The Best TV Shows Of The Year (So Far)

Although the fall TV season is just getting started, there has been plenty of great television so far in 2018. We took a look at the best shows that have aired so far this year, based on data from Metacritic, which collects reviews from trusted critics and gives shows an average rating.

We included shows that had at least five trusted reviews on Metacritic and we excluded any documentaries or made-for-TV movies that were two parts or less. Netflix has the most shows of any network on the list, followed by HBO and FX.

Did your favorite show of the year make this list?

‘A Very English Scandal’ (Amazon Prime)

Metacritic Score: 84

This miniseries, from Oscar-nominated director Stephen Frears, was produced by the BBC and aired in America on Amazon Prime starting in June. It stars Hugh Grant as a member of the U.K. Parliament who goes to shocking lengths to keep a gay relationship secret in the 1960s and ’70s.

The three-part show was praised by critics and was called “a must-see” by A review on that site said this “may be Grant’s best performance.”

‘Atlanta’ – Season 2 (FX)

Metacritic Score: 97

FX’s Emmy-winning powerhouse of a comedy is 2018’s highest-scoring scripted series so far, according to Metacritic averages. The show’s second season, which continues to follow a pair of cousins in Atlanta as they try to break into the rap game, boasts a flawless review from six top critics.

When season two of “Atlanta” debuted in March, the Los Angeles Times was one of those publications that raved about it. Its review at the time said the series “is loaded with the same brilliant mix of social commentary, internal dialogue and making something out of nothing,” that made 2016’s first season a hit.

‘America to Me’ – Season 1 (Starz)

Metacritic Score: 96

The most critically acclaimed new show of 2018, according to Metacritic, is Starz’s documentary series “America to Me.” This 10-part show, which debuted in August, looks at the lives of students inside one of America’s most diverse public high schools, located in Chicago. The series was directed by Steve James, who did the classic, hard-hitting 1994 documentary “Hoop Dreams.”

In its rave review of “America to Me,” Salon called it “one of the most important shows” on TV this year and said “do not miss a moment” of it.

‘The Americans’ – Season 6 (FX)

Metacritic Score: 92

The final season of FX’s oft-overlooked “The Americans” continued the show’s legacy of critical acclaim. The series follows a pair of Soviet spies who live as an American couple in 1980s Washington, keeping their true identities secret from their friends, neighbors and children.

Season six started airing in March and saw praise continue to be heaped upon stars Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys, the latter of whom finally won an Emmy in 2018 for his work on the series. Of the new episodes, Time wrote, “‘The Americans’ is still better than practically anything else around.”

‘Barry’ – Season 1 (HBO)

Metacritic Score: 83

HBO had a surprise Emmy-winning hit on its hands when “Barry” debuted in March. The comedy series follows ex-“Saturday Night Live” star Bill Hader as a hitman who is hired to kill an actor in L.A. but ends up getting involved in show business himself. The show’s cast also features comedy vets like Henry Winkler and Stephen Root and was co-created by a former “Seinfeld” writer.

In a positive review of the show’s first season, CNN said it’s “uncomfortably funny and simultaneously dark and tense.”

‘Better Call Saul’ – Season 4 (AMC)

Metacritic Score: 87

This prequel and spinoff of “Breaking Bad” continues to score with critics, with its fourth season drawing its best reviews yet when it debuted on AMC in August. The new season was a major hit with viewers, too, racking up the year’s highest Metacritic user score of any TV show at 9.1.

The fourth season sees the show’s main character, Jimmy McGill, inching closer to becoming the sleazy lawyer Saul Goodman. In a glowing review of the new season, The Cleveland Plain Dealer wrote that “‘Better Call Saul’ just keeps on getting better and better.”

‘2 Dope Queens’ – Season 1 (HBO)

Metacritic Score: 87

The highest rated talk show of 2018, according to critics, is HBO’s “2 Dope Queens.” The show is a TV adaptation of the popular podcast of the same title, hosted by ex-“The Daily Show” correspondent Jessica Williams and comedian Phoebe Robinson.

It debuted on HBO in February and ran for just four episodes in its first season. Of “2 Dope Queens,” The Hollywood Reporter wrote that it wanted more episodes and “you’re going to be upset it isn’t airing weekly, or even nightly, in perpetuity.”

‘Big Mouth’ – Season 2 (Netflix)

Metacritic Score: 90

This endearing animated comedy about the awkwardness of being a teenager mid-puberty is one of Netflix’s most acclaimed shows. Its large voice cast includes recognizable names like Nick Kroll, Gina Rodriguez and David Thewlis. The second season of “Big Mouth,” which debuted in October, got an even better Metacritic score than the first.

When praising season two, Collider called the series “the smartest sex comedy in years.”

‘BoJack Horseman’ – Season 5 (Netflix)

Metacritic Score: 92

This bizarre, animated sitcom from Netflix has continued a steady rise in critical acclaim, with its fifth season earning its highest Metacritic average yet. The show stars “Arrested Development” favorite Will Arnett as a washed-up TV star who is half-man/half-horse.

The new season, which debuted in September, sees Emmy winner Rami Malek join the cast. Entertainment Weekly raved about season five, saying it “confirms its status as Netflix’s best TV show.”

‘The Conners’ – Season 1 (ABC)

Metacritic Score: 81

One of the most highly anticipated new shows of 2018, this spinoff of “Roseanne” picks up the pieces of the Conner family after its matriarch’s sudden death. Haters will, of course, rip the show without ever having watched it but critics have already praised the new series, which hits ABC on Oct. 16.

Original stars like John Goodman, Laurie Metcalf and Sara Gilbert all return and have earned good reviews for their work in a tough situation. In a lengthy review of “The Conners,” The Daily Beast wrote that “it’s frankly a delight to watch a sitcom this solid, with a cast of people you love this much, all executing so well.”

‘Dear White People’ – Season 2 (Netflix)

Metacritic Score: 89

The second season of Netflix’s dramedy has drawn even more praise than its first season since debuting in May. The show, based on a 2014 film of the same name, follows students at a fictional university and focuses on serious issues in American culture, including race.

The show’s talented young cast includes Logan Browning and Brandon P. Bell and its episodes hover around 30 minutes each. The Hollywood Reporter heavily praised season two, saying the series “has become one of the best things on TV and deserves to be discussed as such.”

‘The Deuce’ – Season 2 (HBO)

Metacritic Score: 86

HBO’s epic series about the rise of the pornography industry continued to impress critics with its second season, which debuted in September. The new season is set in 1977 New York and continues to follow a colorful cast of characters, led by Maggie Gyllenhaal as a prostitute-turned-adult film director and star.

The show, which shares some cast and crew with HBO’s landmark “The Wire,” also boasts a strong performance from James Franco as morally opposed twin brothers. In writing about its second season, Salon said, “‘The Deuce’ was already an excellent drama. Now it’s definitely one of the best shows on TV.”

‘Dirty Money’ – Season 1 (Netflix)

Metacritic Score: 80

Acclaimed documentary filmmaker Alex Gibney turns his focus on businesses that have committed fraud and misconduct in this Netflix series. The show takes the same tough look at companies like Volkswagen and Trump Inc. that Gibney took at the Church of Scientology in his acclaimed film “Going Clear.”

The show premiered way back in January and critics mostly hailed it for giving a serious look at a serious topic and avoiding comedy. Time praised Netflix for airing it, writing that “Dirty Money” “is the sort of tough investigative journalism that, for a big media company, represents more risk than upside.”

‘The End of the F***ing World’ – Season 1 (Netflix)

Metacritic Score: 81

This British-produced show was one of Netflix’s first new originals of 2018, debuting its first season in January. It’s based on a graphic novel and follows a pair of teens as they run away together on a road trip across England. The episodes are about 20 minutes each in length, making it perfect for binge-watching.

Variety wrote that it wished there were more episodes but praised the first season as something that’s “funny and sweet, violent and romantic.”

‘Flint Town’ – Season 1 (Netflix)

Metacritic Score: 83

Another bombshell Netflix documentary series that was beloved by critics in 2018 was “Flint Town.” The eight-part series looks at the beleaguered city of Flint, Michigan, with the filmmakers spending a year there. The series was praised as being gritty and tough. The Detroit News called it “essential viewing” and said it was “impressively crafted.”

‘The Good Place’ – Season 3 (NBC)

Metacritic Score: 96

The reviews of NBC’s high-concept comedy “The Good Place” have gotten better with each season, with September’s third season getting the best marks yet. The 96 rating on Metascore makes it the highest-scoring network series of 2018.

Kristen Bell, Ted Danson and William Jackson Harper continue to lead the show, which follows characters in a constantly changing version of the afterlife. Vulture loved the third season, calling the show “a beacon of light,” saying, “I honestly wonder if we deserve this show.”

‘GLOW’ – Season 2 (Netflix)

Metacritic Score: 85

The second season of this Netflix series, set in the 1980s world of women’s professional wrestling, got an even higher Metacritic score than its first. The show’s large cast is led by Alison Brie and Betty Gilpin and is loaded with big hair, flashy costumes and lively characters.

The second season was heavily praised for making its characters even more rounded and realistic. The Oregonian called the second season, which debuted in June, “a total joy” and said you’ll wish it had more than 10 episodes.

‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ – Season 2 (Hulu)

Metacritic Score: 86

Unlike some other shows on this list, Hulu’s “The Handmaid’s Tale” slipped in terms of critical acclaim for its new season but still earned plenty of praise. The massive downer follows a woman who seeks freedom in an America where women have had all their human rights stripped.

Star Elisabeth Moss continues to be heralded for her work in the second season, which debuted in April. “With Moss again leading the way, ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ continues to thrive in many of the same emotional, yet soaringly beautiful, ways it succeeded last year,” wrote The Hollywood Reporter of season two.

‘The Haunting of Hill House’ – Season 1 (Netflix)

Metacritic Score: 81

One of Netflix’s newest series, this creepy show debuted in October and follows a family of siblings who return to the spooky house they grew up in. The series has been praised as perfect Halloween viewing thanks to its chilling atmosphere and imagery.

A glowing review of “The Haunting of Hill House” by compared it positively to “This is Us” and “The Conjuring” (what a mix!). The site said it blends “incredibly smart family drama with some of the most terrifying imagery you’ve seen in a very long time.”

‘Howards End’ (Starz)

Metacritic Score: 86

The classics never go out of style and Starz proved that with this miniseries version of E.M. Forster’s beloved novel. The four-part series was made by Kenneth Lonergan, who broke filmgoers’ hearts with his 2016 movie “Manchester by the Sea.”

The acting, including star Hayley Atwell, has been praised, as has the writing and visuals. In a review of “Howards End,” The Atlantic called the miniseries “Its own masterpiece, visually lavish and narratively restrained.”

‘Insecure’ – Season 3 (HBO)

Metacritic Score: 84

One of the funniest shows on TV, the third season of HBO’s “Insecure” continued its run of critical praise, even if its Metacritic score slipped slightly from season two. The new episodes began airing in August and follow L.A. woman Issa and her best friend Molly as they try to improve their messy personal lives. Stars Issa Rae and Yvonne Orji continue to lead the show’s outstanding cast in its third season.

Rolling Stone beamed that the show’s new episodes were “more relaxed and confident than anything it’s done to date.”

‘Killing Eve’ – Season 1 (BBC America)

Metacritic Score: 83

This darkly funny spy thriller became a buzzed-about hit for BBC America when it debuted in April. It follows the cat-and-mouse game between a British MI5 agent and a glamorous assassin. Stars Sandra Oh and Jodie Comer were praised for their performances as the leads, as was writer Phoebe Waller-Bridge, who is quickly becoming one of entertainment’s brightest new stars.

Collider called “Killing Eve’s” first season “gleeful, sexy, murderous fun that can’t be missed.”

‘Legion’ – Season 2 (FX)

Metacritic Score: 85

One of TV’s more bizarre shows is this FX drama based on the X-Men comics character Legion. The show’s second season debuted in April and earned a higher Metacritic score than its first, which was also acclaimed.

The show is well known for being weird and difficult to follow in terms of its plot, but that’s all part of the charm, according to critics. Writing for Uproxx, veteran TV critic Alan Sepinwall praised “Legion” as “one of TV’s most unforgettably inventive shows.”

‘Mozart in the Jungle’ – Season 4 (Amazon Prime)

Metacritic Score: 84

One of Amazon Prime’s early hits, season four of “Mozart in the Jungle” was the show’s last but also its most acclaimed, based on Metacritic scores. The dramedy was set in the world of New York’s symphony scene and followed an unorthodox conductor and an ambitious musician. The flirty lead performances from Gael Garcia Bernal and Lola Kirke have been praised since the show’s first season aired in 2014.

Of the show’s fourth (and final) season, the AV Club said it “remains one of TV’s most bingeable shows.”

‘One Day At A Time’ – Season 2 (Netflix)

Metacritic Score: 88

This Netflix remake of the classic 1970s sitcom continued to be a surprise favorite of critics when its second season debuted in January. Star Justina Machado has been praised for her work as a series lead, a woman who lives with her two kids and mother.

Vox has given the show credit for making the old sitcom style feel new and vital again. In a review of season two, the site called “One Day at a Time” “one of the best, most empathetic shows on TV.”

‘Planet Earth: Blue Planet II’ (BBC America)

Metacritic Score: 97

Officially the best show of 2018 so far, according to Metacritic scores and user ratings combined, this new edition of the beloved “Planet Earth” series gives us breathtaking new looks at the world’s oceans. “

Blue Planet II” aired across several networks starting in January and continued the show’s legacy as the world’s premier nature documentary series. The show’s visuals were heavily praised, as was its storytelling in showing the dangers many ocean ecosystems face today. Variety called the new series “jaw-dropping” and said it “is likely to take your breath away.”

‘Random Acts of Flyness’ – Season 1 (HBO)

Metacritic Score: 83

This experimental, late-night comedy drew praise from critics in its first season but was more divisive among users of Metacritic. Its first season consisted of six episodes and was the brainchild of filmmaker Terence Nance, who also stars in it.

The show debuted in August and prompted The New York Times to declare it “like almost nothing you’ve seen on TV before.” Its style has been compared to “Atlanta” and the Oscar-winning “Get Out.”

‘Sorry For Your Loss’ – Season 1 (Facebook Watch)

Metacritic Score: 83

The first acclaimed drama of 2018 from Facebook’s new TV platform, Facebook Watch, “Sorry for Your Loss” first debuted in September. Avengers star Elizabeth Olsen leads the series as a young widow trying to move on with her life. The show drew heavy praise for its direction and acting, including from “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” star Kelly Marie Tran.

Collider said it “makes watching TV on Facebook worthwhile” and that it’s “definitely worth seeking out.”

‘The Staircase’ – Season 1 (Netflix)

Metacritic Score: 92

True-crime lovers will be gripped by this Netflix documentary series, which adds new episodes and insight into the 2005 Peabody Award-winning series of the same name. It follows the Michael Peterson murder trial in great depth. If you’re looking for your next documentary obsession, this could be it because The Daily Beast called it “a binge-watcher’s dream come true.” The whole thing plays out in 13 episodes.

‘The Trade’ – Season 1 (Showtime)

Metacritic Score: 84

Debuting in February, this Showtime documentary series looks at the ongoing drug epidemic, including both its victims and the people who benefit from it. The series spends time with police officers in Ohio, American families hurt by drugs and Mexican cartels.

It’s been described as hard-hitting and tough to watch. In a review of the first season of “The Trade,” Salon called it an “effective way to understand the sinister pervasiveness of this crisis and the destruction it is wreaking in the United States and Mexico.”