TOP 10 TV SHOWS

By Benjamin Carr

2018 was a year of huge gambles on television. The biggest risks, such as the return of Roseanne and Murphy Brown, yielded questionable results. Yet some of them paid off incredibly well, such as Amy Adams' return to television, the new Star Trek series, a reimagining of a classic novel and a fully interactive episode of Black Mirror. The biggest payoffs, though, came from hours spent in the company of vulnerable women whom most of us had never seen the likes of before.

10. STAR TREK: DISCOVERY
In January, we were blessed to receive the first new Star Trek series in a decade. Set before the days of Kirk and Spock, though, Discovery was a darker, twistier and more complicated voyage available only through CBS All Access pay service, which alienated some fans. However, by its ending, the daring series included some massive, shocking twists and turns - more than proving itself as a worthy successor to the original Enterprise.

9. ATLANTA: ROBBIN' SEASON
Topping its first season in terms of invention and gamble, Donald Glover's FX series continued to be must-see, introducing us to characters like Alligator Man and Florida Man. The episode 'Teddy Perkins' was the crowning moment of the series thus far, a mix of comedy and deeply unsettling psychological horror. It was one of the most incredible things to air this year.

8. SHARP OBJECTS
HBO's summer miniseries event, based upon the Gillian Flynn novel about a serial killer plaguing a small town, was a Southern-fried nightmare of extreme family dysfunction. Amy Adams stars as a reporter returning to her hometown to uncover both its secrets and her own past traumas, raised by a domineering, mercurial monster of a mother, played to perfection by Patricia Clarkson.

7. BODYGUARD
Game of Thrones star Richard Madden portrayed a stoic, complicated security agent protecting the British Home Secretary, played by Keeley Hawes, as she faced down multiple terrorist threats in this Netflix series. It was the most thrilling, intense viewing experience of the year, with the opening 20 minutes of the series being particularly spectacular.

6. QUEER EYE
Netflix has added a little more spice to the original recipe of Bravo's reality makeover show Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, and the end result is the most upbeat, affirming show of the year. The new Fab 5 - Bobby, Karamo, Antoni, Tan and Jonathan - tackled all sorts of people during the show's first two seasons in Georgia. While changing styles and wardrobes, they also changed mindsets and attitudes, forging connections and understanding wherever they could.

5. POSE
There is nothing riskier, more daringly bonkers and alive than Ryan Murphy's new FX series Pose, which aired this summer. Filled with a cast of unknowns, minority and transgender performers, the series investigates the underground ballroom scene of 1987 New York, wherein different "houses" of homeless and gay youth compete against one another for trophies and glory. The fictional series, led by Tony Award winner Billy Porter, is bold, wickedly funny and unlike anything that has ever come before it on television.

4. THE HAUNTING OF HILL HOUSE
Reimagining Shirley Jackson's classic horror novel as a miniseries about a dysfunctional family, this Netflix program was a huge gamble that nonetheless paid off dividends. As we become acquainted with the Crane family - both in their younger days and in their current state, the show invests us not only in the ghosts and the jump scares, but also in the weight of grief and mental illness that can plague generations.

3. KILLING EVE
BBC America has managed to outdo itself with this quirky, violent and comic thriller, which is scary as hell when it wants to be, about a cat-and-mouse chase between an international assassin and a secret agent obsessed with her. Created by Fleabag writer Phoebe Waller-Bridge, this series stars Grey's Anatomy alum Sandra Oh and newcomer Jodie Comer, and the chemistry between the two actresses - which alternates between antagonistic and romantic - is indeed killer.

2. SORRY FOR YOUR LOSS
Facebook Watch launched this original series centered around Avengers star Elizabeth Olsen, who played a young widow overcome with grief after the sudden death of her husband. Also starring Kelly Marie Tran and Janet McTeer, these three women portray a family struggling to come together without the person who functioned as their glue.

1. HANNAH GADSBY: NANETTE
This Netflix special from the New Zealand lesbian comic made her an overnight sensation, largely because it was filled with raw emotion and vulnerability. It deconstructed comedy, the nature of storytelling and how we value ourselves in the modern age. Watching Nanette, you felt as though you were experiencing a masterpiece and an explosion at once, something devastating and relevant wherein everything is affected and nothing is ever the same.

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