20 Most Underrated Shows You Can Binge-Watch on Netflix

February 18, 2019

After our list for the best movies on Netflix was shared to reach millions of subscribers, we have compiled another list for shows, with just as much care. Like all entries on agoodmovietowatch.com, these are highly-rated and little-known recommendations; they’re shows you have yet to watch, and you’ll love them once you do. You can find all the highly-rated, little-known show suggestions here. agoodmovietowatch is your gateway to on-demand streaming services, but instead of recommending the same movies and shows to you you’ve been hearing about for the past 20 years, we focus on the good ones that were overlooked. To do this, we only recommend titles that have received a high rating from viewers combined with a high score from critics. This means that these entries have been appreciated by both, so you can trust that they’re awesome. We also only suggest titles  that didn’t make a huge splash at the box office or which didn’t get the attention they deserved, so there is little chance you have already seen them.  

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TV SHOW
20

The first season has four episodes, expect to watch them in one take. Top Boy is a compelling and gritty crime drama set in London about a kid who grows up in a crime filled neighborhood.  His mom is admitted to hospital and he has to take care of himself in a time where two drug dealers are trying to rise and gain more control of the neighborhood. Top Boy has an intricate plot that builds a lot of tension and which will have you completely hooked, but it also has a lot of amazing non-plot related moments. It depicts the concept of morality in a neighborhood like the one portrayed, and the tough decisions its people have to make every day. If you liked The Wire, this show is for you.

19

Man, don’t watch this show hungry. Chef David Chang has both the genius and humility to make whatever food he touches both fascinating and insanely appealing. Each episode follows a particular dish in the places where it’s made best, but also in the places that’s it’s known for. So for example the first episode about pizza goes to Japan to investigate a new pizza in a Michelin-star restaurant, but also goes to Domino’s. Chang has almost a f*ck it attitude towards the food industry that’s not only refreshing to watch on him, but also disarms his guests and sparks interesting conversation. One of the best food shows you can watch today.

18

Who doesn’t need a good 20 minute-per-episode comedy show in their life? We all do. The Letdown delivers on that front, but because we live in the age of the “cerebral” TV (or whatever you want to call it) it tricks you with some deep feeling stuff. It’s like paying for laughs. The show is about motherhood, as it follows a new mom and her struggle to cope with the demanding turn her life has taken. If you’re not yet a mom (for example, if you’re a man), this show will be really instructive for you; but if you’re a mom, you’re bound to see your experience portrayed maybe for the first time in an honest way. And with that honesty comes hilariousness on one hand, but also a lot of hard stuff (aka deep feeling stuff). A fun, real, and well-written show. 

17

A wealthy family has to cope with the sudden loss of their fortune and their relocation to a dreary town that the father once purchased as a joke. Their life changes but their expectations of life don’t. Expect the undemanding, easy hilariousness of reality television.

This is definitely a no-brainer TV show that gets better as the seasons go by and you get more used to its kind of humor.

TV SHOW
16

Big-time podcast icon and comedian Marc Maron stars as a fictionalized version of himself in this hilarious and sometimes troubling show. Maron the character is a recovering alcoholic who abuses coffee in the constant state of chase after a buzz, he is divorced, bitter, yet weirdly kind – he is always trying to be a better version of himself and failing.
The series is about his attempt at human relationships, both romantic and not, after a bad history that spans from a negligent self-centered mother to bad eating habits and self-shame. Maron is insightful, very funny, and especially in the first season, a joy to watch.

15

Netflix is stopping at nothing to collect the best true crime stories around, a bit like an African dictator looking for aid programs. The latest addition is the incredible thriller mini-series, The Staircase. It originally aired in 2004, but Netflix took the same director and allowed him to add new episodes in 2018 to complete the story. The plot: A famous American novelist’s wife is found dead, and he is accused of killing her. His life comes under scrutiny as everyone asks whether she died in an accident or was murdered. If you liked their other hit, Making a Murderer,  you will love this. You should also definitely check out The Keepers or Netflix’s binge-worthy crime documentary, Evil Genius.

14

Set in Victorian London, it’s about a guy who sets out on a mission to find his missing family. He is helped by a mysterious medium played by the ever-amazing Eva Green.

If you make it to the second season, I genuinely think it’s the better watch. The first season is good, so it won’t be that hard to get there. (Side note: This super cool show pays tribute to some familiar fictional characters like Dr. Frankenstein, Dracula and, Dorian Gray. )

13

Don’t be surprised if you cry at every single episode of this show. I know that sounds crazy, given that Queer Eye is technically a reality TV show, but the levels of honesty and genuine care at play here are out of this world. Most of the time, it’s a fun show about gay guys making over straight guys in hopeless situations, featuring characters as hilarious and playful as Jonathan Van Ness, and as pleasant and insightful as Tan France. However, a lot of times, addressing those hopeless situations in the delicate way Queer Eye manages to do, it touches on heavy themes like loneliness, body image issues, sacrifice for one’s family, etc. This is a celebration of tolerance, empathy, and amazing craftsmanship by its creators that will not only make you go “why am I crying right now?” but also “why can’t I stop binge watching a reality TV show?”.

12

Explained may well be Netflix’s first successful attempt at a weekly show, a brief and well-made set of summary videos on topics ranging from the wealth gap to monogamy to cryptocurrency. While the idea is anything but unique – the only thing Youtube might have more of than makeup videos are explanation videos – the production value, research, and obvious dedication that went into Explained really set it apart. Expect sharp and factual 15-minute takes on contemporary topics that deeply benefit from Vox’s experience making digestible content. In any case, the investment here is very small, at best you will come out more knowledgable on topics you hear the people around you talk about, and at worst you’ll shout “liberal snowflakes” at your TV for 15 minutes and move on. 

TV SHOW
11

Rectify is an incredible show about the emotional journey one man takes upon his release from death row after 19 years. The acting, direction, and soundtrack of this series is unparalleled. While it does tackle some pretty intense topics like the death penalty, corruption, spirituality, and more, the show’s primary focus is exploring a story of a much more intimate nature. Daniel is the show’s main protagonist – a smart, thoughtful, damaged man who’s both vulnerable, yet mysterious. His release affects everyone in his family very differently – some, like his sister, Agatha, had been fighting for his release since the day he was arrested. Others, like his brother-in-law, suspect he’s guilty of the crime he was accused of. Still others, like the town sheriff, want to find new evidence to lock him away again. That said, this is a story that’s driven primarily by characters – and it’s a slow burn. The plot might be too slow for those who want to find out right away if Daniel is innocent or not of the crime. But if you watch the scene in the very first episode when Daniel meets his mother and sister outside of a prison cell for the first time in nearly twenty years and you don’t feel a torrent of powerful emotion, then this may not be the best series for you. But the rest of you will surely be mesmerised by the thoughtfulness and beauty of this show.

10

Bodyguard scored record viewing numbers for the BBC (the highest in 10 years).

That’s only the tip of the why-you-should-watch it iceberg. Watch the first 20 minutes, just the first 20 minutes, and you will understand. If you don’t feel like you’re on an emotional roller coaster that’s about to derail by the end of the second episode, you should email me and I’ll try to get your Netflix subscription refunded.

The ONLY problem with this show, and it’s a big one, is the last episode. But it’s just that one, the last episode. I’m not going to tell you why. You’ll see. But the rest of the ride is hella sweet.

9

There is footage and coverage to prove that the pizza bomber story actually happened but watching Evil Genius: The True Story of America’s Most Diabolical Bank Heist everything is so intriguing it is almost impossible to believe. A pizza-delivery guy shows up to rob a bank with what he says is a bomb secured around his neck, something that he claims is part of a treasure hunt. By robing the bank, he will unlock the next set of clues that will allow him to defuse the bomb. Bank tellers comply but on the way out he is suddenly arrested by the police, who doubt his claims, handcuff him and keep him at a distance. The device he has around his neck then starts beeping. What follows is one of the most unusual investigations ever led by security forces, brilliantly framed by executive producers Duplass brothers. A perfect follow-up to their other amazing True-crime Netflix collaboration, Wild Wild Country, it’s a tight 4-episodes that is equally terrifying and intriguing.

TV SHOW
8

Maniac is really original. Original as in aesthetically weird, in a good way.

Jonah Hill and Emma Stone star in this tale set in an alternative world that is a blend of 1990s technology and fictional words and concepts. Their characters, suffering respectively from schizophrenia and heartbreak, participate in a drug test that was supposed to cure their problems.

Things don’t go as planned. This show is like if Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind had a child with Inception, and then that child grew up to marry Get Out. The child of that marriage is Maniac. A refreshing, original and beautifully creative miniseries well worth your time.

TV SHOW
7

This is the type of show where you will laugh your ass off in one scene, and then find yourself moved to tears in the next. It’s so heartfelt, so smart, and so, so well-written. The premise of the show is the revelation of a Nobel laureate that he used his own semen in his trailblazing research on fertilization. This prompts his daughter to search for her unknown siblings. She is stuck with two particularly interesting sisters, one of whom is a lawyer who tries to sue their father. One additional plus for me personally is the Australian accent. I love it in a comedy/drama, ever since I watched The Let Down on Netflix.

6

This is a fantastic BBC thriller series. Perfect writing, exceptionally well-developed characters and great actors across the board make this production a classic crime show. A middle-aged Yorkshire Police sergeant is coming to terms with the release from prison of a man who had caused her great harm. His comeback coincides with a kidnapping attempt by a local drug kingpin. A seemingly quaint small town reveals its crime underbelly in a plot that mixes personal vendettas with life-threatening crime. Happy Valley has a great sense of suspense, it’ll keep you on edge at all times. It might not seem like much at the start of the first episode but grows on you. It also follows the BBC tradition (think Luther, Line of Duty, Broadchurch) of addressing the darker side of police work.

TV SHOW
5

An 11-time Primetime Emmy nominated BBC series. Two words: Idris Elba. This is his show. He stars as DCI John Luther (watch this show and you’ll never be able to pronounce that without a British accent), an extremely smart, committed yet unpredictable and sometimes violent detective.
The creator and writer, Neil Cross (Doctor Who), has said to be inspired by a mix of Sherlock Holmes and Columbo. The show really succeeds at hitting that right balance. The only difference is that both the crimes portrayed and the context of the show are very modern.
Luther will sometimes play with your mind, entertain you at others, but mostly it will keep you captivated. And without realizing it, it will make you develop an interesting closeness with Elba’s character. The supporting cast, from other police officers to villains, are all terrifically acted. This is British mystery at its very best.

4

Sex Education is an original mix of what its title would indicate, but also of heartfelt and funny stories. Otis, a British teenager whose mom is a sex and relationship therapist, starts harnessing her knowledge to help the sex woes of the kids in his high-school. Hilarity regularly ensues as you’d expect from anything involving sex and uninitiated teenagers. But for all its worth, Sex Education is never cringe-worthy. Its realistic writing of teenage misadventures can teach any adult a thing or two. If you liked Lovesick, another Netflix British comedy about sex trouble, you will like Sex Education.

3

Nadia is a game developer and proud aging hipster living in New York. Her story starts at her thirty-sixth birthday party looking at herself in the bathroom mirror. On her way out, she finds a friend who hands her a joint laced with cocaine, “that’s how the Israelis do it” her friend says.

Nadia hooks up with a guy and they stop at a bodega on the way back to her place. So far everything seems normal (in a New York-hipster kind of way). But on her way out of the bodega, she is hit by a car and dies. The story restarts, at the same birthday party, staring at herself in the mirror.

Russian Doll can be summarized in what Nadia screams later that night: “the universe is trying to f*ck with me, and I refuse to engage”. Her strong personality and the events that happen to her allow the show to explore themes of vulnerability, trauma, and even life and death. Russian Doll repeats almost every episode, but its originality and plot twists make it more refreshing with every repeat.

This rhythm takes some quick getting used to, but the moment you do you will not be able to look away. Natasha Lyonne from Orange is the New Black is masterful at playing Nadia. She co-created the show with Amy Poehler and Sleeping With Other People director, Leslye Headland. She packs a lot of the originality and character that possibly makes Russian Doll the most fun and original show you will watch in 2019.

2

If you’re looking for a funny yet original sitcom, look no further than Derry Girls. 

It takes place in 1990s Northern Ireland where civil unrest reigns. News of bombings is regular. This is a cause for concern for a lot of people, but for one group of teenage girls life continues as usual. Making fun of the first boy at their all girls school and being embarrassed by crushes are unshakable priorities. 

Derry Girls might have been a good show with just the 90s nostalgia and the political undertone, but the sharp and hilarious writing elevate it to greatness. It is truly one of the best sitcoms ever made. If you liked The End of the F***ing World, you will enjoy Derry Girls. They differ in plot but they both carry similar elements of dark and dry humour. 

Watch out for Sister Michael, she is hilarious. 

1

This show has fantastic action sequences, the best I’ve seen in a historical drama.

Based on the best-selling historical novel series The Saxon Stories, this is a story of adventure, war and complex characters that intersect during the Danish invasion of Britain. 

Uhtred of Bebbanburg was a small who boy when he was kidnapped and then raised by violent Danes. He grows up to be a great warrior, but his half-Saxon and Danish roots make him the subject of skepticism on both sides.

Bold statement alert: There has never been a better alternative to Game of Thrones. While it’s not meant to be compared to Game of Thrones, the high production value, the multi-layered writing, and some great newcomer actors inevitably induce the same sense of addiction.

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