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Five cult TV comedies to watch

With big names like ‘Modern Family’ and ‘The Big Bang Theory’ only just returning from their annual mid-season breaks, we pick five unsung cult TV comedies from the past and the present to fill the mainstream gap

Broad City

Broad City

Best for: ‘Girls’ enthusiasts who actually want characters they can root for
What it's about: ‘Broad City’ was originally a well-received 2009 web series created by its two leading ladies, Ilana Glazer and Abbi Jacobson. Fast-forward six years and this rambunctious Comedy Central gem about a pair of struggling, low-income twenty-somethings in New York City, is returning for its sophomore run this month following a sparkling early 2014 debut.
Why you should watch it: There’s nothing anodyne about ‘Broad City’. While ‘Girls’ veers precariously towards the self-indulgent and ‘2 Broke Girls’ tends to be over-the-top unfunny, this on-going Amy Poehler-produced comedy offers a winning trifecta of endearing sisterhood, irreverent humour and laugh-a-minute debauchery.
www.cc.com/shows/broad-city

Party Down

Party Down

Best for:Silicon Valley’ obsessives who like their comedy deadpan and dry. 
What it's about: Before Lizzy Caplan wowed audiences as Virginia Johnson in the 2013 Showtime period drama ‘Masters of Sex’, the ‘Mean Girls’ alum starred opposite ‘Parks and Recreation’s Adam Scott in this little-watched 2009 comedy series. ‘Party Down’, which ran for two oh-too-brief seasons on the Starz network before being cancelled in 2010, revolves around a ragtag group of down-on-their-luck Hollywood hopefuls and the titular catering company they begrudgingly work for.
Why you should watch it: In addition to Scott and Caplan, fellow cast members Ken Marino, Martin Starr and Megan Mullally are some of the most underrated comedic impresarios around. Their uncanny ability to play off each other’s characters, coupled with the show’s clever, off-kilter writing, shrewdly shines a light on a bunch of struggling entertainers who are just as insecure and hapless as the next guy.
www.starz.com/originals/partydown

Community

Community

Best for: TV buffs who live on meta-humour and pop culture references. 
What it's about: A flamboyant cross-dressing dean, a disgraced, narcissistic lawyer and a socially awkward geek raised on pop culture are among the oddball characters you’ll meet along the hallowed halls of the fictional Greendale Community College, where an impromptu Western-style paintball tournament is par for the course.
Why you should watch it: This Dan Harmon-helmed tour de force, which is slated for an early 2015 premiere on Yahoo! Screen for a sixth season after being dumped by NBC last year, ranks as one of the most unconventional and intricate comedy efforts in contemporary television. Between the peerless ‘Mad Men’ and ‘Doctor Who’ parodies and skits, ‘Community’ is every ‘Dungeons and Dragons’- playing adult’s dream.
www.nbc.com/community

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Undeclared

Undeclared

Best for: ‘Freaks and Geeks’ fanatics who wished the ’80s-centric show was set in the 2000s/ 
What it's about: Premiered on Fox in 2001, ‘Undeclared’ was the successor to Judd Apatow’s other one-season wonder, ‘Freaks and Geeks’. It follows Steven Karp, an undeclared freshman with ‘The X-Files’ tendencies, and his motley crew of college-mates at the fictional University of Northeastern California. Unfortunately the gang never made it past freshman year – the criminally undervalued series was axed in 2002.
Why you should watch it: ‘Freaks and Geeks’ often leaves its little brother in the shade when it comes to cult status and star power, but Ben Stiller’s whizbang cameo as Jason Segel’s mullet-donning roommate ranks as one of the most unforgettable guest-starring turns in recent TV memory. Led by superlative performances by future Hollywood leading men Seth Rogen, Jay Baruchel, Charlie Hunnam and Segel, ‘Undeclared’ also deserves plaudits for its light-hearted yet poignant portrayal of campus life.
www.ifc.com/shows/undeclared

Arrested Development

Arrested Development

Best for: ‘Scrubs’ fans who are partial to madcap characters and absurd plotlines. 
What it's about: This Golden Globe- and Emmy-winning sitcom about the dysfunctional and morally ambiguous Bluth family is the poster child for cult TV shows. Despite receiving widespread critical acclaim, ‘Arrested Development’ was shelved by Fox in 2006 after three coruscating seasons due to poor viewership numbers. Netflix revived the series in 2013, releasing an eagerly awaited fourth season to the delirium of diehards everywhere. A fifth season, in addition to a widely discussed ‘Arrested Development’ film, are rumoured to be in the works.
Why you should watch it: The zany, offbeat ensemble comedy that helped launch the careers of Jason Bateman, Michael Cera and Will Arnett is all about rewarding patient, obsessive devotees who would geek out at every subtle in-joke, running gag and obscure reference.
www.facebook.com/arresteddevelopment

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