Best Shows Streaming

(Welcome to Small-Screen Stream, a feature where we share the best television shows streaming and where you can watch them.)

Netflix has been the talk of the town these last few weeks. In December, its original movie Bird Box became its most-streamed ever, and the company – once notoriously private about ratings – has started slowly releasing viewership information. And then, the Oscar nominations happened, where two Netflix movies – Roma and The Ballad of Buster Scruggs took home multiple nominations, finally breaking the wall between prestige film and the Academy.

I say all of this because this weeks Small-Screen Stream is front-loaded with a ton of new and returning notable series from Netflix. I balanced it out with offerings from other streaming services later in the post, but there are so many new Netflix things to talk about that I had to get to that first. With that in mind, here are the best TV shows to stream this week.

The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Seasons 1-5

Where To Watch: Netflix

Admittedly, I havent seen the new season of The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt because it doesnt hit Netflix until Friday. But I wanted this space to serve as a reminder that one of the best comedies on TV ends this week. The Tina Fey-created series starring Ellie Kemper as a kidnap victim whos released back into the world sounds grim, but the incredible writing and cast kept it chirpy, heartfelt, and laugh-out-loud funny. Ill miss having new seasons to look forward to every year. The fifth and final season is available this Friday, January 25.

Conversations with a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes

Where To Watch: Netflix

I also havent seen this four-part series about one of Americas most notorious serial killers, but word on the street is that its incredible. Its been high on my radar since its announcement, since its directed by Joe Berlinger, who also directed the Paradise Lost trilogy about the West Memphis Three – some of the best true crime films of all time. The series will use real-life interview tapes from the killer, who raped and murdered at least 30 women (probably way more) in the 70s.

Sex Education, Season 1

Where To Watch: Netflix

According to Netflix, more than 40 million accounts checked out the first season of this British comedy series, starring Gillian Anderson as a sex therapist who imbues wisdom on her son, played by Asa Butterfield. Thats a huge number for such a small show, but says great things about the kind of television Netflix will likely continue to make: intimate, foreign, odd. The series is a great weekend mini-binge, and Anderson works her part like magic.

The Punisher, Seasons 1-2

Where To Watch: Netflix

Netflix recently canceled a large swath of its Marvel shows, but the second season of The Punisher was already in the can, and hit the service last week. Jon Bernthal is the perfect Frank Castle and the series is dark and gritty in a way that never betrays the MCUs language, but rather deepens its possibilities. Theres to hoping this one survives to see another season.

The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story

Where To Watch: Netflix

I adore both seasons of American Crime Story, but this second iteration is even more delicious than The People vs. O.J. Simpson. Darren Criss plays Andrew Cunanan, a spree killer responsible for the death of the famed Italian fashion designer. The show chronicles his murder spree and the ins and outs of the crimes. Criss who took home an Emmy and Golden Globe for his work – is incredible here, exploring Cunanans demented layers, which are contrasted with the bold and dramatic Versace family. Its an incredible entry in the Ryan Murphy universe.

Grace and Frankie, Seasons 1-5

Where To Watch: Netflix

If youre as obsessed with Lily Tomlin and Jane Fonda as I am, theres no way you wont love Grace and Frankie, about two women forced into friendship after their husbands leave them for one another. Grace (Fonda) is a straight-laced, rules-oriented businesswoman and Frankie (Tomlin) a hippie art teacher, which makes their dynamic extra conflicting – and extra lovable.

A Very English Scandal, Season 1

Where To Watch: Amazon Prime

I wasnt aware of the Jeremy Thorpe scandal before this series was recommended to me, but its a fascinating bit of British history. Thorpe, a member of the British parliament, had a love affair with another man, Norman Josiffe, before his political career. But when he rose to power, Josiffe an unstable man who couldnt keep a show – came forward, threatening to end Thorpes career, putting the two into a contentious, violent opposition. Hugh Grant plays Thorpe and Ben Whishaw plays Josiffe in this 3-episode miniseries, and both are reliably excellent. I couldnt stop watching this excellently made show.

True Detective, Seasons 1-3

Where To Watch: HBO Go

It probably goes without saying that you should watch True Detective, but I wanted to take a minute to give the third season a shout-out, and to encourage anyone who hasnt caught the series to, at the very least, go back and binge season 1 one of the most complete, bizarre, beautiful, and well-made seasons of TV in recent memory. The show is back to form in season 3 after a rough season 2, with Mahershala Ali and Stephen Dorff as detectives assigned to a decades-spanning kidnapping case in rural Arkansas. The acting is great, the mystery is rich, and were only three episodes in plenty of time for you to catch up now.

Casey Anthony: An American Murder Mystery

Where To Watch: Hulu

Im perennially obsessed with the Casey Anthony case, about a Florida woman accused of murdering her two-year-old daughter, Caylee, in 2008. Anthony was found not guilty during her trial, to the contention of many, who believe the evidence points to her culpability. Ive listened to every podcast, watched every documentary, and devoured this three-episode series about the case. It isnt the highest quality true crime doc or even the best, but it gives you the bones of the case and highlights the possible injustice. It makes for an easy weekend afternoon couch binge.

The Masked Singer, Season 1

Where To Watch: Hulu

This insane, gonzo, surreal reality competition series iswell, its certainly something. I saw the promos a while back and almost couldnt believe what I was seeing, so of course I had to check it out. The first three episodes are on Hulu, waiting for you, too, to witness this insanity. The show features celebrities who are masked in elaborate disguises – the deer, the lion, the monster and perform songs for a panel of judges, who have to guess who these famous people could be. Theyre also given clues in the forms of riddles and images. Its complete nonsense, but the costume design, premise, and ridiculous factor have me hooked. Please join me.

A Discovery of Witches, Season 1

Where To Watch: Shudder

This British TV series is based on a series of popular books by Deborah Harkness, and are finally available stateside thanks to horror streaming service, Shudder. The premise follows a witch (Teresa Palmer) who is dragged into a magical world after finding a cursed manuscript. Ive been slowly making my way through the first season, and its a lot of fun. Also, Matthew Goode plays a vampire. Enough said.

Married At First Sight, Seasons 1-6

Where To Watch: Hulu

Listen, I hate myself for including this, but I cant lie. I love the hell out of this trash fire reality series. I dont watch much reality TV that isnt competition based because, frankly, I find it too depressing and sensationalized. Married At First Sight is no exception, but its so insane that I almost regard it the same way I do fiction. The show takes two random people looking for love and keeps them apart until their wedding day; yes, these people never even get to see each other until theyre walking down the aisle. The results can be surprising – some couples you would never expect to last actually make it, while others are fighting and annulled within days – but theyre never anything less than entertaining. The sixth season recently hit Hulu, so buckle up if youre into this sort of thing.

Finding Your Roots, Seasons 1-4

Where To Watch: Amazon Prime

Another form of reality TV Im a sucker for: Celebrities digging up their ancestry information. I only recently stumbled on this series on Amazon Prime so I havent delved in properly yet, but its pretty much along the same lines as Who Do You Think You Are? Celebs get invested in one corner of their ancestry and dig back through old documents and visit locations. If youre into that sort of thing, the first season is available on Prime right now.

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