Workaholics is one of the funniest shows currently on TV, and definitely needs more attention from this website and all people in general. Its a simple plot, but the inherent level of craziness and over the top nature of nearly everyone from the main characters to random bit players makes it like few other things on TV, in a good way. Stoner comedy that's even good sober.
Playmakers was a fantastic show surrounding the troubled lives of professional American Football athletes, and ESPN's first try at a scripted TV series. Think Mad Men but darker and about American Football. The show demonstrated great promise, with empathetic characters, great writing, and solid acting, and garnered positive reviews and ratings. The show rivals many HBO originals with it's production value and shameless graphic content. Sadly got Screwed by the Network after NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue pressured ESPN to cancel it, and only 12 episodes were aired.
Wild World of Spike was a show from Spike, which featured three hosts giving their thoughts on web and TV clips. The hosts were a kickboxer, a skateboarder, and a comedian who was the Butt Monkey of the show. Sometimes, they would challenge each other to recreate the clips that they saw and that would range anywhere from lifting weights with your testicles, breaking through a brick wall, and getting tased. Cancelled after one season with 14 episodes and it seems the only way to find it is through either Zune or the Spike official site.
The Path to 9/11. Maybe it's a bit presumptive to put down a politically-charged work (for what it's worth, it's not particularly kind to either Clinton or Bush), but this five-hour miniseries is the definitive work on the subject; not even United 93 can compare. Give it a Youtube search, particularly if you've never heard of Ahmed Shah Massoud.
Power Rangers Lightspeed Rescue. It had very good stories, a near-excellent cast, and a nice take on the "never reveal your identity" trope set by Zordon — the Rangers reveal their identities because they're public servants. So why does it belong here? Bad ratings and, especially back then, how the fandom thought that it was cool to just bash the show for (mostly) the acting.
This season also has arguably the most Bad Ass Ranger this side of Tommy Oliver himself: Carter Grayson. Linkara rightfully gushes over the sheer badassery that Carter demonstrates on more than one occasion.
Power Rangers RPM now qualifies as needing more love after a recent statement from Saban that the series had been "too dark and lacking in humor." Apparently, they missed out on all of the funny moments RPM provided the fans — and that's not counting either Ziggy Grover's antics or the healthy doses of Lampshade Hanging on things taken for granted on the series. Also, the franchise was being Screwed by the Network by this point, to such a degree that many never got to see it, or even knew it existed.
Power Rangers Wild Force. Yes, you will still meet fans who call it the worst. Yes, it was basically a carbon copy of it's Sentai counterpart. Yes, the Red Ranger was recruited for nothing. Yes, the writers shoved a Green Aesop down our throats. But there is a lot to really like about the season. The costumes are awesome, the storyline is engaging, the Zords are incredible, the acting is really good (save for the villains, of course, but that's the point), and the team-up specials are really cool. It has been Vindicated by History quite a bit, but it still doesn't get as much love as it deserves, and this troper doesn't understand why everyone hates it so much.
Transylvania Television needs a lot more attention. It's a great comedy series, it has its hits and misses, but if they expect to make it they need more viewers.
The 10th Kingdom miniseries. Insanely excellent fairy-tale deconstruction, including the tale to end all tales: Real Life! Funny, touching, and awesome, with a slew of tropes all played straight, subverted, inverted, invoked, and justified.
Solstrom, a 2003 Cirque du Soleil-mounted show that managed to blend together a Variety Show (circus/novelty acts from within and without the company), an anthology series (acts are used to tell whimsical fantasy stories), a Sitcom (comic characters tying the stories together), a silent film (no dialogue — just narration) and a Massive Multiplayer Crossover (characters and acts from all of the company's then-running shows turn up). Not surprisingly, it didn't get much attention. In Canada, CBC didn't air the final four episodes; U.S. outlet Bravo ran the whole show but gave it a weak time slot and little promotion, possibly because it arrived just in time for the Network Decay of that channel. It didn't even find love from Cirque's fanbase! But its creativity, charm, humor, and warmth make it a curiously lovely Widget Series, and perhaps the cleverest take on the Variety Show since Kermit the Frog and company's heyday.
Los Simuladores, the original version. It was conceived as one of the greatest series of all time in its country of origin (Argentina), not only for its brilliant plot, but also because of the great screenplay it had. It was not exported to other countries (with redubbing as they'd normally do); instead re-makes were made for Russia and other Spanish-speaking countries like Chile, Spain and Mexico; with the first case being the only one understandable, and the last one being exported to all Latin America. And let's better not start about the Chilean one...
The Doctor Who audio plays by Big Finish. Monthly stories starring Doctors 4-8, with nearly every actor and actress from that time reprising their old roles. They bring every hated Doctor and companion out of the Scrappy heap, the acting and writing is consistently better than the original series, the scope is much larger due to the format and it has one of the greatest stories in Doctor Who's history. The Bernice Summerfield spinoff series is great in its own right. However, not many people, not even Doctor Who fans, listen to these.
The several Doctor Who novel ranges (all listed under Whoniverse) are also worth looking into. Being novels, they allow the Doctor to have some much more complex and nuanced adventures than television can provide, and a lot of them are also darker and/or weirder than most of his telly adventures. In a book, it's much easier to delve into a character's inner thoughts and feelings than on TV. Plus, the reader's imagination is capable of providing cheaper and better special effects than usual forDoctor Who. The Eighth Doctor Adventures novels are particularly noteworthy because, as Big Finish did, they gave some much-needed "screen time" to a Doctor who got very, very little. And most importantly, compared with the TV series, the stories and characters are widely considered to be at least as engaging and enjoyable overall.
Boomtown is your average crime drama taken Up to Eleven by focusing on a core cast of characters who each tell the story from their point of view. There are cops, a reporter, a paramedic, a senator, and the guest stars who all have the camera to themselves. It's remarkable because each episode has one or two events that are shown from multiple vantage points, and the writers shone developing each character individually so that their moment in the spotlight is different simply because they are different.
Carnivāle was cancelled after two seasons. Now, one shouldn't get too upset towards HBO. After all, they kept The Wire on long enough for the series to end. That said, the fact that this show was cancelled was after two of the six planned seasons is a goddamn travesty. Packed with the beautifully grotesque, macabre imagery, unique characters and stories, and one of the best depictions of the 1930s you'll ever see, you owe it to yourself to watch this unfinished masterpiece.
Damn straight, us Rousties have got to get the word out
Don't forget the great acting, respectful portrayal of a dwarfism sufferer, and the fetus-in-a-glass-jar.
Miami Medical, a realistic, medically accurate drama with good characters played by good actors. It managed to avoid most inter-doctor romances, the need for happy endings and only left the hospital setting for brief hops, yet still developed the characters without hitting you in the face with tragic backstory. Yet it got crammed into a crappy timeslot, had little to no advertising and was cancelled before its original 13 episodes had finished airing. And no one watched it.
Blake's 7. Honestly, even people old enough to have seen it the first time around have never heard of it.
Let's elaborate a bit. It's a complex and detailed Crapsack World with a realistic plot, where the good guys aren't nice and the nice guys often aren't good, and it's frequently hard to tell what's good anyway. Character interaction is everything, and the dialogue is a joy. It's dark and depressing and cynical, but its characters often come across as more sincere than the protagonists of the many "perfect future" shows around at the time. Despite a budget that would shame a student film, with poor SFX and lots of quarries, it earned itself a small, solid fanbase which is still going today, thirty years after it ended. At the time it was innovative, but while many people have heard of the shows it influenced — like Firefly, Farscape and Babylon 5 — Blake's 7 remains obscure.
To see it discussed by fans of Star Trek: The Next Generation, Star Trek: Enterprise redefines So Bad, It's Horrible and did nothing right, ever. But actually, it had a lot of interesting stories, inventive solutions to the problem of the week, and later on, hard decisions having to be made in the moment. And the ratings were quite high throughout the first season, not just when it was shiny and new — it didn't fall off until it started having TNG-like stories in the early second season. (If you watched it in the first season and jumped ship around "A Night In Sickbay," skip to "Canamar" or thereabouts. It gets back on track.)
Space Precinct was a cop show IN SPACE, you can tell from the name. You probably know no more about it than that. It was Screwed by the Network because it had the kind of alien makeup one expects of a kids' show but the material of a serious effort. Not knowing what to do with it, networks buried it. But if you can find it, and can handle a few People in Rubber Suits, give it a try.
NBC's The Sing Off is a fun show about the best a cappella groups in the US gathering to compete. It doesn't really get mentioned a lot in terms of reality shows.
My Own Worst Enemy. A spy series involving split personalities running amok. Cancelled after 9 episodes, probably due to the fact that it was on extremely late.
Lost Girl is a great urban fantasy noir series that simply not enough people know about.
Babylon 5 is a show that seriously needs more love. Its incredible characters, writing and overarching plots are fairly well known in the sci-fi nerd community, but most people these days simply haven't heard of it, even with the rise of science fiction TV. While Star Trek and the Stargate Verse are household names, and even Firefly gained huge popularity as cult TV, Babylon 5 seems to have been left in the dust. It really needs more exposure, because it's the sort of sci-fi even those who don't like the genre can enjoy - character development and epic stories over fanservice and explosions. An uncharacteristically badfirst season doesn't help draw potential converts in much.
Bored to Death is the most down-to-earth wacky show ever made. Its characters have great chemistry, its plots are brilliant in their simplicity, the characters develop without straying too far from their base personalities, and it has its fair share of Genius Bonuses. Anyone who loves high literature and a bit of lowbrow humor is sure to enjoy.
Key West. The best example of Magic Realism to ever hit a television screen. Incredibly well-written scripts acted out by actors who really seemed to believe in what they were doing (especially Jennifer Tilly and Brian Thompson), a cheerful outlook, beautiful settings all made for a show that almost no one disliked. Unfortunately, FOX played fast and loose with its scheduling, constantly pre-empted it for sporting events, put almost nothing into its advertising budget, and as a result the show was never able to build an audience.
Call the Midwife is a very popular BBC series about a group of 1950s midwives with a tremendous cast and even better writing.
The 1991 remake of Land of the Lost. While many fans of the original Land of the Lost complain that the remake is inferior, other fans believe that the show was good in it's own right. As of this writing, it has yet to see a release on DVD.
So NoTORIous was a Life Embellished sitcom created by Tori Spelling that aired on VH-1 in 2006. Critics, who typically use Tori as their favorite punching bag, frequently praised the series, both due to it being very well put together in terms of production, and because Spelling was more than willing to make fun of herself. Adding in some supporting performances from the likes of Loni Anderson and Zachary Quinto, and its short 10-episode run is definitely worth a few hours of your time.
Threshold was a pretty fresh take on the old alien invasion scenario and had a good cast that included Carla Gugino, Peter Dinklage, Brent Spiner and Charles S. Dutton. It was inexplicably cancelled after 13 episodes, despite the fact that it achieved better ratings and critical acclaim than Surface (which itself was subsequently cancelled after 15).
Stargate Universe. Admittedly a bit of a Battlestar ripoff (not so much in story as in tone, theme, setting,and aesthetic), but seriously one of the best quality scifi shows out there. And hay, who couldn't use some more Galactica?
To elaborate: the show took a season to start Growing the Beard and become what Star Trek: Voyager should have been: a rag-tag mix of military members, civilians, and former terrorists stuck on a ship very far away from home, making do with what they have. While the show struggled to find the right balance to its various character and setting conflicts, the story caught up with the stunning visuals around Season 2. Unfortunately, Executive Meddling switched the time slots several times and used the predictable ratings drop to axe the series, killing the entire franchise in the process. The finale left everything on a bittersweet yet hopeful note; if you're a fan of Stargate and the first season is turning you off, It Gets Better.
Psychoville. An obscure little show from Reece Shearsmith and Steve Pemberton. Unlike The League of Gentlemen it has no DVD set in America. Features Dawn French of The Vicar of Dibley fame.
Mr And Mrs Murder. A new Australian Dramedy series starring comedian Shaun Micallef and his former Newstopia costar Kat Stewart as a married couple who run a crime-scene cleanup company and solve mysteries. The show has great writing, a clever concept and lots of charm, but so far has not been very well promoted.
BetterOffTed. A satirical workplace sitcom focusing on Ted Crisp, head of a research and development department at the soulless conglomerate of Veridian Dynamics. The show had Ted frequently break the fourth wall to narrate events (and give viewers advice about how to survive in his world) as the show's on-camera narrator. Portrayed as the sole managerial figure with any morals whatsoever, the series focuses on his interactions with his calculating, emotionless supervisor, two bumbling, socially inept scientists with genius-level IQ, and Ted's love interest, a naive, morally conflicted subordinate. It started off with relatively low ratings that kept dropping as the show continued. Critics and those that did watch it loved it. Luckily, it's available both on DVD and Netflix.
The Last Leg: Just launched, only a basic description of what it is.
Caitlin's Way was a pretty good show back in its day, and considering all the crappy shows we've been getting, it still holds up. For one thing, there's no sex or sexual stuff or anything like that, the adults play a good role in Caitlin's life, and the drama is actually clever, subtle, and well done. Sadly, it only has three seasons and no DVD release, which it SO deserves!!
The Dresden Files is by no means the equal of Jim Butcher's books, but it was a good deal of fun, and at some points used your knowledge the books to throw you a deliberate curveball. (For example, we learn Harry's history in the first episode, including the death of Harry's mentor Justin... and then we see Justin watching from the shadows near the end. Oh Crap.)
Okupas was a cult hit, but it never has its release on DVD. And you probably never heard of it.
Unnatural History was an amazing show that was Screwed by the Network after one season. It was about a globe trotting high schooler named Henry Griffin who had to adjust to living in D.C., and he has never lived in a city. His new school is connected to a museum, where they find historical (or not) mysteries to solve.
The League might be the funniest show on FX, with every episode full of quote worthy, laugh-out-loud moments but it tends to be overshadowed by its neighbors Archer and Its Always Sunnyin Philadelphia. The fantasy football concept may be scaring people off but enjoyment of the show is not dependent on understanding the sport at all.
Bomb Girls was tragically cancelled after two seasons, but it was an amazing, well-written, well-acted, Bechdel Test-passing show about the lives of a group of Canadian women during World War 2 working in a bomb factory.