The Best TV Shows of 2018
TV gets better and better, but it does not necessarily do so in a straight line.
The first several months of 2018, I worried I might have a hard time filling this list. The last half of the year, though, came on with a burst of creativity that kept me adding and subtracting to the last minute.
This is one reason I don’t rank it in order. I’d be lying if I told you I liked my No. 7 show measurably better than No. 8, and you could make a solid Top 10 out of my near-misses (“Babylon Berlin,” “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” and “Better Call Saul” among them).
‘The Americans’ (FX)
You had to know the ending was going to hurt. The final season of this family spy drama with a melancholy heart as big as Mother Russia brought the long con of Elizabeth and Philip Jennings (Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys) to an end. The devastating, though largely bloodless, finale stayed true to the series’s theme that often the greatest sacrifices you make for a doomed cause are emotional.
你得知道结局会很伤人。这部家庭间谍剧有着《俄罗斯妈妈(Russian Mom)》一般巨大的阴郁内核，在最后一季，伊丽莎白和菲利普・詹宁斯夫妇(凯丽・拉塞尔[Keri Russell]和马修・瑞斯[Matthew Rhys]扮演)的长线骗局走到了终结。结局虽然悲惨，但大体上并未流血，且保持了该剧的主题，即你为一项没落事业所做的最大的牺牲往往是令人动情的。
‘America to Me’ (Starz)
《美国于我》（The America to Me，Starz频道）
I cringe when critics say, “You have to watch this” ― there’s no better way to make TV sound like a chore. But this 10-part documentary, set at a racially integrated school in Oak Park, Ill., was not homework. The sprawling, nuance-minded story explored the difficulties of racial inequity, even in a socially conscious school. But more than that, it was an involving, big-hearted story of kids, their dreams, their challenges, their triumphs and their everyday drama. You don’t have to watch “America to Me.” But you’ll be glad if you do.
‘Atlanta Robbin’ Season’ (FX)
The second season of “Atlanta” had a theme: money, scams and the precarious struggle of its characters on the periphery of the hip-hop business to hang on to what they have. But this creation by Donald Glover and company also retained its ability to become anything from episode to episode: gothic horror in the episode “Teddy Perkins,” picaresque comedy in “Barbershop” and poignant coming-of-age in “F.U.B.U.” At a peak moment for pop-culture Afro-surrealism (“Random Acts of Flyness” on TV, “Sorry to Bother You” in the theaters), “Atlanta” remained the kingpin.
《亚特兰大》第二季的主题：金钱、骗局和角色们为抓住手中所有的而在嘻哈生意边缘的脆弱挣扎。但唐纳德・格洛弗(Donald Glover)等人的这部剧仍然拥有在每集之间变化无穷的能力：“Teddy Perkins”的哥特恐怖，“Barbershop”的恶汉喜剧，以及“F.U.B.U.”中沉痛的成年故事。在非裔超现实主义流行文化（电视系列片《随机机智行为》和电影《扮工室上位攻略》）的巅峰时刻，《亚特兰大》仍是扛鼎之作。
‘Barry’ (HBO) and ‘Killing Eve’ (BBC America)
HBO出品的《巴里》(Barry)和BBC America出品的《杀死伊芙》(Killing Eve)
I pair these shows together not to cheat an extra show into my list ― well, maybe a little bit ― but because they’re two sides of a bloody coin. Both are mordant stories about assassins: Barry (Bill Hader), a burned out ex-soldier who longs to become an actor, and Villanelle (Jodie Comer), a gleeful huntress playing cat-and-mouse with an intelligence-agency bureaucrat (Sandra Oh). But beyond the obvious, these two stories show how some of today’s best TV exists in a gray area between genres. “Barry,” a half-hour “comedy” from Hader and Alec Berg, developed into something closer to a melancholy short drama; the creator Phoebe Waller-Bridge infused “Eve” with the brio of a dark comedy, though its hour length marked it as “crime drama.” Label them what you like; each hit its target.
我将这两部剧放在一起，不是为了耍赖多塞一个剧进榜单――当然了，可能有那么点儿――而是因为它们是一枚血腥硬币的两面。两部都是关于刺客的尖酸故事：巴里（比尔・哈德尔[Bill Hader]饰）是个心灰意懒的退伍军人，渴望去当演员，Villanelle（朱迪・科默[Jodie Comer]饰）是一个欢快的女猎手，和情报局官僚（吴珊卓[Sandra Oh]饰）玩起了猫捉老鼠的游戏。但在表面之下，这两则故事显示出当今最佳的一些剧集如何存在于不同题材之间的灰色地带。《巴里》是哈德尔和亚力克・博格(Alec Berg)的半小时“喜剧”，渐渐转向了阴郁的短剧；在《杀死伊芙》里，编剧菲比・沃勒-布里奇(Phoebe Waller-Bridge)给“伊芙”注入了黑色喜剧色彩，虽然一小时的长度让它被打上了“犯罪正剧”的标签。但是不管你管它们叫什么，它们都达到了各自的目的。
‘BoJack Horseman’ (Netflix)
All things being equal, I prefer not to list the same show two years in a row. (This was the tiebreaker that barely eliminated “The Good Place.”) “BoJack” is a pristine example; after five seasons, it is so perceptive, moving and hilarious that it is easy to imagine it cemented on this list permanently.
在所有条件相同的情况下，我不想连续两年列出同一部剧。（这是《善地》[The Good Place]最终未能入选的决定因素。）《马男波杰克》是第一次破例；经历了五季，它还是那样敏锐、动人和欢快，不难想象它永远留在这个名单上。
‘The Good Fight’ (CBS All Access)
《傲骨之战》(The Good Fight，CBS All Access)
The second season of “The Good Fight” was the first great TV response to the election of Donald Trump, which has been marked mostly by a glut of late-night comedy and nostalgia revivals. As the firm of Diane Lockhart (Christine Baranski) dove into the politics and conflicts of the Trump era ― immigration, judicial appointments, #MeToo and a certain rumored Russian-hotel tape ― what had been a perfectly decent sequel to “The Good Wife” returned invigorated, absurdist and energized for battle.
《傲骨之战》的第二季属于电视界对唐纳德・特朗普当选的早期精彩回应，其主要标志是大量深夜喜剧和怀旧复兴。随着黛安・洛克哈特（克里斯汀・芭伦斯基[Christine Baranski]饰）的事务所深入了解特朗普时代的政治和冲突――移民，司法任命，“#我也是”运动和一些传闻中的俄罗斯酒店录音带――这部《傲骨贤妻》(The Good Wife)的绝妙续集恢复了活力和荒诞感，再度充满了战斗活力。
This defense-industry conspiracy thriller moved with military efficiency and artistic stealth. Julia Roberts’s first starring role for TV was her best in years, and she turned in an astonishing, finely calibrated performance. Adapting the series from a podcast drama, the director Sam Esmail applied the cinephilic wizardry he honed on “Mr. Robot” to a take on the paranoid thrillers of the ’70s. Best of all, the whole season took a mere 10 half-hour episodes, which flew by but possessed the screen as if they had all the time in the world.
这部国防业阴谋惊悚剧中的军事效率和艺术性的伪装打动人心。朱莉娅・罗伯茨(Julia Roberts)第一次出演电视剧，这也是她多年来的最佳角色，她带来了令人惊讶、极为精准的表演。该剧由播客广播剧改编而来，导演山姆・艾斯梅尔(Sam Esmail)运用了他在《黑客军团》(Mr. Robot)中炉火纯青的电影手法，呈现出1970年代妄想狂惊悚片的效果。最精彩的是，这部全季10个半小时的剧中，情节飞驰而过，但又不慌不忙，好像有的是时间。
‘Lodge 49’ (AMC)
Every year there’s a show or two for which my honest review is: “I can’t describe this. Just watch it.” “Lodge 49” gets to its story eventually, enfolding real estate, surfing and the arcane secrets of alchemy. But this comic-melancholy hangout is most worth watching for its generous portraits of the strivers and losers at and around a fraternal lodge in down-and-out Southern California. Oddball and amiable, “Lodge 49” looked for meaning in sports-bar restaurants and closing aerospace factories, and it found a peculiar magic.
On the demanding floor of New York’s 1980s ballroom competitions, the judging standard was flawlessness. But to me, moments of transcendence matter more than lack of faults. And in those moments, Ryan Murphy’s resplendent series soared like a plumed miracle. “Pose” had clumsy and oversentimental aspects. But it also had an immediate verve, cut-to-the-bone performances and heart to spare. I’ll probably think of “Pose” more than anything else when I think of 2018 TV, and if that’s not the definition of “best,” then it’s something better.
‘Sharp Objects’ (HBO)
I teetered between this limited series and the excellent “My Brilliant Friend” for what you might call the HBO literary-adaptation slot. “Sharp Objects,” adapted by Marti Noxon from the novel by Gillian Flynn, was the more inventive reimagining for the screen, and thus better TV as TV. Noxon captured the open-wound psyche of Camille Preaker (a wholly committed Amy Adams). The director, Jean-Marc Vallée, created a soundscape and aesthetic that was almost tactile: You could feel the humidity, hear the lazy insects. Few series have done so well at putting you in a protagonist’s mind and in her world.
我在这部有局限的剧和优秀的《我的天才女友》之间犹豫，不知哪部才是HBO的最佳文学改编。由马蒂・诺克森(Marti Noxon)改编自吉莉安・弗林(Gillian Flynn)小说的《利器》，为电视屏幕进行了更具创造性的重构，因此作为电视剧来说更胜一筹。诺克森捕捉了卡米尔・普里克（由全心投入的艾米・亚当斯[Amy Adams]饰演）深受创伤的心理。导演让-马克・瓦雷(Jean-MarcVallée)创造了几乎触手可及的音景与美学：你可以感受到空气的湿度，听到昆虫懒散的声音。很少有哪些剧集能够如此精美，让你能够走进主角的内心和她的世界。