In the 2010s, the television industry exploded with the arrival of online streaming. In this era dubbed “peak TV,” quality shows exist in such large quantities that not every one manages to stand out and make decade-end — or even year-end — lists.
Here are some hidden gems that brought it in the ‘10s without recognition.
Drama, glamour and scandals — ABC’s “Revenge” had it all. The show followed Emily Thorne (Emily VanCamp) as she returned to the Hamptons under an alias years after her father was wrongfully convicted for crimes of terrorism.
Back to avenge her father against the Graysons, the rich and powerful family who framed him, Emily takes down her foes one by one, all the while posturing as one of them.
Emily’s dynamic with the Graysons, especially matriarch Victoria Grayson (Madeleine Stowe), provided salacious barbs and disastrous parties throughout the series.
The show has a more seesaw-esque quality post-season One but the parties, scandals and takedowns never died. Plus, the dynamic between Emily and Victoria never failed to deliver.
“Revenge” is a perfect show for those missing primetime soaps and anyone who enjoys watching powerful people lose their control. It’s “Gossip Girl” with adults — but viewers root for the gossip girl this time. And that makes it all the better.
All four seasons of “Revenge” are available on Hulu.
Recommended for those who like: “Gossip Girl,” “Scandal,” “Desperate Housewives”
“Don’t Trust the B—- In Apt. 23” (2012-2013)
The television industry has rarely lacked in shows about young people in New York City. Between “Friends,” “Sex and the City,” “How I Met Your Mother” and more, it’s an evercrowded field. Still, ABC’s short-lived “Don’t Trust the B—- In Apt. 23” seldom felt like a rehash of its predecessors.
“Don’t Trust the B” followed June Coburn (Dreama Walker), a wide-eyed, naive Midwesterner in her move to the big city. There, she moved in with the hyper and dangerously spontaneous Chloe (Krysten Ritter). Together, the odd couple become a dynamic duo of sorts. Plus, former teen heartthrob James Van Der Beek (“Dawson’s Creek,” Varsity Blues”) played a heightened version of himself, too.
With the humor of a live-action cartoon and the pace of an Olympic sprinter, “Don’t Trust the B” provided a consistent 20-minute light to its small viewer base. Ritter (“Jessica Jones,” “Veronica Mars”) played Chloe with a never-ceasing energy reminiscent of Roger the Alien from “American Dad.”
The show never once pretended to exist in a slightly realistic world — Chloe takes over People magazine for an episode solely to make James the “Sexiest Man Alive.” Every episode has that same off-the-wall veracity which made the show such a thrill.
“Don’t Trust the B” is a charmingly hyper half-hour comedy that’s perfect for people who want to turn their brains off and laugh. The only downside is at two seasons and 26 episodes, viewers will want so much more.
Both seasons of “Don’t Trust the B” are available on Hulu.
Recommended for those who like: “New Girl,” “American Dad,” “Brooklyn Nine-Nine”
After 40-year-old divorcée Liza Miller (Sutton Foster) is mistaken for a 20-something at a bar, she’s inspired to lie about her age to secure a job in the publishing industry. As a faux-millennial, Liza must balance her real and work lives in this romantic dramedy.
Liza befriends millennial Kelsey Peters (Hilary Duff) and strikes up a relationship with similarly young Josh (Nico Tortorella) as a part of her white lie. Drama abounds Liza’s life as she wonders if she can continue her lie and date Josh or choose instead her age-appropriate boss Charles (Peter Hermann).
“Younger” hails from “Sex and the City” creator Darren Starr and fills much of that same void, giving a voice to 40-year-old single women in New York City. While the show rarely eases on melodrama, it’s a nice escape from a stressful day.
“Younger” airs new episodes on TV Land and its first five seasons are available on Hulu.
Recommended for those who like: “Sex and the City,” “Jane the Virgin,” “The Bold Type”
“Santa Clarita Diet” (2017-2019)
A show starring Drew Barrymore and Timothy Olyphant as a realty couple in suburban California is already a sell in itself. Add in the twist that Barrymore’s Sheila Hammond is newly undead and the “Santa Clarita Diet” became one of television’s most delightfully wacky shows.
Barrymore (“Never Been Kissed,” “Charlie’s Angels”) delivered a career-highlight performance as Sheila, mixing her mundane maternal side with a newfound bloodlust in a natural, captivating manner. Olyphant (“Justified,” “Deadwood”) provided a perfect balance to Barrymore as Joel through his constantly anxious demeanor. The couple’s chemistry, as well as the entire supporting cast, thoroughly elevated the show. Mary Elizabeth Ellis’ (“It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia,” “Masterminds”) Lisa Palmer, PTA mom to the stars, especially lit up the screen in each of her recurring appearances.
“Santa Clarita Diet” is a devilishly exhilarating dramedy ideal for anyone who wants some dark humor and insanity. Not to mention Nathan Fillion (“Castle,” “Firefly”) recurred as a (literal) talking head and Nazis were eaten alive. It’s feel-good entertainment for all.
All three seasons of “Santa Clarita Diet” are available on Netflix.
Recommended for those who like: “Dead to Me,” “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia,” “Six Feet Under”
“Great News” (2017-2018)
Tina Fey has delivered some of the entertainment industry’s sharpest material in the 21st century, ranging from “Mean Girls” to “30 Rock.” The 2017-produced television comedy “Great News” is no exception.
“Great News” followed the workplace of The Breakdown, a local primetime news show, with the same rapid-paced humor of spiritual predecessor “30 Rock.” Briga Heelan (“Ground Floor,” “Love”) stars as Katie Wendelson, a producer on the show who had to deal with the presence of her mother Carol (Andrea Martin) in the office.
Filling the zany workplace niche that NBC has perfected through shows including “The Office” and “Parks and Recreation,” “Great News” was an easy-going, lighthearted half-hour of unabashed fun. The jokes-per-minute ratio is so high viewers can easily watch an episode multiple times and still miss one.
“Great News” is an easy binge at two seasons and 23 episodes and a nice accompaniment to a person’s busy day. Anyone even slightly positively attuned to NBC’s comedy brand should give the show a chance.
Both seasons of “Great News” are available on Netflix.
Recommended for those who like: “30 Rock,” “Superstore,” “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt”
The 1980s were run by primetime soaps “Dallas” and “Dynasty.” The 2017-remake “Dynasty” has failed to capture audiences quite the same. The show centers around the Carrington dynasty, a wealthy family of oil tycoons whose personal lives are even more extravagant than their work.
Liz Gillies, of “Victorious” fame, shines as tempestuous daughter Fallon Carrington, a ruthless business woman who doesn’t compromise for anyone. Fallon’s feuds with matriarch Alexis Carrington (Nicolette Sheridan) and stepmom Cristal Flores (Nathalie Kelley) bring the drama with exaggerated slaps and one-liners.
“Dynasty” is an entirely unrelatable drama of rich people exposing others and eavesdropping behind a hidden wall, all the while rocking a Prada jumpsuit. People have facial reconstruction surgeries to address a recast and fake identities to screw over a rival. “Dynasty” is certifiably over-the-top and it’s a blast through and through.
“Dynasty” is currently airing its third season on the CW with new episodes available on the CW app. Seasons one and two are available on Netflix.
Recommended for those who like: “Gossip Girl,” “Revenge,” “Empire”