Television is no longer the idiot box it once was. In fact, one can make the argument that the quantity and quality of entertainment coming from television these days far surpasses that of cinematic releases. This is due in no small part to the entry of streaming companies like Netflix or Amazon Prime, but there’s certainly no shortage of quality television to enjoy from many different places. Which our crew obviously did. Here are the winners on our BEST OF TELEVISION IN 2018 poll…
BEST HORROR TV SERIES
With horror going through a bit of a golden age on tv right now (with a lot more anxiously awaited stuff on the way soon) you’d think it would have been harder to pick the best horror tv series of the year. Certainly, Netflix’s adaptation of The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina got some head nods, as it well deserved with its colorful and surprisingly demented version of the Archie comics character. And although I don’t count myself among its admirers, Hulu’s grand-unified-Stephen-King-world Castle Rock got a bit of love. But we all bent our necks toward director/writer Mike Flannagan and his masterful game-changer of a horror drama on Netflix, The Haunting of Hill House, a reimagining of the classic Shirley Jackson novel.
BEST COMEDY TV SERIES
Nothing is more subjective than humor and we got a LOT of different answers for this one accordingly. The new season of It’s Always Sunny in Philidelphia got some love as it’s always funny on that show. Netflix’s GLOW about lady wrestlers in the 80s certainly deserved praise for its deft dramatic/comedy mix. Others noted The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Speechless, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, Supermansion, Letterkenny, and Bob’s Burgers, but two titles duked it out for a tie for first. The Good Place aired its third season this year and it still amazes me that an after-life set sitcom that uses absurdist humor to teach real philosophy is as GREAT as it is. Sharing that top spot is HBO’s Barry (which also got attention in multiple other categories). Starring Bill Hader as a hitman who’d rather be working on his acting, Barry got a bulls-eye with our crew.
BEST ACTION TV SERIES
The thing I came away with from tallying up this category is that more of you guys really need to be watching the BBC America show Killing Eve. But, our crew turned in votes for Blindspot, Daredevil, Into the Badlands, and a tie for the win between Barry (see?) and Amazon’s Jack Ryan, which takes the Tom Clancy character for the first time to the small screen with John Krasinski being the fifth actor to take on the moniker in this ‘origin’ story as analyst Ryan ends up flying into combat all over the world while chasing an Islamic terrorist.
BEST SUPERHERO TV SERIES
If you’re a superhero nerd, you live in the golden timeline right now. Choices both cinematically and on tv are legion (no pun intended) with capes and our crew had a lot of different favorites. There’s Hulu’s surprisingly great adaptation of Brian K. Vaughn’s Runaways, FX’s weird and arty Legion season 2, Fox’s second season of The Gifted set in the X-Men universe only with no X-Men around to help the rest of the mutants, CW’s family of electric superheroes in Black Lightning season 2, and coming in at second place, CW’s Supergirl who in her 4th season is taking a note from X-Men books with the humans-prejudiced-against-aliens storyline. All that being said, our clear leader was Netflix’s third season, and sadly the last (unless Disney wises up) of Daredevil, which is not just the best season of that show, but perhaps the best of Netflix’s releases in the Marvel universe altogether.
BEST ANIMATED TV SERIES
I had no idea there even were so many animated shows that are considered great out right now until I read our polls on this one. Our members listed She-Ra, Archer, Adventure Time, The Venture Brothers, and Camp Camp, but there was a three-way tie for first. The final punch-up was between Netflix’s cynically funny and critically acclaimed Bojack Horseman, the cult-favorite Bob’s Burgers, soon on its way to a 9th season AND a feature film, and the Cartoon Network’s perennially weird and popular Steven Universe.
BEST ANIME SERIES
Well, I can tell you that Netflix’s Warren Ellis-scripted adaptation of Konami’s video game series Castlevania squeaked in as the winner here with two votes. I say that because personally, I know very little about the other shows that got notice here, which were Cells at Work!, Aggretsuko, and Sword Art Online, but I have had about a million people rave about My Hero Academia to me, which also got some love here, so maybe we should all actually check that one out, which also got love for the feature film that came out this year.
BEST DRAMA TV SERIES
This is that category that got lots of cross-over with some other categories. Is it a superhero-drama, horror-drama, comedy-drama…you get it. And although The Haunting of Hill House narrowly took the most votes here, I’m going to lean towards the tie between the Breaking Bad prequel series Better Call Saul, BBC America’s Killing Eve, and Donald Glover’s bizarre and funny Atlanta, even though I’d personally call the latter more of a comedy. Also worthy of note according to our peeps was Siren, Orange is the New Black, The Looming Tower, Sharp Objects, and Maniac. You guys got lots of shows to put on your must-watch list.
BEST ACTION SCENE IN A TV SERIES
There was tons of great and stylish action on tv this year, from that crazy unexpected death in the nightclub in Killing Eve, to the big shootout in episode 2 of Bodyguard, to the dance combat in Legion, but it was Daredevil that got a LOT of mentions for various different scenes this year so I think we’re going to just have to call that the winner. Season 3 offered lots of kicking-ass but we’ve got to give full credit to the one-take (no tricks) 11-minute prison fight sequence. There really was nothing else like that on TV this year, to be sure. *pours one out for the never-to-be-seen season 4*
BEST DRAMATIC SCENE IN A TV SERIES
A lot of moments got us choked up this year, like Jimmy coldly reading Chuck’s letter out loud in Better Call Saul or when Barry has no choice but to kill his marine friend in HBO’s Barry. But we ended up in a toss-up between episode 5 (The Bent-Neck Lady) with Nell’s return to Hill House and pretty much the entirety of episode 6 (The Two Storms) with the family reuniting for a funeral and the dream sequence of events that happen during that. The Bent-Neck reveal is a game changer plot-wise for the series and that seamlessly shot funeral home sequence which weaves with style and ‘how the fuck did they do that’ moments between the two timelines both deserve a special blocking award. Or something.
BEST TV SERIES NOT ENOUGH PEOPLE ARE WATCHING
Everyone had a different answer for this one so let’s get to checking out some of these great (?) shows before they get canceled because, as the category says, not enough people are watching them! Our crew mentioned A Very English Scandal, Travelers, American Vandal, Trial and Error, Cobra Kai, Gotham, The Looming Tower, Counterpart, and Tell Me a Story. Now look what you’ve done, some of these are ALREADY canceled. Quick, turn on your sets!
BEST PERFORMANCE IN A TV SERIES
We’re in the golden age of tv (despite what some WRONG people would tell you) and it no longer is a dumping ground for those who can’t make it in the movies. Television attracts big names both behind and in front of the camera these days and although we couldn’t come to a clear winner, our crew pointed quite a few worthy of mention performances. Dan Stevens gives a bizarre performance as the un-definingly super-powered lead in Legion, Allison Brie holds her crew of lady wrestlers together in GLOW, Henry Winkler definitely deserves some kind of ‘best supporting actor’ nod for his drama teacher in Barry, this really was Thandie Newton’s season to shine in Westworld and newcomer Jodie Comer as a beautiful but psychotic assassin in Killing Eve turned heads. Amy Adams (to no one’s surprise) killed it with pathos in the HBO miniseries Sharp Objects and hey: someone actually got around to watching that dark Mr. Rogers show Kidding on Showtime and says Jim Carrey is amazing in it!
Coming up next we conclude with Part 3 as we give out the WTF awards, the Gore Award, videogames, comics, Worst Movie, and more.