Continuing on from my Top 5 Games of 2018, here’s my Top 5 TV Shows of the year.
And no, Doctor Who is not on it. I honestly don’t believe it should be for reasons I’ve discussed at length in my reviews of the most recent season.
Similarly, Grey’s Anatomy – one of my all time favourite shows – misses out because it’s suffered a drop in quality, especially against other US medical dramas that have been fresher and arguably better.
Making this list though hasn’t been too easy because there’s bound to be some show I’ve forgotten about. It’s not as easy as games or movies where there’s a digital footprint of everything.
But from what I can remember, this is my Top 5.
No. 5: Naked Attraction
This might seem a little weird – especially if I was watching this on my own – but both my girlfriend and I always get a great laugh watching Naked Attraction.
Readers from foreign climbs might not be familiar with it, but it’s a dating show where a man or woman is faced with six different pods containing fully naked people. As the covers for the pods rise in stages the person picking must one by one decide which naked person they don’t want to go on a date with. When it’s down to two people, the picker must also remove their clothes and then choose one person to go on a date with. We then see whether or not the date was a success. Nine times out of ten, it wasn’t, obviously.
It’s in my Top 5 because it’s so different to most shows, but also because it highlights the awfulness of some of the people who go on it. For example, if one of the people in the pods is fatter than the rest, you can bet that he or she will go first, but the picker will give some bullshit reason for why – “Oh, I didn’t like the shape of her shins” – rather than just admit it’s because she’s fat.
Also it’s funny to see the state of some of the people anyway. Weird tattoos, funny balls, saggy boobs, deformed vaginas, too much body hair (for women), not enough body hair (for men); you name it, it’s there for us all to see.
Highlight of the year was a really creepy bloke in his 50s who had recently divorced and was going into great detail about the various forms of S&M he’s into.
That’s 2018 in a nutshell folks.
No. 4: The Good Fight
The Good Wife spin-off continues to thrive with exciting storylines and a strong cast.
Is it better than the original show? I’d say it’s as good, but it does get let down a little bit by just how much the politics of the showrunners seep into the storylines.
In fact, by setting it in a world where Donald Trump is President and where almost everyone in the law firm hates him, I’m surprised they don’t get sued.
Still, this is the best traditional legal drama on TV in 2018 as far as I’m concerned.
The lawyer killer story-arc kept me interested and entertained throughout
No. 3: Billions
You’ll note above that I used the term ‘traditional legal drama’ because I suppose you could argue that Billions is also a drama about the law.
I’d argue it’s more a drama about the excess of the financial investment industry, but it’s better to keep myself right.
Either way, Billions is an excellent drama that I only discovered this year.
Though I think the lead actors tend to overdo it a little in their performances, the characters they portray are all fairly deep and pretty much none of them are sympathetic or likeable.
But that’s part of the fun.
No. 2: Better Call Saul
My pick for the best drama of the year, Better Call Saul continues to prove that it is superior to Breaking Bad in every way.
And yet it’s because of Breaking Bad that the show is good.
I don’t think there’s any other show that could make the building of an underground drug laboratory into something so gripping, but the beauty of the show is similar to my favourite Star Wars movie, Revenge of the Sith.
The thrill is seeing how all the pieces fall into place for the start of a show that has already ended.
In the 2018 season, characters like Jimmy McGill and Mike Ehrmantraut continue their transformation to the dark side, while the evil and ruthlessness of Gus Fring is highlighted further.
If you’ve seen Breaking Bad, you need to watch Better Call Saul.
No. 1: Taskmaster
Quite simply, Taskmaster is the most consistently entertaining show on TV, and has been for a few years now.
Every episode has new, different and funny tasks, the guests are always great and Greg Davies and Alex Horne are never off form.
I could go back and watch any episode now and find it as funny as the first time I watched it.
It’s probably not the sort of show that should end up on top of a list like this, but that’s just the way it is.
Can’t wait for more in 2019.
Other shows that came into consideration for this Top 5 include Netflix’s Lovesick, Safe, The Good Place and Ultimate Beastmaster, along with output from the UK and USA like Save Me, American Crime Story, The Resident, The Good Doctor, Mr Mercedes (which would have made it if the first half of Season 2 wasn’t such a drag) and Jane The Virgin (definitely one of my guilty pleasures).
Best Old TV Show I Discovered In 2018:
The wonderful Peaky Blinders and the understatedly excellent Detectorists were definitely contenders to win this award, but it has to go to the 1974 BBC drama Colditz, which I reviewed for the blog earlier in the year.
I don’t think the slow pace will be to everyone’s liking, but I thought it was superb, and the acting generally puts most TV from 2018 to shame.
If you’ve never seen it, seek it out.
It’s got to go to WWE.
I religiously watched wrestling from 1991 through to about 2016, and then started to dip in and out.
In 2018, I’ve watched maybe four shows in total. Two different Royal Rumbles (because one isn’t enough), Wrestlemania and I think I maybe watched Survivor Series.
Either way though, wrestling has become unbelievably dreary. Whether or not you like wrestling as a general thing (and believe me, people who don’t like it are always at pains to tell anyone who will listen how much they don’t; these people are worse than Leave voters for forcing their views on you) the fact is that it can be as entertaining as any drama if it’s done right. After all, it is just another form of story telling.
But the 2018 version of wrestling – or at least WWE’s televisual output – involves repeating the same matches and storylines every single week without even trying something different. And there’s just so much of it. What type of person watches three hours of Raw, two hours of Smackdown, one hour of Main Event and one hour of the Cruiserweight show every week, and then on top of that PPV events that now last about 11 hours every other week.
And nothing about it is new. That one of the biggest matches of the year involved Shawn Michaels (debuted 1987) and Triple H (debuted 1995) against The Undertaker (debuted 1990) and Kane (debuted as Kane in 1997) is a scandal. Balding, saggy old men (plus one balding roided to the gills old man) flopping around, barely able to move. For about 45 minutes.
Then in the Royal Rumble – previously one of my top two or three TV highlights of the year – it’s still the same thing as it always is. You can tell exactly who is going to win, who is going to last the longest, who will be out in the first 5 and that Kofi Kingston will do some acrobatic to save himself for the 12th year in a row.
Nothing ever changes. Why? Because it’s the same guy writing it who has written it since the 1980s. Imagine if any other show was like that? It would have been cancelled years ago.
It’s so bad that they are doing a TV storyline acknowledging how bad it is.
How do I know this? Because I still read Raw results every week in the hope of things improving enough for me to watch it again, but all I see is the same old shit.
Weirdly though, I know a lot of people still watch it.
More fool them.