R29's Picks For The Most Underrated Shows You Should Be Watching

I've been begging my friends to watch Six Feet Under for years, but have found that a grim HBO drama about a family who runs a funeral home is a tough sell. "Wait," I say, "The Fisher family will become your family! The last episode of Six Feet Under is the single best episode on TV!" Despite my overzealous pleas, my friends continue to professionally ignore me.
I know I'm not the only person who's been promoting their favorite TV show to friends, family, and people on the bathroom line for years. Though everyone watches Game of Thrones, sometimes, we need help parsing through the modern era's gloriously oversaturated landscape of quality TV. As a character on the most recent season of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt says, "You know you're in a golden age of television when you take a show like The Americans for granted." It's time to listen to the overenthusiastic among us.
So, I've enlisted the help of my Refinery29 colleagues — all of whom have phenomenal, distinct taste — as tour guides through this golden age of TV. Here are the shows we've been shouting from the rooftops for years.
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Courtesy of NBC
Superstore (2015-present)

"I've long accepted that I won't convince anyone other than my husband to watch the wonderfully brilliant Baskets and Last Man on Earth. But I do wish more people in my circles watched Superstore. The NBC sitcom is incredibly woke — they've had episodes about defining relationships in the workplace, how to treat people with disabilities, and maternity leave, just to name a few. It's also one of the funniest shows on TV. The random tags about stereotypical big box store shoppers are always memorable, too — there's one bit where customers can't fit a Costco-style bear into their car. Superstore is excellent at blending important issues with lowbrow humor, and it's truly a joy to watch."

Meghan DeMaria, Entertainment News Writer
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Summer Heights High (2007)

"I don't think Summer Heights High gets the praise it deserves. It only lasted one season (though its characters have lived on in other series by the same creator, Chris Lilley), but I can watch it over and over. I quote it more than any other show, easily. The people I've shown it to are usually turned off by its sense of humor, which they find really insensitive or inappropriate. I think it's one of the most hilarious — and somehow moving — shows I've ever seen."

— Nora Noone, Office Coordinator
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Courtesy of FX
You’re The Worst (2014-present)

"Whenever a friend asks me what show they should watch next, my immediate question is always, 'Have you watched You’re The Worst yet?' If the answer is no — and it almost always is — I start rhapsodizing on the wonders of the cult FXX comedy about the most idiosyncratically terrible people in Los Angeles. Please watch this immediately and talk to me about it."

Ariana Romero, Entertainment Writer
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Avatar: The Last Airbender (2005-2008)

"If you know me, you'd probably be pretty surprised to learn that one of my favorite TV shows — ever — is an American animé series from Nickelodeon about a ragtag group of kids (some of whom can manipulate the elements: water, air, earth, and fire) who band together to save the world from evil. But the show is smart, suspenseful, and hilarious. I'm about to have my first kid, and I can't wait until he's old enough to watch this show. (In fact, my husband and I have been calling him Bumi, after an Avatar character, in utero.) Side note: Please do not even think about watching the horrific M. Night Shyamalan live-action film based on the series."

Anna Maltby, Deputy Editor: Health & Wellness
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Courtesy of TBS
Search Party (2016-present)

"It has a 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes but somehow, no one has seen it. It's a dry humor mystery in which Alia Shawkat, or rather, the character she plays, takes it in her own hands to find a college acquaintance who goes missing. It's engaging, funny, and the twist at the end is brilliant."

Anisa Tavangar, Intern
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Desert Wolf Prods./Neal Street Prods./Kobal/REX/Shutterstock
Penny Dreadful (2014-2016)

"Watch Penny Dreadful because Josh Hartnett is still as sexy now as he was on a poster on your wall in middle school. Also, there's tarot cards and hot vampire sex. And the gothic fashion is to die for (get it?)."

Sophie Saint Thomas, Sex Staff Writer
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Fox Network/Kobal/REX/Shutterstock
King of the Hill (1997-2010)

"I feel like King of the Hill is a show I never hear mentioned on lists of great TV, and it really should be. I know a lot of people who view it as 'The Simpsons, but with rednecks,' when it's so much more. It's also funny — very, very funny. And as opposed to mean-spirited non sequiturs and musical numbers, King of the Hill gets its humor from the characters and their relationships. There's hardly an episode that doesn't have a quote or punch line that will stick with you for life.

"I also, possibly optimistically, think it's a show which can, in some small way, bridge the divide that exists between the different parts and people of this nation."

Josh Daws, Production Coordinator
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Adventure Time (2010-present)

"For me, children's programming is an interesting study in how to communicate complex ideas in a basic way. Somehow, throughout several seasons, Cartoon Network's Adventure Time has managed to teach very adult lessons about climate change, survival, violence, mental illness, loneliness, and the fact that no matter what you do, sometimes people are just jerks. The animation and sound design itself are incredible, too."

Jacki Huntington, Producer
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Atlanta (2016-present)

"I find it to be so wildly different in feel from any other TV show I've ever seen. Some comedies are deeply rooted in our own world, some are in their own comedy world. Atlanta straddles both in a way that is deliciously unsettling and delightful. To say that it's a show about an aspiring rapper and his college drop-out cousin/manager only gets half of it — the plot isn't really the point, it's instead the series of vignettes and observations about the world the characters inhabit that makes it so wonderful. The show also confronts race, class, and sexuality in a way that is smart and deft without a single hint of 'very special episode' vibes."

Marshall Bright, Food Writer
10 of 16
Ray Donovan (2013-present)

"I will admit that it took me a few episodes to get into Ray Donovan, and accept its totally cockamamie premise: an Irish Catholic clan of Bostonians transplanted to L.A., one of whom is a Hollywood fixer, and another of whom operates a boxing gym. (Yes...in L.A.) But its combination of mobster grit and Tinseltown glam is completely unique (think The Departed meets Entourage), and people like Ray actually exist! Also, I would watch Liev Schreiber read the phone book."

Naveen Kumar, Senior Entertainment Editor
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Murder, She Wrote (1984-1996)

"Murder, She Wrote has everything: murder, mystery, laughs and so many now-famous guest stars back in the '90s (including George Clooney and his luscious hair). Angela Lansbury gives us the feminist and anti-ageist icon that is Jessica Fletcher. She doesn't let any mansplainers shut down her theories, and she isn't afraid to chase after an armed bad guy wielding her handbag as a weapon.

"In addition to succeeding in a male-dominated field, Jessica's charm, sass, and moral guidance make her the TV grandma we all need in our lives. Basically, the show is a gold mine. Do yourself a favor and give it a watch."

Kelsea Woods, Talent Coordinator
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Turn: Washington's Spies (2014)

"It's about Revolutionary War spies in the New York area. I like it because it's a reminder of the history of our city and region in the war. It all happened right here! It's also quite beautiful visually."

— Ellen Potenza, Executive Assistant
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20th Century Fox Television/Kobal/REX/Shutterstock
Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997-2003)

"I actually wrote a thesis paper in college on how the show breaks down sociopolitical issues and life traumas exceptionally well, while keeping a level-headed heroine who is both feminine and powerful, without oversexualizing her."

Benish Shah, Director of Product Marketing
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Cayuga Prods./CBS/Kobal/REX/Shutterstock
The Twilight Zone (1959-1964)

"The black-and-white thing always throws people off. It's an extremely old show, but a total classic. Every episode in this anthology series gets even better with time. I'm not even into sci-fi, but anyone who's into creepy mysteries (like moi) will love it."

Sophie Ross, Editorial Assistant
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Parenthood (2010-2015)

"Parenthood is a super underrated show. It's well-written and has strong characters. I'm currently on my third rewatch. I love the Bravermans and want them to adopt me. PLUS, Lauren Graham's in it."

Molly Holtzinger, Associate Producer, Video
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Courtesy of BBC
Doctor Who (2005-present)

"While watching the first episode of Doctor Who, I rolled my eyes at the low quality special effects and the very notion of a time-traveling space alien superhero. By episode 3, I was won over by the show's charming characters, and its enduring philosophy that the universe is bursting with adventure if you're open to it. Every few years, the Doctor regenerates and is played by a new actor who graces the character with his own habits, quirks, and catchphrases. Just as the Doctor regenerates, so too does the show.

"I've initiated so many people into the Whovian through the episode 'Blink.' Watch it so I can convert a few more people with a craving for earnest Brits traveling through time and space."

Elena Nicolaou, Entertainment Writer

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