Need something new to watch? You’re in the middle of what might be the the most optimal time to watch TV ever (when you can’t go out because there’s a pandemic). Fortunately, there’s no shortage of awesome shows out there across a number of streaming services. Here’s every streaming show you should absolutely make time for.
“Succession” (Seasons 1-2 on HBO Go) –
This extremely dry comedy about a billionaire family full of clownish jerks — everybody tends to compare them to the Murdochs — is one of the most memeable shows on television.
“Brooklyn Nine-Nine” (Seasons 1-7 on Hulu) –
Likewise, “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” is a sitcom with real heart, where all the main characters always have good intentions and just wanna help each other. And also it’s really funny.
“Modern Love” (Season 1 on Amazon Prime Video) –
If you just want something super nice and sweet to watch, this fairly short anthology series really hits the spot. It’s just a series of stories about people who form surprising relationships that aren’t necessarily based in romance. It’ll make you feel good!
“Homeland” (Season 1-7 on Netflix, and 1-8 on Showtime Anytime) –
This series, about a bipolar CIA agent who gets involved in some really messy situations, just ended its run on Showtime. So right now you’ll get a lengthy show to watch that you know will eventually have a conclusion.
“The Plot Against America” (Season 1 on HBO Go) –
It’s really nice, in times of great collective stress, to experience a story that helps you contextualize the real world while pretty far removed from the present moment. And this story, which depicts an alternate history in which Charles Lindbergh defeated FDR for the presidency in 1940, definitely fits that bill.
“Jack Ryan” (Seasons 1-2 on Amazon Prime Video) –
This John Krasinski action drama based on the famous Tom Clancy character is certainly very corny, but sometimes that’s what you need.
“Dickinson” (Season 1 on Apple TV+) –
The easy highlight of the Apple TV+ slate so far. This sort of modernist teen comedy version of Emily Dickinson’s formative years is super clever.
“The Purge” (Season 1 on Hulu, Season 2 is purchasable from digital retailers) –
The two seasons of “The Purge” we got on USA Network were more than worthy entries in the franchise alongside the movies. In some ways they’re even better, since we get more time to explore this strange utopia.
“Sweet Magnolias” (Season 1 on Netflix) –
It’s as though “Riverdale” had a surprisingly wholesome Southern baby. It might not be the glossiest show, but it’s oddly effective as comfort food.
“Prison Break” (Seasons 1-5 on Hulu) –
This show is so crazy in a very network TV kind of way, but it’s full of characters that you’ll become very attached to very quickly. Even the horrible ones.
“Outlander” (Season 1-3 on Netflix, Season 1-5 on Starz) –
We all need a grand romantic adventure in our lives, right? And it doesn’t get much more grand or romantic than Starz’s flagship series about an early 20th century woman who accidentally travels to the distant past and falls in love there.
“Riverdale” (Seasons 1-3 on Netflix) –
This odd teen drama based on the Archie Comics characters is just about the trashiest show imaginable. And that’s why it’s so, so good.
“Designated Survivor” (Seasons 1-3 on Netflix) –
The story of a reluctant successor taking the presidency after a tragedy that destroys the government is full of positive American idealism. “Designated Survivor” combines a little bit of “The West Wing” with “24” to make something that’s extremely watchable, and the Netflix-exclusive third season got so real in exactly the right way.
“The Young Pope”/”The New Pope” (Both on HBO Go, HBO Now) –
Jude Law is the first American pope in HBO’s dark comedy about religion, authority, politics and backstabbing. And then John Malkovich popped in as his successor in “The New Pop.” A thoroughly brilliant bit of casting if you ask us.
“Santa Clarita Diet” (Seasons 1-3 on Netflix) –
Drew Barrymore is a suburban realtor who suddenly dies, then comes back with a taste for human flesh in Netflix’s gory comedy. Not quite a zombie, she struggles to carry on life as usual with her husband, Timothy Olyphant, as they find themselves killing their neighbors to keep her fed so she won’t go full evil.
“The Runaways” (Seasons 1-3 on Hulu) –
Hulu’s first Marvel show stands apart from a lot of the other superhero offerings on TV by following a group of diverse teen protagonists. After they discover their parents might basically be supervillains, a group of kids start discovering they have strange abilities of their own. “The Runaways” is a great change of pace from the usual superhero show.
“Glow” (Seasons 1-3 on Netflix) –
Netflix’s comedy heads back to the 1980s for the historic formation of the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling show, hitting on some ridiculous situations as a group of women with no wrestling experience try to come together to make something amazing. “Glow” sports a hysterical cast, and its first season is a quick binge that’s totally worth the investment.
“Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events” (seasons 1-3 on Netflix) –
Netflix’s adaptation of the children’s book series is a blast, featuring great performances from a variety of visiting stars, from Joan Cusack to Don Johnson. They’re all led by a hilariously evil Neil Patrick Harris.
“Altered Carbon” (season 1-2 on Netflix) –
If you’re looking for a huge, beautiful, expansive sci-fi vision, “Altered Carbon” is a good place to start. Netflix’s adaptation of the book of the same name imagines a world where bodies are interchangeable and people are stored as digital versions of themselves. There’s a whole lot to absorb in this hard-boiled sci-fi murder mystery.
“The Expanse” (Seasons 1-4 on Amazon Prime Video) –
Syfy’s return to space opera is like “Game of Thrones,” but with interplanetary travel. Mixing a murder mystery and a Cold War conspiracy story, “The Expanse” is full of zero-gee special effects and characters flying around the solar system, trying to prevent a war that could end humanity. The first season is available to stream on Amazon, while the second season recently wrapped up on Syfy.
“Bosch” (seasons 1-6 on Amazon) –
Amazon’s police procedural follows a troubled cop as he struggles to solve a decades-old child murder. Amazon has three seasons at the ready right now, with a fourth season confirmed on the way.
“Dark” (seasons 1-2 on Netfix) –
A dark story about a small German town where kids keep disappearing, “Dark” picks up speed when secretive sci-fi elements start to impact the lives of everyone in town. Think a darker, more adult “Stranger Things.”
“The Path” (seasons 1-3 on Hulu) –
Things are spiraling out of control in the cult known as Meyerism in Hulu’s drama. Aaron Paul loses his faith and tries to get out, leaving behind his family of believers. Oh, and Hugh Dancy is an unhinged cult leader who’s losing control and murdering folks.
“Travelers” (seasons 1-3 on Netflix) –
Time travelers from the future walk among us in “Travelers,” executing secret orders in order to change the future. This Netflix show has some cool ideas about dealing with the pressures of saving the world, along with the ways messing with the present can affect the future.
“Shut Eye” (seasons 1-2 on Hulu) –
Hulu’s latest original series is about grifters in the Los Angeles psychic reading business. But then Jeffrey Donovan takes a blow to the head, and suddenly he might actually be seeing the future. The machinations and dark humor pile up as he and his family try to get out from under the thumb of their crime lord bosses.
“The Man in the High Castle” (season 1-4 on Amazon) –
What if the Nazis had won World War II? The newly released second season of “The Man in the High Castle” takes us back to an alternate universe where the U.S. is divided between Japan and Germany. And the four-season run of this big-budget series is a wild one.
“Portlandia” (seasons 1-8 on Netflix) –
“Catastrophe” (seasons 1-4 on Amazon Prime Video) –
With only six half-hour episodes in each of its four seasons, Amazon’s acclaimed sitcom “Catastrophe” is an easy binge. From creators Sharon Horgan and Rob Delaney, who also star.
“Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” (seasons 1-4 on Netflix) –
The Tina Fey-created, Ellie Kemper-starring comedy is definitely a must-watch, with four seasons and a movie available on Netflix right now. Predicated on the premise that the titular Kimmy escaped being kidnapped and held in a bunker and is now picking her life up where she left off, “The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” is full of ridiculous situations in the vein of shows like “30 Rock.”
“Ozark” (Seasons 1-3 on Netflix) –
Think “Breaking Bad” but if the whole family was in on the crimes, and you’ve got an idea of what “Ozark” is like. It follows a money launderer as he’s forced to head from Chicago to Missouri and make big moves to keep a drug cartel off his back. The first season is a tense crime drama, and among the best shows on Netflix.
“Luke Cage” (seasons 1-2 on Netflix) –
The latest installment in Marvel’s street-level universe (which also includes “Daredevil” and “Jessica Jones”) stars Mike Colter as a bulletproof hero bringing justice to Harlem. Besides action and social commentary, it has the best soundtrack of any superhero series ever.
“Jessica Jones” (seasons 1-2 on Netflix) –
Marvel’s “Jessica Jones” won audiences and critics over with its rich storytelling, strong female lead, and intense action sequences.
“The Punisher” (seasons 1-s on Netflix) –
This series spins off from Season 2 of “Daredevil” to take a closer look at the Punisher, a superhero known for dishing out pain to criminals through nothing but sheer willpower. This might be the best of Marvel’s shows, though, as it’s more about folks working through their emotional trauma than shooting guys.
“Jane the Virgin” (season 1-5 on Netflix) –
The CW’s charming, telenovela-esque comedy has proved itself to be binge-watching candy. If you haven’t checked out “Jane the Virgin,” you can get lost in the first three seasons available on Netflix.
“The Get Down” (Season 1-2 on Netflix) –
Baz Luhrmann’s stylish look at the birth of hip-hop in New York City is musical and charged with excitement. “The Get Down” deliver something that’s pretty different from other streaming fare, with its 1970s New York setting and the drama surrounding an emerging, exciting art form.
“Difficult People” (Seasons 1-3 on Hulu) –
The darkly comical “Difficult People” made its debut on Hulu at the end of the summer of 2015, impressing critics thanks to the lead performances of Billy Eichner and show creator Julie Klausner.
“Silicon Valley” (Seasons 1-6 on HBO Now and HBO Go) –
The fourth season for HBO’s “Silicon Valley” continues its parody of the tech-industry with its loveable band of nerd-entrepreneurs trying to keep their heads above water. Season 4 of the show just wrapped up, so there’s plenty of comedy to be had on HBO Go and HBO Now.
“The Crown” (seasons 1-3 on Netflix) –
If you spend all your free time worrying about the Queen of England’s health, this is the series for you. It looks at the last days of Winston Churchill, and how Elizabeth II took on the burden of the crown.
“Better Call Saul” (Netflix, season 1-4 only) –
“Rick and Morty” (Seasons 1-4 on Hulu) –
Dark and ridiculous, “Rick and Morty” might be animated, but it’s definitely not for children. The Adult Swim cartoon is about Rick, an often-drunk super-scientist, and his grandson Morty, who accompanies him on ridiculous adventures.
“The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” (seasons 1-3 on Amazon) –
A hilarious story about a former housewife in the 1950s who discovers she’s a dynamite stand-up comedian, there’s a reason “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” has been an awards darling since its first season.
“The Good Wife” (seasons 1-7 on Hulu and CBS All Access) –
Juliana Margulies plays Alicia Florrick, who joins her ex-boyfriend’s law firm after her disgraced husband, the Illinois attorney general (Chris Noth) is caught in a prostitution scandal. “The Good Wife” is part relationship drama, part legal procedural — and always surprisingly funny.
“Broad City” (seasons 1-5 on Hulu) –
Comedy Central’s hilarious, New York-based sitcom had a stellar five-season run. Created by and starring Ilana Glazer and Abbi Jacobson.
“13 Reasons Why” (Seasons 1-3 on Netflix) –
High school drama “13 Reasons Why” tells the story of a girl who commits suicide, and the tapes she leaves behind for all the people in her life that drove her to that decision. And then it continued to deal with the fallout in the subsequent seasons.
“You’re the Worst” (seasons 1-5 on Hulu) –
The FX comedy about two anti-relationship people (Chris Geere and Aya Cash) in a toxic romance made a positive impression on critics in its first two seasons, which are currently available to stream on Hulu.
“BoJack Horseman” (seasons 1-6 on Netflix) –
“BoJack Horseman,” Netflix’s hysterical animated social satire, didn’t do so great in its first season, but made vast improvements when it came back. Now considered one of Netflix’s best, you can stream all six “BoJack” seasons right now, plus a Christmas special.
“Transparent” (seasons 1-5 on Amazon) –
Jill Soloway’s Golden-Globe-winning dramedy “Transparent” has received acclaim for its wonderful performances, acerbic writing, and sensitive direction.
“Black Mirror” (seasons 1-5 on Netflix) –
The darkly, darkly satiric series looks at how technology robs us of our humanity — or just gives us excuses to abandon it. The series has gotten somewhat more hopeful in recent years, and the “Bandersnatch” interactive movie thing is a real trip.
“The Walking Dead” (seasons 1-9 only on Netflix) –
As AMC’s most-watched program, “The Walking Dead” has built a large fan base over the course of its many, many seasons. While its newest season has yet to be available for streaming, people can watch the first nine seasons of “The Walking Dead” for now, on Netflix.
“Making a Murderer” (Season 1 on Netflix) –
This intensive documentary series covers the story of Steven Avery, who was exonerated of a rape accusation before being arrested for murder. The sorted story is spread out over 10 episodes, raising plenty of questions about whether Avery is guilty along the way.
“Stranger Things” (Seasons 1-3 on Netflix) –
Channeling 1980s sci-fi and supernatural hits like “Close Encounters of the Third Kind,” “ET,” “Gremlins” and the works of Stephen King, “Stranger Things” perfectly captures an aesthetic of awesome movies gone by. It’s also a suitably spooky story of a group of kids who have to go up against monsters, and the government, to save their town.
“The Handmaid’s Tale” (Seasons 1-3 on Hulu) –
A dystopian world that subjugates women is the setting for “The Handmaid’s Tale.” The dark series’ focus on the feminist struggle of Elizabeth Moss feels especially poignant in today’s political climate.
“Orange is the New Black” (Seasons 1-7 on Netflix) –
Netflix’s acclaimed show tackles some really tough issues through its prison inmate humor, and there’s plenty of “Orange” to watch when you need a deep dive into a show.
“Big Little Lies” (Seasons 1-2 on HBO Go and HBO Now) –
HBO’s scandal- and rumor-fueled dark comedy “Big Little Lies” also became a whodunit as its drama unfolded. Its star-studded cast includes Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman, Shailene Woodley, Alexander Skarsgard and Laura Dern.
“Insecure” (Season 1-4 on HBO Go and HBO Now) –
Issa Rae channels some hilarious but relatable experiences as she and her friend Molly deal with their own insecurities and flaws in “Insecure.”
“Game of Thrones” (seasons 1-8 on HBO Now and HBO Go) –
A lot of folks weren’t too happy with the final season of the huge hit fantasy series, but it was a pleasure to take this ride nonetheless.