Well, we’ve finally made it. Not only is this my last year-end list, but it’s my last post of 2018. What a year it’s been. I could reflect on it for hours.
But I won’t. Ain’t nobody got time for that. We’re here today to find out what shows I thought were the best 2018 had to offer.
In order to make my list, I simply had to have watched either most or all of the currently available episodes. The show did not have to premiere in 2018 nor did it have to have any new episodes.
Additionally, I had to not only love the show, but it had to stick with me. It’s that second point that keeps couple of these shows on my honorable mentions list, instead of on the list proper.
Lastly, to get a spot on this list, it couldn’t have made my list in a previous year. I added this restriction to help keep this list short and avoid repetition. Because, yeah, a lot of the shows I consider to be the best of 2018 were shows that made my list last year. My commentary is going to be the same. If you want to know why I consider them the best, check out last year’s post.
The shows that have made my best list for the second year in a row are: It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Brooklyn Nine Nine, Superstore, The Mick, and One Day at a Time.
Don’t change that channel! It’s time to reveal my Top 5 Books of 2018:
- Arrested Development (Premiered November 2, 2003)
If any show deserves its cult following, it’s this one. It follows the Bluth family, after the patriarch of the family is arrested. It falls on Michael Bluth, the central character, to keep the company afloat and the family together. Unfortunately for him, his relatives are too eccentric and irresponsible to be wrangled.
This is a show that sneaks up on you. When you watch the first couple episodes, you kind of see the appeal but don’t see yourself getting invested. The next thing you know, you’re halfway through the second season and on the edge of your seat waiting to see what shenanigans this family is going to get themselves into next.
Arrested Development does unlikable characters brilliantly. This family is delusional, self-involved, and petty. The narrative plays right into all of this, every storyline following a Bluth screwing someone over for their own gain or doing something out of spite.
The use of a narrator enhances this beautifully. Rather than being a character’s internal monologue, the narrator is an anonymous third party who is quick to point out when a character is being daft or deluded. He’s not an unbiased storyteller— he delivers the narration with sarcasm and amusement. Nearly a character of his own, the narrator only adds to the show’s hilarity.
One detail that really puts this show over the top is the way each episode ends. It essentially gives us a fifteen second episode under the guise of being a “Next Time On” segment. None of these are real episodes, and it’s not clear whether they really take place within canon. But they could, and that’s what makes them so funny. These segments are the cherry on top of a delicious sitcom sundae.
Though I haven’t yet finished the revival seasons, I do kind of agree with the criticism that season four is not as good as the original three seasons from the early 2000s. The first three seasons had a complete arc. While Arrested Development deserves to be appreciated more, it doesn’t necessarily need more story. Something about the revival feels off.
However, it does find its groove as you get further into it. And then it starts to feel like it’s been going on for too long. So. Still not perfect. But at least it feels like Arrested Development again.
Despite the flaws of the later seasons, Arrested Development is still a fantastic show. Much like It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, these characters intentionally lack character development. The Bluth family is a goddamn mess and I wouldn’t have them any other way. Pun Level 10,000 achieved.
- Workaholics (Premiered April 6, 2011)
As I promised in my Best Movies of 2018 post, this Comedy Central smash has claimed a spot on this list. It follows three best friends who live together and work for a telemarketing company. They are human disasters, more concerned with partying and getting laid than making anything of themselves. Except for one thing— they don’t actually get laid.
What can I say? I like comedies about unlikable characters. Anders, Blake, and Adam are not just assholes— they’re dumb assholes. But you know what? So is everyone else around them.
Anders Holm, Blake Anderson, and Adam Devine not only star in the show, they created it. Though their characters share their names, they aren’t self-inserts. These characters are total losers, in the most hilarious of ways.
They get themselves into all kinds of hijinks, usually in pursuit of a good time. The humor is fairly raunchy, but it never goes overboard. This show is silly in the best way.
Workaholics is a show I didn’t even know about while it was running, and I’m kind of glad for it. I know I wouldn’t have appreciated it. But in a post-Sunny world, this show is exactly what I needed. Workaholics is balls-to-the-wall crazy, a veritable laugh riot. Holm, Anderson, and Devine did a damn good job with this one.
- Carmilla (Premiered on KindaTV’s YouTube Channel August 19, 2014)
Lesbian vampires? Sign me the fuck up! This show is a modern retelling of Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu’s classic novel of the same name. Told in vlog format, it follows a go-getter college student named Laura Hollis. When her roommate goes missing and the administration doesn’t seem to care, Laura and her friends take the investigation into their own hands.
Meanwhile, Laura is assigned a mysterious and infuriating new roommate named Carmilla. As Laura uncovers more clues, she realizes Carmilla may have something to do with the disappearances. She may also be a vampire.
But there’s another problem: Laura may actually be falling for Carmilla. And, is it her imagination, or is Carmilla falling for her too?
This show… my god, this show. I love these characters, especially Laura and Carmilla. Their relationship is so beautiful. I love how it develops. They have me so weak.
The first season more or less follows the plot of Sheridan Le Fanu’s book, except better. I was actually pretty disappointed by the book, especially since I read it after I finished the first season of the spectacular show.
The second two seasons are original plotlines, and they are phenomenal. In fact, Carmilla has one of the best series finales I’ve ever seen. I rarely cry, but that episode had me sobbing.
I’m not too crazy about the movie that follows, but that does not erase my affection for the series one bit. This show made me feel so much. Plus, it’s a fantasy where the main relationship is a F/F romance. That’s exactly what I’ve been waiting for.
Carmilla is a fabulous show in every way imaginable. Don’t let the fact that it’s a YouTube production fool you. This is a high quality program. The acting alone deserves every award imaginable.
On top of that, Carmilla is unapologetically queer. Laura and Carmilla are lesbians. Danny is sapphic (though it’s unclear if she’s gay or bi). LaFontaine is gender neutral and uses they/them pronouns. This show not only promotes queer identities and relationships, but friendships as well.
I absolutely cannot praise Carmilla enough. It means everything to me. Every time I talk about it, I feel the urge to watch it again. Carmilla exists in my very blood.
- BoJack Horseman (Premiered on Netflix August 22, 2014)
We’ve made it to the obvious section of my best list. The show follows a has-been actor from the nineties named BoJack Horseman, as he tries to jump start his floundering career. To do so, he works with his agent Princess Carolyn and a writer name Diane Nguyen. But can BoJack get out of his own way long enough to find his way back into the spotlight?
This show is amazing because it’s able to be a comedy, but also deeply introspective. One minute you’re laughing, the next you’re being shot through the heart. This is such a smart show, and easily the best cartoon out there right now.
I’ve grown to care so deeply about all these characters. Part of that is because the show includes as many heartfelt plotlines as it does humorous. But I think it also helps that the show is one continuous story. It’s not like a sitcom where character growth happens, but consecutive episodes don’t have any impact on each other. Each episode of BoJack Horseman directly connects to the next in some way.
This is also an incredibly experimental show. There’s one episode with virtually no dialogue. Another episode is just twenty minutes of BoJack giving a eulogy. In both cases, the writing is so effective and the delivery is so brilliant that it keeps you engaged.
There’s a reason BoJack Horseman is a critically acclaimed show. Everything from the writing to the acting to the animation is phenomenal. Netflix has jacked my attention with this show and I don’t even mind.
- The Good Place (Premiered September 19, 2016)
And here is my other obvious pick. But it’s obvious with good reason. The show follows Eleanor Shellstrop who has died and gone to “the good place.” The problem is they got the wrong Eleanor Shellstrop. Now this selfish garbage person must learn ethics from her assigned soulmate so nobody finds out. Otherwise, Eleanor will find herself with a one way ticket to the bad place.
I’ve been watching this show since it premiered, but it didn’t make my list last year because I wasn’t totally sold on it. I’d liked it, but didn’t think it deserved to be on my best list.
I was wrong. Looking back, The Good Place absolutely should’ve been on my 2017 best list. So I’m making up for it this year.
I’m now a couple episodes into season three and this show remains one of the best currently running shows on television. The acting is fantastic, the writing is clever, and the story is amazing.
I love watching the characters and their relationships develop and change. You can literally plop them into another world and their core selves will remain just as rich and complex. I know because they do it and it’s true.
If you don’t understand why critics won’t stop raving about The Good Place, you probably haven’t seen it yet and should change that immediately. This show has something for everyone. And it stars the incomparable Kristen Bell! That’s Veronica fucking Mars! I hope NBC keeps this show running for a long time to come because it is my good place.
- A. P. Bio (Premiered February 1, 2018)
This show follows former Harvard philosophy professor Jack Griffin, who is forced to return to his hometown after an incident at work gets him fired. He takes a job as an A.P. biology teacher at a local high school and uses the students to help him in exacting revenge on his nemesis.
I really like this show. Not only is Glenn Howerton great, but so are the kids. Can a sitcom protagonist be an antihero? Because I really want to say Jack is an antihero. It feels right.
The only reason this show didn’t make the list proper is because I don’t love these characters the way I do characters on other shows. I like them, but I didn’t really connect with them. I also find many of the B stories to be a bit vapid. The other teachers deserve better.
Even so, I am so glad A.P. Bio was picked up for a second season. It’s what it deserves! I cannot wait until it premieres. I am biologically programed to love this show.
- The Joel McHale Show with Joel McHale (Premiered on Netflix February 18, 2018)
This is a comedic clip show, the long-awaited revival of The Soup. I absolutely loved The Soup and was devastated when it was canceled. I could not be happier that Netflix gave it a second life, albeit by avoiding copyrighted segments and characters that made the original so iconic. What can I say? I love watching Joel McHale make fun of stupid people.
But, because of its format, there’s not much that can stick with you. It’s had some hilarious bits and some great recurring characters, but it’s just not as iconic as The Soup.
The Joel McHale Show with Joel McHale has helped fill the void left in my heart by The Soup’s cancelation. It’s got my exact sense of humor and gives my mom and I a show to bond over. So, thanks Joel McHale and Paul Feig! And thanks Netflix! Buh bum!
Do you agree with my list? What were your favorite TV shows in 2018? Tell me about them in the comments!
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