You may have read my recent six-part series in which I revealed my picks for the Top 25 TV Programs of 2018. In case you missed it, here are all of them in one complete list. Click on the links to read longer reviews of each program. Or go here to read the original columns in which they appeared.
Let’s be honest, it’s no secret that 2018 was nothing short of maddening. The world seemed to have gone crazier than usual over the past 365, and I’m glad it’s finally over. Thankfully, television was there the whole time, to hold our hands through the hard times, cover our eyes during the scary times and to open them when we’d ignored the dumpster fire that was our collective existence for too long. Below are my picks for the Top Ten TV Shows of 2018, and just to spice things up they're in no particular order!
The pain caused by the death of a single innocent person at the hand of a lunatic is unthinkable; multiply that by dozens and it becomes unimaginable. Make the murder weapon a gun and the result is a fury that spreads across the country like wildfire, setting off savage arguments and debates over gun control. At that point it becomes political, and as we have learned in recent years that’s the occasion for an unforgiveable lack of action on the part of our nation’s leadership. The horrors of mass murders at schools, restaurants and other public places date back farther than most people realize, but they became a relentless ongoing issue with the Columbine High School massacre in April, 1999, which resulted in the deaths of 12 students and one teacher and injuries to 21 others and seemed to set off an ongoing outcry for gun control and greater awareness of mental health issues. Twenty years and the presidencies of two Democrats and two Republicans later nothing has been done to advance either. Not even the slaughter of 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School, the sixth anniversary of which just passed, could move the needle. And then came Parkland. The mass shooting on February 14 at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, left 17 students dead and many others seriously injured, brought on the usual gasbagging in the media and in Washington, D.C., and renewed fears of endless arguing with no outcome. But in the immediate aftermath two inspiring things happened.
Champaign ILL, a new YouTube Original, just dropped it’s first three episodes on December 12, and it wildly exceeded my expectations. Featuring a cast full of super-talented comedy actors -- Adam Pally (Happy Endings, The Mindy Project), Sam Richardson (Detroiters, New Girl), Curtis Armstrong (American Dad, Revenge of the Nerds), Allyce Beasley (Maniac), Danielle Schnieder (The Hotwives of Las Vegas), Neil Casey (Big Mouth, Ghostbusters), Keith David (Future Man, Community) and Jay Pharoah (SNL) -- and a level of production quality that rivals many a network series, Champaign ILL is already one of my new favorite shows anywhere.
Netflix recently dove back into the sordid underworld of crime lords, cartels and callejeros with its newest installation in the Narcos series: Narcos: Mexico, an intimate look into a world of money, murder and marijuana. Based on real events in the 1980s and starring Michael Peña (Ant-Man & The Wasp) and Diego Luna (Rogue One), N:M explores the disorganized origins of the Guadalajara Cartel, from its roots as an uncooperative collection of neighboring districts into the unified empire it would become under Sinaloan ex-cop Felix Gallardo (Luna). It also covers the trials of DEA Agent Kiki Camarena (Peña), who feels held back in his current station and decides to take a new post -- one that moves his family from California to Guadalajara itself.
It’s been quite the year for Yvonne Strahovski. In addition to the accolades she received for her riveting performance in season two of Hulu's accalimed drama series The Handmaid's Tale, which have included Emmy Award and Critics' Choice Award nominations, she became a new mom just a couple of months ago. The happiness she is experiencing has made transitioning into the dark dystopian world of Gilead even more challenging than usual. “I've actually come in quite late to the game this season, just now joining my Handmaid’s family,” she explained. “They have been hard at work for several weeks while I was off giving birth to my son, so that is at the forefront of my mind.
Gilbert Smith is a writer who lives in New Mexico where ...