Netflix has been making a significant push with its original content, and 2018 has been another great year for the platform. It’s difficult to pick just one series from among the many strong debuts, but if I had to point one out the nod would go to Bodyguard. The opening thirty minutes set the pace for the entire season, accomplishing something many suspense thrillers fail to reach. I don’t want to give anything away, but there were moments while watching where I genuinely believed my hair might go gray prematurely. Bodyguard also brings up some significant themes, both political as well as those close to home. If you are into suspense, intrigue, or police thrillers, this is the show for you. The first season is made up of six episodes, and they move rather quickly despite being an hour long each. This show is definitely not for younger audiences.
With how hectic my life can be, it isn’t so much what my favorite TV show is as much as this is what TV show I choose to watch.
For me, it is Netflix’s Daredevil. I’m so satisfied I decided to watch and review that series. The cinematography is beautiful, the actors capture the characters, and the storylines are engaging. The writers do adjust certain story elements, so it isn’t exactly like the comics. But as this is a different medium, these changes work.
I have yet to watch Season 3. A lot of my friends and reviewers have raved about it. This brings to the discussion the issue of its cancellation. This came as a shock to many fans. But, in light of the new streaming service coming from Disney, the cancellation is understandable from a business standpoint for Netflix. It goes to show how much competition and money play a major part in the production of our favorite media.
In spite of this recent controversy, I still highly recommend Daredevil. Some have suggested it is better the series “ended” on a high note, instead of dropping in quality. I’m hoping there will be some revival of the series, possibly on Disney’s new streaming service. The reality is Marvel may do a soft reboot. Nevertheless, it will be interesting to compare the Netflix version with any future incarnations from Marvel/Disney.
2018 was an amazing year for television. The rise of subscription viewing services has lead to a competitive atmosphere where services like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, HBO, and the like battle it out to win audiences over by providing premium, engaging, and simply entertaining television shows. This trend of excellent TV provided by these television studios has exponentially grown over the last few years. 2018 brings the culmination of this growth as superb shows flood our small screens.
Deciding on my favorite show of 2018 is no easy task. We were lucky enough to be showered with an abundance of excellent shows such as ABC’s “This Is Us,” Netflix’s “Daredevil,” HBO’s “Westworld,” and Amazon Prime’s “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”. The sheer number of shows available allows for a torturous internal conflict in determining what show lands at the top of my list.
After careful consideration, Hulu’s “The Handmaid’s Tale” is my choice for favorite television show of 2018. As I debated with myself on which show would claim the title, I kept turning to The Handmaid’s Tale and how Hulu has exceeded in every aspect of storytelling in a serialized format. By combining excellent writing, cinematography, direction, sound design and editing, and acting, The Handmaid’s Tale excels in every discipline to breathe life into the world it has created. The Handmaid’s Tale submerges the viewer into its world and has them on the edge of their seat every episode.
With multiple awards and nominations, The Handmaid’s Tale has cemented itself as one of the most popular and critically acclaimed shows in this ever-growing market of subscription-based television services. Even with the seemingly countless amount of shows available to consume, The Handmaid’s Tale easily rises to the top.
This was honestly a very tough decision for me, as there are so many good candidates (some of which I intend to write about in 2019). In the end, however, I kept coming back to Blue Bloods. It’s been on for several seasons, but I just started watching it this year thanks to the recommendation of a friend.
Any show that features a family dinner at which grace is said in every episode catches my eye right away, but it’s much more than the story of a multi-generational Catholic family. Each of the members of the family has a different role in law enforcement: Henry, the patriarch, is a retired old-school cop and former commissioner. Frank is the current commissioner and thus his two sons’ boss. Danny, the eldest son, is a detective and the youngest, Jamie (short for Jameson), is a beat cop. Frank’s daughter Erin is an Assistant DA, and the middle son Joe was an officer who was killed by a dirty cop before the beginning of the series; his absence is often mentioned.
Each member of the family, therefore, has a different perspective on law enforcement, and that’s where the show really shines. You have Danny or Jamie arresting a suspect and then Erin explaining the problems with their case, for example. Or Jamie, the by-the-book cop, has a problem and Danny, who Frank says walks right on “the line,” comes up with a suggestion that doesn’t fit with Jamie’s morals. Or sometimes Danny’s methods bring a case to the attention of Commissioner Frank who has to balance being a father and being the Commish. Often these discussions take place at the weekly family dinner mentioned earlier, which makes it one of the most interesting scenes in each episode. Siblings squabble, sometimes leaving the table in anger, but with Frank and Henry’s guidance, they always make peace somehow.
For always offering multiple viewpoints on some very contentious issues of our day, and making it clear we can disagree and still be family (something also applicable to Christians and our brothers and sisters in Christ), Blue Bloods stands tall as my favorite show of the year.
I’ll preface this by saying I watch a lot more anime than I do traditional TV shows. However, I do have a few faves I’ve been following over the years that are still going strong. My #1 show for 2018 would undoubtably be Better Call Saul. It seems like whenever TV comes up in a conversation, “Have you seen Breaking Bad?” is the must-ask question. For the record, yes, I’ve seen it. If you haven’t, I highly recommend it. Better Call Saul serves as a prequel to the hit series, detailing shady lawyer Saul Goodman’s (real name Jimmy McGill) past. This year the show is in its fourth season, and I can honestly say it just keeps getting better. Bob Odenkirk makes it so hard to dislike McGill and the slimy tactics he uses to get things to go his way. Rhea Seehorn gave a standout performance as fellow lawyer and Jimmy’s romantic partner Kim Wexler this season. It’s very clear Jimmy is starting to have a negative effect on her ethics, and I can’t wait to see how their relationship plays out next year.
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