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10 Obscure TV Shows That Are Actually Great

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In the vast landscape of television, where new series sprout up every day, many gems often go unnoticed, overshadowed by blockbuster hits or lost in the shuffle of streaming algorithms. But beyond the mainstream spotlight lies a treasure trove of shows that, despite their lesser-known status, offer storytelling, performances, and creativity that rival, if not surpass, their more popular counterparts. In this article, we'll journey off the beaten path to uncover "10 Obscure TV Shows That Are Actually Great." Prepare to delve into the underrated and overlooked, and discover series that deserve a prime spot on your watchlist.

What are your Top 10 Obscure shows. Sound off in the comments.

Garth Marenghi's Darkplace (2004)

Garth Marenghi's Darkplace: A Cult Classic Awaiting Your Discovery

"Garth Marenghi's Darkplace," a British television series that aired in 2004, is a brilliantly crafted parody of 1980s horror television, wrapped in layers of meta-humor and surreal comedy. Set within the eerie corridors of Darkplace Hospital, the show follows Dr. Rick Dagless M.D., a maverick doctor battling supernatural forces, personal demons, and often his own incompetence. But here's the twist: the series is presented as a "lost" show from the 80s, created by fictional horror writer Garth Marenghi, who introduces each episode with earnest (and hilariously self-aggrandizing) commentary.

The cast is a delightful ensemble of British comedic talent. Matthew Holness stars as the titular Garth Marenghi and also plays the brooding Dr. Rick Dagless. Richard Ayoade, known for his role in "The IT Crowd," portrays Dean Learner, Marenghi's unskilled publisher-turned-actor, who delivers his lines with delightful stiffness. Matt Berry and Alice Lowe round out the main cast, each bringing their unique comedic flair to the series.

So, why should "Garth Marenghi's Darkplace" be on your radar? For starters, its humor is refreshingly original. The show expertly satirizes the clich├ęs and tropes of vintage horror TV, complete with purposefully shoddy production values, over-the-top acting, and hilariously bad special effects. Every episode is a masterclass in comedic timing, with jokes layered upon jokes, making it a treat for fans of British humor and meta-comedy.

Additionally, the series is a testament to the power of character-driven comedy. Each character, from the overly dramatic Dr. Dagless to the clueless hospital administrator Thornton Reed, is a caricature pushed to the extreme, yet they all feel strangely endearing. Their interactions, combined with the absurdity of the show's premise, create a comedic alchemy that's hard to resist.

In conclusion, "Garth Marenghi's Darkplace" is a hidden gem in the world of comedy. Its blend of satire, surrealism, and character-driven humor makes it a must-watch for those seeking something out of the ordinary. If you're in the mood for a show that doesn't take itself too seriously and revels in its own absurdity, then Darkplace Hospital is ready to admit you as a patient. Dive in and enjoy the comedic brilliance!
Deadwood (2004-2006)

Discovering Deadwood: A Television Masterpiece

"Deadwood," which aired from 2004 to 2006, is a riveting drama set in the late 1800s, chronicling the rise of Deadwood, South Dakota, from a camp to a town. The series delves deep into the tumultuous times of the American frontier, where lawlessness reigned supreme, and the quest for gold drove men to extremes. Created by David Milch, this HBO series masterfully blends historical events with fictional narratives, offering viewers a gritty and authentic portrayal of the Old West.

The ensemble cast is nothing short of spectacular, led by the likes of Ian McShane as the cunning and charismatic Al Swearengen, Timothy Olyphant as the principled lawman Seth Bullock, and Molly Parker as the resilient Alma Garrett. Each actor brings depth and nuance to their roles, making the characters come alive with complexity and authenticity. The interactions between these characters, set against the backdrop of a town in flux, create a tapestry of human desires, conflicts, and alliances.

So, why should "Deadwood" be on your must-watch list? Firstly, the show's dialogue is a work of art. Milch's writing is poetic and profound, with characters delivering lines that are both archaic in their phrasing yet deeply resonant in their meaning. This unique linguistic style sets "Deadwood" apart from other period dramas and gives it a distinctive voice. Secondly, the show doesn't shy away from the harsh realities of the era. It portrays the brutality, corruption, and challenges of frontier life with unflinching honesty, making it a raw and immersive experience for viewers.

Moreover, "Deadwood" offers a masterclass in character development. Over the course of its three seasons, characters evolve, relationships shift, and allegiances change, reflecting the unpredictable nature of life in the Wild West. The series also touches on themes of power, community, and redemption, making it a thought-provoking watch.

In conclusion, "Deadwood" is more than just a historical drama; it's a deep dive into the human psyche, set in a time and place where survival was a daily battle. With its compelling characters, exquisite writing, and authentic portrayal of the Old West, it's a series that deserves to be discovered by a new generation of viewers. Don't miss out on this television gem.
The Riches (2007-2008)

The Riches: A Deep Dive into the American Dream's Dark Side

"The Riches," which graced our screens from 2007 to 2008, is a captivating drama that delves into the complexities of identity, deception, and the pursuit of the American Dream. At its core, the series follows the lives of the Malloy family, a clan of Irish Traveller con artists, who, after a twist of fate, assume the identities of a wealthy suburban family, the Riches. As they navigate this new world of opulence and privilege, the Malloys grapple with their past, their morals, and the lengths they'll go to protect their newfound status.

Leading the talented cast are Eddie Izzard and Minnie Driver, who play Wayne and Dahlia Malloy, respectively. Izzard's portrayal of Wayne, the family's cunning patriarch, is both charismatic and deeply conflicted, while Driver's Dahlia is a force to be reckoned with, showcasing strength, vulnerability, and a fierce maternal instinct. Their dynamic, combined with the performances of the younger cast members, paints a vivid picture of a family bound by love, loyalty, and shared secrets.

So, why should "The Riches" be on your watchlist? Firstly, the show offers a unique perspective on the American Dream, challenging the conventional narratives of success and questioning the true cost of wealth and societal acceptance. Through the Malloys' eyes, viewers are given a front-row seat to the contradictions and hypocrisies of suburban life, making the series both a thrilling drama and a social commentary.

Moreover, "The Riches" excels in its character development. As the series progresses, each member of the Malloy family undergoes profound transformations, revealing layers of depth and complexity. Their interactions with the world around them, from suspicious neighbors to their own Traveller community, highlight the challenges of living a lie and the moral dilemmas that come with it.

In conclusion, "The Riches" is a compelling exploration of identity, morality, and the elusive nature of the American Dream. With its gripping storyline, stellar performances, and thought-provoking themes, it's a show that resonates on multiple levels. If you're in search of a drama that challenges conventions and keeps you on the edge of your seat, "The Riches" is a treasure trove waiting to be discovered.
Pushing Daisies (2007-2009)

Pushing Daisies: A Whimsical Tale of Life, Death, and Second Chances

"Pushing Daisies," which aired from 2007 to 2009, is a delightful blend of fantasy, romance, and mystery, wrapped in a vibrant and whimsical package. The series revolves around Ned, a pie-maker with a unique and bittersweet gift: he can bring the dead back to life with a single touch. However, this gift comes with two significant caveats. First, if he touches the revived person or thing again, they return to being dead, permanently. Second, if he lets them live for more than a minute, someone else nearby will die in their place. This extraordinary ability sets the stage for a series of adventures, as Ned teams up with a private investigator to solve murder cases by temporarily reviving the deceased to ask them about their untimely ends.

Lee Pace masterfully portrays Ned, bringing a perfect balance of vulnerability, charm, and depth to the character. Anna Friel plays Charlotte "Chuck" Charles, Ned's childhood sweetheart who, after being murdered, is brought back to life by him, leading to a touching yet complicated romance where the two can never physically touch. The ensemble cast, including Chi McBride, Kristin Chenoweth, and Ellen Greene, adds layers of humor, emotion, and eccentricity to the narrative.

So, why should "Pushing Daisies" be on your viewing list? For starters, the show's visual aesthetic is a feast for the eyes. With its vibrant colors, picturesque sets, and imaginative cinematography, every episode feels like a fairy tale come to life. The series' narrative style, reminiscent of classic fables, is both heartwarming and clever, making it a standout in the realm of television storytelling.

Additionally, "Pushing Daisies" delves deep into themes of love, loss, and the transient nature of life. Through Ned's unique predicament, the show explores the complexities of human relationships, the value of second chances, and the lengths one would go to for love. The series also offers a fresh take on the detective genre, with its blend of humor, romance, and mystery.

In conclusion, "Pushing Daisies" is a rare gem in the world of television. Its enchanting blend of fantasy, emotion, and wit makes it a must-watch for those seeking a refreshing and heartwarming escape. Dive into the world of Ned, Chuck, and the Pie Hole, and let this magical tale touch your heart, just as it has touched the lives of its many devoted fans.
Wonderfalls (2004)

Wonderfalls: A Quirky Journey of Self-Discovery and Talking Trinkets

"Wonderfalls," a unique gem from 2004, is a dramedy that masterfully weaves the mundane with the magical. Set against the backdrop of Niagara Falls, the series centers on Jaye Tyler, an underachieving twenty-something with a philosophy degree from Brown University, who works at a tourist gift shop called Wonderfalls. Jaye's life takes a surreal turn when inanimate animal figurines begin speaking to her, offering cryptic messages that push her into the lives of others, often leading to unexpected and heartwarming outcomes.

Caroline Dhavernas shines as Jaye, bringing a blend of sarcasm, vulnerability, and reluctant heroism to the character. The supporting cast, including Katie Finneran, Tyron Leitso, and William Sadler, adds depth and humor to the narrative, each playing a pivotal role in Jaye's journey of self-discovery and the series of quirky events that unfold.

So, why should "Wonderfalls" be on your radar? Firstly, its premise is refreshingly original. The show seamlessly blends elements of fantasy with relatable real-world issues, creating a narrative that is both whimsical and deeply human. The talking trinkets, while fantastical, serve as a metaphor for the unexpected nudges life gives us, pushing us towards growth, understanding, and connection.

Moreover, "Wonderfalls" is a poignant exploration of the challenges faced by the millennial generation. Through Jaye's character, the series delves into themes of ambition, societal expectations, and the quest for purpose in a world that often feels chaotic and directionless. The show's witty dialogue, combined with its emotional depth, strikes a balance that resonates with viewers of all ages.

In conclusion, "Wonderfalls" is a delightful journey into the unexpected twists and turns of life. With its compelling characters, witty writing, and unique blend of fantasy and reality, it's a series that deserves a spot on every television enthusiast's watchlist. If you're in search of a show that offers both laughter and introspection, "Wonderfalls" is a cascade of entertainment waiting to be explored.
Firefly (2002)

Firefly: A Stellar Blend of Space, Westerns, and Unbreakable Bonds

"Firefly," Joss Whedon's cult classic from 2002, is a space-western that effortlessly melds the vastness of the cosmos with the rugged terrains of the Wild West. Set in the year 2517, the series takes place in a new star system, following the aftermath of a galaxy-wide civil war. At its heart, "Firefly" chronicles the adventures of the crew aboard the spaceship Serenity, a Firefly-class vessel. These renegades, outlaws, and idealists navigate the challenges of space while evading the authoritarian Alliance, taking on any job, legal or not, to keep their ship flying and food on the table.

Leading the ensemble cast is Nathan Fillion as Captain Malcolm "Mal" Reynolds, a former soldier turned rogue spaceship captain. He's joined by a diverse crew, including Gina Torres as Zoe, Alan Tudyk as Wash, Morena Baccarin as Inara, and Jewel Staite as Kaylee, among others. Each character brings their own backstory, quirks, and depth, creating a tapestry of personalities that clash, complement, and ultimately form an unbreakable bond.

So, why should "Firefly" be a part of your cinematic journey? For one, its unique blend of genres offers a fresh take on both space operas and western dramas. The show's universe is richly detailed, with its own cultures, languages, and moral dilemmas, making it a world that's easy to get lost in. The dialogue, infused with Whedon's signature wit and humor, is sharp, memorable, and often deeply poignant.

Moreover, "Firefly" delves into profound themes of freedom, loyalty, and the gray areas of morality. Through the crew's adventures, the series explores what it means to find family in unexpected places and the lengths one would go to protect that bond. The dynamics aboard the Serenity reflect the complexities of human relationships, set against the vast and often unforgiving backdrop of space.

In conclusion, "Firefly" is a shining beacon in the realm of science fiction television. Its compelling characters, intricate world-building, and thought-provoking narratives make it a must-watch for fans of the genre and newcomers alike. Though its run was tragically short-lived, the legacy of the Serenity and her crew continues to soar, capturing the hearts and imaginations of viewers around the globe. Dive into the 'Verse and discover the magic of "Firefly" for yourself.
Black Books (2000-2004)

Black Books: A Hilariously Chaotic Dive into the World of Literature and Wine

"Black Books," which aired from 2000 to 2004, is a British comedy that offers a delightfully offbeat look into the life of a misanthropic bookshop owner and his equally eccentric friends. Set in a cluttered and dimly lit bookshop in London, the series revolves around Bernard Black, a perpetually grumpy and wine-soaked proprietor who has a deep disdain for customers, modern technology, and essentially anything that requires effort. Alongside him are his long-suffering assistant, Manny, who is often the target of Bernard's ire, and their friend Fran, who runs a shop next door and shares in their daily escapades and misadventures.

Dylan Moran brilliantly portrays Bernard, delivering his lines with a perfect blend of sarcasm, wit, and world-weariness. Bill Bailey's Manny is the lovable and often bewildered counterpoint to Bernard's cynicism, while Tamsin Greig's Fran is the voice of (somewhat) reason, navigating the chaos that surrounds the trio.

So, why should "Black Books" be on your comedy radar? Firstly, its humor is distinctively British – dry, sharp, and often bordering on the absurd. The show's scenarios, from Bernard's attempts to do his taxes to Manny's accidental ingestion of 'The Little Book of Calm,' are both relatable and hilariously exaggerated. The dialogue is quick-witted, and the character dynamics are a joy to watch, making each episode a comedic gem.

Moreover, "Black Books" offers a satirical take on the world of retail and customer service. Through Bernard's interactions (or lack thereof) with his customers, the series highlights the often humorous and sometimes painful realities of running a small business. The show also delves into themes of friendship, the challenges of adulthood, and the escapism found in literature and wine.

In conclusion, "Black Books" is a comedic masterpiece that stands the test of time. Its quirky characters, clever writing, and unique setting make it a standout in the world of sitcoms. If you're in the mood for a show that offers laughter, wit, and a touch of the absurd, then Bernard's bookshop is open for business. Step in, grab a glass of wine, and immerse yourself in the chaotic world of "Black Books."
The IT Crowd (2006-2013)

The IT Crowd: Navigating the Hilarious Depths of Tech and Social Awkwardness

"The IT Crowd," which aired from 2006 to 2013, is a British sitcom that brilliantly captures the quirks and comedic misadventures of an IT department tucked away in the basement of the fictional Reynholm Industries. The series centers on three main characters: Roy, a laid-back technician with a penchant for shirking responsibility; Moss, a socially awkward genius with a heart of gold; and Jen, the department's "relationship manager," who, despite her title, knows next to nothing about computers. Together, this unlikely trio navigates the challenges of office politics, tech disasters, and their own personal dilemmas, all while delivering side-splitting humor.

Chris O'Dowd's portrayal of Roy is both relatable and hilarious, capturing the essence of a tech worker who'd rather be anywhere but at work. Richard Ayoade's Moss is iconic, with his unique blend of innocence, brilliance, and complete lack of social awareness. Katherine Parkinson's Jen serves as the bridge between the tech world and the corporate realm, often finding herself in hilariously over her head.

So, why should "The IT Crowd" be on your watchlist? For starters, its comedic timing is impeccable. The show masterfully blends situational humor with clever dialogue, creating moments that are both laugh-out-loud funny and endearingly human. From Roy's infamous "Have you tried turning it off and on again?" to Moss's adventures on the game show "Countdown," each episode offers a fresh dose of hilarity.

Moreover, "The IT Crowd" offers a satirical look at the world of technology and corporate culture. Through the lens of the basement IT department, the series highlights the often absurd disconnect between tech professionals and the rest of the business world. The show also delves into themes of friendship, the challenges of modern life, and the humorous pitfalls of social interactions.

In conclusion, "The IT Crowd" is a comedic gem that resonates with audiences both in and outside the tech industry. Its endearing characters, witty writing, and relatable scenarios make it a standout in the realm of comedy. Whether you're a tech aficionado or simply in need of a good laugh, the doors to Reynholm Industries are always open. Dive into the world of "The IT Crowd" and let Roy, Moss, and Jen guide you through the uproarious maze of IT and office life.
Detectorists (2014-2022)

Detectorists: Unearthing the Beauty in the Mundane

"Detectorists," which aired from 2014 to 2022, is a British comedy-drama that beautifully captures the simple joys and quiet moments of life. Set against the picturesque backdrop of the English countryside, the series follows the lives of Andy and Lance, two metal-detecting enthusiasts who share a dream of finding a buried Saxon treasure. While their hobby involves searching for historical artifacts, the true essence of the show lies in the exploration of their personal lives, relationships, and the tight-knit community of fellow detectorists they belong to.

Mackenzie Crook, who also writes and directs the series, plays Andy with a gentle sincerity, portraying a man searching for purpose both in the ground and in his personal life. Toby Jones shines as Lance, whose dry wit and deep reflections provide many of the show's most memorable moments. Together, their chemistry is undeniable, making Andy and Lance one of television's most endearing duos.

So, why should "Detectorists" be a part of your viewing repertoire? At its core, the show is a meditation on life's small moments. Instead of grand events or dramatic twists, "Detectorists" finds its magic in the mundane: a shared joke between friends, the thrill of a potential find, or the simple pleasure of sitting under a tree on a sunny day. The series' humor is subtle, often rooted in character interactions and the idiosyncrasies of rural life.

Furthermore, "Detectorists" offers a poignant exploration of human connections, dreams, and the passage of time. Through the lens of metal detecting, the series delves into themes of history, legacy, and the deep-rooted desire to leave a mark on the world. The show's soundtrack, featuring the hauntingly beautiful theme song by Johnny Flynn, perfectly complements its tone, adding depth and atmosphere to each episode.

In conclusion, "Detectorists" is a masterclass in storytelling that celebrates the beauty in everyday life. Its rich characters, thoughtful narratives, and stunning cinematography make it a series that resonates on a deeply emotional level. If you're in search of a show that offers both laughter and introspection, "Detectorists" is a treasure waiting to be discovered. Dive into the world of Andy and Lance, and let their journeys of discovery, both literal and metaphorical, touch your heart.
Patriot (2015-2018)

Patriot: A Darkly Comic Dive into Espionage and Existential Crisis

"Patriot," which aired from 2015 to 2018, is an intriguing blend of dark comedy, drama, and espionage that offers a unique take on the world of international intelligence. The series follows John Tavner, an intelligence officer posing as a mid-level employee at an industrial piping firm. Tasked with preventing Iran from going nuclear, John's mission is anything but straightforward. As he navigates a series of increasingly complicated tasks, he grapples with personal demons, workplace politics, and the inherent absurdities of modern espionage.

Michael Dorman delivers a captivating performance as John Tavner, portraying a deeply conflicted character whose professional challenges are compounded by personal struggles and existential reflections. The supporting cast, including Terry O'Quinn as John's State Department Director father and Kurtwood Smith as a doggedly curious coworker, adds layers of complexity and humor to the narrative.

So, why should "Patriot" be on your must-watch list? Firstly, its approach to the spy genre is refreshingly unconventional. Instead of high-octane action sequences and clear-cut heroes and villains, the show delves into the gray areas of intelligence work, highlighting the moral ambiguities, bureaucratic hurdles, and often mundane realities of the job. The series masterfully balances its dark themes with moments of absurd comedy, creating a tone that is both somber and satirical.

Moreover, "Patriot" offers a deep exploration of identity, duty, and the human psyche. John's character serves as a lens through which the series examines the toll that a life of secrets and deception can take on one's mental well-being. His occasional forays into folk music, where he candidly sings about his covert operations, provide both comic relief and poignant insights into his state of mind.

In conclusion, "Patriot" is a brilliantly crafted series that challenges conventions and offers a fresh perspective on the world of espionage. Its compelling characters, sharp writing, and blend of drama and dark comedy make it a standout in the realm of television. If you're in search of a show that offers depth, humor, and a touch of the unexpected, "Patriot" is a mission worth embarking on. Dive into the intricate world of John Tavner and discover the complexities of a life lived in the shadows.
What are your top 10 Obscure shows. Sound off in the comments.

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