Stream Finder's writers list their favourite television shows that premiered in 2018.
To many, a Golden Globe Award is the highest accolade a television show can receive but any television fan worth their salt knows that Stream Finder's top picks are the most pure indication of a television show's quality. We've butted heads over the best new TV shows in 2018 and collaborated on our definitive top 10 for the year. The team has compiled a top 10 that spans a diverse range of genres and tastes. A list where a spin-off of The Vampire Diaries rubs shoulders with HBO's award-winning Barry.
If you enjoy your highbrow television with a side of binge-watchable high school drama, Stream Finder has you covered. So without further hesitation, here are our top 10 (in no particular order) TV shows released in 2018 and where you can stream them.
A reboot of the classic Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, this charming Netflix original sees a new team of Fab 5 performing makeovers on regular folk and teaching them everything from how to dress to how to decorate their homes and feed themselves in order to thrive.
What's great about this reality TV gem is that the five experts connect with their makeover subjects on a deeper level, which often leads to conversations about self-acceptance, compassion and empathy. It's refreshing to see these men open up to the guys and overcome their problems, even if (and especially when) they are sceptical that a group of five random dudes can help turn their lives around. Unlike most makeover shows, Queer Eye is actually uplifting, leaving you with feelings of hope and joy.
It's the perfect binge for when you're down or you've lost faith in humanity. With two seasons already available, the Fab 5 took the Internet by storm in 2018. I can't wait to see what they're up to next. All 16 episodes are available to stream on Netflix.
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Homecoming is a sharp psychological thriller that centres on Heidi, a former caseworker at a facility which aimed to help soldiers transition to civilian life. Years after leaving her position, Heidi is working as a waitress when a US Department of Defense auditor approaches her about her time spent with the soldiers. To her dismay, Heidi realizes that the true purpose of the facility has been kept from her all these years.
Homecoming is gripping and haunting, thanks to an amazing performance by Julia Roberts and a well-crafted script. The pacing is perfect: there are no unnecessary characters or subplots, allowing viewers to truly immerse themselves in the tense narrative. Episodes are only 30 minutes, which makes Homecoming a quick and satisfying watch. If you're truly dedicated, you can watch the entire first season in a single afternoon.
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Based on the novel by Gillian Flynn, Sharp Objects follows Camille, a reporter who returns to her home town to investigate a series of gruesome murders. Here, she has to reconnect with her family and deal with some personal demons, to the point where she risks falling back into past self-destructive habits.
Sharp Objects is a slow burn. The pace is so sluggish at first that you might find yourself bored or annoyed with the fact that not much happens. But if you stick with it, you'll notice that's by design and you will be rewarded with some top-notch performances and a fantastic story. Amy Adams is amazing in the lead role, but Eliza Scanlen is the one who steals every scene she's in. That's even more impressive given the fact that this was her first major Hollywood project, after her stint in Home and Away.
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A spin-off of The Vampire Diaries and The Originals, Legacies follows Hope, a descendant from some of the most powerful vampire, werewolf and witch blood lines. She attends the Salvatore School for the Young and Gifted, an academy where teens with supernatural abilities learn how to control their powers to later be able to survive in the real world. But the school is threatened when a mysterious knife goes missing and ancient creatures start to terrorise the students.
Legacies is a surprising show, a fast-paced supernatural teen drama that hooks you from episode one. The characters are compelling, the ancient creatures interesting and the series gives off some serious Harry Potter vibes, which is always a plus. Moreover, the teen melodrama doesn't take centre stage, but bubbles under the surface and is served in small doses: enough to make you care about these young people, but not too much so that you're overwhelmed with teen angst. The nostalgic setting and all The Vampire Diaries Easter eggs are just the cherry on top.
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Elite follows the students of Las Encinas, a fancy private school where the rich send their kids to study. When three working-class children are awarded scholarships to attend the exclusive establishment, they have to learn how to fit into this new world where parties are opulent and students are snarky. The clash between the rich and the poor leads to a murder, with the show cleverly offering flash-forwards to give hints about what happened and why.
While the mystery aspect of the show is compelling, what really makes Elite shine is its depiction of what happens when children are forced to grow up too soon. The series has a lot to say about class, sexuality and privilege. Some plot twists are over the top, sure, but that's part of the show's charm.
If you're looking for a fun binge that's part How to Get Away with Murder, part Riverdale, don't overlook this one.
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Chilling Adventures of Sabrina
Based on the Archie comic book series, Chilling Adventures of Sabrina centres on a teen who is half-witch and half-mortal. On her 16th birthday, Sabrina has to choose whether or not she wants to pledge loyalty to the Dark Lord, Satan. Since she has serious ties to the mortal world, including friends and a boyfriend, that decision doesn't come easy. However, rejecting the Dark Lord won't come without consequences.
As a fan of Riverdale, I was looking forward to this dark adaptation of Sabrina, which is set in the same universe. Thankfully, it didn't disappoint. The show is creepy and unsettling, while also offering some teen drama that lightens the mood every now and then. Plus, it's visually stunning, perfectly cast and has a wicked sense of humour. If you're into dark supernatural series, Chilling Adventures of Sabrina will put a spell on you from episode one.
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Benedict Cumberbatch chased down the role of Patrick Melrose as a "dream job" and once he landed the gig you can tell he put his (considerable) all in. Why he was drawn to this is obvious. If you're an actor who loves a challenge, what's not to love about playing Patrick, an incredibly sharp, absurdly wealthy socialite who's equal parts cultured and out of his tree on a shopping list of drugs that'd make Keith Richards blanch. Mind you, what starts as a binge for the ages, a cathartic jaunt to mark the death of a loveless father (Hugo Weaving), soon spins well out of control.
As this miniseries rolls on Patrick shows a disturbing disregard for himself and others, while the layers of his memory are peeled back for us to glimpse the shocking depths of Melrose Sr.'s depravity and abuse. 2018 offered tons of great shows and performances, but the powerhouse efforts of Weaving and Cumberbatch stood head and shoulders above just about anything released this year. Must-watch stuff.
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Who is America?
God bless America and God bless this collection of half-hour episodes from Sacha Baron Cohen that take the complete piss out of item one on this list. This UK-based comedian, famous for his chameleon skills in Ali G, Borat and Bruno, proceeds to go undercover once more to have some incredibly frank discussions with some of the most extreme and powerful folks in the US.
Released on a week-to-week basis, Who Is America became the source of many a controversial headline in 2018, not to mention a few firings and post-episode public apologies by Cohen's interviewees. Choice moments include Cohen pretending to be Rick Sherman, a recently released British ex-convict and aspiring painter who works in the medium of excrement and then shares his work with prominent art dealers. And as Erran Morad, an Israeli anti-terrorism expert, Cohen tricks some politicians into endorsing a "Kinderguardians" program that arms children ages 3 to 16. Amazing stuff.
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Stephen King's unique, complex and disturbing universe of inter-related novels was faithfully recreated in Castle Rock. As a big fan of The Shawshank Redemption I was more or less hooked when Castle Rock took us right back to King's oft-mentioned big house (and even dropped an Easer egg about the fate of Warden, just to further ground this series in the same universe as that film). Fan service references aside, the icing on the cake was the mystery of the new warden and the mysterious stranger housed in a disused wing of the prison.
Mute, unprocessed by the Department of Justice and locked in a secret steel containment cage, "Prisoner X" became a mystery worth sticking with as many other sordid (and possibly supernatural) secrets began to bubble to the surface of this supposedly harmless Maine town. A criminally under-watched gem of 2018, I simply can't wait for Castle Rock Season 2.
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Ex-marine Barry Berkman (Bill Hader) is an unfulfilled killer for hire who's damn good at his job, but to be fair his marks are often defenceless middle-aged slobs who offer little resistance. Desperately looking for a change of pace he leaps at the chance to swap the depressing winters of the Midwest for a hit based in sunny California. Specifically: a young Hollywood hopeful has slept with the wrong Eastern European's wife and has to be taken out.
Amusingly, while doing his recon Berkman gets far too close to his intended victim and gets dragged on stage as an extra in an amateur theatre production. Though the spotlight is several hundred watts short of Broadway and the applause is scattered, it awakens something in our otherwise emotionless killbot. Hijinks ensue as Berkman desperately tries to balance between breathing new life into his dream career while trying to delay the murder of his best entry point into the scene.
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The best new TV shows of 2018
1. Queer Eye on Netflix
2. Homecoming on Prime Video
3. Sharp Objects on Foxtel Now
4. Legacies on Foxtel Now
5. Elite on Netflix
6. Chilling Adventures of Sabrina on Netflix
7. Patrick Melrose on Foxtel Now
8. Who is America? on Stan
9. Castle Rock on Prime Video
10. Barry on Foxtel Now
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