Anniversary 2018: The Top 5 TV Shows of the Past Year (For Whatever Reason) – Best Of
Another year, another moment to reflect on the fact that I watch too many CW shows.
But hey, at least I gave up on Valor after only two episodes. I love Christina Ochoa, but I’m not that devoted, CW.
Now, we’ll do a quick rundown of the rules just to catch you up. Any show that I watched between 7 May 2017 and 7 May 2018 can make the list. In the past, I have only included shows on here that I review on I Just Hate Everything, with one exception in 2016. But this year, you’re gonna get another two. And believe me when I say they were worthy.
As always, we’ll hand out a few honourable mentions to those that failed to reach the podium:
- Arrow: I hate you so fucking much, but you’re also not exciting enough in your failures. Sorry.
- Pretty Little Liars: PLL had the misfortune of crapping out its horrendous finale all the way back in July 2017, so my fury has subsided. And the less we talk about Pretty Little Liars, the better, right?
- The Originals: I’m not convinced we can get back to the heights of Season 3. But there’s no way Julie Plec would let the Mikaelsons go out as disgracefully as TVD did for its final season.
- And for non-review shows: Westworld is looking promising, provided it doesn’t drown itself in its own ego again; Killjoys outlived Dark Matter, and is the rightful victor; Slasher came back and was okay-to-slightly above average; the same goes for UnREAL; and all hail Beebo, Legends of Tomorrow is the best Arrowverse show. Who would have thought that was possible?
And with that, here’s my year in television. In list form.
This is I Just Hate Everything, so we better start out with the absolute worst show I watched in the past year.
The Mist’s level of ineptitude is truly unfathomable. It has to be seen to be believed. I would put it close to, if not above American Horror Story: Hotel. And at least that show had the excuse of being in its fifth season. And Ryan Murphy.
The Mist has no excuse for the utter failure it was. Every single piece of that show didn’t work. The 2007 film adaptation isn’t perfect, but it at least constrains itself to its own internal logic, and has actual characters. The “people” in this “TV show” don’t behave, talk, or react in any conceivably human way.
But my biggest gripe, as a horror fan, was that the mist itself was a weasel for the writers to make it do whatever they needed it to do at that moment in the episode. In the movie, aggressive alien monsters live in it and might attack you. In this show, the mist can just eviscerate you magically at a moment’s notice. That’s not fair, and the characters can’t plan around that or fight that.
If our heroes run out into the mist, they could conceivably dodge, escape from, or fend off monster bug creatures. But if their back tattoo suddenly becomes real and rips them apart, how are they supposed to survive?
I’d be close to praising Spike TV for mercifully cancelling it after only ten excruciating episodes. But Spike TV also ran The Shannarra Chronicles into the ground, so fuck those guys.
And from the very worst thing on TV over the last year, to the very best. Sadly, Blood Drive shared The Mist’s same one-season-and-done cancellation fate, though.
And it’s even more confusing and frustrating when SyFy is instead giving us new shows like the yawn-worthy Krypton. Would anyone really have been kept awake at night over missing yet another messy DC show?
Blood Drive was brimming with creativity, and just the right amount of references to grindhouse and genre media. It was a debauched, blood soaked, politically incorrect at times endeavour, but it excelled in the most important way (and in a way Krypton certainly does not): it was fun.
Happy! seems to be taking up the mantle, and I won’t begrudge it. And to be fair, SyFy is still otherwise making great stuff like The Magicians, Wynonna Earp, The Expanse, and Channel Zero. If only we could have found some room in there for Blood Drive, too.
And poor Christina Ochoa. Valor was just salt in the wound.
That’s enough of what I didn’t review this year. Onto the best show currently gracing I Just Hate Everything.
Yes, the low budget Dynasty remake on the CW is my favourite thing they’ve put out this year. We started off rough, with far too much in common with the forgettable Blood & Oil. But I reckon that announcement of the extra episodes for the season really lit a fire under the people making Dynasty, because from the conclusion of the second arc onwards, things have just been getting better and better.
In fact, last week’s episode has the distinction of being the only sincere review I’ve ever done without anything in the Why I Hate This Episode section. It’s a triumph.
And who knew it would be so simple? Just get a bunch of attractive rich people in fabulous outfits to swan around scheming and bitching at each other. Throw in a poolside catfight every now and then, and bam: instant classic.
A little more of this, CW, and a little less of this throwback, WB dramedy stuff. Yeah, Life Sentence is cute, but is that what you want your network to be known for?
You know, until the resurgence brought about by the Carrie: The Musical episode, Riverdale almost didn’t make it.
Whereas Season 1 was effective because of its focus and the hearts of its characters, Season 2 of Riverdale stumbled and fell under the weight of a new air of callousness in this show. Season 1 was bolstered by the undercurrent of sinister mystery around the town, but Season 2 brought those prejudices into the open, and not for the better.
But even amid the bullshit about Veronica’s apparently mafia-like family, and the unfounded North Side/South Side animosity (and let’s not forget Serpent drama), Riverdale still managed to keep itself in the game with moments of style, and the occasional flash of humanity from its characters. Mostly Betty.
In this final run-up to the finale, though, things seem to be turning around. The aforementioned musical episode was a blast of delight that had been sorely missing, and the road to some concrete answers on the Black Hood, and a hopeful thwarting of Hiram Lodge, could save us.
Much like Revenge and The Originals before it, Riverdale could pull itself out of a Season 2 they weren’t prepared for, and wow us for Round 3. Please.
Yes, I finally became what I had so long resisted: a legitimate GoT fan. But don’t worry, I’m still my arsehole, contrarian self.
The reason Game of Thrones is on this list is because the show has changed. I mocked the slowness of pacing and structuring of the story in earlier seasons. These seasons felt too much like reading a book to me. They took too long to get anywhere, and the narrative appeared to be just a ten hour chunk that had been arbitrarily divided into ten episode pieces.
But now, with time running out, Game of Thrones has finally become a TV show, and not a book. Things actually happen now, and individual episodes have their own arcs within them. With set-ups and payoffs! It’s crazy, I know.
And more than the structure finally being tightened up, Game of Thrones is now unable to continue holding things back and patting you on the head for your patience. An end date has been given; it’s time to let the fireworks fly. And if last season’s finale is any indication, what’s left is going to be big.