The sheer volume of TV shows this year reached what felt like astronomical proportions. Although we already (and impossibly) compiled a Best Of 2018 list, only 15 series were lucky enough to make the cut. It’s important to consider, however, how that list spanned network, premium cable, and streaming original services, so it was an extremely exclusive list, to say the least. And it’s fair to consider that more shows deserve some recognition. After all, FX recently reported that Peak TV has taken its toll, with 495 scripted original series airing in 2018 with 32% of them (160 shows) coming from Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu. So, it’s worth busting out a top 15 that stems exclusively from those streaming services.
Yes, we did this. Brian Grubb weighed in, along with Kimberly Ricci, Josh Kurp, Andrew Husband, Jason Tabrys, Alex Diedrick, Dustin Rowles, Jessica Toomer, and Andrew Isaac. We weren’t entirely scientific about hashing out which series made the top 15, yet we damn well did our best to finalize a list that reflected our collective tastes. No one has admitted to throwing a tantrum during the compilation process, but boy are we relieved that (unlike with the overall TV list) Homecoming had an opportunity make the cut with a streaming originals list. (Grubb should be happy about that!) Anywho, simply too many shows exist right now, and there’s no way to please everyone, but let’s get going with the 15 streaming options that we liked most in 2018.
15. Marvel’s Daredevil (Netflix)
Six weeks after its stellar third season debuted, Daredevil was canceled by Netflix. The move made little sense at first as Marvel’s flagship Netflix show was its most popular title on the streamer — so much so that it was their fourth most popular show at the time. The reasoning behind this and other Marvel cancellations by Netflix are as complicated as they are confusing, but one thing is clear: Daredevil season three was a monstrous return to form for the show. New showrunner Erik Oleson transformed the series into a complex, The Wire-like story of crime, conspiracy, and intrigue. Vincent D’Onofrio’s turn as the villainous Kingpin was even better than it was before. As for the devil himself, Charlie Cox’s Matt Murdock felt less like a punching bag for everyone else and more like a sympathetic and vengeful man on a mission. – Andrew Husband
14. Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (Netflix)
After a half-season spent dropping blink-and-you’ll-miss-them pop culture references and deftly mocking hipsterism, tech elitism, MRA nonsense, and our collective fascination with celebrity culture and true crime documentaries, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt didn’t just re-establish itself following a good-but-not-great third season — the show made it clear that it’s gonna hurt like hell to say goodbye to these characters and all the imagined stories that they don’t get to tell when the show’s final episodes launch on January 25. — Jason Tabrys
13. Santa Clarita Diet (Netflix)
Season one of Santa Clarita Diet took a great cast (Drew Barrymore, Timothy Olyphant) and a solid premise (suburban mom/realtor turns zombie), but the writers failed to fully execute on that premise. It was both too broad and too restrained. Season two, however, dives headfirst into the comedy. As a result, it’s smarter, funnier, and more heartfelt. Creator Victor Fresco increases the frequency of jokes, amps up the blood — used in melodramatically hilarious fashion — and brings back Nathan Fillion to play a decapitated zombie head. It’s Olyphant, however, who steals the second season. He’s unreserved, delivering a madcap jolt of comedy while managing to provide the show with much of its soul. He’s just an average dad and a realtor who loves his wife and will go to any lengths (including murder) to keep her happy. — Dustin Rowles