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The Best Shows You Can Stream for Free Right Now

You don't need a Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, HBO Max, or Peacock subscription to watch these shows

Kaitlin Thomas

In the age of the streaming wars, it's starting to feel like you need 20 different subscriptions in order to keep up with all the best shows on TV. If you're tired of debating whether to pay $10 a month just to watch that one show everyone's talking about, take refuge in the streaming platforms that are bringing you great content for free. 

From recent hits like Schitt's Creek to Golden Age dramas like Mad Men to classics like The Dick Van Dyke Show, some of TV's best shows are available to stream at no cost. Below, you'll find a list of shows you can watch for free without subscriptions to Netflix, HuluAmazon Prime VideoDisney+Apple TV+HBO MaxPeacock, or whatever other streaming services are out there. Sometimes you need a freebie. And you know what? You deserve it. So check out the list below and take comfort in knowing it won't cost you a thing. 

Looking for more recommendations of what to watch next? We have a ton of them! And if you're looking for more hand-picked recommendations based on shows you love, we have those too.

Dan Levy and Catherine O'Hara, Schitt's Creek

Dan Levy and Catherine O'Hara, Schitt's Creek

Pop TV

Schitt's Creek

If you don't have Netflix but still want to stream Schitt's Creek online, you'll be happy to know you can watch the first five seasons of the heartwarming, Emmy-nominated comedy series, about the wealthy Rose family, who loses everything they own except the town of the show's title, for free on CW Seed and IMDb TV. The sixth and final season of the Pop TV show will be made available in October. [Watch on CW SeedIMDb TV]

Mad Men

It wasn't too long ago that you had to have a Netflix subscription to watch Mad Men, AMC's Emmy-award winning period drama from Matthew Weiner that was dedicated as much to style as it was to substance. The 1960s-set series, which traced the rise and fall of flawed Madison Avenue advertising executive Don Draper (Jon Hamm) through his own complicated relationship with identity, was a pointed commentary on the toxic masculinity, sexism, and racism of the era. It also changed the way we watch and talk about TV. If you haven't seen it yet, now's the perfect time to do so. [Watch on IMDb TV]


Felicity is best known as the show in which Keri Russell cut her hair (not to be confused with the show in which Keri Russell wore a lot of great wigs, aka The Americans). Depicting Felicity Porter's (Russell) college years and the struggles that accompany trying to figure out who you're supposed to be, the show is also famous for Scott Speedman's whisper-talking and the ongoing battle of Ben (Speedman) vs. Noel (Scott Foley). Although the WB series was previously streaming on Hulu, you can now watch it for free via ABC. [Watch on the ABC app]

The Dick Van Dyke Show

The Dick Van Dyke Show

Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

The Dick Van Dyke Show

Realizing The Dick Van Dyke Show is streaming for free feels a bit like winning a secret lottery or viewing an exceptional piece of art without paying the museum admission fee. The popular comedy, which ran for five seasons, was created by Carl Reiner and starred Dick Van Dyke as the head writer of a TV show, while Mary Tyler Moore portrayed his wife. It's a timeless classic -- one that took home 15 Emmys during its run, and if you've yet to experience it, you literally have no excuse at this point. [Watch on TubiPluto TV

Degrassi: The Next Generation

For many millennials, the fourth series in the Degrassi franchise, Degrassi: The Next Generation, is the defining iteration of the long-running Canadian series. The drama series, which was sometimes so overly dramatic it was actually funny, tackled everything from date rape and suicide to sexual orientation and teen pregnancy. The series, which launched the careers of Drake (then known as Aubrey Graham) and Nina Dobrev, is streaming on multiple free platforms. [Watch on TubiPluto TV (first 13 seasons), YouTube

Eli Stone

Eli Stone really had it all, which is to say it had Victor Garber singing George Michael songs, Loretta Devine singing George Michael songs, and George Michael singing George Michael songs. What else is there? ABC's offbeat two-season comedy-drama starred a pre-Elementary Jonny Lee Miller as Eli Stone, a high-powered San Francisco lawyer whose brain aneurysm gave him prophetic visions -- which usually involved his friends, family, and colleagues breaking into song. Aside from a couple of ill-advised plotlines (the pilot, which suggests vaccines cause autism, is best forgotten), the show was a blast: a weird but memorable cocktail that should have stuck around for more seasons because, as I mentioned, Victor Garber sang George Michael songs. Also, Sigourney Weaver played God?! -Kelly Connolly [Watch on the ABC app]

The Red Green Show

A true Canadian treasure, The Red Green Show was a long-running comedy starring Steve Smith as Red Green, a handyman who constantly tried to cut corners using duct tape and who had his own cable TV show. It was a parody of home improvement shows and outdoor programs and featured segments like Handyman Corner, Adventures with Bill, and The Possum Lodge Word Game. The show ran for 15 seasons, airing on PBS in the States. [Watch on YouTube (nearly every episode)]

My So-Called Life

Critically beloved but struck down before its time, My So-Called Life has been praised for its realistic and honest portrayal of teenage life, not just via Angela Chase (Claire Danes), but through the show's young supporting cast as well. Now considered to be one of the best shows of all time, it tackled topics like homophobia, homelessness, drug use, and more without ever feeling preachy or like an after-school special. Also, Jordan Catalano (Jared Leto) could lean. [Watch on the ABC app

Friday Night Lights

You may never know what it feels like to have Coach Taylor (Kyle Chandler) be proud of you, but you can pretend by watching all five seasons of Friday Night Lights, a series that was as much about a Texas community as it was about the sport that united it. By the end of the show, you'll be asking yourself "What Would Riggins Do?" and tattooing "Clear eyes, full hearts, can't lose" on your body, all while chanting "Texas forever!" Trust me, it happens to everybody. [Watch on Peacock

The Carrie Diaries

It is relatively easy to forget that The CW series The Carrie Diarieswas a prequel to Sex and the City, because the charming show, which lasted just two seasons, was able to stand on its own. The coming-of-age series that followed a teenaged Carrie Bradshaw (AnnaSophia Robb) was relatively innocent compared to the original series. The show's 1980s setting made it easier for the writers to focus on more harmless family storylines and teenage heartbreaks, but the show never shied away from the heartstring-tugging drama of young adulthood either. It's a shame the show never got the kind of ratings it deserved and wasn't able to exist beyond Carrie's high school years, but the Season 2 finale works well as a series finale, so viewers won't feel as if the story was left incomplete. [Watch on CW Seed]

Pushing Daisies

It's a shame Bryan Fuller's saturated dramedy Pushing Daisies, about a pie-maker (Lee Pace) with the ability to bring the dead back to life, couldn't bring itself back to life after becoming a casualty of the 2007-08 writers' strike. A whimsical delight, the show featured the pie-maker teaming up with a local private eye (Chi McBride) to solve murders by reviving the victims for a brief time. Known for its quirky characters, eccentric visual style, and Jim Dale's pitch-perfect narration, it remains must-see TV. [Watch on CW Seed


Columbo kicked off nearly every episode by revealing the crime and its perpetrator to the audience, which means unlike most crime dramas, the show was less about whodunnit and more about Peter Falk's iconic raincoat-wearing homicide detective catching them and getting them to confess. Oh, and just one more thing: it's great. [Watch on IMDb TV (first seven seasons); Peacock

2015 Finale Preview, Forever


Giovanni Rufino/ABC


The charming and playful Forever, which starred Ioan Gruffudd as an immortal medical examiner, was the one show that could have saved ABC's Tuesday at 10 p.m. death slot. But the network still canceled the series anyway, enraging the show's fans, who have never let the sting of its death go. Luckily, it now lives on, ahem, forever (aka until the content license expires) on CW Seed. [Watch on CW Seed]

Trophy Wife

Trophy Wife's short life -- it was canceled after just one season -- can probably be chalked up to its unfortunate title, which was meant to be ironic but ultimately kept viewers from tuning in and experiencing the warmth of the show and the relationships at its center. Malin Akerman starred as the young wife of Bradley Whitford's middle-aged lawyer, and the comedy explored the dynamics between the two, his children, and his two ex-wives, who were played by Marcia Gay Harden and Michaela Watkins. [Watch on the ABC app


Loosely based on the Biblical story of King David, Kings was a compelling drama before its time. Rudely cut down after just one season by NBC, the show starred Ian McShane as the king of the fictional kingdom of Gilboa, while Christopher Egan portrayed an idealistic young soldier, a counterpart to the Biblical David. The show also starred Sebastian Stan, which is reason enough to check it out. [Watch on the NBC app]


Ray Wise portrays Satan in Reaper, a supernatural dramedy about a slacker (Bret Harrison) who reluctantly becomes a reaper tasked with capturing escaped souls from hell after it's revealed his parents made a deal with the devil many, many years before. The fact the show only lasted two seasons is a crime against humanity. Luckily, you can watch it in its entirety for free on the ABC app. [Watch on the ABC app]




A team of experts led by a kooky old scientist (John Noble), his son (Joshua Jackson), and an FBI agent (Anna Torv) investigate strange occurrences around the country, X-Files style, in the J.J. Abrams-produced Fringe. The series is one of the best broadcast science-fiction shows of all time, particularly in its first three seasons, and perfected the art of the serialized procedural by weaving the show's deep mythology and excellent character work into weekly standalone stories, making it easy to binge or watch in spurts. And by the time the end of Season 1 starts, you'll have a hard time stopping. -Tim Surette[Watch on IMDb TV]

Being Human(U.K.)

Although American TV producers would eventually adapt Being Human, the original British version, which followed three supernatural beings trying to live amongst humans, is far superior. The show, which ran for five seasons, starred Aidan Turner, Russell Tovey, and Lenora Crichlow as a vampire, werewolf, and ghost, respectively. So skip the U.S. version entirely and watch the U.K. series for free. [Watch on TubiVudu

Dance Academy

The Australian young adult-oriented series Dance Academy is not exactly what you'd call "great television," but it is great fun. Brimming with teen angst and melodrama, the series, which ran for three seasons and even had a follow-up movie, followed a handful of dancers at Sydney's National Academy of Dance as they trained in the sport they loved while also falling in and out of love with each other. The acting was sometimes questionable, but the series itself was addictive, not to mention one of the easiest binges you'll ever encounter. [Watch on Pluto TVVuduTubi

3rd Rock From the Sun

You might think a show about a group of socially awkward, 1,000-year-old aliens in human skin suits who are trying (badly) to pose as a human family and blend into an ordinary Midwest town might sound ridiculous, and, well, that's fair. But 3rd Rock From the Sunwas still charming in even its most bizarre moments and gave its cast a lot of room to play up their roles and create an ensemble of weirdos that, at some point or another, start to tap into their newfound humanity and relish their new home here on Earth. -Amanda Bell [Watch on TubiPluto TVCrackleVudu