7 Streaming Shows that Prove We Don't Need Network TV

When “new media,” as the entertainment industry calls it, began to take hold, many people were skeptical. No one thought that anything could replace the beloved television. No one imagined that we would turn to the internet for our entertainment. It turns out, we were half right.

While lots of people do watch content on their iPads and other tablets, (and a fair number of kids watch countless hours of kids shows via YouTube on their parents’ phones), many people still thoroughly enjoy sitting down in front of their television every night. But we aren’t necessarily turning to the traditional sources, like network or cable TV, anymore. With the increase in popularity of such devices as Apple TV, Roku, and Amazon Fire TV stick, it isn’t uncommon to meet folks who are cutting the proverbial cord and strictly streaming their content. And new media has certainly stepped up.

There are dozens and dozens of shows that were created and produced strictly for streaming across different platforms. You can’t find them on ABC or NBC, HBO or FX. They exist solely on the internet, and they are good.

Here’s a list of a few of our favorites. Let us know which shows you enjoy streaming!

7. Orange Is the New Black — Netflix

Some of the most recent seasons of OITNB leave a bit to be desired, but the fact that this show is currently in its sixth season speaks volumes about the longevity of streamed content. This show was one of the first popular ones to take hold on Netflix, and has delivered a quirky look into the minimum-security women’s prison world. It is funny, at times touching, and often absurd.

6. The Handmaid’s Tale — Hulu

Without delving into the obvious political backdrop of The Handmaid’s Tale, we would be remiss if we didn’t look at it for its incredible artistic merits. The story itself is an adept adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s bestselling novel. The camera work is nothing short of breath-taking, as nearly every single shot is expertly composed and akin to a vibrant, well-balanced painting. The cast also does a fantastic job, submerging us into this dystopian world that the producers have created. It is quite something to behold.

5. Stranger Things — Netflix

Stranger Things has managed to take a thoroughly sci-fi concept and humanize it. We have a cast that is made up mostly of middle-schoolers who tell the story of their bizarre situation with unparalleled acting chops. Pair that with the unmistakable feel of life in the ’80s — kids out at all hours, without hovering parents to decide their every move, and the obvious absence of cell phones and technology. It has the accessibility of a Stephen King story, in that we feel that we know these people. The show is captivating and not to be missed.

4. House of Cards — Netflix

Kevin Spacey’s recent downfall might affect how some people see his work, but it would be hard to ignore House of Cards. The show — especially the first three seasons — is a nail-biting, dramatic, and exciting experience that takes us into the dark side of politics. Whether it’s accurate or not, it is undoubtedly entertaining. Spacey and Robin Wright play off of each other like skilled jazz musicians and make the audience love to hate them. Or hate to love them. The jury is still out. The sixth and final season is set to star Wright without Spacey at all, and chances are it will still be captivating.

3. Catastrophe — Amazon Prime

If you are looking for a 30-minute comedy that is extremely down-to-earth and wildly well-written, then look no further. Catastrophe delivers without feeling the need to be a sitcom. Its brand of comedy is smart and sometimes so realistic that it makes you question some moments in your own life. The show’s creators, Sharon Horgan and Rob Delaney, are also its writers and stars.

2. Ozark — Netflix

With this project, Jason Bateman has redefined how his acting career will evolve. His role as Marty Byrde takes him far from the goofy comedy that we are used to seeing him in. While glimpses of his humor still emerge throughout the show, this is a very dramatic turn for the actor. The show itself, while very dark and sometimes disturbing, is so well-written and realized that you look past some of the bloodier moments.

1. Castle Rock — Hulu

People familiar with the work of Stephen King will certainly recognize the name of this series. The show takes place in Castle Rock, Maine, a location that has appeared in several of the writer’s stories. The psychological horror makes reference to countless recognizable people and places, including Shawshank Prison, the dead boy from Stand by Me, and even Cujo. But while it is fun to catch those past references, the true experience lies in the story currently unfolding in Castle Rock. The show is creepy and will keep you on the edge of your seat wanting more and more at the end of every episode.