As we’re firmly ensconced in the Peak TV era, choosing the Top 10 television shows is almost a fool’s errand, but why not give it a go?
In no particular order:
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (Amazon) – If you liked the first season (and you should) you’ll enjoy the second. If you’re unfamiliar with the significance of summer vacations in the Catskills (the Borscht Belt) among Jewish culture, it may seem odd at first, but it’s a nice nuance the show gets right.
The Good Place (NBC) – I was late for this one, but it is easily one of the smartest shows on television. Incorporating classic philosophical ideas into a sitcom is truly unique (Chuck Lorre, take a note). While I am a little suspect they can ride the idea out much longer, for now it’s fantastic.
It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia (FXX) – Look, the show has been on for 13 f’ing years now. 13! It is one of the longest running shows in television history. The show is SO overlooked they don’t even list it on the Wiki for The Longest Running Television Show (but somehow Falcon Crest made the list).
You either watch it or you don’t.
If you don’t, you should.
Patriot (Amazon) – One of the more subtle, hilarious and dark shows. If you think those three ideas are incongruous, watch the show. If you think those three ideas are interesting, watch the show. If you like smart television, watch the show. In short, you should really watch the show. BUT, stick with it, it starts a little slow.
The End of the F****** World (Netflix) – Based on a graphic novel, this import highlights the nihilism and angst of teenage life … and does it very well and with a sublime nod to Quentin Tarantino.
Killing Eve (BBC America) – From Phoebe Waller-Bridge, this is a brilliant modern cat and mouse story with the right amount of charm, comedy and sensuality. Waller-Bridge is the force behind Fleabag (which you can see on Amazon, and you should) and Crashing (NOT the HBO show with Pete Holmes). You should also get used to hearing and seeing her name. She’s brilliant.
Atlanta (FX) – FX has the wherewithal to let the creative minds do their thing and it almost always pays off. With Atlanta, Donald Glover proves he is a creative force to be reckoned with. It’s a little clunky and odd here and there, but it’s mostly a masterpiece.
Barry (HBO) – Great idea executed (yes, pardon the pun) exceptionally well. This show is a nice companion piece to Patriot. It’s a little lighter and funnier, but the humor is similar, and that’s a good thing. Henry Winkler is amazing … but then so is everyone.
GLOW (Netflix) – If you liked the first season, you’ll enjoy the second. The writing is great, as well as the cast, but it’s Alison Brie and Marc Maron that are the secret sauce here.
Dark (Netlfix) – Imagine The Dust Brothers (Stranger Things) and David Lynch had a child and then you’d have a pretty good idea of what Dark is like. A complicated and conceptually wide series that is at the same time quite taut. Pay attention because nothing is extraneous or out-of-place.
The Americans (FX)
Bobs Burgers (FOX)
Better Call Saul (AMC)
Tabla Rasa (Netflix)
13 Reasons Why (Netflix)
Hannah Gadsby: Nanette (Netflix)
Any News Show – Local/National, your pick. Imagine if Richard Nixon and David Lynch had a child and then you’d have a good idea of what our modern news cycle is like. You won’t find more drama these days than on the news networks. It’s often more bizarre than scripted programs.
Best wishes for a Happy New Year!
A version of this was published at TheLatest.com, December 26, 2018.