5 shows that deserve an audience

Amy Poehler playing Leslie Knope of Parks and Recreation. (NBCUniversal, Inc.)

Amy Poehler playing Leslie Knope of Parks and Recreation. (NBCUniversal, Inc.)

Bill Harris, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 8:46 AM ET

Usually when you hear the word "undervalued," someone is trying to sell you stocks in a questionable company, or real estate in a questionable area.

I am peddling nothing today. But if you like TV, I liberally am using the word "undervalued" to describe the five shows listed here.

These series could not be more different in content, network brand or target audience. Some are loved by teens, some are loved by geezers. Some are rookies, some are veterans.

Some could use a ratings boost. Others perhaps are meeting expectations in that regard, but they just don't get the respect they deserve, in my humble opinion.

They aren't quite the forgotten five, but they are the undervalued five.

Emily Owens, M.D. (CW, CTV Two)

This show is not perfect. The idea is that high school has followed the lead character - played by Meryl Streep's daughter Mamie Gummer - into her work at a hospital, but that doesn't mean the other characters have to be so high school-ish, if you know what I mean. But Gummer is so likeable, it would be a real shame if this first-year series disappeared quickly.

Ben & Kate (Fox, Citytv)

This show is what New Girl was in its first season. I thought Nat Faxon, who plays Ben, would have to carry it, but Dakota Johnson, who plays Kate, is more than holding her own, and the story lines are becoming more centred on her. Side point: The two-second tag for Hemingway Drive Productions at the end of each episode cracks me up every single time.

Boardwalk Empire (HBO, HBO Canada)

It's a successful show by many measures, but I include it here because if you're gauging buzz, it never has broken out like other current HBO offerings, such as Game of Thrones or even Girls. A cousin of mine recently sent me an email that simply said, "Boardwalk Empire ripped my heart out again last night." It'll do that to you, in a good way.

The Vampire Diaries (CW, CTV Two)

Is the story chasing its own tail? Yes. But I have immense respect for the consistent quality of this youth-oriented vampire drama. In fact, one of the keys is that it's a straight drama. There are great quips - the bulk delivered by Damon (Ian Somerhalder) - but it's not a "dramedy." There's no winking at the audience.

Parks and Recreation (NBC, Citytv)

I have given up on ratings for this show ever growing. But for the record, it has been the most consistently funny sitcom on TV since its debut in 2009. Like Arrested Development, it may be appreciated more after it's gone.

bill.harris@sunmedia.ca


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