The 12 Biggest Breakout TV Shows of 2018

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Manifest - Season 1
Peter Kramer/NBC/Warner Brothers

Manifest (NBC)

What happened to the passengers of Montego Air Flight 828? They disappeared while on the plane only to land in New York over five years later, looking exactly the same. Huh?! The mystery is as twisty-turny as you’d expect.


Barry (HBO)

Bill Hader and Henry Winkler are a dynamic duo in this dark comedy series. Winkler took home his first ever Emmy (really!) for his role as acting coach Gene Cousineau.


Homecoming (Amazon Prime Video)

Julia Roberts in her first major TV role — need we say more? The series from Mr. Robot creator Sam Esmail is mind-bending and chilling.

Afton Williamson and Nathan Fillion in The Rookie
ABC/Rick Rowell

The Rookie (ABC)

Castle alum Nathan Fillion’s latest project brings the audience on the funny and emotional journey of a middle-aged man pursuing his dream of becoming a police officer.


Sharp Objects (HBO)

The thriller — adapted from the Gillian Flynn novel of the same name — focuses on dysfunctional families, abuse, and murder. It also features Amy Adams in her most raw and complicated role to date.


Bodyguard (Netflix)

Richard Madden is back! The Game of Thrones star’s new role as the bodyguard to the UK’s Home Secretary had audiences swooning (and scared).

ABC/Scott Everett White

The Kids Are Alright (ABC)

Viewers are relating to the Clearys, an Irish-Catholic family living in the 1970s. The working-class comedy is based on the life of its creator and writer Tim Doyle.


Queer Eye (Netflix)

Turns out America needed five gay men driving around the country hepling men (and a woman) be better versions of themselves.


9. Pose

The category is…inclusion! Making history by casting more transgender performers than any scripted show before, Ryan Murphy’s audaciously authentic extravaganza does them justice in a divine fable set amid New York’s 1980s underground ballroom culture.

As Glamazons, including the ferocious Elektra (Dominique Jackson) and protégée Blanca (Mj Rodriguez), strut in flamboyant voguing competitions, heralded by outrageous emcee Pray Tell (Billy Porter), Pose looks beyond campy catfighting to become at heart a family drama about rival house “mothers” tending nests of nurturing refuge for their outcast “children.” Together, they stand up to prejudice with pride in an era wracked by the AIDS epidemic. Heartbreak is leavened with fierce attitude in a show that’s anything but a poser. Stream it on FX+

Some People Just Want to Watch the World Burn
Mark Hill/The CW

Legacies (The CW)

The spinoff series of The Vampire Diaries and The Originals picked up where its predecessors left off. It’s set in Mystic Falls and follows the next generation of supernatural beings.


Killing Eve (BBC America)

A female serial killer who outsmarts the authorities? Sign us up. The cat-and-mouse game between Villanelle (Jodie Comer) and Sandra Oh’s Eve is a must-see.

Ready Player Two
Michele Crowe/CBS

God Friended Me (CBS)

Without preaching religion, this comedy series is about helping others in need, bringing people together, and changing your life for the better.


To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before (Netflix)

TV Movie Honorable Mention: We were introduced to the Internet’s boyfriend, Noah Centineo, and social media will never be the same.

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It was hard to narrow down this list! In 2018, we had one of the strongest years in television history, with more and more shows premiering each week.

It’s also been a year full of milestones as Killing Eve’s Sandra Oh being the first Asian actress to receive a Lead Actress in a Drama Series Emmy nomination and Pose’s Janet Mock as the first trans woman of color to direct a TV episode. Plus, the Queer Eye reboot introduced a whole new generation to the Fab Five who teach tolerance and acceptance.

Click through the gallery above for our picks for the breakout series of 2018!