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Posted by DarthOrange (4213 posts) -

I have found that as the years go on I enjoy watching TV way more than I do playing videogames. I do think that a large part of it is the initial investment needed to figure out a new game. Tutorials can go on for way too long and if a story is boring and the gameplay is anything less than spectacular then I just feel like I am wasting my time. TV on the other hand has such a low barrier to entry (just watch the screen) that I am left vastly preferring to just tune into a show after work than bother with a game that might take a half hour or more for me to get into the grove of.

Anyway, point is, if you are not like me and still very much enjoy playing games as your primary hobby, you may have missed some of these shows. These were my favorite shows of 2018, with a link to a trailer for the show if you still aren't quite convinced and would like to see more.

10. The Haunting of Hill House

A beautifully shot series that does a fantastic job of juggling seven protagonists across ten episodes. Dedicating a single episode to each of the kids for the first half was some genius storytelling that gets you really invested in each family member. There are some absolutely beautifully haunting visuals that make me wish they had leaned into the horror a bit more and done more down right spooky stuff. The focus of the story begins and ends with the family and that is what keeps it engaging throughout though so it is hard to complain. Episode 6 is literally just the director flexing his skills and it is incredible. Trailer here.

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9. Chilling Adventures of Sabrina

Chilling Adventures is at its best when it is embracing the wacky satanic witch stuff. The characters and lore that they have set up are all wildly entertaining and I would have loved to have seen more mundane witch school stuff. It really really strange in that it goes dark but always has a bubbly tone that keeps it feeling light goofy. This show is also what got me to try out Riverdale (thanks to a few minor shoutouts given within the show) which gives it some bonus points in my book. Trailer here.

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8. American Vandal

I was positive there was no way they would be able to make this stupid premise work twice and yet they somehow did it. A brilliant commentary on the criminal justice system and society in general all delivered in a hilarious mockumentary format. A story about poop has no right to be this smart and thought provoking. Trailer here.

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7. Riverdale

Is this the most amazing show ever? Is this the stupidest show of all time? The answer is yes. I binged through this show after really enjoying Chilling Adventures of Sabrina and have to say I was not expecting what I got. Riverdale makes a show about a teenage witch look grounded. As far as episodes that released in 2018, they wrapped up a serial killer mystery that had already gone far off the deep end but season 3? We are deep in the Mariana Trench now and I have no idea where the hell this is going to end up. I will say that this occult monster shit they are fucking with in season 3 is totally my aesthetic. Even Scooby Doo never got this stupid. Trailer here.

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6. Castle Rock

An intriguing and at times incredibly creepy and disturbing mystery that kept me guessing throughout. Every time it seemed like a question was getting answered two more would take its place until by the end I was left scratching my head wondering what the hell I just spent 10 hours watching. It has got that Stephen King flavor but still feels original. Trailer here.

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5. Devilman Crybaby

A brief 10 episode anime about a kid who gets possessed by a demon and fights other people who get possessed by demons. It goes from 0-100 real quick. I appreciated the show's lean approach to storytelling and not wasting any time to get to the ending. Those last few episodes got me shook. Also shout out to the incredible dub, always nice to have the option to not have to read subtitles if I don't have to. Trailer here.

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4. American Horror Story: Apocalypse

Fuck Infinity War, this was the real crossover of the year. The long awaited crossover season totally delivered. Yes, the whole point of this series is supposed to be that everything is self contained but damn if it wasn't fun to revisit old characters. This season might actually have the least "horror" of them all but it was no less entertaining. They leaned into the camp hard and it completely paid off. Trailer here.

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3. Big Mouth

Proof that you can do juvenile "adult" humor without being completely shitty and offensive (eat your heart out South Park and Family Guy). Big Mouth has a ton of heart as it tackles the awkwardness of puberty. The Shame Wizard was a fantastic addition to the cast and a big shout out to them for the Planned Parenthood episode. Trailer here.

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2. Preacher

At times I feel like the only one watching this. The lack of budget was painfully obvious at times but the fantastic performances by Dominic Cooper, Ruth Negga, and the rest of the supporting cast is able to carry it through the periods with no action. For anyone who has not seen it, it is basically a show about a superhero with the power to control people with his voice who, along with his girlfriend and his vampire sidekick, are trying to find God and maybe kick his ass for abandoning heaven. Also the Devil and Hitler come out. Y'all should be watching Preacher. Trailer here.

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1. On My Block

One part coming of age drama, one part Menace II Society, one part romance, and one part Goonies. On My Block is a refreshing TV show about a group of kids growing up in LA. I have to give them huge kudos for not feeling the need to put a token white kid in the friend group and letting it actually be minority led. The soundtrack is straight fire and the show had me laughing at multiple points each episode. And I love how the characters are all low key super smart but they never make a big deal out of it or bother spending time showing them in school or studying. Like, yes, it is in fact possible for minorities to be smart and do well in school even though they don't spend all their time studying (I was one of those!). It also has a lot of subtle touches that I loved like how the characters would constantly gravitate towards each other and break off by race or by gender whenever there was inner conflict. It is never verbalized but it is a cool subtle commentary on how humans tend to gravitate towards others like them when going through a difficult situation. This show is far and away my favorite of the year, everything else on this list didn't even come close. Trailer here.

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#1 Posted by ltcolumbo (151 posts) -

Castle Rock was great. I think they kind of blew it by removing the ambiguity at the very end (don’t worry, no spoilers) but it was still a tremendously successful story. There were clearly some people who really loved Stephen King books working on it, because there was just the right amount of fan service to keep me interested. Also, Terry O’Quinn, even though he is only in the show briefly, is possibly the most underused actor in showbusiness. He’s just so damned good at being conflicted about things.

Definitely worth the ten hour investment if you’re a King fan.

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#2 Posted by nateandrews (68 posts) -

I absolutely loved Hill House and Sabrina, and neither of them were on my radar at all until after they had come out. The long take funeral home episode in Hill House is especially spectacular, one of the greatest episodes of TV I've ever seen. It's just a wonderfully crafted series that I think could totally exist as a one season show.

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#3 Posted by Brackstone (877 posts) -

You seem to like your horror TV shows, so if you haven't, check out AMC's The Terror. It's really fantastic, probably the biggest surprise of the past year, and it genuinely had some of the best performances of last year, Jared Harris being a real standout.

I've always hated everything I've seen of Riverdale without actually watching it, but Sabrina looks really good to me, so maybe I've been wrong all this time if that's what got you into Riverdale. I assumed it was bad CW teen drama, but if they're leaning into the Archie's Weird Mysteries stuff now, that might get me to check it out.

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#4 Edited by DarthOrange (4213 posts) -

@brackstone said:

You seem to like your horror TV shows, so if you haven't, check out AMC's The Terror. It's really fantastic, probably the biggest surprise of the past year, and it genuinely had some of the best performances of last year, Jared Harris being a real standout.

I've always hated everything I've seen of Riverdale without actually watching it, but Sabrina looks really good to me, so maybe I've been wrong all this time if that's what got you into Riverdale. I assumed it was bad CW teen drama, but if they're leaning into the Archie's Weird Mysteries stuff now, that might get me to check it out.

I started watching The Terror and while it was visually beautiful, I literally could not understand what was being said because the accents were so thick. I decided to wait to watch it later once it hits streaming so that I can turn on subtitles.

Riverdale is a terrible, terrible CW drama that is so bad it loops back around to being good. I fucking loved Weird Mysteries and can confidently say Riverdale makes even less sense. With that said, every season does revolve around a different mystery, only it is Jughead in the drivers seat instead of Archie.

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#5 Posted by SloppyDetective (1596 posts) -

Very nice list; will check out more than a few of these. Now for my "hot take" I thought American Vandal season 1 was pretty mediocre to straight up bad. The two leads are awful and most of the jokes are obvious and on the nose. They do an ok job of satirizing crime dramas, but also fall into the trap of mimicking some of the issues of their target - tedious recaps of the story being the biggest offender. So my questions are did you like the first season and how do you compare it to the second season?

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#6 Posted by DarthOrange (4213 posts) -

Very nice list; will check out more than a few of these. Now for my "hot take" I thought American Vandal season 1 was pretty mediocre to straight up bad. The two leads are awful and most of the jokes are obvious and on the nose. They do an ok job of satirizing crime dramas, but also fall into the trap of mimicking some of the issues of their target - tedious recaps of the story being the biggest offender. So my questions are did you like the first season and how do you compare it to the second season?

I thought the first season was a brilliant take on labeling theory. The humor in season 2 is pretty similar in terms of presentation and types of jokes, although it tackles different criminological issues than season one. If it wasn't your jam the first season you probably won't like it now either.

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#7 Posted by Deo_Brando (54 posts) -

For me, this is The Black Mirror

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#8 Posted by Damenco (63 posts) -

The only TV show I like is where a person (forgot his name) survives in different conditions

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#9 Posted by tds418 (456 posts) -

Better Call Saul continued in 2018 to rival Breaking Bad in quality.