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If you can believe it, 2018 is half gone.
It’s been a wild ride this year on TV, from the resurgence, fall and revamping of Roseanne to the absurd twists of Westworld.
But while there has been a lot to love this year, five shows managed to shine just a little brighter in the insanely crowded TV landscape.
5. BARRY (SoHo)
Strange, funny, terrifying, dark and whimsical, Bill Hader and co-creator Alex Berg’s dark fairy tale about a hit man (Hader) with dreams of acting doesn’t seem promising on the surface. And yet this strange mash-up of Hollywood dreaming and bloody crime drama is so gripping, you’d wonder why no-one thought of it before.
4. THE END OF THE F***ING WORLD (Netflix)
Stylish, irreverent and darkly funny, this surprise British gem was one of Netflix’s first shows of the year, and is one of its best. World finds two misfit teens, self-identified psychopath James (Alex Lawther) and rebellious Alyssa (Jessica Barden), on the run and experiencing a series of escalating crises. But it manages to find the humour and pathos in their adolescent turmoil, no matter how absurd their circumstances.
3. KILLING EVE (TVNZ OnDemand)
Who knew the standard story of a cop chasing a killer could be so fresh, so exciting and so much fun? From writer Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Killing Eve is an electric addition to a well-worn genre that gives long-labouring supporting actress Sandra Oh the starring role she deserves. Paired with a stunning performance from Jodie Comer as the assassin Oh is chasing, Killing Eve is a terrifying delight in every single scene.
2. THE ASSASSINATION OF GIANNI VERSACE: AMERICAN CRIME STORY (SoHo)
The latest American Crime Story adaptation is a misnomer, as it follows (mostly in reverse chronological order) the life of Versace’s murderer, Andrew Cunanan. But as played in a tour de force and award-worthy performance by Darren Criss, Cunanan’s and Versace’s (Edgar Ramirez) interwoven stories are riveting and revealing, a study of the lives and struggles of gay men in the 1990s. At times difficult to watch, the portrait of the spree killer is gilded and fascinating, gorgeous and off-putting from beginning to end.
1. THE AMERICANS (SoHo)
The sixth and final season of FX’s stunning spy drama is everything fans could have hoped for. Moody, visually rewarding and emotionally profound, the season sends its spent KGB agents Philip (Matthew Rhys) and Elizabeth (Keri Russell) and the late 1980s world stage spinning out of control, and then pirouettes into a graceful landing. Its last episode may be among the best TV finales of all time.