From 2005 through 2012, I pretty consistently wrote my Sunday Morning Tuneage blog. It continued inconsistently through 2013 before being abandoned. Each year was punctuated with a series of "Best of" lists. While the blog still remains retired, I'm revived it last year for a Best of 2017. The feedback was enough for me to compile it again this year. Here's the middle entry of the "Best of" trilogy.
BEST OF TV 2018
We live in a very high-quality TV-show era now. Maybe the top end isn't as strong as a decade ago but the number of very good shows is amazing. It's hard to even keep up with shows that aren't on your sourcing radar - HBO, Showtime, Amazon, Hulu, Netflix, etc. This list is as fluid as any here - ask me tomorrow and it might be different - but here it is at this time and place.
BEST TV SHOWS OF 2018
1. BETTER CALL SAUL (AMC) The ability to not just rely on being related to Breaking Bad but also telling a complex character study of Jimmy McGill that overshadows the references to the other show. The final episode to this past season was heartbreaking.
2. SILICON VALLEY (HBO) In a year without Veep, this becomes by default the best comedy around.
3. DOCTOR WHO (BBC) The female Doctor was an interesting transition. In some ways, it feels like a complete reboot, but it was a fun season really meant to attract new viewers more than give us older ones a pay off.
4. LEGION (FX) I barely understood any episode this season. It feels like a long psychology lecture followed by philosophy class. Yet I looked forward to it all season.
5. BOB'S BURGERS (FOX) I should only have to tell you that for the Halloween episode, Gene was Andre 3000 the Giant. And I knew when I saw his costume before he said it.
6. WESTWORLD (HBO) I'm still not sure I understand everything that happened last season but I love looking at it and guessing who is or isn't a robot.
7. AMERICAN HORROR STORY: APOCALYPSE (FX) A nice comeback for the series this year.
8. THE X-FILES (FOX) Still some pretty magic moments. They have become better at dry humor than crime solving.
9. LEGENDS OF TOMORROW (CW) This has become the craziest and funniest superhero show on TV. The "unicorn" clinched it for me to start the season.
10. RIVERDALE (CW) Just pure guilty pleasure week after week.
Because there are 391 TV shows across the networks, cable, Netflix, Amazon, Hulu and your favorites. I'm not even sure the term TV Show is correct anymore. Maybe it's just Show. And you know those people who say "It's on my list" but they don't even have a list? Well, I actually have a list and it might be ten years from now but I seem to get to all of these eventually.
BEST SHOWS THAT I DON'T WATCH (yet) (or have just started)
1. THE HOUSE ON HAUNTED HILL (NETFLIX) Just haven't taken the time yet.
2. THE GOOD PLACE (NBC) Too many people I respect have told me I'd like this. I like the few scenes that I've seen too.
3. KILLING EVE (BBC)
4. BARRY (HBO) How did I not hit this up on Tivo when it aired?
5. THE AMERICANS (FX) At some point, I'll start to slog my way through this - I've heard enough to know it will amaze me.
6. HOMECOMING (AMAZON)
7. GLOW (NETFLIX)
8. CHILLING ADVENTURES OF SABRINA (NETFLIX) To compliment my love of Riverdale.
9. ATLANTA (FX) I know I'll love it.
10. OZARK (NETFLIX)
You remember the way I like trailers almost as much as movies? Ads are even more intriguing. One, there are fewer actual old-time commercials anymore and for fewer and fewer products. Two, where do you even sit still for them anymore? For me, it's mostly during sporting events but even then I usually have to see them in another setting to know to watch them. It has turned into the Internet showing me these fine little movies.
BEST TV ADS OF 2018
1. ERSTE BANK - HEDGEHOG CHRISTMAS. This 90-second movies stars the cutest dang animals and you're the one crying.
2. BOUYGUES - DANCING DAD. Because at some point these children are going to appreciate my sweet dance moves. And once again...tears.
3. DARE ICED COFFEE - CALLUM MURRAY. Because a great ad isn't always some long, thought-out character development and pay off. Sometimes, it's just a funny pun for 30 seconds.
BONUS: HP SPROCKET - LITTLE MOMENTS. I don't remember if I put this on last year's list and even if I did, it's worth revisiting again. Always.
BEST TV OF 1988
Want to really feel like 1988 was a long time ago? Watch some of the TV from that era. It was a relatively dark period for shows as we waded through a rough patch until the 1990s saw an upswing that would blossom around 2002 into where we find ourselves today. It's hard to even fathom that ABC showed movies five nights a week and ABC, NBC and CBS all programmed films on Sunday nights.
1. THE WONDER YEARS (ABC - Wednesday) Still one of my favorites.
2. CHEERS (NBC - Thursday) I was always a big fan through the whole run.
3. ROSEANNE (ABC - Tuesday) These first couple seasons are really tremendous.
4. IT'S GARY SHANDLING'S SHOW (FOX - Sunday)
5. CHINA BEACH (ABC - Wednesday) In a year dominated by sitcoms, this drama separated itself by not being the typical soap opera or mystery of the other non-sitcoms.
6. THE COSBY SHOW (NBC - Thursday)
7. ALF (NBC - Monday)
8. DEAR JOHN (NBC - Thursday) An underrated entry in the "Must See" NBC lineup.
9. NIGHT COURT (NBC - Wednesday)
10. KATE & ALLIE (CBS - Monday)
Stay tuned for Best of the Rest coming soon.