Jason Dietz, Metacritic Features Editor – December 28, 2018
Above are the highest-scoring first-year TV series debuting in the United States between January 1, 2018 and December 31, 2018. Shows are ranked by Metascore (an average of grades from top professional critics on a 0-100 scale) prior to rounding, and any programs with fewer than 7 reviews are excluded. (Note that limited series, as well as TV movies and specials, will be ranked in a separate list arriving this weekend.)
To watch this year's best new series, you'll have to read subtitles (or speak Italian)—but you shouldn't let that deter you. HBO's first foreign-language original series is adapted by Paolo Sorrentino (The Young Pope) and Jennifer Schuur (Big Love) from Elena Ferrante's acclaimed four-book Neapolitan series about an elderly woman who chronicles six decades of her friendship/rivalry with another woman after the latter mysteriously disappears. That lengthy timespan means that multiple actors will be portraying the main characters, but critics raved about the young leads in this lavishly staged first season, which is set in the 1950s.
“This masterwork from HBO isn’t the sort whose powers depend on the suspense of plot turns. Every chapter is a profoundly moving world unto itself--a stunning achievement whose every moment lives in all the ways that matter in drama.” —Dorothy Rabinowitz, The Wall Street Journal