The Best Shows You’ve Never Barely Heard Of (IMO)

I am sure that there is a Binge Watchers Anonymous group meeting somewhere as you read this. We have logged so many thousands of hours of viewership that it amazes me people are still looking for things to watch. After scouring the vast horizon of brand new Hulu, Netflix, & Amazon originals, we hope to find something that our eyes haven’t consumed. Well here are some underrated, poorly publicized, older series that might have been lost in the explosion of new content, and places where you can view them.

I promise you will binge watch them all.

1. Black Mirror

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A tri-season British series created by Charlie Brooker (Screenwipe and Newswipe), chronicling a not so far off dystopian future in which humanity is crumbling at the hands of technology. The series is episodic (each episode is a different story and different characters) and features actors from Downton Abbey and Game of Thrones. Reminiscent of The Twilight Zone, the sci-fi 45 minute episodes examine modern society, and will leave you questioning your own uber-involvement in technology.

A lot of the episodes in season 3 have well known American actors like Bryce Dallas Howard & Alice Eve, and Rashida Jones is one of the screenplay adapters on the first episode.

Watch the series on Netflix.

2. Don’t Trust the Bitch in Apartment 23

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Now for something that is not so depressing, one of my personal faves, Don’t Trust the Bitch in Apartment 23 created by Nahnatchka Khan. The show stars Krysten Ritter and James Van der Beek, and only ran for 2 seasons, which I find shocking (2007-2009). The show follows a young overly optimistic June Colburn, who moves to NY to follow her “life plan”, which quickly falls apart resulting in a very interesting last minute roommate situation. Van der Beek is Ritter’s bff and plays himself, a once famous actor who still thinks he is really famous, and the self sabotage is so hilarious you have to give him props. Ritter is the spokeswoman for the YOLO lifestyle- she doesn’t have a job, or morals, and she definitely has a partying problem, and I promise that every time after you watch this you will want to get dressed up in high heels and a LBD and go out and have a fabulous adventure- she makes you believe anything is possible, and that all you have to do is fake it til you make it!

You can watch the show on Netflix.

3. Pushing Daisies

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This Bryan Fuller (Heroes & Hannibal) creation ran for only 2 seasons as well, but the “forensic fairy tale” type show had a great cast, including Kristen Chenowith and Lee Pace (Guardians of the Galaxy & LOTR). A dark comedy about a pie maker named Ned, who has the gift of bringing dead things back to life, but there is a catch: every time he does this something near by will die- almost a transfer of life. You can see how this can cause some problems, especially after he revives his once dead childhood crush- if he touches her again, she will be dead forever. What would that make out session look like? Quirky, funny, dark, and each episode documents Ned helping a private investigator solve a murder mystery.

You can watch the show on Amazon Prime.

4. Coupling

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The writing in this 2004 British comedy is so well done, from beginning to end, the references come full circle and will be tied up with a perfect little pink bow. Steven Moffat (Doctor Who & Sherlock) is the genius behind this. Friends meets Seinfeld, featuring witty writing and an all around enjoyable cast.  Coupling  ran for 4 seasons, where it explored the raunchy, endearing, confusing, and exciting lives of a group of mid 20 to early 30 somethings, that we can ALL relate to.  Full of flashbacks, honest girl & guy talk, perfect for a couple (or friends) to watch. You can watch it on Amazon & Hulu.

PS My friends who don’t understand British comedy aren’t fond of this show…

5. Dead Like Me

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You almost for sure have never heard of this show unless I told you about it, but you probably have heard of either Mandy Patinkin or Rebecca Gayhart. The dark dramedy (also created by Bryan Fuller) begins with the pessimistic Georgia Lass, being killed by a toilet seat released from a de-orbiting MIR space station (see, it’s sad and funny).  Before she is able to move into the “great beyond” she must be an assistant grim reaper, where she helps people move into the afterlife with ease.  Each episode ends with a sweet life lesson we can all relate to, reminding us to appreciate the present and those we love. Even though the subject of the show is dark, you are left with such a nice feeling about life, and even death after watching.

Watch it on Hulu.

6. Satisfaction

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This one is sexy.  Liam Hemsworth even made a debut in it. NO ONE has heard of this show (I even had to make my own GIFS) 1. because it is Australian 2. because it stopped airing after four seasons 3. because there is a US show called Satisfaction, & 4. because it is too raunchy for American TV.

It used to be on Netflix, but has recently been removed. The show (created by Roger Simpson) follows a group of high class call girls in an Australian brothel, and how their not so normal jobs parallel their normal lives. So interesting, so much drama, and such good characters (and weird fetishes- who knew some guys just want to be treated like a baby?).

Plus sexy Liam Hemsworth as a young and rich (and topless) client, I mean come on.  It used to be on Netflix, but now I can only find the DVD’s for purchase on Amazon.

7. The Riches

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Eddie Izzard and Minnie Driver- Weeds meets  Desperate Housewives meets Shameless (maybe just because Noel Fisher is in it) and throw in some Joe Dirt?

Dmitry Lipkin (remember ‘Hung’?) is the writer behind the story of an Irish gypsy family on the run. Through their gypsy ways winds up in an upper class suburban neighborhood posing as a prosperous family that has just moved in. Sweet Dee from It’s Sunny In Philadelphia plays their nosy southern neighbor. Minnie Driver must have been the inspiration for Orange is the New Black because for the first episode she’s in jail, corn rows and all.  Funny mostly, and sometimes quite sad for the family (they have loads of issues), but for some reason you can’t stop watching because it’s so fun to see them try to fit in to this new world.

Also, Minnie Driver= Girl Power, she’s a bad ass in this show. You can watch it on Amazon Video (you have to purchase the season but it’s worth it.

8. Masters Of Horror Anthology

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I didn’t forget about all of you horror freaks out there. Most of the aforementioned shows are running along the darker side, but if you are really looking for something that will haunt you for the rest of your life, look no further. I have had some friends tell me years later that they are STILL scarred by Jenifer- the girl with the good body and the, uh, butter face, shall we say (check the first GIF with the blonde chick). This is like Goosebumps for adults, and to be honest the episodes can be hit or miss, but the ones that hit, oh boy do they. I suggest Jenifer, The Fair Haired Child, and Imprint.  There are two seasons (2005-2007) and the shows creator Mick Garris is the guy who wrote the screenplay for Hocus Pocus, so you know it can’t be all bad. It is also cool because each episode is a different director and a different cast, so it really runs the gamut. For purchase on Amazon

These should give you an other 500 hours of stuff to watch. Don’t forget eyedrops.

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Survive that MWC (Mid Week Crisis) with Some Hump Day Happiness

There is beyond enough to do on the weekends in Los Angeles, but for those who are looking to get in some hump day action to hold them over until the weekend, consider squeezing in a laugh at one of the many comedy clubs that LA has to offer. It’s the perfect concoction of goofiness, greasy bar food and cocktails, all topped with an early curfew. It’s basically like sitting on your couch watching “live” tv (so no excuses for you lazies). Next time you are having a “Mid Week Crisis” because you can’t TGIF, check out one of the following comedy clubs.

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HAHA Cafe- North Hollywood

WORK OUT WEDNESDAYS

4712 Lankershim Blvd, North Hollywood, CA 91601
(818) 508-4995

The HaHa has recently moved locations down the street to 4712 Lankershim Blvd. I have been going here for years, and I have NEVER had a bad experience. That saying, you get what you expect; it is a small venue with bar food and a small stage, but every now and then every single member of the Wayans bros family will get up on stage and put on a 3 hour set for the 15 person audience. At the Haha you get anyone from movie writers, to TV personas, and lots of comedians from Last Comic Standing. Wednesdays are “Work Out Wednesdays”, where there are usually 5 comedians, and 3 out of those 5 are fabulous, the other 2 aren’t horrible enough to make you cringe from embarrassment (most of the time).  Ask to get on their email or text list and you will be frequently contacted with great ticket deals.

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Westside Comedy

THE BEAR SUPPLY @8PM & LIP SERVICE @10PM

1323-A 3rd St Promenade (A stands for Alley)
Santa Monica, CA 90401
(310) 451-0850

Located in the alley adjacent to the third street promenade (I am sure most patrons get lost just trying to figure out where 1323 “A” is located), is a small comedy theater opened by a group of UMASS grads in 2009. With a long list of celebrity drop ins, this comedy theater is special for hosting a wide variety of comedy related events from stand up classes, to open mic nights, and critically acclaimed solo comedian shows (Dana Carvey will be performing July 26th).  On Wednesdays they offer more improv based sets called The Bear Supply (which begins at 8PM) and Lip Service (which begins at 10PM). With 30 beers on tap and a “no drink limit”, this theater gets some pretty big names for being located in an alley way behind a Johnny Rockets.

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The Comedy Store

8433 Sunset Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90069

If you love Whitney Cummings and Bobby Lee (which I do), then this is your spot. They are regulars, and when I say regulars, I mean that they are there performing or hanging out on any given  night. Sammy Shore was the original owner, and the his wife Mitzi took over the joint, and she recognized that female comedians don’t get the same stage time and respect as male comedians, so she opened up a special room called “The Belly Room” for the women to perform. The spot is now run by Mitzi’s children, and this is where you find the A-list stand ups. I am always a little star struck when I go here. Every Wednesday is a different show, so be sure to check the calendar.

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Flappers

102 E Magnolia Blvd
Burbank, CA 91502
(818) 845-9721

Though this one is a little off the grid for us Valley or West Side peeps, it is definitely something to make a night of. They alternate their Wednesday shows with Whacked Out Wednesday and Hump Day Nasty Show (always featuring a different host). There are plenty of restaurants in the area to get dinner and see a show, in fact Barney’s Beanery is right next door. Grab a drink at Barney’s and then head over to Flappers. Flappers is very active with the NACA (National Association of Campus Activities) and college community, and is continually on tour across the US at different campuses. They even have special family, all ages welcomed events called Two Milk Minimum, so if you are looking for a comedy show appropriate for all ages, then this is your spot!

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Upright Citizens Brigade

5919 Franklin Ave. Los Angeles, CA 90028

(323) 908-8702

It all began here for some of your favorite TV personas and comedians like Amy Poehler, Aziz Ansari, Nick Kroll, Ed Helms… the list goes on and on.  This theater has been rolling out our generations top comics for years now. Setting the bar in terms of what is culturally relevant, one of my personal fave shows is their Wednesday Facebook night, where 2 random people in the audience are selected to display their Facebook page on screen where the comics of the night riff off of the person’s posts and photos (show starts at 9:30). The line is long to get in, but tickets are cheap and so worth it. I recommend Sushi Stop next door for dinner, as it is cheap and good quality (and by cheap I mean like $3 for spicy tuna rolls). There is also a few very nice bars next door to grab a drink after (or before- get there early to make sure you get good seats and tix).

Like I said, anytime I am in one of those  mid-week, what-am-I-doing-with-my-life, who-am-I, moods, I like to go to a comedy show, and I always leave re-calibrated and ready to roll the following day!