You’ve read our Best Films of 2018… So Far feature, or you will (you will!) and now it’s time to move onto the small screen, and as we know the quality of television has jumped leaped and bounds in the age of Peak TV (Ridley Scott just said this week filmmakers should be careful because Television is catching up with movies, which still very debatable). There’s a zillion shows out there, it’s impossible to keep up and all of it is exhausting frankly.
But it’s also rewarding too. There’s simply no shortage of things to watch and cable channels and streaming giants like HBO, Showtime, Netflix, Amazon, FX and others are continuing to kill it. While TV isn’t as rich as movies so far this year, we’re only at the midway point and there are loads of good series in the pipeline, including a new Coen Brothers Western on Netflix, that we’re dying to see.
But there’s tons of amazing heavy-hitting creators on TV, the Glovers (“Atlanta“), Brian Koppelman And David Levien (“Billions“), Jonathan Nola and Lisa Joy (“Westworld“), Phoebe Waller-Bridge (“Killing Eve“), Alec Berg and Bill Hader (“Barry“), Lena Waithe (“The Chi“) and many, many more. Dive in and mark these down in case, and understandably so, you still have some catching up to do this year.
“The End of the F**king World”
Netflix’s “mouthy troubled girl meets budding psychopathic boy,” drama series may on the surface have appeared to be another teeny-bopper take on the “Bonnie and Clyde” narrative, but “The End of the F**king World” quickly became apparent it was something more raw than its first impression. Alex Lawther and Jessica Barden play the equally disaffected teens perfectly and your heart aches for them as the audience peels back their facades to their genuine pain, hurt and confusion underneath. The series chooses to go a different way from Charlie Covell’s graphic novel, but in doing so the series delves deeper into the tough, uncomfortable issues of isolation of the modern world, and the apathy and disaffection we consciously/unconsciously put upon ourselves to protect us from pain and disappointment. Ultimately, two misanthropic, damaged teenagers made numb by the disappointing adults and world around them, while trying to figure out the cards they have been dealt, somehow managed to make a tenuous and genuine emotional connection with one another in a f**ked up world. In a roundabout way, James and Alyssa’s connection gives people hope; if they can do it, so can we. – Elizabeth MacLeod
“Dear White People”
Given the insane (justifiable) buzz for FX‘s “Atlanta,” Netflix and Justin Simen‘s “Dear White People” seems to get criminally overlooked when we’re talking about shows where comedy, social commentary and modern social anxiety and insight intersect but let’s just say it. While “Dear White People” does receive good reviews and praise, in the general cultural conversation it’s often overlooked: we do not spend enough time praising and talking about this smart, savvy, hilarious and razor-sharp show. Set against the backdrop of a predominantly white Ivy League university where racial tensions bubble just below the surface, “Dear White People,” is a send-up of the Obama-era “post-racial” society. Race no longer matters! We’re no longer racists! Bull-fucking-shit, obviously and ‘DWP’ has addressed Trump, Charlottesville, racist online trolls and more relevant social commentary in season two without feeling hamfisted about it. Plus it’s about love, sex, relationships, social politics, social injustice, political correctness and so much more. An adaptation of the indie movie of the same name (also written/directed by Simien), ‘DWP’ suffered, at first, from repetition, but it’s found its voice on TV soon thereafter, has stolen the ball and hasn’t looked back. Plus, there’s some seriously good diverse directors on the show too doing solid work: Charlie McDowell, Salli Richardson-Whitfield, Kimberly Peirce, Janicza Bravo and more. Check it and then try and tell us we were wrong. – Rodrigo Perez