For every 24, Lost, House or Big Bang Theory, there's a Human Target, Firefly, Lie To Me, or Community: shows that every fan knows were just as good, if not better, but never became the same kind of massive success.
Some didn't even make it to a second season or even to the end of their first. This is not yet another article about those shows. This is not about the Family Guys and the Freaks & Geeks: the ones everyone raves about, bemoaning the stupid, shortsighted networks that let them slip away. There are none of the greatest hits of the armchair TV critic set here.
No, this is for the younger siblings to those prodigal sons, the ones that over-achieved and exceeded the limited prospects afforded them, yet remained overlooked, never receiving the critical attention and popular adoration they deserved. These are the commercial network shows which constantly overreached the lowered expectations held for them to become minor treasures. These are the weird little nuggets of awesome squirrelled away on low-rent cable channels attracting worldwide audiences smaller than the cast list of Keeping Up With The Kardashians.
Those shows that achieved some popular support but no critical acclaim may have lasted longer, but have since practically vanished from popular culture. Meanwhile, those that never got the public support they deserved simply disappeared off the face of the earth altogether. Not for them the grassroots support, petitions and renewals, and no six seasons and a movie either. These are a dozen of the most underrated television shows you've (probably) never seen.