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03 Aug 2016

True TV: Twenty Gone-but-Great (or at Least Good-ish) TV Series Streaming Right Now

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Before she was Jessica Jones, Krysten Ritter was the funniest bitch ABC ever dared to cancel. Before she was Jessica Jones, Krysten Ritter was the funniest bitch ABC ever dared to cancel.

Don’t Trust the B in Apt. 23 (Netflix; 26 episodes): Before she was Jessica Jones, and after she was a Breaking Bad casualty, Krysten Ritter was the funniest bitch ABC ever dared to cancel. Besides Elisabeth Hasselbeck, anyway.

Gravity (Hulu, 10 episodes): But, before she was the B, Ritter starred in this mopey-but-magnetic Starz dramedy about a suicide-survivors group. The show is occasionally as dark-humored as Jessica Jones. Original title: Suicide for Dummies.

Penny Dreadful (Hulu, Netflix; 27 episodes): The just-ended Showtime steampunk soap opera is one part Victorian X-Files and 50 parts crazeepy (crazy + creepy), with Eva Green’s killer performance inducing all of the feels.

Better Off Ted (Netflix; 26 episodes): Ted Crisp (Jay Harrington) works for mega-corporation Veridian Dynamics, an obvious precursor to Mr. Robot’s Evil Corp., in yet another of ABC’s genius comedy cancellations.

Happyish (Hulu, Netflix; 10 episodes): Steve Coogan (stepping in for Philip Seymour Hoffman) seethes hilariously as an advertising man in waaay more midlife turmoil than Don Draper ever drank through. A 2015 one-season-wonder.

The Venture Bros. (Hulu; 26 of 75 episodes): Not just the best cartoon on Adult Swim, but the best—and most densely back-storied—animated series ever, with a richer character bench than the Marvel Cinematic Universe. (Yeah, I said it.)

Birds of Prey (Amazon Prime; 13 episodes): In 2002, long before the DC Comics TV takeover, The WB gave us Batman’s daughter, Huntress, fighting crime and metahumans in Gotham. For DC completeists mostly … or only.

Human Target (Amazon Prime; 25 episodes): And another DC Comics property: a 2010 Fox take on a snarky bodyguard-for-hire (Mark Valley) action thriller. Also starring Jackie Earle Haley (Preacher) and Janet Montgomery (Salem).

The Good Guys (Netflix; 20 episodes): A criminally (ha!) overlooked 2010 Fox buddy-cop comedy starring Colin Hanks and an over-the-top-of-the-top Bradley Whitford as Dallas detectives. Not to be confused with the lesser The Other Guys.

The Riches (Amazon Prime, Netflix; 20 episodes): Killed off by the 2008 TV writers’ strike, The Riches, about a family of traveling grifters led by Eddie Izzard and Minnie Driver, should have been an FX classic, not a footnote.

Invader Zim (Hulu; 27 episodes): Pint-sized alien Zim is dispatched to Earth to prep the planet for takeover, resulting in one of the smartest and funniest cartoons ever to somehow wind up on Nickelodeon. Seriously, how did that happen?

Nikita (Netflix; 73 episodes): Where La Femme Nikita was ponderously talky and (sigh) Canadian, The CW’s Nikita upped the action and intrigue, putting Maggie Q and Lyndsy Fonseca upfront as serious (if 98-pound) ass-kickers.

Boss (Netflix; 18 episodes): Cutthroat Chicago mayor Tom Kane (Kelsey Grammer) keeps his degenerative dementia a secret and makes House of Cards’ Frank Underwood look like a pansy. Another Starz shoulda-been hit.

Lucky Louie (Amazon Prime; 13 episodes): Louis C.K.’s comedy experiment—a cheap ’70s-style sitcom with adult language and nudity—plays even better now than it did in 2006, removed from TV critics who don’t “get it.”

Huff (Crackle; 26 episodes): Hank Azaria starred as troubled psychiatrist Dr. Craig “Huff” Huffstodt in this overlooked 2004-2006 Showtime series, along with Paget Brewster and Oliver Platt. No, no one else has heard of it, either.

Secret Diary of a Call Girl (Hulu; 32 episodes): The professional misadventures of high-end London escort Belle (Billie Piper) are funny, sexy and even educational—and a lot more fun than The Girlfriend Experience.

Daria (Hulu; 66 episodes): Your old VH1 Classic channel has just been replaced with MTV Classic, a new ’90s rerun home for Beavis and Butt-head and its superior spinoff, the masterfully deadpan Daria. Watch it on Hulu instead.

Dead Like Me (Amazon Prime, Hulu; 29 episodes): The oft-forgotten link in the TV resume of creator/producer Bryan Fuller (Hannibal, Pushing Daisies), this is a Showtime dramedy about grim reapers living—and soul-collecting—among us.

Friday the 13th: The Series (Amazon Prime; 72 episodes): This late-’80s horror-cheese had nothing to do with Jason, just possibly incestuous cousins (John D. LeMay and the gloriously big-haired Robey) and cursed antiques.

Sheena (Crackle; 35 episodes): Ex-Baywatcher Gena Lee Nolin played barely clothed “Queen of the Jungle” Sheena in this early-2000s jigglefest that might be the dumbest series ever syndicated. No, definitely the dumbest.

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