Many times, great TV series fly under the radar to be missed by audiences, never getting the kind of cultural buzz that comes with highly marketed shows and critical favorites.
But critics aren't always perfect, and they can't catch everything. There are many great TV shows that critics either missed or didn't care for, that garnered smaller initial audiences but continue to grow through the only real marketing that matters: word of mouth.
We live in a golden age of television with streaming platforms pumping out more TV shows than we can keep up with, and too many of them go unnoticed despite the originality they bring to the table. The wealth of content on streaming platforms is a double-edged sword.
Here are some of the best hidden gem comedy TV series that are only on streaming services, that you may have missed but definitely need to check out if you haven't already.
7. Single Drunk Female (2022–Present)
Following the story of a young New York woman who loses her job and is forced to move back to Massachusetts and live at home, Single Drunk Female sounds like it might be a light-hearted comedy that meanders along without making much of an impact.
However, that's far from the case. Single Drunk Female is fun, yes, but it also looks at the brutal effects of alcoholism in youth. It concentrates the energy of the show on drawing humor from the pain of drinking, as opposed to the other way around.
Sofia Black-D'Elia's leading performance as Samantha is star-making as she infuses her character with a depth that continues to unfold across her many misgivings.
6. The Outlaws (2021–Present)
The Outlaws is, without a doubt, Stephen Merchant's crowning achievement since he went solo. The BBC series has a stellar cast (that oddly includes Christopher Walken) in a story set in the small city of Bristol, England, amidst a tale of stolen drug money.
The show has a wonderful balance that's tipped with comedy and drama in equal measure, with its comedy coming through to soften the heavier subjects that permeate the characters' journeys.
The performances in The Outlaws are all top-notch, especially that of the charismatic Walken, as each character is allowed ample time to develop and unfold on the screen.
5. Trying (2020–2023)
As a comedy series on Apple TV+, there was a good chance that Trying would end up lost in the mix of all the comedy series on streaming services. After all, Apple TV+ had a late start in the game.
However, as Apple TV+ cements itself as a notable player in the streaming industry, Trying has become one of many must-see series that are only available to stream on Apple TV+.
Trying is the tale of a couple who can't have children. The series paints the journey shared by two people as they navigate the adoption system in the UK—one that's portrayed with extraordinary depth—as well as the challenges and pitfalls that come with it.
Armed with a strong supporting cast and two very lovable leading performances from Esther Smith and Rafe Spall, Trying has a magic that follows the audience wherever they are.
4. Star Trek: Lower Decks (2020–Present)
Star Trek: Lower Decks represents a welcome change of pace for the franchise. This animated Amazon series focuses more on the comedic situations that arise amongst those who work on different parts of the Starships (rather than simply the bridge).
The story here is a fun one, which takes audiences to new planets to discover new worlds. It's something that classic Star Trek has always set out to do, but Lower Decks features a bit of Futurama to it—a sense of self-awareness that pokes fun at the rest of the franchise.
It may not be as wide-watched as it deserves to be due to its association to Star Trek, but don't let that deter you. Give it a chance and you might be surprised by how much you like it.
3. The Sex Lives of College Girls (2021–Present)
The show's title might make it seem as if The Sex Lives of College Girls is an overly raunchy series about the sexual exploits of young women at college. To some degree, that's not untrue.
But the real core of The Sex Lives of College Girls rests in the bonds between the four roommates who lead the cast. The exploration of self and sexuality is at the forefront of their journeys, and it's done in a way that makes each one multi-dimensional.
With an inch-perfect script and diverse performances from an astounding cast, The Sex Lives of College Girls is a bit of a misnomer—this show goes far deeper than its title would suggest.
2. Mythic Quest (2020–Present)
Rob McElhenney's geeky TV series Mythic Quest centers on the daily lives of those who run a successful MMORPG. It was one of the first original series on Apple TV+ and has since become one of the best-loved series on the entire platform.
Mythic Quest banks on the overly confident and bombastic nature of a creative talent who's borderline crazy, all while imbuing its supporting cast with a "You don't have to be crazy to work here, but it helps" mantra that makes for a fun show with twists and turns.
What makes Mythic Quest unique from other workplace comedy TV series is the profundity beneath its veneer of wit. The fear of failure and constant need for reinvention in an ever-shifting industry drives the series to depths that other comedy shows are afraid to go.
1. As We See It (2022–Present)
A TV series centered on the needs and wants of young people with autism who live together? That doesn't sound like the premise for an overt comedy, but As We See It proves to be every inch the comedy it set out to be with a true understanding of what it is.
The performances given by the entire cast infuses the show with a kind of self-referential humor, all while espousing the challenges—both physical and social—faced by those afflicted with autism.
As the series moves along at a perfect pace, it unfolds to become more than audiences initially thought it would be. As We See It holds a zest for life that comes from witnessing and understanding others whose experiences are vastly different from the norm.