We’ve all heard of Stranger Things and House of Cards, but Halt and Catch Fire? Most people don’t even know you’re saying the title of something when you mention that one. The Get Down? No, it seems like everyone fell so hard for Stranger Things that Netflix’s other period piece got left in the dust. So in honor of the many great but not-so-popular shows on Netflix, we’re listing off the ten most underrated of them all.
I think a lot of us were rolling our eyes at this when it got announced last year, but honestly, the show is a revelation. Quirky and self-aware, Riverdale is exactly what it sets out to be, and though it hasn’t reached huge audiences yet, it does already have a rabid cult fanbase.
9. Last Chance U
You don’t have to be a football fan to watch this documentary series. Unflinching in its portrayal of young men on the edge of both success and failure, Last Chance U was overlooked by many when it came out last year, but that didn’t stop it from earning a 90% on RottenTomatoes.
Prepare to be scared. This cop drama is maybe the best mystery series on all of Netflix, featuring a phenomenal leading performance from the always-dashing Idris Elba, wonderful production value from the BBC, and some of the scariest villains on TV.
7. Grace and Frankie
After watching all those scary shows, prepare to laugh it off with this Netflix comedy.
6. The Fall
More scariness! Another BBC cop drama, The Fall delves deep into the issue of gender and the psychology of its characters, setting it aside from most shows of its kind. It also featured one of our favourite on-screen acting duos in The X-Files’ Gillian Anderson and 50 Shades’ Jamie Dornan.
5. Freaks and Geeks
The oldest show on our list, Freaks and Geeks may also be the most influential. The teen dramedy (set in the early 80’s) ran for just one season before going off the air in 2000, but proved to be a star vehicle for many of those who worked on it. Younger versions of Seth Rogen, James Franco and Jason Segal all appear in prominent roles, and executive producer Judd Apatow went on to become one of the most influential directors in comedy.
4. The Get Down
The Get Down may have simply come at the wrong time. The first season premiered just a month after another Netflix period drama, Stranger Things, and just never seemed to generate the same sort of buzz. The story of how a group of teenagers influence the dawn of hip hop, The Get Down is an ambitious project and one of the most unique shows on TV.
3. The Killing
AMC’s crime thriller never reached the sort of popularity that Breaking Bad or Mad Men did, but The Killing was no less a quality show during its time on TV. The first season is centered around the disappearance of a teenage Seattle girl, the two detectives searching for her and the effects that the case has on the city’s municipal election.
So season 2 wasn’t as good as season 1, but Bloodline is still one of Netflix’s best original series. Starring Friday Night Lights’ Kyle Chandler, Bloodline is the story of how a prestigious Florida family is brought to its knees by the surprise return of its black sheep son, Danny, played by the fantastic Ben Mendelsohn. The first season is maybe the best written season by any Netflix original series, bar none. A slow burning mystery, the story unfolds in non-linear fashion as we discover the fate of the Rayburn family’s prodigal son. Kyle Chandler’s John Rayburn sums up his family well in the show’s first pilot: “we’re not bad people… but we did a bad thing.”
1. Halt and Catch Fire
The third period piece on our list, Halt and Catch Fire is our pick for the most underrated show on Netflix. Stylishly shot with strong direction and not one but THREE great stars, AMC’s story of the dawn of the personal computing era is one of the most overlooked shows on TV. After the end of Mad Men, there’s no doubt AMC wanted its next stylishly shot period drama to pick up the torch for the network, but that simply never happened. Critics have always praised the show for its strong acting and cinematography, but the audiences just never came.
Written by Dan Goldsmith