The best TV shows streaming on Stan (July 2021)
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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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2015 – 2019, Thriller/mystery
Before he played Freddie Mercury in the biopic blockbuster Bohemian Rhapsody, Rami Malek starred in Mr. Robot as Elliot Alderson, a paranoid hacker with dissociative identity disorder. Over four seasons, Elliot’s paranoia proves to be dangerous, chaotic, and occasionally, warranted as a shadowy organisation stalks and terrorises Elliot and the people he holds close. Mr. Robot is a twisted thriller with high stakes and mysteries so dense that entire Reddit threads have been dedicated to figuring them out. Waiting between seasons for more Mr. Robot was hell thanks to some devilish season finale cliff-hangers but if you’re just getting started you won’t need to wait at all; the first three seasons are available on Stan while the fourth lives over on Binge.
Made for Love
2021 – Current , Dark comedy
If you loved Cristin Milioti in Palm Springs (streaming on Prime Video) or you’re keen to see Ray Romano get weird, you need to check out Made for Love. The HBO Max Original follows Hazel, a woman trying to escape her increasingly possessive tech billionaire husband after he implants a prototype technology in her brain that tracks her every move and emotion (all without her consent). Made for Love manages to juggle some intense themes around control, abuse, grief and heartbreak but somehow still makes you laugh without softening the impact or seriousness of some of the ideas explored.
2018 – Current , Drama
Yellowstone’s popularity really kicked off during 2020 when people just wanted something relatively low-effort to watch. It might be a bit cheesy at the best of times, and totally predictable at its worst, but there’s no denying that weekly doses of a cantankerous Kevin Costner became as addictive chewin’ tobacky last year. If this is your first rodeo, here’s all you need to know: Led by their tough-as-nails father, John (Kevin Costner), the Dutton family owns and operates the largest ranch in America. The Duttons defend their land tooth-and-nail against billionaire real estate developers and the rightful Native American landowners who seek to reclaim the land. The Duttons are a dirty bunch of often unlikeable antiheroes, but sometimes their biggest threats come from within their circle of trust. If you’ve ever square-danced with the idea of checking out Yellowstone then it’s a good time to saddle up. Two new spin-offs were recently announced for the upcoming streaming service, Paramount Plus.
Better Call Saul
2015 – 2021, Crime-thriller
While this Breaking Bad spinoff naturally shares a lot of DNA with its predecessor, it’s a totally unique, and arguably better TV show depending on who you ask. Whereas Breaking Bad slowly made its downtrodden hero one of the most vile villains on TV, you can’t help but root for Bob Odenkirk’s Jimmy McGill (aka Saul Goodman). Sure, Walter White was dealt a poor hand, but ultimately he dug his own grave. Slippery Jim, on the other hand, try as he might, can’t seem to dig himself out, and it’s honestly heart-breaking to see his best intentions crumble to dust. If, like us, you’ve left it too long to catch up with Better Call Saul, Stan’s got all five seasons to catch up with before the “intense season six finale“.
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 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.
2019 – Present, Comedy
Creator Simon Rich (Man Seeking Woman) imagines heaven as an industrial factory, with an impulsive and naive 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.
2019 – Present, Comedy
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.
2009 – 2010, Comedy
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.
2014 – 2019, Comedy
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 Office (UK/US)
2001 – 2002 (UK), 2005 – 2013 (US), Comedy
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.
2009 – 2017, Animated Comedy
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.
2001 – 2010, Medical comedy-drama
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.
Parks and Recreation
2009 – 2015, Mockumentary sitcom
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.
No Activity (AU/US)
2015 – 2018 (AU), 2018 – Present (US), Comedy
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.
How I Met Your Mother
2005 – 2014, Sitcom
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.
2005 – 2014, Sitcom
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.
2003 – 2015, UK comedy
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, never mind. 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.
The Handmaid’s Tale
2017 – Present, Dystopian drama
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.
2005 – Present, Medical drama
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. Seasons 1 to 14 of Grey’s Anatomy are streaming on Stan while the latest episodes can be streamed on Disney Plus Star.
The West Wing
1994 – 2006, Political drama
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.
RuPaul’s Drag Race
2009 – Present, Reality series
One of the most entertaining reality-competition television shows in history. A lesson in reading, lip-syncing and hustling, RuPaul’s Drag Race has amassed a massive following in its fourteen-season run, as well as several spin-offs including an Australian spin-off (all available on Stan).
2020 – Present, Mystery drama
The entire eight-part first season of this highly anticipated Stan Original crime drama set in Tasmania is now out on Stan. You won’t find it streaming anywhere else in Australia, so Stan users, you get to enjoy The Gloaming all to yourselves
2010 – 2019, Crime drama
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).
2018 – Present, Crime thriller
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.
2013 – 2015, Crime thriller
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).
Line of Duty
2012 – Present, Crime thriller
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.
2008 – 2013, Crime thriller
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.
Sons of Anarchy
2008 – 2014, Crime drama
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 seven glorious seasons on Stan.
Looking for Alaska
2019, Teen drama miniseries
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.
2004 – 2010, Science Fiction and Mystery
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.
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.
1998 – 2006, Fantasy drama
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.
Doctor Who (Revival series)
2005 – Present, Science fiction
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.
The Vampire Diaries
2009 – 2017, Fantasy drama
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.
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