tv bits friday night lights

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

Hello all, I’m back for another week of Small-Screen Stream, where I’m bringing you suggestions about the best TV to stream this week. There were some new releases this last week, notably the second season of 13 Reasons Why on Netflix, but I’m steering clear of the more obvious stuff and going for some purely emotional choices this time around. (It’s been a rough week, if you haven’t guessed from the constant onslaught of horrible news, and we could all use an upper.)

But worry not, I also have Solo on the brain, and used that as an opportunity to sneak in some Star Wars and Star Wars adjacent choices. I hope you dig in and enjoy the offerings, and feel free to let me know the TV you’ve been checking out this week!

Friday Night Lights, Seasons 1-5

Where To Watch: Hulu

Created By: Peter Berg

Cast: Kyle Chandler, Connie Britton, Taylor Kitsch, Zach Gilford, Aimee Teegarden, Jesse Plemmons

In late April, Hulu acquired the exclusive streaming rights for Friday Night Lights (at least that’s what the press releases said; you can also watch it on Amazon Prime) and thank god, because Netflix has been a dimmer place since the show faded from its catalogue. I don’t say this often, but Friday Night Lights is truly a perfect television show. The characters are so magnetic and alive that I have a hard time separating those actors from who they play here. Sorry Kyle Chandler, but you are forever Coach Taylor in my heart. I haven’t revisited the show in a few years, but I pulled up the pilot the other day to see if it holds up, and boyyyyyyy does it. In fact, I’d argue it’s one of the greatest pilots ever put to screen, a truly beautiful and heartstring-tugging piece of art that is far better than it has any right to be. Friday Night Lights is one of those shows that I recommend to everyone, and then immediately feel jealous when they say they’ve never seen it. If you’re one of the blessed unsullied, I cannot recommend it enough. Even my dark and cynical heart turns to mush when that theme song starts up.

Fleabag, Season 1

Where To Watch: Amazon Prime

Created By: Phoebe Waller-Bridge

Cast: Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Hugh Skinner, Sian Clifford, Brett Gelman, Olivia Coleman

Solo: A Star Wars Story comes out this week, which is a great excuse for the uninitiated to revisit (or visit for the first time) writer Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s incredible series Fleabag, streaming now on Amazon Prime. Waller-Bridge stars as the new droid L3-37 in Solo, which is an off-kilter choice if you know her best for her TV work. Fleabag is a Girls-esque series about a 20-something woman navigating relationships, friendships, and family life in contemporary London. She’s a damn mess, for reasons that slowly become clear as the first season unfolds, and that can make for a cringeworthy watch. But the titular Fleabag is unapologetically herself, which is refreshing as hell, and the series is flat-out hilarious, a total romp from beginning to end. Waller-Bridge has a strong voice, which she’s since translated into other projects: she’s also the creator and writer of the new BBC America series Killing Eve. I can’t wait to see where her career takes her next, but I doubt I’ll ever love anything as much as I love Fleabag. I can’t recommend it enough.

Unsolved Mysteries, Seasons 1-12

Where To Watch: Amazon Prime

Created By: John Cosgrove, Terry Dunn Meurer

Host: Robert Stack

I’ve somehow been walking through life totally unaware that every Robert Stack-hosted season of Unsolved Mysteries is on Amazon Prime. And I’m ashamed. Discovering this has been the highlight of my year, as I love nothing more than being scared to death by low-budget reenactments with terrible special effects set to that iconic and bone-chilling theme music. And honestly, Unsolved Mysteries is somehow even scarier than I remembered. It’s stark in its brutality, totally unafraid to pummel us with horrible details about murders and kidnappings and other rotten parts of the human condition. I feel like every ’90s TV-obsessed kid has an Unsolved Mysteries segment they never forgot, and for me it’s the episode about spontaneous human combustion, which is still my most irrational fear. If you’re ready to re-live the terror of youth, I implore you to check it out.

New Girl, Seasons 1-6

Where To Watch: Netflix

Created By: Elizabeth Meriwether

Cast: Zooey Deschanel, Jake Johnson, Max Greenfield, Lamorne Morris, Hannah Simone

We’re finally out of the horrible winter months (to my fellow cold-climate-dwelling readers: we made it!) so comfort food TV isn’t quite as necessary anymore, but if you’re still stuck in the throes of winter blues, I highly suggest New Girl as an antidote. I’m not much of a quirky sitcom person, but there’s something about Jess Day that I find irresistible. She’s doe-eyed and loves crafts and is revoltingly twee, yes, but she’s also a hot mess, and watching her navigate her life is a great comfort, as I too wind my way through the back-half of my 20s. I had left off somewhere around Season 3 when I first started watching, but noticed it on Netflix last month and have had a great time catching up on what I missed. The seventh and final season just wrapped up, so if you’re at all invested in the lives of Jess and her trio of male roommates (and Cece!), it’s really worth getting caught up in time to bid them adieu. It’s been a joy watching them grow into something resembling adulthood.

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