Current cast: Khandi Alexander, Kim Dickens, Steve Zahn, Clarke Peters, Wendell Pierce, Rob Brown, India Ennenga, David Morse, Jon Seda, Chris Coy, Melissa Leo, Michiel Huisman

Many thought it an impossible feat to accomplish, but Treme has done it—it gets even less viewers than The Wire did. And with a cast even less inclined to attract Emmy attention (read: black), this critical darling exists in relative anonymity. Which is a terrible shame, because that cast is just as magnetic as the gang from David Simon’s crown jewel.

From Melissa Leo’s dogged civil rights lawyer, Clarke Peters’ Mardi Gras Indian chief, to Kim Dickens’ beleaguered chef, the ensemble cast of Treme is just as colorful as the culture of New Orleans. Every single person brings their A-game. Not that they’ll ever get any more than a couple great reviews for their trouble.