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The best TV shows and series streaming on Stan (August 2022)
If you like your comedy dark with a healthy lashing of science-fiction, Made for Love was made for you.
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 series (not to mention 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 and series on Stan.
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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
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.
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.
Looking for something new to stream tonight? These services offer free trials so you won’t pay a cent unless you decide to keep subscribed once your trial’s up.
- Apple TV+ 7-day free trial: Stream Severance, CODA and more award-winning TV shows and movies
- Hayu 7-day free trial: Reality TV lovers can have load up on the drama with hayu's dedicated streaming service
- BritBox 7-day FREE trial: Experience the hottest tea out of the UK for one whole week
- Foxtel Now 10-day free trial: Must-watch shows including lifestyle, comedy, reality, drama, news and entertainment
- Prime Video 30-day trial: Award-winning originals and shopping perks
- Shudder 7-day trial: Dedicated horror service with blood-curdling originals
Better Call Saul
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".
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.
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.
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.
Currently on Stan, the series 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.
Alongside mystery box serials like Lost, the SyFy reboot of the 1980s science fiction series saga of the same name was one of the most talked about shows on television for its time.
While some of the production values and storytelling twists haven't aged especially well in the years since, Ronald D. Moore's remix of Battlestar Galactica still mostly sticks the landing.
From Tricia Helfer to Edward James Olmos, the cast of Galactica is full of charismatic performances that are fun to watch bounce off one another. Even if the series' final destination remains divisive, the meat-and-potatoes storytelling involved in getting there holds up surprisingly well.
The Office (UK/US)
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.
Based on the Emily St. John Mandel-penned novel of the same name, Station Eleven is a cinematic limited series that follows a handful of characters as they struggle to survive in the wake of a global pandemic and then try to make sense of what the future looks like in the twenty years following it. While the source material was written several years prior to the pandemic, HBO Max's live action adaptation leans into its newfound relevance without coming across as overly opportunistic.
Station Eleven is a must-watch for fans of shows like The Leftovers and books like Cloud Atlas and The Bone Clocks.
Orphan Black is one of the most original science fiction thrillers you probably haven't seen.
The BBC America-produced series puts nature versus nurture to the test, with con artist Sarah Manning (Tatiana Maslany) stumbling onto a sinister conspiracy that reveals she is one of many clones. Manning and her clone sisters quickly join forces to face threats both within and without. The five-season saga sees Maslany juggle an ever-expanding medley of performances as the mystery deepens and the stakes are raised.
Parks and Recreation
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)
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.
It's A Sin
Brought to life by a cast of charismatic unknowns and familiar faces alike, It's A Sin is a crash-course through the highs and heartbreaks of a group of friends in London as they navigate the AIDS epidemic of the 1980s.
Tied together by energetic performances, a killer soundtrack and a tight script, It's A Sin is just as likely to make you laugh as it is make you cry, but it's worth watching all the same.
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, 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.
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
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.
Hacks finally gives Jean Smart a premise worthy of her considerable talents, teaming her up with Hannah Einbinder as a pair of comedians who form an unexpected and acerbic friendship.
Set amidst the glitz and glamor of Las Vegas, Hacks tries to explore the unusual common ground between someone at the start of their career and someone who might be nearing the end while having a few laughs along the way.
The West Wing
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
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).
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).
Line of Duty
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.
Gangs of London
Gangs of London is a TV show with fight scenes so good that it might just ruin most modern action movies for you. Co-created by The Raid director Gareth Evans, the series follows the power struggles within and without a London-based crime syndicate after the head of the family is assassinated and the city is thrust into chaos.
Looking for Alaska
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.
If you're a fan of zany and over-the-top comedies like Parks & Recreation or Community, Edgar Wright's Spaced is a show that might tickle the same part of your funny bone. The British comedy follows Simon Pegg and Jessica Hynes, who play a pair of unlikely friends who are forced to pretend to be a couple in order to rent a house in London together.
Even if aspects of Spaced have aged in the decades since it first came out, fans of Wright's later films, especially Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz, are still likely to find a lot of mileage with the cast, writing and shenanigans involved.
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 series, 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.
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.
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If you're a fan of Apple TV originals like Severance, then Counterpart is a science fiction thriller that'll certainly be down your alley.
Set in a world where the bureaucracy of Berlin hides a secret doorway to a parallel version of Earth, Counterpart is an espionage thriller that stars JK Simmons as Howard Silk. In one world, Silk is a humble office drone with few ambitions. In the other, Silk is a ruthless spymaster tangled in a web of trans-dimensional intrigue.
Counterpart only ran for two seasons, but the series does a great job of fully exploring this premise and pushing the setup to logical and satisfying conclusions.
The Vampire Diaries
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.