The Best Shows on Peacock Right Now
The world doesn’t necessarily need yet another streaming service, but honestly the recently launched Peacock has a pretty robust library of stuff. Especially TV shows. The NBCUniversal streaming service certainly plays hosts to some of the best NBC shows ever made (it’s the exclusive home of The Office), but they’ve also got a really nice lineup of TV shows from other networks as well. And if you’re looking for some help whittling down what to watch or are just simply curious what the best shows on Peacock are, we’re here with a handy guide to point you towards the best of the best. And if you somehow need further enticement to check Peacock out, the ad-supported version of the streaming service is absolutely free.
So check out our list of the best TV shows on Peacock right now, and get to bingeing. For more streaming recs, check out our list of the best shows on Netflix.
The Office (U.S.)
Created by: Greg Daniels
Cast: Steve Carell, John Krasinski, Jenna Fischer, Rainn Wilson, B.J. Novak, Melora Hardin, Mindy Kaling, Angela Kinsey, Phyllis Smith, Craig Robinson, Ellie Kemper, B.J. Novak, Oscar Nunez, Paul Lieberstein, Amy Ryan, James Spader, and Ed Helms
Let’s face it, most U.S. remakes of U.K. TV shows suck. And in fact, the initial launch of the American The Office wasn’t great. The 6-episode first season showed promise, mostly in the form of Steve Carell’s committed performance, but from a story and character point of view it was seriously lacking. However, the last few episodes started building on what was working, leading to the show’s second season, which stands as one of the best seasons of comedy television in history. From there, the show was golden, launching a terrifically involved will they/won’t they with Jim and Pam, and fleshing Michael Scott out as an incredibly frustrating yet human character. It’s a crime Carell never won an Emmy for his phenomenal performance over the course of the show’s run, and while the series itself overstayed its welcome by two or three seasons, it remains a positive delightful—and worthwhile—watch at just about any time. – Adam Chitwood
Creator: Mike O’Brien
Cast: Glenn Howerton, Patton Oswalt, Paula Pell, Lyric Lewis, Mary Sohn, Jean Villepique, and Tom Bennett
If you’ve been wondering where the next great half-hour comedy is, I’m here to tell you it’s A.P. Bio. The first two seasons aired on NBC but the recently launched third season premiered on Peacock, and it is tremendously funny. The series stars Glenn Howerton as an uppity former Harvard professor who’s forced to move to Toledo, Ohio where he gets a job teaching A.P. Bio. Except he has no interest in teaching A.P. Bio and instead uses the class and its students to help him plan his revenge on his nemesis. The humor is dark but not sadistic, and there’s just enough heart to make you empathize with Howerton’s character while the rest of the ensemble is instantly lovable. It’s also incredibly cinematic and one of the best-looking half-hour comedies in recent memory. If you like It’s Always Sunny or Parks and Rec, you’ll love A.P. Bio.
Parks and Recreation
Creators: Michael Schur and Greg Daniels
Cast: Amy Poehler, Nick Offerman, Chris Pratt, Retta, Rashida Jones, Aubrey Plaza, Jim O’Heir, Aziz Ansari, Adam Scott, Rob Lowe, and Paul Schneider
Parks and Recreation will go down in history as one of the greatest comedies ever made. This story of local government stars Amy Poehler as the bright and ambitious director of the Parks and Recreation Department in a fictional Indiana town, chronicling her day-to-day issues with her fellow team members and local government officials. The series evolved into a smart but never preachy political satire, while always maintaining a deep compassion for its characters. This is a nice show about good people trying to do good in the world, no matter how small their deeds. As the show goes on, Schur and his writers prove they aren’t afraid to shake up the formula with major plot twists, and this keeps the series continually fresh all the way up through its brilliant series finale. – Adam Chitwood
Created by: David Shore
Cast: Hugh Laurie, Robert Sean Leonard, Lisa Edelstein, Omar Epps, Jennifer Morrison, Jesse Spencer, Peter Jacobson, Kal Penn, Olivia Wilde, Amber Tamblyn, and Charlyne Yi
The FOX series House, M.D. ran for eight seasons on network television, but through it all remained honestly kind of punk rock. Hugh Laurie’s performance as the prickly doctor at the center of the series certainly set it apart from other “hospital dramas,” but so too did the mystery-driven premise. Loosely inspired by Sherlock Holmes, the story follows a brilliant but infuriating medical doctor who leads a special team of diagnosticians to consult and solve only the hardest cases. This lets the show have fun with a lot of different cases, but the series also has some really solid serialized arcs – namely House’s constant struggle with addition. And although the show waned a bit creatively in its later seasons, those first few years are some truly great network television.
Saturday Night Live
Creator: Lorne Michaels
Cast: A ton of people
Yes indeed, Peacock is host to every episode of Saturday Night Live ever made. Which means it’s your one-stop shop for Wayne’s World, Stefon, and Norm Macdonald’s Weekend Update. The bevy of SNL content is really one fo the best aspects of Peacock, especially if you’re an SNL fan. Not only is there the Saturday Night Live channel which just plays random episodes on a loop, but the on-demand nature of all of these historic episodes is truly a gift. Check ‘em out!
Created by: Tina Fey
Cast: Tina Fey, Alec Baldwin, Tracy Morgan, Jane Krakowski, and Jack McBrayer
The irony is not lost that 30 Rock contains a multitude of jokes about NBC’s icon being a peacock, only for the show to become a foundation of the streaming service Peacock. But boy does 30 Rock hold up. Tina Fey’s ridiculous, slightly surreal half-hour comedy is one of the best and most iconic sitcoms of the 21st century. Fey plays the head writer of an SNL-like series, juggling her corporate boss Jack Donaghy (Alec Baldwin) and image-obsessed stars (Tracy Morgan and Jane Krakowski) all while trying to have some semblance of a personal life. The amount of laugh-out-loud jokes packed into each and every 30 Rock episode is insane, but what endures about the series are its characters. Its lovable, strange, certifiably insane characters. – Adam Chitwood
Created by: Julian Fellowes
Cast: Hugh Bonneville, Maggie Smith, Michelle Dockery, Laura Carmichael, Jim Carter, Jessica Brown Findlay, Brendan Coyle, Penelope Wilson, and Dan Stevens
There’s something utterly pleasant about Downton Abbey, so if pleasantness is your thing, I cannot recommend it enough. From the Oscar-winning screenwriter behind the film Gosford Park, the six-season story follows the goings-on at the titular mansion in Yorkshire between the years 1912 and 1926. The house is divided between the family that lives upstairs, and the servants who live downstairs, and goes to great pains to show the interior lives of both. There’s drama and heartbreak to be sure, but it’s all wrapped up in this warm pleasant glow – some of the major “scandals” the family is tackling each week are so quaint it’s downright charming. So whether it’s your first or seventh time watching, let Downton Abbey cover you like a warm weighted blanket.
Friday Night Lights
Created by: Peter Berg
Cast: Kyle Chandler, Connie Britton, Gaius Charles, Zach Gilford, Minka Kelly, Adrianne Palicki, Taylor Kitsch, Jesse Plemons, Scott Porter, Aimee Teegarden, Michael B. Jordan, Jurnee Smollett, Matt Lauria, Madison Burge
One of the best and most enduring teen dramas of the 21st century, Friday Night Lights will have you cheering and crying in equal measure. The series chronicles the goings-on in a small yet intense town in Texas where high school football is everything. Kyle Chandler plays the out-of-town coach struggling to fit in but always finding time to take personal care of his players. If you grew up around a school with intense sports you’ll find a lot that’s familiar here, but even if not the drama is so well-written you’ll be wrapped up into the story regardless. Despite a bit of a stumble in Season 2, the series mostly soars and gets reinvigorated by a semi-reboot of its story in Season 4.
Created by: Ronald D. Moore
Cast: Edward James Olmos, Mary McDonnell, Katee Sackhoff, Jamie Bamber, James Callis, Tricia Helfer, Grace Park, Michael Hogan, Aaron Douglas, and Tahmoh Penikett
One of the best sci-fi shows of the 21st century is also a remake. Launched in 2004 on Syfy, Ronald D. Moore’s take on Battlestar Galactica differed pretty significantly from the original series, as it crafted its four-season arc as allegory for the United States’ War on Terror in the wake of 9/11. Indeed, Battlestar Galactica chronicles the years-long war between humans and Cylons as the last humans remaining travel the galaxy looking for a fabled planet called Earth that could be their new homestead. It’s a thrilling and involving series packed with twists and turns galore.
Creators: Dan Goor and Michael Schur
Cast: Andy Samberg, Andre Braugher, Stephanie Beatriz, Joe Lo Truglio, Terry Crews, Melissa Fumero, Chelsea Peretti, Dirk Blocker, and Joel McKinnon Miller
If you’re in the mood for a show with the smart humor and compassion of Parks and Recreation mixed with the procedural aspect of a compelling network cop drama, you can’t go wrong with Brooklyn Nine-Nine. Created by two of the minds behind Parks and Rec, the Fox series stars Andy Samberg as a New York City detective and revolves around his unit’s various cases and workplace grievances. The show is consistently hilarious and surprising, unafraid to introduce plot developments that shake up the core dynamic of the series, and the procedural element adds an exciting mystery to a lot of the episodes. But through it all, there’s not a single unlikable character in the bunch. Much like Parks and Rec or The Office, this is an ensemble that just works, and it’s consistently one of the funniest—and sweetest—shows on TV. – Adam Chitwood
Created By: Allan Cubitt
Cast: Gillian Anderson, Jamie Dornan, Archi Panjabi, John Lynch, Bronagh Waugh
If you’re in the mood for a crime thriller series with some thematic meat on its bones, the BBC series The Fall is a great (albeit disturbing) watch. The show has two protagonists: Jamie Dornan plays a loving father and husband by day and serial killer of women at night, and Gillian Anderson plays the ice-cold investigator trying to track him down. The show explores the relationship between lust and violence, digging into misogyny in its many forms and how that often times fuels these kinds of killers. Dornan is disturbing and charming in equal measure, making his killer that much more terrifying, but it’s Anderson who unsurprisingly steals the show as a no-nonsense investigator who sees him for what he truly is. Their cat-and-mouse game is an absolute thrill to watch, and the moodiness with which it’s all captured makes the series all the more cinematic.
Everybody Loves Raymond
Created by: Philip Rosenthal
Cast: Ray Romano, Patricia Heaton, Brad Garrett, Madylin Sweeten, Doris Roberts, Peter Boyle, Monica Horan
Peacock is also host to a number of classic multi-camera sitcoms, and certainly Everybody Loves Raymond is one of the best and most enduring. The series ran for nine seasons from 1996 to 2005, charting the daily life of Raymond Barone (Ray Romano) and his family. It’s a traditional family sitcom, but written extremely well with a wonderfully dry sense of humor that undercuts some of the more outlandish performances that can sometimes dampen multi-cam sitcoms. There’s a reason this show was so successful for so long, and it’s a great comfort watch right now.
Created by: Jon Bokenkamp
Cast: James Spader, Megan Boone, Diego Klattenhoff, Ryan Eggold, Parminder Nagra, and Harry Lennix
If a procedural drama with a series-long mystery is more your speed, NBC’s The Blacklist is solid. It premiered in 2013 and is still ongoing as it charts the story of Raymond “Red” Reddington (James Spader), a former U.S. Navy officer who is now a high-profile criminal. After voluntarily surrendering following decades on the run, he’s enlisted by the FBI to help track down some of the most dangerous criminals in the world. In an added twist, he insists on working exclusively with a rookie FBI profiler named Elizabeth Keen. The reason why is a running mystery throughout the show, as Red’s backstory is slowly revealed as the seasons go on. That becomes a hindrance in later seasons where it feels like things are being dragged out a bit, but the first couple of seasons in particular are great fun.
Created by: Jason Katims
Cast: Peter Krause, Lauren Graham, Monica Potter, Erika Christensen, Sam Jaeger, Sarah Ramos, Max Burkholder, Joy Bryant, Dax Shepard, Miles Heller, Mae Whitman, Bonnie Bedelia, and Craig T. Nelson
After wrapping up Friday Night Lights, showrunner Jason Katims turned his attention to a more intense family drama with the NBC series Parenthood. Based on the Ron Howard film of the same name, the show follows the ins and outs of a large family from the grandparents (played by Craig T. Nelson and Bonnie Bedelia) to the grandchildren. What sets Parenthood apart from other family dramas is that it feels real and grounded throughout. The characters talk over each other, the cinematic style has an almost documentary-like feel to it, and the problems they face mostly steer clear of contrivances. This is darn close to real life, which makes you all the more invested in the struggles and ambitions that each character is facing in each episode. If you liked Friday Night Lights, give this one a spin.
The Amber Ruffin Show
Created by: Amber Ruffin
Cast: Amber Ruffin
Peacock doesn’t just have scripted originals, they also have an excellent new weekly late show called The Amber Ruffin Show, created by and starring Late Night with Seth Meyers standout Amber Ruffin. The half-hour format suits Ruffin well, as she hilariously but pointedly tackles socio-political issues of the day and also sometimes drinks margaritas. The show is also genuinely heartwarming and sweet, resulting in something that’s a mix between Late Night and Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. It’s quite simple one of the best late night debuts in recent memory.
Well let’s hope it doesn’t come to this.
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