Best TV shows of 2018 … so far
WE'RE only halfway through 2018, yet it feels like we've watched a year's worth of shows already.
There has been no shortage of hot new shows to obsess over and tweet about. In fact, one could make the claim that the first six months of 2018 were packed with way more breakout, buzz-worthy hits than all of 2017.
Now that we're at the halfway point, each member of Team Decider selected their favourite, must-binge show of 2018. If you're not caught up on these shows, maybe chuck a sickie and get watching. You gotta get on it now because there's six more months of TV content on the way.
COUNTERPART - SBS ON DEMAND
Counterpart is the TV show that figured out how to make a spy thriller - and how to make it really well.
J.K. Simmons has never been better as two very different Howards, in both the real world and a replica world, and he's joined by stellar performances from Harry Lloyd, Olivia Williams, Nazanin Boniadi, and Sara Serraiocco.
The drama stays twisty, turny, and super tense throughout its 10-episode first season that is not to be missed.
Very few other shows can achieve this level of smart sci-fi, easily making it the best binge you'll indulge in this year. - Lea Palmieri
BARRY - FOXTEL ON DEMAND
I was a little late to the Barry boat, but when I finally sat down and took it all in, I was floored.
From a pleasantly surprising perfect lead performance from Bill Hader as the eponymous hitman-turned-actor to the immaculate execution of tragicomedy across the board, Barry emerged as one of the best new series of the year.
This dazzling journey through our protagonist's depression manages the impossible - delivering laughter and devastation in one fell swoop. Most shows might struggle with balancing the suffering and silliness, but Barry is a masterclass in how to tell a story of both comical and crushing proportions. - Jade Budowski
THE ASSASSINATION OF GIANNI VERSACE: AMERICAN CRIME STORY - FOXTEL ON DEMAND
From singing high schoolers to horror stories throughout history, Ryan Murphy has made a career out of humanising society's outcasts.
But nothing he has created has ever been as heartbreaking, nuanced, or painful as the Versace season of American Crime Story.
Rather than building to the climax of Andrew Cunanan's (Darren Criss) murder spree, American Crime Story starts with Versace's (Édgar Ramírez) murder.
What follows is a complicated reflection on how the prejudice the LGBT community faced in the '90s, a toxic celebrity environment, a genius designer's complicated legacy, and one man's disturbed mind all resulted in one of the most preventable murders in American history.
American Crime Story transformed its pulpy premise into an emotional love letter to Cunanan's victims all while pointing a judgmental finger at the bigotry that led to these five victims' needless deaths. - Kayla Cobb
QUEER EYE - NETFLIX
We live in a world that is in desperate need of a makeover.
Enter the Fab Five, the quintet of hosts for Netflix's rebooted Queer Eye. Surprisingly, the show wasn't merely a tonal continuation of the original reality show.
Instead, Queer Eye evolved to match today's deeply polarised America, as the show crisscrossed the Atlanta suburbs and reckoned with lost love, toxic masculinity, Trump voters, religious persecution, and so much more. Not only did we fall in love with the people getting a makeover, we all got to know the Fab Five as five imperfect but deeply loveable individuals.
It's hyperbolic to say that a show can change the world, and Queer Eye isn't doing that.
But it does, for the hours you spend bingeing (and re-bingeing) every episode, it makes you believe that there is good in everyone, from red state cops to schlubby romantics and from soulful small-town superstars to sexy firefighters and everyone in-between.
And, we all learned how to French tuck. - Brett White
CLOAK & DAGGER - F OXTEL'S FOX8 CHANNEL
It's early going, but that's part of the fun of a "Best of the Year So Far" list. And halfway through its debut season, Cloak & Dagger is phenomenal.
There's a lot that doesn't just elevate it over other comic book fare, but to the lofty realms of "best on TV".
Olivia Holt and Aubrey Joseph's performances as Tandy and Tyrone, the kids destined to become the super-powered heroes in the title, are incredibly strong, and their chemistry stronger.
The show's unflinching look at issues like sexual assault and racism eschews any easy answers, in favour of pushing forward the stories of the characters.
The New Orleans setting is used to its fullest, and breaks the show away from Marvel's Netflix shows (and the movies) making it very much its own thing.
But what truly makes Cloak & Dagger unique is the structure and editing.
Each episode weighs the leads evenly, connecting them through haunting, parallel shots and musical montages that are anything but obligatory.
And though this is a mystery box show that slowly unfurls the central questions facing Tandy and Ty (for Tandy, the death of her father weighs heavy, while Ty is tracking down the dirty cop who killed his brother), each episode plays out as its own thrilling visual puzzle that often doesn't come together until the final moments.
You may have given this show a pass because A) you're sick of superheroes, or B) thought it was "just" a teen show. If Cloak & Dagger continues to pay off on the promise of the first half of the season, you're going to want to correct your mistake: this might just be the super-powered Breaking Bad. - Alex Zalben
GLOW - NETFLIX
The second season of GLOW is the best season of TV Netflix has ever done. I'm serious.
As good as the first season was, GLOW Season 2 ups the ante on the humour and the heartache, all while experimenting with structure and tone like never before.
But what makes this show so gripping is its tremendous ensemble of voices.
From the brilliant writers, to the stable of directors who focus on the humane parts of this larger-than-life story, to the outstanding cast, GLOW is a gorgeous example of teamwork in storytelling.
Season 2 is raucous, righteous, difficult, mesmerising, ludicrous, and delightfully entertaining - and, like, still literally the best season of TV I can remember watching on Netflix. - Meghan O'Keefe
KILLING EVE - ABC iVIEW
In a genre traditionally dominated by men (in front of and behind the camera), leave it to Phoebe Waller-Bridge, the creator of the daringly untraditional Amazon comedy Fleabag, to turn the spy thriller on its ear.
Killing Eve pits original Grey's Anatomy star Sandra Oh against The White Princess herself, Jodie Comer, in an international game of cat and mouse.
Part of the fun here is the thrill of the hunt (and I do mean THRILL), but most of the joy and intrigue of the show is a result of watching the physical and emotional ways in which the unhealthy attraction between the MI5 agent Eve (Oh) and professional assassin Villanelle (Comer) manifests itself. - Mark Graham
COBRA KAI - YOUTUBE
The most entertaining show of the year is YouTube Premium's Karate Kid revival Cobra Kai.
A captivating one-two punch of sentimentality and original storytelling, this universally adored series is a textbook example of nostalgia done right.
Unlike countless other revivals, the series adds a whole new chapter to the already rich franchise while still honouring the source material. Ralph Macchio and Billy Zabka are brilliant, the host of fresh-faced newcomers are a breath of fresh air, and the series as a whole is an exceptionally crafted masterpiece. - Josh Sorokach
THE GOOD FIGHT - SBS ON DEMAND
In this never-ending hurricane of (usually bad) news, the last thing I want out of my television shows is to remind me of current events.
Like Angels In America's Harper Pitt, I long for an escape, and television is my trusty Mr Lies, whisking me off to wherever will best distract me.
This year, that's been a few wonderful places, including the backwater town of Schitt's Creek, the House Ball scene of Pose's New York City, or the Los Angeles studio where inept bakers ruin fancy cakes on Nailed It!.
Yet somehow, my favourite TV of the year so far not only fails to transport me from real life; it takes it on directly.
This season, the Reddick, Boseman, and Lockhart firm - name partners represented by the transcendent Audra McDonald, Delroy Lindo, and Christine Baranski - took on the Age of Trump head-on, in ways both oblique (representing a woman who was sexually assaulted on a reality TV show) and direct (Margo Martindale's DNC representative auditioning firms to take point on an eventual Trump impeachment).
It was an insane gambit, even for the spin-off of a show that took on current events on the regular, and it would have failed spectacularly if the show's writers and cast hadn't so successfully tapped into the undercurrent of the American state of mind that is screaming "f**k it all" at the top of their lungs.
The Good Fight threw caution to the wind, embraced the frustrated and borderline deranged way we're feeling these days, and as a result was the only show on television that truly felt like America in 2018. - Joe Reid