The Best Shows to Stream for Free: Battlestar Galactica, Friday Night Lights, Forever, and More


This might be a controversial take, but not everyone is made of money! We can’t all shell out money every month for Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, Disney+, Apple TV+ and/or whatever other subscriptions are fighting for our hard-earned cash these days. This is why I have scoured the depths of the World Wide Web to find the best shows you can stream legally, for free, on the internet, and there are way more than you think — as long as you don’t mind putting up with some ads now and then. Just think of it like watching TV with commercials, a foreign concept in 2020, but not when some of these shows originally aired. So clear your schedule for a bit and then check out the best shows you can stream for free below.

Battlestar Galactica
Watch it on: Syfy
A reimagining of the kitschy original series, Syfy’s Battlestar Galacticastarred Edward James Olmos, Mary McDonnell, Katee Sackhoff, Tricia Helfer, Michael Hogan, James Callis, and Jamie Bamber and explored the aftermath of a nuclear attack by the Cylons, cybernetic creatures invented by man who evolved and rebelled against their creators. The show was critically acclaimed for the way it tackled the subjects of science, religion, and politics, and for the way it explored the deeply complicated notion of what makes us human. Everything from the miniseries to the two BSG films (Razor and The Plan) is currently available to stream for free on Syfy’s website, so there’s no better time to watch it. So say we all!

Degrassi: The Next Generation
Watch it on: IMDb TV (complete series), Tubi (complete series), Pluto TV (first 13 seasons), YouTube (first 13 seasons)
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.

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The Dick Van Dyke Show
Watch it on: Tubi (complete series), Pluto TV (complete series)
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.

The Dick Van Dyke Show

Watch it on: ABC app (complete series)
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 on the ABC app.

The Red Green Show
Watch it on: YouTube (nearly every episode)
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.

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My So-Called Life
Watch it on: IMDb TV (complete series), ABC app (complete series)
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.

Schitt’s Creek
Watch it on: CW Seed (first five seasons)
If you don’t have Netflix but still want to watch Schitt’s Creek, you’ll be happy to know you can watch the first five seasons of the heartwarming, Emmy-nominated comedy series, about a wealthy family who loses everything they own except the town of the show’s title, for free on CW Seed. And you should catch up now since the show will be ending soon.

<p>Dan Levy and Catherine O'Hara, <em>Schitt's Creek</em> </p>

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

Friday Night Lights
Watch it on: IMDb TV (complete series)
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.

Pushing Daisies
Watch it on: CW Seed (complete series)
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 it on: IMDb TV (first seven seasons)
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 it on: CW Seed (complete series)
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.

<p><em>Forever</em> </p>


The Middle
Watch it on: IMDb TV (complete series)
It sounds odd to say The Middle, which ran for nine seasons on ABC, was unfairly overlooked, but it always felt like the series, which followed the middle class Midwestern Heck family, was a bit of a hidden gem. It wasn’t as popular with Emmy voters as, say, Modern Family, and critics also failed to give it its due, but it was a real, heartfelt, reliable family comedy with mass appeal, and you can stream it on IMDb TV for free.

Trophy Wife
Watch it on: ABC app (complete series)
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 it on: NBC app (complete series)
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 whose counterpart is David. The show also starred Sebastian Stan, which is reason enough to want to check it out.

Watch it on: ABC app (complete series)
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 it on: IMDb TV (complete series)
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

Being Human (U.K.)
Watch it on: Tubi (complete series), Vudu (complete series)
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.

Dance Academy
Watch it on: Pluto TV (all three seasons), Vudu (all three seasons), Tubi (all seasons)
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.

Source : TVGuide