5 Best TV Shows Of 2018 (So Far)

Well, it’s been another stellar year for TV so far in 2018, hasn’t it? From rappers to robots to fake historians, this year has excelled itself (and Better Call Saul hasn’t even returned to our screens yet). With that, in no particular order, here’s the 5 best TV shows of 2018 so far.

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When Atlanta first aired back in 2016 everybody knew that it would be good, thanks in part to the genius that Donald Glover has imparted in every project he’s been involved with. But seeing him take the reigns of his very own show let his creativity soar to heights that nobody could ever have predicted (the first season episode ‘B.A.N’ being a particular highlight, nabbing an Emmy nomination for its troubles).

Well that creativity has soared further in the show’s second season. Dealing with eccentric Germans out of town, a nightmare trip to the barbershop and an even bigger nightmare walk through the woods (Jesus, Paperboi had it rough this season), Atlanta and Donald Glover have conjured up many a great episode this season. However, the best of the bunch has easily been ‘Teddy Perkins’. Featuring Lakeith Stanfield’s Darius trying to collect a piano from a weird, sinister, Michael Jackson-esque man called Teddy Perkins, this episode features two of the best performances seen on TV this year from the aforementioned Stanfield and Donald Glover, unrecognisable as the titular Teddy Perkins. It’s gripping to watch.

Great performances, great writing, Atlanta is simply one of the best this year.



On paper, Barry sounds like the stupidest idea for a TV show going. A hitman does a job in L.A and decides to get into acting while he’s there? But when you have Bill Hader as the titular Barry, Henry Winkler as his acting coach, and HBO throwing their weight behind it, it’s no surprise that this show has hit the bullseye on its first try.

Hader has co-created a character study about a man who wants to change his direction in life for the better, but finds that sometimes that darkness is inherent and unchangeable. And Hader has done it wonderfully. Barry is funny without being laugh out loud funny. It pokes fun at the wanna be actor-types of L.A without being overly mean and also lets Winkler have his best role in years, letting his overly dramatic acting muscles flex fully. Hader himself is great, playing Barry with great restraint while selflessly allowing everyone around him to let their eccentricities fly. And the season finale is one of the best to ever air. It’s so note-perfect that you almost hope it doesn’t get a second season.

A hitman that even Agent 47 would be proud of, Barry is a direct hit for all involved. Quality.


Cunk On Britain

Philomena Cunk (a.k.a Diane Morgan) has been  giving us hilarious commentary on, well, anything since Charlie Brooker first introduced her back on Weekly Wipe a few years ago. Since then the character has grown in popularity appearing on Brooker’s end of year -wipe shows and a spin-off all about Shakespeare. So when it was announced that she was getting her own series, some might be forgiven for thinking that this might be having too much of a good thing. Well we needn’t have feared, as Cunk On Britain was as brilliant as we could have possibly hoped.

Beginning at the birth of this Great Britain, through the Tudor age, the second world war and right up to Brexit, there was nothing that Cunk didn’t cast her wandering mind over, with typically astute insights. On Stonehenge, “early man’s finest achievement… a cross between Nemesis at Alton Towers, in that it was a spectacular attraction, and the queue for Nemesis at Alton Towers, in that it never fucking moves”. On the dinosaurs, “Dinosaurs came in many flavours, just like kettle chips” and the Bayeux Tapestry, “It’s just like being there – but in wool”. Hilarious.

Diane Morgan has proved that there’s plenty of life in the character yet, and that Charlie Brooker needs to find a few minutes when he’s not depressing us all with Black Mirror to get some more Cunk written. Sign her up, Newsnight.


The Handmaid’s Tale


The Handmaid’s Tale is still one of the bleakest, most depressingly relevant shows that is on air today, and it is nothing less than gripping and completely must-see. After the refusal of the Handmaids last season to kill one of their own, we started season 2 with one of the tensest, nerve-shredding openings that a season of any series has ever given us (Fenway Park hasn’t seen such horrifying scenes since the L.A. Angels scored 21 runs past the Red Sox back in 2016). And from there the season did not let up at all.

Wisely expanding the scope of Handmaid’s Gilead to the wider world, we get to see how world politics affect the show’s former United States, and how domestic affairs for the women of Gilead is impacting them even worse, but how a fight back is well and truly on. Elisabeth Moss continues to be nothing less than spectacular in every scene, dealing with a forced pregnancy she doesn’t want, and learning that her husband is actually alive north of the border, Moss showcases pain, rage, joy and everything inbetween perfectly.

However where this season improves even more is in its supporting characters, especially that of Yvonne Strahovski’s Serena Waterford. Playing an evil bitch is easy, but this season Strahovski has imbued Serena Waterford with pathos and a newfound sympathy, one which we didn’t really get to see last season. She’s rightly bagged a best supporting actress EMMY nomination this year and it’s no surprise to see.

Horribly relevant but a must-see, The Handmaid’s Tale is easily the best drama that’s been on TV this year. Praise be.



GLOW was on the best of TV list here at Cultured Vultures last year and there’s no surprise as to why it’s on this year’s mid-term report again. After a first season that was good but ultimately started out a bit unsure of itself, this time around GLOW knows what it is and runs with it perfectly. It’s funnier, easily more confident in itself and the dramatic beats land better than a Braun Strowman powerslam.

Tackling sexism, racial politics and power moves in and out of the ring, and the shitty treatment women get in the entertainment industry, GLOW, like The Handmaid’s Tale, is depressingly relevant. None more so than in the episode where Alison Brie’s Ruth Wilder has a skin-crawling encounter with a Harvey Weinstein-esque network head in a hotel room. It’s horrible and uncomfortable to watch but it needs to be seen to show what monstrosities men can be capable of in positions of power and why these women are strong outside of the ring as well as in it.

It’s not all grim though. Betty Gilpin shines once again as Debbie ‘Liberty Belle’ Eagan, further adding fuel to why she could win an Emmy this year for best supporting comedy actress, and Marc Maron’s Sam Sylvia is still an arsehole, but one that you can’t help but laugh at and get behind. There’s great performances all around and it shows that GLOW is very much a great ensemble show, with a few standouts, and is all the better for it.

GLOW proves that having women front and centre (and behind the scenes) in a show highlights why this needs to start becoming the norm and not the exception. It’s a crowd-pleasing world champion and long may it’s reign continue.

What else has been great for you on TV this year? Let us know in the comments below.

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