The Top Television Performances of 2018

30 Dec

And we’re back for another round of year end lists! To kick it off, we have the top television performances of 2018:

15. Brian Tyree Henry, “Atlanta”

14. Elizabeth Olsen, “Sorry for Your Loss”

13. Bill Hader, “Barry”

12. Elisabeth Moss and Yvonne Strahovski, “The Handmaid’s Tale”

11. Hayley Atwell, “Howards End”

10. Billy Porter and Indya Moore, “Pose”

9. Rhea Seehorn, “Better Call Saul”

8. Amy Adams and Patricia Clarkson, “Sharp Objects”: Two complex, haunting performances that plumb the dark depths of humanity. Their scenes together never fail to be electrifying.

7. Rachel Brosnahan and Alex Borstein, “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”: This dynamic duo is bursting at the seams with wit, charm, and pure heart. Their energy is infectious and their friendship is indelible.

6. Florence Pugh, “The Little Drummer Girl”: Between this and Lady Macbeth, Pugh is quickly becoming a star even if most people don’t know it yet. She more than holds her own with seasoned actors like Michael Shannon and Alexander Skarsgard, exuding a natural charisma that allows her to sell her character’s confidence and vulnerability.

5. Will Arnett, “Bojack Horseman”: Consistently doing what Arnett does with just his voice is simply incredible, and “Free Churro” in particular is a showcase for the range, timing, and raw emotion that he brings to the role.

4. Patricia Arquette, “Escape at Dannemora”: Arquette is transformative in the best way here, delivering a performance that unflinchingly toes the line between desperation, bitterness, and an aching desire to be known and felt.

3. Darren Criss, “The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story”: Criss is mesmerizing as serial killer Andrew Cunanan, anchoring the show with a visceral intensity that draws us in even as it horrifies us.

2. Sandra Oh and Jodie Comer, “Killing Eve”: This cat and mouse game is fun to watch because Oh and Comer play off of each other so well, swinging between wry humor and violent obsession with such ease. Their final confrontation of the season is absolute dynamite.

1. Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys, “The Americans”: These two have been consistently amazing for the last six years, and Rhys finally won an Emmy a few months ago for his superb role as Philip Jennings. Russell, meanwhile, will unfortunately go without a win for her magnificent work. In any case, it’s been a pleasure to watch them kick ass, and I hope nothing but the best for them moving forward.

HONORABLE MENTIONS: D’arcy Carden (“The Good Place”), Carrie Coon (“The Sinner”), Rachel Bloom (“Crazy Ex-Girlfriend”), Maggie Gyllenhaal (“The Deuce”), Victoria Pedretti (“The Haunting of Hill House”), Jared Harris (“The Terror”), Justin Theroux (“Maniac”), Logan Browning (“Dear White People”), Matthew Macfayden (“Succession”), Thandie Newton (“Westwood”), Timothy Olyphant (“Santa Clarita Diet”), Stephan James and Julia Roberts (“Homecoming”), Benedict Cumberbatch (“Patrick Melrose”), Alex Lawther and Jessica Barden (“The End of the F***ing World”), Betty Gilpin (“GLOW”), Penn Badgley (“YOU”), Emmy Rossum (“Shameless”)

HAVEN’T SEEN: Castle Rock, The Chi, Counterpart, Bodyguard, A Very English Scandal, America to Me, Big Mouth, The Staircase, Narcos: Mexico, Forever, American Vandal, The Looming Tower, Vida, Lodge 49, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Jane the Virgin, The First


3 Responses to “The Top Television Performances of 2018”

  1. Matthew Thompson December 30, 2018 at 10:06 pm #

    Great list! Comer as Villanelle was probably my favorite.

  2. bobC927 December 31, 2018 at 9:18 am #

    Although I’m not a fan of Patricia Arquette, her role as Tilly is deserving of some accolades.

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