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5 under the radar shows you should be watching

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Chewing Gum Michaela Coel Still
Michaela Coel plays Tracey in "Chewing Gum." Photo: Netflix

There's a lot of great television out there — maybe too much great television — and new series are constantly popping up (especially from Britian). If you’re addicted to TV like the rest of us, there are always more must-see shows for you to add to your never ending watch list.

Luckily, because there are so many shows, there’s something for everyone — from the feel goods to the critically adored. There is so much to explore outside of the mainstream, we're bringing you a guide to five under the radar shows for your next binge fest. These overlooked shows may not be new, exactly, but they pack an enjoyable punch. Bonus? They'll give you bragging rights. 

Fleabag (Amazon Prime)

“Fleabag” manages to be both like nothing you’ve ever seen and very familiar. In the six-episode series, Phoebe Waller-Bridge stars as the titular Fleabag, a woman as anti-heroic as she is hilarious.

The series picks up after the death of Fleabag’s best friend, and explores the often fragile nature of our relationships: platonic, familial and romantic. If that sounds like a bummer, I’m not going to lie to you: it kind of is. The show seesaws pretty majestically from hilarious to depressing. But the greatest pleasure of all is when Fleabag consults conspiratorially with her audience, breaking the fourth wall — and turning the unlikeable female character trope on its head.

Chewing Gum (Netflix)

With the naked eye, you could mistake “Chewing Gum” as the same old same old. The series follows Tracey — played gloriously by Michaela Coel who also writes and directs — a 20-something-year-old virgin stifled by her family’s intense religious trappings.

But man, it's so much more. Tracey is intelligent, confident and her non-stop self assurance leads her to a variety of shenanigans: A misguided, Beyoncé inspired seduction; botched attempts at threesomes; and there are so many schemes for devirginization. Through it all, Tracey never gives up. She's intent on her goals and she lets nothing get in her way. And Coel uses the space to slyly eviscerate male entitlement and white privilege while maintaining a positive outlook on sex and sexual liberation. It’s raunchy AF. A straight up must-see.

Man Seeking Woman (FXX, Hulu)

If for some reason, you've always wondered what magical realism looks like from a millennial perspective, “Man Seeking Woman” is for you. For three seasons, the FXX series, followed Josh (Jay Baruchel) on his very bumpy, fantastical quest for love. He goes on a date with a troll, there are sex aliens abound and — in an amazing episode that focuses on Josh’s sister, Liz (Britt Lower) — the audience finds out that Santa Claus is just as bad as the rest of ‘em.

The show changed a lot throughout its three year span, allowing characters Josh, Liz, and Josh’s best friend Mike (played pitch perfectly by Eric Andre) to evolve and grow with it. But it always managed to be a mash up of your favorite romantic comedies with a large helping of some near “Pan’s Labyrinth” style terror. And it was very good.

Lovesick (Netflix)

Sometimes, you don't need a fine, pricey Bordeaux. Sometimes, there's a perfectly reasonable option at Trader Joe’s and for less than five dollars it more than does the trick. That’s kind of what “Lovesick” is like. Formerly known as “Scrotal Recall,” (which is way better, btw) this series follows Dylan (Johnny Flynn), a die-hard romantic, as he goes through a rolodex of his past lovers to tell them about his uh, STD situation.

But beyond trotting down memory lane every episode, zig zagging between past and present, “Lovesick” still delivers on the basics of what you need from fluffy, medium-brow television. There are love triangles! Very attractive best friends! Engagements, breakups, and impossibly chic condos! It’s a pleasant show to watch and while Dylan sometimes tips into annoying, hisfriends Evie (Antonia Thomas) and Luke (Daniel Ings) make the ride all the more fun.

Crazyhead (Netflix)

Here's another British show to satisfy your inner anglophile. From the mind of the man who created “Misfits” — one of the greatest shows about maladjusted, apathetic people in their early 20s, ever — comes “Crazyhead,” and these two shows have more than a few similarities. Both shows focus on young adults grappling with unexpected powers, but “Crazyhead” brings women and empowerment to the forefront. Amy (Cara Theobold) discovers she’s a seer, gifted with the ability to see demons hiding in plain sight. She reluctantly teams up with Raquel (Susan Wokoma), a hunter who revels in showing said demons who’s boss. 

Of course, things go terribly wrong. Best friends are accidentally possessed. Raquel uncovers her past — one that is unpleasant to confront. But at the end of the day, these girls kick ass, and watching their friendship blossom is a thing of beauty. It’s a modern day Buffy with British sensibilities. 

 

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