LET’S face it: we’ve all spent precious minutes poring over the selections on Netflix without settling on a show to watch. When presented with so many choices, it’s hard to nail down something worth our while. After all, we’ve already watched all the top-rated hits – Game of Thrones, House of Cards, Black Mirror, and the like.
But if you look beyond the name brand titles, you’ll discover a cornucopia of underrated television shows to binge watch.
Some of the series listed below may appeal to a more niche audience, so while you might have heard of them, you most likely would not have pressed “Play”. This is why we’re here to help you simplify the gargantuan task of choosing a show. Here are all the underrated television series you need to watch.
Canada has produced many gems: maple syrup, peanut butter, Drake, and Schitt’s Creek. This sitcom-comedy might not have the ratings of The Office or Friends, but it’s a sleeper hit that will have you chuckling along to the witty zingers and smart one-liners.
The show, now onto its fifth season, follows the misadventures of the Rose family. After losing everything in a tax evasion bust, their only possession is the deed to a small rural town called… Schitt’s Creek. There, they have to forego their previous glamorous lifestyles and live in a ramshackle motel that they manage (and is often the setting of various misdeeds and hilarious scenarios).
Produced by father-son duo Eugene and Daniel Levy, who are also father-and-son on the show, Schitt’s Creek is the best comedy gold to grace our screens.
Chances are you’re way past the sex education days. That doesn’t mean you’ll get less mileage out of this rich and convincing series. Netflix’s latest British comedy/drama Sex Education takes a traditionally taboo topic head-on (quadruple the taboo-ness for us Asians) and at times makes us wish we had a bona fide sex therapist in school.
The mood of the show steps out from the typical British dreariness, where settings are gloomy and sometimes borderline draconian. The two stars Otis and Maeve and are teens on the cusp of sexual adolescence who have set up a sex therapy clinic in their school to help their friends discover (and sometimes confront) their sexuality better. This unabashed take on sex is refreshing in a time where thrillers are dominating the market.
It helps that the show fields seasoned and top-tier talent Asa Butterfield in the lead role. That’s the same Brit who played Ender Wiggin in Ender’s Game and the titular Hugo Cabret in Martin Scorsese’s start-studded and critically-acclaimed Hugo.
Expect good laughs and even tear-jerking moments, but don’t hit “Play” thinking you’ll get a porn-infested romcom.
Grace and Frankie
The Lily Tomlin and Jane Fonda duo never cease to entertain. Despite their veteran status in Hollywood, they’re still going at it with the fifth season of Grace and Frankie just kicking off on Netflix.
It has been a long time since the show premiered. Grace (Fonda) and Frankie (Tomlin) started out as acquaintances, but when their husbands came out and announced that they were getting married to each other, the two became unlikely friends. It’s not a perfect friendship, though. Grace and Frankie both have their ups and downs, but their determination to resolve their issues are what drives this show to be so great.
It might not be for everyone, considering how the show tackles heavy topics like drugs and death in a rather sombre way. But if you just give it a chance, we promise you won’t regret it.
Star Trek Discovery
It has been almost 53 years since the original Star Trek series premiered, but Gene Roddenberry’s vision is still going strong with Star Trek: Discovery. Instead of going forward, however, the timeline of Discovery takes place around a decade before the original events.
In the first season of this reboot, we were treated to a more in-depth exploration of the relations between the Federation and the Klingons. It was an absolute visual feast with the new (but old?) uniforms, the epic space battles, and the duke-out between Michelle Yeoh and Jason Isaacs.
Discovery just started its second season two weeks ago with new additions to the bridge crew mainly in the form of Captain Christopher Pike.
Fresh Off the Boat
It has been almost four years since Nahnatchka Khan gifted us with the effervescent, quintessential Asian comedy, Fresh Off the Boat. Based on the best-selling memoir of the same name, the show is not exactly underrated, but seeing as it just returned from the winter break for the second half of its 5th season, we thought it deserves an honourable mention in this list.
If you’ve been following the adventures of Eddie Huang, you would’ve no doubt seen his maturation from a pre-pubescent child to an angsty teen playing the field. Also a star of the show is Constance Wu. Yes, the same Constance Wu that played Rachel Chu in last summer’s hit rom-com, Crazy Rich Asians. Don’t start this series expecting a demure Asian lady, though. Wu’s character, Jessica Huang, is a stereotypical “Tiger Mom.”