Underrated but Wholesome

By Delaney Tran

Popularity is overrated. I’ve been let down far too many times by the hype of movies and shows. (I really should have learned my lesson after the first couple of times.)

Popularity also obstructs you from those hidden gems that need some recognition. Here are some of my personal favorites that most people are sleeping on ― wake up and check these out!

SONG - “Passenger Side” by Smallpools

My personal favorite from Smallpools would have to be their song “Dreaming.” However, sometimes you’re in the mood for some chill vibes to play while you drive at night, windows rolled down and the volume turned up. 

Their album "The Science of Letting Go," where this song is included, was released on Aug. 7, 2018. Photo courtesy of  Smallpools .

Their album "The Science of Letting Go," where this song is included, was released on Aug. 7, 2018. Photo courtesy of Smallpools.

PODCAST - “The Penumbra Podcast” produced by Sophie Kaner and Kevin Vibert

The Penumbra Podcast brings that “Twilight Zone” vibe, where you have a narrator who welcomes you at the beginning of every episode. Each of the episodes alternate between two formats. One: individual, one-shot stories. And the other: a continuous storyline that follows Juno Steel (voiced by Joshua Ilon), a self-deprecating, bisexual and nonbinary private investigator on Mars, as he solves various cases. The sound effects really immerse you in the story, but the show-stealer would have to be Peter Nureyev (voiced by Noah Simes), a master thief who blesses us with his appearance and charisma in a couple of episodes. 

Each episode is 30 to 40 minutes, and all episodes are free to listen on their website or Apple’s Podcast app.  

The elevator floor indicator on the cover image is representative of the "Twilight Zone" meets Mars vibe it has. Photo courtesy of  The Penumbra Podcast .

The elevator floor indicator on the cover image is representative of the "Twilight Zone" meets Mars vibe it has. Photo courtesy of The Penumbra Podcast.

WEBTOON - “King’s Maker” written by Haga, drawn by Kang Jiyoung

A webtoon is a digital, full-color comic originally from South Korea. Each chapter is formatted as one vertical strip that you scroll through. Some webtoons even have their own music and animation. 

I’m fairly new to the webtoon community, so I’m not sure if “King’s Maker” is popular or not; I just know that it’s my current addiction and not enough people are talking about it. It’s a rags-to-riches story, except the “rags” character is a prince who decides to come out of hiding and overthrow his tyrannical father. The amount of detail in the illustrations, world and storytelling is so juicy and a rollercoaster ride of feels. It is still ongoing and is currently in its second season (like a sequel). 

You can read this officially on Lezhin or scour the internet for some manga reading sites.

A few trigger warnings for this webtoon: violence, pedophilia (in negative light), abuse, graphic images, gore. Photo courtesy of  Lezhin .

A few trigger warnings for this webtoon: violence, pedophilia (in negative light), abuse, graphic images, gore. Photo courtesy of Lezhin.

TV SHOW - “Great News” (NBC) created by Tracey Wigfield

“Great News” was canceled after its second season, but what little episodes it has, it makes up in hilarity. This is such a feel-good sitcom with a quirky main character, Katie Wendelson (played by Briga Heelan), who has to deal with her overbearing mom (Andrea Martin) becoming an intern at her cable news network MMN. The show pokes fun at cable news and news in general, but maintains an uplifting theme: It’s never too old to follow your dreams. You can watch both seasons on Netflix.  

The TV show takes on issues including double standards in the workplace and the changing climate of news consumption in the same humor seen in "The Office."  Photo courtesy of  IMDb .

The TV show takes on issues including double standards in the workplace and the changing climate of news consumption in the same humor seen in "The Office."

Photo courtesy of IMDb.

MOVIE - “Comet” directed by Sam Esmail 

It’s a little difficult to explain what goes on in this movie. The film focuses on parallel universes and the exploration of two people, Kimberly (played by Emmy Rossum) and Dell (Justin Long), as they meet, fall in love, fall out of love and everything in between. One thing’s for sure: It’s both a cinematic beauty and poetic cinema to watch. 

Comet is at times hazy as if viewing through a filter, but it's only until the end that the message of the movie ties together. Photo courtesy of  Amazon .

Comet is at times hazy as if viewing through a filter, but it's only until the end that the message of the movie ties together. Photo courtesy of Amazon.