With the vast majority of critically acclaimed programming coming from Netflix and HBO, what with the recent successes of Breaking Bad and Game of Thrones, the aim of this article is to not shine a brighter light on the TV shows you know you need to watch, but instead to highlight great shows that are out there but with fewer people praising them:
5. Vikings (2013 -)
Arguably created to cash in on the success of Game of Thrones, Vikings on the History Channel has earned a reputation for being similar to GoT but “not as good” which is a shame because both shows are very different, both with positive elements that make them enjoyable.
Specifically following Ragnar Lothbrok (Travis Fimmel), the famous farmer/warrior Viking who discovered England for the Vikings, the show follows his journey from the bottom to the top, all whilst promoting a great selection of other characters including Ragnar’s badass wife Lagertha (Katheryn Winnick), Ragnar’s jealous brother Rollo (Clive Standen), traumatised monk Athelstan (George Blagden), and the insane boat builder Floki (Gustaf Skarsgård).
Although the show isn’t perfect, it greatly appeals with an exploration into the clash between Christianity and Paganism and how it escalated, and not forgetting a solid set of likeable characters.
4. The Boondocks (2005 – 2014)
Our protagonists here are Huey and Riley Freeman, two young brothers who have been sent to live with their grandfather in the suburbs of Chicago. Huey is a humourless cynic whilst Riley is a stereotypical ‘gangsta’. Throughout the series, the boys and their grandfather get involved in all kinds of situations, from dinner parties and dates to gang warfare and political movements.
Though the show has a strong political message, the comedic element is strong and doesn’t get lost. Overall, The Boondocks provides the perfect marriage between edginess and hilarity.
3. Rick and Morty (2014 -)
Futurama meets South Park, Rick and Morty is one of the best adult animated comedies that is currently being aired. The entire show is a homage to Back to the Future, with the Doc Brown character being a sociopathic alcoholic called Rick, and the Marty Mcfly character being Rick’s dim-witted grandson Morty. The show follows their adventures (or misadventures) though space and other dimensions as they curse chaos and havoc.
This show is insane with hilarious writing, jam-packing each episode with as much creativity and imagination as possible, and animation which is simple yet brilliant, illustrating wonderful worlds and alien creatures. Though the show is funny, it can also be considerably dark which works in Rick and Morty‘s favour, making it one of the best and most innovative animations on our TV screens.
2. Fargo (2014 -)
Fargo revolves around Lester Nygaard (Martin Freeman), a wimpy insurance salesman who’s a coward in any situation, whether it be with his old school bullies, his brother, or even his wife. However, all of that changes when he meets the mysterious Lorne Malvo (Billy Bob Thornton) who encourages Lester to take control of his life, leading his character to enter a Walter White to Heisenberg transformation that not only affects his life, but the lives around him.
The story is excellent with Lester’s transformation proving to be completely gripping. Martin Freeman’s portrayal is spectacular but it’s Billy Bob Thornton who shines through as Fargo‘s petrifying antagonist.
1. Gravity Falls (2012 -)
The show follows twins Dipper and Mabel Pines on their summer vacation with Great Uncle Stan (or Grunkle Stan as they call him) in the weird town of Gravity Falls. Though their stay starts off dull, Dipper soon discovers a mysterious journal explaining the supernatural side of the town. Soon, the twins encounter all sorts of mythical and magical creatures of all shapes and sizes.
The animation of Gravity Falls looks beautiful, complete with great lighting and use of shadows to give the show a creepy atmosphere. As for the story, it’s engaging with an intruding mystery that has you hooked. However, it’s really the characters that make the show so special and the writing is hilarious. I’m still surprised how many times I ended up laughing, and the fact that Gravity Falls received a physical response suggests just how fantastic it is.
Do you agree with this list? Would you take any shows out and replace them with something else?
Comment with your thoughts.
– Laurence Roberts