Best Television Shows 2018 (Oct-December)

Sunday, December 9, 2018

July-September is here.

1. Basketball: A Love Story (ESPN)
2. Mr. In-Between (FX)
3. The Deuce (HBO)
4. Ozark (Netflix)
5. Castaway (ABC)
6. Romanoffs (Amazon)
7. Forever (Amazon)
8. Homecoming (Amazon)
9. American Vandal (Netflix)
10. Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (Amazon)

Basketball is pretty remarkable, a 20 hour documentary looking to cover the entire existence of the sport - only two shows later on this list avoid the label of being a little disappointing.  One of those is Mr. In-Between, a crackling Australian drama about a bonebreaker with a heart of gold.  The other was Castaway, a network reality show with people dropped off on an island that actually aired over the summer but I didn't get to until October.  Everything else was good...but....The Deuce was the best TV series in 2017, so that it's only third for this quarter represents a bit of a drop off - but only a bit, there's a depth of world building here that surpasses the rest of television. Ozark is almost entirely plot and played the same notes in season two, but played them well.  I'm of the mind that Mad Men is the greatest television show ever created, so the bar for Romanoffs was impossibly high; I think "inessential" would be the best way to describe it. The two star studded Amazon debuts are next; I like Fred and Maya; everyone likes Julia - and those were easy shows to watch and disappeared as soon as the set clicked off.  I loved - loved - season 1 of American Vandal, I was at the high end of critical evaluation of season 1, but without the performance of the main suspect, season 2 lacked the same depth.  About half a dozen shows could have filled this last spot - that Emma Stone/Jonah Hill show, whose name I can't remember, the Patricia Arquette prison escape show - I really like the new late night talk shows on E and had Ladygang in that spot right up until press time.  In the end, it's Maisel, which has a really strong comic performance by the lead and is grating when she's off the screen.  Not here is Kidding; Eternal Sunshine is very high on my all time movie list, and I found Jim Carrey impossible to watch here.  Watch that documentary he did this year instead.

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