Hulu: "The Handmaid's Tale"
Hulu

20 Shows That Make It Worth Trying Out Another Streaming Service

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Hulu: "The Handmaid's Tale"
Hulu

To Stream or Not to Stream

Since so many of us cut the cord when it comes to cable and satellite, it's no surprise that most are picking up subscriptions to streaming services like Netflix, Disney+, Discovery+, and more to fill in the programming gaps. Unfortunately, even if we thought we'd save by ditching cable, the reality is otherwise — residents of just 13 states pay less on streaming than the average cable bill costs, which means the rest of us are paying more. Being picky about which streamer you chose means being aware of which ones have your favorite shows, now and in the future. Here are some shows you might judge to be worth the effort.


Liane Starr contributed to this story.


Related: 24 Funniest Comedy Specials You Can Watch Online

Netflix
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Netflix: Pros and Cons

Cost: $9 to $18 depending on number of screens watched and HD availability

The brand that redefined streaming has a huge quantity of content, an easy interface to search for shows, and original content like "The Queen's Gambit" and "The Crown" that you can't find anywhere else. But since more and more television networks and film studios have gotten into the streaming game (and ended their contracts with Netflix), it's hardly the one-stop shop it used to be.


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Netflix: "The Crown"
Netflix

Netflix: "The Crown"

Netflix original "The Crown" is a lavish show that captures the life of the British royal family. It begins with the early reign of Queen Elizabeth II and shows how her decisions affected Britain's history. The series has been praised by critics as well as audiences because it portrays real events, though the royal family has made it clear it's not a documentary. James Delingpole of The Spectator says, "You've got to hand it to screenwriter [writer] Peter Morgan, he does know how to wring out every last drop of psychological drama from stories with which we might otherwise feel overfamiliar."


Related: The Best Foreign TV Shows to Binge This Summer

Netflix: 'Selling Sunset'
Netflix

Netflix: 'Selling Sunset'

Need some trashy reality TV? The life of a real estate agent in Los Angeles is not all that it seems. Sure, you work with the stars and mansions galore but the competition between agents can become fierce. And that's just the rivalry for listings — the personal lives of the agents are just as compelling. Joel Keller of Decider says, "It scratches an itch that people who are fans of shows like "Below Deck" and "Million Dollar Listing" always seem to have. People can't seem to get enough real-estate porn and they can't get enough of botox-ed women having massive beefs with each other for relatively minor reasons. "Selling Sunset" will definitely satisfy people looking for both."

Amazon Prime Video PIN
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Prime Video: Pros and Cons

Cost: $9 a month or included with Amazon Prime

While this is a freebie for Amazon Prime subscribers who just want free shipping, it's also a surprisingly comprehensive site for streaming content. Original content is worth checking out, too. Prime Video also offers subscriptions to other networks like HBO and Starz.

Prime Video: "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel"
Prime Video

Prime Video: "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel"

This multiple Emmy winner is sure to appeal to fans of "Gilmore Girls" (also created by Amy Sherman-Paladino) for its snappy dialogue, spot-on period details, and female-empowerment storyline. Midge Maisel, a married mother of two in the late 1950s, has everything she ever wanted — the perfect husband, two children, and an attractive apartment in Manhattan's Upper West Side. After discovering a hidden talent, her seemingly perfect life takes an unexpected turn into stand-up comedy. 


Related: 17 Beloved TV Shows You Can Still Watch

Prime Video: "Red Oaks"
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Prime Video: "Red Oaks"

David, a student at NYU, has been living a carefree life, but when he starts his summer job at the Red Oaks Country Club in New Jersey, he's forced to get serious about the future and make some tough choices. Though this show was cancelled in 2017 after three seasons, it's still a must for '80s nostalgia buffs. Joe McGovern of Entertainment Weekly said, "'Red Oaks: Season 2' came along at exactly the right time to remind us that, no matter how freaky the future looks, everything's gonna be alright."


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Paramount+
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Paramount+: Pros and Cons

Cost: $10 a month or $100 a year

If you're wondering what happened to CBS All Access, this is its new home. And if you miss basic cable channels like MTV, BET, Nickelodeon, and Comedy Central, they're here, too. The price, however, is a little higher than other choices.

Paramount+: "The Good Fight"
Paramount+

Paramount+: "The Good Fight"

A spinoff of the equally sublime "The Good Wife," this sharp take on the law, politics, race, and more with a flock of strong female characters (and excellent acting) makes this show worth the cost of joining Paramount+, at least until you've binged every episode. David Biancull of NPR says, "'The Good Wife' always was about reinvention and perseverance, and 'The Good Fight' continues those themes beautifully. It's an excellent series — a perfect sequel.


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Paramount+: "Why Women Kill"
Paramount+

Paramount+: "Why Women Kill"

The latest from "Desperate Housewives" creator Marc Cherry, this murderously camp series follows the stories of three women who, over the years, have lived in the same house — and have all considered murder as a solution to their problems. It's sometimes uneven, but fans of "Housewives" will likely be hooked. IndieWire's Hanh Nguyen says,"The series' arch tone and visual splendor are enough to stick around for the ride."

Disney+
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Disney+: Pros and Cons

Cost: $7 a month or $70 a year

If you have kids, love "Star Wars" or the Marvel franchise, this one's a no-brainer. While nothing on the site is rated more strongly than PG-13, that doesn't mean there aren't films and TV shows sure to appeal to grown-ups, too. National Geographic is now part of the Disney universe, and be sure to check out the theatrical production of "Hamilton," music-oriented content from Beyoncé and, in September, a concert from Billie Eilish.


Related: 25 Ways Disney Revolutionized Entertainment

Disney+: "The Mysterious Benedict Society"
Disney+

Disney+: "The Mysterious Benedict Society"

This smart, funny adaptation of the beloved book of the same name is likely to draw in kids, but adults will be wowed by the Wes Anderson-esque look, the excellent cast ("Veep"'s Tony Hale plays a dual role), and the sharp writing. While it may not get as much attention as "WandaVision," "Loki," and other new TV series on the streamer, 

Disney+: "The Mandalorian"
Disney+

Disney+: "The Mandalorian"

Star Wars fans will love Grogu (Baby Yoda to fans) in this live-action series that's set five years after the events of "Return of the Jedi" and follows a lone Mandalorian bounty hunter as he tries to survive in outer space. Even if you sign up for the usual lightsaber battles and action sequences, the relationship between Grogo and the Mandalorian who pledges to protect him will get under your skin whether you like it or not.


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General views of the HBO skyscraper billboard above the Sunset Strip promoting HBO Max's critically acclaimed show 'I May Destroy You' on December 21, 2020 in Hollywood, California
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HBO Max: Pros and Cons

Cost: $15 a month

While HBO Now and HBO Go are no more, they've been replaced by HBO Max. In addition to offering all of HBO's content, Max adds additional content not available on the cable provider. Whether more movies and TV shows like the very, very good "Hacks" and "The Flight Attendant" are worth it to you (along with other WarnerMedia networks like CNN, TNT, TBS, and Cartoon Network) is up to you.

HBO Max: "And Just Like That"
HBO Max

HBO Max: "And Just Like That"

Fans of the hit show "Sex and the City" get a chance to see Carrie, Miranda, and Charlotte (Samantha, however, is not a part of the gang) as solidly middle-aged New Yorkers. This ten-episode series follows the beloved characters again played by Sarah Jessica Parker, Cynthia Nixon, and Kristin Davis as they navigate the reality of life and friendship in their (gasp!) fifties.


Related: Carrie Bradshaw's Best Outfits on 'Sex and the City'

HBO Max: "The Wire"
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HBO Max: "The Wire"

Considered by many to be the best television series ever made, this is a must-watch for those who missed it the first time around. The series focuses on the complex relationship between Baltimore's law enforcement and the city's drug dealers. The show kick-started (or cemented) the careers of several Hollywood big hitters like Idris Elba, Michael B. Jordan, Wendell Pierce, Dominic West, and Michael B. Williams. 


Related: 17 Beloved Classic TV Shows You Can Still Watch

Peacock Celebrates Scranton, PA In Honor Of "The Office" Now Streaming Exclusively On The Platform
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Peacock: Pros and Cons

Cost: $5 a month or $50 a year

While Peacock also offers a free version, those willing to pay get live access to WWE, Premier League sports, and full access to original series. The series content is brand new, but already there are a few highlights, like "The Amber Ruffin Show" and "Girls5Eva."

Peacock: "Dr. Death"
Peacock

Peacock: "Dr. Death"

Inspired by the true story of Dr. Christopher Duntsch (the series is also based on a popular podcast), the series tells the grim story of how Duntsch (Joshua Jackson) had built a thriving neurosurgery practice when, suddenly, his patients started dying or becoming permanently disabled. Also starring Alec Baldwin and Christian Slater, this star-studded series should be a hit with true-crime buffs.

Peacock: "Ex-Rated"
Peacock

Peacock: "Ex-Rated"

Hosted and executive produced by Andy Cohen, this show promises shocking (and definitely NSFW) content, much of it having to do with ex-partners reviewing the, uh, performances of their exes in the frankest of ways. If nothing else, this show promises lots of chatter, online and otherwise, the morning after. 

Paying Too Much for Entertainment
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Hulu: Pros and Cons

Cost: $6 to $12 a month

Hulu is a good choice for those who love television shows more than movies (if you also want live TV, consider the pricier Hulu Basic + Live TV subscription for $65 a month). There are also bundles with Disney+ and ESPN worth considering, and the original programming has some strong highlights, such as "Pen15" and "Shrill."

Hulu: "The Great"
Hulu

Hulu: "The Great"

It's a genre-bending and history-be-dammed ride through 18th-century Russia following Elle Fanning's take on Catherine the Nothing's rise from nothing to Catherine the Great. Critics have lavishly praised Fanning and Nicholas Hoult's performances as the battling queen and king, and Matthew Gilbert of the Boston Globe says, "Reality is rarely as funny as this sparkling period satire, set in mid-18th century Russia amid a sneaky coup d'état that plays out like a Scooby gang caper (with wigs)."

Hulu: "The Handmaid's Tale"
Hulu

Hulu: "The Handmaid's Tale"

This gripping drama has taken home fistfuls of Emmys, and it's easy to understand why. Based on the best-selling novel by Margaret Atwood, this dystopian story about a fundamentalist regime that treats women as property of the state follows one Handmaid, Offred, is determined to survive this terrifying world, and find her daughter who has been taken away from her.

Apple TV+
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Apple TV+: Pros and Cons

Cost: $5 a month or free for three months with purchase of an Apple product

If the lure of "Ted Lasso," "Kidding," or the revisionist sci fi drama "For All Mankind" doesn't do the trick (which it should), the low price might. Apple TV+ is new to the streaming game, but so far has generated impressive content. If you're getting a new iPad anyway, consider signing up.

Apple TV+: "Lisey's Story"
Apple TV+

Apple TV+: "Lisey's Story"

Based on a story by Stephen King, this series follows two narratives that don't always overlap: the stories of Lisey and her dead husband, Scott. While some critics have labeled the show too sluggish, standout performances from Julianne Moore and Clive Owen may be enough to hook you.

Apple TV+: "Ted Lasso"
Apple TV+

Apple TV+: "Ted Lasso"

If the pileup of Emmy nominations hasn't impressed you, the number of people gushing about the show might. As an inexperienced football coach, Ted Lasso gets hired as the head coach of a professional European football (what we would consider soccer) team, despite having no experience coaching soccer at all. In the second season other intriguing characters get more development, too.

Discovery+
Discovery+

Discovery+: Pros and Cons

Cost: $5 a month

The sheer number of networks under the Discovery+ umbrella, including HGTV, Food Network,TLC, ID, Animal Planet, OWN, Discovery Channel, History, Travel Channel, and more means that if there's a basic cable show you've been missing since cutting the cord, there's a good chance you can find it here. But if you never watched these channels in the first place, you probably don't need this monthly subscription.

Lt. Joe Kenda attends Discovery Inc. 2019 NYC Upfront at Alice Tully Hall on April 10, 2019 in New York City
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Discovery+: "American Detective with Joe Kenda"

Lt. Joe Kenda (from the popular television show "American Homicide") highlights homicide detectives from across the country who work tirelessly to put killers behind bars and bring justice to the victims. This is a reality, true-crime option that may scratch the itch for lovers of either genre.

Isabella Barrett and Eden Woods
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Discovery+: "Toddlers and Tiaras: Where Are They Now?"

Even if you have only a faint remembrance of this show about children wearing a ridiculous amount of make-up and costumes more fit for a Miss America pageant, you may still be curious about this three-part special. 

Crunchyroll: Pros and Cons
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Crunchyroll: Pros and Cons

Cost: $8 to $15 a month

If you don't know anime, this may be a service you can skip — but fans of the genre who have struggled to find content outside of Japan will determine that this service is a definite must-have. Don't let the animation aspect fool you into thinking this is strictly kid stuff — anime can be sophisticated, challenging, and definitely not for younger viewers.

Fena: Pirate Princess
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Crunchyroll: "Fena: Pirate Princess"

Anime lovers will appreciate the upcoming "Fena: Pirate Princess" series on Crunchyroll. After being orphaned and raised as a servant in a brothel, Fena undergoes a life-changing experience when she escapes to an island of pirates where she discovers the truth about her family. This is one anime you can watch with the family.

Dr. Ramune: Mysterious Disease Specialist
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Crunchyroll: "Dr. Ramune: Mysterious Disease Specialist"

Fans of anime know that...well, some of the best series in the genre are decidedly not for children, and such is the case here. Ramune is a strange doctor who treats people who suffer from "mystery diseases." These maladies are caused by "strange" things sneaking into weak-minded people's hearts and making them sick. As a general rule, he is not very polite, and let's leave it at that.