So many streaming services, so little time! Next up in our series of recommendations by platform is Peacock. The NBCUniversal app launched in July 2020, yet another option in an increasingly segmented and competitive field. More than 42 million people have signed up for Peacock as of April 2021, but with new original shows being added all the time, that audience could just be the baseline.
Peacock has a diversified portfolio of programming for all ages. From the classics to original productions, the service is stocked with thousands of hours in its library to keep your eyeballs engaged. Much of that content is free for viewers, though subscribers can pay a “step-up” fee for even more access. Peacock also features next-day viewing of primetime (and late-night) shows.
Here are some highlights of what’s waiting for you on the app.
What Everyone’s Talking About
John Dutton runs a family ranch in Montana with the help of his children and a few very congenial ranch hands, all of whom go to great lengths to maintain the family business – even if it means resorting to violence or corruption to keep the family name alive. Yellowstone is a show that idealizes the history of the American West, when life was simpler and things were handled in particular ways. It also shows the hypocrisy of embracing violence in the name of maintaining a peaceful way of life.
The show’s profile has risen dramatically as it continues to set ratings records, largely due to its strong cast, headed by Costner, and a true-to-life examination of how one person’s choices impact those around them. –Nick Mordowanec
Social media went crazy when Jordan Peele corrected a member of the press for calling him the king of horror. He may not consider himself the king of horror, but he continues to show audiences why he deserves to be mentioned among the horror greats with his new film Nope. The film is not only his funniest horror film yet, but also one of his most creative. Falling debris, flying saucers, things being sucked up into the sky, you are not quite sure what this threat is, but it is horrifying.
A brother and sister struggling to keep their family horse ranch in business and a former child star who now runs a Western-themed tourist attraction bear witness to a mysterious phenomenon threatening a rural California town. Nope is a uniquely crafted horror film that brings together a creative premise, striking visuals, and terrific performances. It’s like a Marco Bambrillo motion artwork, with many moving parts that come together to tell an awesome story. — Felipe Patterson
An all-star case-of-the-week dramedy inspired by Columbo, the much-anticipated series follows human lie detector test Charlie (Natasha Lyonne) as she hits the road solving crimes. Along the way, she meets Adrien Brody, Jameela Jamil, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Lil Rel Howery, Nick Nolte, Rhea Perlman, Ron Perlman, Tim Meadows, and many more. Created by Glass Onion/Knives Out’s Rian Johnson.
Original programming puts Peacock in the company of other popular streamers (Netflix, Hulu, and Prime Video, to name the biggies). Whether you’re looking for comedy, drama, reality, or a blockbuster movie, Peacock offers plenty of choices.
We Are Lady Parts
We Are Lady Parts follows Amina, a socially awkward microbiology PhD student who desperately wants to find a husband. When she’s recruited to join an all-female Muslim punk band, it changes her entire perspective on life. With the notable exception of Ms. Marvel, Muslims are still not often seen in Hollywood productions, and positive, realistic portrayals are even more rare. That’s a major oversight for a group that makes up a sizable portion of the global population.
We Are Lady Parts is another big leap forward in representation, depicting Muslim women as diverse and fascinating individuals, rather than interchangeable members of a monolithic culture. With just six episodes at half an hour each, it’s easy to breeze through this series in one sitting, but try and take your time with it. This is a funny, endearing, fresh show that demonstrates what proper representation looks like. — Sarah Mina Osman
Climbing to the top of the charts is the Peacock-produced comedy Girls5eva. Well-received by critics and viewers, it’s the clever story of a one-hit-wonder girl group from the 1990s thrown back into the limelight after their song gets sampled by a rapper. Reunited in the present day, the ladies are determined not to lose their celebrity status this time—or will they? For more on this recent hit, check out our Watercooler Pick write-up. — Jerry Barmash
The Amber Ruffin Show
For a daily take on current events, The Amber Ruffin Show is a top destination. Ruffin is a former writer for Late Night with Seth Meyers. When she joined in 2014, Ruffin was the first Black woman to write for a late-night network show in the U.S. She melds elements of Meyers’ “A Closer Look” segment and “The Daily News” with her unique perspective. Peacock has extended the show for a full season and Meyers is fully vested in the program as executive producer. — Jerry Barmash
There are several choices from yesteryear, whether you watched the shows growing up and want to relive them or you’re checking them out for the first time. It’s Peacock’s version of an “at-home” Paley Center.
How about the classic NBC’s unorthodox detective drama Columbo? It made a star of Peter Falk in the 1970s for his portrayal of the disheveled LAPD lieutenant, who always got his man (or woman). You’ll never hear the phrase, “Just one more thing,” again without thinking of Falk’s raspy, sly delivery. What made Columbo unique was that viewers knew exactly “whodunit” from the start of each episode. After that opening reveal, you’re taken on a ride as Columbo zeroes in on the main suspect and ultimately solves the crime.
The episodes hold up well, especially with Falk’s timeless acting and his cat-and-mouse games with the suspects. He won three Emmy awards during the original run on NBC, and another trophy in 1990 for reprising the iconic role on ABC. — Jerry Barmash
Maybe you want to keep some classic sitcoms frozen-in-time but with new character development? Peacock has you covered as well.
A pair of vintage comedians are dusted off with a new look. Punky Brewster is back with new episodes, and the original Punky—Soleil Moon Frye—returns as the title character, now a single mother in her 40s. Just as she’s trying to get her life back on track she comes across a young girl in the foster system who reminds her of herself. Punky’s BFF Cherie Johnson (who shares the name with her character) is also back. The series debuted in February and quickly was renewed for a second season.
If you’re enjoying the reboot, or just want a bit of nostalgia, you can also go back and watch the original Punky Brewster series. It was a mainstay on NBC’s Sunday schedule from 1984-1986 and two more years of first-run syndication. — Jerry Barmash
Saved By The Bell
While Punky was a favorite for youngsters in the 1980s, Saved by the Bell was popular for teens in the 1990s. Peacock heads back to Bayside High, with a twist. The focus this time is on a new cast of characters dealing with an influx of underprivileged students transferred to Bayside as part of a program instituted by California governor Zack Morris (yes, THAT Zack Morris). Several of the stars from the NBC classic have supporting roles, including Mario Lopez, Tiffani Thiessen, and Mark-Paul Gosselaar. — Jerry Barmash
Less of a reboot and more of a continuation, the buddy detective comedy Psych simply refuses to go away, or maybe fans just wont let it. The series stars James Roday Rodriguez as Shawn, a fake psychic who uses his keen observational skills to solve crimes, and Dulé Hill as his reluctant partner, Gus. Psych ended its broadcast run on USA Network back in 2014, but fans wanted more. A two-hour TV movie, simply called Psych: The Movie, followed in 2017. And then last year, Peacock exclusively released a sequel, Psych 2: Lassie Come Home. A third film, Psych 3: This is Gus, has already been announced and is due to begin filming in the summer of 2021. — Jerry Barmash
Michael Scott (Steve Carell) and his fictitious employees—including Dwight (Rainn Wilson), Jim (John Krasinski), and Pam (Jenna Fischer)—are the cornerstone of Peacock’s library. It was a huge deal when Peacock secured the streaming rights for The Office after it had been a Netflix staple for years. With it comes a built-in fan base and nine seasons’ worth of episodes, but only the first two are free. You’ll have to subscribe to watch the rest. NBC also threw in some neat extras you won’t find anywhere else, including never-before-seen deleted scenes, bloopers, featurettes, and interviews. — Jerry Barmash
30 Rock was always a critical darling, but finding people who actually watched it during its original seven season run was a challenge. Thanks to the rediscovery power of streaming, the show and its wit have gathered more steam over the years, delivering quotable lines and Easter eggs for the pop culture nerd in us all.
The show follows Liz Lemon (Tina Fey) as she navigates life as head writer on TGS, a sketch show much like SNL. She’s accompanied by shining talent, each of them playing outsized versions of themselves: Alec Baldwin, who plays network executive and mentor to Liz; Jack McBrayer as the most adorable page ever; and Tracy Morgan playing a Tracy Morgan type. You will fall for every character.
The series not only tackles the absurdities of show business, often with a “meta” wink, it serves up social commentary on workplace politics and subtle jabs at the issues of the day. It manages to pull off mile-a-minute wit with a soft underbelly. — Morissa Schwartz
Parks and Recreation
Following their success with The Office, producers Schur and Greg Daniels went on to create another hit, the Amy Poehler-starring comedy Parks and Recreation. The stellar cast—including Nick Offerman, Adam Scott, Rob Lowe, Chris Pratt, Rashida Jones, Retta, and Aubrey Plaza—is an obvious draw, but it’s also really well written, loaded with sharp comedy and surprisingly emotional moments. As with the earlier series, Seasons 1 and 2 are offered on Peacock for free, with the remaining five seasons available to subscribers. — Jerry Barmash
Rutherford Falls is another fun option. Starring Ed Helms (The Office, The Hangover), this comedy centers around two best friends who face the test of a lifetime, thanks to a crisis in their small town. Helms, who co-wrote the pilot, is also co-creator of the series. In the era of cancel culture, Rutherford Falls uses comedy to correct the treatment of a Native nation. Michael Schur Is also co-creator. He is best remembered as Dwight’s brother Mose on The Office. — Jerry Barmash
Sister networks Bravo and E! are also represented on Peacock, contributing some of the most popular reality shows of the last decade to the lineup.
If you failed to “keep up” with the Kardashians the first time around, you’ll find all 19 (yes, 19!) seasons of Keeping up with the Kardashians here. The Real Housewives franchise is also on the menu, coming to you from eight different locales. They’re all available for premium subscribers. — Jerry Barmash
More Heavy Hitters
At the time of this publication, you can also watch the entire Harry Potter series, the Oscar nominated Tár, The Godfather Trilogy, and more. Additional marquee titles include Casino, Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Liar Liar, and Hitchcock classics like The Birds and Psycho.
Still looking for more recommendations? Check out our streaming guides for these platforms:
BritBox | Discovery+ | Disney+ | HBO Max