Best TV of 2018: 'You,' 'Last Kingdom,' 'Tidelands,' And More!

You Joe Penn Badgley Netflix The Last Kingdom Uhtred of Bebbanburg Alexander Dreymon King Alfred David Dawson Tidelands Adrielle Cuthbert Elsa Pataky
It has been a huge year for television on both streaming and broadcast platforms. The quantity of quality has made for a fun 2018. Netflix’s “The Last Kingdom” pleasantly returned for a breakout third season. While over on Lifetime, Penn Badgley riveted on the outstanding and criminally underrated thriller “You.”

All told, running into a bad show was a hard thing to do. Below are Eclectic Pop’s picks for the highlights. Without further ado, this was the Best TV of 2018…

“Absentia”

It is a testament to Stana Katic’s starring vehicle that no matter the plot twist, how it ended, or how this viewer felt about any of it, yours truly was always passionately invested. What usually takes an entire season-and-a-half manifested in two episodes. That has to be a record. Based on that, it is obvious the Amazon thriller was doing something very right with its freshman season.


“Black Spot”

Blending the paranormal with reality-based suspense is a tricky thing to do. This French-language series on Amazon managed to make it look effortless. A cast of compelling characters backed an engaging overarching story that treated its smaller stories as crucial pieces to its major arc.

Ozark Season 2 Marty Byrde Jason Bateman Wendy Byrde Laura Linney Netflix
[Image by Netflix]

“Ozark”

The Byrdes returned and in the wake of high expectations, “Ozark” managed to keep from disappointing. There were missteps, and Marty's discombobulation stung. However, no show taking place in modern day managed to feel as tensely cutthroat. In Season 2, “Ozark” remained edgy, wild, and unabashedly ruthless.

The drawback? Marty and Wendy's rebellious daughter. Bratty kids will get you every time and as it turns out, Marty and Wendy too. “Ozark” took significant strides towards continued greatness. The biggest lesson learned? It is high time for Marty and Wendy to be firing on all cylinders at the same time.

“Poldark”

A bittersweet season was profoundly brought to life by one of television's most enchanting ensembles. During its fourth season, tears were shed, joy was shared, and romance remained ever so complicated. "Poldark" may never return to the magic of Season 1 – 2.5. However, the fourth season gave viewers a few treasurable glimpses.

“Ekaterina: The Rise of Catherine the Great”

Marina Aleksandrova drove the second season of this breathtaking costume drama with the majesty of a great. Season 1 followed Ekaterina rising as a girl and Season 2 chronicled her reigning as a woman. Beautiful costuming, stunning cinematography and unforgettable performances helped expertly tell the story.

Daredevil Season 3 Matt Murdock Charlie Cox Netflix
[Image by Netflix]

“Daredevil”

After a standout second season, “Daredevil” came roaring back with an installment that proved its previous season’s quality was no fluke. Season 3 was evenly told and executed without the momentum ever stalling.

“Daredevil” also gave viewers the long-awaited answers to Karen's past. In a sign of how well the superhero series did its job that episode proved to be one of its absolute best.

Add to that the terrific addition of Joann Whaley's Sister Maggie and you had a recipe for a tremendous season. It is sad to know it is likely its last.

“Borderliner”

Netflix delivered one of the year's most haunting Scandi noirs with "Borderliner." The series followed a police detective haplessly pulled into a cover-up. The drama that ensued assured its spot as one of the most absorbing series of 2018.


Drawing one into its morality tale was "Last Kingdom" Season 2 breakout Tobias Santelmann. His electrifying performance as Nikolai brought profound urgency to everything that unravels within its run. Ending in surprising fashion -- a second season is a must.

“Sneaky Pete”

Following up on a fantastic freshman season is never an easy order. So, imagine the surprise of “Sneaky Pete” returning with an evenly told, often funny, and constantly suspenseful second act.

In the midst of all of its mine-tingling subterfuge, the greatest illusion the Amazon series sells is that Marius genuinely cares about Pete's family. It may be the show's best con and yet you never stop hoping you are not being fooled.

Tidelands Adrielle Cuthbert Elsa Pataky Calliope Cal McTeer Charlotte Best Netflix
[Image by Netflix]

“Tidelands”

Netflix steamed things up with its sexy new supernatural drama, “Tidelands,” in 2018. An expertly cast ensemble all charged the series' stellar freshman run.

The streaming giant finally gave HBO a run for its money with a series that dared to be unashamedly provocative. Heeding the siren call of those ready for the streamer to embrace its risqué side, “Tidelands” delivered. If there is a second season, let's hope there is not a drought.


“Wanted”

An action adventure buddy dramedy that never ceases to amaze and enchant. “Wanted” returned in 2018 with another sensational season on Netflix. Its third outing was sad, funny, hopeful, heartbreaking, and beautiful. Rebecca Gibney and Geraldine Hakewill's glorious buddy chemistry got another showcase to shine, and they were luminous.

“The Chalet”

Netflix delivered thrills and chills with the French-language limited series, "The Chalet." A true-to-form miniseries, the show left no stone unturned in its aftermath.

Spanning two timelines, it delivered a story filled with revenge, greed, lust, love, and looming mystery. A compellingly told thriller that doubled as a character study was a rare find in 2018 and "The Chalet" was the one to deliver it.

Victoria Season 2 Jenna Coleman Queen Victoria Tom Hughes Prince Albert
[Image by ITV Studios 2017 for MASTERPIECE]

“Victoria”

Another strong installment of the regal drama served up the essentials. In Season 3, there was romance, intrigue, and heartbreak. In all of the performances that have stayed with me the entire year, none overshadowed Jenna Coleman's as Queen Victoria.

Her performance in Episode 2 completed the tale of a young woman becoming a woman. Coleman's portrayal of Victoria's heartbreak at the death of her beloved dog, Dash, and the impending loss of her mentor were shattering. To bring one to tears at the sight of their tears is a special ability and Coleman has it.

In another scene that was moving beyond words, Rufus Sewell, reminded viewers yet again what an incredible talent he is, as Lord M shared an especially tender moment with Victoria. These are just two of the scenes that made “Victoria” one of the year’s best. Thankfully, Amazon Prime is now streaming it. Season 3 premieres January 13 at 9 p.m. ET on PBS Masterpiece.

“The Blacklist”

Five seasons in and NBC's veteran crime drama could not be any better. “The Blacklist” has long existed outside of its procedural confines, striving to be as character-driven, as it is action-packed and darkly humorous.


Led by an outrageously gifted ensemble, “The Blacklist” again proved why it has one of the best. Every actor is essential to selling the story, and every one of them did just that.

In its fifth outing, the NBC series managed to shock, sadden, thrill, and enthrall at every turn. Capers that would take an entire movie to deliver seamlessly unraveled in a single episode. Given the enduring quality, it continues to dish out, “The Blacklist's” ability to always impress should be less of a surprise. Here's to relishing that it still is.

“The Last Kingdom”

The Netflix series built on its breakthrough season with a breakout installment that proved it is one of television's best. Taking over the mantle as 2018's best costume epic. There is nothing better than watching a show grow and in Season 3, “The Last Kingdom” officially reached the heights it has been striving towards.

All its efforts have paid off. There were tears, laughs, and shocks, in equal measure. The result was an incredibly well-crafted season that left you wishing it did not end.

You Joe Penn Badgley Guinevere Beck Elizabeth Lail Netflix
[Image by Netflix]

“YOU”

To be the best, you have to bring it, and Lifetime did just that. Led by a staggeringly brilliant performance by Penn Badgley, “YOU” took viewers into the disturbed mind of Joe. From the outside looking in, he is the perfect guy. But as Joe would tell you; you should never judge a book by its cover.

If there were any justice in awards season, you would hear Badgley's name read non-stop. His portrayal of Joe ran the gamut. From playing Joe's super sweet exterior to his spectacularly sinister interior, Badgley constantly evolved, keeping Joe's next move utterly impossible to predict.

This enrapturing series deserved to be the most talked about of 2018. Sharply written, fantastically acted, and magnificently told “YOU” was undoubtedly the best TV show of the year. Thank goodness for Netflix. Season 1 is now streaming.

[Featured Image by Lifetime/Netflix]

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