Best free TV shows to stream online in Australia
Streaming services like Netflix, Stan, Amazon Prime and Foxtel Now offer a wide range of great TV shows which can be streamed to your living room television or compatible devices instantly — so long as you're a paying subscriber.
That said, paying for multiple streaming services each month can become quite a costly endeavour, which is why it's important to remember that there are a number of catchup or online-only services in Australia which offer top quality TV shows absolutely free.
It might be hard to believe, but you can actually stream some of the best shows in the world right now, like The Handmaid's Tale and Atlanta, without paying a single cent.
With that in mind, these are our picks for the best free TV shows to stream in Australia at the moment and where you can find them. We've sorted this list into genres so you can more easily find something to suit your mood or interests – and we'll continue to add more shows to it over time, so remember to check back often for more recommendations.
The brainchild of Donald Glover (Community, Solo: A Star Wars Story) and Hiro Murai (director of the phenomenal This is America music video for Glover's musical alter-ego, Childish Gambino), Atlanta is a devastatingly funny look at Atlanta's booming rap/trap music scene. Earn (Glover) is a down-on-his-luck new father who sees a money making opportunity in his cousin Alfred 'Paper Boi' Miles (Brian Tyree Henry), an up-and-coming rapper. Together with Paper Boi's right hand man, Darius (Lakeith Stanfield), the trio embark on a series of misadventures as they attempt to achieve success. At times playing like an absurdist, urban version of Curb Your Enthusiasm –one which also has time to explore real social and economic issues – Atlanta is one the best shows currently on television.
Episodes of Trey Parker and Matt Stone's classic animated comedy series South Park are regularly featured on the SBS On Demand streaming catchup service, and while you won't find entire seasons there, the episodes are changed out fairly often. Join Stan, Kyle, Kenny, Cartman and the rest of their schoolyard friends as they go on a series of misadventures in the small Colorado town of South Park.
A spin-off of New Zealand director Taika Waititi's brilliant comedy film What We Do in the Shadows, Wellington Paranormal follows Wellington's police force as they deal with vampires, werewolves, demons and other assorted ghouls. Absurdly funny in a uniquely Kiwi way, Wellington Paranormal takes the mockumentary approach of the film that inspired it, mining clever laughs from familiar situations that play out in a heightened manner.
When the African American housekeeper of a wealthy Manhattan widower (Conrad Bain) suddenly dies, the man decides to adopts his late employee's two orphaned children. As 8-year-old Arnold (Gary Coleman) and his big brother Willis (Todd Bridges) make the move from the Harlem projects to their new home in a lavish penthouse, the pair must adjust to living with a new sister (Dana Plato) at the other end of New York society. While the show is primarily a comedy, it never shied away from dark and dramatic subject matter, such as drugs and child predators. A stunning time capsule of New York in the late '70s and early '80s, Diff'rent Strokes is one of the finest family sitcoms of its time.
The Handmaid's Tale
A harrowing vision of a dystopian future, The Handmaid's Tale explores the inner workings of Gilead — a society governed by a religious autocracy where fertile women are placed into child-bearing servitude for politicians and other powerful members of society. June (Elizabeth Moss) is one such woman, now known by her 'handmaid' name Offred, which echoes the name of her new master, Commander Fred Waterford (Joseph Fiennes). We follow June as she navigates life in a totalitarian state, occasionally gaining insight into the events that led her to this horrible situation. As if her plight wasn't awful enough, June must also contend with Joy (Yvonne Strahovski), Fred's cruel and resentful wife who wants nothing more than to give birth to her own child. Truly harrowing and often brutal to watch, the show treads a fine line between peerless drama and torture porn, but you'll be riveted by Moss and Strahovski's performances to the bitter end.
A thrilling game of cat and mouse, Killing Eve sees MI5 officer Eve Polastri (Sandra Oh) on the trail of a brilliant – and psychopathic – assassin known as Villanelle (Jodie Comer). Though they're on opposite sides of the law, the two women become obsessed with each other, upping the tension as Eve chases Villanelle across Europe. While Killing Eve's premise sounds familiar, the show's approach to this kind of material is anything but. Surprisingly funny while also harbouring a dark, violent edge, the show is able to juggle different kinds of emotions and extremes with ease. As binge-worthy as they come, fans of murder mysteries and crime shows will likely tear through Killing Eve's eight-episode run in no time.
In a world with two realities that exist side-by-side and can communicate with each other, a nebbish accountant (J.K. Simmons) comes face to face with his alternate self — a kick-ass spy who drags the reluctant number-cruncher into his dangerous world (almost literally). A unique show with terrific dual performances from Simmons, Counterpart is recommended viewing for those who love their shows a bit left of centre.
When the body of a woman (or, more accurately, the top and bottom halves of two women who have been sewn together) is discovered on the Øresund Bridge right on the exact border between Sweden and Denmark, inspectors from both countries must work together to bring down the deranged killer responsible. While the show has been remade in different locales, the original version of The Bridge is by far the best. A must-watch series for fans of Scandi noir.
Join the hilariously sardonic Richard Ayoade (The IT Crowd) as he travels the globe in search of modest entertainment at a reasonable price. Each episode, Richard is joined by a celebrity guest, including the likes of Paul Rudd, Chris O'Dowd, Noel Fielding and Lena Dunham.
Shaun Micallef's Mad As Hell
A satirical news program hosted by comedian Shaun Micallef, Mad As Hell relays the news and current events of the week in a hilarious and biting manner. Think of it like an Australian take on The Colbert Report, only with a much more absurdist sense of humour. Come for the skewering of Australian politics, but stay for Micallef's one-of-a-kind comedic delivery.