9 shows you should make time for

Four young women in 1950s attire stroll a high school hallway as young men in black leather jackets watch them.
Tricia Fukuhara, left, stars as the arch and quippy Nancy with Marisa Davila, Cheyenne Wells and Ari Notartomaso in Grease: Rise of the Pink Ladies” on Paramount +.
(Eduardo Araquel / Paramount+)

There’s so much quality TV out there (how about a round of applause for those writers?) and so little time to watch it all. Even television critics, who get paid to watch TV all day, can’t keep up with it all by themselves. That’s why we here at The Envelope take the group approach — a sort of divide and conquer — to such matters. We divide the viewing assignments and conquer a Top 10 list of shows you may have missed out on.

Being super selective, though, our list tops out at nine under-the-radar TV favorites — from Envelope writers Randee Dawn, Hugh Hart, Daron James, Carla Meyer and Chris Vognar — that could be worth your time.

Christoph Waltz stars as the title character in the surreal and edgy "The Consultant."
(Prime Video)

‘The Consultant’
Prime Video


Surreal and edgy, “The Consultant” is both ludicrous and impossible to turn away from, thanks to Oscar winner Christoph Waltz. As the titular newcomer who shows up the day after a gaming company’s CEO is killed in his office, Waltz’s character is a dark cipher who’s more than the sum of his (possibly solid gold) parts as he torments the employees and grooms a low-level assistant to abandon her morals in a search for power. — R.D.

Several new series and new seasons are set to air this summer, but some shows will also be ending. Here, our writers share what shows they are most anticipating.

May 11, 2023

A line of astronauts walking through a Mars landscape
“For All Mankind” creates a revisionist history of the space race and its aftereffects.
(Apple TV+)

‘For All Mankind’
Apple TV+

If the Soviets had landed on the moon first — and included women in their crew — how would the world be different today? For three seasons, “For All Mankind” has been asking and answering such speculation, crafting a space opera/alt-history tale that uses the race to the stars as a pivot point for a different, sometimes better world. We trust co-creator Ronald Moore (“Star Trek,” “Battlestar Galactica”), an old hand at forward-thinking space dreams, to navigate the journey. — R.D.

A young woman sits among fabric, thread and a sewing machine in a scene from "Grease: Rise of the Pink Ladies."
Tricia Fukuhara as the fashion-forward, quip-nailing Pink Lady Nancy Nakagawa in “Grease: Rise of the Pink Ladies.”
(Eduardo Araquel/Paramount+)

‘Grease: Rise of the Pink Ladies’


At some moments, this prequel series matches the goofy impertinence that made 1978’s “Grease” feature so lovable. Almost all of these moments involve Tricia Fukuhara as the fashion-forward, quip-nailing Pink Lady Nancy. Fukuhara’s extra beats between lines, slow-forming, knowing smiles, and general get-me-away-from-these-philistines archness rescue mediocre jokes before her quick bursts of ebullience remind us that Nancy would rather make over her wardrobe-challenged classmates than mock them. — C.M.

Tranter, who’s written hits for the likes of Justin Bieber and Imagine Dragons, is executive music producer of ‘Grease: Rise of the Pink Ladies,’ premiering Thursday.

April 5, 2023

Maya Rudolph walks on the tarmac with a jet in the background in "Loot."
Uber-rich Molly (Maya Rudolph) wants to do good but is clueless about money matters.
(Colleen Hayes/Apple TV+)

Apple TV+

Maya Rudolph as an uber-rich divorcee? Yes please! “Loot” reinvigorates the life-after-marriage trope with the “SNL” alum using her billion-dollar divorce settlement for philanthropy. Instead of simply donating it for a tax writeoff, Rudolph’s character, Molly, has genuinely good intentions behind her nonprofit. It’s just that her cluelessness keeps getting in the way. The uplifting sitcom touts plenty of laugh-out-loud moments thanks to its diverse ensemble cast. By the end, Molly even rights a few wrongs. — D.J.

Jeremy Renner as Mike McLusky stands near an open car door in a scene from "Mayor of Kingstown."
Jeremy Renner stars in the relentless and uncompromising prison drama “Mayor of Kingstown.”
(Dennis P. Mong Jr./Paramount +/Paramount+)

‘Mayor of Kingstown’


“Yellowstone” mastermind Taylor Sheridan has a dark side, and it’s nowhere more apparent than in this pitch-black, brutally violent drama about a fixer (Jeremy Renner, superb) fighting from the outside to maintain some semblance of order in a high-security Michigan prison. With its taut storytelling and complete lack of sentimentality, this is the most relentless and uncompromising prison drama since HBO’s “Oz.” Not for the faint of heart, it deserves to go down as a classic of the crime genre. — C.V.

A woman lies face-down on a rug, trash strewn about her head, in a scene from "Mythic Quest."
Charlotte Nicdao plays one of several eccentric characters in “Mythic Quest.”
(Apple TV+)

‘Mythic Quest’
Apple TV+

This show makes video game development wildly entertaining by coding it with eccentric characters, purely fun comedy and a dash of innocently malevolent behavior. But what puts the tech sitcom over the top is how it brilliantly blends relatable subplots that explore personal failings. Now in its third season, “Mythic Quest” taps into the insecurities of its characters, with Rob McElhenney, Charlotte Nicdao, David Hornsby, Danny Pudi and Jessie Ennis. — D.J.

A woman in a house looks concerned in a scene from "Rain Dogs."
Daisy May Cooper stars in “Rain Dogs.”

‘Rain Dogs’


Heir apparent to “Fleabag,” this hilariously bleak British comedy follows Costello Jones (Daisy May Cooper), a brash, broke, single mom who performs in peep shows and tries to write a novel while raising her lovely daughter, Iris (Fleur Tashjian). Complicating matters: Costello’s toxic best friend, Selby (Jack Farthing), a witty, wealthy ne’er-do-well. Raunchy and heartbreaking in equal measure, the characters spring full-blooded from the mind of showrunner Cash Carraway, author of “Skint Estate: A Memoir of Poverty, Motherhood and Survival.” — H.H.

Two men in uniform confer in the open desert.
Jack O’Connell and Connor Swindells star in “Rogue Heroes,” the origin story of the British Army’s Special Air Service.

‘Rogue Heroes’

Strange but true: A proper English gentleman (Connor Swindells) assembles a motley crew of borderline sociopaths. Against overwhelming odds, they destroy Nazi tanks rolling through North Africa hellbent for Cairo. This origin story about the British Army’s Special Air Service snaps to attention with quippy dialogue furnished by creator Steven Knight (“Peaky Blinders”), who sets the action against a soundtrack of ’70s-era punk rock songs, anachronisms be damned. Co-starring Jack O’Connell, Sofia Boutella and Dominic West. — H.H.

A woman sits in a vehicle and talks on the phone in a scene from "Vera."
Brenda Blethyn plays a prickly, no-nonsense detective in “Vera.”

BritBox/Acorn TV/Roku


Force-of-nature Brenda Blethyn, 77, has played Detective Chief Inspector Vera Stanhope since 2011 as a prickly, no-nonsense investigator whose dogged competence is her charm. Tooling around Newcastle (and environs), Vera’s never without her bucket hat and raincoat, and her cases are focused and episodic (no long arcs here). Faking little-old-lady helplessness, she regularly convinces witnesses and criminals alike to underestimate her — to their detriment. Did we say force of nature? Blethyn’s more like an international treasure. — R.D.