17 TV Shows That Were Surprisingly Good But Never Popular

1 year ago 81

"By the last season, I asked myself, 'Is this the best show in television?'"

This week, Reddit user u/OpulentOwl posed the question, "What's a great TV show that nobody talks about?"


And there were so many great answers! Here are some of the top-voted responses:

1. Party Down

Ron Batzdorff /  Starz / Courtesy: Everett Collection

"I love Party Down because it has so many huge stars right before their peaks."


"Full of amazing, amazing people. Lizzy Caplan, Adam Scott (my first exposure to him — I've loved him ever since), Martin Starr, Jimmi Fuckin' Simpson, and Ken Motherfuckin' Marino. Fantastic cast."


2. Counterpart

Nicole Wilder-Shattuck / Starz / courtesy Everett Collection

"Cold War thriller in modern times between adjacent alternate worlds. Freakin’ great show. It died too soon."


"I want to go back and rewatch it. The other side had a global pandemic that killed millions. As a result, they don't gather in groups in public, they wear masks, and they have UV hand sanitizers everywhere. And all this predates COVID by a few years. Also, J. K. Simmons is terrific as always."


3. Better Off Ted

Craig Sjodin / ABC / Courtesy: Everett Collection

"It was unceremoniously killed before its time, with ABC citing a lack of viewers. It pops up from time to time on Reddit, but being from 2009, it's largely out of the cultural sphere these days. Which is unfortunate, because Portia de Rossi in particular is incredible in it."


"Ending this show was CRIMINAL! It was so well done!"


4. The Detectorists

BBC Four

"Extremely dry and very British, but a really heartfelt and lovely comedy about some metal detectorists in Essex."


"Such an underrated gem. The theme song is one of my favorites."


5. You're the Worst

Byron Cohen / FX / courtesy Everett Collection

"10/10 in my book. It's hilarious, and every episode hits. The writing is incredible, and it is perfectly cast."


"YES, it's such a funny and compelling show, but the depictions of mental illness are so real. It cut so close to the bone for me sometimes that I almost couldn't finish watching it."


6. The Great

Gareth Gatrell / Hulu / Courtesy Everett Collection

"It's...great! Hilarious and charming and occasionally a true story."


"Amazing! Shakespearean plot and drama with modern humor and writing! I remember looking up the actual history to find out what the differences were and reading something about how the writer essentially took a few real names and events from history, and then just had at it and wrote whatever he wanted."


"I like to describe it as Downton Abbey meets It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia."


7. The Knick

Mary Cybulski / Cinemax / courtesy Everett Collection

"It had such an incredible cast. One of those shows for which I actively searched out the actors once it wrapped. I’ll watch André Holland and Jeremy Bobb in anything! Chris Sullivan was sooo good with Cara Seymour."


8. Halt and Catch Fire

Blake Tyers / AMC / courtesy Everett Collection

"Halt and Catch Fire is one of those rare ensemble casts where all the actors are equally talented, and they all get perfect character arcs that feel completely natural and real. Lee Pace and Mackenzie Davis are gonna get most of the accolades, but Scoot McNairy and Kerry Bishé are IMO the gems here. 'Who Needs a Guy' is possibly the most perfect episode of any TV show to ever air. I sat in silence staring at the TV for probably 5–10 minutes after it was over, just completely blown away at what the writers and actors had done."


"By the last season, I was asking myself, 'Is this the best show in television?'"


9. Pushing Daisies

Adam Taylor / ABC / courtesy Everett Collection

"Best description of Pushing Daisies I've heard is 'morbidly sweet.' Such a good show, probably time to watch it again."


"Art direction and set design were beautiful. So vivid."


10. Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency

Bettina Strauss / BBC-America / Courtesy: Everett Collection

"This show is amazing, and everyone should watch it."


11. Suburgatory

Adam Taylor / ABC / Courtesy: Everett Collection

"I loved that show for how it played around with classic TV tropes. None of the characters were fully what they seemed to be at face value."


"Jeremy Sisto and Jane Levy were both great. The whole cast really."


12. Crazy Ex-Girlfriend

Lisa Rose / The CW Network / courtesy Everett Collection

"Crazy Ex-Girlfriend was better than it had any business being. Netflix kept suggesting it to me, and I was like, 'Ew, no, please stop,' but then one day, I was really stoned and was like, 'Fuck it, show me what you’ve got.' And boy howdy, I’m so glad I did. It’s funny, smart, a little soapy – which I appreciate when you want action that doesn’t feel life or death – and then BOOM, amazing depictions of mental health struggles and toxic parenting. I have literally discussed the song 'Maybe She’s Not Such a Heinous Bitch After All' with my therapist on multiple occasions.

Is it cheesy? Yes. Is it good? Yes. Should you give it a try? Yes."


13. Miracle Workers

Curtis Baker / TBS / Courtesy: Everett Collection

"LOVE this show. Such a delightfully random cast (put Lolly Adefope in more stuff!) and high-concept but lighthearted humor executed perfectly."


14. Carnivàle


"I will never forget this show. This is the original HBO gem in my opinion. So damn layered. So rich. Without Carnivàle, there would have been no Game of Thrones for sure."


15. Galavant

Nick Ray / ABC / courtesy Everett Collection

"This was the show where I realized I didn't hate musicals as a genre. It's largely not a musical, but the musical numbers always had me rolling."


"It has the same energy as The Princess Bride. It's honestly a really fun show to watch with friends."


16. Patriot

Elizabeth Morris / Amazon / Courtesy: Everett Collection

"Amazing show that got like no buzz even when it was released. Steven Conrad makes great shows."


"Best portrayal of depression ever."


17. And finally, Derry Girls

Channel 4

"No one ever mentions Derry Girls. I think it's funnier than half the stuff popular right now."


"100% the best show I’ve watched this year. It is my comfort show that I put on when I just need to feel happy for a bit. I love Northern Ireland, too, so it’s extra lovely for me."


Which show do you think deserves more love? LMK in the comments below!

Note: Some responses have been edited for length and/or clarity.

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