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Posted on Jan 9, 2015

19 TV Shows That Need To Be Made Available To Stream In 2015

In the last few months, we finally got the ability to watch every episode of The Simpsons, Gilmore Girls, and Friends whenever we want. But these other television shows need some streaming love too.

1. Seinfeld

Castle Rock Entertainment/Courtesy Everett Collection

What's the deal with Seinfeld? Yes, you can watch a handful of episodes of the brilliantly subversive series on Crackle (and in syndication daily), but the fact that the show that spawned 1,000 catchphrases isn't on Netflix is a real tragedy. Elaine's face above says it all.

2. ER

NBC/Everett Collection

It seems inconceivable that an incredibly beloved medical drama like ER, which really did change the genre forever and which people obsessed over FOR THE 15 YEARS it was on the air, should be absent from the streaming offerings of so many platforms. There is no way to relive the star-crossed romance between Carol Hathaway (Julianna Margulies) and Dr. Doug Ross (George Clooney)! How is this possible?

3. The O.C.

Warner Bros. Television / Courtesy Everett Collection

Wait, you might be saying, I watched The O.C. on Netflix not that long ago. Well, unfortunately, the Josh Schwartz-created drama — which introduced the world to both Phantom Planet's earwig "California" and Benjamin McKenzie as brooding bad boy Ryan Atwood — is no longer on the streaming service. In fact, it's not streaming anywhere (though you can purchase individual episodes to download). Captain Oats is furious.

4. Boy Meets World

Buena Vista Pictures/Courtesy Everett Collection

You can buy episodes of Boy Meets World on iTunes, Amazon, and YouTube, but there's nowhere to actually stream episodes of the ABC sitcom, which ran from 1993 to 2000. Which is even weirder, considering that a sequel spin-off, Girl Meets World, launched in 2014. Even Mr. Feeny can't solve this one.

5. Northern Exposure

Universal/Courtesy Everett Collection

Like a tea-cozy companion to the much darker Twin Peaks, Northern Exposure told a very different story about the strange little town of Cicely, Alaska, where a New York doctor is sent to care for the locals after the town paid for his medical school education. The show is full of witty banter, will-they-won't-they chemistry (between Rob Morrow's Joel and Janine Turner's Maggie), and the quirkiest of quirky townspeople. Northern Exposure is adorable, it's sweet, and it's tragic that it's not streaming anywhere.

6. The Big Bang Theory

Sonja Flemming / CBS

It would take an astrophysicist to figure out why The Big Bang Theory, the top-rated comedy on television (now in its eighth season), isn't available to stream anywhere online. Sure, you can buy individual episodes. Sure, you can stream the most recently broadcast episodes on, but why can't you watch the entire series from the beginning anywhere?

7. Dark Shadows

Dan Curtis Productions/Courtesy Everett Collection

There are 1,225 episodes of the original Dark Shadows, which ran weekday afternoons between 1966 and 1971 and terrorized an entire generation of children (and their parents). The Gothic soap opera didn't really get going until Jonathan Frid joined the cast as the vampire Barnabas Collins — then, the show delved into time travel, alternate universes, loose adaptations of The Turn of the Screw and The Picture of Dorian Gray, and H.P. Lovecraftian entities. With so many episodes, bizarro plotlines, and gaffes aplenty (it was filmed live on tape), Dark Shadows is the type of show that is absolutely made for lengthy binges — and it is not only a worthy addition to streaming libraries, but also a seminal cult show deserving of renewed attention.

8. Sisters

Lorimar Television/Courtesy Everett Collection

The stellar drama Sisters starred Julianne Phillips, Sela Ward, Swoosie Kurtz, and Patricia Kalember as the four adult Reed sisters (who would often meet up to chat in a steam room), and ran between 1991 and 1996. For those who need reminding, George Clooney played poor doomed cop James Falconer, and Ashley Judd played Kurtz's character's daughter Reed, who eloped with her filmmaker boyfriend Kirby (Paul Rudd)! Sisters would often flash back to a time when the four sisters were young women, revealing elements of their backstories and the root causes of current psychological issues — they'd even sometimes interact with their younger dream-selves. Think of it as Lost, if the smoke monster were an alcoholic mother with abandonment issues (thanks to her philandering husband), and the castaways were four strong women with their own lives, plans, and dreams. And it's not streaming anywhere!

9. Once and Again

Touchstone Television/Courtesy Everett Collection

Gah, Sela Ward cannot win — it's the second show featuring the actor that has shamefully not been made available to stream. But then again, fans of Once and Again (which also starred Billy Campbell, Evan Rachel Wood, and Shane West, among others) are long used to being shafted — the third and final season wasn't even released on DVD! Created by Marshall Herskovitz and Edward Zwick (who also produced My So-Called Life and thirtysomething, both of which are available to stream), Once and Again combines elements of family drama and romance. It's charming and great. And undeserving of such shoddy treatment.

10. Picket Fences

20th Century Fox/Courtesy Everett Collection

Post-L.A. Law, but pre-Ally McBeal, David E. Kelley created Picket Fences, another quirky-townspeople-in-an-even-quirkier-drama. This one centered on the strange goings-on in Rome, Wisconsin, where all manner of bizarre phenomena occur. (We're talking seriously, seriously weird stuff.) The local sheriff (Tom Skerritt) is married to the town doctor (Kathy Baker) and they attempt to raise their three kids — including future Charmed star Holly Marie Combs — amid the oddities of people turning up dead in freezers and the mayor spontaneously combusting. The show also tackled touchy and even controversial subject matter for the early '90s (including masturbation, homophobia, and date rape) during the course of its four-season run. So why isn't the show — which only had its first season released on DVD — available to stream anywhere? ARGH.

11. Law & Order

NBC/Courtesy Everett Collection

Chung chung. It makes no sense that Law & Order, the perfect show to watch over and over again, is not available on any streaming platform. Not Netflix, not Hulu, not Amazon Instant, even though many of its subsequent iterations are available to stream. Why, Dick Wolf, why?

12. Everwood

Warner Bros. Television / Courtesy Everett Collection

Yet another quirky town drama. This one was created by Greg Berlanti and starred (among others) Treat Williams, Gregory Smith, Emily VanCamp, Chris Pratt, and Tom Amandes. (Yes, THAT Chris Pratt.) Everwood was a conflation of the medical drama and the family drama, tackling tough issues over the course of its four-season run on The WB. And it introduced the world to Pratt and VanCamp, who went on to become stars in their own right. So why isn't it available to stream? Ask Warner Bros., which is the studio behind several of these streaming-less series.

13. Babylon 5

Babylonian Productions/Courtesy Everett Collection

There is a small but intense fandom for this J. Michael Straczynski-created science fiction drama, set in the future on the eponymous five-mile-long space station. The series ran for five seasons, none of which are available to stream. Maybe by the year 2257?

14. CSI: Crime Scene Investigation

Neil Jacobs / CBS

You can stream CSI: Miami and CSI: NY, but not this one. Even on CBS All Access, which promises full episodes and multiple seasons of CBS shows, you can only stream the most recently broadcast episodes of this long-running crime procedural. (The same holds true for NCIS and NCIS: LA.)

15. Monk

USA Networks/Courtesy Everett Collection / Peter Hopper Stone

Think on this: Before The Walking Dead, the most watched scripted cable show was USA's Monk, which starred Tony Shalhoub as the titular detective. Almost 10 million people tuned in to watch the show when it wrapped up its seven-season run in 2009. 10 million! So why isn't Monk available to stream? Who knows!

16. MASH

20th Century Fox/Courtesy Everett Collection

Fortunately MASH is available on DVD, but the fact that one of the best television shows of all time is not available to stream is mind-boggling to me. Set during the Korean War, MASH is one of the highest-rated shows of all time in the U.S. — 125 million people tuned in to watch its series finale, after 11 seasons, in 1983. That is a number that is entirely inconceivable in today's fragmented media landscape. It is a beautifully written dark comedy that deserves to be seen by a new generation of viewers.

17. Full House

Warner Bros/Courtesy Everett Collection

The ultimate TGIF linchpin, Full House, is strangely not available to stream anywhere, which is more upsetting than John Stamos wearing velour parachute pants with suspenders. Have mercy indeed.

18. Life Goes On

Warner Bros/Courtesy Everett Collection

God, I loved Life Goes On, which centered on Corky (Chris Burke), a teenager with Down syndrome, and his family, played by Patti LuPone, Bill Smitrovich, Kellie Martin, and Monique Lanier. A single note of the Life Goes On theme song brings to mind memories of this wonderful and groundbreaking show, which ran from 1989 to 1993 and was the first television show to feature a major character with Down syndrome. Life Goes On dealt with the challenges both Corky and his family faced, and went on to introduce an HIV-positive character (played by Chad Lowe) who would begin a romantic relationship with Corky's sister (Martin). It breaks my heart that it's not possible to watch this show anywhere! (Only Season 1 was released on DVD.)

19. Family Matters

Lorimar Film Entertainment/Courtesy Everett Collection

There's room for you, there's room for me, but there's apparently no room for Urkel to stream.

Lorimar Film Entertainment

Bonus: Roseanne

Carsey-Werner Co/Courtesy Everett Collection

There is a weird Roseanne Collection available on Netflix, which seems to include episodes from Seasons 1-3. (Meaning that one must resort to YouTube to see Roseanne, Dan, and Jackie smoke pot in the bathroom in one of the funniest scenes ever.) Bring on the full nine-season series, Netflix, which managed to be groundbreaking, raucous, and gut-wrenching. And, yes, we mean that bizarro season in which the Conners win the lottery and become multimillionaires, which ends up not being real at all! (Trust me, if you haven't seen it already, it's a heartbreaker in the end.)

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