4YE Quick Lists: Five Underrated Television Shows

Credit: Tumblr
Credit: Tumblr

It’s the end of the summer. That pretty much means that while warm weather binging is done, we can definitely get ready for some cold-weather binges.

Because, let’s be real, we pretty much spend most of our time wanting to huddle away from the world and blow some primo TV.

Am I right?

So to prepare you for that inevitable weekend when you want to hide away from your Fall responsibilities, here are some underrated TV shows you should check out.

5) Grantchester

Credit: Tumblr
Credit: Tumblr

What can I say about Grantchester? It’s about a hot Anglican priest, Sidney Chambers (James Norton), in a small village post-war England. Outside of all of the murders and the like, it seems like a pretty nice place to live.

That’s right. Sidney is an amateur sleuth, who uses his position in the community to help solve crimes. While he tries to do right by his parish, Sidney also grapples with leftover PTSD from fighting in WWII. He also marks himself as a bit of a rebel with his love of jazz and progressive views of race, sex, and orientation for 1950s England.

It’s a great show and Norton gives a great performance. At times it’s uplifting and other times it deals with the harsh reminders of trying to find balance between spirituality and reality.

The first season is available for free if you have Amazon Prime, which I recommend. Of course, then you have to shill out money for the second. So hopefully that’ll get put on the free viewing for Prime soon.

4) The Devil Is A Part-Timer! 

Credit: Funimation
Credit: Funimation

I used to be super-super into anime when I was younger. Even though I have kind of drifted away from it over the years, I still like to keep my toe in. Still I honestly don’t know how popular this particular anime is, but I don’t hear a ton of people talking about it. So I feel like I’m safe.

Anyway, The Devil Is A Part-Timer! is an action-comedy deconstruction of high epic fantasy shows. The series has the Dark Lord Satan and his respected general escape the fantasy land of Ente Isla and ending up on Earth. Without I.D. or magic, Satan or Sadao Mao has to take a part-time job with a McDonalds stand-in MgRonald’s. The series deals with Mao and company (which includes the hero who is supposed to kill him, Emilia Justina/Emi Yusa) trying to find a way to reclaim his power or work up the corporate ladder of MgRonald’s so he can take over our world.

I don’t think I’m doing it justice, but it really is a funny show. I’ve breezed through the thirteen episodes multiple times. The animation is solid. The jokes are timely. The action is really cool. Also it’s one of those animes where I like both the Sub and the Dub versions. So pick your poison, you will not be disappointed.

You can find this the entire Sub on Hulu along with one or two episodes of the Dub.

3) Spectacular Spider-Man

Credit: Tumblr
Credit: Tumblr

I put this on a list about amazing TV themes, but the show itself deserves mentioning. It was criminally underrated and shortlived with only two seasons and 26 episodes. Of course, we can say that about other shows by Greg Weisman. (Love to my Young Justice, peeps.)

Spectacular Spider-Man was clever, quippy and focused on Peter Parker’s (voiced by Josh Keaton) education as a teen hero. It was charming. The character designs were unique. Like they even included the webbing underneath Peter’s arms for the costume. That never gets any love.

More importantly, it wasn’t afraid to tackle some of the darker moments of the Spider-Man mythos. Are you still feeling the burn from Spider-Man 3? I promise the Venom storyline in this show will soothe that burn.

Unfortunately, you can’t find it available to stream. Or, at least, not anywhere I can legally tell you about. Still if you track it down, then it is definitely worth the watch.

2) Drop Dead Diva

Credit: Tumblr
Credit: Tumblr

Drop Dead Diva is an insanely charming show that ran on Lifetime for five seasons.

The premise is this: model Deb Dobkins (Brooke D’Orsay) dies in a freak car wreck and while being Judged she hits the return button to come back to Earth. Thing is? She didn’t come back in her body. Instead, she was given new life in the body of Jane Bingum (Brooke Elliott): a brilliant and plus-sized lawyer. “Jane” struggles to find balance in her inherited life with the help of her best friend, Stacy (April Bowlby), and Fred (Ben Feldman), her guardian angel.

This show was pretty popular on Lifetime, but I don’t hear a lot of love for it nowadays. It’s a shame because the show celebrates differences and body positivity. Jane is treated as someone who is desirable and attractive, and that’s how we should be treating plus-sized characters. The show had a lot of great messages about personal acceptance and loving yourself. It was really an uplifting and charming show.

You can see it all on Netflix.

1) Murdoch Mysteries/The Artful Detective

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Credit: Tumblr

This one, I would probably call a cheat. Murdoch Mysteries (or The Artful Detective in the States for some bizarre reason) is still running in Canada and is about to enter its tenth season. It’s an insanely popular show there I gather.

And, outside of Ovation TV, I don’t hear a lot of people talking about the show. Most of my friends just kind of give blank looks when I mention it. Sooooo…on the list it goes! Because when else am I going to get to talk about it?

Murdoch Mysteries is set in the turn of the century Toronto where Detective William Murdoch (Yannick Bisson) brings new ideas and techniques to crime solving. With ingenuity and science, he starts to use what would later be CSI techniques to help him solve cases. There’s also a subplot focusing on Murdoch’s relationship with Doctor Julia Ogden (Hélène Joy), the city coroner, that last for years but will leave you shipping so, so hard. It’s interesting to see the clash of new ideas versus what used to work in the series as Murdoch is a very forward thinking man. Although sometimes this forward thinking attitude brings conflict with his Catholic upbringing.

I’m omitting a lot of stuff such as the adorable Constable Crabtree (Jonny Harris) and the gruff Inspector Brackenreid (Thomas Craig). But this is really a show that needs to be experienced. Lucky for you folks, there’s a lot of ways to watch it.

Most seasons are available on Hulu and Netflix.

Bec Heim

Senior Editor at 4YE
Rebecca "Bec" Heim is the Senior Editor for 4YE. She has a BA in English Literature from the University of Scranton. She also has an MA in Film-Radio-Television from Syracuse University and an MFA in Screenwriting from Boston University. She enjoys reading through her ever growing mountain of books, talking way too much about superheroes, and trying to reach transcendental state.
Bec Heim
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