I came a little late to streaming TV. Up until I moved, hopefully for the last time, I was a cable girl. We had a large and perfectly reliable flatscreen TV monitor that we bought in 2005. I bought an Amazon Firestick thinking I could ditch my cable and save some money but it wasn’t compatible with my soundbar.
My roommate is a TV junkie and before I moved in, she had signed up for practically every TV app there was. I added two more services that I had been using on my computer. She watches TV all night long and gives me recommendations of what I should watch.
How to stream your favorite TV shows
I realize not everyone over 50 is up to speed on how to use streaming TV apps. Most of us remember adjusting our rabbit ears and turning on our TV with a single power button. Life was simpler then, but our choices were limited. Now there are so many streaming shows to watch, it’s overwhelming.
I connected my Firestick to our living room TV, and my roommate has Roku in her bedroom. Both devices connect to a port on the back of the TV. A new “smart” TV has a port built-in, but if your TV is older, you may have to use an adaptor. Follow the instructions on your streaming device to set up all your apps.
During setup, you will be asked to select your sound source. Make sure your soundbox is compatible. A new soundbox like the Nebula Soundbar for Firestick or the Roku Smart Soundbar will plug and play without any problem.
If you don’t have a smart TV, you can download streaming apps on your phone, computer or tablet, but viewing movies on a small screen is hard on older eyes.
The Best Streaming TV Shows for Adults
There are so many excellent shows for adults on streaming TV that it would take a year to list them all. I am recommending only those I have watched and enjoyed. I’ll update this list when a show is no longer available. Let your grandkids pick out their own streaming TV favorites on Disney Plus or another kid-centric app.
The Hulu streaming TV app has an extensive library of films, TV, documentaries. You can buy bundle packages that include premium add-ons like HBOMAX, Cinemax, Showtime, Disney Plus, Starz, and others.
Shows I love on Hulu
- Nomadland – Francis McDormand stars as a widow who has lost everything and starts living in a van. She meets other nomads, travels throughout the Southwest, and works various jobs along the way. This film is a surefire award winner.
- The Great – Elle Fanning plays young Catherine the Great who eventually overthrew her husband Peter III in a coup. It’s comedic, bawdy, and bloody so if you’re prudish, it’s not for you. Nicholas Hoult is insanely funny in the role of the thick-headed and eccentric Russian emperor.
- The Act – Patricia Arquette stars in this true-life crime story of an over-protective mother who is convinced her daughter has multiple illnesses. The daughter becomes wheelchair-bound from over-medication even though she is perfectly capable of walking.
- Mrs. America – Cate Blanchett completely embraces her role as conservative firebrand Phyllis Schlafly. You love to hate her as she wages a battle with the feminist icons of the 1970s; Gloria Steinem (Rose Byrne), Betty Friedan (Tracy Ullman), and Bella Abzug (Margo Martindale). Sarah Paulson plays one of her conflicted followers.
- The United States vs Billie Holiday – Singer Andra Day gives a powerhouse performance as Billie Holiday whose song “Strange Fruit,” about lynching, has the FBI pursuing her relentlessly to make her stop singing it. It goes in-depth on her abusive past and the black FBI agent who deceives and later falls in love with her.
- The Knick – I love period pieces and this very underrated show takes place in the 1890s-early 1900s at a hospital near Harlem in NYC. It’s gory, but fascinating in that you see how medical procedures were performed back then. The acting, costumes, and scenery are outstanding.
- The Alienist – Dakota Fanning plays the first female NYC detective in this 19th century period drama series. I am fascinated by old New York’s seedy side during that time period. Kind of gory but well-acted and the set design and costumes are fabulous
- Harlots – An 18th-century drama. This one is fun, a little gory, but love the characters. Award-winning actress Leslie Manville plays the villainess you love to hate. She is amazing! Fabulous acting by all concerned.
- Billions – I got hooked on this show and binged all 5 seasons. It’s about a hedgefund CEO who confronts a NYC DA later State AG who is into S &M and associated characters including a non-binary competitor.
Amazon Prime Video
There are so many advantages to having an Amazon Prime Video account in addition to its huge library of TV, movies, and documentaries. Prime Membership gives you multiple benefits including free delivery on Prime items, shopping benefits at stores like Whole Foods, first reads on books, unlimited access to ebooks, discounts on magazine subscriptions, and some free audiobook titles at Audible.
Add-on channels within Amazon Prime Video include, CBS All Access, Curiosity Stream, Gaiam TV, HBO, Showtime, Starz, PBS, Britbox, The Great Courses, Epix, Cinemax, and several more.
- The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel – Rachel Brosnahan is hilarious as a 1950s Jewish girl in New York who discovers her talent as a comedian. I am a stalwart fan of this series.
- A Very English Scandal – Hugh Grant plays British parliament member Jeremy Thorpe who kept his homosexuality in the closet. His over-the-top former lover, played by Ben Whishaw, tries to extort him and he attempts to have him murdered in this true-life political scandal.
- One Night in Miami – This film, directed by Regina King, depicts a fictional meeting at Miami’s Hampton House Motel with Cassius Clay (Mohammed Ali), Malcolm X, Jim Brown, and Sam Cooke after the Clay-Liston fight in the 60s.
- Radioactive – Rosamond Pike expertly plays Nobel Prize-winning scientist Marie Curie in this historical true-life drama about how she discovered radium.
- Uncle Frank – An uncle and niece travel from a small town in South Carolina to Manhattan in the 1970s where she discovers his hidden life as a homosexual.
- The Durrells – I completely fell in love with this British TV series that is part of Masterpiece Theatre. It’s adapted from a trilogy of books written by Gerald Durrell, who was a naturalist and conservationist, about living on the Greek Island of Corfu pre-WWII with his widowed mother and siblings. The storylines are sweet, loving, humorous, and each episode has plenty of animals.
- The Pursuit of Love – A British drama that follows the friendship of two cousins with opposite personalities pre and post WWII in London.
Netflix has become a leader in film and TV production and its TV streaming app has a large selection of exclusive online entertainment that will appeal to everyone.
- The Dig – A British drama and true-life story of a widow and wealthy landowner in Suffolk, UK (Carey Mulligan), who hires an excavator to dig up burial grounds on her property. He uncovers a large Anglo Saxon ship and what was to become known as the Sutton Hoo Treasure. Compelling and beautifully photographed. I dug it!
- The Queen’s Gambit – I became totally addicted to this series about an overly medicated adopted girl who becomes a chess champion during the mid-1950s – early 60s. There may be a season two. Anua Taylor-Joy as Beth Harmon is mesmerizing.
- Bridgerton – Julie Andrews narrates this Shonda Rimes production. It’s a love story that takes place in England during the reign of Queen Charlotte in the early 1800s. She is said to have been of African ancestry and the cast is multi-racial. It’s been described as “Jane Austen with sex.”
- The Crown – The story of the reign of Queen Elizabeth II and the House of Windsor. Each season depicts a different period in her life with main characters played by different actors as they age.
- Emily in Paris – A young American woman from Chicago moves to Paris to work at a well-established marketing firm. She tries to convince her older and more traditional boss to use social media and American marketing techniques to no avail. Lily Collins plays adorable Emily. I couldn’t take my eyes off her stylish clothes and her hunky boyfriends.
- Schitt’s Creek – If you need a gigantic belly laugh fix, this series about a rich family who loses everything and ends up living in a rundown hotel in the boondocks, is hilarious.
- I Care a Lot – Rosamund Pike stars as a shady legal guardian who bilks seniors by making them wards of the court so she can control their property and assets. Dianne Weist is her victim and Peter Dinklage plays her equally crooked son. A tour-de-force performance by Pike.
- Virgin River – Everyone was raving about this series about a nurse practitioner who moves out of the city into a rural area to work for a country doctor after losing her husband and baby. She finds love with a local bar keeper. It’s kind of on the sappy side, but I got hooked into it. The scenery is spectacular.
- Struggle – a documentary on the life of artist and sculptor Stanislas Szukalski – I was a personal acquaintance of the artist and appear for a few seconds in this overview of his life. He was quite a character.
Bundle and watch HBO-Max on Hulu and Amazon Prime or purchase it as a separate app.
- Judas and the Black Messiah –The true-life story depicting the murder of Illinois Black Panther leader Fred Hampton by the FBI after an informant betrays him.
- The Undoing – Nicole Kidman and Hugh Grant star as a married couple in this psychological drama that delves into the murder of a parent from their child’s exclusive private school.
- The Flight Attendant – Kaley Cuoco plays a perennially drunk and sex-addicted flight attendant who becomes involved in a murder. Some scenes are gory but it is a comedy.
- Perry Mason – Being from Los Angeles, I love seeing LA in the 1930s. Matthew Rhys, from The Americans, is always compelling. This is not Raymond Burr’s Perry Mason. Definitely Film Noir with some gore and nudity.
- Hacks – Jean Smart stars as an over-the-hill standup comic who hires a young woman as her comedy writer.
Showtime entertainment can be bundled and watched on Hulu and Amazon Prime or purchased and used as a separate app.
- Your Honor – Bryan Cranston plays a judge in New Orleans. His son, who is grieving his late mother, crashes into a motorcycle driven by the 17-year-old-son of a mob boss. While the victim is struggling to stay alive, the terrified son has an asthma attack and drives off, leaving the boy to die on the street. His father tries to protect him from the mob boss’s retribution by claiming he did it.
If you are a fan of British detective mysteries, then Britbox is the channel for you. I wrote an extensive post about the channel with recommendations here. Britbox can be bundled with Amazon Prime and Apple TV as well. I’m currently obsessed with Death in Paradise and The Mallorca Files.
I watched and enjoyed The Duchess of Duke Street an old series shot in the 70s about a woman who becomes a cook in an aristocratic household and starts her own business running a hotel. The characters are a hoot. Also, Life on Mars is an interesting British police drama series about a man who goes into a coma in 2008 and wakes up in 1973.
I use my SlingTV app almost exclusively to watch news channels. They stream CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, and ESPN. But it also offers a variety of popular cable channels such as National Geographic, The History Channel, Lifetime, Comedy Central, AMC, A & E, Discovery, sports channels, and more. Get the best cable TV channels for only $35 per month.
I also discovered that I could watch some movies on SlingTV that I didn’t realize were available. The Lincoln limited-3 episode-series on CNN narrated by Sterling K. Brown, is outstanding.
Paramount Plus is the new channel name for CBS shows. Watch shows like NCIS, Seal Team, Blue Bloods, Bull, as well as over 1,000 movies. It also has all the Star Trek shows and movies.
I was always a fan of The Good Wife and am now hooked on The Good Fight.
One of the most popular shows on Starz is Outlander, which you can also bundle on Amazon Prime. A British combat nurse in 1945 travels back in time to 18th century Scotland and is held hostage by rebel Highlanders. A love story ensues and takes us through various time periods. It’s a stunningly photographed series and a favorite for romanticists.
Apple TV has joined the streaming TV fray. Some of their highly-touted original shows include:
- The Morning Show – Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon, and Steve Carrell star in this newsroom comedy that deals with sexism in the workplace.
- Ted Lasso – An American football coach is hired to coach an English football team. Jason Sudekis stars in this comedy series.
- Mare of Easttown – This is a limited series starring Kate Winslet as a Philadelphia cop, whose son has committed suicide investigates a murder. Jean Smart stars as her mother.
- Gaia is “The NETFLIX of Conscious Media!” Providing SVOD membership access to over 7,000+ titles, from Yoga to UFOs! Get 3 months of Gaia for $29.
What are your favorite shows on streaming TV? Please leave a comment below.