10 of the best TV shows you've never seen

10 of the best TV shows you've never seen
(Image credit: Channel 4)

It's tempting to follow the crowd and watch the latest and greatest TV series to launch on your favourite streaming service, but where's your sense of adventure?

Some absolute gems have come out over the years, many of which you might not even know existed. So, we've rounded up ten of our favourite TV series below, all offering something a little different and all of them still available to stream on one of the many services at your disposal (which we've highlighted too).

Whether you're into the supernatural, sci-fi or fancy a bit of nostalgia, there should be something here for you.

Alcatraz (2012)

A clever crime drama produced by the one and only J. J. Abrams. It’s 1963, Alcatraz has been closed because of safety issues, and all its inmates have been transferred. Or have they?

In fact, all of Alcatraz’s 256 prisoners and 46 guards are missing and have just popped up in present-day San Francisco. It’s the job of government agent Emerson Hauser (Sam Neill) to track them down, stop a new crime wave and get to the bottom of this rather strange turn of events.

Blood Drive (2017)

So good it was cancelled after one series. We jest, though. Blood Drive is set in a dystopian, alternate 1999 where the US has been split by a series of fracking earthquakes – there’s even a giant ravine called “The Scar”  running along the path of the Mississippi River.

Police officer Arthur Bailey and femme fatale Grace D’Argento are forced to work together in a series of death races in which cars run on human blood, uncovering the murky dealings of the extremely dodgy Heart Enterprises as they go. If you’re into 1970s and 80s exploitation films, you’ll be intrigued by what Blood Drive has to offer.

Carnivàle (2003-2005)

Two series and two separate storylines that slowly work their way into one, this fantasy TV show takes place in the Depression era between 1934 and 1935. It uses the Dust Bowl (a period of severe dust storms that impacted the American prairies) as its backdrop and a traveling carnival as its focus.

The battle of good versus evil is the main theme, with an intriguing mythological undercurrent flowing through it. A great series, aided by unique characters and backed up by some impressive cinematography.

Cobra Kai (2018-present)

Ever wondered what happened to the Karate Kid, aka Daniel LaRusso and his nemesis Jonny Lawrence? Well, all is revealed in this excellent YouTube series.

It might be set 34 years after the original film, but when Jonny reopens the Cobra Kai karate dojo we find out the rivalry between the two is still very much there. Yes, it’s a trip down memory lane, but it also makes for a hugely entertaining TV series.

Get Shorty (2017-present)

Based on Elmore Leonard’s 1990 novel and the 1995 movie of the same name, Get Shorty is a fun, and a times violent dark comedy.

It follows the exploits of Miles Daly, henchman for a crime ring, who attempts to go on the straight and narrow for his daughter’s sake, and become a movie producer. Obviously, it isn’t that simple and it’s not long before Miles’s past catches up with him.

Les Revenants / The Returned (2012-2015)

Winner of an International Emmy in 2013, Les Revenants is a supernatural TV drama based on the 2004 French film They Came Back. The series, unsurprisingly, involves a number of people coming back from the dead.

Not only does this result in a huge upheaval for the community of a small Alpine village it also results in a number of strange occurrences, not least a series of grisly murders that all have something in common. It represents that holy grail of style and substance, underpinned by an eerily beautiful Mogwai soundtrack.

Murder One (1995-1996)

You’ll struggle to find a high-definition stream – it is over 20 years old after all – but this is one heck of a courtroom drama, created by Steven Bochco of Hill Street Blues and L.A. Law fame.

The whole first series (all 23 episodes!) centers around a single trial, with criminal defense attorney Theodore “Teddy” Hoffman (Daniel Benzali) and his attempts to save a young actor accused of a woman’s murder. Expect more twists and turns than a Disneyland rollercoaster.

Rake (2010-2018)

We’ve got the land down under to thank for this clever comedy/drama. Cleaver Greene, played by Richard Roxburgh (The Crown, Hacksaw Ridge, Van Helsing) is a superb but self-destructive Australian criminal defense lawyer.

A former drug user and gambling addict, Cleaver also has the habit of rubbing his co-workers up the wrong way. Each episode of this TV classic brings a different drama to the table, as he represents clients ranging from serial killers to cannibals.

Stargate Universe (2009-2011)

Star Trek and Battlestar Galactica might have dominated the sci-fi TV scene in the 90s and 00s, but the Stargate franchise was always there in the background. Stargate Universe was a gem and followed the exploits of an exploration team aboard the ancient spaceship Destiny.

The team, headed up by brilliant scientist Nicholas Rush (Robert Carlyle) have to navigate through several billion lightyears and numerous adventures to make their way back to Earth.

Utopia (2013-2014)

Here we have a drama, mixed with mystery, doused in sci-fi and blessed with a healthy sprinkling of black comedy. Utopia centres around a graphic novel called The Utopia Experiments, which blows the lid on a number of global mysteries and conspiracies.

When a group of fans attempt to meet up to discuss the novel they end up the target of an organization known as ‘The Network’, which intends to do the whole human race harm. Or does it?

Andy Madden

Andy is Deputy Editor of What Hi-Fi? and a consumer electronics journalist with nearly 20 years of experience writing news, reviews and features. Over the years he's also contributed to a number of other outlets, including The Sunday Times, the BBC, Stuff, and BA High Life Magazine. Premium wireless earbuds are his passion but he's also keen on car tech and in-car audio systems and can often be found cruising the countryside testing the latest set-ups. In his spare time Andy is a keen golfer and gamer.