As the golden age of television continues, it gets harder and harder to keep up with all the incredible TV that comes out each month. Similarly, it’s as difficult to pick the best TV shows of 2018, especially when you’re only allowed 25! (Why? Blame my editor.) From The Haunting of Hill House and The Handmaid’s Tale season 2, to Killing Eve and Bodyguard, there have been some amazing series this year and no doubt you’re still working your way through some of them. Well, get ready to add a few more to your watchlist because below you’ll find our list of the best TV shows of 2018.
When it came time to pick the best TV shows of 2018, we spoke to the whole GamesRadar team, our freelancers, and the TV experts over at our sister publications Total Film (opens in new tab) and SFX (opens in new tab) magazines before settling on the ranked list below. While GR generally focuses on superhero series and horror shows, we’ve broadened our horizons a bit for the best TV shows of 2018. After all, you can’t talk about the best TV shows of 2018 without talking about the Queer Eye reboot, right? Don’t worry, you’ll still find your favorite Netflix Originals below, but you might also discover something a bit different you never knew you needed in your life.
As with all best lists, opinions are subjective, but we trust there’s something here for everyone. Think we’ve missed a must-watch series? We encourage healthy discussion of your favorites in our comment section below - just please keep it civil (opens in new tab). Read on for our best TV shows of 2018 and start bingeing now!
- The best movies of 2018 (opens in new tab)
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- What TV shows did you binge the most this year? (opens in new tab)
25. Lost in Space season 1
What is it? A reimagining of the ‘60s TV show, helmed by Neil Marshall (Hannibal, Game of Thrones), and starring Toby Stephens, Molly Parker, and Parker Posey. The premise here is that the Robinson family are stranded on a single planet, and while they struggle to survive and eventually escape, they’re befriended by an alien robot, and antagonised by the conniving Dr Smith.
Why should you watch it? This new Lost in Space (opens in new tab) was very divisive when it launched in April. Fans of the original were disappointed by the single-planet setting, while others were left frustrated by the fact the show wasn’t as dark or perilous as early coverage suggested. Many felt it was slow and lacked much bite. However, there’s a wonderfully positive family drama to be watched here, that just happens to be set on an alien world. Molly Parker’s Maureen Robinson is the true star of the show, as she binds the family together against the threats they face, although the whole cast really shines the more the story progresses (with the exception of Will, the youngest Robinson, who gets a far weaker role). Sure, most of the alien threats are quite poor, and a couple of the plot points fall flat, but by the end of the show you’ll be cheering the family on through the adversity they face, and you’ll be keen for the already confirmed second season, which will hopefully stay a little truer to the ‘space’ part of Lost in Space. Andy Hartup
Read more: Lost in Space ending (opens in new tab) explained - everything you need to know after watching
24. Castle Rock season 1
What is it? A new show set in the Stephen King universe, with cameos from well known locations like Shawshank Penitentiary and characters like Alan Pangborn. It begins with the discovery of a young man - "the kid" - caged in the bowels of Shawshank, and his discovery calls attorney Henry Deaver back to his hometown to try and help the pale and mysterious stranger. You won't be shocked to known strange events follow.
Why should you watch it? Because as well as a decent small town mystery show with shades of the supernatural, it's a super fun game of spot the reference for Stephen King fans. It stars Sissy Spacek, who played Carrie back in 1976, and Bill Skarsgård - who most people know as Pennywise - as the 'the kid'. People constantly refer to events from King novels like Cujo, Needful Things, and The Shining. Like a good King novel, the small town characters are perfectly crafted to be both eccentric and recognisable, and one episode in particular - The Queen, or number seven - is utterly heartbreaking, dealing with the cruelty of dementia and the power of love. Rachel Weber
Read more: The Castle Rock ending (opens in new tab) gave us more questions than answers - here's why that's a good thing
23. American Horror Story: Apocalypse
What is it? The American Horror Story formula now with added nuclear radiation, and a chance for fans to enjoy the return of their Murder House and Coven favorites. Apocalypse tells the story of the end of the world, and those that are chosen to live on in a mysterious bunker governed by the strict and impeccably dressed Wilhemina Venable.
Why should you watch it? Even as a devoted acolyte of the AHS brand, I can admit that each season varies in quality. This is one of the good ones, the writers entirely liberated by the nuclear blast and revelling in explaining how it happened, and what comes after. Fans will have to hold in actual yelps of excitement as the witches of Coven make their entrance, and and there's a whole 'Hogwarts gone wrong' style thread that is utterly gripping. Add to that the antichrist, nods to where the series all began, Joan f**ing Collins and some moments of genuine emotion and this is a high point for the macabre franchise. And did I mention the brutal skewering of Silicon Valley types, or a witch whose only power seems to be correctly divining calories counts, or crucial role of the 1918 Russian revolution? I can't wait to see what they do next. Rachel Weber
22. Daredevil season 3
What is it? The third season of Netflix’s very first Marvel original series sees things pick up where The Defenders ending (opens in new tab) left off - with Daredevil presumed dead. As Matt Murdock (Charlie Cox) recuperates in secret, Kingpin (Vincent D'Onofrio) works to ensure his release and return to power forcing the superhero to pick up the mantle of the Devil of Hell’s Kitchen once again.
Why should you watch it? Netflix’s Marvel series have been getting a tough rap this year, but the truth is that any recent chapter from the world of street level superheroes (except, of course, for Iron Fist season 2 (opens in new tab)) could have made it onto our list of favourite TV shows in 2018. But, as much as we loved Luke Cage season 2 (opens in new tab) and Jessica Jones season 2 (opens in new tab), it’s Daredevil season 3 (opens in new tab) that claims the top billing, marking another exemplified story arc for lawyer turned crimefighter Matt Murdock. While this season, like every other Marvel Netflix show, could have benefited from a shorter number of episodes, the return of D’Onofrio’s Kingpin as the main antagonist upped the stakes, drama, and violence of Daredevil, rightly echoing its pitch perfect debut all the way back in 2015. Marvel may have pulled the plug on a fourth season, but if this really is the last of Daredevil on our small screens, he’s gone out with a bang. Alex Avard
21. Doctor Who season 11
What is it? The thirteenth regeneration of the rebooted British sci-fi series saw a woman take on the mantle of the Doctor for the first time as Jodie Whittaker took over the role from Peter Capaldi. Joined by companions Yas (Mandip Gill), Ryan (Tosin Cole), and Graham (Bradley Walsh), the Doctor’s adventures in time and space continue.
Why should you watch it? Whether you’re a Doctor Who fan or not, you can’t deny the landmark casting of the first female Doctor. This was no token gesture though and Whittaker delivers one of the best iterations of the character we’ve seen in the rebooted series, packing her Doctor full of charm and intelligence, while retaining that uniquely ‘Doctorness’ quality. While the companions have been a bit of a mixed bag this time around, the weekly adventures have more than lived up to the hype as the group visits not just quirky alien spaceships, but also important historical events, such as the Partition of India (Demons of the Punjab) and the Montgomery bus boycott (Rosa). Doctor Who season 11 isn’t just one of the best TV shows of 2018, it’s one of the best series of Doctor Who we’ve ever had. Lauren O’Callaghan
Read more: Jodie Whittaker's Doctor Who debut was fantastic - but it made one mistake (opens in new tab)
20. Big Mouth season 2
What is it? A frankly filthy and sort of disturbing cartoon featuring a cast of children on the cusp of sexual awakening. Periods, masturbation, orientation, and, for some reason, the Ghost of Duke Ellington, combine to make a show that shouldn’t be funny, but totally is.
Why should you watch it? A cartoon show essentially about 12- to 13-year-olds discovering sex sounds like something that should show up on an FBI list somewhere. But Big Mouth manages to avoid it through great jokes, excellent performances, and, often, brutal honesty, while developing and solidifying its weird, disturbing charm in the second season. Hormone monsters appear as physical creatures, guiding their charges through upcoming changes, while shame wizards try to bring them down. It might sound like a terrible/disturbing/wrong idea for a show but it is - monsters aside - partly semi-autobiographical and based on the creator Nick Kroll and Andrew Goldberg’s experiences as children. As a result it’s full of gross out jokes and surreal interpretations of sex, mental health, gender and orientation, but balanced with just enough sensitivity and painfully raw truths to avoid going to far. Leon Hurley
19. Westworld season 2
What is it? A stylish and cinematic story of a futuristic robot-filled theme park that goes horrifically wrong, trapping its human guests in a mechanical, murderous hellscape of philosophical question about life and death.
Why should I watch it? It’s rare to get sci-fi this serious and weighty. While the core idea is simple - the robot playthings of a hedonistic theme park, known as Hosts, have become self aware and taken over - Westworld season 2 (opens in new tab) weaves a story full of philosophy, murder, espionage, and more as the robots and trapped guests fight to survive. While the first season built up to the Hosts’ rebellion, this plays out the aftermath as guests try to escape, the owners try to regain order, and the Hosts fight for their freedom. To say much more would ruin the twists and turns that make this such an intense show. Foreshadowing and hints lead where things might be heading and the slow burns eventually coalesced into a satisfying and intriguing climax. It’s also got some great performances from the likes of Thandie Newton and Evan Rachel Wood as the robots questioning their place in the ‘real world’ world. Leon Hurley
Read more: Westworld season 2 ending (opens in new tab) explained - everything you need to know after watching
18. Inside No 9 season 4
What is it? An anthology series of self contained black comedy/horror shorts, each Inside No. 9’s episodes are all set somewhere in relation to the number of the title. Series 4’s selection of stories include cursed council flats, haunted TV studios, and a loveless marriage with a dark, disturbing secret.
Why should you watch it? There was no better way to start a year like 2018 than with another series of the twisted, macabre, often moving and always clever Inside No. 9, the black comedy brainchild of League of Extraordinary Gentlemen alumni Reece Shearsmith and Steve Pemberton. Season 4 arguably represents the show at its sadistic prime, with a diverse collection of instant classics making up its six episode anthology, from Shakespearean panto Zanzibar to the heartfelt paean to British comedy that was Bernie Clifton’s Dressing Room. And then there was the “live” episode special, Dead Line, that aired later on in the year; a devilishly rendered deconstruction of what it means to watch telly in the 21st century, with more fourth wall breaks than a full season of House of Cards. Even if you missed that live broadcast and have already had some of season 4’s twists spoiled for you, Inside No. 9 can and should be watched by anyone with a taste for savvy, subversive TV storytelling. Alex Avard
17. Chilling Adventures of Sabrina season 1
What is it? A supernatural horror show, also from Netflix, based on the Archie comic books of the same name, about a young half-witch called Sabrina Spellman. Expect dark comedy, a fierce heroine, and a heck of a lot of magic.
Why should you watch it? Imagine the '90s Sabrina the Teenage Witch, but about 10 million times darker and you've basically got yourself Chilling Adventures of Sabrina (opens in new tab) - minus, sadly, the talking cat. This TV adaptation of the comic series is much more adult and stars Mad Men’s Kiernan Shipka as the 16-year-old half-witch Sabrina Spellman. She's on the cusp of embracing her true witchy self, and to do that she needs to sign her name in the Dark Lord's book at her Dark Baptism. The fact she's the daughter of a mortal woman and a warlock father means she's quite different from most other kids - and witches - her age, but thankfully she's got her two aunts, Hilda and Zelda to keep her grounded. Well, sort of. Sabrina isn't exactly one to do what's she's told, or not rebel against the status quo and the Dark Lord's patriarchy. Inject Riverdale with some supernatural wizardry and you've basically got this glorious, wickedly funny, TV show. And make sure to check out that Christmas special too. Sam Loveridge
Read more: Chilling Adventures of Sabrina ending (opens in new tab) explained - everything you need to know after
What is it? A 10-part limited series from Netflix starring Jonah Hill and Emma Stone as Owen and Annie who meet on an experimental drug trial that turns out to have a bigger impact on their broken lives than either of them could imagine.
Why you should watch it? Netflix has had a lot of belter original series this year, but Maniac might be the most peculiar, and frankly full of events that will have you scratching your head for days to come. This dark psychological comedy tells the tale of two struggling strangers both dealing with trauma and family drama, who meet on a mind-bending pharmaceutical trial that involves a doctor with mummy issues and an emotional computer. Yes, seriously. The drugs that they start taking have several stages, meaning each episode takes you on a tour of their strange drug-induced dreams (or should that be nightmares?) where Stone and Hill's characters become inexplicably connected. It's a wonderful mesh of their real-life problems and their mad dream adventures, along with all the chaotic messes the computer and her attending scientists (yes, her) create. It shifts tone constantly, and is wildly ambitious, but also full of brilliant flourishes that will keep you thinking about Maniac for a while yet. Sam Loveridge