John’s top 10 TV shows of 2018

It’s never before been so hard to pick the 10 best shows of the year, as streaming services deliver strong short series on a regular basis, and cable and network TV have mostly kept pace with the quality. Some staple entries have dropped out of my top 10 not because they got worse but simply because they were supplanted. Here are 10 shows worthy of special mention even in this age of Peak TV.

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First episode impressions: ‘This Is Us’ Season 3 (TV review)

My TV-watching buddy Shaune says of “This Is Us”: “Even when it’s happy, it’s sad.” That contradictory statement perfectly sums up TV’s most emotionally draining show, which is up to its usual tricks in this week’s Season 3 premiere, “Nine Bucks.” Jack (Milo Ventimiglia) and Rebecca (Mandy Moore) sit in his car after a horrible first date in 1972, but Rebecca is won over because of the way he looks at her. It’s the definition of a happy romantic scene.

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John’s top 10 TV shows of 2017

We’re living in a historical transitional period for TV, as streaming services compete with traditional networks and cable/satellite channels for our entertainment dollar. As such, television has never been better, regardless of how it gets to us. Appropriately, my list of the year’s best shows consists of half network shows and half others, and kicks off with a streaming series.

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Fall TV 2017: 1 new show and 5 returning shows John is looking forward to (Commentary)

There are more good TV shows than ever before – so much so that TV overload has become an issue for even the biggest TV geeks – but they premiere throughout the calendar year now. As such, Fall TV ain’t what it used to be. Still, there’s something traditional and nostalgic about getting that Entertainment Weekly Fall TV Preview in the mail. Not willing to wait any longer for mine to arrive so I can research the offerings, here are my picks for one new show and five returning shows to watch (all times Eastern):

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‘This Is Us’: The best show on TV, or one big manipulative trick? (Commentary)

Having already been renewed through its third season, “This Is Us” is a show we’ll be talking about for a while. After last Tuesday’s Season 1 finale, I Facebooked that it successfully made me cry in 18 out of 18 episodes, and that it’s the #bestshowontv. That hashtag was mostly used by other “This Is Us” fans that night, which is to be expected. But it’s worth noting that “This Is Us” (which tallies an 8.9 on IMDB) still garners the most #bestshowontv labels a week later – and this ain’t exactly the vast wasteland era of TV.

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John’s top 10 TV shows of 2016

These were my 10 favorite shows of 2016:

1. “Atlanta” (Season 1, FX) – Donald Glover’s brainchild is a crazy mix of “Curb Your Enthusiasm”-esque wry observations (Earn’s inability to order a kids’ meal), envelope-pushing storytelling choices (the pundit roundtable parody) and outright horrific violence (Earn witnesses a murder, then moves on like it’s just another day in the ATL). It comes together as an on-point – albeit still crazy — portrait of being a dead-broke young adult on the backstreets of a collapsing American city.

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I owe an apology to the Fall TV season: It’s been pretty great (Commentary)

When I saw the lineup of new Fall TV shows, I thought it looked like the worst selection in recent memory: Lots of unnecessary remakes along with tired new shows that didn’t have hooks. I owe the Fall TV season an apology, because it has turned out to be the best in the past 10 years. Here’s a look at six standout freshman shows, in alphabetical order:

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