Have you ever been so invested in a TV show and felt so passionate about it that you tried to get everyone you know to watch it? Are you so insistent to get people tuned into a series that your friends and family ask you if you are working for the network it airs on? Chances are this has happened to you. It certainly has happened to me. My brother has been trying for years to get me into “Dr. Who,” while I’ve been trying to talk him into giving “Arrow” a chance. Even my daughter will bug me to try out shows I don’t normally watch, but there’s no way I’m spending time with “Pretty Little Liars.”
Despite recommendations from friends and family there’s still a good chance you’re missing out on some quality television programming because there are so many choices. With most series on summer hiatus, now is the perfect time to play catch up on current shows through on-demand or a network’s website. Here are five programs that fly under the radar but deserve your attention.
“Last Week Tonight with John Oliver” (HBO)
The premise: The British comedian and former “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart” correspondent takes a satirical look at news, politics and current events.
Why you’re probably not watching it: You don’t have HBO.
Why you should be watching it: Even though it’s only been on for a couple months, “Last Week Tonight” has made a name for itself thanks to John Oliver’s informative, hysterical rants on two controversial topics – FIFA, the organization that runs the World Cup, and Net Neutrality. Oliver’s take on these issues is a great example of how satire can shine a light on topics that sometimes go unchallenged. While this show is hard to find without an HBO subscription, you can still access it if you’re an Amazon Prime member.
“Million Dollar Listing New York” (Bravo)
The premise: Three highly aggressive real estate agents look to make million dollar deals while battling each other for supremacy of the New York housing market.
Why you’re probably not watching it: You’re leery of Bravo “reality” shows because if any of “The Real Housewives” programs are any indication, they have all the realism of a plastic Christmas tree.
Why you should be watching it: “Million Dollar Listing” is less about real estate and more about the competitive nature of the three brokers who are in constant conflict with each other. Ryan (the funny jerk), Luis (the naïve upstart) and Fredrik (the high kicking sales machine) have unique personalities and are fascinating to watch.
“The Americans” (FX)
The premise: Set during of the Cold War of the 1980s, “The Americans” follows the complex marriage of KGB spies living undercover in suburban Washington, D.C. The couple struggles to balance a home life with two children unaware of their parents’ true identity with the demands of undermining the U.S. government.
Why you’re probably not watching it: You can’t stand the sight of feathered hair, cordless phones the size of bricks and sweaters tied around peoples necks.
Why you should be watching it: You know a program is good when you root for the bad guys and the husband/wife duo played by Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys are most certainly bad guys. They murder, scheme and blackmail all in the interests of Mother Russian during one of the most tenuous times in our nation’s history. Yet, despite living across the street from an FBI agent (played brilliantly by Noah Emmerich), they’re still likable and struggle with family issues just like everybody else.
“Inside Amy Schumer” (Comedy Central)
The premise: Through a series of scripted vignettes, stand-up comedy and on-the-street interviews, comedian Amy Schumer pokes fun at relationships and the goofiness of life in general.
Why you’re probably not watching it: You’ve never heard of Amy Schumer before.
Why you should be watching it: Schumer, who competed on the fifth season of NBC’s “Last Comic Standing,” is quickly emerging as one of the funniest women in comedy. She can be raunchy and crude but like any good comedian there’s always some truth in her observations. Schumer tackles a number of topics many women are sensitive about – dieting, men, competing with other women – and does it with self-deprecating humor.
“The 100” (The CW)
The premise: Ninety-seven years ago a nuclear war decimated the Earth. The only survivors were the inhabitants of 12 space stations that were in orbit at the time. The space stations came together to form, the Ark. Some of the young people on the Ark have been labeled criminals and punished for minor infractions. These juveniles who tested authority are now being sent to Earth, testing it to see if it’s inhabitable.
Why you’re probably not watching it: It’s on the CW, which can be a hard channel to find if you don’t regularly watch programs targeted at young adults.
Why you should be watching it: There are few shows that do a better job of balancing multiple story lines than “The 100.” The action and drama that the young adults face on the surface of the Earth is just as intense, yet very different, than what the older adults are dealing with on the slowly decaying Ark. This sci-fi show is a clever mix of “Lord of the Flies” and “Battlestar Galactica.”