01. Chernobyl Outstanding. Best thing probably I've seen on TV in a couple of years, I liked that they managed to weave some black, black, black LOL's in there, but how in depth it went in looking at all the aspects of what went on was what made it most special. Could have watched a few more episodes of it, to be fair, but I guess given the bleakness of it, and that it didn't need to do much more to make the point it was making is testament to the power of economy. I loved how that last episode basically transformed into this cross between JFK and 1984. Get Jared Harris that Emmy too. More layers than an onion.
02. The Crown season 3 I thought it was a huge improvement on the second season (which did actually improve a lot for me on a rewatch) I think it started a little bit slow with the first two episodes and had me genuinely worried (not a great way to return after 2 years off) but after that I think the run of episodes from episode 3 till 9 is about as strong a continuous run as the show has ever had, and each episode blew me away in one way or another. The finale was a little bit of a let down (as their finales always have been) but the ending was tremendous and really tied the whole thing up beautifully. Colman gave a really strong performance even without the slightest bit of resemblance to our Liz, ditto Helena, I thought Marion Bailey was really strong when called upon, Jason Watkins was awesome as Wilson, as was Michael Maloney as Heath, so was Lapotaire, Dance, Ben Daniels, everyone really. Special shout out to Menzies who might have been my MVP of the whole thing - He's the one (along with Bailey, but she was barely in it) who looked, sounded and acted the part.
03. The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance Watching something like this after not having watched anything like in forever takes a little getting used to. The first episode can be kind of jarring on account of that, but it finishes super strong thus kept me hooked, and after that it gets so god damn good that at some point you pretty much forget that you're watching puppets and it just becomes straight up great drama. The absolutely fucking stacked voice cast are all on FIRE too which definitely helps, and the whole thing just looks so epic that it overcomes any tendency I might have had to not take it seriously because of the way its being told. The thing has legitimate cinematic scope, and I can't believe it just crept up out of nowhere and is getting absolutely no hype whatsoever. It is incredible, and I say this as someone who didn't think much of the movie at all. Need more ASAP.
04. Fleabag season 2 Damn, son. I adored season 1, and this was for me definitely an improvement. Losing the mystery of the character and her history was handled brilliantly with this stronger narrative arc, they took the season making revelation from the end of the first year and turned it into this brilliant tale that managed to deal in a lot of serious and pretty dark territory without losing an ounce of the laughs, or troubling the tone. Performances still amazing, and the ending just perfect.
05. Watchmen Great stuff. I was starting to get a little frustrated with it after the second episode, but then Jean Smart comes along and gives it a real jolt of energy, and then episodes 5, 7, and particularly 6 and 8 are just god tier stuff and absolutely make the whole show. Finale was a little neat and whatnot, but whatever. I know people who were frustrated by how there was hardly any story here, it was like 3 episodes worth of action and then just a load of backstory to fill in all the gaps and answer the mysteries, but that's pretty much what I loved about it. Loved the progression of King's character too.
06. Mindhunter season 2 I love this stuff. Love the slow pace, love the gorgeous production values, the strong performances, the wicked strong sound work, and the obsession with trying to burrow into the mind, into the psychological side of things. It was definitely a little disjointed, like half way through they realized they had a good thing going with this Atlanta stuff and just ditched everything else back in DC, but what they actually did was so strong it overcomes the slightly all over the place structure of the thing.
07. Veep season 7 My favourite season of this thing in yeeeeeeeears. Went out on a tremendous high. Having more Jonah definitely helped, being a few episodes shorter probably did as well, the ensemble were all on point, the writing was hilarious, and Jules went out with a bang. Very happy that final Emmy for her is going to be one she well and truly deserves. Incredible finale too. As satisfying a one as I've seen for a show in years, and well and truly put Game of Thrones conclusion that same week in the fucking shade by doing a similar thing right, and in about a third of the time.
08. Fosse/Verdon Wow, I thought this was awesome. Granted, the writing isn't especially strong, and I didn't think there was any particular blowaway episodes in isolation, but I just rocketed through the entire thing in 2 days without a care in the world. It was immensely watchable, classy as fuck from a production point of view, and those two lead performances were to fucking die for. Made great use of all the major works without leaning on it too heavily, had a tremendous vein of black humour and fatalism running through the entire thing just with those intertitles alone. Just awesome. I really was expecting it to be some kind of dry slog of an experience. So glad to be surprised.
09. The Act For about half its run I thought this was incredible. King and Arquette were awesome, the slow, slow burn approach in establishing these characters and their relationship was very effectively done like Executioner's Song strong-ish, but once we get to these two stupid kids doing a succession of stupid things it got incredibly frustrating to sit through, and I think the Martindale episode trying to transform Arquette's character was a valiant but LAME attempt at further rounding out the complexities of their lives. Not enough.
10. Les Miserables Pretty good shit, tbh. The first episode was kind of stupidly overdrawn, but once it got good it got really, really good. Cast was strong, and carried it the whole way even in its weaker moments. Did a really good job balancing the numerous narrative strands which is important to making the whole thing work.
11. The Spy Definitely not as good as it could have been, but I really liked the touch of having the foreshadowing of the ending to open things up, and I loved how it clearly desired to be more John Le Carre than James Bond. Cohen was awesome in the lead, and I think really everyone in the cast was tremendously on point. Great voices too, which always helps in stuff like this, and really sort of flew by for something that was sort of contemplative in pacing. Loved their focus on the home front as well and that probably ended up being the most fascinating stuff of all by the time of the finale.
12. True Detective season 3 I liked it a lot, and in replicating the rhythms of season 1 it washed the miserable memory of season 2 comfortably away. Ali and Dorff were incredible, I mean just their voices, my god. Was like music. Wasn't perfect, and the prosaic, plodding quality of the finale was kind of funny, but the sense of foreboding that laced it the whole way, the way they played that mystery out across three timelines, and the strength of those central performances was just awesome.
13. Jessica Jones season 3 Overall for sure a step back on the previous season, but Ritter is still awesome, and I think the central relationship between her and Trish in this season was beautifully handled. Never really cared for the Trish character, but clearly this is what they were building to, and it was a worthy ending/story to build towards. Thought Jeremy Bobb and Benjamin Walker were great additions to the cast.
14. Russian Doll season 1 It was fine, but... Not much more than that for me. Had it not got Lyonne's badass charismatic performance the heart of it I'm not sure it'd be anywhere as near as entertaining as it was. Still, good supporting turns all around, with Sevigny particularly strong once introduced, and it made a really effective use of twists and turns to keep things interesting, which is pretty impressive given the nature of the setup, which by the end of like the second episode makes you wonder how they're going to keep this up for 8 episodes. Anyway, very easy to watch, and gets surprisingly moving in those last couple of episodes.
15. Peaky Blinders season 5 This was my favourite season so far. Anya Taylor-Joy was an incredible addition to the cast, Murphy is still giving one of the best performances on TV, and I'm loving that they seem focused on fewer characters than in the early years, and I love the probing into Tommy's Mind.
16. Succession season 2 I liked it a lot more overall. Partly because I think Cox seeming to have a larger role was a big step in the right direction, partly because season 1 was one of the few times in history I've genuinely found the "I don't like any of the characters" argument to actually apply, and in this they some how managed to smooth that issue out (Except with Culkin, though they really did try... Still can't stand him) I think Matthew Macfadyen and Nicholas Braun are one of the best double acts on TV for a while, and the general pace and arc of the season worked infinitely better than season 1 where it blew its load half way through and then sort of crawled its way to the blow up of a finale.
17. Unbelievable I wasn't a huge fan of this a lot of the time. I think the three central performances were incredible (loved the slow introduction of them over the first few episodes) and carried the entire thing, and most of the smaller ones were great too in bringing this universe to life, there were some awesome and supremely memorable scenes, super strong direction and approach to the material, but my god the writing was so god damn clunky it was embarrassing.
18. The Punisher season 2 Kind of all over the place with all the subplots, but I didn't mind most of them. A lot of it was pretty god damn dumb, but I thought the all in nature of the performances sort of sold it all. Thought the central relationship between Bernthal and Whigham (that apple did not fall far from the tree) was awesome, and I really thought Josh Stewart's arc was great too. Less solid structurally than season 1, but I enjoyed it well enough in all of its disjointed all over the placeness.
19. Preacher season 4 I really liked this. I mean yes it was incredibly stupid, maybe more so than usual, and spent too much time treading water, but I love the cast so much by this point that I was with them all the way. The Cassidy flashback stuff was awesome, and the last 2 episodes were really strong. The penultimate episode might be my favourite episode of the whole show.
20. Killing Eve season 2 Had its moments, but definitely a massive step down on the first season for me. I thought Comer was still amazing as ever and kept it entertaining, but Oh I think really sort of struggled this time around with the tricky arc of the character, and I think the show overall did a much less strong job of balancing its weird ass tone than it did the first time around.
21. Stranger Things season 3 Definitely becoming less enamoured with this as the years go by, but its still got its charm. The Steve and Robin stuff was tremendous, and I loved the Joyce/Hopper stuff as well, but the other stuff was less impressive to me. Hopper's arc was kind of ridiculous too in those first few episodes, and sort of took away a little bit from the power of the ending. Probably needs to end soon, tbh. Season 2 had such a strong ending, and this really felt like a step back for me.
22. Supergirl season 4 A massive step up on the previous season in terms of quality. They had at least 2 of the best episodes that they've ever had, and while it was still sort of up and down in terms of quality from episode to episode, failed to live up to some of the promising stuff they set up, and as usual really dragged in its final stretch, but it was definitely a step in the right direction.
23. Black Lightning season 2 Not as good as the first season, and is dragging on way too long, but the good parts of it are still really good. It's doing the personal, familial stuff effectively, the larger picture aspect that made season 1 so good has become inconsistent.
24. Gotham season 5 Being canned and then brought back at the last minute with a slashed budget and episode count definitely took its toll, but still it was entertaining enough thanks primarily to the quality members of the cast. Couple of notable episodes.
25. When They See Us I don't know, maybe I just didn't get it. First two episodes were a complete waste of time. Why put in all that time to portray what is basically a show trial, and what was with all the passion in Farmiga's performance in the trial scenes? Why was she so into it given what we saw from her earlier? Let's not even get started on the cartoon character Huffman was playing. It was all just stupidly black and white and simplistic. 3rd and 4th episodes were completely different, and much better, but my god all of the hand holding, tear inducing direction... Give me a break. This sort of thing has been handled better elsewhere.
26. Game of Thrones season 8 Stupid as fuck, but I think the show has been stupid as fuck since season 5 (the rot was already sort of setting in for me in season 4) so I appreciate the sped up nature, because I don't need to sit through 10 episodes of this shit if their slow burn storytelling is going to be as effective as trying to put out a forest fire by pissing on it. As comically incompetent as the writing was, I thought a lot of the direction was bad ass and made for some awesome spectacle.
27. The Flash season 5 It's okay. The parent angle has definitely freshened things up to some degree which was much needed, and it did find some promise around the half way mark, but then it just dragged on and on to the point of tedium.
28. Star Trek Discovery season 2 Kind of lame, to be honest. Has occasional good episodes, but... Doug Jones is the only real reason to keep watching for me at this point. He's awesome.
1. Unbelievable [mini] - the real True Detective season 3 tbh... 8/10
2. Mindhunter [season 2] - uneven at times, but at its best it's better than mostly everything else here. 8/10
3. Fleabag [season 2] - greaaaaat stuff. Just gave me that "great television" feeling deep in my bones on more than one occasion. Hilarious and real. 8/10
4. When They See Us [mini] - gripping even when you know how it's gonna end, characters that you actually give a shit about... some nice directorial flourishes. Incredibly well done. *beep* off, Chernobyl. 8/10
5. Sneaky Pete [season 3] - faaaaaaar from perfect... but *beep* it. Incredibly entertaining and I was into it more than any other show this year (edit: before I watched whatever is above it at this point). 8/10
6. Big Little Lies [season 2] - I dunno... probably an unnecessary season but it's still somehow a great show so who cares. 8/10
7. It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia [season 14] - not flawless... but enough great episodes for me to call it a great season. 8/10
8. You're the Worst [season 5] - a few iffy episodes... but that run to close out the show was pretty special. 8/10
9. Sex Education [season 1] - a bit goofy at times, but overall very watchable and charming. 7.5/10
10. Santa Clarita Diet [season 3] - sometimes too obsessed with its own mythology... but most of it is incredibly entertaining and it had some of the funniest moments I've seen on television in a while... and of course Olyphant/Barrymore and the rest of the cast are awesome. 7.5/10
11. Stranger Things [season 3] - I dunno... I was mostly meh on the first two seasons, but this just worked. Definitely some goofy moments, but it was pretty perfectly plotted and I was totally into it. 7.5/10
12. You [season 2] - definitely an improvement over season 1, but still a little too ridiculous for me to take 100% seriously. But Victoria Pedretti was 100x better than the season 1 actress, which helped. 7.5/10
13. Looking for Alaska [mini] - probably the best a John Green adaptation could ever be... of course it's cheesy at times but the big moments hit, the cast is very good, and the soundtrack is excellent. 7.5/10
14. Euphoria [season 1] - almost great stuff but the last two episodes were a little half-baked. Some very high highs before that though (carnival episode), interestingly shot and directed, very good ensemble and balance of characters. 7.5/10
15. The Kominsky Method [season 2] - Douglas/Arkin continue to be an amazing duo (and Paul Reiser was a perfect addition) and it can be both hilarious and touching... but Chuck Lorre write complete arcs. Episodes end too abruptly and not nearly enough comes together before the season ends. 7.5/10
16. Silicon Valley [season 6] - some rough moments, but a few great episodes and many hilarious moments make up for them... the limpdick series finale holds it back from greatness though. 7.5/10
17. Atypical [season 3] - more cheesy goodness from this show. Always watchable with a great blend of funny moments and strong emotion. Paige was the MVP this season btw. 7.5/10
18. After Life [season 1] - great balance of affecting and hilarious... but Ricky could have tried a little harder writing it. 7.5/10
19. I Think You Should Leave with Tim Robinson [season 1] - for the most part, pretty hilarious... with a few sketches that had me rolling. 7.5/10
20. The End of the Fucking World [season 2] - not 100% necessary, but always watchable and a nice conclusion to the story. 7.5/10
21. Baskets [season 4] - a bit underwhelming as a final season, and a lot of time wasted and nonsense (life coach, bullet train) but it was still hilarious and I will always love the characters. 7.5/10
22. GLOW [season 3] - not nearly as good as the first 2 seasons, but it still had its moments. 7.5/10
23. Catastrophe [season 4] - I forgot to put this here a few months ago and can't really remember anything to say about it... but I liked it a lot! 7.5/10
24. Barry [season 2]- problematic but still very watchable. Much better when it goes for comedy with the acting class than seriousness with the hitman shit. 7/10
25. Miracle Workers [season 1] - mostly fun, but nbd. Wish Buscemi was given more to do. 7/10
26. Dead to Me [season 1] - watchable despite lots of meh stuff... but Christina Applegate was great. 6.5/10
27. True Detective [season 3] - eeeeeeehhhh... there's a lot of good stuff there but it's way too drawn out and in the end wasn't quite worth 8 hours of my time. 6.5/10
28. The Politician [season 1] - better when it's Election-esque and not a cringefest... but just too uneven overall. Best thing it did was set up a second season that already sounds much better. 6.5/10
29. Veronica Mars [season 4] - very disappointing... this was lame and the magic was gone even before the disastrous ending. 6/10
30. Chernobyl [mini] - Uninvolving from the start, bland writing and directing, merely solid performances... 5 hours of fucked up shit happening without much to connect to. 5/10
1. Les Miserables Pretty good shit, tbh. The first episode was kind of stupidly overdrawn, but once it got good it got really, really good. Cast was strong, and carried it the whole way even in its weaker moments. Did a really good job balancing the numerous narrative strands which is important to making the whole thing work.
Lily Collins as Fantine was the real standout for me. A "yes, she can act!" revelation - I always thought of her before only as Phil Collins' daughter.
Chernobyl Mindhunter S2 Fleabag S2 The Crown S3 Peaky Blinders S5 The Punisher S2 Stranger Things S3 The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel S3 Big Little Lies S2 Game of Thrones S8 True Detective S3 (Couldn't even finish)
Unbelievable - 10 Broke my heart but also the last part of it was so uplifting. Dever continues to be one of the most watchable actresses we have today and not just in her age group, but overall. So good in Booksmart too. Weaver is fantastic but Danielle Macdonald with her achingly real performance steals the show for me.
Succession - 9.5 An absolute winner for me. Super interesting characters, great writing and wonderful performances make it one of the best things I saw on TV this year.
Fleabag - 9 PWB the goddess who more than deserves all the accolades she's been getting for this, is fantastic!
Chernobyl - 8 I really liked it. Heartbreaking and Harris is superb.
Dead To Me - 7.5 Such a pleasant surprise. Lovely performances.
Big Little Lies - 7 I too felt this was unnecessary but some awesome acting by Nicole, Dern and Meryl. Reese was wasted. It was fun in parts and really boring in others.
Good Omens - 7 Very fun. Loved the chemistry between the two sexy guys.
The Loudest Voice - 7 Not bad but not great either. I felt it could've been brilliant and the direction was weak but the performances were good.
Living With Yourself - 6 Very blah but at least Bea is fantastic.
Game of Thrones - 3 (Only for Emilia and hubby NCW) Biggest heartbreak of the year.
The Crown: Season 3 - 9/10 Fleabag: Season 2 - 9/10 What We Do in the Shadows: Season 1 - 9/10 True Detective: Season 3 - 8/10 Barry: Season 2 - 8/10 Big Little Lies: Season 2 - 6/10 Killing Eve: Season 2 - 6/10 Stranger Things: Season 3 - 6/10 Black Mirror: Season 5 - 6/10 Russian Doll: Season 1 - 6/10 It's the End of the Fucking World: Season 2 -5.5/10 Euphoria: Season 1 - 4/10 Veronica Mars: Season 4 - 4/10 The Politician: Season 1 - 3/10
TO FINISH Mindhunter: Season 2 American Horror Story: 1984 Moominvalley
TO SEE Chernobyl Watchmen Succession Unbelievable When They See Us Yellowstone Modern Love Good Omens Fosse/Verdon State of the Union Dark Mr. Robot Marvelous Ms. Maisel Les Miserables