Everyone has that one show they love to tell you is “the best show ever” and you’ve never heard of it. It sounds weird and obscure and you probably need to download the Hola extension to get around the geo-blocker to see it. Well we’re no different, and we’re dying to share our favorite lesser known TV shows that you’re probably not watching. So if your Netflix or Hulu game is suffering and your binging has taken a turn into ennui because you haven’t found anything you love lately, check out one of these.
WHY IT’S GREAT: When you think of female prison shows, “Orange is the New Black” is the first show that comes to mind. But then you watch “Wentworth” and think, well, that’s an insult. This Australian hit, adapted from the much earlier show, “Prisoner,” is the perfect combination of drama, corruption and violence. The plot never stops thickening. The characters never stop evolving, and the twists will have you on the edge of your bed, chair, work desk, whatever surface you indulge on. Please watch responsibly, the addiction will have you ditching your obligations.
HOW TO WATCH: Netflix, SoHo channel in Australia, YouTube
WHY IT’S GREAT: While it’s just beginning to air in the U.S., this WWII drama follows the women on England’s home front at the start of the war. For those who are a fan of “Call the Midwife” it tugs on many of the same heart strings, watching women pull together under nearly impossible situations to confront life and death and all the beautiful and heart-aching moments in between.
HOW TO WATCH: PBS Masterpiece on Sunday nights
WHY IT’S GREAT: It’s about a super hot gin swigging, jazz listening English vicar in ’50s Cambridge who solves crime. The show has an adorable black Labrador puppy named Dickens, unrequited love, snark, and fantastic music and fashion of the times. It showcases the highs and lows of human emotion and spirituality, questioning both, and it doesn’t always end with a nice neat bow, which makes it a delightful change of pace.
HOW TO WATCH: Season 2 will air on ITV and PBS in 2016, but you can watch Season 1 on Amazon Prime
WHY IT’S GREAT: While popular in the UK, the only curmudgeonly doctor Americans are familiar with is House. Meet Doctor Martin Ellingham, a big city surgeon who’s developed a fear of blood and moved to a Cornish sea-side town full of busybodies who just won’t leave him alone. His gruffness defies even House’s and he has the social skills of a wet sock, but the antics of Portwenn’s non-stop need for a doctor (and seriously this could only work in the U.K. with their NHS access to free healthcare on demand) is vastly enjoyable.
HOW TO WATCH: Netflix, Hulu, or current seasons air on PBS
WHY IT’S GREAT: If you’re reading from the U.K., we apologize, we know this is absurdly popular, but Stateside too often we’re having to explain the greatness of this show. For fans of “Chopped” or baking shows, this will ruin you forever. Composed of truly amateur (but unbelievably skilled) bakers, each week the nicest people you’ve ever seen on a competition show bake absurdly complicated desserts in a tent with a backdrop of the English countryside. Judged by Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood, two people who know their baked goods inside and out, and who prioritize taste and technique above else, you actually learn something as you watch. Not to mention hosts Sue Perkins and Mel Giedroyc have the best pun games in town.
HOW TO WATCH: Season 4 & 5 are airing on PBS, and season 5 just showed up on Netflix
WHY IT’S GREAT: We’re really not sure why more people aren’t talking about this show. In its second season, it follows Kevin Garvey, the chief of police in Mapletown, NY, three years after the “Departure” (basically the rapture), when 2% of the world’s population mysteriously vanished. Based on a bestselling novel (which is just as great as the TV show), “The Leftovers” looks at how society would respond to such an event. Some people join religious cults, some begin to blame “the departed,” while others pretend the event didn’t happen. What makes this show so great is that, in a lot of ways, it is a very realistic look at how the world would actually respond to a rapture. There are a couple LOL-worthy moments, but for the most part, it’s an “oh shit” thriller that sucks you in and keeps you guessing.
HOW TO WATCH: Unfortunately, it’s only on HBO, but you can watch the whole series with your ex’s cousin’s girlfriend’s parents’ HBO Go subscription.
WHY IT’S GREAT: There is something about royal stories that we just really love. Despite having Mary Queen of Scots story told out of order with some pretty big pieces missing, it’s still an interesting life. Add in all the beautiful women, hot guys, murder, and political intrigue and you’ll be researching who Mary Queen of Scots really was. Ratings for “Reign” have been declining and the move to Friday nights on the CW could mean the end of this story.
HOW TO WATCH: Check out seasons 1 and 2 on Netflix now before you dive into season 3, which airs friday nights at 8/7c.
WHY IT’S GREAT: “Faking It” tells the story of two friends. Friends who are seriously flawed, but ultimately just teenagers trying to figure out who they are. It’s kind of like watching a train wreck, and I just can’t tear my eyes away. Karma can’t get her love life together cause her best friend is in love with her, and Amy can’t find anyone new because her best friend is always right beside her.
HOW TO WATCH: Watch all of season 1 on Hulu. Hulu also has most of season 2 and whatever isn’t there yet is on the MTV app. Hurry before the episodes are gone and the season is over! The current season is wrapping up on Mondays at 9:30/8:30c.
WHY IT’S GREAT: It’s sexy. It’s dramatic. It’s scandalous. “The Royals” follows the chaotic lives of a fictional British Royal family in modern-day London and their struggle to keep up their dignified, proper, worthy-of-being-royalty facade. What lies beneath is an ongoing storm of dark lies, secrets, and desires. Think: the Upper East Siders of “Gossip Girl” meets E!’s power-hungry version of the British Royal Family. This show is a must-see if you’re a fan of intriguing (and brooding) characters, sneaky relationships, and plot lines that will keep you guessing.
HOW TO WATCH: E! doesn’t make it easy to catch past episodes of their shows, but season 1 of “The Royals” is available on XFinity OnDemand. You might be able to catch season 1 airing sporadically on E! leading up to the premiere of its second season on November 15 at 10/9c.
WHY IT’S GREAT: You only need one reason to watch this show: the combined comedic minds of Lennon Parham and Jessica St. Clair. Bonus points for Keegan-Michael Key. “Playing House” follows the heart-warming and hilarious story of two childhood best friends, Maggie and Emma. Emma moves in with Maggie (back in the charming small town where they grew up) to help her raise her unborn baby after discovering that Maggie’s husband has been cheating on her. When you get down to it, what makes “Playing House” so great is seeing how Emma and Maggie’s differences are what make them the perfect mommy duo. It may be fictional, but there’s no denying that it’s delightfully realistic to see two best friends who grew up together staying just as close and important to each other as adults. Tl;dr… “Playing House” is guaranteed to make you laugh. Plus it’s always nice to see ladies who “are doin’ it for themselves.” This show is totes kewl. Trust us.
HOW TO WATCH: Season 1 isn’t available, but you can check out season 2 on Hulu (through your cable provider), OnDemand, or USAnetwork.com.
WHY IT’S GREAT: “Bob’s Burgers” is one of those shows that you can watch in any order at any time. Between Tumblr-famous Tina Belcher and her one liners (“I’m a smart, strong, sensual woman”/“Your ass is grass and I’m gonna mow it”/“I’m no hero, I put my bra on one boob at a time like everyone else”), Linda Belcher’s voice, and the hilarious plot lines in every episode, it’s easy to get yourself sucked into a “Bob’s Burgers” marathon. The Belcher Family is charming, totally relatable, and just the right amount of crazy.
HOW TO WATCH: Seasons 1-4 are available on Netflix, while more recent episodes from seasons 5-6 are occasionally available on Hulu. Season 6 is currently airing on Sundays at 7:30/6:30c on FOX.