Before we get it into it, please consider this list more like “some” of the bes performances of 2018 instead of the definitive list. Because there are plenty of others to mention and have been mentioned elsewhere that I simply can’t — and truly, wouldn’t even be able to — go into detail here without still missing the big ones.

In fact, I’ll just get some of those out of the way right now: Penn Badgley in You, Darren Criss in The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story, Bill Hader/Henry Winkler in Barry, Betty Gilpin in GLOW, Elizabeth Olsen in Sorry For Your Loss, Rhea Seehorn in Better Call Saul, Yvonne Strahovski in The Handmaid’s Tale, Christine Baranski in The Good Fight, D’Arcy Carden in The Good Place, Sandra Oh/Jodie Comer/Fiona Shaw in Killing Eve ... really, women killed it this year. With all the TV this year — good, bad, and everywhere in between — there have been a lot of great performances. Yay, acting! But also, it’s so frustrating to really nail all of this down and condense it into a list that won’t leave someone worthy behind.

So this list is actually more about the dark horses and the (seemingly) out-of-left-field TV performances of the year. Because what’s fun about just stating the obvious for the umpteenth time? (Except for Amy Adams. She’s definitely on this list because I don’t want the kind of bad mojo that would come with snubbing Amy Adams.) TV variety is the spice of TV life and all that jazz, after all.

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