2018 is nearly over. And with the new year comes reflection, retrospection, and some top ten lists. This year gave us an onslaught of pop culture, and now Street has endeavored to choose the best of all of it—best albums, best television shows, best books, and best movies from this year, based on staff's picks. 


1. The Handmaid's Tale

The Hulu adaptation may have outstripped Margaret Atwood's source text in its second season, but it retains the same horror and bleakness as the first season, given humanity and grounded by the cast's restrained performances. The terrifying show, in its dystopian timeline, still manages to feel very of–the–moment.


2. Sharp Objects

The HBO miniseries, adapted from Gillian Flynn's Southern Gothic novel of the same name, is a tight exploration of intergenerational trauma expressed outwardly and inwardly. It takes place in fictional Wind Gap, a small Missouri town that's as sleepy as it is macabre. Come for Amy Adams' first major small–screen role, stay for Eliza Scanlen's arresting performance as Amma, and enjoy director Jean–Marc Vallée's darkly atmospheric soundtrack. 


3. Killing Eve

The Sandra Oh and Jodie Comer vehicle has a plot, and it's a decent one. But that's not what spurred its popularity. The show hinges around the relationship between the eponymous Eve and the deliciously wicked assassin Villanelle. Their psychosexual dynamic and cat–and–mouse relationship is so insanely watchable and turns much of the male–dominated crime narrative on its head.


4. The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel

After sweeping the Emmys (for good reason!), everyone was talking about The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Amazon Prime's popular original series. Creator Amy Sherman-Palladino does not disappoint with dialogue as sharp and witty as her previous hit, Gilmore Girls, and a cast strong enough to pull it all off. The show follows Midge Maisel, a Jewish housewife in 1950s Manhattan, as her life falls apart and she begins a career in stand-up comedy. And heads up, you might recognize Midge's manager Susie from her role as Ms. Ungermeyer in The Lizzie McGuire Movie, and she is equally scary in The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. The second season just came out and proved that the series is only getting better and better.


5. The Good Place

It's a rare sitcom that can handle moral philosophy and constant jokes about the Jacksonville Jaguars. The Good Place threads that needle expertly thanks to hyper–specific humor and an unparalleled ensemble cast featuring Ted Danson, Kristen Bell, and William Jackson Harper. Without spoiling too much, the third season manages to be a commentary on the very nature of goodness while also putting characters into increasingly ridiculous—and hilarious—situations. 


6. Queer Eye

Queer Eye is the rare reality show that manages to create compassion rather than derision for its subject. The "more than a makeover" tagline and the expert positioning of the "Fab Five" as real–life besties makes this show pure and wholesome escapism with some excellently quotable lines. As Jonathan Van Ness would say, "Can you believe?"


7. Big Mouth

Nick Kroll's Netflix cartoon literalizing the trials and tribulations of puberty—with pitch–perfect "Hormone Monsters" voiced by Maya Rudolph and Kroll himself—is cringe–worthy in the best possible way. And it'll make you very happy to be out of middle school.


8. Bojack Horseman

A cartoon about a talking horse and his coterie of human and anthropomorphized animal friends probably isn't the medium you'd expect for some of the most innovative storytelling structures on television. But Bojack Horseman's fifth season, in particular standout episode "Free Churro," which features the titular character in an uninterrupted monologue for the whole length of the episode, proves that assumption wrong. The whole season continues the show's incisive and darkly funny exploration of what it means to be damaged. 


9. Crazy Ex-Girlfriend

This show covers a lot of ground: mental illness, toxic relationships, and musical theater. From creator and star Rachel Bloom's performance as the "Crazy Ex Girlfriend," a trope that's compassionately and hilariously deconstructed, to a cast of zany and lovable ensemble characters that rivals any other on television, this show is a must–watch. 


10. The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina

The reboot of Sabrina the Teenage Witch stars Don Draper's daughter Kiernan Shipka as the titular occult member. But, as good reboots should, it updates the show: The sunny original gives way to a dark, gritty, macabre teen show in the vein of Riverdale, but so much better. 

Comments

All comments eligible for publication in Daily Pennsylvanian, Inc. publications.