11 TV Shows from 2018 You Should Watch

Steven Strait in The Expanse; KILLING EVE Season: 1 Air Date: 04/23/2018 Description: Characters/Actors: Villanelle (Jodie Comer); Liv Lisa Fries in Babylon Berlin (Syfy; BBC AMERICA; Netflix/Courtesy Everett Collection)(Photo by Syfy; BBC AMERICA; Netflix/Courtesy Everett Collection)

The past year has offered 12 TV seasons Certified Fresh at 100% — including The Good Place, Cobra Kai, Vida, and Dear White People — of 110 overall that are Certified Fresh. A voracious TV consumer could simply work their way down the list of every Certified Fresh TV show of 2018, or have a look at Rotten Tomatoes’ staff picks. Our editorial staff has considered the year in television and curated a list of series that may not have met the criteria for Certified Fresh, but nonetheless have captured our imaginations and earned our recommendation anyway.


What It Is: In the 23rd century, after colonizing the solar system, humans make first contact with an alien race. But rather than meet face-to-whatever, the interaction occurs via the ancient, extinct race’s super-advanced A.I. technology, which humanity struggles to understand, communicate with, and ultimately control.

Why You Should Watch It: It’s been 10 years since Syfy’s Battlestar Galactica remake from Ronald D. Moore (Outlander) went off the air. The series, which topped our list of the 100 best sci-fi series of all time, won worldwide fans through its gritty space-opera storylines about the human struggle with and against intelligent machines. The BSG world felt lived in, and its characters, both human and machine, presented a seemingly viable space-based future.

The Expanse, which Amazon dramatically rescued from cancellation this year, is BSG‘s very worthy successor in offering a similarly complex sci-fi tale with engaging characters and award-worthy production design. It stars Steven Strait, Shohreh Aghdashloo, Dominique Tipper, Cas Anvar, Wes Chatham, Frankie Adams, and Thomas Jane. Why the show hasn’t enjoyed the same level of worldwide appeal is one of the series’ greatest mysteries.

Where to Watch: Amazon, Syfy (season 3)

Commitment: around 25 hours

Picked By: Debbie Day, TV Features Editor


What It Is: In this dry, sometimes unexpectedly somber HBO dark comedy, a professional killer for hire from the Midwest travels to Los Angeles for a hit and stumbles into an acting class, where he not only discovers a community of aspiring actors who welcome him but also begins to imagine a quieter, more normal life.

Why You Should Watch It: Thanks to his up-for-anything enthusiasm and easygoing charisma — not to mention his impeccable comedic timing — SNL and Documentary Now alum Bill Hader has earned a sizable fanbase over the years. Those fans were always going to show up for Barry, no matter how good (or bad) it was. Fortunately, the series does a magnificent job balancing Hader’s natural boyish charm and his less frequently utilized — but still incredibly effective — proficiency at communicating deep pathos (see: The Skeleton Twins), and he’s aided by a stellar ensemble that includes Stephen Root, Anthony Carrigan, Sarah Goldberg, and Henry Winkler in one of his finest roles in years.

Barry begins with a funny idea, infuses it with real emotional investment, and tosses in a few “Oh, sh–!” moments just to keep you on your toes. Hader and Winkler have already taken home Emmys for their efforts, and they’re both up for Golden Globes next, so now is as good a time as any to see what all the fuss is about.

Where to Watch: HBOGO

Commitment: A little over 4.5 hours

Picked by: Ryan Fujitani, Sr. Editor


What It Is: While investigating a pornography ring, Inspector Gereon Rath (Volker Bruch) discovers a web of conspiracies with huge implications for Germany as a whole.

Why You Should Watch It: The idea of the Weimar Republic (the era of German history that spanned from the end of World War I until the rise of the Nazis) has exerted a powerful fascination to this day. It was a time that produced a flowering of artistic expression — from the Bauhaus Movement to The Threepenny Opera, not to mention such cinematic masterworks as The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, Nosferatu, Metropolis, and The Blue Angel — and a moment of (relative) tolerance for LGBTQ people. It was also a time of political upheaval, during which a democratic government attempted to hold together a nation struggling with extreme economic insecurity, a time when communists and fascists brawled in the streets. Historians dispute some elements of this narrative as myth, but while Babylon Berlin may be imperfect history, it’s exhilarating entertainment. Its Berlin is all bright neon and dark shadows, decadent parties and sudden outbursts of violence, mysteries and underground plots. We all know the horrible ending to this story, but the characters in Babylon Berlin don’t, and seeing this tumultuous period through the lives of regular people living in the moment gives the whole thing a haunting poignancy.

Where to Watch: Netflix

Commitment: Just shy of 16 hours

Picked By: Tim Ryan, Review Curation Manager


What It Is: This badass British spy thriller follows two female leads — MI5 intelligence officer Eve (Sandra Oh) and international assassin Villanelle (Jodie Comer) — who become obsessed with tracking each other down.

Why You Should Watch It: There’s a reason Oh is getting finally getting her long-deserved award recognition for this role: She’s phenomenal as a mild-mannered government employee who heads up a task force to find a female assassin (an also-phenomenal Comer), beginning a deadly cat-and-mouse game between the two women. The BBC America series is also frequently incredibly funny, thanks to sharp writing from creator Phoebe Waller-Bridge (Fleabag).

Where to Watch: Hulu, Amazon Prime, YouTube, Google Play, iTunes

Commitment: About 5.5 hours

Picked By: Jean Bentley, Assistant TV Editor


What It Is: A raw mob epic set in 1919 Birmingham, England. Tommy Shelby (Cillian Murphy), a World War I veteran and leader of the “Peaky Blinders” gang, has started the family business of running a bookie service as well as providing local muscle.

Why You Should Watch It: This gritty crime drama will keep you glued to your screen as Tommy tries to build his empire and cement his legacy, all while facing the ever-changing landscape of the new century post-WWI. Guns, gambling, influence, politics, and the streets — this show has it all. Great costume and set design lure viewers into 1919 England to experience the region’s post-war trauma. See how far Tommy will go to make a buck and gain power and the collateral damage his family must endure because of it. The series did not offer a new season to U.S. audiences in 2018, but with season 5 coming in 2019, now is a perfect time to binge it.

Where to watch: Netflix

Commitment: About 24 hours

Picked By: Shane Crocker, Motion Graphic Designer


What It Is: This comic book–adapted Netflix series from the creator of Riverdale is a dark reimagining of the Sabrina, the Teenage Witch story. Half-witch, half-mortal Sabrina (Kiernan Shipka) refuses to sacrifice her human relationships in order to keep her witchy powers and must navigate the boundaries between the mortal and supernatural worlds.

Why You Should Watch It: If you’re the kind of witch who wishes Halloween could be a year-long holiday, look no further than Chilling Adventures of Sabrina. This show has plenty of campy magic and glamorous gore, but it’s more than flashy spells and Satanic references. Each of Sabrina’s allies — her aunts, cousin Ambrose, human friends, and demonic frenemies — has their own depth and intrigue, which makes their world colorful and worth a deep investment. It’s ultimately a coming-of-age story: Watching Sabrina come into her own, and change minds to do so, is exciting, empowering, and fun. She makes some big mistakes along the way, but who can blame her? She’s only just learning to play with hellfire.

Where to Watch: Netflix

Commitment: About 11 hours

Picked By: Sophie-Marie Prime, USC’s Rotten Tomatoes Fellow


What It Is: Maya Rudolph and Fred Armisen star as an ordinary married couple tethered to routine until a freak accident changes everything they thought they knew about themselves and the world.

Why You Should Watch It: Much has been written about how Better Call Saul is an ode to the everyday (crime and dubious legal practices notwithstanding). They couldn’t be more different, but if you’re a fan of BCS, 2018’s Forever will appeal just as well. Created by Alan Yang of Master of None and featuring prolific comedic actors Rudolph and Armisen (do they ever sleep?), the show poses big questions while simultaneously offering tiny details for viewers to chew on long after the final episode of this compact series ends. Avoid spoilers as much as possible before indulging in this series, which somehow marries banality and longing to great effect.

Where to Watch: Amazon

Commitment: 4 hours

Picked By: Sara Ataiiyan, Review Curator


What It Is: Schitt’s Creek is an amalgam of everything that is good and holy about Canadian entertainment.

Why You Should Watch It: Led by Eugene Levy, his gorgeous son Dan, and their beautifully thick eyebrows, Schitt’s Creek follows the Rose family, their fall from grace, and their new life in a tiny town surrounded by some of the most wonderful, eccentric, and underrated characters on TV. The series is a rare bird: both funny and heartwarming, while completely insane and totally relatable. In watching, I have laughed so hard I cried, but I have also cried so hard that I had to laugh (specifically, season 4, episode 6). The relationships, the chemistry, the number of wigs Moira owns, Alexis’ vocal fry, and so on — everything about this show is so perfectly curated that you would be hard pressed to find anything else like it on television.

Where To Watch: Netflix, Amazon Prime, YouTubeGoogle PlayiTunes, Vudu

Commitment: About 20 hours

Picked By: Zoey Moore, Community Manager


What It Is: Loosely based on a Norwegian show of the same name, Cary Joji Fukunaga’s mindtrip of a miniseries delves into the depths of the human mind with humor, heart, and just the right amount of heady conversations to keep you thinking.

Why You Should Watch It: It’s the kind of show that can delicately explore the fragile folds that are the human mind and mental health, while still provoking a fully belly laugh (usually followed by a cathartic cry). Between Emma Stone and Jonah Hill’s melancholy chemistry, the singular force of confidently neurotic nature that is Sonoya Mizuno, and Justin Theroux and Sally Field‘s “special” parent–child relationships (truly something to behold), you feel for each character you meet. For a show about anxiety and depression, it’s refreshingly present. There are no endless flashbacks or flash forwards, even with some of the more cerebral elements. You share moments with the characters as they have them, making for an engaging, emotional viewing experience. Oh, and there are elves, therapy robots, tons of wild accents, unexpected mammals, and a neat retro futuristic feel that’s at once nostalgic and current. It may sound kind of heady, but trust us, it’s worth the trip.

Where to Watch: Netflix

Commitment: 6.5 hours

Picked By: Haña Lucero-Colin, TV Curation Lead


What It Is: A reality series documenting the real lives of six roommates in Japan.

Why You Should Watch It: For those who hate traditional reality TV and want insight into Japanese culture, this is your show. Don’t worry, there’s plenty of love triangles and conflict, but it’s more civilized. It’s the ultimate comfort watch! When you catch up with this season, there’s previous Terrace House series (“Boys and Girls in the City” and “Aloha State”) to enjoy!

Where to Watch: Netflix

Commitment: There are 42 episodes available from the most recent season, all around 30 to 40 minutes each — and it runs through 52! The time commitment is A LOT, but SO worth it.

Picked By: Eileen Rivera, Sr. Director of Production


What It Is: Rich, sexy Spanish teens clash with working-class students at their elite private school, leading to murder.

Why You Should Watch It: Gossip Girl meets Big Little Lies meets Skins meets Cruel Intentions meets The O.C. meets Veronica Mars meets … well, basically every single other of the very best teen dramas for this Spanish-language soap-to-end-all-soaps. The eight-episode season features overachieving teens doing teen things like vying for a scholarship, having sex, doing drugs, blackmailing, and murder. The private-school uniforms evoke Gossip Girl, the class clashes evoke The O.C., and the murder-mystery at the center, featuring flash-forwards to the teens being interrogated by police, is very BLL. Elite is addictive and pulpy and  will most certainly keep viewers up late trying to figure out who killed [spoiler]. Pro tip: If you don’t speak Spanish, Netflix will usually default to the dubbed version. To avoid that travesty, and make sure you select the “European Spanish” audio track.

Where to Watch: Netflix

Commitment: About 8 hours

Picked By: Jean Bentley, Assistant TV Editor

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