It’s the middle of summer, most (if not all) of your regular favorite tv shows are off-air and there is seemingly nothing but trash to watch on live tv right now, right? So what’s a Suburban AF girl to do? Turn to one of the many awesome streaming services out there and discover some fresh, new shows worthy of your time of course!
Now before you jump to conclusions, give me a little credit that I’m not just going to list out all of the most obvious, binge-worthy series you’ve likely already seen (Game of Thrones, Dexter, The Office, Breaking Bad, The Walking Dead before it became unwatchable, etc.) just like every other similar list I’ve found online. I’m also not going to give you recommendations only based on one streaming platform or assume that just because I like something that all of you will feel exactly the same way. This list features recommendations for streams you can watch across a wide variety of platforms , many streams which you likely have not even heard of before and all which I’ve categorized into themes based on the shows you already know and love.
Additionally, because I hate getting caught up in a tv series only to have it prematurely cancelled as much as the next person, I’ve included callouts for shows with confirmed further seasons for your future streaming pleasure. Get your wine and popcorn ready ladies – it’s time to stream 😊
Streaming on: Starz OnDemand, Hulu, Netflix* (*1st two seasons)
Seasons: 4 (5th and 6th seasons confirmed)
Based on the 9-part book series by Diana Gabaldon, Outlander follows Claire Randall, a married Army nurse living in England in 1945, as she accidentally travels back in time to Scotland in 1743. The series essentially documents Claire’s journey from mere survival to making her way and eventually thriving in a long-gone world that is entirely different than the one she has known her whole life.
So why do I think Game of Thrones fans will like Outlander? Because it combines all of the same elements of war/battles, incredible costumery, love/romance and the supernatural in a way that should really hit the nail on the head for GoT fans. Now admittedly, Outlander does have a LOT more focus on romance vs GoT and at points, it gets downright smutty. That said, I’m guessing that won’t be a detractor for most Suburban AF readers, particularly given how incredibly hot the male lead actually. Seriously – HOT. It’s not a coincidence this guy was asked to appeared shirtless both on the cover and within a featured spread for Men’s Health magazine. Just sayin’.
All in all, it’s really an excellent and compelling series that I highly recommend. I literally just started watching this series this past weekend and I’ve already plowed my way through more episodes than I’m willing to admit. If nothing else, if you commit yourself to watching the first 2 episodes at the very least, I’m fairly certain most female viewers will be hooked.
Streaming on: Netflix
Seasons: 3 (4th season confirmed)
Ok so hear me out: there are no dragons flying around, magic shape-shifting little girls or witches with magic amulets so if you want supernatural, this is not going to be the show for you. That said, The Last Kingdom is based on a series of novels (Bernard Cornwell’s The Saxon Stories), has much of the same medieval charm and though it is technically a fictional show, this series is actually based (albeit loosely in places) on real people and places in Britain in the 9th Century A.D.
This series follows main character, Uhtred of Bebbanburg, who is born the son of a Saxon (i.e. English) nobleman but is captured by the Danes and raised as one of their own after his father and his army are defeated in battle. The resulting show follows Uhtred through the trials and tribulations that result in his adulthood being forced to choose between his homeland (English/Saxons) and the people who raised him (Danes) who he has come to care for as family. There are lots of battles, steamy romances and unending drama (similar to GoT) due to the unique position that Uhtred finds himself in which definitely makes for some great tv.
As an aside, I’d be remiss not to mention that Uhtred is pretty easy on the eyes as are several other Danish warriors on this show, so there’s also that.
Streaming on: Netflix, ShowTime OnDemand
Seasons: 4 (finished)
The murders, the scandals, the unbridled lust for power – if you’re missing these from GoT, you’ll definitely find them in The Tudors. While this series also does not contain all of the supernatural elements present in GoT, there are a lot more similarities than differences between the two shows from the amazing costumes, insane lifestyles of the rich/in power and degree of brutality that’s hard to imagine in this day in age. Like The Last Kingdom, this series does also have a genuine historic component as, while it is highly dramatized, is essentially chronicling the life, reign and marriages (spoiler alert) of King Henry VIII in 16th-century England.
If you never studied European history (or just never paid attention in your World History class), The Tudors is a great introduction to the supremacy and influence of English royalty, chief among these Henry VII. Now to be perfectly transparent, our boy Henry is most famously known for his many romances, scandals and marriages vs. his policies though he did enact some policy changes in his lifetime (including separating the church from the crown and radical changes to the English constitution) which had great impacts on the English people and the royal family for generations to come.
Fun Fact: For GoT lovers, one of The Tudors’ main characters is Henry’s most infamous mistress, Anne Boleyn, played by the same actress (Natalie Dormer) who played Margaery Tyrell on GoT.
Streaming on: PBS OnDemand, Amazon Prime
Seasons: 3 (4th season confirmed)
Victoria recounts the nearly 64-year reign of Queen Victoria of England in the late 19th century from the time she inherits the throne at the tender age of 18 through her adulthood and later years. Though she has always been raised as royalty, Victoria remains incredibly likeable even after taking the throne due to her true down-to-earth nature, level-headed decision-making and genuine desire to understand and positively impact English politics and policy-making.
Similar to Downton Abbey, the series also follows a host of servants who work in the palace and their trials and tribulations which are just as interesting, if not moreso, than that of the royals. My favorite storyline thus far has actually been the slow-burning love story between Charles Francatelli, the head chef, and Nancy Skerrett, Victoria’s head dresser. So sweet, very Bates and Anna-esque for Downton Abbey fans. As a PBS series, Victoria is also equally as wholesome as Downtown Abbey with no gratuitous sex scenes, extreme violence or foul language if that’s your bag (baby).
Streaming on: Netflix
Seasons: 2 (3rd season confirmed)
Like Downton Abbey, The Crown takes place (in the beginning) during roughly the same time frame and tells the story of a very privileged family’s trials and tribulations as times and political situations change. This series is based on the true story of the royal family from the time of Queen Elizabeth’s young adulthood but obvi. it’s dramatized more for the silver screen.
As it turns out, the royal family is not without skeletons in their closets despite their very tame and proper outward appearance. Queen Elizabeth’s sister, Margaret, is particularly fun to watch as the more edgy, chain-smoking, rule-breaker of the two sisters. I did Wikipedia her storyline afterward and it turns out that what you see in the show is actually pretty true to history which makes it all the more scandalous and interesting.
One caveat: While I definitely still think The Crown is worth a shot at watching, I didn’t find it to be as likable or compelling as Victoria. Queen Elizabeth, while undoubtedly powerful, poised and playing an important role in English modern history, just isn’t as relatable, at least for me and in the way each of the women are portrayed in their respective series’.
Streaming on: Amazon Prime
Seasons: 2(3rd season confirmed)
If you watched just one of the shows on this list, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel should be it. This series basically encompasses all of the main themes I loved about SATC – adventure, NYC life, romance, girl power, fashion worth envying – and adds a triple dose of humor that even a show as fabulous as SATC couldn’t hold a candle to. Overall, every aspect of this series is so incredibly well done that it’s no surprise this show has 20 Emmy nominations. Yes, TWENTY, so I must not be the only one thinking Prime has a real winner on their hands.
Miriam Maisel is essentially the perfect 50s housewife and mother who is then jilted by her husband, Joel, who leaves her for his secretary. Thereafter, she gets angry and drunk just like any other self-respecting woman would do and quite accidentally discovers that she has a knack for stand-up comedy. What follows is her journey to becoming a legitimate stand-up comedian in the middle of a nasty divorce. Miriam is not only insanely hilarious and fun to watch but she’s also a trailblazer for a whole generation of women who didn’t have the same freedoms as we have today.
Additional supporting cast includes Miriam’s mother, Rose, her father, Abe, her in-laws and last but not least, her manager, Susie, all of whom add a lot of comedic value to the show themselves. Season 1 was to-die-for but I can honestly say I loved Season 2 just as much if not more, particularly the episodes wherein her family is vacationing at a Dirty Dancing-esque resort in the Catskills. The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel is truly comedic gold that I wouldn’t recommend missing out on.
Confession: Midge’s 50s/60s wardrobe is SO fabulous and inspiring that I’ve created an entire Amazon shopping list devoted to helping you incorporate her stellar vintage fashion into your own wardrobe. This shopping list will be unveiled in an upcoming post (How to Steal Mrs. Maisel’s Vintage Style) coming soon on 8/13!
Streaming on: Hulu, TVLand OnDemand
Seasons: 6 (6th season currently airing; 7th season not yet confirmed)
Unbeknownst to the vast majority of the population (including me prior to watching this series), TV Land is not just a place to binge-watch Bewitched and The Facts of Life; it is now apparently in the business of producing its own original series and Younger is one of the best of the bunch.
Younger, like many of the streams on this list, also based on a novel of the same name by Pamela Remond Satran. While I’ll admit the premise of the show seems more than a little unlikely and silly, somehow it just works. It’s funny, entertaining, just a little risqué and just a little over-the-top in a way that’s just really enjoyable to watch.
Our heroine in this show is Liza Miller, a divorcee in her 40s, who finds she has to fake her identity as a younger woman just to get a job in the publishing industry after spending the last few decades out of the workforce to raise her daughter. I’ll admit that when I first started watching this series I wasn’t sure how long it would last since, realistically, how long could anyone really pull off a charade like this without anyone else finding out. True to form, her secret does start getting out to those in her closest circle one-by-one throughout the course of the series thus far. There’s also a tantalizing love triangle (ooh la la!) to follow which is interesting to watch as everything unfolds.
Streaming on: HBO GO/HBO OnDemand
Seasons: 2 (3rd season not yet confirmed)
Also based on a same-titled best-seller, this series stars a whole host of big-name, A-list Hollywood talent including Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman and Shailene Woodley amongst other faces you’ll likely recognize (Laura Dern, Zoe Kravitz, Adam Scott) in a series that centers around a group of rich women living the high life (sound familiar?), only in California vs New York.
However, that’s where this series really departs from SATC; all of the women are both wives and mothers and while there are definitely some touching moments and funny one-liners, this show surfaces some very real issues for the main characters including rape, domestic abuse and infidelity for a decidedly more dramatic and intense storyline. It’s far more dramatic and melancholy vs. SATC’s humor/light-hearted nature but it grows on you nonetheless.
Streaming on: Netflix
Seasons: 2 (3rd season confirmed which will be the last)
From the very first episode, Dark starts out with the mysterious disappearance of a little boy in the modern day which is an intriguing storyline in and of itself. Then, throughout the course of the first season, the series exposes what appears to be a larger conspiracy before making a hard left at ‘weird’ and a right at ‘time travel’ before landing you in complete mindf!#k territory. Without completely ruining some of the crazier plot twists of this show, I’ll just tell you that once I started watching this show, I genuinely couldn’t stop; I ended up watching the entire first season within 48 hours of starting the first episode. It’s THAT compelling, seriously.
The show has been oft been compared to Stranger Things which makes a lot of sense given that they are both based in small fictional towns with many interconnected people and families, contain many outerwordly sci-fi elements and are also both Netflix series. If you like the former, I strongly encourage you to give this one a shot as it really is gripping.
Note: This is Netflix’s first German-language series so unless you’re fluent in German, your options to watch in English are basically to watch the original version with English subtitles OR just turn on the English language dubbing (way easier) but keeping in mind that it won’t always line up perfectly with the characters’ speech in the show. For some (like my husband), this might drive you crazy but for me, it was not typically that noticeable and didn’t bother me at all.
Streaming on: Amazon Prime
Seasons: 3(4th season confirmed which will be the last)
If you haven’t seen The Man in the High Castle yet, you’ve probably at least heard of it and the premise, i.e. how the world would be different now if Japan and Germany had won WWII.
Our heroine is Juliana Crain, a young woman who comes across a mysterious film which seems to show that the Americans actually won the war. This sets off a chain-reaction of subsequent events wherein Juliana abandons her quiet, peaceful life in San Francisco and sets off on a quest to find and watch more films, learn more about their creator, the mysterious Man in the High Castle, as well as find others with knowledge of this apparent alternate reality and work together to find out the truth. This is all done, presumably, in an effort to topple the totalitarian Japanese and German regimes that have overtaken the U.S. and make their world more like the one shown in the films, i.e. wherein the U.S. wins WWII.
Throughout the first three seasons of the show, we also meet and follow the lives of several Japanese and Nazi party leaders as well as their families and the battles they wage between their sense of morality and sense of duty to be loyal to their respective parties. On the flip side, I’ll admit that it does start getting really weird in Season 3 but, much like LOST, the weirder it gets and the more questions that are raised, the more intriguing the story actually is. It may be mind-bending and frustrating at times, sure, but I’ll be damned if it doesn’t make for some good tv.
Streaming on: Netflix
Seasons: 2 (3rd season confirmed)
The Rain is a Danish post-apocalytic series which tells the story of a handful of survivors after a mysterious virus carried by the rain wipes out virtually everyone else in Scandinavia. Main characters, Simone and Rasmus, are teenaged siblings who have spent the last 6 years living in an underground bunker before their supplies run out. At this point, they’re pretty much hosed unless they leave the bunker and find some food. Their journeys lead them to meet a whole host of others who, against all odds, are mostly other teens feeling frisky. If you allow yourself to forget for a moment that, in reality, teens are not exactly known for their survival skills and would likely be the first to die in an apocalypse, you can just enjoy the show for what it is, i.e. the entertaining, it’s-literally-the-end-of-the-world journey of an unlikely crew that must band together to survive.
The first season follows our merry little band of angsty teens on their trek through Denmark and Sweden in their search for food, other survivors and a “safe place” (I’ll let you guess whether or not that exists) while providing flashbacks as to who they were and the lives they led before the rain. As the show rolls on, we also learn increasingly more about Simone and Rasmus’ father, Frederik, and Apollon, the shady bio-engineering company he worked for which inadvertently kicked off the whole rain apocalypse to begin with. Similar to LOST, it’s really the mystery and intrigue of the post-apocalyptic world they find themselves in and their aim to find a solution/get themselves out of this strange place that keep the story fresh and interesting.
Note: Similarly to Dark, The Rain is not originally an English-language series (it’s Danish) so the original audio is also, not too surprisingly, not in English. The English-dubbed version was actually very good and was barely noticeable but just something to keep in mind as it doesn’t always line up perfectly with the characters’ speech.
Streaming on: Netflix
Seasons: 4 (finished)
In The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Ellie Kemper shines in her role of Kimmy, an upbeat, albeit naïve, young woman with a seemingly unending positive outlook on life. Basically, Kimmy is Erin from The Office but with a much weirder backstory and an entire series devoted to her adventures. The series starts with Kimmy being rescued from a crazy cult in Indiana after being held captive for the past 15 years and, not surprisingly, being out of touch with the reality of modern life.
While Kimmy is, again, a very likable character, it is actually Jane Krakowski, who plays rich housewife Jacqueline White, that is hands-down my favorite character on this show. Her brand of humor might be a little bit of stretch for some but if you were a fan of Krakowski’s character Jenna Maroney on 30 Rock, I can almost guarantee you’ll love Jacqueline as much as I do.
Confession: I was initially a little annoyed by both Kimmy’s roommate, Titus, and her landlord, Lillian, at the show’s onset. That said, both of them do turn out to have a sweet, far less shallow and stereotypical storyline that plays out over the course of the series as well as an absurd number of great one-liners that’ll rally you to their respective sides.
Streaming on: Netflix, Pop OnDemand
Seasons: 5(6th season confirmed which will be the last)
Schitt’s Creek follows the wealthy Rose family’s fall from grace when the family is defrauded by their business manager, i.e. a riches to rags story with a plot that is exactly the opposite of The Beverly Hillbillies. Despite their circumstances (and often because of them), this series provides a really hilarious look at how the family adapts to being forced to leave their cushy lives and palatial estate behind to rebuild their far less cushy lives in a run-down motel in a small, backwater town.
Father, Johnny, and mother, Moira, are hilarious on their own for sure but this series also throws in their spoiled adult children David and Alexis for real comedic gold. The motel’s front desk clerk, Stevie, also brings an irresistible dry humor to the show that shouldn’t be missed. At their worst, the Roses are still incredibly hilarious and entertaining and at their best, the Roses are real, increasingly relatable characters you’ll no doubt find yourself rooting for as each season rolls along.
Streaming on: Netflix
Seasons: 1 (2nd season confirmed)
Dead to Me is actually a brand spanking new Netflix original series which Netflix has no doubt already recommended to many of you and shown you the trailer – completely unprompted – about 1,000 times. As annoying and ineffective as that tactic proved to be for me, I did end up watching it at the recommendation of a friend and, much to my chagrin, I did love it (Netflix: 1; Lisa: 0). I would definitely recommend it as a surprisingly funny (given the subject material) yet also deadly serious (see what I did there?) drama that’ll leave you on the edge of your seat at the end of its first, and so far only, season.
Christina Applegate and Linda Cardellini are absolutely phenomenal as two grieving women who bond during grief therapy after the deaths of their significant others. Jen Harding (Applegate) is a mother of two and real estate agent struggling with anger issues as she tries to come to terms with her loss through therapy, exercise and a whole lot of wine. Judy Hale (Cardellini), on the other hand, is an engaged young woman working at a retirement home who seems to more or less be maintaining a generally positive disposition despite her troubles. However, things are not as they first appear and watching the first season of this series was like a series of truth bombs going off in your face as each new deep, dark secret is exposed.
As much as I’m sure this storyline doesn’t sound like a comedy, it actually is, albeit interwoven with some sometimes serious drama. Dead to Me is both hilarious and enjoyable to watch and, before too long, you’ll find yourself relating to aspects of both Jen and Judy’s personalities as their characters develop.
In conclusion, while you may still have to wait until this fall to resume watching all of your regular favorite series, I hope you will have found some brand new streaming favorites in the meantime! Please feel free to like, share and/or join in the discussion with comments below to share your feedback on your favorite streams.
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Hi! I’m Lisa, creator and owner of SuburbanAF.com, a women’s interest/lifestyle blog for women living a suburban lifestyle. This blog is the natural evolution of earlier blogs I managed, including Becker it Yourself, centered primarily around DIYs. Join me on the suburban journey to Master Mrs. with Style with topics including friends, family, fashion, home, food, travel, fitness and health/beauty, all in good humor.
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