The best TV shows you're probably not watching – NME

In the UK, at least…
We get it, there’s too much choice. But as the second Golden Age Of TV continues to sparkle, it’s all too easy to let some of the gems slip through the cracks. If you’re looking for your new favourite show that doesn’t have dragons or hobbits or Yodas or Marvels in it, you just need to know where to look…
Where to watch: Paramount+
It might be the biggest show in the US, but for some reason Yellowstone is still just “that Kevin Costner cowboy thing” over here. And no one really knows why. It has all the family drama of Succession, the blood and boobs of Game Of Thrones, and the stunning cinematography of every great Western ever made. Now four seasons (and two spin-offs) deep, Yellowstone is rich territory for anyone who likes big-sky American sagas with all-star casts and blockbuster budgets – Dallas for the HBO generation.

Where to watch: Sky/NOW
After The Wire ended in 2008, every gritty TV show with a decent script found itself being compared. Breaking Bad was the first “new Wire”. Then it was True Detective, Sons Of Anarchy and Narcos. But when the actual new Wire came out, no one paid much attention. Written by TV royalty George Pelecanos and David Simon, We Own This City is the pair’s first foray back into the Baltimore police department since their last show made it synonymous with prestige drama. It might only be six searing, intricate episodes long, but it’s worth it alone just to watch Jon Bernthal’s boiling point performance.

Where to watch: Prime Video
Adult animation often has a hard time being taken seriously, but if anyone knows how to do it, it’s Kate Purdy and Raphael Bob-Waksberg, the two leads on BoJack Horseman. Undone has none of BoJack’s smugness but all of its heart and fire – building a grown-up sci-fi drama around mental health that’s also sort of about the entire fabric of space and time. Designed as a weird mix of motion capture and rotoscoped animation, Undone doesn’t look like anything else on TV. A true original (that really, really needs a third season).

Where to watch: Prime Video
All hail Jean Smart. After being the best thing in other people’s shows (Fargo, Watchmen, Mare Of Easttown), Smart finally gets the lead in one of the sharpest comedy dramas around. Smart is Vance, a seasoned comedian with a career big enough for Vegas who ends up being paired with an upstart (Hannah Einbinder) who writes far funnier jokes. Comedy is the beating heart of the whole show, but it’s the drama that lingers – with Smart and Einbinder circling each other’s lives and careers like a couple of self-destructive stand-up vultures.

Hacks: Trailer
A dark mentorship forms between a legendary Las Vegas comic and an outcast 25-year-old comedy writer, in the fabulously funny comedy drama series Hacks. 📺 Hacks (out tomorrow!!)
Posted by Amazon Prime Video on Thursday, March 31, 2022
Where to watch: Apple TV+
Adapting Min Jin Lee’s epic novel, Soo Hugh (who made the first season of The Terror) proves just how big the small screen can be when you find the right story. Spanning three different generations of the same South Korean family – from 1915 Busan to modern day New York – Pachinko is much more than a family saga. Taking in an entire cultural sweep across eight beautiful hours, the show manages to feel big and small at the same time, intertwining lives and loves with the whole reach of the immigrant experience across the last century. Expect tears.

Where to watch: Apple TV+
For All Mankind didn’t have the best launch. Starting off solid, but not strong, the first series picked up speed just when it started dropping viewers. Stick with it past the first five or six episodes though and the rewards are great – not just a show about what might have happened if Russia made it to the moon before America, but a powerhouse character piece built around a genuinely compelling alt. space race drama. Now picked up for a fourth season, the show seems to be getting stronger all the time.

Where to watch: Apple TV+
Has there ever been a more murder-able character on TV than John Paul in Bad Sisters? Told in flashback after one of several culprits finally manages to kill him, Sharon Horgan’s pitch black comedy plays out like a reverse whodunnit – with everyone waiting to see who deserves the biggest round of applause for actually going through with it. Crackling with wit across a perfect ensemble cast, it’s the kind of sharp, dark, autumn night watch that you don’t ever want to see come to an end.

Where to watch: Disney+
Taika Waititi has his name on everything huge at the moment. Also he made Reservation Dogs. For some reason, Waititi’s best work isn’t anywhere near as big as it deserves to be – winning handfuls of awards but still sitting slightly under the radar. Filmed using an entirely Indigenous cast and crew, Reservation Dogs aims for the same heights as Atlanta, coming off like a beautifully weird, smart, teen comedy with more to say in each half-hour episode that most other shows manage in a season.

Where to watch: Sky/Now
Olivier Assayas is the award-winning French director behind slow-burning thrillers Clouds Of Sils Maria and Personal Shopper, and here he adapts his own 1996 film into a miniseries. The story of an American movie star who comes to France to remake a silent art-house classic, everything about Irma Vep sounds slightly off-putting on paper. Give it a chance though and there’s so much to love – from Alicia Vikander’s masterful performance (and Thurston Moore’s score) to a tone that veers pretty much wherever it wants to. Easily one of the smartest and spikiest shows on TV right now.

Where to watch: Apple TV+
No one wants to watch a moody folk horror about sea monsters in the middle of the summer. But with the nights drawing in, there’s now no excuse not to watch The Essex Serpent – the perfect windswept gothic romance for autumn. Claire Danes and Tom Hiddleston are the two mismatched monster hunters who bond over mythical sea snakes, but it’s director Clio Barnard who deserves the top billing – giving the whole show a clammy look and texture that makes the whole thing feel like it’s crawled straight out of the water.

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