• Sun, Jun 8 - 3:00 pm ET

11 Of The Most Criminally Underrated TV Shows Of All Time

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Tonight is the third season finale of Veep and I have to tell you, it makes me sad.  Not just because it means I have to wait until 2015 to enjoy Selina Meyer and Co. again, but because it seems like a lot of people aren’t enjoying them along with me.  Don’t get me wrong, I know it has a decent following, and it’s won an Emmy or two (Julia Louis-Dreyfuss’ acceptance speech with Tony Hale for last year’s award should have been enough to convince the world they need to tune in), but I just don’t hear enough water-cooler talk about it, you know?  I really believe it’s one of the most underrated television shows on the air right now, and it truly deserves more recognition.  It takes a lot to make me laugh outside of my own head (as in, “out loud”), and this show gets me to crack up multiple times in just 30 minutes per week.

So, in honor of the comedic genius/under-appreciation of Veep, I bring you my picks for the most underrated TV shows of all time.  Feel free to add your own in the comments!

1. Shameless

I’ve got to be honest with you – I have never been bored for one solitary moment while watching every episode of this show through the last four seasons.  William H. Macy, Emmy Rossum, and Jeremy Allen White deliver such strong, convincing performances that I forget they’re not really the Gallagher family in real life.  The showrunners even switched up their Emmy consideration category from drama to comedy in order to get a little recognition this year.  Here’s hoping they finally get it, because this show is so deserving.  Highly recommend this one for binge-watching.

2. The Comeback

This hidden gem of an HBO original show only lasted one season, which is a damn shame.  It just didn’t get the audience it should have, I guess.  Lisa Kudrow‘s performance as Valerie Cherish, a “has-been” sitcom star filming a reality show based on her “comeback” as the star of a new show made me cringe more times than I ever thought possible, but it was also filled with real gut-wrenching moments, too. You won’t regret giving this a shot.  The secondary characters in Valerie’s life keep things quite lively.

3. The Tudors

What’s not to enjoy about this show?  It’s got something for everyone: sex, insanely good-looking people, a history lesson (give or take a few creative liberties with timelines and royal bloodlines), blood, gore, torture, battles, fabulous costumes, and more sex.  It’s like Game of Thrones minus the fantasy element but plus a pre-Kaley Cuoco fakelationship-loving Henry Cavill.

4. Trophy Wife

I admit, I never gave this show a chance but I’ve heard great things about it.  Now that it’s cancelled, it will probably go into the “hidden gem” category, because now I actually want to watch it since I know a lot of people are bummed over it not being on anymore.  Malin Ackerman is also an underrated comedic actress – hopefully she lands a cable show or something soon.

5. Orphan Black

This BBC science fiction show about human cloning delivers one of the most solid performances out of any actress on television, with Tatiana Maslany‘s portrayal of many different yet identical women.  Lots of viewers are wondering when she’s going to land an Emmy, and I have to agree.

6. Arrested Development

Obviously it’s not so under-appreciated anymore, with its fourth season being released on Netflix last year and a movie in the works, but when it was originally on-air it was HIGHLY underrated and cancelled after just three seasons with the Bluth family.  ”It was just ahead of its time” was something I heard far too often after it went off the air.  I have been known to watch seasons 1-3 over and over and over again when I’m feeling lazy/bored, and I have yet to get sick of it.

7. Strangers With Candy

This show was a favorite among my college friends, and one we spent many a night binge-watching instead of doing actual schoolwork.  Amy Sedaris as Jerri Blank, the “junkie whore” runaway who returns to high school as a freshman is one of my favorite TV characters of all time.  Don’t be “a boozer, a user, and loser” and start watching this NOW.

8. Happy Endings

Okay, this is another show I didn’t watch.  But I love Casey Wilson and a lot of my smart/funny friends really love this show, so I have to take their word for it that it’s not one to miss.  Now that it’s cancelled (which is maybe a blessing in disguise, since that makes people want to binge-watch shows more for some reason), it’s on my Summer Of Television And Couching list.

9. It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia

God, is there anything better than Mac/Dee/Charlie/Dennis/Frank and Paddy’s Pub? This disturbing, hilarious, way-out-in-left-field show definitely has a cult following, but I don’t think it gets the critical recognition it deserves.  I mean, where else can you see Danny DeVito cut his toenails with an apple-paring knife? It’s truly a show to appreciate.

10. Big Love

This show, along with gems like The TudorsDexter, and The Sopranos was a pioneer in the early days of popular cable television.  It follows Bill Paxton, Jeanne Triplehorn, Chloe Sevigny, and Ginnifer Goodwin as a polygamist family in Utah hiding in plain sight.  You’ll find yourself surprised by the action and sighing in relief as the Henricksons somehow avoid being discovered by neighbors, friends, and the law.

11. Salute Your Shorts

Please tell me I’m not the only ’90s-Nickelodeon-loving kid who was OBSESSED with this show?  I swear, no one remembers it as much as I do, and I’m all like “Uh, Donkeylips? Budnick? Dena? Sponge? UG???? NOTHING???” every time I have this conversation with someone my age.  It only lasted one season, and I could probably recite every single episode by heart 20 years later.  Camp Anawanna, we hold you in our hearts.

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  • capoupascap

    I loved Salute Your Shorts! Ill throw in Better Off Ted (so hilarious and I’m team Ted/Veronica for ever and I loved the hilarious Veridian commercials) and Reaper (pretty clever and funny and I really wanted to see what happened after Andi sold her soul) into that list too.

  • Lindsey

    Salute Your Shorts was rad, but I as a hard core Pete and Pete fan. I mean Petinua, Artie, Nona (I LOVED Michelle Trachtenberg) Pit Stain, come on! http://youtu.be/IM8rGwrqrnE

  • Elizabeth Aspen

    I was a huge Sunny in Philly fan in the beginning, but that was only because I was living in Portland, Oregon. Then I moved back home to Philly and I’m reminded on a daily basis how awful this city really is and the people in it. I don’t need to watch the show anymore – I live it on a daily basis.

  • Isabelle

    I love Happy Endings and was surprised it wasn’t as popular as it should have been. But I’m surprised Shameless changed it’s category especially since the most recent season was the most dramatic and further from comedy than the other seasons. It’s definitely a dark comedy.

  • markmywords

    Loved the Tudors and crazy about Orphan Black. Last Episodes of Tudors are disgusting though.
    Arrested Development I liked in the 80′s (Mr. Wendal anyone?), so I’ll give the show a try. The Comeback, too.
    The rest is not my cup of tea.

  • Nbl

    May I add “Don’t trust the Bitch in Apartment 23″. I’ll admit that I never watched it was on air but I Netflix binged it and feel in love. Funniest show I’ve seen in a long time.