The Best Peacock Shows Right Now – Surprising Quality and Variety
Most Amex Platinum cardholders collectively groaned last week when Amex announced their Digital Entertainment Credit was limited to purchases from SiriusXM, Audible, The New York Times, and Peacock. Many had high expectations for this streaming credit. Alas, it’s not as easily used as the streaming credit we received earlier in the pandemic. But Platinum cardholders can still obtain easy wins via these credits, including with Peacock. While I understand how NBCUniversal named the app, I think the moniker is terrible. Anyway, once I got past the name, I discovered solid content on the app. Here are the ten best Peacock shows available, from my perspective and in a random order.
#1. Rutherford Falls
The wife and I are intrigued by pretty much anything Ed Helms does, so this new Peacock exclusive was a no-brainer to check out. We weren’t disappointed. The story centers around Nathan Rutherford (Helms), his longtime friend, Reagan (Jana Schmeiding), and a town statue. Hilarity ensues. That premise doesn’t necessarily sound promising, but it worked on us.
#2. Friday Night Lights
Although I didn’t grow up playing Texas high school football, I’m very familiar with the setting and this show’s roots. I enjoyed the book as a teen but got even more out of it as an adult. Many of you have seen the Peter Berg movie starring Billy Bob Thornton, a great stand alone work, itself. The show takes a different angle with the town of Dillon, TX; the dynamic between the high school’s football coach (Kyle Chandler) and his wife (Connie Britton) is my favorite part of the show. I’m fairly confident you’ll turn this show on, and say, “Hey, there’s that actor!” Many got their big breaks here – perhaps biggest of all, the great Jesse Plemons. And as a fan of post-rock and Explosions in the Sky, the music satisfies, as well.
#3. The Office
I love how much this show holds up. I recall watching this one from the beginning, when many said, “It’s good, but the British version was better.” Very quickly, opinions changed. This show about Michael Scott, Jim, Pam, Dwight, and everyone else (there are too many to name) consistently delivered the comedic and dramatic goods. I remember laughing and tearing up all within a twenty-or-so minute episode. I don’t think I’m alone here.
This is the show I’ve heard most about in the past few years. If I had a quarter every time someone said, “Dude, you need to watch Yellowstone” I’d have enough to cover a Visa gift card fee or two. This drama, starring Kevin Costner and Cole Hauser (that guy from Dazed & Confused), revolves around a large ranch, a Native reservation, and land developers. I’m confident I’ll enjoy the show primarily because it was created and written by Taylor Sheridan – the same guy who who wrote Sicario, Hell or High Water, and Wind River. I just haven’t gotten around to this one yet – there’s just too much stuff out there. For what it’s worth, Mark started watching a few days ago, and he’s hooked.
#5. Ray Donovan
I’ve watched a whole one episode of this show, and I’m overwhelmed. I’m pretty sure that’s a good thing. This show focuses on, you guessed it, Ray Donovan (Liev Schrieber), a fixer in Los Angeles. Similar to Yellowstone, I’ll continue pursuing this one based on the good word-of-mouth. That first episode was loaded with subplots, though – more than I care to digest in one sitting. But whatever, it’s the pilot episode, so I guess that’s understandable. Tons of familiar faces are in this show – Jon Voight, Eddie Marsan, Dash Mihok, and Steven Bauer were all in the first episode. I’ll stick around.
#6. The Defiant Ones
I’m including this four-part documentary for how all-consuming it was when I first watched it (back when it was exclusively on HBO). The series, directed by Allen Hughes, primarily focuses on music producer Jimmy Iovine, Dr. Dre, and their partnership. In addition to Iovine and Dre, who could carry the whole thing by themselves, so many others participate, including Ice Cube, Eminem, Bono, Snoop, Bruce Springsteen, and Tom Petty. The stories they tell simply cannot be made up.
Some may classify Dateline as a guilty pleasure. Not me and my wife – we shamelessly love these true crime and murder mysteries. We enjoy the reporters just as much as the stories themselves. Keith Morrison is so hypnotizing and weird, Bill Hader parodied him on Saturday Night Live. The music and sequencing are completely formulaic – we have fun predicting what happens next in the episode as we watch. Another positive to watching these shows on Peacock is a two hour TV episode is boiled down to about 80 minutes on the app. For those who multi-task well, you can easily watch while doing other stuff, like paying your credit card bills. New episodes show up just after they air on TV.
We can pick up a random episode of Frasier and enjoy it like we’ve never seen it. The high jinks from psychiatrist Frasier Crane (from Cheers), Niles (Frasier’s brother), Martin (Dad), and Daphne never get old. I feel like Niles is one of the best TV show characters ever, right up there with Eddie Haskell. Another great aspect of this show is you don’t have to be well-versed on any overarching plotlines to enjoy a given episode.
#9. 30 Rock
We’ve enjoyed the first few seasons, but we fell off this one for some reason we can’t remember. We’ll get back into this show about comedy writer Liz Lemon (Tina Fey), her boss, Jack (Alec Baldwin), and Tracy, the big star of the show within the show (Tracy Morgan). Perhaps I want to get back into this one because I want to finish what we started. Regardless, it’s fun.
#10. Modern Family
I watched the first season of this show and quickly lost interest. Back then, I assessed that Modern Family was a user-friendly version of Arrested Development, the edgier Fox show which I enjoyed more. I’d end up on Modern Family every now and then during syndication – in hotel rooms, naturally. Now that I have access to it all, I’ll have fun going through the series chronologically.
Best Peacock Shows – Honorable Mentions
I’ve come to appreciate the depth and breadth of Peacock content. The app has so many other shows worth mentioning. Our little ones enjoy American Ninja Warrior and Get Out Of My Room. I love going back to my childhood and watching stuff like Hunter, 21 Jump Street, The Munsters, and Everybody Loves Raymond. I’ve never gotten around to Parks and Recreation or Brooklyn Nine-Nine, but I hope to soon. Plus, there’s a healthy amount of other reality content – Gordon Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares is most addictive for us. Plenty of stand-up comedy acts are available here, too, including my favorite performer, David Cross. Their sports offering is a bit spotty, but highlights exist – like certain Premier League soccer matches and The Dan Patrick Show.
And, not to be forgotten, Peacock has a solid, rotating movie lineup available for streaming. Smokey and the Bandit, anyone?
Best Peacock Shows – Conclusion
Peacock still has plenty to prove, particularly in the original content category. They do have several app-exclusive shows, and I’m interested to see how that library grows. Regarding their existing content, though, Peacock shines with sheer volume. The vast majority of TV shows on Peacock contain every season. Even better, with your Amex Platinum credit, you can opt for the $9.99 Peacock Plus option which enables commercial-free viewing and downloadable content. Many will opt for the $4.99 version and be perfectly happy with that, too.
What are you favorite shows on Peacock?