PopBuzz's Top 20 TV Shows of 2018

11 December 2018, 16:09 | Updated: 11 December 2018, 16:26

PopBuzz's Top 20 TV Shows of 2018
PopBuzz's Top 20 TV Shows of 2018. Picture: Netflix/Netflix/FX

By Katie Louise Smith

From Netflix's 'Queer Eye' to Ryan Murphy's show-stopping 'Pose', here are all the best and unmissable TV shows from 2018.

Music has been great this year, memes have been great this year, films have been more than great but you know what's been even better? Television. Not a week has gone by where there wasn't a new Netflix show to binge watch or another brilliant season of one of our favourite shows.

There's been more groundbreaking shows, castings and storylines than ever before (Pose, Big Mouth) and there's been absolutely outstanding performances that have set the benchmark for 2019 (Billy Porter, Sandra Oh) so when it came down to actually ranking them... it was almost impossible - BUT WE DID IT ANYWAY.

Before we dive in, dear TV watchers, here are the honourable mentions: Queen Sugar (flawless), SKAM Austin (iconic), Will & Grace (h-i-larious and also, incredibly moving), Atlanta (so so good) and if you've come here looking for Riverdale, the truth is this: Riverdale simply cannot be ranked. It has ascended into it's own realm of infamy. It belongs on its own list. We're sorry.

Here are the best, must watch TV shows of 2018, as chosen by the PopBuzz writers:

20) GLOW

The gorgeous ladies of wrestling snappedT! From the beyond incredible performances to the all too real #MeToo moment where Ruth (Alison Brie) is almost sexually assaulted by a TV executive, the comedy series proved itself once again to have what we call: The Range™. And Betty Gilpin's performance as the struggling Debbie and all-American sweetheart Liberty Belle was outstanding. She was robbed of the Emmy. - Katie Louise Smith


19) The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story

Through the absolutely stunning performances from the cast (Darren Criss as Andrew Cunanan, in particular), and the sheer visual and aesthetic excellence alone, Versace proved itself as a worthy successor to Murphy's People vs. OJ. Even it's anti-linear narrative could have thrown it off (it tells the whole story backwards - instead of focusing on the murder, it explores who Cunanan was and what drove him to kill Versace) but in the end, it proved to be a gamble worth taking. - KLS


18) The Good Place

For a show that delivered one of the greatest end-of-season plot twists of all time, the follow up seasons of The Good Place have had a lot to live up to - and boy have they managed it. Season 3 delivered some truly iconic gags; from the introduction of the fourth Hemsworth brother Larry, to Chidi's chilli and the trip to Janet's void in episode 10 (honestly, give D'Arcy Carden an Emmy ASAP), The Good Place is still forking fantastic. Oh, and also... Chidi's abs. - KLS


17) Grey's Anatomy

Season 14 of Grey's doubled down on social issues, giving us storylines on police racial bias, Black Lives Matter, trans representation, domestic abuse, sexual harassment and assault... all subjects that many mainstream network TV dramas would shy away from or barely skim the surface with. Grey's isn't just about hot doctors having sex in on-call rooms anymore, it's a god damn public service announcement and it's still breaking ground 15 years later. - KLS


16) Jane The Virgin

Four seasons in and Jane the Virgin is still entertaining af. Few shows manage to be captivatingly ludicrous and genuinely moving at the same time but Jane The Virgin is still both of those things every episode. Also that plot twist at the end is literally the greatest plot twist of all time and we’re still completely and utterly shook. - Sam Prance

Jane the Virgin
Jane the Virgin. Picture: The CW

15) BoJack Horseman

BoJack Horseman continues to be one of the strongest animated shows on television. The series remains sharp, humorous, and emotional, tapping into the very real pain around mental health, grief, and longing. Despite frequently wading into heavy topics, BoJack is still relatable and buoyant in its brand of humour. - Nicky Idika


14) The Handmaid's Tale

The Handmaid’s Tale always manages to be terrifying, heart-wrenching, and compelling all at once. Each episode fills you with a sense of dread as the dystopian nightmare gets worse and worse, while the series itself gets better and better. Elisabeth Moss’ performances are gripping and emotional in this poignant drama. - NI


13) Elite

Elite was the Big Little Lies, How to Get Away with Murder, Gossip Girl crossover we never knew we needed. Murder mystery? Check. Hot cast? Double check. Ships that you would die for? Triple check. The Spanish teen drama showed its US counterparts how it’s done and we can’t wait to see what’s next for the students of Las Encinas. - SP


12) The Good Fight

What The Good Wife lacked in bite, The Good Fight makes up for with wit and absolutely savage commentary on Trump's America. It doesn't just merely test the waters by alluding to certain happenings in the current administration, it spills the fucking tea and then some. Impeachment, pee tape, #MeToo, immigration... you name it, Diane Lockhart is on it. Also, Audra McDonald is in it now so... it's pretty much the most important show on TV. - KLS

The Good Fight season 2
The Good Fight season 2. Picture: CBS

11) Insecure

Issa Rae’s Insecure remains one of the realest depictions of millennial life in the big city. At the start of season 3, Issa finds herself underemployed and driving for Lyft to get by. As usual, Issa is caught up in plenty of work and relationship drama but her humour and relatability endures, even when she’s couch surfing at her ex-hookup’s house. - NI


10) Chilling Adventures of Sabrina

Her name is Sabrina Spellman and she is that bitch. Well, if we’re being honest, she’s a messy bitch who lives for drama but we love her all the same. From the iconic cast (give Michelle Gomez all of the awards) to the incredible mythology (praise Satan), it was enthralling from start to finish and we can’t wait to find out what’s next for the town of Greendale. - SP


9) One Day at a Time

One Day at a Time really came into its own in season two. Living legends Justina Machado and Rita Moreno continued to be all kinds of iconic as Penelope and Lydia but both Isabella Gomez (Elena) and Marcel Ruiz (Alex) shone this year. From its important and topical themes (immigration) to its hilarious and heartwarming storylines (that heart-wrenching potential death), we adored all of it. - SP


8) On My Block

On My Block so wonderfully captures the emotional nuances of growing up and dating within your friend group - something I’m sure we can all relate to. The leads are charismatic, sharp, and so funny. You’re rooting for Monse, Ruby, Jamal, and Cesar from the very beginning to the heartbreaking end of season 1. - NI


7) Pose

What Ryan Murphy, Brad Falchuk, Steven Canals and their incredible cast and writers achieved with Pose was beyond anything we ever imagined. Set in the '80s against a backdrop of drag eleganza and ball culture, the show served both spectacle and important commentary on poverty, racism, transphobia and the AIDS epidemic. It's difficult to single out any one performance from the incredible talent in the cast but Billy Porter's Pray Tell will no doubt be talked about for years to come. Tens across the board. - KLS


6) The End Of The F****ing World

TEOTFW was originally released in 2017 on Channel 4 in the UK before Netflix aired it in January this year, but we’re making an exception because this was such an exceptional show. From the razor sharp script to the oddball performances of the leads, everything about this show was incredible. Alyssa’s killer line in the consent scene (“Well then, respect me changing my mind and fuck off please”) will probably stay with us until the day we die. - Woodrow Whyte


5) Dear White People

Season two of Dear White People did not disappoint. As usual, the show was there to spark important conversations about race and modern online discourse. The season’s emotional moments were poignant as Sam grappled with the loss of her father. Dear White People isn’t afraid to be topical, emotional, or controversial and season 2 proved just that. - NI

Dear White People season 2
Dear White People season 2. Picture: Adam Rose/Netflix

4) Haunting Of Hill House

The Haunting of Hill House was a beautifully crafted and brilliantly acted thriller that shot straight up the ranks for best TV of 2018. From the emotional torment of the Crain siblings to the show’s stark and often heartbreaking revelations, viewers felt like they were right there with the troubled family. Living the horror every step of the way. - NI


3) Big Mouth

Sex education is never supposed to be funny. Yet, in Big Mouth, we have an animated TV show about young teens navigating puberty and sex in a way that will literally split your spleen in half from laughing so hard. The second season was another triumph for creator Nick Kroll and we cannot wait for season three to begin. - WW


2) Killing Eve

Sandra Oh and Jodie Comer give show-stopping performances in this endlessly intriguing game of cat and mouse. Eve Polastri and Villanelle are the perfect heels to one another, both impossibly intelligent and resourceful in this highly addictive BBC America thriller. - NI


1) Queer Eye

Five angels named Bobby, Antoni, Karamo, Tan and Jonathan came down from heaven to bless our TV screens in 2018 with a message of hope, compassion, empathy, empowerment and the revolutionary power of the French Tuck. More than just a makeover show, Queer Eye became a worldwide sensation for the positive messages it was putting out in the world and, let’s be frank, we really fucking needed it. Can you believe? Well, we do now. - WW