We live in the Golden Age of television. Production values have never been higher on the small screen than they are right now. So many stories that have never been told before are being shown to us in unique and fascinating ways. But with so much quality television being made, it is virtually impossible to keep up with it all. With so many great shows to choose from, deciding what to binge next can be an agonizing decision. So if you are looking to start a new show that will move (and sometimes thrill) you, here are five of the best current shows you may not yet be watching:
The OA (Netflix)
The OA, created by Brit Marling, is a beautifully-crafted science fiction show about a blind woman who returns following a years-long disappearance, with her sight restored and a mysterious mission. One of the best aspects of the show is the way it challenges the notion of having faith in another person. The charisma, optimism and innocence of Marling's lead make it impossible not to fall in love with her. (Also, the bizarre wolf sweater she wears throughout season 1 is my (low-key) favorite part of the show).
The OA teases us, episode after episode, with twisting revelations about what exactly happened to this woman while she was gone, and what her purpose might be in gathering together a group of people to share the story with. I honestly can’t describe the second season without giving away too much. It is by no means a perfect show, with certain plot elements that feel arbitrary or underdeveloped, but it makes up for these humble flaws with the honesty and truth with which the entire story is told.
Supernatural (The CW)
Surely no one is still watching this show after 14 seasons on the air? We’ve encountered ghosts, ghouls, demons and angels; we’ve averted the apocalypse, and met God (as well as His sister). I mean, what else could still happen with any higher stakes? And yet somehow Supernatural finds a way to keep the viewer invested. We’ve spent 14 seasons with these characters, and even though they’ve been to Heaven and back (literally), we still care about them and their wellbeing.
The show is formulaic in that each episode usually revolves around hunting a different monster, but the best part is the question that hangs in the background: when all of the unanswerable questions about life have been answered, and we’ve seen the face of God, what really matters anymore? What is the purpose of saving lives if, at the end of the day, it all seems to be for nothing? Supernatural constantly runs headlong into the danger of obliterating its own high stakes, but that fine line is also what makes it so unique.
Fleabag (BBC, Amazon)
Phoebe Waller-Bridge wrote and stars in this tightly-compact, impeccably-crafted comedy series of twelve 22-minute episodes (across two seasons) for the BBC. It is a literally perfect show. So perfect, in fact, that the writer/star once said she would never make a second season; that was, until she became enamored by the skills of actor Andrew Scott, and devised the second season's entire plot around a character she created especially for him.
A hopeless sex addict who cannot bring herself to more appropriately grieve the losses in her life, Fleabag is a heartbreaking and hysterical look at a woman just trying to get by. The show turns our idea of feminism on its head, shattering our conception of what it’s like to be a woman in 2019. Every episode is infused with sex, grief, family, and feminism; and while the second season dramatically changes course, it never strays too far from the show's core themes.
Search Party (TBS)
With the third season arriving any day now, Search Party is a hysterically funny dark comedy about a group of millennials searching for their missing “friend”. The reality is that none of them actually knew, or even particularly liked, the missing girl, but they get caught up in the search nonetheless. With a season 1 finale that turns the entire premise of the show on its head, Search Party is not afraid to take huge risks, even when they might alienate its viewers.
The main characters of the show were not necessarily conceived to be liked by the audience. One of the most unique aspects of Search Party is its portrayal of millennials as entitled and aimless, forever searching for meaning in their lives. The show makes bold decisions that test the limit of our ability to empathize with its main characters, but the brutal honesty and humor keep us invested despite such misgivings.
Schitt’s Creek (CBC, Pop)
Schitt’s Creek is hands down one of the best sitcoms on television right now. Originally a Canadian show that picked up a cult following, it is essentially what it would be like if the Kardashians went bankrupt and had to live in a small town in Canada. What makes the show so wonderful is the incredible cast that portrays the family. Anything that stars Eugene Levy and Catherine O’Hara as husband and wife is bound to be comedy gold, and O’Hara’s matriarch, Moira Rose, is surely the best character on television today. Her comedic timing and absurd accent make even the most innocuous of lines brim with humor and gravitas.
Their children, son David (played by Eugene Levy’s real life son Dan) and daughter Alexis (played by Canadian actress Annie Murphy) are your typical rich kids who never had to provide for themselves. Their attempts to find meaning in their lives in this small town adds layers of depth to the show, which make us care about these characters without coming across as sentimental. No matter how poorly they may treat one another (and everybody else), you still get the sense they are a loving family, and that’s what makes us care so deeply about them.