The very best TV shows streaming on Stan
Netflix might be the master of original television shows, but local streaming service Stan is more concerned with quality over quantity. Sure, Stan is also in the biz of creating original content, and it’s had its fair share of successes too, such as the breakout comedy No Activity. But the true value of Stan is measured by its back catalogue of binge-worthy classic TV shows (and its top-notch movies). The type of comfort food television that you return to time and time again. So without further hesitation, here are the best TV shows on Stan.
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2016 – Current, Comedy-thriller
Search Party is one of the most pleasant surprises on television in recent memory. This is no small part, thanks to Alia Shawkat’s (Arrested Development) electric (and sometimes frightening) performance.
Like the Disney fish that bears her namesake, Dory starts the series somewhat adrift. Knocked back from job after job, she finds herself carrying the weight of existential boredom until a mystery comes knocking at her door. When a former college friend (well, acquaintance) is declared missing, Dory enlists her boyfriend, Drew, and their two best friends for a mission to find the missing woman. But things get blurry as Dory’s single-minded pursuit for purpose takes over all reason.
Over three seasons, Dory’s insatiable desire to be seen, needed, takes some very dark turns, and her doting friends become backseat passengers on the bumpy ride.
The experience of watching Search Party is similarly turbulent. One moment it will have you in stitches, and in the next, the white-knuckled tension makes you forget you were ever watching a comedy at all. Seasons one to three are available to stream on Stan, with season four set to premiere in January 2021.
2004 – 2006, Western drama
If you never had the pleasure of visiting Deadwood before the series bit the dust back in 2006, you’re one of the lucky ones. This surprisingly heart-warming Western recently picked up where the series left off over ten years ago with Deadwood: The Movie.
You can only catch the movie on Foxtel (or digital services like Google Play and Microsoft Store) at the moment but at least you won’t be waiting a lifetime for the thrilling conclusion.
If like us, you devoured the first few seasons of Lost before falling off the grid, struggling to keep track of all the loose threads, the entire series is now available on Stan. So you can watch it at your own pace and just Google every unanswered question as you go.
Despite the infamous ending, the journey there still makes for one of the most compelling binges in television history.
1990 – 2017, Mystery…?
How do you describe a show like Twin Peaks when there is nothing else quite like Twin Peaks. The inciting mystery of Laura Palmer’s death sets up this mind-bending clash of enigmatic, otherworldly characters and quaint small-town traditions.
Not only is Stan home to the original series from 1991, it also has exclusive streaming rights to the 2017 revival season.
2019 – Present, Comedy
Creator Simon Rich (Man Seeking Woman) imagines heaven as an industrial factory, with an impulsive and naïve God (Steve Buscemi) leading the show. When God loses all hope for his creation, he decides to open a restaurant, and it’s up to the worker drones responsible for answering prayers (Daniel Radcliffe and Geraldine Viswanathan) to help God see that Earth is worth saving.
Radcliffe, Viswanathan, and Karan Soni (Deadpool) are magnetic as the series’ leads, but Steve Buscemi steals the show with the limited screen time he has.
The second season, Miracle Workers: Dark Ages, is also available on Stan. It features most of the same main cast but in a totally different setting.
Maya Erskine and Anna Konkle’s PEN15 is kind of like a live-action Big Mouth. It follows 13-year old social outcasts Maya and Anna (both playing the younger versions of themselves) as they awkwardly stumble their way through painfully relatable high school scenarios that you’ve probably had nightmares about well into adulthood.
Erskine and Konkle’s performances as their teenage selves are hilarious and uncanny. A few episodes in and you almost forget you’re watching two 33-year olds relive some of their most cringeworthy (and occasionally heartfelt) childhood memories. PEN15 is only two seasons in and it’s already one of the best comedies you can stream.
Back in 2009 and 2010, Veronica Mars creator Rob Thomas penned Party Down, a short-lived comedy about a group of aspiring actors making a living at a catering company.
It stars Adam Scott, Lizzy Caplan, and Ken Marino, and the fact that it managed to fly under the radar for the most is one of the greatest tragedies in television.
Now all we need is for someone to nab the streaming rights for Marino’s Burning Love and we’ll be good.
Hands-down one of the funniest original comedies of recent memory, Broad City introduced us to the unrivalled talents of Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer as two best friends scheming to survive life in New York City.
Suppose you need more Abbi and Ilana after rolling credits on the final season. In that case, Ilana Glazer has a post-Broad City comedy special over on Netflix, and Abbi Jacobson voiced the lead role in the same streaming services’ Matt Groening series Disenchantment.
The debate over which version of The Office is best (the US reboot or UK original) continues over six years after the final US episode aired.
Whether you’re more Dunder Mifflin than Wernham Hogg, more Tim than Jim, or despise Dwight more than you do Gareth, both versions are available to stream on Stan.
Regular Show sits alongside Adventure Time as the kind of kids’ show that’s perfectly acceptable for all ages but particularly enjoyed by adults thanks to its truly top-notch comedy writing. If you can’t possibly handle another episode of Paw Patrol, give Regular Show a whirl.
Once you’ve finished that, creator JG Quintel’s more recent (and more adult) cartoon Close Enough is streaming on Netflix.
The best remedy for the lingering migraine left by Scrubs Season 9 is a heavy dose of Seasons 1 to 8.
There’s simply no placebo that can replace the potent chemistry between Sacred Heart’s most lovable personalities: JD, Elliot, Carla, Turk, Dr. Cox, Kelso, and, of course, The Todd.
When Parks and Recreation first released back in 2009, it seemed like an attempt to replicate the success of The Office.
What we actually got was one of the most rewatchable comedies of all time. Michael Shur followed Parks and Rec up with two more bangers: Brooklyn Nine-Nine and The Good Place (both available on Netflix Australia), proving he can do no wrong.
Stan’s stakeout sitcom starring Patty Brammal is the streaming service’s greatest success story when it comes to original content. It’s a top-shelf comedy that caught the attention of Will Ferrell, who remade it in the US before the second season even aired.
The US remake, which features Tim Meadows, Suniti Mani, and Jason Mantzoukas, is also available to stream on Stan.
The US No Activity series has been renewed for a fourth season but will shift to an animated format.
Another long-running sitcom favourite, you can stream all 9 seasons of How I Met Your Mother on Stan to your heart’s content. If you still feel let down by its controversial finale, you’ll forgive its misgivings by the time you’re a few episodes in.
HIMYM fan from the beginning or not, this iconic comedy deserves a place on your rewatch list.
Sharing the same stable as other infinitely rewatchable comedies like Parks and Recreation, Arrested Development and Brooklyn-Nine-Nine is Community.
Dan Harmon’s fish-out-of-water comedy follows a disgraced lawyer (Joel McHale) who is forced to attend a community college in order to obtain his degree. What starts as a study group fabricated to woo social activist Britta Perry quickly becomes a tight-knit family of students.
Channel 4’s POV-shot comedy Peep Show is quite possibly the funniest thing to come out of the UK, it’s a surprise the US hasn’t… oh nevermind.
Peep Show is one of the most quotable comedies in history and introduced most people to the wonderful David Mitchell and Robert Webb.
2004 – 2019, Detective drama
If you’ve fallen in love with Kristen Bell thanks to The Good Place, head back to where it all began for Bell: Her cult-favourite role as high-school detective Veronica Mars.
You could easily dismiss Veronica Mars as just another high-school genre piece, but its cracking dialogue and clever mystery arcs make it well worth your time.
Margaret Atwood’s timely vision of a totalitarian US future has made one of the most successful transitions to the small screen since Game of Thrones.
Mad Men’s Elizabeth Moss plays the lead role as June Osborne, a Handmaid to two of the biggest political figures in the fascist, theonomous political party that’s taken power.
If you could only watch one medical drama, how could it be anything but Grey’s Anatomy? For 14 years and running, loyal fans of the series haven’t stopped tuning in for another episode with Dr Meredith Grey and her colleagues.
While we don’t know when we’ll get access to Season 16 in Australia (and see Sarah Rafferty swap her suit pants for scrubs), you can still binge-watch Seasons 1 to 13 of Grey’s Anatomy on Stan.
- Georgia Tan
If your first contact with Aaron Sorkin was with the more contemporary, The Newsroom, then forget everything you know. The West Wing is late 90s/early 2000s for this feel good political drama about the President of the United States (Martin Sheen) and the staffers, advisers and family that support him.
After that, check out Sorkin’s latest The Trial of Chicago 7 on Netflix.
Most folks first witness the imposing on-screen power of Idris Elba in The Wire but BBC One’s Luther is where he really got the chance to flex his leading man prowess.
Everything you know about the action superstar can be tracked back to his performance as the hard-nosed detective John Luther (well, everything except for the curiously ripped Macavity in Cats).
BBC has exported its brand of crime drama with the breakout hit, Killing Eve. This spy thriller weaves a gripping tale of obsession as MI5 agent Eve Polastri (Sandra Oh in fine form) attempts to track down an elusive assassin, Villanelle (Jodie Comer).
A mutual obsession and admiration for each other’s methods push the two professionals closer together.
When the monsters at NBC unceremoniously sacrificed Hannibal, hungry fans lashed out at the pure injustice of it. It’s a testament to Bryan Fuller’s vision (a TV universe of serial killers from the mind of Thomas Harris) and the magnetic charm of Mads Mikkelsen.
Like Killing Eve, it’s a story of mutual obsession between cat (FBI profiler Will Graham) and mouse (forensic scientist Dr. Hannibal Lecter).
The Brits have got crime shows falling out of their pockets but believe us when we say Line of Duty isn’t your average crime drama, even if the title and thumbnail suggest otherwise.
This award-winning procedural revolves around an Anti-Corruption unit responsible for investigating an unlawful shooting from a fellow officer.
Breaking Bad has been hyped beyond belief since it wrapped in 2013, but there’s no denying that Vince Gilligan’s script, and the lead performances by Bryan Cranston as Walt, Aaron Paul as Jesse Pinkman, and Anna Gunn as Skyler, make for some of the most gripping television ever made.
It’s the perfect time to get hooked, too, as Netflix has provided closure for Pinkman fans with the sequel movie El Camino.
If you’re into American crime dramas, what’s not to love about Sons of Anarchy? The series surrounds an outlaw motorcycle club trying to protect his town from rival gangs. It’s dark, enthralling, and bloody and you can binge-watch all 7 glorious seasons on Stan.
- Georgia Tan
Hulu’s TV adaptation of John Green’s hit first novel garnered praise when it first premiered on Stan. Fans had been hoping for a movie adaptation of Looking for Alaska for years now, but what they got was extra screen time with Miles and Alaska in this eight-episode miniseries.
Created by Josh Schwartz, the man also behind Gossip Girl and The O.C., we certainly had high hopes for this angsty teen drama (and they paid off). If you enjoyed Shailene Woodley in The Fault in Our Stars movie adaptation and were sorely disappointed by Cara Delavigne in Paper Towns, here’s your chance to give Green some adaptation reclamation.
- Georgia Tan
2019 – 2020, Australian sci-fi drama
It’s not often that you get an entire series dedicated to exploring the effects of climate change and biotech from the Australian perspective. Another Stan Original, The Commons is a dark thriller drama set in a dystopian, climate crisis-struck Sydney. With the current bush fire crisis, The Commons will feed right into your deepest climate change fears.
Since 25 December 2019, the full eight-part series has been available on Stan.
- Georgia Tan
Whether you’re the sun, you’re the moon, or you’re simply human and need to-be-loooved, Charmed is trash-tier television at its finest. Before there were a seemingly infinite number of witches and vampires on our TV screens, Alysia Milano, Shannon Doherty, Holly Marie Combs, and Rose McGowan showed us how the power of three could set you free.
If you’re conjuring up an appetite for even more Charmed, Stan is also streaming the new reboot series.
The good doctor has been an elusive chap since streaming services launched in Australia. ABC iView gets the latest seasons but doesn’t house the back catalogue. But never fear, Stan has picked up the slack.
The latest Jodie Whittaker season (Season 12) isn’t available to binge yet, but Stan will sort you out with seasons 1 to 11 of the Doctor Who revival series.
It’s a mystery to me how this Showtime horror series starring Josh Hartnett, Eva Green, Timothy Dalton. and Billie Piper didn’t have the same cult following as The Walking Dead or Game of Thrones. It’s essentially the Avengers of 19th Century Gothic Horror with a killer cast and thrilling through-line.
Stan also has the next entry in the Penny Dreadful anthology City of Angels.
Since 2020, all 8 seasons of The Vampire Diaries have now joined Buffy the Vampire Slayer on Stan, so if you have a soft spot for vampire teen dramas, this is for you. While we know this isn’t the best TV series of all time, mark this down when you’re looking for your next guilty pleasure.
If you’ve already drained The Vampire Diaries dry, Stan is also streaming the spin-off The Originals.