8 Underrated Shows You Need to Stream Right Now
Jan 11, 2020   •   Mikhail Lecaros
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Jan 11, 2020   •   Mikhail Lecaros
Now that the Golden Globes are over, it’s become increasing clear that an ever-growing number of the shows and films being nominated are those that never saw airtime on a broadcast network. Indeed, if you want to see the cream of the crop, chances are, it’s probably on a streaming platform somewhere. But with so many platforms to choose from (even if you’re not just sticking to award-winners and nominees), keeping up with what to watch can be somewhat daunting. So, to make your life easier, we’ve put together a list of eight of the best shows you’re not (yet) watching!
The Morning Show features Jennifer Aniston (Friends) and Reese Witherspoon as co-hosts dealing with the fallout of their former anchorman’s (Steve Carell, The Office) sexual misconduct. The show lifts the curtain on the cutthroat world of broadcast journalism, while introducing the complications (and implications) of broadcast in the #metoo era. Aniston impresses on the dramatic front, delivering a depth and gravitas we never would have expected from the former Rachel Greene, while Witherspoon provides counterpoint as the idealistic rookie. Billy Crudup (Watchmen, Mission: Impossible III) gives added dimension, stealing the show as an unashamedly slimy (yet somehow charming) network executive with his own agenda. TV drama doesn’t get much better than this.
Tragically cut short after one season, Tuca and Bertie stars Tiffany Haddish (Girls Trip) and Ali Wong (Always Be My Maybe), as the titular roommates – two single women trying to make sense of life, relationships, and themselves. Oh, and did we mention they’re birds? If the show’s aesthetic looks familiar, that’s because it was created by Lisa Hanawalt, who helped design the characters on Bojack Horseman. Where Bojack is a brutal take on the lies we tell ourselves to make it through life, Tuca and Bertie is about the relationship between two women who are just trying to get on with life as best they can after one of them gets out of rehab. In retrospect, this show has a lot in common with the next entry on this list, but has enough going for it (animal puns!) to justify its inclusion. Unless some other platform picks it up though, it will be forever be consigned to the list of those gone too soon.
If you’ve only seen Aisling Bea as Paul Rudd’s wife on Living With Myself, you’re missing half your life, as the fiery, fiercely Irish comedienne proves herself a force to be reckoned with on her self-produced- and written- This Way Up. The series follows Aine (played by Bea), an acerbic single woman trying to make her way in the world whilst sharing an apartment with her overprotective sister Shona (played by series co-creator and writer Sharon Horgan, Game Night). Beginning with Aine being released from an institution following a nervous breakdown, the show is in line with the likes of Fleabag and Bojack Horseman in making you laugh while being utterly and completely devastating. With much to say about mental health, relationships, and the power of sisterly love, This Way Up is a show we desperately need a second season of.
The Expanse, much like Lucifer and Designated Survivor is one of those shows that was cancelled by its original broadcast network (in this case, Syfy), only to find new life (and seasons) once it was picked up by a streaming platform (in this case, Amazon Prime Video). In the case of The Expanse, we can’t for the life of us imagine why a channel ostensibly dedicated to science fiction (and desperate for hits) would ever seek to end an exciting, brilliantly longform tale of a future where mankind has colonized the solar system. Based on the series of novels of the same name, Shohreh Aghdashloo (Star Trek: Beyond) and Thomas Jane (The Mist) star in this gripping, sprawling story of an interstellar conspiracy borne of decades of tension between humanity’s different factions. Anchored by stellar performances, amazing visuals, and myriad twists, this is one show you won’t be able to look away from.
TV spin-offs rarely get anywhere near the reception or acclaim that their successful forebears do, and with good reason – most of them suck. Better Call Saul manages to buck the trend by being downright brilliant, despite being both a prequel and a spin-off to bona fide phenomenon Breaking Bad (2008-2013)! Bob Odenkirk reprises his role as two-bit ambulance chaser and all-around con artist Saul Goodman, presented here back in the days when he was known as Jimmy McGill. Under Breaking Bad showrunner Vince Gilligan (The X-Files), McGill’s descent is given the weight of Shakespearean tragedy, with added fun stemming from seeing characters and situations from the previous show masterfully woven in.
Telling the story of a wealthy family that loses everything and is forced to navigate their newfound poverty whilst living in their only remaining property, it would be easy to write this off as a Canadian version of Arrested Development, but to do so would be to miss out one sharpest, wittiest sitcoms on TV at the moment. Comedy veterans Eugene Levy (American Pie) and Catherine O’Hara (Home Alone) star, along with Daniel Levy (Degrassi: The Next Generation) and Annie Murphy () as their (initially) self-absorbed children. While we admit that the title is hard to say out loud in polite company, the show makes up for it with some truly hilarious situations, and a surprisingly heartfelt exploration of the character growth that can occur once everything one knows is stripped away.
(Now, if only it was viewable on Netflix Philipines.)
The sleeper hit of the fledgling Apple TV+ platform (The Morning Show had been positioned as the flagship show), Dickinson depicts the trials and tribulations of its title character (portrayed Bumblebee’s Hailee Steinfeld), growing up as a young woman in 19th century America. The show delves into topics such as gender equality, prejudice, and societal expectations, at a time when the very notion of a female poet was seen, at best, as little more than a sideshow attraction. Steinfeld is nothing less than impressive in her portrayal of the willful woman who will grow up into one of the world’s most beloved writers, running the gamut of emotion while grounding her character with a sardonic, decidedly modern sensibility. Literature class was rarely this irreverent.
Funny, tragic, and touching, the success of this award-winning show can be attributed largely to Bill Hader (It: Chapter 2, Sausage Party), who produces and writes, in addition to starring as the title character. While the very premise of a professional hitman striving to be an actor is funny in and of itself, it’s the writing and performances that elevate Barry to the top of the TV game. Based on elements of Hader’s own life as a comedy writer, one doesn’t need to be a paid assassin to empathize with this tale of a top professional in a high-stress work environment who just wants to make a change. Packed with pathos, hilarious side characters (Anthony Carrigan’s NoHo Hank is a work of genius, while Stephen Root’s Monroe Fuches is evil incarnate), and visceral acts of violence, Barry is the sort of treat that keeps on giving, no matter how many times you watch it.
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