16 Unsung TV Shows Of The Past Few Years That Everybody Should Watch

16 Great Unsung TV Shows of the Past Few Years That Everybody Should Watch

We're living in a goddamn Golden Age of television. But there's also way too much TV to keep track of, and a few shows get the lion's share of attention. So here's our list of 16 recent TV shows that haven't gotten their props. Time to start binge-watching!

First, let's define our terms. These are "unsung" TV shows, in that they haven't gotten loads of attention in mainstream media outlets. (So no Game of Thrones, or even Supergirl, for that matter.) And by the "past few years," I mean shows that were airing in 2013 or later, or are still on the air now. OK? Here we go.

16 Great Unsung TV Shows of the Past Few Years That Everybody Should Watch

1) Continuum

A cop travels back in time from 2077 to 2012 and has to fight a bunch of terrorists from the future. This show dealt with all sorts of fascinating issues around the corporatization of police, and corporate control over society generally — and at its best, it was a show where nobody was "right" or "wrong." (At its worst, this show got lost in its own overcomplicated mythos. But it's still worth checking out.)


16 Great Unsung TV Shows of the Past Few Years That Everybody Should Watch

2) iZombie

A young woman becomes a zombie — and every time she eats someone's brain she gains their personality attributes, memories and abilities. And she uses this ability to solve crimes. It's a zombie police procedural! This show, based on a Vertigo comic, comes from the creator of Veronica Mars, and it's just as good as it sounds.


16 Great Unsung TV Shows of the Past Few Years That Everybody Should Watch

3) Constantine

John Constantine is the world's most profane sorcerer, who performs dark magic in a trench coat and holding a cigarette butt. This show absolutely nailed one of comics' most fascinating characters. (He hails from the Hellblazer comic.) And even if the single season had a hard time finding its feet, Matt Ryan is note perfect, and it's great for that reason alone.


16 Great Unsung TV Shows of the Past Few Years That Everybody Should Watch

4) Person of Interest

This show started out as a police procedural about two guys who know about crimes before they actually happen, thanks to a supercomputer. The first season is a little slow (but still awesome), and then the supercomputer starts to take center stage more. By now, it's evolved into the smartest examination of artificial intelligence we've ever seen on television, and a superb show generally. Now on Netflix! Here's our guide to which episodes from the first season to skip.


16 Great Unsung TV Shows of the Past Few Years That Everybody Should Watch

5) The Librarians

Noah Wyle used to star in these TV movies about the Librarian, a guy who works in a mysterious facility hunting down magical items. Now this has been rebooted into an ongoing series about a team of Librarians, and it's basically the perfect replacement for Warehouse 13. The writers include John "Leverage" Rogers, so the scripts are often funny, whip-sharp, and deep without going dark.


16 Great Unsung TV Shows of the Past Few Years That Everybody Should Watch

6) Agent Carter

Marvel's Agents of SHIELD got all the attention when it launched because it came right on the heels of The Avengers. But this other ABC superhero show is just as brilliant, and hasn't gotten as many props. It's the late 1940s, and Peggy Carter is back from the war — but there's still plenty of evil to fight. If only she can get these boneheaded men to start taking her seriously. This show just keeps getting better and better.

16 Great Unsung TV Shows of the Past Few Years That Everybody Should Watch

7) Utopia

This British TV show is so under-the-radar, it doesn't even seem to have aired stateside. But it's dark and sardonic and ultra-weird. In a near future setting, a group of characters meet on a message board to discuss a fictional comic about a scientist who makes a deal with the devil... and over the course of this series, we delve into a deep, incredibly weird, conspiracy. We described it as Ben Templesmith meets Dennis Potter meets William Gibson.


16 Great Unsung TV Shows of the Past Few Years That Everybody Should Watch

8) Lucifer

It's only just started, but this show about the Prince of Darkness hanging out in L.A. is already one of our favourites. We were incredibly sceptical about taking Mike Carey's trippy, epic comic and turning it into a crime-of-the-week show, but thus far this show deserves way more props.


16 Great Unsung TV Shows of the Past Few Years That Everybody Should Watch

9) 12 Monkeys

Speaking of things we were incredibly sceptical about... Syfy took the classic Terry Gilliam show about a guy who travels back from a post-apocalyptic future to investigate the origins of a deadly plague, and turned it into an ongoing weekly TV show. This should not have worked. At all. But thus far, this show is intensely watchable and dark, including genuine surprises here and there. Fingers crossed for season two!


16 Great Unsung TV Shows of the Past Few Years That Everybody Should Watch

10) The 100

The CW launched a handful of teen science fiction shows around the same time, and they all looked vaguely Hunger Games-influenced. But this show, after a rocky start, became one of the best things on broadcast television. The survivors of a post-apocalyptic Earth, living on a cramped space station, send 100 teenagers back to the planet's surface to see if it's habitable again. Over time, this show has evolved into something genuinely fascinating.


16 Great Unsung TV Shows of the Past Few Years That Everybody Should Watch

11) Wayward Pines

A federal agent wakes up in a weird town, where there are tons of secrets and nobody seems to know what's going on. This show, based on the books by Blake Crouch, seemed like a weak Twin Peaks clone at first blush. But the mystery actually has a killer answer, and standout performances by Matt Dillon and Carla Gugino ended up blowing us away.


16 Great Unsung TV Shows of the Past Few Years That Everybody Should Watch

12) Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell

The classic award-winning novel by Susanna Clarke, about two men who dabble in magic in an alternate 19th century, should have been impossible to adapt for the screen. But the BBC absolutely pulled it off, with incredible panache, and everybody should watch this miniseries. It is a total triumph.


16 Great Unsung TV Shows of the Past Few Years That Everybody Should Watch

13) Dracula

Before Lucifer was hanging out in L.A. solving crimes, Vlad Dracula was wandering around London trying to invent wireless electricity and watching women mud-wrestle. This show only ran for one season, but it is a pure delight of endless WTFery. Every episode packs at least a few "did I just see that" moments.


16 Great Unsung TV Shows of the Past Few Years That Everybody Should Watch

14) The Originals

The Vampire Diaries created one truly great villain: Klaus, the thousand-year-old Original vampire who's kind of a megalomaniac. Spinning him and his siblings off into their own show seemed like a terrible idea, and the first season was kind of uneven. But at this point, Klaus' theatrical insanity has become mesmerising, and watching this super-powerful vamp try to control the uncontrollable New Orleans is actually quite addictive.


16 Great Unsung TV Shows of the Past Few Years That Everybody Should Watch

15) Gravity Falls

We still can't believe this show is ending next week. A pair of twins are forced to go live in the mysterious town of Gravity Falls with their Grunkle Stan, and have to help run the Mystery Shack, a horrendous tourist location. Even as shows like Steven Universe have blown up and become huge, this show has deserved way more attention than it's gotten.


16 Great Unsung TV Shows of the Past Few Years That Everybody Should Watch

16) Humans

The Swedish show Äkta Människor has been one of the best kept secrets in cyberpunk for a few years now. But now this series about beautiful androids who live among regular people has been remade as a US-UK coproduction, and they managed to capture a lot of what made the original so thought-provoking and thrilling.

Thanks to Rob, Cheryl, James, Germain, Andrew and everyone else who helped with this!


Charlie Jane Anders is


Comments

    Yes! I just started with Continuum last week and wondered why I haven't heard of it before. And there it is on the 1st place.

      They ended it far too quickly, the last season only had 6 episodes, IIRC

        I absolutely loved the show.. sadly as you say, the ratings obviously werent there so they gave it a chancw to wrap up the story.

    Cool! I'll bookmark this and go looking for some of these shows later. :)

    The original Swedish version Real Humans isn't bad, it has a really funky, iconic style.

      I really liked season 1 of Real Humans, I think the second season lost its way a bit.

    Constantine was a great show! I'd also add better off ted into that list :)

      Better Off Ted was an amazing show. So much to love and for Arrested Development fans there is some gold from Portia De Rossi. Other worthwhile comedies are Bluestone 42, Detectorists Outsourced, and House of Lies (Dramedy really).

      As mentioned below Banshee is also fantastic, like an R rated Justified.
      Give Black Sails a go too for some Spartacus on the sea.

      Some one season wonders I've enjoyed - Kings, Rubicon , Running Wilde that all deserved a longer run.

      Too much to watch, too little time.

        I have never come across a show that had humour which suited my taste as much as Better Off Ted. So awesome.

      Better off Ted is still one of the best American comedies ever made.

        +1 for Better Off Ted 'I bought a boat' is still one of the best quotes of all! :)

      Agreed, I quite enjoyed watching that show, it's a shame they had to cancel it.

    How could you not mention Banshee!

    In the Flesh is a good British series, set after a zombie virus and a cure is found, interesting to see how formerly undead people are treated by the people in their community, and their loved ones.

    I have watched 12 of the 16 shows mentioned, and they are all really good. Particularly enjoying Lucifer more than I thought I would

    iZombie was average at best, and 12 Monkeys was a huge letdown.

      And the librarians is just awful, like the US taking a swing at Dr who and completely missing the point.

    Its a real FREAKIN' SHAME that all but 2 of these shows aren't available on the free to air channels then isn't it...!!!..?

    Not everyone has Foxtel...

      Is free to air still a thing? Haven't watched it in years and have never paid for Foxtel. A lot of these are now on Netflix and most would be available on DVD/bluray.

    Utopia was freakin amazing. Bleak, yet laugh out loud funny in places. Absolute crime it got axed after series 2. And i gotta disagree with The Originals, sorry. Almost as bad as Twilight.

    Can't believe you missed Black Mirror > all of the above.

    11 22 63 is great too for anyone looking for a new show. Stephen King teams up with JJ Abrams on this one.

    Black Sails should be on this list

    Sad to see Almost Human didn't get a mention.

    Utopia, so good, love the contrast between light hearted humor and super graphic violence. 9/10

    The list needs Black Sails

    The show is so damn good, but no one watches it. It seems people haven't heard of it, or they watched the first episode or two and then went nah. When the concensus is that it dramatically improved during the first season and from the end onwards is really good.

    The list needs Black Sails

    The show is so damn good, but no one watches it. It seems people haven't heard of it, or they watched the first episode or two and then went nah. When the consensus is that it dramatically improved during the first season and from the end onwards is really good.

    Yeah, but who is the blonde lady in the first photo?

      Emily Berrington, and that's a screencap from her playing Niska in show #16, Humans

    Some good stuff both in the list and the comments. Tried continuum though - really,really terrible acting.

    I turned Lucifer off in disgust after about 10 minutes. It's been ages since I read the series, but it was such a deviation from the comic, I couldn't stomach it.

    I understand that TV and film adaptions often deviate from the original content, and I'm totally fine with it and I'm usually quite interested to see a different spin on the stories I've read, but Lucifer and Mazikeen characters were just too far from the source material. Really disappointing.

    Fargo, Better Call Saul, Penny Dreadful... all great, but pretty well sung.

    Among the relatively unsung that I've loved of late are: Horace and Pete, Vinyl, Les Revenants, The Expanse, The Magicians, and Mozart in the Jungle

    Add these to the list:

    Almost Human (disgracefully cancelled after 1 season)
    Helix - Gets better, and it starts good
    Sarah Connor Chronicles (cancelled on a cliff hanger, total disgrace)
    Fargo (much much better than the movie which was good)
    The Frankenstein Chronicles - Even better than Ripper St I think, building up nicely
    Orphan Black
    Misfits - teenage dropkicks that end up with amazing powers, great stuff from the Brits
    Battlestar Galactica - yes long gone, but awesome and a must see
    Defiance - Another decent sci-fi show cancelled
    Ash vs Evil dead - Hilarious and Bruce Campbell is in it.

    I need to see Penny Dreadful

      Yeah, massive ups on the Sarah Connor Chronicles! That was one of the best shows I've seen in a good while. Probably helped by the shitty sequels after T2.

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