Netflix, Disney+, and more: The best shows and movies to keep you entertained at home
Coronavirus quarantine got you down? Let our favorite streaming services keep you company.
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So you’re going to be spending some time at home. With more and more people being sent home or self-quarantining during the coronavirus outbreak, now more than ever, we need great ways to keep ourselves distracted. There’s no better way to take a break or clear your head than with some high-quality, on-demand streaming, and we’re here to help you do it right.
Whether it’s between meetings, on your lunch break, or during your would-be date night, the best streaming services all have something to offer in your time of need. Below is a breakdown of our favorites, including pricing, pros and cons, and 10 of the biggest shows for each, so you can stay sane during self-quarantine and get the most juice for your streaming squeeze.
Here’s a snapshot of our full list, ranked in order.
- Amazon Prime Video
- CBS All Access
(Editor’s tip: All of these services let you try before you buy, so take advantage!)
This streamer is the first line of defense most of us turn to in our hour of boredom. But in case you didn’t know, Netflix has a ton of diverse series and movies–enough to keep you entertained for literally years. The company spends billions on original content each year, adding a litany of high-profile TV shows, comedy specials, and original movies. And while its licensed series and films have been making an exodus as of late, there are still thousands of choices there as well. There’s a reason the service is pushing 200 million subscribers, and it’s a great first choice.
- Tons of high-quality original content
- Feature-rich, ubiquitous app
- Something for everyone
- Pricey for extras like 4K
- Licensed shows and movies disappearing
- $8.99/month Base plan (SD, one stream at a time)
- $12.99/month Standard plan (HD, two streams at once)
- $16.99/month Premium plan (4K HDR, four streams at once)
Hot right now:
Marc Maron: End Times Fun
The Good Place
Love is Blind
When Disney took over Hulu outright following its acquisition of 21st Century Fox assets, we didn’t know quite how the service would look. With the addition of all of FX, plenty of other great original programming, and (for the time being at least) current broadcast TV hits from multiple networks, it looks pretty dang good. Hulu may not have Netflix’s endless catalog, but it’s a powerhouse in its own right and well worth adding, either in its ad-supported option or (our preference) ad-free. Hulu also has a live-TV component (for a whole lot more cash), and can also be bundled with Disney+ and ESPN+ for a discount.
- Access to old and current TV hits from multiple networks
- Everything on FX
- Small but potent collection of original content
- Smaller on-demand catalog than Netflix
- Ad-free access costs a premium
- Limited 4K and surround sound support
- $5.99/month for ad-based on-demand video
- $11.99/month for ad-free on-demand content
- $54.99/month for on-demand plus live TV channels
Hot right now:
High Fidelity (series)
What We Do in the Shadows (series)
The Handmaid’s Tale
Mission Impossible: Fallout
The highly anticipated Disney streamer finally arrived in November and delivered (mostly) on expectations, though its app still needs work. Not all of Disney’s wonderous classics from your childhood, nor all of its current studio hits are available on the streamer. But this is Disney we’re talking about, meaning just about everything that is on the service is gold. When you say “Disney,” you imply Marvel, Star Wars, and National Geographic, too, so there are plenty of choices for adults alongside a mountain of offerings for kids (and the kid in you). Best of all, it’s all offered ad-free at a very affordable price.
- Top-tier shows and movies from Disney and company
- Great price point
- 4K and HDR thrown in for free
- Catalog much smaller than many competitors
- Very few original series at present
- App still needs work
- $6.99/month orf $69.99 per year
- Bundle with ESPN+ and Hulu available
Hot right now:
The Clone Wars
Fairy Tale Weddings
Into the Grand Canyon
Star Wars: Episode VIII - The Last Jedi
Toy Story 4
Available as its own standalone service in HBO Now, or as an add- on to Hulu, Amazon, and traditional pay TV, HBO is a pricey but worthwhile option, offering some of the biggest water-cooler shows on TV. That’s not to mention its back catalog of classic series, from “Game of Thrones” to “The Sopranos,” as well as its ever widening collection of movies. Expensive? Sure. But there’s a reason they say HBO is “not TV.”
- Popular water-cooler shows everyone is talking about
- Large back catalog of classic movies and original series
- No licensed shows from other networks
- No 4K HDR support
- $14.99/month (or possibly more with cable)
Hot right now:
Curb Your Enthusiasm (season 10)
Westworld (season 3)
Alita: Battle Angel
John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum
The New Pope
Amazon Prime Video
You may be frustrated with your Amazon deliveries right now, what with all the panic buying of things we all need. But it’s important to remember (and easy to forget) that every Amazon Prime membership comes with free streaming video (and audio). Amazon isn’t the best streamer out there, but it has some absolutely fantastic original series, and plenty of movies and older shows to check out as well, including some from HBO’s back catalog. Especially if you already subscribe to Prime, Amazon Prime Video is a fantastic value.
- Critically acclaimed series
- 4K HDR and surround included free on multiple titles
- Free with your Amazon subscription
- Not nearly as many original series as Netflix
- App is frustratingly laid out
- Free with Amazon Prime ($119 per year)
Hot right now:
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
CBS All Access
A tough sell at first glance, CBS’ stand-alone streaming service has made a name for itself in large part due to a single, incredibly popular property: Star Trek. The service, which offers a large catalog of new and old shows mainly from its parent network’s library, has also created some of the best new Star Trek content in decades, and you can also go back to past Star Trek episodes as well. All Access has plenty of other gems to discover, too, including select live CBS programming, a growing list of original series, and plenty of guilty pleasures.
- Tons of Star Trek episodes on-demand
- Large collection of new and classic CBS shows
- Highly limited content outside of CBS’ catalog
- Limited selection of newer films
- No 4K content
- $6/month for ad-based viewing
- $10/month for ad-free
Hot right now:
Star Trek: Picard
Star Trek: Discovery
The Twilight Zone (new and old)
Star Trek (original series)
The Good Fight
Star Trek: The Next Generation
There are plenty of other streaming services worth a mention, as well, including lesser-known on-demand streamers like Crackle, as well as live TV streamers like FuboTV, Sling TV, Youtube TV, and others.
ESPN+, which can be bundled with Hulu and Disney+ for a nice discount, is also worth considering. Contrary to its name, ESPN+ is not ESPN with extras, but it does offer a sizable collection of legacy sports and live events. At present, however, its selection of the latter is obviously limited.
We hope this guide is helpful in getting your stream on. We’re all in this together. Just remember not to get too distracted. And if those reports you’re working on don’t get filed on time, keep us out of it!
Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.
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