The 5 Best Written Shows You’re Not Watching

by Emily Jermusyk

There are so many different places you can find good TV now that many shows get left by the wayside. Below is a list of a few shows with lower ratings than they deserve chosen based on their writing. Not the pretty cast or high production quality, but by how well the words on the page create a compelling television experience.

The Best Shows You’re Missing (In No Particular Order)

1. JANE THE VIRGIN

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Airs on The CW at 9 p.m. on Mondays

Some may argue that this series is successful for a CW show  or simply because Gina Rodriguez won a Golden Globe for her portrayal as the title character, but the fact is people are not giving The CW the respect that it deserves in the post-Gossip Girl era.

If you are all caught up on the show, I recommend going back to episode one and reading the pilot to see how this writing staff masterfully handles the numerous plot lines and perfectly timed reveals. The attention to detail is on par with the first three seasons of Arrested Development. Nothing is ever dropped and you feel as though episodes must have been written concurrently.

2. AGENT PEGGY CARTER

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Aired on ABC, currently viewable on abc.com and Hulu

APC  may have taken a hit due to its sister series, AGENTS OF SHIELD, which may have lowered people’s expectations due to AoS’s poor early performance. APC also struggled to find the right level of post-WW2 nostalgia. But a few episodes in, Peggy Carter found her way in a family-friendly, action-packed series that allowed our heroine to grow and the audience to grow with her. Hopefully ABC will pick this up for another season as we are only at the tiniest beginning stages of what the show is ultimately about.

3. YOU’RE THE WORST

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Airs on FX, Season Two premiere summer 2015, date not yet set

Last fall, several shows premiered wanting to be a modern day MAD ABOUT YOU, including A TO Z and MANHATTAN LOVE STORY. Unfortunately, these shows failed for two reasons. 1) They were awful, and 2) that mantle had already been handed over to FX’s new comedy about a pathological liar and an overly-honest writer who meet and have a one night stand that accidentally leads to a relationship. The two leads held the show together early on with incredibly fast and sharp dialogue, and as the side characters’ lives were delved into over the first season, the foursome became one of the best written ensemble comedies currently on television.

4. AMERICAN CRIME

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Airs on ABC, Thursdays at 10 p.m.

This is an anthology series that unfortunately had an early March premiere date that I believe worked against it. With so many shows coming back from winter break just a few weeks earlier, new series get buried and they never receive the level of advertising attention given to fall premieres.

It’s too bad, because this series is a stand out. The writers are doing a fantastic job of unfolding the story of a murder through the eyes of the family of the victims and the accused. From an intellectual standpoint, this show teaches us more about local government processes than most news program. From a story standpoint, this show goes completely against trend. While many are telling the stories of “Walter White” and “Ray Donovan” types doing more and more horrific things, this story is about all the people surrounding those who would typically be at the center. It is telling multiple compelling stories and relies heavily on emotion. Read the pilot script and see how these writers were able to make simple white pages emote with imense power.

5. THE 100

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Airs on The CW, available on Hulu and Netflix

Here’s the logline: A hundred years after the earth is filled with radiation from a nuclear war, sending its inhabitants to live in space, the government sends a hundred criminal teenagers down to the surface to see if Earth is habitable again. Sounds ridiculous right? The perfect set up for a sexy Lord of the Flies.

What the writers have wisely done is keep this multi-generational. For a channel that is famous for soap operatic teen shows, The CW is creating an incredibly thoughtful product that you can actually watch with your family. (You may feel awkward for a couple moments, but trust me, you can.) The pilot is definitely leaning heavily into teen soap, but push through. Episode Five left me in tears.

~

Emily Jermusyk is a screenwriter and story consultant. She got her start in high school writing over 150 episodes of a soap opera parodying Knots Landing. If desired, Emily will talk to you at potentially-annoying-length about topics such as why the CW is her favorite channel, the current amazing state of underground comedy, and how she avoids TV/films about zombies because most of them do not chew with their mouths closed. Follow Emily on Twitter, and check out her website, Ruining Television.

4 thoughts on “The 5 Best Written Shows You’re Not Watching

Add yours

  1. I’d like to agree with the quality of your picks, but I can’t. You are correct, I am not watching them. I’ll get right on it!

  2. Why comment on shows I’ve mostly never seen? Because APC: Another Piece of Cinematic Universe of Marvel. Agent Carter really does grow on you. Check it!

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