Finding something new to watch on TV is a fun, but sometimes exhausting endeavor.
Luckily, in today’s cancel-happy entertainment environment there are still some great shows that come back and deliver more of the good stuff people already know and love. Here are a few of the best returning shows from 2018.
8. Dear White People
Like Atlanta, Dear White People used its second season to lean into the distinct sensibility of Winchester University and its searingly smart students. Each episode is a rich character study and the season as a whole took things even further, quietly unraveling an old mystery that will make old Winchester clash with new. The dialogue is sharper, the hyperbole grander, and though it’s still in a fictitious Ivy League bubble, the show mirrors America’s never-ending tussle with race, class, and gender with enviable expertise. – Proma Khosla
7. Bojack Horseman
Netflix’s talking-horse animated comedy has a reputation for getting better with each passing season, but Bojack Horseman Season 5 eclipsed its own reputation with a series of stunning and funny episodes that culminated in what might be actual growth for its chronically sessile main character. Standout moments include the surprising Episode 6 “Free Churro,” which continued in the Bojack tradition of experimenting with format by framing the narrative around the cathartic eulogy Bojack gives at his mother’s funeral, as well as the musical number in Episode 9 “The Showstopper.” Now that Bojack the character seems to be trying to deal with some of the uh…massive problems in his life, the possibilities for future seasons and formats seem endless.
6. Crazy Ex-Girlfriend
Meet Rebecca. Again. Crazy Ex-Girlfriend’s fourth and final season hasn’t finished airing yet, but the countdown to the end of Rebecca’s story is still excellent TV at its halfway point. The pace of Season 4 is a bit alarming, with characters getting married, moving, and experiencing rapid changes of heart, but it’s not out of step with CXG’s general sense of absurdism — rather, watching Josh, Darryl, Valencia, Heather, and more grow into their final forms is half the fun of the show’s last bow.
With Season 3, Insecure accomplished the tricky task of staying true to itself while daring into more unknown, Lawrence-less territory. With more time to explore Issa’s other relationships, it offered a welcome shift in focus on Molly’s struggled — and gave every character in their friends group an arc of incomparably relatable growth.
Even as Issa struggled to reconnect with herself, unable to indulge in her iconic mirror raps the audience arguably never felt more intimate with her. Both we and Issa have a clearer image of what she imagines for her future, and the confidence of knowing she’ll always know how land on her own two feet no matter what comes. -Jess Joho
4. The Good Place
Ugh, The Good Place is great. It’s just so great. Season 2 ended on a cliffhanger that once again flipped the premise of the afterlife-with-assholes comedy and Season 3 continues to deliver exciting twists, bizarre gags, and the occasional heart-melting moment. The stakes are higher than ever in Season 3, and it’s especially wonderful to see how the actors embodying characters they’ve developed over two seasons have reprogrammed their performances to reflect The Good Place’s new timelines and levels of knowledge/ignorance. Give them all Emmys.
3. Big Mouth
Just when you thought Big Mouth couldn’t get any more delightfully gross than its nasty-as-hell first season, Season 2 came along and gave the world Coach Steve singing about “doin’ sex on a lady” and a several episode arc about Andrew jizzing his pants.
Somewhere between all the talk about semen, pubes, and boobs though, there’s a heart to Big Mouth that hearkens back to how confusing and messed up going through puberty really is. It’s exciting to imagine that later seasons might follow our dirty little heroes into their teen years, and if Season 2 is any indication of how the show itself with go through changes, that’s good news for its fans.
In its second season, Atlanta became the show we now realize Donald Glover always wanted to make. Every episode felt like a standout — “Teddy Perkins,” “Woods,” and “FUBU” come to mind — and every character became a star. The music business was an afterthought to quiet musings on relationships, success, and environment. To create something so masterful and rare is a gift in itself — and Glover went ahead and upped the ante. -Proma Khosla
1. American Vandal
Pour out some horchata for American Vandal, which was cancelled by Netflix shortly after its excellent second season aired. Despite (and perhaps because of?) its poo-pocalyptic premise, Season 2 stood out this year because it continued to use satire to honestly and non-judgmentally examine the ways people find comfort, pain, and connection on social media. American Vandal nailed every aspect of that investigation.