Think you know everything? News of an unmissable new video game, show, or movie spreads at the speed of the internet these days. With your ear to the ground, it’s hard to sleep through the hype of the latest hot property. But what about those screen works that leave no trace?
Regardless of quality, it takes something extra for a title to get famous: Grand Theft Auto? Sure, it’s good, but controversy fueled its success. Stranger Things? Its unique combo of retro styling got everyone talking. There is so much of this ‘shouty content’ around that entertainment media with a lower budget or a slower burn easily goes unnoticed.
That’s why RAVE Reviews donned its superhero costume to go and rescue the top games, series, and films in danger of getting lost. Using Metacritic, we found the 500 highest user-rated properties in each category, then sliced off the ones with the highest number of ratings. That leaves us with the games, shows, and movies that are highly regarded by just a handful of people—and (so far) ignored by everyone else. Ready to binge?
The Ten Most Underrated Video Games
Samurai Warriors 2 is a ‘sister project’ to the slightly less un-famous Dynasty Warriors franchise. Dynasty is set in Three Kingdoms-era China, Samurai in Sengoku-era Japan, but it seems the Japanese version was too similar to Dynasty to really take off. Still, “if you are into game with swords and bows you will defintly [sic] love this game,” as the Samurai Warrior 2’s only English-language user-reviewer puts it.
You might notice the names of the most underrated video games tend to lack pizazz. Valkyrie Profile hardly has the ring of Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, does it? Yet, according to Metacritic users, it stands up next to Final Fantasy and is so rare you can only find it overpriced on eBay or reduced-price in the bargain bins.
The Ten Most Underrated TV Shows
A generation of TV viewers will be astounded that you didn’t know Party of Five exists (hint: this generation is also into Nirvana and the SNES). But more than a quarter of a century after it debuted, the first season is rated 4.65 by a party of 12 Metacritic users. If you liked My So-Called Life, you might just dig this gentle, young adult-oriented family drama. (What do you mean “what’s My So-Called Life?”)
In the age of ubiquitous Marvel movies, we reckon spoof/sitcom The Tick (2001) is worth digging up, too. Patrick Warburton (Puddy from Seinfeld) plays the titular suburban superhero who heads to the city and acquires a sidekick, Arthur, a former accountant who wears a moth costume. (What do you mean “what’s Seinfeld?”)
The Ten Most Underrated Movies
The most underrated movie on Metacritic is a holy grail for film students. John Cassavetes’ A Woman Under the Influence is admired for its unhinged performances, ad-libbed dialogue, and low-key intensity. Legendary critic Pauline Kael wasn’t so keen, however. Her famous takedown of the film recently found new life as a monologue in Charlie Kaufman’s (overrated) latest picture, I’m Thinking of Ending Things.
Documentaries are a notable fixture in our top ten. Perhaps people just aren’t in a hurry to rate docs on Metacritic? Like those naff video game titles, many of the underrated films just don’t sell themselves, however good they might be: a mid-career Steve Martin comedy, a love triangle featuring a taxidermist and a waiter, and a Mandy Moore vehicle about boys. But somebody loves these movies, and they’re probably worth a shot.
Find a Hidden Gem to Watch, Binge, or Play
Still not found what you’re looking for? Here’s all our data: search the most underrated titles by rating, genre, and more to find an unexpected treat.
If there’s one thing more enjoyable than sharing a thing you love with others, it’s the feeling that you’re the only person who ‘gets’ an obscure film, show, or video game. Of course, RAVE Reviews has just spoilt that feeling for millions (well, dozens) of Samurai Warriors 2 fans around the world. But half the thrill is the search for dazzling art that others have overlooked. What’s your favorite screen work that nobody else has heard of?
METHODOLOGY & SOURCES
To create these tables, we extracted the top 500 video games, top 500 movies, and top 300 TV series according to the user score on Metacritic.com. Then we dropped all items released in 2020 and movies released before 1960. Then for each of the categories, we analyzed the number of ratings for each high-rated title and only included those that fell within the bottom 20% percentile but at the same time had at least 10 ratings. Data was collected in October 2020 and can be viewed in full upon request.