Going through and finding the best Paramount Plus shows and movies may have taken a bit of time and effort, but it's also given us a huge sense of nostalgia. The new version of CBS All Access is loaded to the gills with some of our favorite shows from Nickelodeon, Comedy Central and MTV.
And since Showtime is being folded into Paramount Plus (currently available as the Paramount Plus Premium with Showtime bundle) we're going to start including its movies shows in this list, in their own sections.
Oh, and its movie selection isn't that bad either, packing a bunch of classics. The annoying thing is that it takes a while to actually find a lot of these titles. The A-Z page for movies is full of stand-up comedy specials, making it harder to find the best films on Paramount Plus. And we have two new arrivals in Paramount Plus' movies section that we recommend.
But since there's a Paramount Plus price hike coming soon, make sure you check our Paramount Plus coupon codes page for discounts. The code 'FatalAttraction' gives you your first month free!
The best Paramount Plus shows
Three seasons in, and Evil is one of the (if not the actual overall), best Paramount Plus shows. Critically acclaimed for three seasons, this supernatural mystery series almost looks like a modern-day X-Files. It all begins as David (Mike Colter) hires Kristen (Katja Herbers), a forensic psychologist, as he's trying to identify instances of demonic possession. She doesn't believe, he's studying to be a Catholic priest, and they're joined by Ben (Aasif Mandvi), who is always finding scientific explanations. The big difference between Evil and The X-Files is that the former isn't afraid to be a bit campier and weirder. – Henry T. Casey
Avatar: The Last Airbender
To understand why Avatar: The Last Airbender is so good, you need to understand a little bit about Nickelodeon cartoons from the era in which it debuted. Up until Avatar, Nickelodeon’s original animated fare comprised funny, low-stakes sitcoms, from Doug to The Fairly OddParents. Then along came Avatar, a high-minded martial arts drama, based on East Asian history and folklore. Avatar packs a few good laughs, sure, but for the most part, it’s a serious character piece, with daring heroes, conflicted villains and a narrative where the fate of the world is at stake. The story follows Aang, a young martial artist who must master four great elemental powers in order to confront the despotic Fire Lord Ozai (Mark Hamill, naturally.) — Marshall Honorof
The Good Fight
In its four seasons, the spinoff of The Good Wife has truly evolved into its own, unique, genre-defying show. Where the original was a fairly straightforward legal drama, The Good Fight adds political intrigue, blunt discussions about race and cutting satire of Donald Trump. Christine Baranski centers the show as Diane Lockhart, a partner at a predominantly Black law firm and a staunch liberal married to a conservative gun enthusiast. Yeah, there’s a lot going on, but The Good Fight handles it all with such grace and humor. And you’ve got to see the bizarre but brilliant animated shorts explaining everything from NDAs to Russian troll farms.
The sixth and final season of The Good Fight began streaming in September 2022. — Kelly Woo
When it comes to animated shows beloved by audiences of all ages, few were as phenomenally successful and wholesome as SpongeBob. The titular yellow rectangle just loves life, and is proof that a voice actor (Tom Kenny in this case) can truly make or break an animated series. While SpongeBob's friendship with Patrick Star and job at the Krabby Patty were both highly relatable, neither truly would pop without the effervesce of his positivity. The ultra-negative Squidward, though, is the show's not-so-secret weapon, as he managed to be annoyed by the lovable SpongeBob in ways that we could all understand. — Henry T. Casey
RuPaul's Drag Race
Sashay this way to 13 seasons of glamorous gowns, amazing wigs, sassy one-liners and jaw-dropping lip sync performances from drag queens. Guiding us through it all, of course, is the one and only RuPaul herself, like a bedazzled beacon. The thing about Drag Race is that past the cosmetics and coiffures, the show is all about heart. The most memorable contestants — from Alaska to Alyssa to Latrice — combine spectacle with emotion. The most recent seasons aren’t on Paramount Plus, but you can see seven seasons of Drag Race All Stars. Let the eleganza extravaganza begin! — Kelly Woo
Star Trek: Discovery
Star Trek: Discovery is probably not the best Star Trek show, but it might be the most accessible one for new fans. This series follows Cmdr. Michael Burnham (Sonequa Martin-Green) and her adventures aboard the U.S.S. Discovery. Across the show's three seasons, Burnham and her crew fight Klingons in a galactic war, travel to the deadly Mirror Universe, team up with Capt. Christopher Pike (Anson Mount) from the original Star Trek series, confront a villainous AI and even travel into the distant future to rebuild a broken Federation. The show’s production values are arguably the big draw here, with each episode packing enough special effects and ambitious set design to look like a big-budget sci-fi film.
Paramount Plus also has all the other big live-action Star Trek shows: The Original Series, The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, Voyager and Picard. — Marshall Honorof
Rocko's Modern Life
Looking back, Rocko’s Modern Life is a long series of “how did they get that past the censors?” realizations. This satirical children’s sitcom follows the adventures of Rocko, an Australian wallaby who’s settled in suburban America. There, he navigates the usual host of small-town problems, from taking out the trash on garbage day, to buying the perfect new TV, to dealing with crooked games at a carnival. Believe it or not, each one of these trivial inconveniences sustains an entire episode. That’s because Rocko’s Modern Life is packed to the gills with bizarre sight gags, innuendo-filled one-liners and clever commentary on just how strange suburban life seems when we take a step back from it. — Marshall Honorof
Hey Arnold! is a rare kind of late ‘90s cartoon. Unlike the suburban-set series of this era, Arnold’s antics capture growing up among a motley crew in the big city. And with that comes a tone of family sadness you don't always see find behind white fences — between Football Head’s vanished parents, Helga Pataki’s aggressively detached ones and the broken paths that lead the ensemble to a shared boarding house, the show largely follows how the characters cope. Thematic innuendos, endless mishaps and plays at urban folklore provide comic relief that gets funnier the more you watch, making Hey Arnold! a series I often return over 20 years later. — Kate Kozuch
There are many reasons why Cheers remains an essential comedy even 27 years after it ended. It’s funny, obviously — and sometimes far sharper than you might remember. The characters are engaging, and you really do care about what happens to them. But its real genius lies in the way it wraps you in a warm, comforting blanket of nostalgia. Truly, the bar where everyone knows your name is also the bar that everyone wishes they had round the corner from them. Maybe it’s because we’re in the middle of a global pandemic that has left millions of people unable to even leave their homes for months, but right now I’d give anything to pull up a stool next to Cliff and Norm and listen to Sam crack jokes (sexist ones at times) while Woody looks nonplussed. I can’t do that, but I can rewatch the whole show from start to finish — and that’ll do for now. — Marc McLaren
The Legend of Korra
The Legend of Korra is better than Avatar: The Last Airbender. There, I said it, because someone had to. This sequel series to Avatar picks up decades later, and follows the adventures of Korra, a young Avatar who feels immense pressure to live up to Aang’s sterling legacy. Instead of one long, globetrotting adventure, Korra faces down a different threat each season — and, rather than simply wanting to rule the world, each one of Korra’s foes has an ideological ambition. (The anarchist Zaheer, played by the incomparable Henry Rollins, is a particularly effective villain.) With a steampunk aesthetic, an affable cast of characters and a willingness to shake up the status quo, The Legend of Korra is a daring show — and a fun one. – Marshall Honorof
The Twilight Zone
Sit back and relax with one of the best shows that aims to completely unnerve you with tales of the unbelievable and supernatural. If you think Black Mirror is too focused on the dangers of technology but love its twisted sense of humor, then take a trip back in time with the iconic and stern host Rod Serling. Must-watch episodes include The Invaders, a classic tale of frightening aliens, and The Lonely, where a convict falls for a lifelike robot. It's not an exclusive to Paramount Plus, though, as it's also on Netflix. — Henry T. Casey
The phrase "sick, sad world" may seem evergreen, but at the time of its original airing, MTV's Daria felt like the novel breath of fresh air that animation needed. The series, spinning off from Beavis and Butt-Head, focuses on the Morgendorffer family who just moved to the affluent suburbs from the backwater Texas county where The Great Cornholio was terrorizing the neighbors. While parents Jake and Helen get their own fair share of screen time, the show is definitely focused on the malaise of high-schooler Daria — which is often inspired by her sister Quinn. Filled with dry banter, and moments that highlight the hypocrisies of high school, Daria was ahead of its time and definitely one of the best Paramount Plus shows that we're eager to rewatch. And while we would have liked to include the series it spun off of, Paramount Plus doesn't have the brilliant music video commentary scenes for Beavis & Butt-Head. — Henry T. Casey
Sketch comedy doesn't always age well, but Chappelle's Show became an instant classic because its best segments were ultimately memorable in the best way. We howled at Clayton Bigsby, the blind black white supremacist. We learned to diversify our bonds with Wu-Tang Financial. The name Rick James got new life thanks to Charlie Murphy. And the Racial Draft is still referenced to this very day. The only issue with Paramount Plus' offerings is that it lacks the musical segments, which gave artists including De La Soul, Questlove, Kanye West, Killer Mike and Busta Rhymes a platform to expand their audiences. — Henry T. Casey
The best Paramount Plus shows on Showtime
Yellowjackets, which can be streamed on Paramount Plus with the Showtime bundle (which will soon be the new Premium membership tier), is one of the best recently-released shows on TV. While its premise — a girl's high school soccer team is stranded on an island and gets pretty unhinged — seems a bit simple, a time-jump twist that shows us that only some have survived their island time helped make Yellowjackets even better. – HTC
The best Paramount Plus movies on Showtime
Lena (Natalie Portman) is dealing with a lot, starting with a husband (Oscar Isaac) who took what basically amounts to a suicide mission after she cheated on him. After he returns, and becomes ill, Lena finds out the secret behind his ailment is tied to a patch of wildlife inside a shimmering phenomenon known as ... the shimmer. So, Lena does what everyone does in the movies, leads a team of scientists into the Shimmer, where they soon lose their memories, discover wild mutations and ... well, a bear that's not quite right. Annihilation, an adaptation of Jeff VanderMeer's novel of the same name, is a haunting thriller executed amazingly by director and screenplay writer Alex Garland. - Henry T. Casey
Paramount Plus combines what used to be CBS All Access with even more content from the deep ViacomCBS vault. For $4.99 per month, get access to Survivor and Big Brother episodes, as well as originals like Star Trek: Picard and The Good Fight. And more great stuff is on the way, including Frasier and Criminal Minds revivals. Get a one-month free trial with code 'FatalAttraction'
The best Paramount Plus movies
Sam (Melissa Barrera) and half-sister Tara (Jenna Ortega) may have survived one Scream movie, moving to the big city for college doesn't mean they can escape more terror. Because while a "cult of Ghostface" is the last thing New York City needed, but Scream VI is all the better for bringing the latest chapter of its terrors to the big apple. Fortunately for them, there's backup in the form of past Final Girls Kirby Reed (Hayden Panettiere) and Gale Weathers (Courteney Cox).
An excellent continuation of the series that brings inventive kills and novel use of the big city environment, Scream VI is a great reason to take Paramount Plus for a spin. Oh, and the killer reveals had us gasping in the theaters. – HTC
Possibly too-weird for its moment, Ghost World has aged well since its release. The film about the diverging roads friends take tests the bonds of teens Rebecca (Scarlett Johansson) and Enid (Thora Birch). At first, they're all each other has, as neither has post-high school plans with graduation rapidly approaching. While both have a rebellious and devious streak, Enid deviates from their pattern by forming a relationship with a peculiar older gentleman named Seymour (Steve Buscemi). — Henry T. Casey
Back on Paramount Plus after some time away, the original Scream — which is still one of the best — is ultimately rewatchable. A perfectly told horror movie where Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell) deals with the anniversary of a familial tragedy while a Ghostface-masked killer is on the loose, Scream revitalized the horror genre by adding a serious dose of the meta. And by doing so, it wondered how teens can survive in a genre they've been watching for years? – Henry T. Casey
Top Gun: Maverick
This isn't your father's Top Gun. Sure, the dogfights are still cool, and the cheesy moments are here, but a super-serious mission that recent TOPGUN graduates need to be trained for make this sequel stand out. Especially when one of them is Bradley 'Rooster' Bradshaw (Miles Teller), the son of the late Nick 'Goose' Bradshaw — and he's to be trained by the titular Maverick, Pete Mitchell (Tom Cruise), Goose's old wingman. Amazing stuntwork in planes elevated Maverick above most of the year in cinema for 2022. – Henry T. Casey
Smile is one of our favorite recent horror movies. It may have a preposterous bit of dialogue here and there, but its shocks are great and its overall story of trauma is interesting. All that said, all you need to know is that Smile is a lot like It Follows. But instead of a droll being walking straight at you, this killer is smiling a sickening and uncanny smile. Star Sosie Bacon makes it all work as Dr. Rose Cotter, who is having trouble with this specter, as nearly nobody around her believes her. – Henry T. Casey
Clueless is an easy pick for one of the best movies on Paramount Plus. In this updated version of Jane Austen's Emma, we meet Cher Horowitz (Alicia Silverstone), whose emotional baggage is only matched by her epic walk-in closet. Being the most popular girl in Beverly Hills may have its perks, such as her loyal best friend Di (Stacey Dash), but Cher can't pass the driver's license test and is constantly critiqued by the doubters.
After Cher tries to be a movie giving person, she learns that she might be too good at makeovers when classmate Tai (Brittany Murphy) turns on her faster than you can say "whatever." And we also need to talk about her ex-stepbrother Josh (Paul Rudd), who Cher has some very complicated thoughts about. - Henry T. Casey
A Quiet Place and A Quiet Place Part II
Back to back excellent horror movies of a new series are rare, but A Quiet Place did things a little differently. Here, the Abbott family is living a constantly-on-edge life, because a single bit of noise in this post-apocalyptic hell-space could send the infected creatures for them immediately. So, if you thought keeping your kids quiet was tough, you've got nothing on parents Evelyn and John Abbott (real-life couple Emily Blunt and John Krasinski). Thrilling for its lack of sound — hey, they're just trying to survive — A Quiet Place is the kind of movie you'll want to watch when you can silence everything (and everyone) around you. – Henry T. Casey
The first Mission: Impossible may feature seemingly arcane technology, such as an IRC chat room, but it's a truly timeless action movie. While M:I is led by Tom Cruise at his best, a fantastic supporting cast including Jean Reno, Vanessa Redgrave and Ving Rhames make this espionage/heist thriller ultimately rewatchable. Paramount Plus also has the next two films in the series, but feel free to skip M:I2, though, as the sequel forces its romance storyline that will make you roll your eyes faster than Agent Hunt can rappel down from the ceiling. — Henry T. Casey
Scream's fifth installment proved that you shouldn't give up on a horror franchise, even if it's had a few missteps. This time, Scream chose its latest new main character well, with Wednesday's Jenna Ortega as Tara Carpenter, who has ties to the original Scream movie characters that not even she knows about yet.
Oh, and Scream 5 also wins by bringing back Neve Campbell, Courteney Cox and David Arquette in strong performances from each. Arqeutte's Dewey's the most memorable, as he's seen better days. – Henry T. Casey
The Lost City
Channing Tatum's love of playing a himbo with a heart of gold makes him the perfect foil for Loretta Sage (Sandra Bullock), a romance novelist who's both depressed and over the paperback industry. Tatum plays Alan Caprison, a model whose image has adorned the covers of Loretta's books, as he 'plays' Dash McMahon, the hero of her series of adventure novels. But when an weirdo billionaire played by Daniel Radcliffe kidnaps Loretta — he thinks she knows how to find a fortune — Alan is Loretta's only hope. Far better than it has any right to be, The Lost City is a gem of a movie. — Henry T. Casey
If you thought Transformers movies were easily ignored, you slept on Bumblebee at your own peril. It's basically a modern E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, but instead of lil ol' E.T., you've got a ... say it with me, 80's babies, robot in disguise. In 1987, Autobot Bumblebee has crashed onto Earth, trying to evade the evil Decepticons, and eventually goes into hiding in the shell of a VW Bug. Fortunately, Charlie (Hailee Steinfeld), finds said automobile and eventually figures out what's going on. An impressive performance from Steinfeld makes this film more than the sum of its CGI, and John Cena himself plays a government agent who thinks Bumblebee is against our best interests. — Henry T. Casey
A lot happened in the 1980's, but there are few movies as synonymous with the decade than Top Gun. The film stars Tom Cruise as Pete "Maverick" Mitchell, a naval pilot who is too good and too cocky for his own good. After one incident in the skies that sends a colleague packing because of Maverick's brash flying, he and his flyboy buddy Nick "Goose" Bradshaw (Anthony Edwards) are sent off to the TOPGUN Naval Fighter Weapons School. There, they get into even more trouble, as Maverick flirts with his instructor before knowing that she was his instructor, and get into a rivalry with fellow TOPGUN student Tom "Iceman" Kazansky (Val Kilmer). Younger audiences may not "get" Top Gun, but fans of a certain vintage will devour its cheese. – Henry T. Casey
If you know the riff that plays at the start of every Jackass episode or movie, you probably already know that Jackass Forever is a phenomenal extension of the show and movie series. The fourth film in the series finds Johnny Knoxville, Steve-O, Chris Pontius, Ehren McGhehey, Preston Lacey, Dave England and Jason "WeeMan" Acuna back and joined by new cast members Jasper, Rachel Wolfson (the First Lady of Jackass), Zach Holmes and standout Poopies. This new gang gets into all of the right kind of terrible trouble and we're still worried about the trauma inflicted on Ehren. – Henry T. Casey