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5 Underrated TV Shows You NEED to Binge-Watch

In this day and age, it can seem there’s always some new, exciting show to binge-watch. With all the new streaming services vying for your attention, there are hundreds to choose from. That being said, it can be a little overwhelming to decide what to watch in your free time, #firstworldproblems. We all know you’ve binge-watched The Office for the twelfth time, inhaled the last two seasons of Stranger Things, and sat in awe at the finale of Breaking Bad. But what happens when you’ve finished the most talked-about TV shows and need something new? Well, you’re in luck because today, ladies and gentlemen, couch potatoes, and TV fanatics alike, I present: “The Top Five Underrated TV Shows You Need to Binge-Watch.”

1. The OA (Stream on Netflix) – Drama, Fantasy, Mystery

Prairie Johnson is a young woman who returns home after a 7-year disappearance. Her sudden return is not the only miraculous occurrence; everyone is shocked to learn that Prairie is no longer blind. While the FBI and her parents are anxious to discuss Prairie’s disappearance, she won’t talk about what happened during the time that she was missing.

This Netflix original is truly thought-provoking, otherworldly and emotional. Attempting to summarize what the show is really about is extremely difficult without spoiling some of the major plot elements, but it never hurts to try.

The series centers on Prairie Johnson, missing for seven years. She returns home with a new cryptic name: ‘The OA’, mysterious scars on her back, and — having previously been blind — her vision restored. The story draws audiences in, with each episode providing insight into the mystery of Prairie’s seven-year absence. Along with the mystery, it cultivates an emotional character arc for the show’s ensemble cast. Scenes shift from past and present as The OA tells her story to four outcast teen boys and their teacher in an abandoned house, recruiting them for an enigmatic mission. You’ll find yourself engaged in the varying narratives in both past and present and deeply invested in the characters on both sides of the story. Both plot lines seemingly have different themes in contrast, but ultimately come together in an emotional and thought-provoking finale.

If that doesn’t convince you, maybe this bizarre GIF from the show will:

The show has an outstanding cast, starring Brit Marling, Patrick Gibson, Jason Isaacs, Emory Cohen, Brandon Perea and Phyllis Smith among many. Brit Marling and Zal Batmanglij are creators and executive producers of the show, Marling starring as the titular character and Batmanglij directing all eight episodes.


2. Better Things (Stream on FXHulu) – Comedy, Drama

`Better Things’ is the story of Sam Fox, a single mother and working actor with no filter trying to raise her three daughters — Max, Frankie, and Duke — in Los Angeles. She also looks out for her mother, Phil, an English ex-patriate with questionable faculties who lives across the street. Whether she’s struggling to keep her daughters close or trying to push one of them out of the nest, Sam approaches every challenge with fierce love, raw honesty, and humor. At the end of the day, Sam’s just trying to earn a living, navigate her daughters’ changing lives, survive her family, have fun with a friend or two, and also — just maybe — squeeze in some private time.

This FX series is a hilarious look into the life of Sam Fox, a single mother and actress, who raises her three daughters in Los Angeles. Starring Pamela Adlon, the show’s creator, the series is made up of simple real-life moments in a single mother’s life. Whether it be a hilarious altercation between Fox and her daughter, or Fox — as punishment for her daughter bad-mouthing her — pouring cold water down her other daughter’s back while she talks to a boy at a bar mitzvah, this show is filled with tender moments that leave you smiling.

The show stars Pamela Adlon, Mikey Madison, Hannah Alligood, Olivia Edward, and Celia Imrie.


3. Better Call Saul (Stream on AMCNetflix) – Crime, Drama

He wasn’t always Saul Goodman, ace attorney for chemist-turned-meth dealer Walter White. Six years before he begins to represent Albuquerque’s most notorious criminal, Goodman is Jimmy McGill, a small-time attorney hustling to make a name for himself. He’s a forceful champion for his low-income clients, an underdog whose morals and ambitions often clash. Jimmy works with private eye Mike Ehrmantraut, a former Philadelphia cop and recent transplant to the Southwest. Mike has a specialized skill set — he’s a “fixer” of sticky situations — that Jimmy soon learns to appreciate.

Better Call Saul is one fine piece of writing. If you loved the story of meth dealer Walter White, you’re bound to love the story of Jimmy McGill before he was Saul Goodman. Created by Breaking Bad creator Vince Gilligan and Peter Gould, the story follows Jimmy McGill, con-artist turned small-time attorney who mixes the two skills to win a multitude of cases for his low-income clients. Throughout the show, Jimmy struggles to preserve the relationship of his jealous brother. While Jimmy’s brother, Chuck McGill, graduated valedictorian from high school at the age of 14 and went on to graduate magna cum laude from the prestigious Georgetown University Law Center, Jimmy simply, and quite easily, decided last minute to become a lawyer, graduating from an online college and passing the bar exam. It is the ease of Jimmy’s career and success that fuels Chuck’s jealousy and drives a force of brotherly competition. The show dives into scams, fascinating court cases, and playing the lawyers game. However, the heart of the show is in the brother’s divide about who’s the better attorney, Jimmy’s loyalty to his brother, and testing your morals in the path to becoming a successful lawyer.

The series stars Bob Odenkirk, Michael McKean, Jonathan Banks, and Rhea Seehorn.


4. Heart Signal (Stream on: OnDemandKorea, Viki) – Reality Series, South Korean Variety Show, Romance

Heart Signal is a variety show about eight strangers: four men and four women, living together for 30 days in the same house (Signal House). These strangers are given missions to text another person of romantic interest in the house anonymously every night. There are panelists with various experiences in dating and love in a separate studio who will comment on the developments in the house and also detect potential lovers in the Signal House.

If you love Korean Dramas, you’ll love Heart Signal. Better yet, if you love ABC’s The Bachelor, you’ll really love this reality show. The romance variety show is a step away from the drama of American dating shows into a calmer, wholesome dating experience that leaves you smiling throughout the entire show.

The South Korean variety show is really more of a reality show. Four men and four women, complete strangers, move into the stylish ‘Signal House.’ There, they go about their daily lives. They go to work, visit friends, and go grocery shopping, all while searching for romance with each other. A room of panelists commentate the show as you watch it, giving the men and women challenges, such as dates, day trips, and more. But every night, at the stroke of midnight, the men and women must anonymously text the person they like a message. You’ll find yourself guessing, along with the panelists, who everyone will pick. And trust me, the great thing about this show is the laughter you’ll share with the hilarious panelists. As they commentate each episode, it’s like they’re another one of your friends watching the show with you. To make the series even more dramatic, the original six contestants will be joined by an additional male and female contestant – referred as the ‘shark’ and ‘catfish’ — later in the series, which is sure to stir up already-formed relationships and create new drama. You’ll be shocked at some of the turnouts. Right when you think someone’s hitting it off, their heart might send a signal to someone else.

The show’s panelists include Yoon Jong-shin, Lee Sang-min, Kim Eana and Yang Jae-woong along with two guest panelists every new season.


5. The Haunting of Hill House (Stream on Netflix) – Drama, Horror, Mystery

This modern re-imagining of the Shirley Jackson novel follows siblings who, as children, grew up in what would go on to become the most famous haunted house in the country. Now adults, they’re forced back together in the face of tragedy and must finally confront the ghosts of their past. Some of those ghosts still lurk in their minds, while others may actually be stalking the shadows of Hill House.

Another Netflix original, The Haunting of Hill House is an amazing horror series. Well-written, compellingly shot, and emotionally driven performances are just some of the reasons that make this show amazing. The story follows a family who was torn apart by the haunted mansion they lived in as children. Quite literally haunted by their experiences there, the family must decide whether or not to come together and face the horrors of their pasts and their own demons.

The show is a limited series spanning ten episodes, so you can probably binge-watch it in two days like I did. Trust me, it was one of the most well-written and directed television shows I have ever watched. The story takes place in both past and present, the past being the summer the family lived in Hill House and the present, now adults. You’ll get wonderful performances from both the adult and children actors. The show gives us some amazing performances by Oscar winner Timothy Hutton, who plays the adult siblings’ father. Altogether, this show is a must-watch for horror fans. You’ll be on the edge of your seat, terrified and ultimately sleeping tightly under the covers the night you finish the finale. Even if horror isn’t your cup of tea, what truly makes this show compelling is the characters’ emotional journey reconnecting as a family and revelations about Hill House and themselves.

The series ensemble cast includes Timothy Hutton, Carla Gugino and Henry Thomas among many.

Well, there you go! “The 5 Underrated TV Shows You Need to Binge-Watch.” I myself am a fan of all of them, so you know they’re great. Get binge-watching! Then spread the word to get these great, underrated television shows the much-deserved attention they need.

I will simply leave you with this GIF of Phyllis Smith as the character BBA, from The OA. Make an excuse, grab a sandwich, and go binge-watch!


Follow me on Instagram and Twitter at @jackycoocoo for more articles, original poetry and more!

Photo Source: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11

Michal Mitchell is freelance writer and graduate from the University of Utah with a bachelor's degree in English. Her passions include, writing poetry for her "10 Minute Poetry" column, fiction, screenplays and delving into a Chopin Étude every now and then. When she's not writing for Her Campus, she seeks solace in the ventures of her mind. You can follow her on Instagram and Twitter at @jackycoocoo for poetry, celebrity interviews, fiction, articles, or to commission her for an article.
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