Stream Finder's writers list their favourite television shows TV shows 2018.
With so many amazing TV shows debuting in 2018, it's easy to forget all the quality TV shows that are still running strong; Legion, Silicon Valley, NOT YOU THE WALKING DEAD... Outlander, Atlanta...
While you can find our list of the best TV shows that premiered last year by following the link above, we thought we'd also take a moment to recognise returning TV shows that keep knocking it out of the park.
Below is Stream Finder's overall top 10 new and returning TV shows of 2018.
Bojack Horseman Season 5
This Netflix original centers on BoJack, who was a famous sitcom star in the '90s and is currently trying to get his career back on track, with a little help from his friends. BoJack lives in Hollywoo, in an alternate reality where humans and anthropomorphic animals coexist side by side. The series is both hilarious and devastating, telling insightful stories about depression and addiction without losing its humour, so much so that you might find yourself crying and laughing at the same time.
BoJack Horseman always hits right in the feels. In Season 5, however, the creators take things to the next level by exploring the different types of sadness humans experience and allowing each character their moment in the spotlight. BoJack holds its characters accountable and gives them space to grow or assess or fall back into destructive habits, depending on who you're looking at. Whatever the case, the show remains one of Netflix's best offerings - silly, meta, and painfully honest. Episode 6 in particular, Free Churro, is a thing of beauty.
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The Good Place Season 3
The Good Place in a high-concept, odd little show. It centres on a woman, Eleanor Shellstrop, who wakes up in the afterlife to find out that she made it to the Good Place thanks to leading an exemplary life. The only problem? She's not a good person, so it's likely someone made a mistake. Instead of coming clean, Eleanor decides to enlist the help of her soulmate, Chidi, to learn how to be worthy of a happy afterlife.
This is the kind of show that gets better with each new episode, and Season 3 is no exception. Revealing too much about the plot would mean spoiling the first two installments, so I'll limit myself to saying that it's refreshing to see a TV show take on ethical dilemmas and ask questions about what it really means to be decent, all while making viewers chuckle at every turn. Endlessly creative, The Good Place offers surprising twists and turns, while also sending a message of hope and community. It's forking great
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The Good Fight Season 2
The Good Wife spin-off, The Good Fight, centres on Diane Lockhart, now employed at a new law firm following a financial scam that severely affected her reputation. While Season 1 followed her as she got back on her feet, Season 2 is bigger and bolder, confidently drawing inspiration from current political events. We see Diane struggling to cope with the fact that the world around her is becoming more and more insane and employing various strategies to maintain her own sanity.
Witty and clever, The Good Fight draws its inspiration from real life, tackling topics that range from fake news to gun control to sexism. But it's also a whole lot of fun, thriving when it puts the characters in absurd situations and makes them deal with the fallout. This isn't your average law procedural - it's fierce, innovative, and highly enjoyable. You can watch The Good Fight on 10 All Access.
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The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel Season 2
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel centres on Midge, a housewife in the '50s who has a great knack for stand-up comedy. When her husband leaves her, she embraces this gift and starts to build a career in the business with help from her newly-appointed manager, Susie. This Amazon original production enjoyed a splashy debut in 2017, to no surprise. Coming from the minds of the people behind Gilmore Girls and boasting a fabulous cast, Mrs. Maisel went on to win two Golden Globes and five Primetime Emmys.
We're happy to report that Season 2 is even more marvelous, taking the characters out of their comfort zones and giving them new challenges to deal with. We follow Midge as she tries to figure out her next steps and appease her two sides - housewife/mother and talented comedian. Plus, the show makes more room for some of the side players this time around, particularly Midge's parents, to great success. The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel is a lavishly produced show with a huge heart.
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Brooklyn Nine-Nine Season 5
Brooklyn Nine-Nine is a sitcom about a group of oddball detectives working together in New York. But it's also so much more than that - it's about the tight-knit relationships that occur when nice people work together for long periods of time. Season 5 might be the show's best. After five years, these characters mesh perfectly and the creators managed to work out all of the kinks. The stories flow seamlessly and you're left with a sense of utter joy as you watch the goofballs become even closer.
This time around, Brooklyn Nine-Nine delivered an unforgettable Backstreet Boys cold open, pulled off a stellar bottle episode, gave one of the characters a beautiful coming out arc, and finished off strong, with a touching and action-packed finale. Fox cancelled the show, but it was revived by NBC, so the squad gets to fight for another day. Until then, you can stream Brooklyn Nine-Nine on Netflix.
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Better Call Saul Season 4
[Seasons 1 through 4 spoilers imminent]
From modest beginnings Better Call Saul has grown to amply fill the Breaking Bad hole in my life. Basically, we've got a spin-off here that's every bit as good as its progenitor and this year Jimmy McGill (Bob Odenkirk) took a large step towards becoming the infamous Saul Goodman, a moral-less fixer for the Fring syndicate.
Ol' Slippin' Jimmy ran a bunch of nefarious scams this season that were so ingenious one couldn't help but root for him, even if it went against our natural hatred of blood-sucking lawyers. Our empathy for him has been secured because he's a litigator on the outer in his industry – a black sheep with an abundance of smarts who'ss nevertheless been ostracized for a troublesome past and the way he came up.
The icing and cherry on the cake: the B Story subplot of Mike Ehrmantraut, an ex-cop who's losing the last shreds of his morality by turning into Gustavo Fring's murderer for hire. There's also Story C of Kim Wexler, a whip-smart attorney who's been slowly corrupted by Jimmy, though now she's seen a glimpse of who and what he truly is. Damn, this is good television.
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Jack Ryan Season 1
Confession: Going in I was highly resistant of this modern take on a Tom Clancy classic. But, despite Amazon Prime tampering with the backstory of a beloved character -- and their choice of a super spy being the harmless-looking dude from The Office (John Krasinski) – Jack Ryan managed to be a complete success.
In truth, having "Jim Halpert" play a CIA pencil pusher is a pretty good way to ground the character better. In the Harrison Ford days Ryan was, after all, an everyman analyst who'd served his country and was perfectly happy to be sitting behind a desk, until a sequence of events made him a reluctant field agent. Over the course of this inaugural season, Krasinski managed to do a great job as "a wolf playing at being a sheep".
What surprised me even more was the interesting new twist made on his mentor, James Greer (Wendell Pierce). In this parallel Clancyverse he's a maverick, demoted from Karachi CIA station chief to the basement, thanks to murdering a Pakistani army officer in mysterious circumstances. In another interesting wrinkle he's also now an Islam convert who's constantly questioning his beliefs. The latter, combined with a layered villain who wasn't simply presented as a generic ISIL-esque terrorist, gave this series some character arc nuance not typically seen in your average spy thriller. Bring on Season 2, I say.
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The Terror Season 1
This Ridley Scott produced adaptation of Dan Simmons historical novel proved impossible to put down. Based on a real-life event during which a British nautical expedition was lost trying to cross the arctic, The Terror descends from a yo-ho-ho Master and Commander jaunt into a horror scenario highly reminiscent of The Thing.
Trapped for the winter by unyielding ice, two ships and their respective crews must deal with a bad situation that worsens in every way imaginable (and a few ways that no sane person could possibly ever consider). Firstly, as their supplies spoil or vanish, the crew's morale and loyalties are put to the test. Next, the chain of command reaches breaking point when old animosities flare up between the two ship's captains, pushing one of them to insubordination and the devil's drink.
And that, dear friends, is the good news taken care of. While this petty bickering continues in the relative safety of the ships, someone or something is thriving in the impossible temperatures outside. In their haste, one of the ship's scouting parties has managed to kill an Inuit medicine man, an act his daughter insists will unleash a great evil upon them. I'll not spoil much more than that for you, suffice to say that what follows is not for the gore averse.
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Cobra Kai Season 1
As somebody who grew up loving the Karate Kid films (and I'm not including that Jaden Smith abomination in this list) I never dared to hope for a continuation of the universe, big screen or small. Early in 2018 Cobra Kai appeared from the unlikeliest of places – Red, YouTube's fledgling answer to Netflix – and proceeded to show Hollywood how classic Eighties IP ought to be treated. What we have here is a revival that feels authentic for OG fans but also relevant and interesting for new audiences, too.
Set thirty years after the events of the 1984 All Valley Karate Tournament, our tale focusses on washed-out villain, Johnny Lawrence (William Zabka), as he reopens the Cobra Kai dojo. Amusingly, he's basically the anti-Mr. Miyagi. He manages to find a bunch of self-esteem-less high-school losers and proceeds to berate them into being arse-kickers. No bonsais. No wax on wax off. No paint the fence. Just harsh truths, the odd encouragement to go get a mohawk and a lot of elbow grease.
History repeating itself like this triggers some PTSD for Daniel LaRusso (Ralph Macchio) who's living the high life in the affluent hills of Encino, with his beautiful family and a successful string of car dealerships. I went in skeptical of this show, but watching their rivalry reignite soon became a binge-watch that swept me off my feet like an underhanded Cobra Kai leg strike. YouTube Premium couldn't have asked for a better must-see original for its service. Absolutely cannot wait for the next season.
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GLOW Season 2
The Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling took the Netflix platform by storm last year and Season 2 continued to hold my attention in a vice-like chokehold. For those of you who missed it, GLOW is a dramatisation of a real-life (and short-lived) all-female wrestling experiment made for TV in 1980s. Think: outrageous hair and makeup true to the era, minimal funding and a complete lack of political correctness when designing some heroes and villains made for the ring.
The inaugural season set us up with everything a good yarn needs. We have a dozen loveable underdog misfits – the titular ladies who cannot otherwise land decent acting gigs, and so turn to wrasslin' for a pay cheque – and guiding this low-brow, low budget pilot is the acerbic, coke-addled director Sam Sylvia (Marc Maron).
The true stand out, however, is the ongoing central conflict between Ruth Wilder (Alison Brie) a drama nerd who wrecks the marriage of best friend and fellow actress Debbie Eagan (Betty Gilpin). Hoping to harness their rivalry and turn it into on-screen "magic", Sam pits these two against one another as Zoya the Destroyer and Liberty Belle – the biggest American-Soviet grudge match since Rocky Balboa and Ivan Drago. GLOW continues to shine and I can't wait to see what's illuminated about these wacky characters in Season 3.
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The best TV show seasons of 2018
1. Bojack Horseman Season 5 on Netflix
2. The Good Place Season 3 on Netflix
3. The Good Fight on 10 All Access
4. The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel Season 2 on Prime Video
5. Brooklyn Nine-Nine Season 5 on Netflix
6. Better Call Saul Season 4 on Stan
7. Jack Ryan Season 1 on Prime Video
8. The Terror Season 1 on Prime Video
9. Cobra Kai Season 1 on YouTube Premium
10. GLOW Season 2 on Netflix
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