The Best Shows to Watch on Peacock

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.

Something Different

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.

GIRLS5EVA — “Alf Musik” Episode 103 — Pictured: (l-r) Paula Pell as Gloria, Sara Bareilles as Dawn, Renée Elise Goldsberry as Wickie, Busy Philipps as Summer — (Photo by: Heidi Gutman/Peacock)

Climbing to the top of the charts is the Peacock-produced comedy Girls4EVA. 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.

THE AMBER RUFFIN SHOW — “May 14, 2021” Episode 126 — Pictured: Amber Ruffin — (Photo by: Heidi Gutman/Peacock)

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.

Legacy Content

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.

Peter Falk as Columbo, from an episode originally aired on NBC

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.

Peacock is more than a home to NBC shows, though. Good Times, originally aired on CBS in the 1970s, is streaming all six seasons of Florida, James, J.J., and the entire Evans family struggling in the slums of Chicago. It’s part of the premium upgrade.

Reboot Gems

Maybe you want to keep some classic sitcoms frozen-in-time but with new character development? Peacock has you covered as well.

PUNKY BREWSTER — Pilot Episode — Pictured: (l-r) Soleil Moon Frye as Punky Brewster, Quinn Copeland as Izzy — (Photo by: Evans Vestal Ward/Peacock)

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.

SAVED BY THE BELL — “Pilot” Episode 101 — Pictured: (l-r) Belmont Cameli as Jamie Spano, Josie Totah as Lexi, Mitchell Hoog as Mac Morris — (Photo by: Casey Durkin/Peacock)

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.

Promotional poster for Psych 2: Lassie Come Home courtesy Peacock

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.

Office Talents

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.

THE OFFICE — Pictured: “The Office” on Peacock — (Photo by: Peacock)

Speaking of The Office—why not revisit the gang from Dunder-Mifflin?

Michael Scott (Steve Carell) and his fictious 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.

Cast of Parks and Recreation promotional still courtesy NBC

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.

Reality Queens

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.

THE REAL HOUSEWIVES OF BEVERLY HILLS — Season:11 — Pictured: (l-r) Erika Girardi, Garcelle Beauvais, Crystal Kung Minkoff, Kyle Richards, Lisa Rinna, Sutton Stracke, Dorit Kemsley — (Photo by: John Tsiavis/Bravo)

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.

Lights, Camera, Action!

You won’t just find TV shows on Peacock; there’s a decent selection of movies to choose from too. At the time of this publication, you can watch the entire Harry Potter series, Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit trilogy, all of the National Lampoon’s Vacation films and more. Additional marquee titles include Casino, Catch Me If You Can, Jerry Maguire, and Bridesmaids.

Still looking for more recommendations? Check out our streaming guides for these platforms:

BritBox | Discovery+ | Disney+ | HBO Max

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