Television is very different than it was when I was a kid. There are so many platforms to watch TV shows these days! 2018 was one of the best years ever for those who regularly watch TV! I spent an ungodly amount of time hooked on certain shows.
Westworld– Season 2 of the HBO show stretched my mind to the point of insanity! It was a mind-blowing season that completely changed everything you thought you knew about the show. The best character of the season was Akheta who actually became the heart and soul of the show in one episode! The long wait for Season 3 began last summer but I plan on binge watching the show again very soon! Evan Rachel Wood, Ed Harris, Anthony Hopkins, Jeffrey Wright, Thandie Newton, James Marsden, and Tessa Thompson make up an incredible ensemble. What is real and what isn’t is the central theme of this show!
The Handmaid’s Tale– Week in and week out, Elizabeth Moss killed it on this Hulu series. I binged the first season right before the second season came out. It is easily one of the most disturbing shows ever made. There are scenes on this show that should give any human being with a moral compass significant pause. Religion is important but humanities interpretation of the Bible is something we need to watch in the years ahead. We need to be very careful as a society because we aren’t that far off from this type of future in these days of Trumpsters who think the man walks on water.
The Americans– The final season of The Americans gave the big payoff. I won’t ruin it for those who never watched the series. But the entire series about Russian spies living in the United States in the 1980s reached its climax and resolution this year in a season that didn’t stop until the very end. Highly recommend!
This Is Us– The hit NBC series finally revealed how Jack died in a post Super Bowl show that made us all want to throw out our crockpots! This show hits that family chord in those who love the show in a major way. This show tackles everything, from issues of race to abandonment to drugs to politics to depression and more! The Vietnam story intrigued me and the stunning revelation in the Winter finale will keep me glued to this show when it comes back in a couple of weeks!
Counterpart– The Starz series focuses on two realities, “our reality” and the “other reality”, similar to ours but with some subtle differences. J.K. Simmons plays the lead with tactical skill. Standout acting chops also go to Harry Lloyd as some folks may know as the recipient of “a crown for a king” on the first season of “Game of Thrones”. If you like espionage and spy stuff, this is the series for you! What made this show really awesome for me was the second season came out earlier this month with only a nine-month wait between seasons!
The Man In The High Castle– After a long wait, Amazon Prime delivered the third season of this show at the end of October. The wait was definitely worth it as something happens in the 5th episode that left viewers scratching their heads. The finale delivered in a big way leaving fans wondering how in the world there can even be a next season. I have no doubt we will find out! If you haven’t been watching this show about a world where the Nazis won World War II, you simply have to start NOW!
The Alienist– Even though this was technically a “mini-series” with a beginning and an ending, it was one of the best of the year! When some grisly murders start taking place in New York City in the late 1890s, a team tries to find out who the killer is before he strikes again. The cinematography in this series was outstanding but the biggest surprise was the acting of Dakota Fanning who proved that child stars can grow up to be phenomenal! This was on TBS by the way!
Shameless– Who ever thought a PTA meeting could be that funny? William H. Macy must have had the time of his life filming that scene! The long-standing Showtime series hit on all cylinders when it returned this fall. It comes back next month and fans of the show will want to see how Fiona Gallagher leaves the show!
Castle Rock– This show from Hulu kept me riveted all summer long. Any show that features characters and themes from Stephen King’s mythical town of Castle Rock is going to draw me in. Add in a mystery that begins in Shawshank Prison and some stellar acting from the legendary Sissy Spacek and you have a recipe for success! The show will be back next summer with a new mystery, much like the format for American Horror Story.
The Walking Dead– The Winter episodes and the Fall episodes featured many deaths and exits from the show. While Carl and Rick will no longer appear on the show, the one that ticked me off the most was the death of Jesus. But that is testament to the actor’s ability to make me care about the character! The “post Rick” episodes of the long-running show were the shot in the arm this series needed! I look forward to the “Whisperers” storyline as the show comes back in February!
Billions– The Showtime series starring Damian Lewis and Paul Giamatti delivered a third season of acting gold! Both actors slam it every single time they show up on the screen. In the third season, both of them had revenge inflicted on them in a way that is going to make the next season very interesting. Fans of “The Delaware Way” should take note of this series and never assume things stay buried forever!
Roseanne/The Connors– The return of the controversial show last Winter got huge ratings! But series star Roseanne couldn’t keep her mouth shut on Twitter and was kicked off the show. It returned in the fall with the rest of the characters. I actually like the show. I hated it when it was on before. I find that so many Republicans love the show to be ironic given one of the characters is a cross-dresser!
Mr. Mercedes– If you read the Stephen King trilogy, you are probably watching this show. If you haven’t, you must! Brendan Gleeson is giving the role of his lifetime as the crotchety ex-detective Bill Hodges. And Justine Lupe is fantastic in her role as Holly, one of the most unique characters King ever created. But the true treat is the depths of evil delivered by Harry Treadaway in the role of Brady Hartsfield. No one is safe as long as Brady is involved.
Ozark– The second season of the Netflix series came out in the fall and it was better than the first. I didn’t think that was possible! But Jason Bateman and Laura Linney continue to spiral into darkness on this show as a couple who put themselves into positions of utter evil while actually thinking they are the victims. Excellent writing on this show!
Preacher– The third season brought Grandma to the show! As a reader of the original comic book series in the 1990s, this was the one storyline I wondered how they would do on the television screen. They did not show the one scene and that is probably a good thing because that would have been too much for any tv show no matter what station it aired on. But Betty Buckley (the mom from “Eight Is Enough”) was the best choice ever to play Jesse Custer’s depraved grandmother. Jody and T.C. were equally disturbing! While this show will never win any awards, it is a great ride. Warning: If you are easily offended by the characters thoughts on religion, don’t watch it!
Daredevil– The third (and final) season of Netflix’s Daredevil was the best yet! The Kingpin goes after the blind superhero in a big way and no one in Matt Murdock’s world is safe! Will the Man Without Fear stop Wilson Fisk from his stranglehold on New York City? Will we ever see a greater Marvel show ever again?
Succession– HBO created a new show about a “Rupert Murdoch” type family. The show is obviously a satire of rich and famous families. When the family patriarch suffers from a stroke, his children plot and scheme to be the one to rule the multi-media company that closely resembles Murdoch’s Fox empire. What is more important? Family or power? The answers may shock you!
Yellowstone– Some might call this Montana-based ranch drama a modern-day version of Dallas. I thought it was really interesting. Kevin Costner stars as the patriarch of the Dutton family. With multiple stories going on, the one that intrigues me the most involves the Native-American reservation that borders the property of Costner’s land. The power plays in this series are riveting and make you wonder what is going to happen next. This show actually puts Dallas to shame!
2019 will bring the long-awaited final season of Game of Thrones in April. The same month, American Gods Season 2 comes out on Starz! These are the big two for me in the coming year! I’m also looking forward to the CW’s “Arrowverse” crossover for next fall, Crisis on Infinite Earths. We are still in a golden age for television folks!
For those who think I spend all my time blogging, think again! That is just one facet of my life. As shown by this very article and the music one earlier today, I am a man of many hobbies! I even binged all six seasons of Lost last April!