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The Globe’s Arts writers look back on 2018 to pick the cultural hits, and a few misses, of the year that was

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The artists and moments that defined 2018

Alana Paterson/The Globe and Mail

The Globe’s 2018 artist of the year

Esi Edugyan was already an acclaimed author prior to the publication this summer of Washington Black. But the novel further established her as one of the best contemporary writers of English-language fiction – not just in Canada, but in the world. The runners-up were artists who made a big impact in a remarkable, and at times controversial, year for Canadian culture.

Our favourite cultural moments of 2018

The past year offered a wide-ranging and excitedly varied 12 months of culture, high, low and everywhere in between. The Globe and Mail’s Arts team reflects on favourite moments off their beats – and in and out of the zeitgeist.

Peak TV that kept on peaking


10 shows that mattered amid the toxic Trumpian politics of entertainment

It has become impossible to extricate content from the political and social conditions that are part of this Trumpian age, writes TV critic John Doyle.

Courtesy of Netflix

Six unheralded TV gems you won’t see on the best-of lists

With more than 500 scripted series airing, excellent productions – particularly small-scale drama or comedies or documentaries – tend to be forgotten or ignored. Here are six that will offer rewarding viewing.

Sophie Mutevelian/World Productions/Netflix

28 shows to binge watch on Netflix and Amazon over the holidays

TV critic John Doyle picks the best dramas, comedies and other gems of the past year to cozy up with on streaming services.


Top 10 most irritating Canadians of 2018 (TV-related)

From politicians to reality stars, these are the people we’d like to see less of on TV in 2019.

Reflections on the silver screen

Photo Credit: Daniel McFadden

The Globe and Mail’s top 10 films of 2018

From Cuaron to Cruise to the unlikely resurrection of Orson Welles, this year in cinema was full of works of intense creativity and varied soul-stirring sensibilities, writes film critic Barry Hertz.

Courtesy of Elevation Pictures

The 10 most overlooked, underrated and unfairly dismissed movies of 2018

There’s a natural point at which every critic’s “top films” start to blend together. To offset the familiar shouts and murmurs, we present our annual alternative list.

Brian Douglas/Courtesy of VVS

The worst of the worst: 2018’s biggest film failures

Before we let these past awful 12 months fade from memory, let us pause to remember the mistakes that Hollywood should hope to avoid next year.

The top film trends of 2018, from duelling Rachels to the best and worst of Netflix’s romcom-aissance

The Globe and Mail’s fourth-annual roundup of the most unexpected fads gleaned from a year spent in the dark.

Courtesy of GAT

The top 10 Canadian films of 2018

Away from the name-brand filmmakers who dominate the conversation, it was a bold and impressive year for homegrown cinema.

David Lee/The Associated Press

Annnnnnnd ... scene: The best movie moments from 2018

Of the movies Johanna Schneller loved this year, these are the dozen scenes that still linger

Twentieth Century Fox Film Corp

The best from Kate Taylor’s year in cinema

From foreign films to retro animation, Kate Taylor looks at 10 things she appreciated about film in 2018.

The best of the stage

David Hou

The 10 best theatre productions of 2018: Toronto, Stratford and Shaw

The year was unforgettable, from the #MeToo movement and its impact to the fact that a lot of great theatre got produced despite the tumultuous times, writes J. Kelly Nestruck.

A year of great reads

Chris Young/The Canadian Press

In the age of Instagram, reading has become a cultural currency

In 2018, social media and books became intertwined like never before – plus 10 other book trends of the year.

Marsha Lederman’s favourite books of 2018

When I started compiling the list of reads that utterly captivated me – the ones I have recommended repeatedly – I noticed an interesting common denominator: They were all written by women.

What we listened to

Bebeto Matthews/The Associated Press

The 18 best and weirdest music moments of 2018

A subjective list of the year’s best music, important happenings and quirky highlights from arts writer Brad Wheeler.

The 6 best under-the-radar Canadian musicians of 2018

Nothing against the superstars, but there was more to Canadian music in 2018 than the Arkells, the Weeknd, Shawn Mendes and Drake.

The best podcasts of 2018

The shows that rose to the top of the ranks this year represent a huge step forward for podcasting as a medium.