The number of scripted shows keeps rising, but we do our best to try and watch as much as we can to bring you lists such as this one. As 2018 winds down and we’re all set to welcome a new year, we chose what we thought were the top 10 best TV shows of the last year. Some of these shows made us laugh, some made us cheer and feel intense emotions, and others simply made us forget about the real world for a little while. There were many, many shows that were voted on (which speaks to the eclectic group of writers and tastes we have at TYF), but the list of shows below got the most votes and so we hold them near and dear to our hearts.
Check out which shows made our top 10 and why below!
10. The Haunting of Hill House
The Haunting of Hill House on Netflix redefined the standards of TV Horror. Not all scary TV shows need blood, gore, and cheap gimmicks to create that uneasy and creepy tone. Hill House showed that strong dialogue, well-developed characters, and attention to detail, with its visual elements, can create a horror property that rivals non-supernatural shows. And on top of that, The Haunting of Hill House is so beautifully terrifying. Ghosts moving in the distance, the use of darkness and light, and eerie camera angles are some visual cues that create an undercurrent of tension. These elements, coupled with the captivating story of the Craven family, made this one of the best mini-series of the year. (Also, the Bent-Neck Lady is a twist you shouldn’t miss)! —Justin Carreiro
9. The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel made a splash at the end of last year, and the Amazon Prime Original somehow got splashier in season two. Delightful, sweet, and funny, Mrs. Maisel expands upon the titular character’s world in its sophomore season, giving more screen time to her parents (Tony Shalhoub is fantastic this season), manager Suzy (we learn more about her family history), and sort-of ex-husband, Joel (who gets a redemption arc that he might or might not deserve). It all comes together to create a breezy and entertaining season, one that leaves you hanging on a big moment and upset that there are not more episodes to devour. Amy Sherman-Palladino brings her signature quirk and quick wit to this show, but it’s her eye for color and lighting that makes Mrs. Maisel a series that is also a marvel to look at on your screen of choice. —Gabrielle Bondi
Of all the great kitschy TV choices on today’s streaming services (and there are a few), none have the gleaming ’80s cheese and the gruff humanity of Netflix’s GLOW. After its debut season took a while to get off the ground, the show’s second season showed a major improvement by deepening its characters right from the get-go. The relationship between Ruth and Debbie remains a great mix of soap-opera drama and genuine competition, elevated further by the dedicated performances of Alison Brie and Betty Gilpin. Meanwhile, the motherly struggle of the “Welfare Queen,” Tamme, is given great depth due to Kia Stevens’ heartfelt portrayal and comic gold is mined from the likes of “She-Wolf” (Gayle Rankin), “Britannica” (Kate Nash) and “Scab” (Britt Baron). Top it off with Marc Maron giving his career-best turn of droll snark and you’ve got one of the best ensemble casts in comedy today. Also, per the GLOW characters, just remember: don’t kidnap kids. —Jon Winkler
Bill Hader’s HBO dramedy, Barry, is a freshman series with a great premise: what if a masterful hitman wanted to try his hand in the heavily competitive “kill or be killed” world of acting? It’s one thing to have a great premise and it’s another thing entirely to get it right. Thankfully, Hader’s darkly brilliant series, ahem, killed it with its investing, engaging, and ruthless first season, providing the stand-out Saturday Night Live veteran with his chance to prove himself as an actor, writer, director, and showrunner — all at the same time, no less. With his first platform to prove his mettle in full, beyond the sketches he aced on late night television, Hader not only proved himself with a great, nuanced character to play, but he also provided fantastic supporting roles for Sarah Goldberg, Stephen Root, and the great Henry Winkler, who justly won an Emmy for his portrayal of the wise-yet-delusional acting coach, Gene Cousineau. In the competitive world of peak television, much like acting, it takes a lot to stand out and prove yourself. Thankfully, Barry knows how to make quite an impression. —Will Ashton
6. The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina
I was more than content with the first season of Riverdale even though the writers had gone beyond the boundaries of creative privilege and turned the show into something darker than the Archie comics that I grew up on. Then, I heard that there would be a Riverdale spinoff featuring Sabrina and as excited as I was to watch another favourite childhood comic come to my TV screen again, I was highly suspicious. Would it follow the same dark path as Riverdale?
My questions were answered when the trailer was released and clips of a young witch performing séances flittered across the screen. Instead of being horrified, I was actually so stoked to see what the first season of The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina would be like. It did not disappoint. While I thought there were multiple instances where Sabrina came off as selfish, I relished all the scenes where magic, mystery, and romance collided. I’m crossing my fingers that season two is just as good. —Leigh-Ann Brodber
5. Killing Eve
Part of what makes Killing Eve so good is that it relies so heavily on Eve (Sandra Oh) and Villanelle’s (Jodie Comer) fascination with each other. Eve’s job provides some security from behind a desk, but she quickly becomes obsessed with wanting to catch Villanelle, an assassin who’s gone under the radar for two years, and goes out into the field to do so. The fascination goes both ways, with Villanelle being drawn to Eve like a moth to a flame. Both characters are overlooked at different points in the story simply because they’re women, and it’s the underestimation of how far they’re willing to go that allows the intensity to build-up to an exciting finale. Sandra Oh gives a fantastic performance as the title character and Jodie Comer is equally phenomenal as the unhinged Villanelle. Killing Eve debuted a strong and subversive first season, one that is anchored by two very different women whose paths converge in the most intriguing of ways. It’s a fresh take on the thriller genre, Oh and Comer have wonderful chemistry, and the finale leaves a lot doors open for greatness in its upcoming second season. —Mae Abdulbaki
4. Queer Eye
This year had us all screaming “Yas queen” or “Can you believe?” one moment and bawling our eyes out the next. The return of Queer Eye on Netflix was a huge success after a major revamp from the show circa mid-2000’s. It was the type of show you could binge-watch, feel good, and come away with lessons you could put to use in your own life. There was no need to scream after each episode hoping the ending turned out differently. It was wholesome and the type of show that made us forget about what was happening in our own lives while taking a look at someone else’s. —Ashley Bulayo
Season two of Atlanta – Robbin’ Season somehow topped the previous. “Robbin’ Season” refers to the moment when robberies increase, however, “Robbin'” was much more of a play on word for the theme of each episode. We were able to see what it meant to be robbed of time, money, dignity, etc. It showed the truth and harsh realities that we barely see portrayed on television. It’s interesting too, that even though each character was showcased more in one episode versus another, collectively, the season told a complete story featuring character growth and development. Really, it was a cinematic experience once watched one after the other. Rather than being robbed, viewers were gifted with an impeccable season. —Ashley Bulayo
2. BoJack Horseman
Most sitcoms — animated or otherwise — tend to fall into a rhythm once they reach a certain point. They have established a tone and style after several years on television (or streaming) and they aim mainly to please, and not to challenge. That’s what continues to make BoJack Horseman not only one of the best sitcoms on television but one of the best TV shows made available today. Whether they’re continuing to explore the darkness of our title character, which includes not only his substance abuse problems but his troubling, haunting past, Diane’s identity as a Vietnamese woman, Todd’s heartfelt difficulties with being in a committed relationship as an asexual and Princess Carolyn’s weighted troubles with fertility, all while exploring Hollywood’s reckoning with the #MeToo movement and how that might relate to our unstable anthropomorphic protagonist, Netflix’s extraordinary BoJack Horseman never takes it easy. And we’re certainly made better because of that, even if this astounding fifth season was quite possibly the most brutal and difficult season to date. But it also remains, despite it all, one of the consistently funny shows found on TV today. That’s one hell of a feat. But when it comes to BoJack, they never horse around when it comes to providing the goods. Thankfully, this year is among their best. —Will Ashton
1. The Good Place
It’s no secret that The Good Place is one of the best series on television. After all, this is a series that can only come from the mind of Parks and Recreation creator Mike Schur. What strikes me about how good this series is is that no matter what happens, they always find a way to reinvent the wheel at the end of each season. I don’t review much TV, but when it comes to The Good Place, you can’t really discuss the show with people that haven’t seen it. If someone starts watching The Good Place, the best recommendation is to KEEP WATCHING!
Season three’s midseason finale, titled “Janet(s),” goes above and beyond. I don’t want to say much about this particular episode for fear of spoiling it, but D’Arcy Carden deserves all the awards for Best Supporting Actress for her performance as Janet in this episode. —Danielle Solzman