When it comes to streaming, there is no scarcity of content to watch. The growing competition between streaming services means only one thing — consumers are the real winners.
This past decade has laid to rest some of the best streaming shows ever made, such as Game of Thrones, The Big Bang Theory, Orange Is The New Black, and many others. But when you have so many streaming titles to choose from, life can become a little confusing. So if you’re on the hunt for the best TV shows across streaming services, you’ve landed in the right place. We’ve compiled a list of the best streaming shows across Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, HBO, Disney Plus, and Apple TV Plus.
For the sake of sanity, we’ve largely taken into account recent TV shows, but you might also find some old gems in there as well. So without further ado, here are the best TV shows that you can stream right now.
Best streaming shows:
Editor’s note: We’ll be updating this list of the best streaming shows regularly as new ones are released.
HBO’s Chernobyl was perhaps the most important streaming show of 2019. The mini-series traces all the missteps that led to the disastrous 1986 nuclear power plant explosion at Chernobyl, Ukraine. It also dramatizes the huge and heroic clean-up effort that followed the incident. Each episode of the five-part series is riveting, to say the least. The series also boasts of a stellar cast including Jared Harris, Emily Watson, and Stellan Skarsgard. It’s a no brainer why the series took home 19 Emmy nominations in 2019 and won for Outstanding Limited Series, Outstanding Directing, and Outstanding Writing. If you haven’t given Chernobyl a watch, we suggest you cross it off your watchlist now.
2. The Spy
The Spy is a fast-paced Netflix mini-series based on the thrilling life of Israeli secret agent Eli Cohen. Ali G actor Sacha Baron Cohen dons the role of the spy, perfectly capturing the essence of the character. The streaming show follows Eli Cohen’s dual life; one in Israel with his family and the other in Syria as a wealthy businessman named Kamel Amin Thabet. Through his alias, Cohen manages to infiltrate the Syrian crème de la crème and passes critical information to the Israeli intelligence agency. The show has been criticized for its historical inaccuracies, but it’s Sacha Baron Cohen’s tremendous performance that makes The Spy worthy of this list.
3. When They See Us
When They See Us is a Netflix mini-series. It is based on the infamous case of five black teenagers, labeled the Central Park Five. The teens were falsely convicted of raping a white female jogger. The four-part series spans 25 years, highlighting how they were forced into confessions, their incarceration, exoneration in 2002, and finally, the settlement reached with the city of New York in 2014. Everything, from acting performances to the way the story has been delicately handled by creator Ava DuVernay, speaks volumes about why this show is one of the most critically acclaimed of all time.
4. The Mandalorian
Disney Plus launched to much fanfare last year, and a big chunk of that credit goes to Jon Favreau’s The Mandalorian. Set in the Star Wars universe, this space western follows the trails of the Mandalorian (Pedro Pascal), a lone bounty hunter in the outer reaches of the galaxy. The events in the Disney Plus streaming show happen five years after the Return of the Jedi and before The Force Awakens. One of the biggest pulls of the show is Baby Yoda, the 2019 meme sensations and now also a Funko Pop toy. Star Wars fan or not, If you’ve subscribed to Disney Plus, we recommend you give The Mandalorian a watch.
5. The Wire
There are very few TV shows that pull you in, immerse your conscience, and become a part of your daily routine. The Wire is one of those shows. Possibly the most highly acclaimed TV series of its time, The Wire is a crime drama that takes you through the streets of Baltimore from the eyes of real-life police reported David Simon. From drugs, to politics, to the school system, to media reporting, the series takes a hard and realistic look at what really goes on in the Maryland city. Most of its central characters are inspired by real Baltimore figures and performances by the likes of Dominic West, Lance Reddick, Idris Elba, Michael Williams, and many more are a treat for the eyes to watch.
6. Breaking Bad
Of all of the old shows streaming on Netflix, Breaking Bad is one of the most popular ones out there. The legendary TV show follows the life of a high-school chemistry teacher turned meth cook. You have the likes of Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul lead the cast in what can only be called career-defining roles. This is undoubtedly one of the best TV shows on Netflix, and some might even argue it’s the best one ever made.
7. The Boys
It’s a superhero show unlike any other you’ve seen. The Boys is a dark, hilarious, suspenseful, and adventurous Amazon Prime streaming show, which explores what happens when superheroes turn bad. It is set in a world where superheroes function as celebrities, backed by an army of PR and marketing professionals. The best of them make it into an elite group called The Seven, operated by a private organization called Vought International. The Boys, a group of ordinary men, get together to bare Vought’s real agenda and expose its murderous, self-serving superheroes.
Watchmen is a superhero adventure based on the DC comic book series by the same name. If there’s a superhero show you should not miss, it’s Watchmen for sure. The HBO series will pump up your energy with some great action, a good script, and one of the best soundtracks you’ve ever heard in a TV show. The series follows racist attacks in Tulsa, Oklahoma, by a white supremacist organization called the Seventh Kavalry. To save themselves from being targeted, the Tulsa police have to wear masks and hide their identities. Where’s the superhero factor you ask? Well, you’ll have to watch the series to find out for yourself. All we can say is that it’ll be worth your time for sure.
HBO’s Euphoria is an American adaptation of a controversial Israeli show by the same name. Sex, drugs, nudity, and teenagers galore, Euphoria follows the story of a 17-year-old drug addict who comes back from rehab to sink right back into old habits. The show is unapologetically provocative and disturbing, forcing viewers to look past flippant teenage attitudes and find a deeper understanding of the self-destructive decisions young people often take.
10. Dirty John
Dirty John is a Netflix original series based on a true-crime podcast series. It follows the perfect romance of 59-year-old Debra Newell (Connie Britton) and a man who identifies himself as Dr. John Meehan (Eric Bana). Debra is swept off her feet by Meehan and weeks into their romance, the two get married. Little did Debra know the true identity of John Meehan, a story that rocked headlines and shocked the world.
Cinemax’s Jett is thrilling, sexy, and full of excitement, all thanks to Carla Gugino’s solid portrayal of a master thief named Daisy “Jett” Kowalski. Jett is plucked out of retirement and forced to make a comeback into the world of crime, doing what she does best. As she fends off crime bosses and police detectives, things spiral out of control. She must do whatever it takes to protect herself and her family.
12. The Morning Show
The Morning Show is Apple TV Plus’ crown jewel at this moment. The show stars Reese Witherspoon, Jennifer Aniston, and Steve Carell. It follows the makings of a hugely popular news and entertainment TV show called The Morning Show and tracks the lives of producers, network executives, and anchors associated with it. Everything goes to hell when the lead anchor (Carell) is accused of sexual misconduct at the workplace. The show hits the Me Too movement hard and exposes the political and power struggles that plague multi-billion-dollar media conglomerates.
13. Don’t F**k with cats
Don’t F**k with cats is not a fictional TV show but a documentary series about how a bunch of internet sleuths were successful in tracking a Canadian serial killer named Luka Magnotta. It might be the most disturbing true-crime documentary you’ve ever seen, but it’s definitely one of the best ones we’ve come across. It’ll make you think you’re watching a Hollywood thriller.
14. Living With Yourself
If one Paul Rudd is not enough for you, there’s two of him in Netflix’s Living With Yourself. A dejected and depressed man named Miles (Rudd) undergoes a spa treatment, only to find himself cloned, not just in body but also in mind. Turns out, his new version is better than the real him, both in marriage and at work. Miles finds he must fight himself for his wife Kate (Aisling Bea), his career, and his very identity.
Emma Appleton plays a British spy named Feef Symonds in this Netflix original series. She is recruited by the American Office of Strategic Services to spy on her own country and find a Soviet mole working in the Cabinet Office. It’s a classic game of cat and mouse, thrilling to the core.
16. Shameless (US)
The US version of Shameless is based on a British show of the same name. It’s another one of those TV shows that’ll completely absorb you into the world of the Gallaghers — a highly dysfunctional family living on the edge of poverty. William H. Macy gives one of his best performances in the 10-seasons-long series. Other cast members include Emmy Rossum, Emma Kenney, Jeremy Allen White, Cameron Monaghan, Shanola Hampton, Steve Howey, and Ethan Cutkosky. Most of these actors literally grew up on this show and are who they are because of it. Shameless has only one more season left to go and that’ll release sometime in 2021, so this is the best time to stream all 10 seasons. Be warned, the show will take up a lot of your time.
17. Mad Men
Another great show for Netflix binging is Mad Men. The show is set in a Manhattan advertising agency in the 1960s and through its seven-season-long run, it offers a chance for viewers to see how workplace culture in America evolved over time. Jon Hamm’s portrayal of Don Draper — a super cool ad executive — is as memorable as TV performances get. Elizabeth Moss (The Handmaid’s Tale) as Peggy Olson also delivers a powerful performance as the only woman creative writer at a time when women were not really regarded well in the workforce.
18. The Handmaid’s Tale
Based on the 1985 Margaret Atwood novel, The Handmaid’s Tale depicts a dystopian future wherein the United States has a totalitarian society that subjects fertile women to sexual slavery. Elizabeth Moss delivers the performance of her career as the protagonist Offred, a woman torn away from her husband and child to bear children for high-ranking government officials. The three seasons of the series are all about Offed’s trials and tribulations as well as her undying fighting against the sickening repression of women.
19. Stranger Things
A Netflix original, Stranger Things will give you the 80s vibe in a solid sci-fi package. The series has been carried all the way to the Emmys, BAFTA, Golden Globes, and numerous other notable stages by a bunch of kids and an original storyline that can easily be confused for the work of the legendary Stephen King. When strange events start happening in Hawkins, Indiana, a tight-knit group of pre-teens takes it upon themselves to rid their town of monsters emerging from parallel worlds. The fun part is that one of them also has superpowers.
20. Black Mirror
Black Mirror is a science fiction anthology series that literally holds up a black mirror to technology. What happens when technology goes wrong or is misused? You’ll find multiple interpretations and answers to this question in all Black Mirror episodes. The series has a total of five seasons and a TV movie to its name. Each episode feels like a film in itself and depicts a different story. Black Mirror is definitely one of the best TV shows on Netflix, and one that’ll go down in the history books.
So, that’s our list of some of the best streaming shows across all major services. We’ll keep updating this list with new titles, so be on the lookout for that.