Response to “Television 2018”

  1. Well instead of just staring at them observe what numbers have won, look at them closer.
    So, imagine if you overspent and ran out money?
    The Panthers have good wins over Avon, Hyde and Valley Regional/Old Lyme (8-3).

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