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The Munificent Musings Of A Maniacal Mammal

I’ll be updating my 2018 movie list soon to rank my favorite movies of the year, but I figured I’d do a list of my favorite TV shows of the year. I’m ranking these on consideration of the episodes/season that was aired in 2018, not necessarily the entire series in general. Documentary and talk/variety series are excluded.

#1 – The Good Place (NBC)

Easily one of the most conceptually ambitious comedies ever attempted. One of its best aspects is how fast the show changes and evolves, never slowing down and falling into any kind of typical situational comedy. The cast is amazing and the production is fun and the philosophical comedy writing is some of the best writing in play in film, TV or any medium.

#2 – iZombie (The CW)

The fantastic dramedy from Rob Thomas (Veronica Mars, Party Down, etc) and his team went into its 4th and penultimate season in 2018. It was a fantastic season, evolving and building from the events of previous seasons. It is one of the most underappreciated shows out there and I look forward to its final upcoming season. While it’s sad the show is coming to an end, it is a show that will benefit greatly from getting to have a final chapter.

#3 – The Orville (FOX)

As a lifelong Trek fan, it was cool to find out there would be a new Trek series (Discovery). Then, we found out that Seth MacFarlane, who is notoriously a hardcore Trek nerd (particularly of The Next Generation), was going to make a Trek-style comedy series. As both shows got close to air, it was The Orville that started to look more interesting. As it turned out, not only is The Orville more entertaining, it’s definitely more of a Trek series than the official Trek series (which you may notice is absent from this list). It is the wonderully rare thing of something that satirizes while simultaneously lovingly embracing its source material.

#4 – Doctor Who (BBC)

I am a lifelong Whovian. Always have been, and likely always will be. I was born and raised on the show, which is much easier to be these days than it was in the late 70s and throughout the 80s. As it has many times over the decades, the show went through a transition in 2018. This time, however, was one of the most dramatic transition years the show has ever had. Yeah, there’s the big event of The Doctor regenerating as a female for the first time. I’m glad they finally did it and got it over with. Jodie Whittaker has done an excellent job with the role. I was also happy that the show embraced a multiple-companion approach this season with 3 full-time companions, something that hasn’t happened 35+ years. And also in transition, most of the production crew changed out, including new show-runner Chris Chibnall. The biggest disappointment is that there will be no more episodes in 2019 as the show doesn’t return until 2020. 🙁

#5 – Elementary (CBS)

It’s been something of a Sherlock renaissance in recent years. However, unlike most people who like the Benedict Cumberbatch BBC series Sherlock best, I happen to prefer Elementary. I do enjoy the BBC series, but Elementary is my preferred Sherlock (I do enjoy the Robert Downey Jr movies, too). Johnny Lee Miller’s version of the character is certainly the most grounded and nuanced version of the character I’ve seen to date, and he does a fine job performing the role. Lucy Liu also brings a lot to Watson, and the two of them work brilliantly off each other. It’s sad that the upcoming 7th season will be the show’s last, but they did set it up nicely at the end of season 6 for this 7th season to be a fine closing chapter.

I hesitate to include a promo video for this one, because CBS is absolutely awful at putting together promos, and Elementary is no exception to that rule. Not that CBS has really even promoted the show much the last few years.

#6 – Another Period (Comedy Central)

If you are easily offended, or difficultly offended for that matter, you should steer way clear of this one. It’s a twisted mash-up of Downton Abbey and, uh, most of the programming line-up that E! has these days. This series is thoroughly over-the-top and utterly bonkers. The real key to making it work is the top-notch and fearless cast. Sadly, the third season that ran in early 2018 ended up being the show’s final.

#7 – Lost In Space (Netflix)

As a fan of the classic series, I was looking forward to the new show. I’m not one of those purists who thinks remakes/sequels/adaptations have to be 100% faithful to the source material. As long as the spirit of the material is there and the production is doing a good job of making it their own, then that’s good enough for me. This new Lost In Space may not have been perfect, but it was fun, enjoyable and honestly better than I was expecting. I’m looking forward to season 2, whenever Netflix gets around to announcing when that’ll be (they have at least confirmed season 2 is happening).

#8 – LA To Vegas (FOX)

There’s a certain type of comedy series that I apparently enjoy more than most people do. I’m not entirely sure how to describe or define it, but they are comedies that rarely succeed. They are goofball ensemble comedies populated by oddball characters. Previous examples are ones like Carpoolers or The Loop. You haven’t heard of those? Yeah, that’s no surprise. Well, like those shows, this one didn’t survive long, either. But, I certainly enjoyed it. If nothing else, this one finally gave us the on-screen rivalry between Dylan McDermot and Dermot Mulroney we’ve always wanted.

#9 – Will & Grace (NBC)

If there was ever an example of a show being off the air for a number of years and returning with such continuity that you’d hardly know it was ever off the air, it’s Will & Grace. Sure, it’s a predictable sitcom, but the cast is so perfect and the writers so good at mining sarcastic humor, it just works. And David Schwimmer’s recurring role in season 10 is truly spot-on.

#10 – Brooklyn Nine-Nine (NBC)

This fun, ridiculous series just pulled off the rare achievement of getting another network (NBC) to pick it up after it had been cancelled at its original network (FOX) after a decent number of seasons (5). That fifth season on Fox finished in the first half of 2018, and was tons of fun. Like the other fans, I was very happy when NBC stepped in an picked it up after FOX had killed it.

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