It’s not uncommon for me to mention a show I watch in conversation and get the reaction of “Oh, I’ve never seen it!” or even “I’ve never heard of that show before.” I often quote or refer to story lines from shows and get weird looks (I started to preface those comments with “Do you watch [tv show]?”). Over the years there’s been plenty of shows I’ve recommended to friends and family, but I’ve limited myself to four shows that I believe not enough people are watching/have even heard of:
1. Shameless (Showtime)
Reasons you’re probably not watching: You don’t get Showtime
Shameless (originally a UK series of the same name) centers around the Gallagher family of seven, Frank and his six children, who live in the South Side of Chicago. Frank (played by the incomparable William H. Macy) is an alcoholic who has left his eldest daughter Fiona (Emmy Rossum) to take care of his children. The Gallagher’s struggle on a daily basis just to make ends meet and resort to not so legal ways of obtaining money. The Gallagher clan is often rude, crude, but downright hilarious. The show mixes a good amount of humor and seriousness without taking away from the overall idea of the show.
I consider this show underrated. The Emmy Awards have yet to acknowledge this series with a nomination (Joan Cusack was nominated for Outstanding Guest Actress but did not win).
2. Adventure Time (Cartoon Network)
Reasons you’re probably not watching: It’s a kids show, it’s a cartoon
If you think Adventure Time is just for kids, you’re wrong. This witty and cute cartoon often features adult situations and humor to appease its audience young and old. Set in the post-apocolyptic world of Ooo, Finn the human and Jake the dog often go on weird and crazy adventures to take down evil creatures, save the candy people of the Candy Kingdom, and even save partying rave bears from the belly of a beast.
Episodes are only around twelve minutes and easy and fun to watch.
3. Oz (HBO)
Reasons you’re probably not watching: It ended in 2003, you’ve never heard of it
One of the shows I most often get told they’ve never heard of is Oz. Maybe because the show ended in 2003, before most people had HBO, and before their programming went mainstream. Oz is set in the fictional prison called the Oswald State Correctional Facility (formerly Oswald State Penitentiary). Inside Oz is Emerald City, a unit of prisoners full of see-through pods where its inhabitants often have a little more freedom/luxury than the rest of the units in the prison.
There are many story lines over the course of Oz‘s six season history and each episode of the series started and ended with a philosophical narration by prisoner Augustus Hill (Harold Perrineau Jr.). This show most notably started the careers of many faces we know and see on TV/movies today including: Christopher Meloni (Law and Order: SVU), Dean Winters (Mayhem from the Allstate commercials, 30 Rock), J.K. Simmons (Spiderman, a million other things you’ve seen), and even Edie Falco (The Sopranos, Nurse Jackie).
It’s also notable that many of the recurring stars of Oz now make up a good percentage of the Dexter cast including characters: LaGuerta, Batista, and Doakes.
Even though Oz was mostly serious and intense, it did have its humorous moments.
4. Being Human (BBC Three)
Reasons you’re probably not watching: It’s British
Being Human is a British TV show centering around the lives of a werewolf, a ghost, and a vampire, who co-habitat in the same household. Sound familiar? Syfy commissioned their own version of the show for an American audience (it’s okay). The British version of Being Human is smart, sassy, and downright funny. The UK can often get away with more than American television so butts, crude sex jokes, and cursing are not out of the norm.
Now shooting its fifth season the show hasn’t been afraid to change things up drastically. The entire original cast has gone (for reasons that are too spoilery for this post) and a new group has come along. And guess what? The show hasn’t dwindled into oblivion! It’s still good! A lot of times we are wary to welcome in new characters, especially if we’ve already fell in love with others, but this show has done it well. It still holds its charm and suspense.
Honorable mentions you should also be watching: Six Feet Under, Doctor Who, Wilfred