17 TV Shows That Were Surprisingly Good But Never Popular

·6 min read

This week, Reddit user u/OpulentOwl posed the question, "What's a great TV show that nobody talks about?"


And there were so many great answers! Here are some of the top-voted responses:

1.Party Down

Ken Marino and Adam Scott wearing white button-downs and pink bowties

"I love Party Down because it has so many huge stars right before their peaks."


"Full of amazing, amazing people. Lizzy Caplan, Adam Scott (my first exposure to him — I've loved him ever since), Martin Starr, Jimmi Fuckin' Simpson, and Ken Motherfuckin' Marino. Fantastic cast."


Ron Batzdorff / Starz / Courtesy: Everett Collection


J. K. Simmons wearing a suit

"Cold War thriller in modern times between adjacent alternate worlds. Freakin’ great show. It died too soon."


"I want to go back and rewatch it. The other side had a global pandemic that killed millions. As a result, they don't gather in groups in public, they wear masks, and they have UV hand sanitizers everywhere. And all this predates COVID by a few years. Also, J. K. Simmons is terrific as always."


Nicole Wilder-Shattuck / Starz / courtesy Everett Collection

3.Better Off Ted

Portia De Rossi talking to Jay Harrington

"It was unceremoniously killed before its time, with ABC citing a lack of viewers. It pops up from time to time on Reddit, but being from 2009, it's largely out of the cultural sphere these days. Which is unfortunate, because Portia de Rossi in particular is incredible in it."


"Ending this show was CRIMINAL! It was so well done!"


Craig Sjodin / ABC / Courtesy: Everett Collection

4.The Detectorists

Andy and Lance sitting by a tree

"Extremely dry and very British, but a really heartfelt and lovely comedy about some metal detectorists in Essex."


"Such an underrated gem. The theme song is one of my favorites."


BBC Four

5.You're the Worst

Gretchen and Jimmy staring at each other

"10/10 in my book. It's hilarious, and every episode hits. The writing is incredible, and it is perfectly cast."


"YES, it's such a funny and compelling show, but the depictions of mental illness are so real. It cut so close to the bone for me sometimes that I almost couldn't finish watching it."


Byron Cohen / FX / courtesy Everett Collection

6.The Great

Joanna Elisabeth and Catherine with linked arms

"It's...great! Hilarious and charming and occasionally a true story."


"Amazing! Shakespearean plot and drama with modern humor and writing! I remember looking up the actual history to find out what the differences were and reading something about how the writer essentially took a few real names and events from history, and then just had at it and wrote whatever he wanted."


"I like to describe it as Downton Abbey meets It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia."


Gareth Gatrell / Hulu / Courtesy Everett Collection

7.The Knick

Dr. Algernon C. Edwards in a collared shirt

"It had such an incredible cast. One of those shows for which I actively searched out the actors once it wrapped. I’ll watch André Holland and Jeremy Bobb in anything! Chris Sullivan was sooo good with Cara Seymour."


Mary Cybulski / Cinemax / courtesy Everett Collection

8.Halt and Catch Fire

Joe MacMillan looking upset and wet

"Halt and Catch Fire is one of those rare ensemble casts where all the actors are equally talented, and they all get perfect character arcs that feel completely natural and real. Lee Pace and Mackenzie Davis are gonna get most of the accolades, but Scoot McNairy and Kerry Bishé are IMO the gems here. 'Who Needs a Guy' is possibly the most perfect episode of any TV show to ever air. I sat in silence staring at the TV for probably 5–10 minutes after it was over, just completely blown away at what the writers and actors had done."


"By the last season, I was asking myself, 'Is this the best show in television?'"


Blake Tyers / AMC / courtesy Everett Collection

9.Pushing Daisies

Charlotte and Ned standing beside each other and looking at the camera

"Best description of Pushing Daisies I've heard is 'morbidly sweet.' Such a good show, probably time to watch it again."


"Art direction and set design were beautiful. So vivid."


Adam Taylor / ABC / courtesy Everett Collection

10.Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency

Dirk and Farrah looking to the side

"This show is amazing, and everyone should watch it."


Bettina Strauss / BBC-America / Courtesy: Everett Collection


George and Tessa walking at a train station

"I loved that show for how it played around with classic TV tropes. None of the characters were fully what they seemed to be at face value."


"Jeremy Sisto and Jane Levy were both great. The whole cast really."


Adam Taylor / ABC / Courtesy: Everett Collection

12.Crazy Ex-Girlfriend

Rebecca looking over Josh's shoulder

"Crazy Ex-Girlfriend was better than it had any business being. Netflix kept suggesting it to me, and I was like, 'Ew, no, please stop,' but then one day, I was really stoned and was like, 'Fuck it, show me what you’ve got.' And boy howdy, I’m so glad I did. It’s funny, smart, a little soapy – which I appreciate when you want action that doesn’t feel life or death – and then BOOM, amazing depictions of mental health struggles and toxic parenting. I have literally discussed the song 'Maybe She’s Not Such a Heinous Bitch After All' with my therapist on multiple occasions.

Is it cheesy? Yes. Is it good? Yes. Should you give it a try? Yes."


Lisa Rose / The CW Network / courtesy Everett Collection

13.Miracle Workers

Craig, Rosie, and Sanjay standing together

"LOVE this show. Such a delightfully random cast (put Lolly Adefope in more stuff!) and high-concept but lighthearted humor executed perfectly."


Curtis Baker / TBS / Courtesy: Everett Collection


Ben looking down

"I will never forget this show. This is the original HBO gem in my opinion. So damn layered. So rich. Without Carnivàle, there would have been no Game of Thrones for sure."




Sir Gary, Izzy, and Sid talking at a table

"This was the show where I realized I didn't hate musicals as a genre. It's largely not a musical, but the musical numbers always had me rolling."


"It has the same energy as The Princess Bride. It's honestly a really fun show to watch with friends."


Nick Ray / ABC / courtesy Everett Collection


John Tavner wearing a suit

"Amazing show that got like no buzz even when it was released. Steven Conrad makes great shows."


"Best portrayal of depression ever."


Elizabeth Morris / Amazon / Courtesy: Everett Collection

17.And finally, Derry Girls

Orla, Michelle, Clare, and Erin sitting on a school bench

"No one ever mentions Derry Girls. I think it's funnier than half the stuff popular right now."


"100% the best show I’ve watched this year. It is my comfort show that I put on when I just need to feel happy for a bit. I love Northern Ireland, too, so it’s extra lovely for me."


Channel 4

Which show do you think deserves more love? LMK in the comments below!

Note: Some responses have been edited for length and/or clarity.