Samuel Brace with the four best TV shows of 2018 so far…
2018 certainly got off to a slow start in the realm of high-quality TV. With years past treating us to some phenomenal offerings early on in proceedings, 2018 has seen a number of these shows pushed further down the line, leaving the opening months of the year rather baron by comparison. It was indeed looking rather bleak for a while but eventually things started to pick up, eventually, quality products arrived and audiences have since been treated to some truly excellent TV. Now that we are well into the sixth month of 2018, I suppose it’s as good a time as any to consider what has so far been and to try and present a look at the best of what’s been conjured by some of the brightest talents in the industry. So, without any further delay, here are the 4 best TV shows of 2018 so far.
4) The Terror
I have to admit, I wasn’t expecting much from AMC’s The Terror, as after all, the network has been pretty limp in recent years, unable to produce anything of great substance outside the skills of Vince Gilligan. But goodness me was I thoroughly impressed by this 1800s set maritime odyssey. Telling the story of two British vessels attempting to locate the Northwest Passage, The Terror boasts an awfully impressive cast while weaving an intricate and desperately dark tale of camaraderie, despair, hope, and what it means to be human once the scaffolding of civilisation has fallen away. Replete with shocking moments and desperately morose twists and turns, this one-off series is certainly memorable and executed with great skill at nearly every step of the way.
3) Santa Clarita Diet
The golden age of TV comedy is well and truly over but this isn’t to say there are not some excellent offerings still floating about in the genre, and Netflix’s Santa Clarita Diet may be the best of them all. Season 1 of the show certainly brought back memories of Weeds in terms of tone and style and the second season of the show definitely continued this trend, which is unquestionably a good thing. Filled with fun, quirky performances and vibrant, zany characters, this gore-filled but refreshingly fun take on the zombie genre is a delight to watch, wonderfully paced, and does what every good comedy should: leave you smiling when it’s all said and done. Littered with enough drama and cliff-hangers to keep you coming back for more, Santa Clarita Diet is just darn great at what it does and I can’t wait for more come season 3.
While season two still has some way to go and this absorbing sci-fi drama could potentially climb or fall on this list, one couldn’t possibly assemble a collection of 2018’s best TV offerings without including HBO’s latest hit. Now that the novelty of season 1 has worn off, Westworld has a harder task ahead to keep us enthralled but luckily Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy have provided plenty more absorbing mysteries to dive into, filling out the world of this morose fictional future with expert skill. We are continuing to learn more about just what is going on at the park and how it ticks, with hosts and humans alike all moving along Ford’s path to surely a rather grim fate. It’s not a perfect season, Dolores has seen to that, but it’s still one of TV’s very best.
The mantle of 2018’s best TV series so far could, at the end of the day, only go to one show. What turned out to be 2017’s most inventive new series and the new star of the superhero small screen universe has continued its rise, with Legion’s second season securing its place as one TV’s very best shows, period. Crafted and executed with all the skill and creativeness once expects from showrunner Noah Hawley, this FX series isn’t for everyone. It’s rather hard to penetrate at times with its surreal and purposely vague nature, but if you’re not someone who needs to be spoon-fed answers, Legion’s endless tergiversations are a joy to tussle with.
Taking the baton from Twin Peaks as TV’s strangest show, each week feels like an event, with audiences waiting to see what Hawley has conjured next. Fusing stunning cinematography, bizarre storytelling devices, a brilliant soundtrack (Górecki’s ‘Symphony of Sorrowful Songs’? I mean, come on), Legion is about as unconventional as it gets in TV, especially in the superhero sphere. But the show is so much more than its genre and all though we’re not quite at the finish line this season, Legion is going to be splendidly placed come year’s end. If you’re not watching this show, you’re missing out, it’s as simple as that, and it’s simply the best show of 2018 so far.