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Overlooked Television Shows
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Like our Overlooked Movies post a few weeks ago, I've come up with some under-watched televisions shows you should check out. For whatever reason, these have been critically praised, but largely unnoticed by the American public. Some are still on the air, and the others you can catch on Hulu or DVD.

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Arrested Development
Hulu Link

Everyone claims the canceling of this show as the biggest tragedy to happen to pop culture in the last forty years. (Yes, its departure was worse than the Sgt. Pepper movie with the BeeGees) And they're right. I'm just going to say it, there has never been a more funny and clever show on television ... ever. I'm including Seinfeld, The Simpsons, All in the Family, and Family Guy in that tally. Arrested Development operates on so many different levels, from the slapstick, to the subversive and the nuanced. If you haven't seen the show, you're doing yourself a disservice. With free episodes on Hulu, you really have no excuse to not watch the show.

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Sliders
Hulu Link

SciFi shows have never garnered huge audiences. They've always catered to a small and very particular group of people. But Sliders was different, at least in the earlier episodes. It involved four people from our Earth traveling inter-dimensionally to other versions of our Earth. Often these new Earths were only slightly different. (The British won the Revolutionary War, the sea level was 50 higher, etc...) With a pallet open to such interesting interpretations, the show had limitless explorability. Later episodes took a turn for the worse when the incorporated space aliens, but for some fun entertainment, I highly recommend the first few seasons.

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It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia
Hulu Link

Think Seinfeld, with less intelligent characters who do more inappropriate things. They take risks only few shows have the balls to take. (Characters get addicted to crack, date highschoolers, and eat humans.) Yet, it's all in good fun. While you may feel like you need a good shower afterward, the show is consistently funny, and always pushing the limits.

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30 Rock
Hulu Link

Tina Fey figured it out. Take absolutely insane characters, put them together in a blender and see what happens. Watch it for Tracy Morgan's ridiculous worldview. Watch it for Alec Baldwin's composed self-aggrandized corporate suck-up. Or just watch it to figure out the correct way to say "Rural Juror". It's smart, fun, and probably about to get a bigger audience thanks to Fey's recent SNL stint as Palin.

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22 Comments

What, no Veronica Mars? I'm sorry, but I was getting so excited as I was scrolling down to see it, but alas, earwax.

said Brad on October 30, 2008 3:42 PM.

Anyone remember Maximum Bob. It had like 8 episodes in 1998. Starred beau bridges.
I always thought that should have been given more time on air.

said Baierman on October 30, 2008 4:03 PM.

No "Small Wonder?"

Not even a "13 13th Avenue" nod?

Echowood, do you even own a television set? How could you miss those two?

said Don't Swayze Bro on October 30, 2008 4:29 PM.

Manimal
Son of the Beach
Square Pegs
Kavik the Wolf Boy

said E on October 30, 2008 5:01 PM.

Here are some more that fit the bill perfectly:
Deadwood
Carnivale
Rome
Battlestar Galactica (modern series)

They all have great acting, great production and most importantly great dialog and writing.

said JohnC on October 30, 2008 5:04 PM.

One of the most absolutely CRIMINALLY under-watched shows of out generation was easily "Freaks And Geeks".
This show was a critical-darling, a much beloved portrait of 1980-Americana, among those who actually stayed-in on Friday nights at 8pm, to WATCH it, and it was the launching-pad for MANY of the people involved with it, for MANY projects for years to come......
Linda Cardellini, Judd Apatow, Seth Rogen, James Franco, Mike White, etc...

said Kevron on October 30, 2008 5:41 PM.

It's amazing to me that I've watched (or watch) every single one of these shows. You want really under-watched, try "Nowhere Man", a mid-90s UPN hour-long drama starring Bruce Greenwood. Or the British show "Black Books". Comedy Central ran the first six-episode season about 7 years ago and never bothered to run the other two. Luckily they're all available on DVD.

And Kevron: I ran into Linda Cardellini on the WB lot a few days ago... I just want to say, she's so damn adorable. I wanted to walk up to her and give her a hug, but I didn't feel like explaining it to the police, so I kept myself in check.

said autochthonous on October 30, 2008 6:48 PM.

I must agree about Freaks and Geeks..Scara and I loved that one..

What about Journeyman?


said CindylovesScara on October 30, 2008 7:04 PM.

What, no Lone Gunmen?

said DJ Maniak on October 30, 2008 7:12 PM.

There's an English show called the I.T. Crowd. I've seen a few of them on the internet. Good stuff. Its a comedy btw.

said E on October 30, 2008 7:13 PM.

Firefly is on my list here. So good!

said Vicky on October 30, 2008 7:23 PM.

Here Here on Sliders. Another one of those ahead of its time shows.

For my own list, Firefly is at the top. Vicky has it dead on.

said kbk on October 30, 2008 7:51 PM.

E, you made me remember my childhood... Manimal... How I miss that show...

said Leonardo Carvalho on October 30, 2008 10:40 PM.

MST3K. I actually cried a little when it went off the air

God, The Devil, and Bob

Over there - Excellent Iraq war story, cancelled after one season, Damn FX straight to hell.

said Sheriff Pablo on October 30, 2008 10:48 PM.

What, no Jack of All Trades?

said Paul on October 30, 2008 11:09 PM.

Brisco County, Jr?

said Ack on October 31, 2008 10:16 AM.

Dude! What about Shirt Tales?

said Bigus Dickus on October 31, 2008 11:11 AM.

Or Voyagers, the only show to star Meeno Peluce, the half-brother of Soleil Moon-Frye, t.v.'s Punky Brewster.

said Don't Swayze Bro on October 31, 2008 2:43 PM.

What about Dead Like Me? I swear I'm the only person I know who watched that show, and I absolutely adore it.... I'd never seen it before, and I bought the first season on DVD on a whim and watched the whole season in two days!

said Suzanne on October 31, 2008 4:00 PM.

"Night After Night with Alan Havey" -- early '90s late-night talk show on Comedy Central pre-cursor "The Comedy Channel." Had a literal "audience of one" each night, and a hilariously creepy weather guy. Way ahead of its time.

said Jeem on October 31, 2008 5:37 PM.

I'm with you Suzanne, Dead Like Me was a great show i loved it. It's such a shame that it only lasted one season. When it was canceled i hoped another network would pick it up but no luck.


What i don't get is why Sliders is on the list. That one lasted about 5 seasons and many people watched it. Then after it ended Scifi channel re-ran it for another long time.

said etantao on October 31, 2008 8:49 PM.

Dead Like Me actually lasted two seasons. I understand that a Dead Like Me movie is now in the works.

And for those who liked Dead Like Me, I recommend the amazing Wonderfalls.

said dhanson on February 3, 2009 3:11 PM.
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