The best TV shows of 2018

5. Bodyguard season 1

What is it? A explosively dramatic tale about a former soldier called David Budd (played by Game of Thrones' Richard Madden) dealing with PTSD who gets assigned to be the personal bodyguard for the UK's Home Secretary (played by Keeley Hawes). 

Why should you watch it? One of the most talked about BBC TV series of the entire year, it's hard not to have heard of Bodyguard. No, not The Bodyguard movie with Kevin Costner and Whitney Houston, but instead a highly politically-charged drama where every episode leaves you desperate to watch the next one. It's another show that I can't really talk about for fear of all the spoilers, but if you're into fast-packed, action-packed drama with a touch of politics and hidden agendas, this isn't one to miss. Sam Loveridge

Read more: Bodyguard ending - 7 questions we have after that finale

4. Atlanta season 2

What is it? Created by and starring Donald Glover, Atlanta is part comedy, part drama, part something else entirely. Season 2 continues, story-wise, from the slow moving events of season 1, with Glover’s Earn struggling to make ends meet as the agent to his semi-successful rapper cousin, Paper Boi.

Why should you watch it? Often referred to as ‘Black Seinfeld’ by its fans, Donald Glover’s tragi-sitcom has been bathing in praise (and several Golden Globes) since its first season premiered back in 2016. For season 2, Glover doesn’t change a thing about his meandering study of the Atlanta rap scene, partly inspired by his own struggles in the music business before Childish Gambino was even a twinkle in his eye. Atlanta’s laughs are caustic, deadpan, and often surreal, a rare combo for a mainstream US comedy, but season 2 is just as quick to trade humour for horror in exploring the realities of life as a young black man in modern America, and the results are always spectacular. Glover’s 2018 may be defined by his performance as Lando Calrissian in Solo: A Star Wars Story and breaking the internet with This is America, but Atlanta remains his richest, most understated masterpiece by a country mile. Alex Avard

3. The Handmaid’s Tale season 2 

What is it? A stark, at times, almost unwatchable, adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s acclaimed dystopian novel, based in the totalitarian state of Gilead, where a hypocritical ruling elite attempt to mitigate falling birth rates by the enforced recruitment of child-bearing handmaids.

Why should you watch it? Hope. It’s a quality in almost unconscionable scarcity in HBO’s windowless-cellar of a second season of The Handmaid’s Tale. The writers are no longer tethered to Margaret Atwood’s source material, yet craft an authentic expansion of the novel’s near-future dystopia. We see the inhumanity of the Colonies as exiled Handmaids work the irradiated land. The cost of Canada’s fractious democracy. Growing signs of discord in Gilead’s callous military state via the introduction of Bradley Whitford’s enigmatic, rule-breaking, Commander Lawrence; Gilead’s academic founding-father, in remorse of his own creation. Heroine Offred (AKA June, played with mesmeric conviction by ex-Mad Men star Elisabeth Moss extols the anguish of bearing a child you’ll never keep, while commander’s wife Serena provides the season’s most satisfying character arc, oscillating between compassion, brutality, and doubt. It’s a mark of how successfully the show portrays the fragility of society, in contrast to the endurance of compassion, that moments such as a handmaid blowing herself up to destroy Gilead’s headquarters, or a baby being torn from its mother into adoptive safety, feel like air-punching affirmations of the human spirit. Dan Dawkins

2. Killing Eve season 1

What is it? A brand new TV series aired on the BBC based on Luke Jenning's Codename Villanelle books, and adapted for TV by Phoebe Waller-Bridge, of Fleabag fame, where a police woman and a female assassin play an elaborate game of cat and mouse trying to take each other down, and developing an awkward relationship along the way. 

Why should you watch it? It's rare that every single episode of a TV series is an absolute belter, but that's definitely the case with Killing Eve. This drama unfurls slowly as you're introduced to the two main characters, Eve Polastri (Sandra Oh) our desk-bound MI5 officer, and the incredibly talented - and just a little bit psychopathic - assassin Villanelle (Jodie Cromer). The two are trying to chase each other down after they both realise the other exists, and this sparks one of the most epic dramas I've ever had the absolute pleasure to watch. And the tricky part is, that the more I talk about it, the more I'll spoil. It's best to go in knowing as little about the plot as possible, as this is one TV series that'll have your butt firmly perched on the edge of your sofa. Oh and Cromer play such wonderfully multi-faceted characters that you're going to fall in love with both of them from episode 1. And yes, even Villanelle. You have been warned. Sam Loveridge

1. The Haunting of Hill House season 1

What is it? Based on Shirley Jackson’s horror novel of the same name, this modern interpretation sends the Crain family to the mysterious Hill House as the parents try to renovate it and flip it during the summer. Things… don’t go to plan. After a traumatic event forces the Crains to flee, the series joins them 20 years later as the now-adult Crain children try to come to terms with what happened at Hill House. 

Why should you watch it? This series is scary in brief places, sure, but even if you’re a scaredy-cat it’s still worth watching. With its tense, unsettling cinematography, The Haunting of Hill House relies on long, unbroken shots and things going on in the corner of your eye to unsettle you, plus its unconventional depiction of ghosts will keep you intrigued about what Hill House wants with the Crains. Even without the scares, at its heart this is a family drama that shows how the relationships between the Crain children have broken down after their difficult childhood at Hill House, and their attempts to rebuild those bonds as they try to find out exactly what happened on that fateful night. Praised for its three-dimensional characters and startlingly realistic depiction of sibling relationships, the series rewards those who rewatch it, as its fascinating timeline and backstory is hidden in throwaway phrases and items that are easy to overlook at first. Stephen King himself even said that The Haunting of Hill House is “close to a work of genius,” and once you start watching it, trust me: it won’t take you long to realise why. Zoe Delahunty-Light

Read more: The Haunting of Hill House ending explained - everything you need to know after watching

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