It’s been a great year with great shows. I laughed, I cried, I was intrigued and I was blown away. Here are my 10 favourite shows this year:
1. The Americans
Last year The Americans didn’t make my top 10 list. I thoroughly enjoyed the show from the beginning and was always excited for a new season. It has been a chilling spy drama, although sometimes a bit slow and somewhat uneven. But in season 6, the final one, there are no weak points, no slack, it’s just a brilliantly told, harsh marriage drama in the midst of the 1980’s cold war, brutal and emotional, with an ending all about sticking together, letting go and deciding to persevere. I was completely knocked out!
Because it completely and utterly nails romantic comedy and manages to make it fresh, fabulous and relevant. And hot. With a couple in their 40s. Also it had the boldest, most genius season finale ever of a romantic comedy. Hurray for Charles and Liza!
3. Jane the Virgin
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. There is no wittier, more charming and clever show than Jane the Virgin. It knows how to handle grief, guilt and falling in love again — so real, and so perfect! It also has one of the best female characters ever — Petra! And for someone who has been #TeamRafael from the beginning, there is only one thing to say about season 4: Yay!!!
4. The Arrangement
Season 2 of The Arrangement did not disappoint. The number one thing with this soapy (and I say that with love) Hollywood drama is that it treats all its characters as the immensely complex human beings we actually are. Most intriguing is the leader of the Institute of the Higher Mind, Terence. Whether he is the warm, caring friend or the manipulative, authoritarian leader, Terence is totally believable. So eager to help others, but not getting the idea of boundaries. So eager for everyone to be truthful, but incapable of setting his own emotions free. Wanting to control others’ lives, while having no control of his own. I don’t think there has been a more complex or fascinating character on TV this year.
5. Sorry for your loss
I love how this show captures the harsh reality of grief and still manages to be entertaining in its way.
I love how it weaves in grief, depression and alcoholism without being too dark, but portraying the gray everyday of it all, which still entails some laughter.
I love how the show starts with me more of observing Leigh and ends with me feeling everything she feels.
6. The End of the F***ing World
At first I used this show’s 20 minutes episodes as something I could squeeze in when I didn’t have time for a full 40-minute one, but I soon realised The End of the F***ing World deserves a whole lot of more credit than that. It’s a lovely, dark, brutal and heartbreaking story about two teenagers embarking on a fateful journey. One is traumatised after his mother’s suicide, the other from a father who abandoned her physically and a mother abandoning her emotionally. Together they make a twisted pair, where at the end of the road one teenager lost the innocence and the other kind of regained it.
Pose is a lovely, sad yet uplifting melodrama full of heart, set in the 1987 New York gay and trans community with its tragic AIDS stories, the harrowing discrimination as well as the glitzy ballroom scene and their own kind of families where acceptance and happiness is found. It made me shed a tear already at the end of the first episode showing how well the characters are introduced and given life, warmth, history and depth without that many minutes on the screen. Also it includes one of the best moments of the year, Pray Tell (Billy Porter) singing a Donny Hathaway tune to his dying boyfriend and the other patients of the AIDS ward.
8. The Letdown
”Well, it’s not entirely off topic. It’s a cautionary tale about creating a monster” — When your choice of book, Frankenstein, didn’t quite fit into the kind of book you were supposed to bring to your new mothers group. Whether you just had a baby or glad those baby days are far behind you, Australian show The Letdown — that actually premiered in 2017, but came to Netflix this 2018 — presents a hilariously funny, fabulous, real and relatable take on motherhood.
9. Killing Eve
I would check out anything coming from Phoebe Waller-Bridge, who created the brutal but fabulous show Fleabag, and Killing Eve does not disappoint. Sandra Oh is brilliant as the MI5 security officer/wannabe agent and I do find her Eve more interesting than Jodie Comer’s psychopath hit woman, Villanelle, although the two make fabulous pair in this cat and mouth game that takes us all over Europe and Russia. I love seeing middle-aged women finding new paths in their life and Oh does a great, funny, emotional and low-key portrayal of this ordinary, slightly bored woman who suddenly finds herself on a mission to find a killer.
I was not as enamoured of the forth and final season of Casual as I’ve been of the previous. That said, what a wonderful ending this show got! It was perfect from start to end. I loved in season 3 how they seemed to ask (particularly through Alex) what is a normal and acceptable state of mind? How do you know if you are ok or not? How bad can you be feeling but still actually be doing well? You can’t always dance on air. In the last season they all kind of got it. All I wished for them was to find their inner peace and it seemed like they did, without things becoming perfect. The courage to accept, enjoy and move forward. I laughed with them — Alex, Valerie and Laura as well as Leia and Leon — and also shed a tear.
The ones that I also loved, but didn’t make the list: Sharp Objects, The Split, Keeping Faith, Santa Clarita Diet, Homecoming and Timeless…
Then there was GLOW, The Marvellous Mrs. Maisel, Bosch, The Cry, Vida, The Restaurant (Swedish), American Woman, Vida…