3 under-appreciated shows on Netflix you really shouldn't ignore

As well as the likes of Squid Game and Umbrella Academy, Neflix is home to some real hidden gems

Criminal: UK
(Image credit: Netflix)

Some television shows are released to a fanfare of hype, while some sneak out with nary a peep over the parapet.

However, they can often deserve a lot more attention than they originally received. That's no more true than on major streaming services, like Netflix. They are so chock-a-block with content that it can be hard to find the diamonds in the rough if they haven't been favoured by the marketing machine.

The good thing though, is that you still have a chance to discover and enjoy them. And so we've put together this collection of three of our favourite hidden gems on Netflix.

They're all available to stream right now.

Whitechapel (2009 ITV TV Series) Trailer - YouTube Whitechapel (2009 ITV TV Series) Trailer - YouTube
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There are certain shows that, for many reasons, simply get overlooked and don't receive the levels of praise they deserve. 2013’s BBC drama Whitechapel is pretty much the poster boy for this.

A story centred around a fast-tracked police detective who is set about the task of deailing with new and historic crimes in London’s Whitechapel district, the show is so much better than it was credited at the time.

Going down an almost supernatural route, it delves into the crimes of Jack the Ripper, the imitators and the possible ghosts of his victims, while also bringing in modern myths and characters from London's seedy history.

Genuinely spooky and tense, Whitechapel was never afraid to push the boundaries of its network, and had some really solid character development and exposition.

Absolutely worth a watch now that all seasons are available on Netflix.. Expect to be uncomfortable.

Criminal | Official Trailer | Netflix - YouTube Criminal | Official Trailer | Netflix - YouTube
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Criminal: UK

An episodic anthology show with a single set location, minimal cast and designed to work like a stage play, Criminal: UK is pretty much the polar opposite of what Netflix usually offers. No CGI, no explosions and no car chases, this is script-driven narrative storytelling at its best.

The idea is simple. Each episode has a possible criminal in a police interview room while the detectives work to break them down and gather the truth. Nothing more, nothing less. And in this simplicity, the show finds its place in the world.

Helped massively by an extremely talented cast and some great writing, each episode is an unknown and the twists and turns are usually unseen. This leads to a series that keeps you gripped and never exactly sure of what will happen... is the suspect guilty or not?

With all seasons now on Netflix (and only very short seasons) this is absolutely perfect for a binge watch and will remind you of what well written, perfectly paced drama looks like.

Plus, once you've finished with Criminal: UK, you can check out Criminal: Germany, Criminal: France and Criminal: Spain. They each run with the same premise but feature new stories, you just need to follow using subtitles instead.

Archive 81 | Official Trailer | Netflix - YouTube Archive 81 | Official Trailer | Netflix - YouTube
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Archive 81

There are two main things that can be said about Archive 81.

First, the show was brutally cancelled by Netflix literally days after its release, despite great reviews and solid numbers. And second, it is one of the best mystery horror shows that the platform has ever released.

Set in modern day, the show follows video restoration expert Daniel Taylor (Mamoudou Athie) as he is tasked with restoring a selection of VHS tapes from the mid 1990s. As he does, the footage unravels a mystery involving a missing girl, a shady organisation, supernatural goings on and occult meetings – not exactly your average home movies and birthday parties.

The show is genuinely unnerving to watch with particular attention paid to tone and the sense of rising dread and tension. As events unfold, we become uncomfortable and for a show that never claims to be an actual horror series it delivers more of this than any of its rivals.

The show was released in 2022 and even today it's very rare for anyone to talk about it or to even have seen it. It was criminally under-marketed by Netflix, dropped onto the platform without any real fanfare and,as mentioned, cancelled almost straight away.

There is a huge underground campaign for the show to be picked up by a rival streaming platform, but as of June 2024 there's no sign of this happening. It's a real shame.

Brian Comber

Liverpool lad, mid-life crisis survivor, writer of short fiction, screenplays, articles, reviews and opinion pieces. Brian is totally in love with cinema in all its many forms. He writes for websites, blogs and published magazines, including Screen Rant, IGN and Purple Revolver in the constant hope it will help him avoid getting a real grown-up job. In his free time, he's a gym obsessive and previously good guitarist.