The 15 best TV shows of 2018 so far

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L-R: THE HANDMAID’S TALE — “Postpartum” — Episode 212 — Offred is sent to a familiar place. Nick is rocked by Gilead’s brutal response to a crime. Emily is assigned to a mysterious new house. Offred (Elisabeth Moss) and Rita (Amanda Brugel), shown. (Photo by: George Kraychyk/Hulu); Description: Joy Nash as Plum Kettle – Dietland _ Season 1, Episode 8 – Photo Credit: Patrick Harbron/AMC; GOOD GIRLS — “Summer Of The Shark” Episode 109 — Pictured: (l-r) Retta as Ruby Hill, Mae Whitman as Annie Marks — (Photo by: Steve Dietl/NBC); Jane The Virgin — “Chapter Seventy-Nine” — Image Number: JAV415b_0343.jpg — Pictured: Gina Rodriguez as Jane — Photo: Tyler Golden/The CW — © 2018 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

TV just keeps getting better and better. It’s so hard to choose what’s what to watch. We’ve narrowed it down, and here is the best of TV so far.

TV fans, we know it can get overwhelming with so much quality content available to us right now. Deciding what to watch is an embarrassment of riches, so we’ve decided to do the leg work for you. We’ve culled the very best of TV so far for this year, and even narrowed it down to the best episodes.

Let me warn you, folks. There are a lot of spoilers contained therein, so proceed with caution. You can find the most egregious of the spoiling bits in the second paragraph of each entry, so read carefully.

In no particular order, here they are:

The Handmaid’s Tale

Best Episode: “Holly”

So much has been said about this show that it’s hard to find some new way to rave about it. Based on the 1985 novel of the same name by Margaret Atwood, it depicts a dystopian near-future in which women have been reduced to either baby-making slaves or hardened co-conspirators. If you haven’t watched the Hulu original, be warned that it is a tough, tough watch. The brutalities depicted in this show are relentless, but so necessary to watch in this moment in American history.

The best episode of the year comes in “Holly,” in which Elizabeth Moss proves she is one of the best and brightest performers of our generation. June is forced to have her baby alone in an abandoned house in the woods. Set against the quiet rage of Yvonne Strahovski’s Serena Joy, these women have established a new bar for tension and conflict on a television show.


Best Episode: “Chapter 7: Loud, Fast, and Keep Going”

This Bill Hader/HBO vehicle is the sleeper hit of the year. Far too few folks are watching this show, and it’s such a shame. Hader plays Barry Berkman, an erstwhile hitman, looking for a larger purpose through an amateur acting class. It’s reminiscent of John Cusack’s Martin Blank from Gross Pointe Blank, yet Barry isn’t as adept at his job as Martin. He’s adorably hapless, and his growing conscience is a major plotline throughout the series.

Although, much like Martin Blank, Barry tries to shift blame onto everyone else around him, the weight of his actions come down hard and heavy in the moving “Chapter 7: Loud, Fast, and Keep Going.”

The title of the episode is plucked from a monologue delivered by Henry Winkler’s character, and it pretty much describes an onstage breakdown Barry suffers after having to murder someone he knows. Barry, flip and distant for the first half of the season, visibly crumbles, and it’s one of the most compelling moments of television we’ve seen all year.

Schitt’s Creek

Best Episode: “Open Mic”

Who knew one of the most well-written and acted comedies of the year would come from a little-known network like POP? However, the Daniel Levy show has proven itself, time and time again, to be smart and of-the-moment. It will surprise you with it’s strange mix of poignancy and sarcasm. Levy is part of an all-star cast that includes Eugene Levy (his father), Catherine O’Hara, and Annie Murphy, who make up the Rose family (no relation). After a series of unfortunate financial mishaps, the Roses have to move to a tiny little town, and they suffer major culture shock.

Over the course of the four seasons, the show has grown more and more comfortable in its own skin, leaning in to what it does best: satire-tinged sentiment. The fourth season is arguably its best, with the sweet “Open Mic” making the strongest case. In this installment, Daniel Levy’s David is feeling insecure about his crush’s talent at their store’s open mic night, but Patrick serenades him with an acoustic version of Tina Turner’s “Simply the Best.” It is the absolute most romantic thing I’ve ever seen, no question about it.


Best Episode: “The  Mother of All Matches”

Netflix’s GLOW is based on the actual characters from an ’80s all female wrestling show. Although the first season was excellent, exploring the characters through the lens of this narrative gimmick, the second season really gives us a chance to know the women, going beyong their hacky costumes and offensive characters. Starring Allison Brie as Ruth and Betty Gilpin as Debbie, GLOW is telling women’s stories, and it’s an exercise in resilience and grace under the worst of circumstances.

As a person that blew through the second season in just about one sitting, I can firmly attest to the power of the fourth episode, “Mother of All Matches.” The meat of the episode takes place outside of the ring, and the best of it is a drunk Debbie singing a plaintive “Home on the Range” after selling everything in her house in a manic attempt to deal with her recent divorce. Sad, but beautiful.

Good Girls

Best episode: “Summer of the Shark”

I would watch Retta, Mae Whitman, or Christina Hendricks do anything separately, but put them together in a weekly dose of badass female power, and I’m all the way in. Good Girls is a show about three suburban women searching for a solution for their financial woes. They collectively decide to rob the grocery store Annie (Whitman) works in, but they quickly discover the money has some major strings. Namely, to a local crime boss and total cutie named Rio.

Hendricks’ Beth is the default leader of the bunch, although they’re a pretty democratic set. However, she’s got a small little flirtation with the tattooed and menacing Rio. I’ve never ‘shipped any two characters harder than I ‘ship these two, but in “Summer of the Shark” Beth stands up to Rio in a way that goes from confrontational to very definitely ‘ship-worthy. As a previously meek and archetypical housewife, Hendricks has the performance of the season in her face off with Rio.