Once again, it was a great year for television. Excellent shows dropped left, right, and center all year, giving us plenty of entertainment. Too much even. As the year winds down, take advantage of your free time (hopefully) and watch the shows you didn’t have time for. These are the shows that somehow didn’t get the coverage they deserved and were overlooked by many. These are the best shows of 2018 that you didn’t see.

Daredevil: Season 3

Early numbers weren’t encouraging for Daredevil’s third season (down more than 50 percent from season two), which is a huge shame because the most recent season is easily the series’ best. It marks a return to an intense focus on characterization, similar to the first season. Everyone on screen has a purpose, personality, and feels fully developed. Sister Maggie quickly became our personal favorite of the new characters for this season, with a healthy mix of old-school no-nonsense nun sarcasm and genuine care and devotion. With other Marvel Netflix shows getting the ax, showrunners and audiences alike should look at Daredevil if they want to learn how to make the shows right. Netflix


Barry

Bill Hader doesn’t exactly exude the “hitman” vibe, so we’re already on a surreal level with Barry. Then the show doubles down by having Barry follow a mark into acting classes in Los Angeles and, instead of executing his contract, he decides to see where this acting thing could go. It’s a weird idea, but it’s done so well that at no point do you ever find yourself not believing the premise. Of course a depressed hitman would find comfort in introductory acting classes. Why wouldn’t he? Obviously you don’t get to leave a hitman’s life without complications, but instead of taking a Bourne angle on it, the show mines Bill Hader’s plentiful comedic talent for ways to distinguish itself in the genre. HBO


Forever

Fred Armisen’s definitely an acquired comedic taste (from what we gathered talking to people, Portlandia was a love it or hate it kind of show), but if it’s a taste you’ve acquired, definitely check out Forever. It’s one of the rare gems in Amazon Prime’s original programming and explores the sometimes fraught prospect of shaking things up in a marriage comfortable in its routines. The show takes some liberties with that idea and goes places you definitely wouldn’t expect, but Fred Armisen and Maya Rudolph’s previous work hardly limits itself to the real world, so we wouldn’t want Forever to either. Amazon Prime


Succession

Hopefully it’s not too insane of us to point out that hyper-rich modern Americans fight the same way royal families did. There are plenty of stories about the dilution of wealth and power in wealthy American families, which usually go hand in hand with the spoiled behavior of medieval princes and Roman emperors. Succession is that kind of story, where the patriarch, Logan Roy, of a super-wealthy family is of uncertain standing in regards to health. Roy is also the owner of a powerful international media company and his relatives all want a piece of it. It should be obvious that this isn’t a show about peaceful and reasonable conflict resolution. HBO


The Standups

Hour long specials are great for established comedians, but sometimes we just don’t have the attention span for them. We still want good comedy, but around the forty minute mark, we’ll occasionally find our thoughts drifting to other places. That’s one of the reasons The Standups is a good idea. You get a half-hour of excellent comedy performed by up-and-coming comedians from all over the comedy scene. Between the two seasons, Kyle Kinane, Nate Bargatze, Aparna Nancherla, and Beth Stelling are a few of our favorites. These are names we’ve heard but rarely get the chance to see beyond a few clips on Conan or wherever else they pop up, so to have a solid chunk of their material available is a great way to see what they have to offer. Netflix


Bodyguard

Bodyguard is one of those shows you have to stop yourself from binging. It’ll feel right in the moment, but then you’ll realize it took you about eight hours to run through a show you should have spread over two weeks. There’s too much going on for you to fully absorb it in a single sitting, so do yourself a favor and exercise some self-control. The show itself is sort of a British House of Cards (yes, we know the original House of Cards was a British miniseries) seen from the point of view of Meechum or Stamper, with some homegrown terrorism mixed in. It’s a great idea and it’ll hook you, so again, keep yourself from binging it. Netflix


The Chi

If you’ve had a hole in your cultural life since The Wire ended, give The Chi a shot. It’s not a sequel and it’s not made by the same people, but it’s tonally similar and takes an unflinching look at what it’s like to be poor and black in Chicago the way The Wire showed daily crime in Baltimore. You’ll find yourself invested in these characters ridiculously fast and you’ll be hoping for their success as they try to make the best of their lives on the South Side. The show’s frustrating, disheartening, encouraging, and uplifting all at the same time. Showtime


The Looming Tower

The amount of conflict between American intelligence agencies is ridiculous. Instead of cooperating with each other, the FBI and CIA are consistently trying to sabotage or outwit their “allies” in the other organization. The Looming Tower follows that exact conflict, but puts a much finer point on it. It proposes that the rivalry between the two agencies is at least partially responsible for the attacks on September 11th. That’s quite the accusation, made all the worse by the undeniability of how poorly America handled the rising threat of militant groups in the Middle East. Hulu


The Terror

We heard next to nothing about The Terror when it first aired, despite it being on AMC, the channel responsible for Breaking Bad, and Ridley Scott being involved in the production. That lack of publicity stuns us, mostly because of the uniqueness of the premise of the show. In 1845, Captain Sir John Franklin led an expedition into the Arctic in search of the Northwest Passage. In real life, the expedition is considered lost and it’s only recently in 2014 and ‘16 that the expedition’s ships were found. In the show, we get to see what actually (fictionally) caused the failure of the expeditions. AMC


The Romanoffs

There are all kinds of conspiracy theories surrounding the Russian royal family that survive in spite of plenty of evidence that the Romanovs were all mercilessly killed at the hands of the Russian revolutionaries. The big theory is that Anastasia Romanov survived the attacks and escaped to live a full life. The Romanoffs takes that idea and runs with it, following eight people who believe they’re the descendants of the Romanov line. The show comes to us courtesy of Matthew Weiner, the creator of Mad Men, so expect drama, attention to detail, and great writing, and prepared to be surprised by humor. Amazon Prime

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