Ah, 2018, another year of highs and lows, and incredibly surreal moments that left us scratching our heads and questioning the nature of our reality (hey, Tide Pods). And all this is putting aside Trump and the embarrassing political circus that unfolded before us like a cruel, cold nightmare. Seriously, ya'll, 2018 was tough.
Like a good Ariana Grande breakup song, the year of our Lord 2018 was one which taught us love, patience, and pain (lots of it). In pop culture, it was a year dominated by massive hits and wins (Black Panther, the Royals, Donald Glover), and maddening failures and frustrations (Roseanne, Kanye West). This year, we met our new internet boyfriend, collectively hated on Marvel's latest Big Bad, and gaped wide-eyed at the antics of a beer-looting David Schwimmer lookalike. For real. We cried (are still crying) thanks to Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper's unbreakable chemistry in A Star Is Born, and took to Netflix and its never-ending stream of bad-good rom-coms like moths to a flame. We also spilled way too much digital ink debating the merits of The CW's Charmed reboot (and rightfully so!). Lots to love, lots to scratch our heads over.
So come journey with us as we, the editors, reflect on a year that gave us yet another craptacular Sharknado film (I kid you not), and choose the shows, films, celebrities, and internet moments that bubbled to the top in a year that can only be described as mind-numbing WTF. Oh, and thanks for sticking with us. Here's to 2019. — Lani Conway
Most Soul-Chilling Monster: The Tuunbaq, The Terror
Joe Robberson: A Quiet Place, Annihilation, and The Predator all had nightmarish beastly visions this year, but it was a TV miniseries that imagined the most impressive monster. The Tuunbaq is an ancient Inuit killing spirit that looks like a polar bear, except bigger, with a human-esque face and awesome strength. It moves quicker than anyone can see and The Terror's setting, the desolate Arctic, makes it entirely mysterious. The method which the AMC series reveals the creature, a little at a time, makes him legend. The Tuunbaq hunts methodically, littering the snowy landscape with the assorted body parts of its victims — white explorers who venture much too far from home.
Best TV Show I Loved-Hated: Castle Rock
Lani Conway: Hulu's Castle Rock, based on characters and settings from the Stephen King universe, was one of the best shows of the year. It was so good, I even wrote about it. But the horror anthology, and the mystery of what happened to Henry Deaver (Andre Holland) as a child, lost its edge as we powered toward the season's final episodes. In the end, we were left with compelling performances by Bill Skarsgard's shoulder, Sissy Spacek, and Melanie Lynskey, and witnessed one of the best TV episodes of 2018 with "The Queen," which depicted Ruth Deaver's (Spacek) struggle with aging and dementia through the years. The profound and poignant episode ultimately ends in a tragedy I'll never forget, and is set to the most heartbreaking use of Max Richter's moving "On the Nature of Daylight" ever.
Best TV Comeback: Sandra Oh
Areeba Abid: Most people know her as Cristina "Screw beautiful, I'm brilliant" Yang from Grey's Anatomy, but Sandra Oh is much more than that. If there was ever a way to make a comeback, Oh should teach a class on how to do it. (It's important to note that women of color aren't offered the same opportunities as white actresses. This role came to Oh four years after she left Grey's Anatomy). In spite of the hurdles, Oh's electrifying performance in BBC America's Killing Eve is truly a crown achievement. Onscreen, she plays the titular character, Eve Polastri, with a steady compulsion. Just when you think Eve will be consumed to the point of madness, Oh pulls back and seamlessly shifts between humor and fast-paced thrills. Therein lies her skill: She can embody any emotion you throw her way. Killing Eve could never work without Oh who is a consistent source of magnetism and we're so damn lucky to witness her glorious acting range.
Best Show That Made Me Glad Streaming Platforms Exists: Lucifer
Lani Conway: Once a Lucifer fan, always a Lucifer fan. I was pretty butt hurt when Fox canceled Lucifer for many sound reasons. But a TV show getting canceled in 2018 is different, thanks to the streaming era. It's good to know that in this day and age, when Detective Jake Peralta and Brooklyn Nine-Nine can just straight up switch networks after getting the axe, that shows like Lucifer can find a new home on Netflix. Thank the TV gods. Good luck with Season 4, Lucifer Morningstar. I can't wait to see your dapper, whiskey-loving face again next year.
Best TV Comeback We Suffered Through Four Seasons Of Nonsense For: AHS: Apocalypse
Cecily Trowbridge: No number of homicidal circus freaks, Lady Gaga sex scenes, or impaled teen vloggers could save American Horror Story Seasons 4 through 7. Freak Show was a valiant effort, but let's face it — the horror anthology lost its mojo after Coven. Then in 2018 Apocalypse strutted in to redeem the series, and erase the atrocity of My Roanoke Nightmare from our brains. It was a TV comeback, if we've ever seen one, and Sarah Catharine Paulson, you are my hero.
Best TV Show That Keeps Getting Canceled And Un-Cancelled: Timeless
Areeba Abid: The peacock network kept changing its mind about canceling and un-canceling Timeless, over and over again. One month after the cult hit was canceled for a second time, NBC announced plans for a two-part TV movie that would bring closure to the globetrotting series. Thanks to that doozy of a cliffhanger in the Season 2 finale, there is a great, unresolved story waiting to be explored in the wrap-up movie. Now that NBC has flipped-flopped for the millionth time and miraculously given Timeless yet another life, the series finale can answer all of my burning questions. It can also craft a satisfying ending to Time Team's saga. Let's just hope they remember: Save Rufus, save the world. Make this happen, y'all. Otherwise all of this will be in vain.
Best Cable TV Actress Who Taught Us Anything Is Possible: Meghan Markle
Cecily Trowbridge: In what felt like a blink of an eye, Meghan Markle went from Rachel Zane to Duchess of Sussex. In 2018, the woman not only dominated primetime television and Kensington Palace, but Google. As of mid-December Markle was the most-Googled person of the year. While her family complained about her to the media, she was starting her own family with Prince Harry. Needless to say, Meghan made 2018 her peasant.
The Choke Artist Of The Year (The Jon Snow Award): Star-Lord, Avengers: Infinity War
Joe Robberson: Like Jon Snow breaking ranks at the Bastard Bowl to save his little bro, Rickon, an emotional decision in Infinity War ruins a great strategy. And it leads to the loss of countless millions. Star-Lord, you grief-stricken moron. The plan was sound (and Star-Lord's own, actually). Iron Man, Spider-Man, Doctor Strange, Mantis, Drax, Nebula, and, Bill Buckner himself, Peter Quill, are seconds from getting the Infinity Gauntlet off Thanos's hand. Then Quill finds out Gamora is dead and, instead of waiting two seconds to get the glove off, he starts beating Thanos in the forehead. The Mad Titan breaks out of Mantis's spell, pounds everyone, and eventually murders half the universe. Nice job, Turd-blossom.
Films That Made Me Realize I Really Love Superhero Movies: Black Panther and Avengers: Infinity War
Lani Conway: I'll piggy back on Joe's pick and say that despite the insanity and heartbreak, Avengers: Infinity War changed me. The drama, the tears (so many tears) were worth it. I've always called myself a casual superhero movie fan, but Infinity War made me wish to god I could suit up and help the masked, caped, and suited heroes take down the beefy villain with the scallop chin. Let's ride! And Black Panther, OMG. The movie was a visual and story marvel. Never before have issues of race and representation been so clearly depicted on the big screen. More of this kind of nuanced superhero storytelling, please.
Best Celebrity Change Of Heart: Kanye West
Cecily Trowbridge: If there's one thing to know about Kanye it's he does what he wants. Then, he does a much different, contradictory thing and confuses the hell out of people. It's cool. Most of the time, the Kardashian hubby isn't the most prudent individual, but this year, he realized he had made a mistake and owned up to it. That mistake's name? Donald John Trump. Kudos to the rapper for realizing he was taken for a ride and stepping swiftly off of it. Maybe from now on he'll sniff out con artists the way he can sniff out "gold diggers."
Best White Guy Voice: (Tie) Blackkklansman, Sorry To Bother You, Atlanta
Joe Robberson: Black dudes doing white guy voices are nothing new. Richard Pryor and Eddie Murphy were famous for it and the tradition lives in 2018. The entire plot of Blackkklansman revolves around an undercover ruse led by an African-American officer posing as a KKK recruit (on the phone). John David Washington fools David Duke as Det. Ron Stallworth with some dazzling racist whitey talk. In Sorry to Bother You, Lakeith Stanfield finds huge success as a telemarketer by using a "white voice" (David Cross, dubbed in). And Donald Glover went full-on white voice (and white face) as the mercurial Teddy Perkins in one of the great TV episodes of the year on Atlanta.
Best TV Shows We Didn't Get To Watch This Year: Game of Thrones and Stranger Things
Areeba Abid: Despite an overly saturated TV landscape, no show could fill the gaping black hole left by Game of Thrones and Stranger Things. You know these shows are missing from your life when the TV death count is super low and the nightmares about Bob Newby have subsided (R.I.P., buddy. You'll be in our hearts forever). While we know Game of Thrones will bestow us with unparalleled epic-ness in April 2019, we still don't have the specific date of release. To make matters worse, we only know that Season 3 of Stranger Things will air sometime in 2019. Hey, at least Netflix released the titles of the episodes which include head scratchers like "The Case of the Missing Lifeguard" and my personal favorite, "Suzie, Do You Copy?" Good things in life rarely come easy, so let's hope the wait is worth it.
Most Impressive Alcohol Consumption Scene: Nicolas Cage, Mandy
Joe Robberson: Bloodied and battered after his girl is murdered by cult acid freaks, Cage returns home in his tighty whities and tiger T-shirt and mourns his love like a savage. He goes particularly ill in the bathroom, chugging vodka and screaming bloody murder. Then he sobs uncontrollably. Then he embarks on a vicious revenge mission. There are shades of many vintage Cage performances here. It's what we've been missing, and it's only the beginning in Mandy.