The 12 Most Underrated Romance TV Shows, Ranked





Romance television comes in all shapes and sizes. From medical dramas like Grey’s Anatomy to beloved sitcoms like Friends, there’s far more to the market than hours of Bridgerton… though that would not be a bad place to start! These shows really let the sparks fly.





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That being said, sometimes the best romance on TV comes out of the blue. Whether they start out on a faraway planet, the Old West, or even Brooklyn, they are just as, if not more, romantic than others, more popular fare, and often fly under the radar. They might not be as famous, but they still deserve a look. Here are some of the most underrated Romantic TV shows that fans can sink their teeth into, ranked.

Update December 19, 2023: Need more unrated romance TV in your life? Check out these new additions to the list and where each title is streaming.





12 Fellow Travelers (2023)

The Two Leads in Fellow Travelers
Showtime

Read Our Review

A first fiction novel released in 2007, Fellow Travelers is now a full-fledged series starring Matt Bomer and Jonathan Bailey. The two main characters fall in love during the Lavender Scare, a vicious and hateful witch hunt against queer communities that took place during the Cold War era. These characters live with the ever-present fear of being caught during their escapades, which only makes it harder for them to fall for each other. This story spans decades and includes some huge historical events set as the backdrop.

What Makes It Great

While this isn’t the most well-known or largest series on this list (after all, that is what makes it underrated), it’s one that should not fall under the radar. Its message of love that withstands social and political turmoil is still especially relevant today, with hatred against the LGBTQIA+ still running rampant in casual circles and social politics. This dramatization is a wonderful way to learn more about this otherwise little-known moment in history. Stream on Showtime

11 Starstruck (2021 – Present)

Starstruck

Starstruck
Release Date
June 10, 2021

Cast
Rose Matafeo , Nikesh Patel , Emma Sidi

Rating
TV-MA

Starstruck is a British TV series written by, directed by, and acted in by Rose Matafeo. This 21st-century look at romance great Notting Hill switches things up a bit. In this version, Tom (Nikesh Patel) is the movie star and Jessie (Matafeo) is the so-called no one. This much needed trope update is easily bingeable at three short seasons.

What Makes It Great

There are many reasons to watch this show and Matafeo is one of many of them. Matafeo has a unique voice and way of seeing the romance genre as a modern woman. This incredibly fresh sense of humor breathes new life into tired romance tropes, making it well worth the watch. Stream on Max

10 Up Here (2023)

The Two Leads in Up Here
Hulu

Up Here is an original Hulu series set in the late 90s/early 2000s. The show follows an entirely ordinary couple who discover the one thing keeping them from being truly happy together is themselves and their pasts. They’ll have to let it all go in order to enjoy the future they could have had together. Mae Whitman (Good Girls) and Carlos Valdes (The Flash) absolutely shine in the leading roles.

What Makes It Great

This series is a very realistic showing of a couple’s struggles, a fact the writers never veer from. The main couple is entirely relatable, which helps build an attachment to these likable, though flawed, characters. The show is also a musical, and the way that aspect is woven together with the narrative is done in a way that is enjoyable rather than detrimental to the pacing. While the songs are quite uptempo, the lyrics are rather deep with a dark undertone. Up Here might have been canceled after just one season, but it is still a solid series all on its own. It simply failed to capture the attention it deserved at the time of its release. Stream on Hulu

Related: 10 TV Shows That Are Mostly About Nothing

9 How I Met Your Father (2022 – 2023)

how i met your father
Hulu

The spin-off of one of the most popular romantic television series of all time How I Met Your Mother, How I Met Your Father told a new story centered on Sophie (in the present, played by Hillary Duff and in the future by Kim Cattrall) that focuses on her life in her late 20’s as she recounts to her son the story of how she meet her father: yet whose identity is not known. Fans sadly did not get an answer as Hulu canceled the series after two seasons without a proper resolution.

What It Is Great

Even without a proper resolution, How I Met Your Father is worth a watch, and the fact that it never got an ending might be what scares people from revisiting it or giving it a chance. This is a shame because it is a very funny series that picks up the same tone and spirit of the original iconic How I Met Your Mother while also updating it with a more diverse cast and acknowledging some of the more problematic elements of the original series. It also had a very modern millennial sensibility that certainly made it relatable to the viewers who likely grew up with the original series but now found themselves in Sophie’s shoes. The romance and drama always worked, in both comedic and heartbreaking ways, that feels very real despite the sitcom silliness. Stream on Hulu.

8 Lovesick (2014 – 2018)

The Cast of Lovesick
Netflix

Renamed Lovesick for its Netflix run, this British show is about Dylan (Johnny Flynn), a man diagnosed with Chlamydia who must track down all his partners to tell them about the STD. Instead of a quick and dirty phone call, he decides to sit down with each of them close and personal to bear the bad news. The series costars Daniel Ings and Antonia Thomas as they ride or die.

What Makes It Great

With a name like Scrotal Recall when it first aired, the shenanigans about to take place might be all too easy to guess. However, said shenanigans are told in a way that’s highly structured, with well-timed flashbacks and a somewhat episodic nature. Each episode is centered around one of his conquests, thereby fleshing out this tale of woe. Funny, and surprisingly romantic, this show is short and easy on the eyes. Stream on AppleTV+

7 Fleabag (2016 – 2019)

Fleabag is the series that made Phoebe Waller-Bridge a star. This show was written by, directed by, and starred the multihyphenate star. Adapted from her one-woman play by the same name, Fleabag follows an angry, free-spirited young woman with a penchant for breaking the Fourth Wall to tell audiences just how she feels. In doing so, the audience is more than willing to follow her into her strange yet all too familiar London world.

What Makes It Great

This popular Amazon series was as hilarious as it was lethal with some of its observations. While the popularity of the series should rule it out from being considered underrated, the show is often not mentioned in terms of great television romances, meaning despite its popularity, it is overlooked in some regards. Both seasons have some romance in them, but it is the second season that will make you swoon as her almost relationship with the Hot Priest (Andrew Scott) is as good, tender, and tragic as any Jane Austen novel. Knowing the end at the beginning was just the cherry on top. Stream on Prime

6 Sex Education (2019 – 2023)

Sex Education

Sex Education is one of the best TV shows about being a teenager. It’s also a romantic story about Otis (Asa Butterfield) and Maeve (Emma Mackey) and their “will they, won’t they” relationship. As they work together in a sex clinic for the kids at school, what starts as a friendship slowly evolves into something more. The series was one of the most popular on Netflix and it just concluded its run in 2023, with much of the main stars now going on to bigger roles like Emma Mackey in Barbie as well as Ncuti Gatwa who also recently has become the new lead of Doctor Who.

What Makes It Great

This refreshing take on sex education is as real as it is relevant, considering the abysmal state of this in the US (where some of the top abstinence-only education states also have some of the highest teen pregnancy rates in the nation). Talking openly and honestly about sexual issues from an early age is healthy, and this series shows audiences exactly why that is. At the same time, this is a show that experienced growing pains along with its Gen-Z audience, acting as a bit of a mirror for the generational divide. Stream on Netflix

5 High Fidelity (2020)

For the TV adaptation of the book and movie by the same name, High Fidelity changed the gender of the lead. Instead of John Cusack’s Rob Gordon, it became the story of Rob (Zoë Kravitz). A record store owner in Brooklyn, the series reviews her TOP 5 breakups. The series was sadly canceled after only one season. Here’s a fun fact: Lisa Bonet, Kravitz’s mother, appears in the film version.

What Makes It Great

The show kept many of the things that made both the book and the movie great while also adapting it to the point of view of a mixed-race woman. That change in gender and race is vital as it makes this less of a cynical remake and more a story story with something new to say. This is a story about love, romanticism, life, and allowing yourself to be vulnerable and go for it in a relationship. It’s a low-key type of romance that works, and for that reason, it deserves to be watched. Stream on Hulu

4 Never Have I Ever (2020 – 2023)

Never Have I Ever

Never Have I Ever is many things at once. It’s an immigrant story, a love story, a discovery story, and a coming-of-age story. Created by Mindy Kaling and Lang Fisher, the show follows Devi (Maitreyi Ramakrishnan), an All-American girl who’s had one heck of a time. Following the sudden loss of her father and the humiliating turn it took on her social and family life, she’s dead set on changing her status as a pariah in the upcoming school year. Two seasons later, the fourth and final season ended the show in 2023.

What Makes It Great

This series is as real as it is representative of South Asian culture. Besides shattering conventions, there’s plenty of romance, especially between Devi (Maitreyi Ramakrishnan) and Ben (Jaren Lewison), who, after teasing each other for most of the first season, shared an almost inevitable kiss. The characters in the show are all teenagers trying to discover themselves, wanting to have sex and fall in love, and creating funny, unique, embarrassing situations. Unlike other romantic series focused on teenagers, this one has a very frank discussion about various topics that are relatable and needed. Stream on Netflix

3 Pushing Daisies (2007 – 2008)

Pushing Daisies was a comedy-drama in which Ned (Lee Pace) is a pie maker who can bring people back from the dead with a simple touch. He does so, of course, with the beautiful Chuck (Anna Friel). The problem is, now that they’ve fallen in love if he touches her again, she will die… which would put a bit of a damper on their budding relationship. Disruptions from the 2007-2008 Writer’s Strike kept this series from entering a third season.

What Makes It Great

This beloved show is the epitome of underrated delight. Having amassed a not-so-small cult following, it could be the next one to get a reboot. For now, what most people remember is the relationship between the two leads and the romance they had. Without so much as a touch, they created a unique, almost Romeo and Juliet-esque love story between them. Pushing Daises remains just as good, delightful, and heartwarming as when it first hit screens in 2007. Stream on Max.

Related: Best Romance TV Shows, Ranked

2 You’re the Worst (2014 – 2019)

Even horrible people deserve love! This is the thesis of the long-running Hulu series You’re the Worst. This comedy cynically uncovers just why these people are the worst by showing off their running jokes and observations. Underneath it all, there’s also a unique, surprising love story between these two not-so-good people, Jimmy (Chris Geere) and Gretchen (Aya Cash). Think of this as It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, but for romance.

What Makes It Great

Creator Stephen Falk had a definite vision for this series. As Falk told Esquire,

“I think particularly the way we engage in romantic relationships and the way that we meet and have sex immediately because we’re drunk or bored or cynical at that moment about love or desperate and then the way that we get scared and run away and run into the arms of other people and don’t like their choice of restaurants and question the whole thing and are secretly still seeing some guy on the side… We do all this.”

This version of love is messy and wrong in all the right ways, which is probably what makes it so darn relatable. These are flawed characters, sometimes truly despicable. While love does not forgive those sins, it shows how everyone strives for love and sometimes sabotages themselves in self-destructive ways, but hopefully, everyone finds the love they need in their lives. This was never the runaway hit for FX that comedies like It’s Always Sunny in Philadephia or dramas like Sons of Anarchy were, but You’re The Worst is one of the best series the network had to offer. Stream on Hulu

1 Normal People (2020)

The Cast of Normal People
Hulu

Normal People has perhaps one of the greatest TV romances of all time. Adapted from the Sally Rooney novel, this miniseries showed intimacy and yearning like none other. The chemistry between the lead characters, Marianne (Daisy Edgar-Jones) and Connell (Paul Mescal), is so off the charts that some fans are still hoping the actors will date in real life.

What Makes It Great

The British show had a great novel from which to pick and chose. About the show, director Lenny Abrahamson told Awards Daily:

“And when I read Sally’s novel, I just had this feeling. It’s a novel, a novel about intimacy. (…) She manages to bring you so close to the characters and I found that moving. I also found it a beautiful challenge to try and find a tone, and a style of working, that gave an audience the same feeling of a real presence of the characters— an insight into that intimacy that they have with each other on the screen, as opposed to on the page.”

What ended up on the small screen became a beautiful story about love in all its small touches, in glances, shared silences, and deciding to go all in for just the right person. We dare you not to walk away without a warm fuzzy or two. Stream on Hulu

Manuel Rivas

Fernando Rivas. Compagino mis estudios superiores en ingeniería informática con colaboraciones en distintos medios digitales. Me encanta la el periodismo de investigación y disfruto elaborando contenidos de actualidad enfocados en mantener la atención del lector. Colabora con Noticias RTV de manera regular desde hace varios meses. Profesional incansable encargado de cubrir la actualidad social y de noticias del mundo. Si quieres seguirme este es mi... Perfil en Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/manuel.rivasgonzalez.14 Email de contacto: fernando.rivas@noticiasrtv.com

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