During a year that felt as if it spanned 10 years and produced about a billion television shows, trying to narrow down the best of the best is a nearly-impossible task. Frankly, it’s nearly impossible just to remember all the programs that aired — remember that beautiful High Maintenance premiere? Or the funny-but-canceled Great News? Can you believe Queer Eye aired two whole seasons since February?
Still, there were plenty of standouts throughout the year, coming from both the expected networks (you could make a top 10 on Netflix alone) and the unexpected (Facebook Watch has some surprising gems). What’s notable about the ever-increasing influx of programming is the sheer breadth of stories told: a Cuban-American family grappling with our current politics; trans women living life in the late ‘80s; coworkers at a big box store laughing their way through a frustrating job; and insecure pre-teens awkwardly crawling toward adolescence.
It’s tough to narrow it down to just 10 — and, of course, these are only my personal favorites — but here are the best television shows from 2018:
Pose, created by Ryan Murphy, Brad Falchuk, and Steven Canals, is notable for a number of reasons. Not only does it boast the largest number of trans actors in a TV series, but it provides a reversal of the narratives we’re used to: the main leads are almost all trans women of color while the two straight white men (Evan Peters and James Van Der Beek), the men who are usually at the forefront, are instead relegated to the background, as side characters in the women’s stories. It also features trans people behind the scenes —such as Janet Mock, who made her TV writing debut with “Love Is The Message.” It’s proof that when queer people tell our own stories, the results are intimate, honest, and enthralling. Set in the backdrop of ‘80s ball culture, Pose provided a lively, beautiful, and joyous season of television — one that I can’t wait to return to.