Close to two decades ago, there wouldn’t be a soul who would have predicted that the battle of the entertainment industry pining for people’s time and money would have a contender right in the living rooms of people. No one sans a few visionaries predicted that a device known as an idiot box with all sorts of negative connotations attached to it would become the battleground for quality entertainment, but it happened. Inherently, the terms ‘streaming’ and ‘bingeing’ came into being and while they are as millennial as it can get, the rapid consumption of quality shows, all available at a single place at the same time and at the convenience of their homes, just the idea of it, quickly took over the minds of a global audience, and a new medium was born, one with lesser temporal and spatial restrictions.
Naturally, as the scope and audience for these shows grew, so did the budgets, and today we have shows like ‘Game of Thrones’, the production budget of whose single episode is close to what a mid-budget movie would cost, and that of an entire season could put big production houses to shame. No points for concluding the quantum of audience this show enjoys. This especially spelled good news for Indian audience ever since the Netflix and Prime fever took over, and the makers found more freedom to tell a story, skipping the route films take through the censor board. In this new day and age, even quality television has a lot of contenders, and 2018, like any other year, saw a host of new original shows that broke new ground, and a number of returning shows that the audience loved returning for another round. The sheer magnitude of shows releasing, and quite frankly good ones, made this list a daunting task, but without further ado, delve into the list of top TV shows of 2018 that made this a stellar year for television.
‘Bodyguard’ is inherently British actor Richard Madden’s star making turn. The show that I will remember for a long time as the one that had me by the throat in the first 20 minutes or so of the pilot only to slowly let go, ‘Bodyguard’ is an absolute roller coaster of a show with some great tense moments mixed in. Hinged squarely on its central characters, the idea behind ‘Bodyguard’ is something we have all seen before, about the eponymous character being torn between duty and morals. It is the breakneck pacing that makes this show extremely bingeworthy and gets to you. The finale did acceptably bring down the overall quality of the show a little which is unusual, but as a whole, this remains vastly enjoyable fare.
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The key strength of ‘Succession’ lies in giving us characters that are completely and utterly unlikable, and letting them, well, stay that way. It is true, one of the show’s greatest ironies is that you have to be invested in characters bereft of any redeeming qualities, but after a few episodes, as deeper personality traits are revealed, you do. ‘Succession’ will require your time and investment, but once you are locked in, you’ll love the ride. Think ‘Billions’ meets ‘Arrested Development’ meets the financial banter of ‘The Big Short’. There is some well written and genuinely funny situational humour for those who prefer it, but all in all, ‘Succession’ was another win this year at the hands of HBO.