Top Ten TV Debuts of 2018

2018 has been a pretty eventful year for television. We witnessed the return of shows such as HBO’s non-linear sci-fi epic Westworld, Netflix’s empowering female wrestling comedy Glow, NBC’s heart-wrenching generational drama This Is Us, and many more. In addition to this, we’ve also had some great TV debuts, ranging from comedy and mystery, to horror and everything in between. Listed below are PCR‘s top ten television debuts of 2018 and why you should check them out.

10. Krypton, SYFY

Officially announced back in 2017, SYFY’s Krypton is a prequel series to the Superman character, and it focuses on Superman’s grandfather Seg-El (played by the charismatic Cameron Cuffe). We follow Seg-El as he fights to restore the legacy of the House of El after being completely shut out by the rest of society as a result of his grandfather’s actions.

Credit: SYFY

Why should you watch this show?

+ Krypton goes against the grain of current DC shows, and adopts the serial form of storytelling as opposed to episodic (which benefits the show greatly).

+ David S. Goyer’s involvement is felt, as him and the team of writers pack quite a punch with the political plot-line.

+ Cameron Cuffe leads a cast that are all instantly likable and all feel very fleshed out!

= 7/10

9. The End of the F***ing World, Channel 4/Netflix

The End of the F***ing World is a British dark comedy-drama, and follows James (Alex Lawther) and Alyssa (Jessica Barden) who decide to abruptly leave their daily lives and go on a road trip to find Alyssa’s estranged father. James, on the other hand, is convinced he is a psychopath, and he has ulterior and more sinister motives.

Credit: Channel 4/Netflix

Why should you watch this show?

+ Signature dark British humour which works very well (if you enjoy shows like Being Human, Shameless and Misfits then this is the show for you!).

+ Perfect balance between a dark comedy and a dark drama, but never spends too much time on either side.

+ The two leads, Alex Lawther (who you may recognise from Netflix’s Black Mirror!) and Jessica Barden have great chemistry making it a joy to watch .

= 7/10

8. Castle Rock, Hulu

Hulu’s Castle Rock is a psychological-horror anthology series, and is the latest in a long line of Stephen King adaptations, only this time creating a “multiverse” where all of his nightmare stories can exist within the same space. The show’s first season centers around Henry Deaver (André Holland), a death-row attorney who’s lured back to his home town of Castle Rock to help a mute man who appears to have been kept in a cage underneath Shawshank Prison.

Credit: Hulu

Why should you watch this show?

+ Ensemble cast led by André Holland are amazing, and the show is worth watching just for Sissy Spacek’s episode alone!

+ The horror is infused into every aspect of the show, whether it be through the cinematography, the writing, or the chilling performances.

+ The show’s ambiguous “less is more” nature works extremely well.

= 7/10

7. Informer, BBC

Informer is a British thriller focused on a Pakistani man who’s coerced by a counter-terror officer into becoming an informant.

Credit: BBC

Why should you watch this show?

+ Great character development in the lead character.

+ The lead actor (Nabhaan Rizwan) gives a heartbreaking performance that is one of the year’s best performances on TV.

+ Tells a complete story within the six episodes that isn’t worried about setting up any sequels or second seasons.

= 7/10

6. Bodyguard, BBC

Bodyguard is a British political thriller focused on David Budd (Richard Madden), a war veteran who’s assigned to protect the home secretary Julia Montague, a highly controversial politician.

Credit: BBC

Why should you watch this show?

+ Richard Madden gives a multi-layered and very complex performance of a war veteran suffering from PTSD who’s assigned to protect somebody whose political views directly juxtapose his.

+ Thrilling and exhilarating ride from start to finish!

+ The political plot-line explores a lot within the Government such as corruption, blackmail, and sinister politicians which all help to make the show feel more realistic.

= 8/10

5. Jack Ryan, Amazon Prime Video

Amazon Prime Video’s Jack Ryan is an action-thriller series based on the character created by Tom Clancy. The first season follows John Krasinski as Jack Ryan, a CIA analyst who’s forced into the field after discovering suspicious bank activities that may or may not be connected to an infamous Islamic terrorist named Suleiman.

Credit: Amazon Prime Video

Why should you watch this show?

+ Well written characters that you actually care about.

+ Editing and pacing is perfect making the show easily binge-able.

+ Action sequences supplement the overall plot, they aren’t the main focus which works very well for the show.

= 8/10

4. Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, Netflix

Chilling Adventures of Sabrina (or CAOS) is a Netflix original series based on the Archie comic book series of the same name. The series follows our titular lead Sabrina Spellman (Kiernan Shipka) as she struggles to balance her life as a mortal and also a witch.

Credit: Netflix

Why should you watch this show?

+ Perfect blend between teen drama and straight-up horror, making it an absolute joy to binge-watch. Another win for Netflix’s TV division!

+ Ensemble cast led by Kiernan Shipka all bring their individual personalities and energies to their respective roles, making the show much better than it’s spiritual sister Riverdale.

+ Salem the Cat!

= 8/10

3. Sharp Objects, HBO

Making it into PCR’s top three is HBO’s Sharp Objects! Based on Gillian Flynn’s debut novel of the same name, Sharp Objects is a psychological-thriller, and stars Amy Adams as Camille Preaker, a reporter with a haunting past tied to her hometown of Wind Gap, Missouri, as she’s sent back to report on the murder of two young girls.

Credit: HBO

Why should you watch this show?

+ This is a Jean-Marc Vallée directed show! (Which should be reason enough for you to watch). 

+ Glacially paced show which may be off-putting for some, but is beneficial for setting the mise-en-scène and exploring of the town of Wind Gap and its inhabitants.

+ Amy Adams gives an award-winning performance as adult Camille Preaker, one which likely won’t ever be topped this year personally.

+ An incredible character study of its lead, Camille Preaker, as we explore her tragic past and how that directly affects her present life, both psychologically and literally.

+ Features an amazing supporting cast in Patricia Clarkson, Chris Messina and Eliza Scanlen.

= 9/10

2. Killing Eve, BBC America

#2 on PCR’s list is Killing Eve, a British-made American drama/thriller based on the novella series “Codename Villanelle” by Luke Jennings. The show follows our titular character Eve Polastri (Sandra Oh), an MI5 officer who begins to develop an unhealthy obsession with tracking down a mysterious assassin that seems to find a way to cover her tracks every time.

Credit: BBC America

Why should you watch this show?

+ Sandra Oh and Jodie Comer run rings around the Television circuit this year as their chemistry is off-the-walls.

+ Pitch perfect pacing and editing.

+ A great character study as the show successfully examines what draws Eve to Villanelle, and vice versa. 

+ If you love political conspiracies with a hint of fictionalization, Killing Eve is the show for you!

= 9/10

1. The Haunting of Hill House, Netflix

Landing the coveted #1 spot on PCR’s top TV debuts of 2018 list is none other than Netflix’s The Haunting of Hill House! Netflix have constantly been rolling out great original TV content, but this show especially stood out among the crowd for PCR. The Haunting of Hill House is a psychological-horror series directed by Mike Flanagan (Gerald’s Game, Ouija: Origin of Evil, Before I Wake), and focuses on the estranged Crain family who are forced to dig up haunting memories of their old family home.

Credit: Netflix

Why should you watch this show?

+ One of the few Netflix originals (both TV and film) that truly deserve the coveted label of being a masterpiece.

+ The show thoroughly examines it’s main characters leaving very little left to be desired.

+ Features some truly horrific and terrifying sequences which will satisfy many horror fans (including a jaw-dropping 20+ minute long take)!

+ Impeccable direction from Mike Flanagan, a horror veteran who understands what real horror is. 

+ The cast all bring their A-game, including the child versions of the main characters.

★ = 10/10!!!

As we enter a new year there’s definitely a lot to look forward to in terms of TV debuts. From Patty Jenkins’ long awaited mystery drama I Am the Night, to Ava DuVernay’s drama Central Park Five, to the comic book shows such as HBO’s Watchmen, DCU’s Stargirl, and Netflix’s The Umbrella Academy, there is certainly a lot of content to look forward to.

That’s it for PCR’s top ten TV debuts of 2018. What TV debuts did you love that didn’t make PCR’s list? Tweet us at @PopCultureRevs


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