Sometimes, there are so many good TV shows available that a great show will fall through the cracks of the average viewer’s awareness. If that is the case, one of two things will inevitably happen. One, the show will fight the odd’s repeatedly and manage to stay on the air for a number of seasons before being defined as a cult hit. Or two, the show will fail miserably and become an answer to a trivia question on a board game a decade from now. It’s a shame to watch those latter shows fail but it is even more of a shame to watch the one’s that make it on the bubble and still don’t get the appreciation they deserve. Here are three of my personal under-watched and underrated picks for shows you should check out.
Current TV Pick:
“Awkward” (2011-Present, Thursday at 10:30 p.m. on MTV)
“Awkward” stands as the most irreverent and satirical high school comedy you’re probably not watching but should be. If Daria came back as a live action modern teenage girl of the millennial generation she would be Jenna Hamilton (Ashley Rickards). Jenna and her classmates have all the drama of typical teenagers but there is a wicked sense of humor attached. The storylines are ones you can sympathize with but also laugh at when you realize how lucky you are that you aren’t in Jenna’s comically troubled shoes.
The pilot alone sets up this standard well. Jenna is an outcast who feels like no one pays attention to her. Yet, in one accidental swoop involving an anonymous letter and some badly timed actions, she goes from nobody to the girl who everyone thinks tried to kill herself. It doesn’t help that she has to walk around with the evidence of her supposed accident in the form of a very bulky arm cast. You can’t help but simultaneously laugh and cringe at the unfortunate turn of events as they happen. “Awkward” is brilliant in its mixture of truth, irreverence and embarrassment. For a network that was meant to be a music channel, MTV is doing a spectacular job of bringing us highly original scripted content like “Awkward”.
Most Likely to Make an Appearance at Comic-Con Pick:
“Merlin” (2008-Present, Syfy)
Imagine the tale of King Arthur and Merlin getting the “Smallville” treatment. In this re-imagined version of the Arthurian legend, Merlin (Colin Morgan), instead of being a wizened old wizard is depicted as a young man and contemporary of Arthur’s (Bradley James). He is just starting to realize the capabilities and strength of his powers. Simultaneously, Merlin also learns from the mysterious dragon trapped deep under the castle that he is the one meant to help Arthur become the man that will be Camelot’s once and future king.
As the series progresses, more of the familiar stories and characters are brought into play and modernized to fit the re-telling. Morgana (Katie McGrath), our chief villainess, Tristan and Isolde, and Guinevere (Angel Coulby) and Lancelot all have already established their characterizations. The amount of foreshadowing of the key moments to come farther down the road is also extraordinary. The burgeoning romantic triangle between Arthur, Guinevere, and Lancelot is probably the best example. However, whether you are a fan of the literature or you’re just a casual fantasy viewer “Merlin” serves up a nice little hourly escape into a wonderfully witty and engaging faraway land.
The TV on DVD Pick:
“Veronica Mars” (2004-2007)
When it comes to a fully realized, satisfying mystery arc you can’t get much better than the first two seasons of “Veronica Mars”. If the show hadn’t been tinkered with so mercilessly in its subpar third season there is no doubt this gem would have managed a longer run. The show centered on the plucky blonde heroine and her super sleuthing adventures. It began with Veronica (Kristen Bell) facing life as an outcast after the jarring murder of her best friend Lily Kane (Amanda Seyfried).
Veronica makes it her mission to track down who really killed Lily. Each episode centered on a mystery of the week as our heroine uncovers clues that bring her closer to answering the main mystery of the season. Not to mention, the show did a spectacular job of highlighting all the key players in Veronica’s world. One particular standout is the compelling Logan Echolls (Jason Dohring) who goes from a one note bad guy to a must see reason to tune in.
Each season builds up to a head spinning reveal that is sure to leave viewers breathless. Veronica Mars and the residents of Neptune are certainly worth visiting. Once you get pulled into the mystery you won’t want to stop watching so that you too can crack the case along with Veronica.