There is only so much time in the day and only so many days in the week, but you could always be watching more television. These days, with so many options, it’s only natural that some worthwhile shows slip through the cracks, and that’s unfortunate.
With this in mind, we’ve come up with a list of shows that you or your friends might be missing. True, there are a couple of shows here that aren’t currently airing new episodes, but there are previous seasons of them out there. Consider it an opportunity to get yourself up to date with a little binge watching. You’ll thank us.
The Show: Almost Human (Fox)
SSN Insight: Who needs another cop show, right? Well, how about one set in the future and that teams a technology-hating cop with an emotion-feeling android? Also, the cop has an artificial leg replacing the one he lost in the line of duty. Get your attention? Karl Urban as the cop and Michael Ealy as the android, both terrific, have amazing chemistry in this next-level procedural from one of the minds that brought you Fringe. Though not quite a direct descendant, any fan of Fringe should be tuning into this for some of the best sci-fi on network television.
The Show: Archer (FX)
SSN Insight: There are shows that are unapologetic about being politically incorrect, and then there’s Archer. An animated sitcom about a Burt Reynolds-worshipping spy and his co-workers—none of whom like each other—that’s uproariously funny. In fact, the worse they treat each other, the funnier it gets. And in this, its fifth season, Archer has rebooted completely. The spy organization known as ISIS was exposed as a fraud, not sanctioned by the US government. So when the gang takes possession of an inordinate amount of cocaine, they decide to go into the drug business. Joyous, boisterous, irresponsible hilarity has ensued.
The Show: Banshee (Cinemax)
SSN Insight: Never mind the fact that it’s on Cinemax, or that it’s filled with sex and violence—both positives in our book—it’s also the nuttiest, most intense, laugh-out-loud-at-the-awesome-absurdity-of-it-all show we have seen—well, maybe ever. A thief gets out of jail after 15 years, tracks down the woman he loved—now married and with a family in small-town Pennsylvania—and assumes the identity of the new sheriff who was killed in front of him before anyone else in town met the guy. Sound ludicrous? It is and in the best possible way. Just tremendously entertaining.
The Show: Broad City (Comedy Central)
SSN Insight: What? Amy Poehler’s word isn’t good enough for you? The Parks and Recreation star is an executive producer on this intriguing show that features a series of vignettes, starring the funny and delightfully funny duo of Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer. What’s great about Broad City is how the sketches can be simple yet hilarious at the same time. Jacobson and Glazer’s wit, cleverness and all-around charm are endearing, for sure, but it’s their seeming lack of self-consciousness that should win you over. Well, that and the fact that they’re really quite funny.
The Show: Hannibal (NBC)
SSN Insight: You like your television creepy? Look no further than the creepiest show on air, an incredibly imaginative take on how Hannibal Lecter became Hannibal the Cannibal as well as how FBI profiler Will Graham eventually caught him. The show is dark, disturbing and knows how to get under your skin. Mads Mikkelsen and Hugh Dancy are terrific as the title character and Graham, respectively. What’s interesting is that, as evil as Lecter is, the show introduces us to murderers whom Lecter helps to catch and who might actually be more twisted than he is. Seriously, creep city.
The Show: Longmire (A&E)
SSN Insight: Contrary to rumors, the Western is very much alive and that’s partly thanks to this show, which features Robert Taylor, in the role of a lifetime, as the title Wyoming sheriff. Adapted from a book series, Longmire isn’t your standard cop show. Rather, it spends just as much time on character stuff as on a given episode’s central mystery. Throw in a post-Starbuck Katee Sackhoff and an incredibly watchable Lou Diamond Phillips playing the sheriff’s Cheyenne best friend, and it becomes totally addictive. Season three returns this summer. Keep your eye out for it.
The Show: Rectify (Sundance TV)
SSN Insight: One of the more interesting and hard-to-describe shows around, the first original series from Sundance feels like a longer version of a movie that might’ve played at the Sundance Film Festival. (Go figure!) The story of how a small Southern town reacts to the return of a newly freed man, who’s just spent 19 years on death row for a murder he may or may not have committed, Rectify moves at a deliberate pace (also known as “slow”) yet it’s never boring and is one of the more beautifully shot programs on any network. Season two begins this summer.
The Show: Strike Back (Cinemax)
SSN Insight: Yes, we know there’s another Cinemax show on this list, but it also merits a place on this list. Strike Back is the story of Section 20, an elite British military operation that hunts down terrorists. As with our other Cinemax entry, Banshee, this one’s got ample sex and violence. And while its storytelling is more conventional, Strike Back is just downright fun. It’s not just about killing bad guys either; it’s as much about the friendship between super-soldiers Michael Stonebridge, a Brit played by American actor Philip Winchester, and Damien Scott, an American played by Aussie Sullivan Stapleton.
The Show: Teen Wolf (MTV)
SSN Insight: It’s an old joke that MTV doesn’t show videos anymore, but what you might not know is that it’s actually putting out some pretty high quality scripted fare. Along with its companion show, Awkward, this fresh take on the 1985 Michael J. Fox movie does an excellent job of capturing teen angst while also using the werewolf transformation as metaphor. And for the ladies, there are lots of buff, shirtless guys running around.
The Show: Workaholics (Comedy Central)
SSN Insight: Comedies that are so absurd, so off-the-wall, so disturbing in a “how the hell did they get away with that?” way earn a special place in our hearts. That’s why Workaholics makes the list. Last month, we featured a little something about it and the stars who co-created it, but it bears mention here, too. The adventures of Blake, Adam and Anders are uproarious in that headshaking kind of way that makes you wonder about the stuff that didn’t make it on air. If that doesn’t pique your interest, we don’t know what else to tell you.