We cover a broad array of television here on the site, and while much of it is widely read, some of it is not. It doesn’t mean we’re going to stop writing about the shows we love. In fact, it only emboldens us more to convince you to watch. These shows are not only some of the best of what television has to offer, but every once in a while, one those low-rated gems turns into the next Breaking Bad. Save yourself four-seasons of binge-watching by getting in on the action now.
Here’s 5 shows we’re going to keep pimping, regardless of the ratings (or the page views).
Crazy Ex-Girlfriend — Unfortunately, we may not get an opportunity to promote this one very long, as its first episode had the lowest ratings for a premiere episode on The CW ever (less than 1 million viewers tuned in). That’s too bad, although I admit that I wouldn’t have given it a second thought, either, had Brock and Vivian not gotten ahead of the curve on this one. It is absolutely delightful. I was skeptical about the musical aspects of the series, but it works — the musical numbers blend into the narrative without getting in the way. Comedian Rachel Bloom — best known for the music video for “Fuck Me, Ray Bradbury” — is absolutely winning as the lead, a lawyer who leaves her cushy big firm job to follow an ex-boyfriend to California on a whim. It is dark and weird, and completely unique to the television landscape.
You’re the Worst — If you thought the ratings for My Crazy Ex-Girlfriend were depressing, ratings for You’re the Worst have been downright disheartening. Renewed for a second season despite low ratings because of the critical adoration for the series, it has continued to fall, sinking to less than 200,000 viewers last week. We don’t care. It’s the rom-com sitcom we need right now: Hilarious, subversive, and biting. The series took a dark turn this week (more on that later), which should help renew interest in the main characters. The entire cast is phenomenal, and in a just world, Aya Cash and Kether Donohue would be making Big Bang Theory money right now.
The Leftovers — In its first season, Damon Lindelof’s The Leftovers had the benefit of airing over the summer, where there’s much less competition. Now it’s up against NFL and The Walking Dead and it’s getting creamed (Sunday’s episode was seen by only 552,000 people, compared to the 17 million who watched The Walking Dead). Even if you watch those other shows, The Leftovers is worth catching up with later in the week, and that’s true even if you didn’t love the first season. The second season is different. I don’t want to say it’s kooky or quirky, but it’s much more in line with Lost (someone somewhere mentioned that season two has a Twin Peaks vibe, and that’s not inaccurate). It’s less bleak and more mysterious. Consequently, it’s more engaging (and fun) to watch.
Fargo — Again, Fargo was a show FX had to debate about whether to renew, balancing critical adoration against low ratings. FX chose wisely, but they were not repaid in kind. The season two premiere dropped 40 percent from the first season premiere, and again, it had the unfortunate luck of being moved up against the NFL on Mondays. Hopefully, an audience will catch on soon because Fargo is the best show on television right now: Darkly comic, intriguing, and entertaining as hell. Everything you loved about the movie is ingrained into the series, only you get 10 hours instead of two. If the series doesn’t get a third season because of low viewer turnout, then the system really is broken.
The Knick — First season ratings for the Steven Soderbergh series on Cinemax were not particularly impressive, but the show is riveting. It boasts beautiful cinematography, a breathtaking score, lots of blood, and interesting medical science (much of which is historically grounded). Clive Owen is the big name (and genuine shitbag) in the cast (and he’s great), but it’s newcomer Andre Holland that is the real draw (as well as Eve Hewson, Bono’s daughter). It’s much better, weirder, darker and more entertaining than you might think a series set in a hospital during the turn of the century might be. Imagine E.R. set in the Industrial Revolution — when workplace injuries and deaths were common, as well as communicable diseases — and at to that the challenges of treating those patients without the technology we take for granted today. It’s as fascinating as it is absorbing.