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15 TV Shows You Should Totally Be Watching But Probably Aren't

We know your DVR is already full of conflicts, but these underappreciated series are worth your attention.

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1. 12 Monkeys


Embarrassing confession: I have never seen the movie 12 Monkeys. I know, and I'm right on top of that, Rose, but in the interim, I'm loving Syfy's slightly skewed take on the 1995 film. James Cole (Aaron Stanford) time-travels from the year 2043, where he links up with virologist Cassandra Railly (Amanda Schull) to stop the release of a deadly plague by the mysterious Army of the Twelve Monkeys. Its wacky, high-concept madness would quickly fail on network TV, but is right at home on Syfy. Nevertheless, the series has been slipping in ratings, which is baffling — it's Syfy's sleekest, sharpest show in years. Admirably complex but compulsively watchable, 12 Monkeys is the kind of smart sci-fi that network television should be aspiring to. —Louis Peitzman

12 Monkeys airs Fridays at 9 p.m. on Syfy.

2. Agent Carter


Marvel's Agent Carter is one of the rare adaptations of a comic book where a woman is the main character, and that woman's gender is relevant to her life, and that woman isn't sexualized at all. Carter is a superhero without superpowers — her crime-fighting skill set never veers very far from the believable, except when she satisfyingly incapacitates largeish groups of men. If that weren't enough, there's a hard-boiled vibe to the '40s-set show that is both over-the-top and charming. Come for the female hero, stay for the appealingly corny hijinks. —Ariane Lange

Agent Carter airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. on ABC.

3. Being Mary Jane


Gabrielle Union effortlessly delivers the flawed Mary Jane Paul rather, well, flawlessly. This BET drama has a limited audience, as it's running on a specialty network, but it deserves a broader, more mainstream one too. The dialogue is scary-real, and though you'd think the situations that Mary Jane — a single, successful cable news anchor who is longing for love and a baby — finds herself in are ridiculous and far from reality, they're not. Some of Being Mary Jane's elements read as specific to the largely black audience that turns out to view it — family dynamics that center around socioeconomic issues, fear of success, and keeping your eye on the prize — but it really is designed for anyone who is striving to have it all in a world that's not quite designed for such. And hey, if you can stomach the dumb decisions that Scandal's Olivia Pope endures, surely you can give Mary Jane a shot. —Kelley L. Carter

Being Mary Jane airs Tuesdays at 10 p.m. on BET.

4. Episodes


What The Office was to corporate America and Veep is to politics, Episodes is to the entertainment industry. A biting, savvy satire of Hollywood and the people who populate it, the comedy, now in its fourth season, has become so much more than a platform for Matt LeBlanc to skewer his public, post-Friends persona. In the very capable hands of David Crane (who co-created Friends with Marta Kauffman) and Jeffrey Klarik, Episodes has become a true ensemble piece, boasting standout performances from Kathleen Rose Perkins and Tamsin Greig in particular. —Jarett Wieselman

Episodes airs Sundays at 10:30 p.m. on Showtime.

5. Forever


Forever is so much better than it has any right to be. The procedural — about immortal medical examiner Dr. Henry Morgan (Ioan Gruffudd) solving crimes alongside Det. Jo Martinez (Alana de la Garza) and his septuagenarian son Abe (Judd Hirsch) — boasts interesting cases, palpable chemistry between the cast members, and the overarching mystery is intriguing without taking away from the show's episodic format. Procedurals can be a tough sell — you either love them or you don't — and Forever's quirky tone might turn off those looking for something harder-edged. But give it a chance (you can tune in whenever!) and you might be pleasantly surprised by how consistently delightful it really is. —L.P.

Forever airs Tuesdays at 10 p.m. on ABC.

6. Girlfriends' Guide to Divorce


Bravo's first scripted series is a far cry from their reality offerings: Sure, there's sex and deceit and a lot of wine, but what's so refreshing about Girlfriends' Guide to Divorce is how sympathetic it is to its female characters. These are women in their thirties and forties who are still trying to figure shit out. They often fuck up along the way, but the show is clearly on their side, and, more importantly, they have each other's backs. Lisa Edelstein is at the top of her game as Abby McCarthy, a self-help author whose life doling out relationship advice is upended when she gets separated from her husband Jake (Paul Adelstein). The supporting cast is also excellent, but special credit goes to the perpetually underrated Alanna Ubach, who stepped in when Janeane Garofalo exited the series. The transition has been surprisingly seamless — and the show may be even stronger for it. —L.P.

Girlfriends' Guide to Divorce airs Tuesdays at 10 p.m. on Bravo.

7. High Maintenance


Technically, Ben Sinclair and Katja Blichfeld's creation is a web series about a pot delivery man. But that description suggests it's a ragged digital stoner comedy, when it's more like a series of impeccable short films providing peeks into the lives of various New Yorkers who, often or on occasion, order weed. Sinclair, as the nameless Guy, is the common thread, but each episode stands alone, and offers remarkably warm, empathetic, sharp portraits of city living. High Maintenance has only gotten more efficient and ambitious in its storytelling as it's gone on, and the latest trio of episodes, which are available on demand from Vimeo, offer some painfully accurate, very funny portrayals of middle-class, arty Brooklynites getting increasingly stressed by high rents and their lack of success. It's like Girls without the cruelty, Broad City but more grown up, or Louie without the malaise. It's one of the greatest and most bittersweet odes to New York out there, and you definitely don't need to live here to enjoy it. There are 13 episodes up for free online, and they should be enough to convince you to invest in the more recent premium installments. —Alison Willmore

High Maintenance is available on Vimeo.

8. Hindsight


Hindsight is one of the most enjoyable series I've seen in years: Laura Ramsey stars as Becca, who travels back in time to 1995 and struggles to right past wrongs, starting with walking out on a wedding she knows ends in divorce. There is so much charm to this VH1 series, which traffics in the channel's trademark brand of nostalgia: The pitch-perfect soundtrack is full of '90s hits, and Becca amusingly spoils the future for her best friend Lolly (Sarah Goldberg), the only person who knows the truth about Becca's time-traveling. (This is a gag that should get old, but I swear it doesn't.) Despite the pseudo-science-fiction concept, Hindsight is a relatable series about a woman trying to figure out her life and realizing that even with that 20/20 vision, nothing is ever easy. The '90s references are just Day-Glo icing on the cake. —L.P.

Hindsight airs Wednesdays at 10 p.m. on VH1.

9. Looking


You've perhaps heard complaints that this HBO slice-of-life dramedy about a group of gay men living in contemporary San Francisco is too slow, or not sexy enough — or perhaps you felt this way yourself after watching the first season. Well, things are happening in Season 2. There's the complicated, hot-and-heavy sex and romance between the earnest Patrick (Jonathan Groff) and his emotionally conflicted boss Kevin (Russell Tovey, working those ears) — not to mention the continuing chemistry between Patrick and his ex Richie (Raúl Castillo). Then, there's the heartbreaking trouble between Dom (Murray Bartlett) and his commitment-averse boyfriend Lynn (Scott Bakula) — and the heartwarming friendship between Dom and his best friend Doris (Lauren Weedman). And there's also the burgeoning connection between the most-improved Agustín (Frankie J. Alvarez) and the HIV-positive bon vivant Eddie (Daniel Franzese), a fabulous addition to this compelling and delightful ensemble. And I'm told that the next episode airing on Sunday is the best of the season by far. If you like romance and sexual tension (orientation aside) — and who doesn't?! — then you should be watching Looking! —Adam B. Vary

Looking airs Sundays at 10 p.m. on HBO.

10. Man Seeking Woman


If you're sick of TV's basic bullshit, Man Seeking Woman is the show for you: The visuals and plot are so incredibly unique that you'll feel like you're watching a whole new kind of entertainment entirely. Josh Greenberg (Jay Baruchel) is an incredibly charming twentysomething hopeless romantic who experiences the world in a very surreal way — like when he calls his date a troll, and she just so happens to actually be one. The guy-looking-for-love angle might seem tired, but the way in which creator Simon Rich presents his story is such a refreshing (and hilarious) deviation. —Erin La Rosa

Man Seeking Woman airs Wednesdays at 10:30 p.m. on FXX.

11. Mom


Alison Janney has already won an Emmy for her performance as Bonnie, a middle-aged woman who, by her daughter Christy's (Anna Faris) example, is attending Alcoholic Anonymous meetings, looking for a steady job, and trying to rebuild her life and her relationships after many failed attempts. What is so wonderful about this half-hour comedy, now in its second season, is how well it mixes lighter moments with serious topics. Addiction, teenage pregnancy, death, and financial struggles are all addressed head-on — and usually with a touch of Bonnie's distinctive sarcasm. One would presume the story of a recovering alcoholic who moves in with her recovering alcoholic daughter and her daughter's two children — one of whom is a pregnant teenager (Sadie Calvano) — would be a recipe for tragedy, but Mom adds the perfect amount of sentimentality and laughter to make it quite enjoyable. —Emily Orley

Mom airs Thursdays at 8:30 p.m. on CBS.

12. The Originals

The CW

Aside from the fundamental existence of supernatural creatures, The Originals actually has very little in common with The Vampire Diaries, the show from which it was spun off. While the mothership series is focused on the romantic entanglements of its uber-attractive main cast (OK, maybe the shows share two surface similarities), the spin-off is a gritty examination of power, family, and the extreme lengths we go to in order to maintain control over both. In a way, The Originals actually shares the most television DNA with HBO’s The Sopranos. (Yes, I'm serious.) —J.W.

The Originals airs Mondays at 8 p.m. on The CW.

13. Reign

The CW

If you know anything about Mary Queen of Scots, you know where this show is going. But impressively enough, Reign has managed to keep viewers on their toes over the course of its first two seasons — sure, the big moments are inevitable, but there are still plenty of surprises (and, duh, liberties taken with historical accuracy). More to the point, Reign remains one of the most feminist series on The CW — it's a show about female power and female pleasure. A recent rape storyline — which, to be fair, generated controversy among fans — actually reflected the show's ability to tackle bigger issues with sensitivity and impressive backbone. —L.P.

Reign airs Thursdays at 9 p.m. on The CW.

14. Shameless


OK, so Shameless has been on the air for six years, during which time it has racked up half a dozen Emmy nominations, and William H. Macy just won the Screen Actors Guild award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Comedy Series. But I'm constantly flummoxed by how many people have never watched what I consider to be the best show on television. In telling the story of one disenfranchised family — the Gallaghers — Shameless has brilliantly tackled issues of race, class, gender, and sexual identity and has emerged as the most intelligent, progressive, compelling, charming, touching, and boundary-obliterating show currently on television. —J.W.

Shameless airs Sundays at 9 p.m. on Showtime.

15. Togetherness


Yes, it's a show about upper-middle-class white people with very upper-middle-class white people problems. But that doesn't mean you should dismiss it outright. Togetherness is fully aware of what it is, and entirely conscious of its characters' privilege, which makes their disillusionment with adult life all the more frustrating (and entertaining) to watch. And whether or not you identify with these East Los Angeles parents, the show offers a searingly funny and sometimes sad look at the impossibility of "having it all." It's anchored by strong performances from leads Mark Duplass, Melanie Lynskey, Amanda Peet, and Steve Zissis, who make it difficult not to sympathize with their plights...however meaningless they are in the grand scheme of things. —L.P.

Togetherness airs Sundays at 9:30 p.m. on HBO.

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