There’s nothing better than spending your weekend binge-watching a new series until 4 AM and realizing that you haven’t done anything all day except watch TV. Well, there’s probably a ton of better things we could be doing but, binge-watching is still great nonetheless. The Office, Game of Thrones, and Breaking Bad are all fantastic shows and you should definitely watch them if you haven’t already.
But, this isn’t a list for them. This is a list meant for shows that didn’t get the same love from viewers or the network they aired on. So, here are five underrated shows you should binge this weekend:
Black Sails may just be the most underrated show on here. This Starz series lasted just four seasons from 2014-2017 and ended in spectacular fashion despite that. Some people may have reservations going in, thinking this would be some cheap pirate-themed Game of Thrones knock-off. Others probably think Black Sails would be more along the lines of Pirates of the Caribbean. Black Sails is neither of those.
The series follows around Captain James Flint and his crew as they fight off civilization in order to prevent them from reaching Nassau. It is also a (loosely-based) prequel to Robert Louis Stevenson’s novel, Treasure Island. I apologize if that synopsis sounds extremely vague but, that is the most I can say without giving out any spoilers.
So, without spoilers, here’s why you should hop on Hulu today and start binging Black Sails. This is an expertly well-crafted story that takes a couple of episodes to get going but when it does, you will blow by all four seasons in the span of a few days. Most of the cast is exceptional and likable. Toby Stephens as Flint, Jessica Parker Kennedy as Max, and Luke Arnold as John Silver are all standouts here. Flint, in particular, is one of the best-written characters in television history up there with the likes of Walter White. And to top it off, this is probably the most badass show I’ve ever seen from the epic battles to the memorable pieces of dialogue.
Unfortunately, Amazon Prime’s Sneaky Pete suffers from the same issues as Black Sails. Whereas some look at Black Sails as a Game of Thrones copy-cat, Sneaky Pete comes off as a Breaking Bad clone. I can see that. But, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
Created by David Shore and Breaking Bad’s Bryan Cranston, Sneaky Pete revolves around Marius Josipovic, a con-man who owes a lot of money to a powerful gangster. When he gets released from prison, Marius uses the stories and information he’s gotten from his former cellmate Pete to weasel his way into Pete’s estranged family. Marius hopes to con the family and pay off what he owes, saving his kidnapped brother in the process. Unfortunately for Marius, Pete’s family has secrets of their own.
First off, this show is worth watching purely for seeing Giovanni Ribisi in the lead role alone. He plays the smooth-talking con-artist perfectly and you are always guessing how he’s going to get out of this lie.
Bryan Cranston as Vince (The powerful gangster mentioned above) is gold every second he’s onscreen and at times, he’s absolutely terrifying. Especially in the scenes with Marius’ brother. The story is tension-filled and there are a few cool twists along the way. For me, the Breaking Bad comparisons are really a compliment to this series, showing that Bryan Cranston picked up on a thing or two while playing Walter White. The best thing about Sneaky Pete is, unlike every other title on here, this series is still going strong and is entering its third season (Which is expected to drop later in 2019).
(Not a big fan of the season one trailer above as I don’t think it really showcased what made this series so great. I just couldn’t find another one)
I’ve already written an article about why you should watch 12 Monkeys so I’m not going to go into a lot of details (You can see the full article here). Here’s the gist of it. 12 Monkeys is a reboot of the 1995 Twelve Monkeys movie starring Bruce Willis. Scavenger James Cole is selected to go back in time in order to stop a deadly virus from destroying the world. However, Cole realizes that stopping the virus isn’t as easy as he thought. Now, he and his team must stop an organization known as the Army of the 12 Monkeys, who are behind the plague.
Time-travel is a hard concept to get right these days. Many shows and movies adopt this trope and fail, mostly out of a lack of entertaining ideas and dumb plot-holes. 12 Monkeys gets time-travel right. This is a well-thought-out series that knows its beginning, its middle, and its end. As a SYFY show, I believe there is a stigma to the quality of this series and that’s unfortunate. There are plenty of likable characters and strong performances here, regardless of the series’ network.
Shocking revelations and well-executed plot twists are plentiful in 12 Monkeys as well. Honestly, these are some of the best mind-blowing moments I’ve seen from a show since the early days of Lost and that’s a big endorsement. This is definitely worth a binge while you are scrolling around on Hulu.
Community is considered by many (Including myself) to be one of the best comedy shows over the last decade and has gathered a cult following over the years, especially with the entire show being available on Hulu. Despite the top-notch quality, it seemed that NBC was never confident in the series and there were many production issues from creator Dan Harmon’s exit in season four to the many incidents with co-star Chevy Chase. The last few seasons saw Chase, Donald Glover, and Yvette Nicole-Brown leave the series, all of whom were mainstays for years.
Production issues aside, this is an amazingly hilarious show filled with great meta-humor and an all-star cast. Joel McHale, Gillian Jacobs, Danny Pudi, Donald Glover, Alison Brie, Yvette Nicole-Brown, and Chevy Chase rounded out our core study group. I still can’t believe NBC and Harmon’s crew were able to put together this incredible lineup because I’m not sure they could do it again if they tried.
What makes Community so good is the way Harmon and co. embraced ridiculously over-the-top chaotic moments over realism. This show takes place at Greendale Community College yet, there are Law and Order themed episodes and season finales dedicated to paintball battles. Due to the crazy premises of some of these episodes, you can easily miss out on a few jokes. Luckily, you can go back and catch a few great one-liners you missed the first time around.
Five ridiculously funny seasons are ahead of you. I would suggest that you just try to push through the “gas leak year” (season 4) as quickly as you can though.
This is the prime example of an underrated series. Although fans adored Jericho during its all-too-short two-season run, CBS wasn’t prepared to fully invest in the post-apocalyptic series. The ratings just weren’t up to par with what the network wanted. After the show’s first season, CBS canceled Jericho. The devoted fanbase responded, sending network executives millions of peanuts as an act of protest against the cancellation. Why did fans send CBS figureheads nuts? That is a question you would have to figure out by watching the series on Netflix.
Jericho revolves around the residents of a small Kansas town as they struggle to survive after a nuclear attack against the U.S. topples 23 major cities. Scream’s Skeet Ulrich and The Walking Dead’s Lennie James leads the cast with James putting in an amazing performance as the mysterious Robert Hawkins.
I could go on about the compelling story and (Mostly) well-developed characters. However, it would probably be better to focus on how fans took the cancellation and how the show is still talked about for a potential revival to this day. Netflix has been on the fence about a revival for years now and you would have to think at some point, the streaming service will decide to bring Jericho back, either as a continuation of the original series or a full-fledged reboot. Either way, count me in.
That’s my list of five underrated shows you should binge this weekend. The streaming services where you can find each of these shows were for the United States so I’m sorry if they don’t line up with everyone in other countries.
What did you think of my list? Are there any shows I left out? What are you watching this weekend? Let us know in the comments below!
Avid gamer and placeholder of what is now the worst selfie of all time. Mostly an Xbox/PS4 player but I have been known to destroy friendships in Mario Kart and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.