1. “Atlanta” (FX): Is it a sitcom? A drama? A warped after-school special? All you need to know is that Donald Glover’s unpredictable, unhinged series is TV’s boldest effort, forcing its complex, charismatic characters into scenarios straight out of “The Twilight Zone.”
2. “Killing Eve” (BBC America): Just when you may have forgotten that Sandra Oh is an international treasure came this taut, terrific thriller in which her restless MI5 officer traded coy looks and punches with Jodie Comer’s bored assassin. Nobody plays the cat-and-the-mouse game better than these two.
3. “The Zen Diaries of Garry Shandling” (HBO): Four hours may seem a stretch for a documentary about the “Larry Sanders” creator, but director/superfan Judd Apatow didn’t waste a minute. Required viewing for anyone interested in comedy, or the creative process.
4. “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” (Amazon Prime): Creator Amy Sherman-Palladino and her killer cast get plenty of attention for the snappy dialogue, but the second season stood out for its scrumptious look. If life is a box of chocolates, “Maisel” is Godiva.
5. “American Experience: The Circus” (PBS): Forget “The Showman.” If you really want to understand the Big Tent, you’ll want to run away with the best documentary about Americana not directed by Ken Burns.
6. “Drew Michael” (HBO) and “Hannah Gadsby: Nanette” (Netflix): Two brilliant standups turn the craft on its head in emotionally wrenching specials that dare audiences to think twice before laughing.
7. “Final Space” (TBS): In a golden age for TV animation, some noble efforts are bound to get lost in the shuffle — such as this Conan O’Brien-produced hoot about a would-be Han Solo who gets in over his head when he’s forced to save the world.
8. “The Good Fight” (CBS All Access): In the second season the writers got a mite too obsessed with Donald Trump, but even those who disagree with the drama’s liberal agenda should concur that it has TV’s best cast. Why Delroy Lindo and company are ignored during awards season is baffling.
9. “My Next Guest Needs No Introduction With David Letterman” (Netflix): It took decades for the late night legend to become a deft interviewer, but he put his hard-won skills to spectacular use in this six-part series, most notably in a raw, revealing chat with Jay-Z.
10. “Rise” (NBC): “Friday Night Lights” met “Glee” in this unjustly ignored, swiftly canceled drama featuring Rosie Perez — in what should have been a comeback role — as one of two high school teachers determined to stage a production of “Spring Awakening.”
More outstanding shows from 2018: “BoJack Horseman” (Netflix), “Big Mouth” (Netflix), “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” (Fox), “Jesus Christ Superstar Live” (NBC), “The Kominsky Method” (Netflix), “Last Week Tonight With John Oliver” (HBO), “The Looming Tower” (Hulu), “Making It” (NBC), “Narcos: Mexico” (Netflix), “You” (Lifetime).