There are so many series available now, through the proliferation of streaming services (who are also producing their own content), seemingly thousands of channels, and a never-ending cycle of new shows being produced, and often quickly canned.
These 5 here are, in my opinion, the 5 series that just haven't, or never, captured the mind share or audience they deserve(d). What I mean by that, is, as someone who spends a lot of time on social media and the internet (I work here, dang it), these are series that see very little traffic, and seem to have no one talking about them. I understand that everything on television/streaming cannot possibly have the power of something like The Walking Dead, but these are all series that I feel have really never gotten the pop culture foothold their quality deserved.
5) Treme (2010-2013)
I know that this series has it's fans, and it's detractors, but I really feel like Treme was one of those HBO shows that was absolutely amazing, but never really got off the ground with audiences.
I, for one, adore Treme. The series set in post-Hurricane Katrina New Orleans, following various peoples' lives as they are trying to rebuild their sense of community, sense of self, etc. all the while dealing with what has changed, what has been lost, and what is coming in, all framed around the glorious musical heritage of the city was spectacular. I loved the music, I loved so many of the characters, and then suddenly, here was 10 minutes of a concert...
Look, I understand maybe why it did not take off: it was very much a slow burn, and if you were not into jazz, or bounce, or Cajun music, I suppose the giant breaks for music could get grating, but there is a part of me that wishes that more people had given this series a chance, or that more people stuck with it to let it really blossom into what was an often heartrending, but beautiful television series.
Or maybe, seeing that it was from the people that made The Wire, too many people had super high, crazy expectations for Treme, and just did not get what they wanted. This multi-layered community/family drama with a strong musical foundation was so different than anything else...if you have not had a chance to see Treme, track it down: it is worth the effort, even if you just jam on the theme tune a bit.
4) Borgia (2011- 2014)
There is a chance that you saw that and thought "Oh, The Borgias, that Showtime series, alright" and that would be dead wrong...and part of the problem.
There is a vastly superior series about the exact same subject that came out at exactly the same time in Europe (it's a French-German-Czech-Italian co-co-co-co-production) that has been available on Netflix in North America that got completely overshadowed by the other, more soap opera-y melodrama.
This Borgia is not so much soap opera-y, this is very much punching through the historical drama. Sure, there are still elements of melodrama, as, if you know anything about the Borgia and their popes, should not be a surprise, but this version just got undeservedly buried. Sort of like Armageddon versus Deep Impact.
You know, because the non "drillers in the space shuttle with that ********* AEROSMITH SONG" asteroid movie was not the better of the two, but it is the one everyone knows.
3) Ripper Street (2012- )
This is one of those series that I just stumbled across on a whim, and then watched like crazy (including it becoming one of the few TV Series that I actually have on disc). It's basically about the division of police in London who were tasked with finding Jack the Ripper, trying to continue on after failing to bring him in, policing their quadrant of London, filled with the poor and dispossessed. With the help of an American surgeon (and Pinkerton) the detectives begin to try and deal with someone who is killing the women on the streets in London again (and with the idea that Jack may have returned).
This series isa lot of fun, and delivers a great mystery, with solid acting throughout, but had such poor audience numbers that it was not renewed by BBC (but thankfully, for people who have access to Amazon Video...which is not me...*cough*) it was resurrected and has now been renewed for 5 seasons.
If you like mysteries, or even dug the aesthetic of Guy Ritchies' Sherlock Holmes films, then definitely give Ripper Street a go, it is well worth the time commitment and thankfully there is even more coming.
2) Fargo (2014- )
I suppose it may be hard to consider that a series that has won 17 awards (including Best Miniseries) is underrated, but when you get down to it, an how quietly a show of this caliber just sort of exists, it is. When you wander around the internet (as I do), it is pretty clear that the mind share is way smaller than the show deserves.
Now yes, Fargo does pull in respectable, if not flashy, viewer numbers on FX (generally hovering around 1.1 million in the key 18-49 audience demographic each episode), but considering the critical reviews (sitting at 100% on Rotten Tomatoes for Season 2) and general user reviews (4.7/5 on RT, 9/10 on imdb), the fact that it feels like no one is watching it is ridiculous.
Twitter on Fargo is quiet, I am not bombarded by awesome Fargo memes, I talk to people (for work, etc.) and there are a few watching, but not anywhere near what a show of this quality, in acting, production, music, etc., deserves to have...and I have no idea why. Up against Monday Night Football? FX does not have the cache of other cable outlets? Voodoo curse?
Especially with the second season of True Detective stumbling into police procedural form, why this stunning and complex (sometimes funny, sometimes brutal) series does not get way more attention, more traffic from those people looking for a good crime story outside the predictable network fare, is beyond me. This series should be getting True Detective Season 1 style love, and it just isn't...
Or maybe I just need some people to talk to about Fargo because it's so damn good.
1) Hannibal (2013-2015)
Us hardcore fannibals were treated to three seasons of what is the one of, if not the best, horror television series of all-time. It was deeply disturbing, gory (in an often stunningly beautiful way), philosophical and smart. The season finales for both the second and third seasons are the only television I have ever watched multiple times on the same night because of how bloody brilliant they were. The entire second season of Hannibal is a masterclass in expectation, story-telling, and complexity that absolutely hums along as an example of how to make intriguing, intelligent television.
And practically no one watched it.
Frankly I am surprised we got three seasons of Hannibal, based on the numbers being as low as they were...but not as surprised as I was with what NBC (of all places) let the Hannibal team put on network television.
I have fairly good ideas why it never got as big as it deserved, based on where it was, and how hard of a sell it is as a story...but I can assure anyone who is at all interested in good television, good horror, and needs something a little more complex then whatever Scream Queens is, to check out Hannibal on Netflix (or something).
Let me know what series you feel are underrated, or just go watch some of these, because according to the numbers, you probably haven't seen them...