In the overcrowded TV landscape, it’s easy to fall behind on even favorite shows. This past spring has been particularly overcrowded with must-see series jockeying for awards attention.
But now that the official season has come to a close, that gives some breathing room to check out other series that premiered over the past season. For one reason or another, these shows may have been overlooked or maybe started off on the wrong foot and lost viewers’ attention. It happens. Even TV critics haven’t gotten around to watching some of the best shows due to time constraints and Peak TV.
Here’s a look at seven series that deserve to be revisited this summer:
“Anne with an E” (Netflix)
Diehard “Anne of Green Gables’ fans may have been put off by the series’ darker tone, which is understandable since the source material is all about protagonist Anne Shirley’s sunny spirit and how she wins people over. But if one watches the series as if it were an alternate reality “Anne,” or perhaps the story of some other generic Edwardian orphan, then a whole new world and experience opens up, which is hinted at in the series’ stunning opening sequence. Amybeth McNulty brings intelligence and passion to the iconic character, who in this new series is sorely tested by far more than just her school rival Gilbert Blythe. Abuse, prejudice and bullying are her new realities, and while the screenplay by “Breaking Bad’s” Moira Walley-Beckett takes a few horrifying turns, that’s balanced by richer, poignant scenes that give more depth to the backstories of Anne’s guardians. This gorgeously shot and realized period drama more than redeems itself by the time the last haunting frame of Episode 7 plays.
Where to Catch Up: All seven episodes of the first season are available on Netflix.
FX has some of the best comedies out there, but this critically acclaimed series by Louis C.K. and Pamela Adlon premiered in the shadow of the much buzzier, but well-deserving “Atlanta.” Adlon plays a fictionalized version of herself, a voiceover actress named Sam who is the mother of three girls: Max, Frankie and Duke (played by IndieWire Breakthrough Performance faves Mikey Madison, Hannah Alligood and Olivia Edward). Brash and ballsy one moment, and tender and bittersweet the next, Adlon steers this ship exploring motherhood and life as a single woman and actress in Hollywood with confidence and nuance. Although Louis C.K. is attached, this is entirely Adlon’s baby, and she nurtures it lovingly. Without malice or snark, the series is a loving tribute to the wackiness and surprises of life.
Where to Catch Up: FX Now or for purchase on Amazon, iTunes, Google Play or YouTube.
“The Good Place” (NBC)
Mike Schur’s follow-up to “Parks and Recreation” starts out with a fun premise: What if wretched human being Eleanor Shellstrop (Kristen Bell) died and accidentally ended up in “The Good Place”? The first few episodes are a wacky fish-out-of-water scenario in which Eleanor tries to hide that she doesn’t belong in a world of insufferably good people such as a mega-philanthropist and a Buddhist monk. Why can’t they just be normal and take advantage of a world where you eat endless shrimp cocktail paired with actual cocktails and never get a hangover?
Unfortunately, the numbers indicate that many tuned out after the premiere, and if that’s the case, then most people have missed out on a wild ride. Eleanor’s shallow existence soon makes way for bigger questions of what goodness is and how she can game the system, and as the curtain slowly gets pulled back, we’ll find some surprises in store. Ted Danson as Michael, her baffled shepherd in this heaven-like Utopia, is the only other big name here, but the supporting cast of William Jackson Harper, Jameela Jamil, Manny Jacinto and D’Arcy Carden are all comedic scene-stealers who bring wacky energy to this irreverent comedy. Stick with the season through its rewarding finale, which includes a game-changing twist that even rocked critics.
Where to Catch Up: NBC.com, the NBC app, On Demand and Hulu.
“Great News” (NBC)
Many comedies can take a while to find their voice, and “Great News” is a classic example of a show that fares better in later episodes. This is where the ability to binge-watch really comes in handy. The series’ fledgling episodes are as awkward as a baby bird trying to eat regurgitated worm guts. Comic legend Andrea Martin plays Carol, the too-enthusiastic mom who gets hired as an intern at her daughter Katie’s (Briga Heelan) news show, and once the generic parent-child dynamics are explored, the series really becomes a looney, joke-a-second comedy that’s not unlike “30 Rock.” That’s not surprising since after all, the series is created by “30 Rock” alum Tracey Wigfield, with Tina Fey attached as an executive producer. Blood will out, apparently. Heelan proves her chops with physical comedy, while Adam Campbell gets to use his natural British accent to hilarious effect on the ludicrous dialogue. Another revelation is Nicole Richie, who embraces the role of a tech-savvy, self-involved anchor to perfection. There’s lots to fun to be had, and now that NBC has already renewed the show for another season, this is a good time to catch up.
Where to Catch Up: NBC.com, the NBC app, On Demand and Hulu.
This dazzling and cheeky scripted series got lost in the shuffle of a network known for its reality show personalities. Con artist Maddie (Inbar Lavi) wines, dines and then marries her marks, who then find their hearts tossed into the trash after she’s cleaned them out and left them. This crime caper turns into a buddy comedy of sorts when two of her jilted husbands team up to track her down… and then run into another of Maddie’s exes, an ex-wife. Clever, darkly comedic, thrilling and genuinely shocking, the series rejuvenates itself several times during the course of the season with multiple twists that are impossible to predict. The writing is sharp, Lavi shines as the alluring grifter, and those of us who miss “Suburgatory” will be happy to see Parker Young again. Oh, and there’s an overarching mystery and mythology as well, with Uma Thurman guest-starring in a highly entertaining but top-secret role. Binge this dangerous romp before the show returns for a second season, which Bravo wisely has in the works.
Where to Catch Up: The Bravo app and for purchase on iTunes, Amazon, Google Play and YouTube.
“Jon Glaser Loves Gear”
TruTV has been serving up some experimental mashups lately (see: “Talk Show the Game Show”) that have been surprisingly successful, and in that way they’re redefining television. “Jon Glaser Loves Gear” is sort of a mockumentary that stars comedian Jon Glaser as version of himself, who has pitched a reality show to TruTV about his love of gear. Each episode he examines gadgets around a certain theme such as camping, baseball or sailing. But the series also includes real people showcasing said gadgetry and some heavily scripted narrative elements along with Glaser’s improvised performance. For anyone who wants to sample the show, check out Episode 5, “Fishing,” which is a very “Inception”-y journey too good to spoil.
Where to Catch Up: TruTV, TruTV.com and for purchase on iTunes and Amazon.
“Take My Wife”
Real-life stand-up comedians and married couple Cameron Esposito and Rhea Butcher star as fictionalized versions of themselves in this Seeso comedy that looks at what it takes to make it in both comedy and a relationship. Financial concerns, working out routines and everyday sexism are just some of the issues that the show tackles, but “Take My Wife” doesn’t shy away from the darker aspects of life. The show’s second episode tackles the topic of sexual assault in a way that would be eye-opening to many, even women. It’s this ability to tell a story without preconceptions of what should and shouldn’t be in a comedy that elevates this already very funny and heartfelt series.
Where to Catch Up: Seeso. Watch the first episode for free on YouTube.