Who needs cable when you can just stream? Instead of waiting for each episode each week, why not try a show that has a few 100 episodes behind it? Or one that’s already finished? Hollywood is pushing out more TV shows than ever onto streaming sites so you can enjoy a few sleepless binge sessions. So cut the cord. Here’s what you can watch whenever you want.

1. The Good Wife

Legal shows aren’t supposed to be this good. CBS shows aren’t supposed to be this good. Well, all of those assumptions go straight out the window because The Good Wife is coming off of one of the best seasons of television. Ever. (In my humble opinion). A disgraced politician’s wife returns to work as a lawyer after years away from the work force only to get a crash course in the law and politics. Julianna Marguiles is outstanding as the aloof, collected Alicia Florrick working to provide for her family. All of the supporting cast of characters are phenomenally well drawn and portrayed by New York’s best stage and TV actors. The courtroom writing is tense, poignant and fascinating, especially as the show tackles issues like privacy, technology and ethics. Are you sold yet? The Good Wife it’s in its sixth season, so you have 100+ episodes to catch up on. 

The Good Wife seasons 1-5 are on Amazon Prime and Hulu Plus.

2. Faking It and Awkward.

Amazon is the only place to watch MTV’s high school comedies, both of which blend pathos, sexuality and friendship with surprising depths. Faking It may have a slightly ridiculous premise — two best friends fake being lesbians for popularity as one slowly realizes her feelings for the other — but its also one you’ll become quickly attached to. Meanwhile, Awkward’s original premise was a high schooler hung up on a boy who accidentally tries to kill herself, becoming the pariah of high school politics. Funny, light and tapping into today’s teen era, these two are worth checking out again.

Faking It’s first season is on Amazon Prime while Awkward’s four seasons are also on Amazon Prime.

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3. The Shield

Everything you ever knew about cop shows is thrown out the window, run over by a car and then set on fire thanks to The Shield. A group of corrupt cops terrorize or enforce (Depending upon who you ask) a neighborhood in Los Angeles, using a variety of illegal and unethical methods to keep the peace. Led by Vic Mackey (Michael Chiklis), the Strike Team often has difficulty covering up their own crimes as their work takes them to investigate the drug trade, serial rapists, gangs, sex crimes and more. It’s an incredibly gritty, dirty cop drama that you simply cannot find anywhere else on TV these days.

The Shield is available on Amazon Prime, Hulu Plus and Crackle.

4. Veronica Mars

The little show that could. Veronica Mars lasted three seasons on two networks before coming back 10 years later thanks to a fan-founded Kickstarter campaign for a feature length film. Is it really that good, you ask? That and more. Veronica Mars stars Kristen Bell, fantastic and mesmerizing, as the titled character, the daughter of a disgraced sheriff turned private eye who investigates the murder of her best friend. All the while in high school. Creator and writer Rob Thomas balance the case of the week mysteries with several ambitious serialized stories all to make a great entry into noir. You’ll fall in love with characters like Logan Echolls (Jason Dohring) and Weevil (Francis Capra) and Wallace (Percy Daggs III) even if they hate each other thanks to class warfare. And best of all? They solve murder mysteries in one season.

The entire series of Veronica Mars is available exclusively on Amazon Prime.

5. Justified

U.S. Marshall Raylan Givens is a hero in the small towns of rural America and he often feels like he’s been airlifted from the 19th century to be that hero. Returned to his home town in Kentucky, Raylan must deal with personal demons to help the criminal dealings in Harlan County. Legendary for five seasons of dynamic villains, compelling characters and unflinching ability to explore crime, criminals, law enforcers and everyone in between, Justified is worth the watch. 

Five seasons of Justified are available on Amazon Prime.

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6. Enlightened

Following a nervous breakdown, a woman returns to her work and life with an enlightened, passionate plea for change at her corporate job. Shrill, manipulative and optimistic, Amy (Laura Dern) yearns for a greater purpose even if she’s stuck in the wasted department of her company, befriend a lonely coworker (Mike White) while making more enemies. She reconnects with her addict ex-husband (Luke Wilson). It’s also oddly, darkly hilarious to watch these characters who feel such like real people have to encounter such ugly things. Enlightened is an HBO show, but more than that it is a spiritual, poignant one that really examines what it means to rebuild a life. 

The entire series is available on Amazon Prime and HBO Go. 

7. The Hour

Looking across the pond in 1956, we can watch a group of BBC reporters and correspondents produce a current affairs show to varying results. Filling in your Mad Men fix if only for its period piece, the show tackles some dark and light issues in Cold War Britain portrayed by a pehomenal cast of notable British actors.

The entire series is available on Amazon Prime.

8. Fringe

An X-Files like show that substitutes aliens for alternative universes, this J.J. Abrams sci-fi drama ran for 5 seasons before its own big bang. Part procedural, part serialized sci-fi storytelling, Fringe follows FBI agent Olivia Dunham and her father-son team Walter and Peter Bishop to discover and save the lives of innocents who have been affected by fringe science — science that is more science fiction than science. With fantastic stand alone episodes and long, satisfying serialize storytelling, Fringe actually wraps up its mysteries and provides a beautiful conclusion.

The entire series is available on Amazon Prime and Netflix.

9. Hey Arnold!

Hey childhood! The feel good show of Millennials’ youth, Hey Arnold is the perfect nostalgia series to settle back into. For newcomers, you’ll be pleased to meet Arnold, the reluctant and do-gooder hero, and his oddly shaped friends Eugene, a master storyteller, and his bully Helga, who is secretly in love with him, as they battle adolescence in the fictional city of Hillwood. It’s such a beautifully animated, feel-good show for people of any age.

The entire series is available on Amazon Prime.

10. Daria

Show me a group of teenagers and I’ll show you a Daria, an acerbic and apathetic teenager who sees life as is. Resident misanthrope and teenage deadpanner Daria Morgendorffer is the only sane one in her town of lovable idiots, and her is naturally compelled to let them know this. A satire on what it’s really like to go to high school, Daria commented on popular culture, social class and suburban America, but man did it do it with sarcastic wit and heart.

The entire series is available on Amazon Prime.

Don’t have an Amazon Prime Instant Video account but dying to watch one or more shows from the list? Sign up for a free 30-day trial today here. With your free trial you’ll also gain access to free two day shipping on thousands of items, millions of songs to download for free, and access to popular ebook titles. 

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(Image courtesy of FOX and CBS) 

Emily E. Steck

Contributing Writer, BuddyTV