Best-Reviewed New TV Shows 2018

The cream of the 2018’s freshman TV crop runs the gamut from dark comedies to slice-of-life docuseries, from slow-burn murder-mysteries to cat-and-mouse spy stories and on. The year’s top shows feature film superstars (Julia Roberts, Amy Adams, Hugh Grant), groundbreaking casts (see: Vida‘s Latinx representation and the largest-ever group of trans actors as series regulars on Pose), and award-winning performances (Bill Hader and Henry Winkler’s Emmy-winning turns in Barry and Golden Globe–winning leading lady Sandra Oh in Killing Eve). In the end, Amazon series Homecoming, from Mr. Robot creator Sam Esmail, topped them all.

The order of the rank below reflects the Adjusted Score as of December 31, 2018. Scores might change over time.

Adjusted Score: 104.793%
Critics Consensus: An impressive small-screen debut for Julia Roberts, Homecoming balances its haunting mystery with a frenetic sensibility that grips and doesn't let go.
Synopsis: Heidi Bergman (Roberts) is a caseworker at the Homecoming Transitional Support Center, a Geist Group facility helping soldiers transition back... [More]

Barry: Season 1 (2018)

Adjusted Score: 103.508%
Critics Consensus: PTSD and comedy make strangely endearing bedfellows in Barry, which proves more poignant than its sketch show premise.
Synopsis: Starring Bill Hader as a depressed, low-rent hitman from the Midwest. Lonely and dissatisfied in his life, he reluctantly travels... [More]

Adjusted Score: 103.195%
Critics Consensus: Seductive and surprising, Killing Eves' twist on the spy vs. spy conceit rewards viewers with an audaciously entertaining show that finally makes good use of Sandra Oh's talents.
Synopsis: Eve (Sandra Oh) is a bored low-level MI5 security employee, working a simple desk-job that don't come close to fulfilling... [More]
Directed By: Harry Bradbeer

Cobra Kai: Season 1 (2018)

Adjusted Score: 102.857%
Critics Consensus: Cobra Kai continues the Karate Kid franchise with a blend of pleasantly corny nostalgia and teen angst, elevated by a cast of well-written characters.
Synopsis: Decades after the tournament that changed their lives, the rivalry between Johnny and Daniel reignites in this sequel to the... [More]
Directed By: Jon Hurwitz

Vida: Season 1 (2018)

Adjusted Score: 102.133%
Critics Consensus: Vida explores familiar familial ground from a fresh perspective to create an earnest and heartfelt take on identity and what it means to belong.
Synopsis: "Vida" is a half-hour series focusing on two Mexican-American sisters from the Eastside of Los Angeles who couldn't be more... [More]

Adjusted Score: 101.284%
Critics Consensus: A nearly unbearable slow burn, Sharp Objects maintains its grip with an unshakably grim atmosphere and an outstanding cast led by a superb Amy Adams.
Synopsis: After the gruesome murder of a preteen girl and the disappearance of another, reporter Camille Preaker (Amy Adams) reluctantly returns... [More]

Pose: Season 1 (2018)

Adjusted Score: 101.508%
Critics Consensus: Charged with energy, poise, and confidence, Pose pirouettes between artistic opulence and deliciously soapy drama to create a fresh new addition to Ryan Murphy's lexicon.
Synopsis: Set in the 1980s, Pose explores the juxtaposition of several segments of life and society in New York: the ball... [More]

Adjusted Score: 101.463%
Critics Consensus: Hugh Grant and Ben Whishaw impress in A Very English Scandal, an equally absorbing and appalling look at British politics and society.
Synopsis: Beginning in the 1960s, Thorpe is the leader of the Liberal Party. He is hiding an affair with a man... [More]

Adjusted Score: 101.009%
Critics Consensus: Random Acts of Flyness' poignant political poetry plays in harmony with its frenetic absurdist humor to create a singular musical television experience.
Synopsis: A fluid, stream-of-conscious response to the contemporary American mediascape, each episode of RANDOM ACTS OF FLYNESS features a handful of... [More]
Directed By: Terence Nance

Adjusted Score: 101.25%
Critics Consensus: America to Me confronts hard questions through candid moments in a Chicago high school, crafting an exploration of race and class relations in America that is as insightful as it is inspiring.
Synopsis: Digging deep into the experiences of a racially diverse student population, "America to Me" sparks extremely candid conversations about what... [More]

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