These are the most pirated TV shows in the world throughout 2018, according to Torrentfreak:

1. “The Walking Dead”
2. “The Flash”
3. “The Big Bang Theory”
4. “Vikings”
5. “Titans”
6. “Arrow”
7. “Supernatural”
8. “Westworld”
9. “Legends of Tomorrow”
10. “Suits”

Note that Titans, only available in the US via streaming service DC Universe, debuts globally on Netflix from next week. It again reminds us that restricted availability internationally encourages fans to find these shows through other means.

RIP Bob Einstein. The US comedian, best known for playing stunt man ‘Super Dave’ and for regular appearances on Curb Your Enthusiasm as Funkhouser, died at age 76, following a cancer diagnosis.

Bob Einstein was never not-funny when I saw him on screen. He’s also responsible for the TV moment that made me laugh louder than any other thing I’ve seen on TV. It’s this exceptionally filthy joke on an episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm:

Stranger Things season 3 debuts on July 4, as per this fantastic teaser that dropped on New Years Day. It’s interesting Netflix are calling this season 3 - they were insistent the second season of the show was ‘Stranger Things 2 ’and not ‘Stranger Things season 2’.

In an October episode of Patriot Act on Netflix, host Hasan Minhaj was talking about the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi and said: “Now would be a good time to reassess our relationship with Saudi Arabia… and I mean that as a Muslim and an American.”

Since then, the Saudi government issued Netflix with a take-down request, which Netflix complied with. The episode is available everywhere except Saudi Arabia.

“We strongly support artistic freedom worldwide and only removed this episode in Saudi Arabia after we had received a valid legal request — and to comply with local law.”

Netflix have done the right thing in being transparent about what has happened (and in complying with local laws). I have only watched 1-2 episodes of the show, but this has encouraged me to check out the episode. Watch the episode HERE.

Am I alone in thinking Fox’s The Masked Singer looks ridiculous? Like, maybe this isn’t a real show, but rather is a cutaway satirical moment of a futuristic reality show in a Robocop movie?

The first reviews of True Detective season 3  are in. And the reviews are uniformly positive, suggesting it is a solid return following a misstep with season 2.

Lindsey Romain at Polygon:

If there’s anything to complain about, it’s how safely the opener evokes season 1, relying a bit too hard on the flashback storytelling as if daring us to wonder when McConaughey’s Rust Cohle might stumble into frame. Saulnier, who directed the first two episodes before bowing out after alleged creative disputes, does a competent job, but can’t quite match Fukunaga’s dreamy, prose-like camerawork. Instead, season 3 feels more streamlined and hard-edged; more accessible, perhaps, but a tad less magnetic.

Ben Travers at Indiewire:

…you wonder what “True Detective” would be like with more writers offering broader perspectives. Pizzolatto has the cops’ and criminals’ stories down pat, but there’s a bit too much air in the balloon — racial plotlines don’t feel as rich as they could be, given the conservative time period and Southern setting, while episodes overall may test viewers’ patience from time to time. Still, the first five episodes are stirring entertainment, steadying a very rocky boat and teasing an end that feels far more likely to exceed expectations than spoil a strong setup.

Daniel DÁddario at Variety:

Little wonder that this fleeter installment feels so refreshing. Stylistic touches, like the aged Hays being visited by the ghosts of his past, are carefully chosen. And the show fits a surprising volume of ideas into its narrative, embedding well-drawn racial tensions and questions of journalistic ethics into a framework —the detective serial — that feels, finally, fully realized rather than self-indulgently pulpy.

As those who heard me mention it in my wedding speech a few months ago will be well aware, probably the most important thing I did in 2018 was re-watch all 15 seasons of ER. I learned a lot about TV through that (particularly how a show can shift and evolve over 15 years on the air - and how difficult it can be for one of the very best TV shows to evolve to a point where it most certainly was not the best anymore).

Over the 15 years of storylines, there were a bunch of memorable moments. One that a lot of people remember is the stabbing murder of Lucy Knight.

People TV have an interesting video interview with Kellie Martin and Noah Wyle, who played the victims of the stabbing -Lucy Knight and John Carter. The most interesting thing about it is how candid Wyle is about treating Martin poorly on the show.

Having watched ER so heavily, I am now officially an ERologist and can tell you that while the stabbing is a shocking moment of TV, the best moment from that storyline comes in the episode after the stabbing, where the bodies are found and the doctors work to save their colleagues. Only Carter survives. The moment worth keeping your eyes out for is a glorious scene in which Carter’s mentor, the surly Peter Benton, learns that Carter has been wounded and runs through the hospital to help. It’s probably the most touching moment I’ve seen on TV, drawing upon 5 previous years of character construction to deliver such a knockout moment.

And finally…

A US research study has determined which Netflix shows are the most popular in individual US states. For example, would have you picked that Disenchantment was the most popular show in Oregon? Or that German drama Dark would play so well in Montana?

Of course, there is a caveat on this: The data was sourced using Google Trends, which suggests that it isn’t exactly reflective of actual viewership. But rather, which shows encouraged the most Google searches in each state. Fun, nonetheless.