What's worth watching these days?
January 3, 2016 9:43 PM   Subscribe

What do you consider the most underrated TV show to air during the past year?

Thanks to comments on Metafilter, I recently discovered (and binged on) You're the Worst and Catastrophe, neither of which I would have ever heard of it it weren't for you guys. So, what other shows aired during the past year and didn't get the recognition they deserved? This includes TV shows that either premiered or aired a new season in 2015. I'm open to watching shows from any country, as long as there's a way to get English subtitles.

Thanks, everyone!
posted by mollywas to Media & Arts (75 answers total) 177 users marked this as a favorite
Assuming you're not in the UK: Detectorists.

It's this wonderfully understated and utterly charming series about two men with metal detectors roaming the English countryside. Toby Jones and Mackenzie Crook, and written and directed by the latter. Sleeper hit in Britain. Season 1 is on American Netflix, Season 2 (aired in 2015) is available elsewhere if you look.
posted by mochapickle at 9:52 PM on January 3, 2016 [33 favorites]

I feel like The Knick, which aired on Cinemax, doesn't get near the attention it deserves. It's just two seasons of 10 episodes each so pretty easy to crash through if you so desire.

HBO's Togetherness was pretty good, too.

I still think Rick and Morty (animated, Adult Swim) is the funniest thing on TV, but I don't know if it's underrated. All three of these shows are kind of critics' darlings, to be honest, so maybe they're not what you're looking for.
posted by Mothlight at 9:53 PM on January 3, 2016 [5 favorites]

Seconding the Detectorists. So very very kind and interesting and full of moments. Watch it if possible on a large screen because of the scenery.

Sirens is a tiny paramedics sitcom that came under the radar for a lot of of coverage but is very funny and has some great female characters.
posted by dorothyisunderwood at 9:58 PM on January 3, 2016 [3 favorites]

We just finished The Detectorists last night. So charming!

(Similar notes, kinda: Happy Valley. Grimmer, but still great. Absolutely fantastic Strong Female Character.)

Probably my number one, if you're not watching it already, is The Americans. What an extraordinary bit of television with an absolutely dull uncompelling marketing campaign. SO GOOD!
posted by Lyn Never at 10:09 PM on January 3, 2016 [4 favorites]

I thought the first season of Review was good, but couldn't get into the second season.
posted by aaanastasia at 10:09 PM on January 3, 2016 [1 favorite]

If you like You're the Worst and Catastrophe you'll probably like Casual. It has a similar feel, except it's about a pair of very damaged, extremely close siblings rather than a dating couple.

Bojack Horseman & Rick and Morty both get a lot of love but check them out if you haven't already. If you enjoyed the depression storyline on You're the Worst, you'll really like Bojack, I think.
posted by acidic at 11:03 PM on January 3, 2016 [2 favorites]

Mozart in the Jungle, seasons 1 and 2 available for streaming, is hugely enjoyable and not enough people are watching! It's a half-hour comedy about professional classical musicians with a surrealist heat and a magical realist sensibility and it is very amusing.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 11:04 PM on January 3, 2016 [10 favorites]

If you liked You're the Worse and Catastrophe, you will like Scrotal Recall on Netflix. Silly title, I know, but try it!
posted by merejane at 11:20 PM on January 3, 2016 [9 favorites]

How do you watch tv (streaming, cable, etc)?

If you stream, consider adding MHZ Choice or Drama Fever to your line-up. You won't get many shows produced in 2015, but you will get tons of great content that premiered in the US in 2015 - which is close!

Great and addictive shows to start with could be Un village français (five seasons, about life in an occupied town in WWII), Il commissario Montalbano (lots of seasons, a fun detective show set in Sicily), or Isabel (three seasons , about the rise of Isabel of Aragon). All have English subtitles. And all of these got major attention in their home countries, but seem to be relative unknown here outside of random articles in the NYT about "the best foreign shows you're not watching."

Also: I've never heard of the Detectorists, but it's going on my list! And I'd like to second The Americans, and also Justified from the same channel. Both get a lot of critical attention, and metafilter attention, but not so much popular attention.
posted by kanewai at 11:21 PM on January 3, 2016 [4 favorites]

And seconding Scrotal Recall! Though I think it's hilarious, and it looks like merejane does, when I've showed it to friends they were all horrified & promptly let me know the hundred ways that it was offensive.
posted by kanewai at 11:24 PM on January 3, 2016 [2 favorites]

'The Leftovers'. I'm astounded at the lack of attention this seems to have. Season 1 is great. Season 2 vaults it into some of the best TV ever.
posted by maupuia at 11:33 PM on January 3, 2016 [12 favorites]

My Crazy Ex-Girlfriend is so good I've actually missed watching it over its holiday hiatus. The thought that it might not be renewed for a second season keeps me up at night. Watch it, before it's too late!

(Also, to explain, because the ads and title seem kind of lame, it's actually a very witty and feminist show about a woman moving across the country to battle her personal demons and become a functional adult. The catalyst for this is her obsession with an ex, but the show is about a lot more than that.)
posted by Sara C. at 11:48 PM on January 3, 2016 [9 favorites]


You should absolutely watch Hannibal. You can stream season 1 and 2 for free on Amazon Prime, and I'm guessing season 3 will probably be available for free streaming there in the not too distant future.

Everything about the show is so well done, and I don't know why it isn't number one on every single Best of 2015 list. You should go watch it now, and then come hang out over to fanfare where we have an entire club devoted to this show.
posted by litera scripta manet at 11:49 PM on January 3, 2016 [4 favorites]

Transparent. And you can easily watch the whole thing within Amazon Prime's month of free trial!
posted by threeants at 12:06 AM on January 4, 2016 [7 favorites]

I really enjoyed Killjoys and Dark Matter, both of which air on SyFy in the U.S.
posted by neushoorn at 12:12 AM on January 4, 2016 [1 favorite]

I'm really enjoying Kingdom on DirecTV (or iTunes, or other sources, if you prefer). The first episode is very violent, but it calms down after that and becomes just a really solid, enjoyable combination of family and sports drama, if you're into that sort of thing.

The first season struggles a fair bit with its portrayals of women but this improves in the second season, and both feature a fantastic performance by Kiele Sanchez of Lost quasi-fame.
posted by eugenen at 12:16 AM on January 4, 2016

Spotless. A crime scene cleaner and his brother of well below average intelligence and far less impulse control become involuntarily involved with organized crime, disposing of bodies and cleaning murder scenes. It's a funny, gruesome and satirical thriller, amid the drama of broken family dynamics and infidelity. Set in London.
posted by Homer42 at 1:00 AM on January 4, 2016

From Dusk til Dawn. TV version of the film with the same name. One can follow and enjoy the series without having seen the film. The film was written and co-directed by Quentin Tarentino. He gave his blessing to this TV production. Second season ended recently. Parts are in Spanish with English subtitles.
posted by Homer42 at 1:07 AM on January 4, 2016 [1 favorite]

I love "Catastrophe." So much. I'm so glad it exists.

I'm going to say that the show that I kept hearing the most about but thought I wouldn't like but then end up loving was Jane the Virgin. It kept winning awards but I didn't think it would be my kind of thing, for some reason. But it's sweet and funny and interesting and diverse and intense and adorable and good. The first season is on American Netflix and worth the time.
posted by Merinda at 1:23 AM on January 4, 2016 [8 favorites]

I don't know another person other than myself who watches "Mike Tyson Mysteries." It's on Adult Swim, and is so, so funny and strange.
posted by jbickers at 2:48 AM on January 4, 2016 [2 favorites]

(Similar notes, kinda: Happy Valley. Grimmer, but still great. Absolutely fantastic Strong Female Character.)

2nd this. I'm from the Valley in question so part of why I watched it is to deal with ex-pat homesickness, but I hear good things about it independently of that. For my own private amusement I call it T'Wire.
posted by Jon Mitchell at 2:49 AM on January 4, 2016 [3 favorites]

We just finished watching Fargo, the television series (both season 1 and 2). I'm not sure if it's under-rated or not, as I'm not particularly hip on trends, but it's a show I didn't realise existed until recently, and it's amazing. It captures a lot of what made the movie so entertaining, but so much more!
posted by LtRegBarclay at 2:56 AM on January 4, 2016 [7 favorites]

Just finished watching The Returned (stick to the original French version) which was spectacular. Definitely scratched my Twin Peaks itch. The first season is streaming on Netflix and the second season aired this year.

The Fall (also streaming on Netflix) has two seasons up on Netflix. Such an amazing show, but pretty dark and disturbing. Happy Valley was another dark thriller show on Netflix that was excellent.
posted by forkisbetter at 3:48 AM on January 4, 2016 [2 favorites]

Please Like Me! First two seasons on Hulu. Australian comedy that's so kind, funny, sarcastic, all while dealing with some serious issues.
posted by dysh at 4:50 AM on January 4, 2016 [4 favorites]

If you're in the mood for a historical romance set in 1740's Scotland and featuring a time travel plot you might consider giving Outlander a try.
posted by fairmettle at 4:58 AM on January 4, 2016 [4 favorites]

Mr. Robot! It's weird and wonderful and so well acted. I don't even want to begin to describe the show because I will not do it justice. (If someone else wants to take a stab at it, please do, I just feel inadequate.)

The 100 is another show I love to talk about. It gets overlooked because its a CW show, but its so much more mature than the network suggests. Humanity has left the Earth because we destroyed it and live on a space station. The rulers send criminal youth down to Earth to see if humanity can survive and the stuff that comes as a result of that. (Again, I'm not doing this justice.) Like I said, it airs on the CW, but at least in Canada new episodes show up on Netflix a week after they air on TV so its easy to keep up.
posted by GilvearSt at 5:16 AM on January 4, 2016 [3 favorites]

Transparent is my fave TV show of the last 10 years, Mad Men a close second. For me, Transparent is a great example of "show, don't tell" as one family member's radical change causes ripple effects. It is also very rewarding to see so much specificity with regard to gender and FEMALE sexuality.

Thanks to the commenters who recommended The Detectorists. Hadn't heard of it, will need to explore.
posted by Sheydem-tants at 5:32 AM on January 4, 2016 [1 favorite]

Nthing Mr. Robot (USA On Demand), The Americans (Amazon Prime), and The Knick (Cinemax On Demand). We just finished watching season 2 of The Knick yesterday and loved it.
posted by liet at 5:32 AM on January 4, 2016 [2 favorites]

Seconding/thirding Outlander and The Americans.

We just blew through all of W1A (Netflix) in one night, it's hilarious. It's probably not underrated in the UK, but here in the US I had never heard of it. Also on Netflix, Aziz Ansari's Master of None is awesome. Billy on The Street has been my new favorite show, it's a few seasons in but just landed on my radar recently. Last Kingdom started out amazing for the first few episodes, and remains pretty good through the season (admittedly, I don't think I'm the target audience because it kind of failed me on the romance angle and if there's going to be romance I want it to be good romance, but it's more about the action and the history anyway).
posted by banjo_and_the_pork at 5:40 AM on January 4, 2016

Call the Midwife. It's a BBC drama about a group of midwives in the East End of London in the 1950s and is based on the memoirs of Jennifer Worth.
posted by FencingGal at 5:41 AM on January 4, 2016 [8 favorites]

Seconding Fargo.
posted by Sassyfras at 6:25 AM on January 4, 2016

Playing House! It aired on the USA network, and you can watch it on their website/app or probably it's still available on-demand. It's annoyingly hard to get if you don't have US-based cable (or at least a login to someone's US-based cable). It's hilarious and sweet and silly and I'm terrified it won't get renewed so I want as many people to watch it as possible.
posted by mskyle at 7:01 AM on January 4, 2016 [4 favorites]

Seconding the The Fall, but it is rather dark.
Peaky Blinders is really incredible and everyone who I've recommended it to has loved it!
posted by Hop123 at 7:03 AM on January 4, 2016 [1 favorite]

No one talks about Rectify and it's insanely good. It's available on Netflix.

Another vote for The Americans, too.
posted by superfluousm at 7:03 AM on January 4, 2016 [5 favorites]

Seconding/thirding Outlander and The Americans.
We just blew through all of W1A (Netflix) in one night, it's hilarious. It's probably not underrated in the UK

Outlander is not so much underrated as unseen in the UK and specifically Scotland. Here, allegedly, is why.
posted by rongorongo at 7:32 AM on January 4, 2016 [1 favorite]

Just finished, and thoroughly enjoyed, both seasons of "The Red Road", originally on Sundance and now on Netflix streaming. Each season is 6 episodes. I'm not sure why it hasn't gotten more press; Jason Momoa (Khal Drogo on S1 GOT) is as impressive speaking English as he was speaking Dothraki, and Julianne Nicholson (from August, Osage County) is outstanding. Worth a look.
posted by Ginesthoi at 7:33 AM on January 4, 2016

I clicked through to suggest The Knick as well, but also think FX's Man Seeking Woman is highly underrated.
posted by tonycpsu at 7:58 AM on January 4, 2016 [1 favorite]

Among those I didn't see mentioned yet: The Legacy, Rita,Srugim
posted by Obscure Reference at 8:16 AM on January 4, 2016

Aw crap, I wanted to recommend You're the Worst as one of the best shows ever. You would definitely like Casual, Master of None and probably BoJack Horseman.
posted by OnTheLastCastle at 8:32 AM on January 4, 2016

Definitely Jane the Virgin.
posted by shesbenevolent at 8:54 AM on January 4, 2016 [2 favorites]

"Laid" is an excellent comedy-drama. It's Australian, about a young woman who struggles with a special... power? she has that leads to some romantic problems. She has to rendezvous with a very strange man who lives in a caravan park in order to reverse the curse. It's on Netflix in the US.
posted by FergieBelle at 8:58 AM on January 4, 2016

'The Leftovers'. I'm astounded at the lack of attention this seems to have. Season 1 is great. Season 2 vaults it into some of the best TV ever.

Emphatically second this! I think maybe it ran up against some other popular show but I basically sat around waiting for this show during the fall.

Also, Fargo Season 2.
posted by sweetkid at 9:03 AM on January 4, 2016 [1 favorite]

UnReal and Ray Donovan.
posted by fuse theorem at 9:05 AM on January 4, 2016

Oh, also Grace and Frankie, with Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin, Sam Waterston and Martin Sheen. Martin and Sam are two long time law partners who fall in love, and it sounds ludicrous but it's pretty good.
posted by sweetkid at 9:12 AM on January 4, 2016 [2 favorites]

Un Village Français is something I only started watching to improve my French, but it is great television. A French village in occupied France, and a really fantastic rendition of the moral fabric, more complex than good and bad. Fifth season aired in 2015, and by then you even have sympathy with the SS guy who you thought was just plain evil in the beginning.

Available on netflix in different places.
posted by squishles at 9:45 AM on January 4, 2016 [3 favorites]

Yeah, the second season of Fargo is must-see for sure. I don't know about "underrated," but it was the best thing on television in 2015.
posted by NedKoppel at 9:46 AM on January 4, 2016 [1 favorite]

UnReal was the best surprise of the year at my house -- darkly funny, biting humor; so very, very well written. (And yet...it was on Lifetime? I'm still gobsmacked about that.)

Others to recommend: Mr. Robot, Outlander, Scrotal Recall... The Expanse is actually keeping me entertained, too.
posted by mylittlepoppet at 10:14 AM on January 4, 2016 [3 favorites]

It surprised me not to see more enthusiasm for Better Call Saul, which was lighter and less unpleasant than Breaking Bad. Bob Odenkirk's acting chops took me by surprise as much as Bryan Cranston's.
posted by Flexagon at 10:16 AM on January 4, 2016 [6 favorites]

Brooklyn Nine-Nine is probably my favorite show on tv.
posted by fireandthud at 11:02 AM on January 4, 2016 [4 favorites]

Some of these are not underrated y'all. Transparent won like all the Emmys, Better Caul Saul and Fargo gets fawned over by every blog on the internet and Brooklyn 99's series premiere got 6 million viewers.

Anyway, I came in to suggest Playing House, but instead I will say, Yahoo's delightful, silly: Other Space
posted by Potomac Avenue at 11:48 AM on January 4, 2016 [4 favorites]

I haven't seen it myself but I read nice things about the recent Russel T. Davies triptych "Cucumber", "Banana", and "Tofu". (Gay) love, sex, some fun and a lot of drama is promised.
posted by KMB at 12:32 PM on January 4, 2016

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt was both highly reviewed... and still underrated, I think.
posted by talldean at 12:43 PM on January 4, 2016 [5 favorites]

Rake, the Australian version, is pretty damn funny and well-acted. Highly recommended for all lawyers. I'm hoping Netflix picks up the 3rd season.

The Fall is very good because of Gillian Anderson and Jamie Dornan. I can't wait for the 3rd season to make it to Netflix.
posted by sixpack at 12:47 PM on January 4, 2016 [1 favorite]

Switched at Birth. Yes, it is an Earnest ABC Family Drama with a terrible name, but it is also full of complex, well-drawn relationships and charming characters, at least half of whom are Deaf (and played by Deaf actors). It really respects that culture and has lots of storylines I've never seen on any other show for that reason.
posted by ariadne's threadspinner at 12:56 PM on January 4, 2016

Might want to take a look at Andrew Collin's Best TV of 2015 review in The Guardian.
posted by forallmankind at 2:21 PM on January 4, 2016

Seconding the not-at-all-underrated Fargo, Transparent, Rick and Morty, Bojack Horseman, Better Call Saul.

posted by Jonathan Harford at 2:31 PM on January 4, 2016 [2 favorites]

Teen Wolf has gotten seriously weird. It began as a teen werewolf series where the Alpha werewolf is a Hufflepuff and loves his way to pack leadership, but now there's steam punk alternate reality baddies who are intent on making our Hufflepuff leader lose his status by breaking the moral code that's created a fragile peace in Beacon Hills.

I'm REALLY behind.

The fandom is simply awful tho, so tread online with caution.
posted by spunweb at 5:39 PM on January 4, 2016

Jane the Virgin
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 6:07 PM on January 4, 2016

Response by poster: So now I have a list of shows to watch! (Not including the ones I've already seen, though I LOVE Jane the Virgin and Crazy Ex Girlfriend and am also going through withdrawal from the lack of it, Sara C.)

The Knick
Rick and Morty
Mozart in the Jungle
Scrotal Recall
Un village français
The Leftovers
Dark Matter
Mr. Robot
Playing House
The Red Road
Man Seeking Woman
The Legacy
Grace and Frankie
The Expanse
High Maintenance

Thanks, everyone! This'll keep me busy for a while.
posted by mollywas at 6:30 PM on January 4, 2016 [3 favorites]

No one mentioned Orphan Black? It's a travesty that Tatiana Maslany hasn't received an Emmy for her portrayal of multiple clones.
posted by Joleta at 7:17 PM on January 4, 2016 [3 favorites]

Nthing Orphan Black, though I think now it can be bundled in with shows like Transparent and Fargo in terms of perennial critics' darlings and Emmy nominees. So I don't know that it's "underrated" per se. I would say that if you're not watching it, you should be.
posted by Sara C. at 7:21 PM on January 4, 2016 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: I definitely am!
posted by mollywas at 7:36 PM on January 4, 2016

The most criminally underrated show of all time was The Hour (on the BBC)
posted by you're a kitty! at 7:45 PM on January 4, 2016 [1 favorite]

I've only gotten through the first two seasons on Netflix, but Longmire is amazing. Detective / thriller plots set in wild Wyoming. The first four seasons aired on A&E, who then ended it, but Netflix has picked it up for a fifth season. Fantastic writing, main characters with depth, great acting, some wry humor, beautiful shots of the location. It's by far one of my favorite shows, and no one I talk to seems to have heard of it.
posted by switcheroo at 7:48 PM on January 4, 2016 [3 favorites]

I think Marc Maron's show is quite good and a bit underrated. It's really not to everyone's taste though. And of course Louie but I think most people agree with me that Louis CK is a genius.
posted by sweetkid at 7:53 PM on January 4, 2016 [2 favorites]

12 Monkeys (On FanFare)
Sense8 (On FanFare)
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 9:22 PM on January 4, 2016 [1 favorite]

A shout out to the UK show Gogglebox - basically a bunch of families and couples filmed, each week, watching a number of shows. It is now in its 5th series here - and has spawned copies in several other countries. Worth watching for its internal character development and for an insight on British culture. Can also help those who are asking this question.
posted by rongorongo at 10:32 PM on January 4, 2016

So many of the shows mentioned are ones I love, and it's hard to add to the list, but Manhattan (in its second season in 2015) is pretty good.
posted by Pryde at 10:45 PM on January 4, 2016

I haven't seen this mentioned yet, but I adored the Netflix dramedy Club de Cuervos, which was the first (and only?) Spanish-language show it has produced. It is about a Mexican soccer dynasty and I found it hilarious and also really insightful into Mexican culture.
posted by megancita at 5:19 AM on January 5, 2016 [1 favorite]

Getting On might not be underrated but almost no one watched it (and it was fantastic). I've only seen the US version that ended on HBO last month. Review, Hannibal, The Americans, The Returned - all great suggestions.
posted by getawaysticks at 8:30 AM on January 5, 2016 [1 favorite]

The BBC did a really good mini series adaptation of the Agatha Christie novel And Then There Were None which they showed over Christmas. Wasn't expecting much but it was really well done, with a load of quality acting talent and in fact down right scary in parts.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 10:23 AM on January 5, 2016 [1 favorite]

Wolf Hall was very good too though it was hardly underacted
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 10:26 AM on January 5, 2016 [1 favorite]

Also enjoyed The Game, a cold war spy thiller
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 10:37 AM on January 5, 2016

Ctrl F: Bloodline (no results!) The Netflix show is overly dramatic at parts (not as much as Jane the Virgin!) but the story line really draws you in, and it is very well acted.
posted by sweetmarie at 12:03 PM on January 8, 2016 [1 favorite]

I've only gotten through the first two seasons on Netflix, but Longmire is amazing.

You should stop right there. It goes downhill after this rather fast. I really loved the first season and the second season was okay but once they started filling in the mysteries it lost a lot of its appeal. It started out like cormac macarthy and ended like a soap opera.
posted by srboisvert at 9:18 PM on January 10, 2016

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