It’s the final TV list of the month and it’s time to honor the shows that don’t really get the viewership love they deserve. I’m not exactly saying these shows are so obscure that no one knows about them. Each of these shows has a cult following. But there is no reason that terrible CBS sitcoms get such high ratings week after week, and great shows are the Icarus of the TV world. Just under the radar, yet flying just above the cancellation bubble. The following shows should all be watched, and lucky you, they are all available on Netflix.
Side note: I am not shilling out for Netflix, it’s just that it’s a convenient way to watch these shows.
Side note part 2: Netflix, anytime you want to start paying me, that would be great.
5 – Sons of Anarchy
This may be the show that barely qualifies for this list. Sons of Anarchy may have hit a ratings peak of over 5 million last season, but it still barely beat ratings numbers for a Big Bang Theory rerun on basic cable that same night. Shows like this and Breaking Bad have the audience rooting for the bad guy and it becomes impossible to take yourself away from the couch.
Jax Teller and the SAMCRO crew will be starting the 6th season on FX later this year, but it’s not too late to start the series now. Yes, this show gets a little dark, but it has some great jaw-dropping moments. Out of the people I associate with (10 people), only 1 has seen this show. Thankfully this show is not in danger of being cancelled before it gets proper closure, the ratings are good for an FX show, but it deserves better.
4 – Skins (UK)
This controversial British show has been running for 6 seasons. It has done so well across the pond that MTV thought they’d capitalize on its success and remake it for American audiences. But something was lost in translation. Yes, the original version handled mature themes and they can get away with more on British TV, but the American version tried to compensate by making every conversation about hooking up.
The original is so good because it captures teens and their parents in sad, but realistic situations. One great thing about this show is that it doesn’t get terrible once the characters leave high school. Skins has actually changed its main cast every 2 years. There have been talks to end the show with a one season wrap-up. I can’t bring myself to watch most teen dramas (besides the OC) and so I was surprised that I was so wrapped up in the shallow stories of Londoners in high school.
3 – Louie
Louis CK is an ugly man. In fact, his entire act and show are based around the fact that he’s absolutely pathetic. Normally, I would get tired of that repetition, but his show, Louie, manages to seem fresh every episode. The formula is similar to Seinfeld. He performs in a small underground comedy club and deals with that situation in his episode. But he tackles middle age, being a single parent, loss of faith, etc in such smart ways that it’s hard to not watch the next episode. This 3-season show will return early next year. You have to give credit to a man who writes, directs and acts in every episode. I have never been a huge fan of his stand up comedy, but can’t get enough of his show.
2 – Portlandia
The dream of the 90’s is alive in Portland. Somewhere at the end of the cable spectrum, where only indie movie buffs and perverts dare to tread, is a channel called IFC. For 3 seasons now, IFC has hosted Portlandia, a written sketch comedy half hour starring Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein.
I’ve never been a fan of Armisen’s work on SNL, but something about Portlandia gets me chuckling. I think it’s because I love to laugh at everything they poke fun at, whether it’s hipsters, local book store owners, dog owners, etc. They take every stereotype of Portland (poor mans’ Seattle, as I like to call it) and flesh out recurring characters that you love and hate for the same reasons.
1 – Luther
Idris Elba as Luther is the coolest character on TV right now. Typically, British accents make characters sound weak and whiny (see also: Downton Abbey), but not with Luther. You would never want to mess with Luther. This BBC1 show has only aired 2 seasons. In those 2 seasons are only 10 episodes.
Normally I don’t get into police dramas, but there’s something unique about Luther. His character and his personal, sometimes obsessive, involvement with each of his cases makes for fascinating TV. Elba is such a great actor, it’s no surprise he’s been rumored to eventually play James Bond. If you haven’t started this show, start it now. They are currently filming the third and, most likely, final season now. Next to Sherlock and Doctor Who, this is my favorite BBC1 show.