The Best TV Performances Of 2018


The best television performances of 2018 came from everywhere. Streaming shows, premium cable shows, basic cable shows, network shows. They ran the gamut from lead to supporting. There are newcomers and returning favorites, cartoons and humans, all-knowing afterlife beings that wear blue vests and… well, more humans. They showed us the struggles of aspiring southern rappers and female wrestlers and spies. And assassins. And more spies and assassins. It was a really great year for spies and assassins.

A list of great performances is always fun to make because it gives whoever is making the list a chance to shine a light on the individuals who deserve it. It feels good, to say “Hey, you know who’s pretty good?” and then explain who and why. We know because we did it, here, below. Our list is long and not comprehensive by any means. You probably have your own favorites. That’s great! Share them with us in the comments or yell them out your window. Again, it feels good to do it. We all deserve this.

Let’s do it.

The Entire Voice Cast, Big Mouth

Everything Maya Rudolph’s Connie says is ultra confident, wild, and irresistible. Nick Kroll’s Coach Steve is witlessly struggling with the long and winding runway to adulthood that he’s on, but there’s a kind of limping stray cat charm about him that makes you care. And David Thewlis, as the Shame Wizard, is unsettling for the glee he takes in delivering his whispered agenda of self-doubt to the children. There are other voice performances and characters of note on the show, but I just wanted to highlight a few. I also wanted to point out that, while Big Mouth’s surface appeal is that it lets us remember when we were annoyed, confused, and perpetually anxious kids beset by the plague of puberty, that mix of messed up adults and hormone monster mentors deserves as much credit for the show’s success. Specifically, because they’re the most show-y characters with the best lines and often make the point that Big Mouth has a secondary message about grown-ups: no one beats puberty, we just sort of get used to the damage. — Jason Tabrys