There’s no such thing as a free lunch, but are some pretty excellent free streaming services out there. In fact, finding free TV and movies online has never been easier. And don't mistakenly believe these free-to-access streaming platforms are only filled with junk either. There are actually plenty of high-quality TV shows available to watch without spending a penny.
Thanks to streaming platforms such as Amazon Freevee and the Roku Channel, within seconds you can be enjoying some of the best television ever made — no monthly subscription required. From a classic science-fiction series that's still making waves to this day, to a detective thriller about a doctor with a penchant for human flesh, there’s something for everyone on this list.
So, if you’re wanting to watch some quality TV without signing up for one of the best streaming services like Netflix or HBO Max, then we’re here to steer you in the right direction. Below you’ll find seven seriously excellent series that are available to stream for free right now.
Schitt’s Creek is a delightfully funny sitcom that focuses on the Rose family, a foursome of wealthy snobs who loses all their money after being scammed. With no other choice, the family must relocate to the eponymous town, a backwoods area they once purchased the deed to as a joke. Swapping a life of luxury for rooms at the local motel, the Roses are in for the mother of all culture shocks.
Let’s get the bad news out of the way: Much like The Office and Parks and Recreation, Schitt’s Creek starts off pretty slow. The first handful of episodes are pretty mundane and the central cast is irritatingly unlikeable. But you’ll soon warm up to the Rose clan, and their bizarre eccentricities become genuinely comedic. By the end of the start of its second season, Schitt’s Creek has successfully transformed into one of the most wholesome and hilarious comedy shows around — and the following seasons are an absolute hoot.
Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist
Remember the episode of Scrubs where a patient sees everything happening around them as a musical? Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist is basically that concept but as an entire TV show. Jane Levy plays Zoey Clarke, a software developer who develops the ability to hear people’s innermost thoughts as songs after an MRI gone wrong. Naturally this lead to all kinds of silly situations, as well as a whole load of toe-tapping musical numbers.
If you enjoyed the likes of Glee, then Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist should definitely be on your watchlist. Levy is excellent in the leading role bringing warmth and wit to Zoey, and you might recognize Skylar Astin from the Perfect Pitch movies as her co-worker and closet friend (no prizes for guessing he’s also in love with her!). Sadly this one was axed by NBC after just two seasons, but The Roku Channel later commissioned a feature-length holiday special that is available to stream for free on the platform as well.
Original Run: 2020 - 2021
Season count: 2 (26 episodes)
Rotten Tomatoes score: 76%
Stars: Jane Levy, Skylar Astin, Alex Newell, John Clarence Stewart, Peter Gallagher
Stream it for free on The Roku Channel
There was a time when Lost was the biggest show on TV. It was the archetypal watercooler show and it generated hundreds of office discussions and was responsible for seemingly endless forum threads. Its long-term legacy took a beating due to the uneven quality of later seasons and its divisive ending, but its first three seasons remain some of the most compelling television ever created.
The show centers on the passage of Oceanic Airlines Flight 815, who end up marooned on a tropical island after their plane goes down in the South Pacific. The survivors of the plane crash soon discover this is no ordinary island, and that they may not be alone either.
Weaving in sci-fi elements, supernatural scares and character drama, Lost has it all. Plus, its use of flashbacks to deepen the audience’s understanding of its core cast is a technique that is copied to this very day. Just be warned that Lost has a nasty habit of setting up mysteries and then never fully resolving them, but if you can get past that frustrating quirk, Lost is the perfect binge-watch show.
Original Run: 2004 - 2010
Season count: 6 (121 episodes)
Rotten Tomatoes score: 85%
Stars: Matthew Fox, Terry O’Quinn, Evangeline Lily, Josh Holloway, Jorge Garcia, Naveen Andrews
Stream it for free on Freevee
Based on characters from Thomas Harris’ popular series of novels — one of which was famously adapted into the Best Picture-winning thriller The Silence of the Lambs — Hannibal focuses on the working and personal relationship between an FBI investigator, Will Graham (Hugh Dancy), and Dr. Hannibal Lector (Mads Mikkelsen), a brilliant forensic psychiatrist who moonlights as a serial killer and cannibal.
There’s a lot to like about this twisting thriller series, but it’s the performance of Mikkelsen that really elevates the show to the next level. He even manages to give the great Anthony Hopkins a run for his money as the psychopathic killer who is able to charm those around him. Hannibal was never a ratings hit, but across its three seasons, it developed a cult fandom that remains strong to this day.
Original Run: 2013 - 2015
Season count: 3 (39 episodes)
Rotten Tomatoes score: 82%
Stars: Hugh Dancy, Mads Mikkelsen, Caroline Dhavernas, Hettienne Park, Laurence Fishburne
Stream it for free on Plex
Set within a high-powered New York ad agency in the 1960s, Mad Men follows the staff of Sterling Cooper as they attempt to rise up the corporate ladder and adjust to the changing mood and morals of U.S. society during this tumultuous period of time. The leading man is Don Draper (Jon Hamm), a talented but erratic creative director who proves to be something of a genius, if not sometimes hard to work with.
The world of advertising may not sound like the most compelling hook for a drama, but the halls of Sterling Cooper are a real hotbed for debauchery and drama. And relevant social themes such as racism and sexism also regularly rear their ugly head. The real meat of Mad Men comes from the exploration of its various characters as just about everybody in this show is hiding secrets and skeletons in their closet.
Original Run: 2007 - 2015
Season count: 7 (92 episodes)
Rotten Tomatoes score: 94%
Stars: Jon Hamm, John Slattery, Christina Hendricks, Elisabeth Moss, January Jones, Vincent Kartheiser
Stream it for free on Freevee
Everybody Hates Chris (Tubi)
Loosely based on the teenage years of comedian Chris Rock, Everybody Hates Chris is set in the mid-1980s and follows Chris (Tyler James Williams), a nerdy teenager, as he attempts to navigate growing up in the rough Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York. If Chris isn’t dealing with bullies at school or the local gangs, he’s coming to blows with his dysfunctional, but mostly well-meaning, family.
His name may be in the title by Chris isn’t the real star of this show. Terry Crews plays the penny-pinching father of the family, Julius, while Tichina Arnold plays Chris’ seriously stern mother, Rochelle. Both are excellent in their roles and the best episodes usually place the focus on them. Chris Rock himself doesn’t appear on camera, but he does narrate the proceedings and adds a few of his unique comedic touches to the show.
Original Run: 2005 - 2009
Season count: 4 (88 episodes)
Rotten Tomatoes score: 91%
Stars: Tyler James Williams, Terry Crews, Tichina Arnold, Tequan Richmond, Imani Hakim, Vincent Martella
Stream it for free on Tubi
The Twilight Zone (Freevee)
Beginning its run in 1959, The Twilight Zone is widely considered one of the great and most influential TV shows of all time. And even more than six decades later, it’s truly remarkable how well it's held up. It’s a sci-fi/horror anthology series with each episode offering a standalone story and fresh characters. Episodes often have twist endings, or present a moral warning about society. Its quite frightening how many of these comments on society have actually become more relevant in recent years.
All five original seasons comprising 156 total episodes are available to watch on Freevee, and while not every single installment is a winner, you can always consult a roundup of the best Twilight Zone episodes if you’d prefer to only watch the classics.
The show has been rebooted and reimagined a number of times with the most recent coming in 2019 spearheaded by Jordon Peele. That version of The Twilight Zone is also on Freevee if you’d rather watch something more modern, but be warned it can't hold a candle to the original series.