Tuesday, January 1, 2019

The Awards Psychic Top Ten Television Programs of 2018

10. Sharp Objects - Sharp Objects, led by a stunning trio of female performances from Amy Adams, Patricia Clarkson, and Eliza Scanlen, was an incredibly addictive, disturbing, haunting, and incredibly entertaining series, depicting the twisted and utterly shocking lives of a family that would make the Hudson sisters seem loving and normal.

9. The Deuce - Like all of David Simon's shows, they take a while to grow on you. With The Deuce, I appreciated the first season when I first saw it, but I wasn't hooked. When I decided to re-watch leading up to the second season, it began to really grow on me. Then the second season hit, and I was definitely hooked. Simon's work is slow-burning, ensemble driven, where the pieces of the puzzle take a while to come together. But when they do, he creates some of the most interesting, well-written, character-driven dramas on television. Led by fantastic performances, particularly from Maggie Gyllenhaal. The Deuce proves Simon still has it.

8. A Very English Scandal - Stephen Frears took a 1979 English political scandal, and made it seemed like it was ripped from today's headlines. A Very English Scandal is a taut, humorous, and, at times, a purely electrifying miniseries, that is buoyed by and incredible pair of lead performances from Hugh Grant and Ben Whishaw. A perfect way to spend a breezy three hours binge-watching.

7. (TIE) The Good Place and Superstore - NBC used to be the king of comedies, and while the ratings no longer get near Friends level, they have continued to produce quality sitcoms. Two recent ones, Superstore and The Good Place, have really hit their strides. The Good Place is a quirky take on death, afterlife, and fate, while Superstore has become a hilarious, yet surprisingly socially conscious workplace comedy. Both are led by fantastic women, Kristen Bell and American Fererra, both have incredible ensembles, and both simply prove that network comedy is still a vital part of the television landscape. 

6. Killing Eve  - A wicked delight from start to finish, Killing Eve was the surprise of the television year. Combining the wit of Phoebe Waller-Bridge, with a murderous, twisty, spy plot, and daring lead performances by Jodi Comer and Sandra Oh was simply brilliant. This delight will have you laughing one minute, and losing your breath with suspense the next. An absolutely entertaining and exciting debut.

5. Atlanta - Atlanta's second season lost some of the humor that I loved about the first season, but it didn't stop it from being brilliant. Dark, quirky, unique, culturally relevant, and endlessly watchable, Robbin Season proved that Donald Glover is a treasure, and his sensibilities, while not always explainable, continue to have an incredible impact on our culture.

4. Insecure  - Just the Coachella episode alone is worthy of making the list, and the graveyard episode cracked me up to no end. Insecure, in its third season, continues to be a fresh, vital, and hilarious comedy series for millennials. The cast, especially Issa Rae, Yvonne Orji, and Natasha Rothwell, are firing on all cylinders, and their chemistry is unmatched. Issa Rae is quickly becoming the voice of our generation, and her unexpected and absolutely fabulous Emmy nomination proves that the rest of the world might finally be catching up with the brilliance that is Insecure.

3. The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel - Marvelous indeed! The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel was a breath of fresh air from the mind of the great Amy Sherman-Palladino. It's first season swept the Golden Globes and the Emmys, leading up to its second season which had a lot to live up to. Thankfully, for those of us who are fans of the show, the second season did not disappoint. Sherman-Palladino continues to delight us with infectious wit and endearing characters led by an absolutely fantastic cast. Season 2 continues to explore and expand this little world of wacky characters, and proves that Amy Sherman-Palladino is still one of the best in the game.

2. The Americans - In its final season, The Americans continued to be a gripping Cold War-era thriller with plenty of slow burn twists and turns, that became the hallmark of its fantastic seven-season run. The show's ending might have left a lot on the table, but I expected nothing less from a show that was always about the journey not the destination. The Emmys finally took notice, and while it couldn't quite get to Best Drama Series, its wins for writing and a particularly fantastic season for Matthew Rhys were way overdue and welcomed. There is not much else to say other than, I will miss this show. It was not always an easy sit, and wasn't exactly a joy to watch. It was instead a brutally honest, uniquely quiet drama about family, politics, and loyalties, and will go down as one of the finest to ever grace our television screens.

1. Westworld - Westworld Season 2 divided fans, as so many thought that the twists and turns, and the narrative structure were too much to handle, too confusing. Therefore, they gave up, labeled it as trash, and moved on. Well that is their loss, because Westworld Season 2 was the most addictive, immersive television experience of 2018. Yes, the storyline was twisted, to say the least, and the ambiguous ending may have asked more questions than it answered. But at every twist and turn, I only wanted to watch more, I wanted to get that next piece of the puzzle. That is a testament to the brilliant writing, taut directing, and impeccable production value. This season also let viewers become more invested in the characters. That is because Westworld has one of the best ensembles working today, The work of Jeffrey Wright, Ed Harris, Evan Rachel Wood, Rinko Kikuchi, Tessa Thompson, Anthony Hopkins, Jimmi Simpson, Peter Mullan, Zahn McClarnon, and particularly the marvelous, Emmy-winning Thandie Newton, was unmatched, and it elevated Westworld to television heights.

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