ENTERTAINMENT

The best shows on Paramount+

In March 2021, CBS All Access decided it was high time for a makeover and re-emerged as Paramount+, donning the coveted plus sign that’s all the rage in the streaming world. For TV fanatics, the platform houses an expansive media library of originals and content from the Paramount Global (formerly ViacomCBS) vault, including shows from MTV, Nickelodeon, BET, and more. Whether you’re yearning for a trip down memory lane with classics like I Love Lucy or seeking fresh thrills like 1883, this streaming platform has all of your bases covered.

Read on for EW’s list of the best shows on Paramount+.

1883 (2021–2022)

Tim McGraw on ‘1883’.
Emerson Miller/Paramount+

When Taylor Sheridan sought to expand the universe of his hit contemporary Western drama Yellowstone, he delved into the region’s past and the Dutton family’s first forays into their eventual homeland. 1883 features real-life couple Tim McGraw and Faith Hill as James and Margaret Dutton, who endure an arduous journey alongside their family and immigrant settlers as part of a wagon train run by crusty Civil War veteran Shea Brennan. Crackling with interpersonal drama and hard truths about living off the land, 1883 offers a compelling glimpse into another time. And it doesn’t stop there: Sheridan further expanded the Yellowstone universe with 1923, another Paramount+ prequel series starring Harrison Ford and Helen Mirren as Jacob and Cara Dutton. —Johnny Loftus

Where to watch 1883: Paramount+

Cast: Tim McGraw, Faith Hill, Sam Elliott, Isabel May, LaMonica Garrett, Audie Rick, Marc Rissman, James Landry Hérbert, Gratiela Brancusi, Anna Fiamora

Related content: LaMonica Garrett on how 1883 depicts his Old West character

Beverly Hills, 90210 (1990–2000)

Mikel Roberts/Sygma via Getty Images

Beverly Hills, 90210 made a quiet splash in 1990 and soon earned success after embracing a more teen-centric plot — perfectly timed with other networks pausing their programming for Gulf War reporting — which propelled the show into pop culture stardom. Nestled against the lush backdrop of Beverly Hills, the series chronicles a tight-knit friend group’s evolution from adolescence to grown-up realities across 10 seasons, overcoming several cast rotations while mainstays Jennie Garth, Tori Spelling, Brian Austin Green, and Ian Ziering anchored its entirety. But beyond the allure of West Coast glamour and trivial affairs, this show dove headfirst into societal issues such as homophobia, racism, body image, sexual assault, and more, laying the cornerstone for the teen drama genre we know and love today. —James Mercadante

Where to watch Beverly Hills, 90210: Paramount+

EW grade: B (read the review)

Cast: Jason Priestley, Shannen Doherty, Jennie Garth, Ian Ziering, Gabrielle Carteris, Luke Perry, Brian Austin Green, Douglas Emerson, Tori Spelling, Carol Potter, James Eckhouse, Joe E. Tata

Related content: Tori Spelling shares a sweet Beverly Hills, 90210 throwback with Jennie Garth and Lindsay Price

The Challenge (1998–present)

Alyssa Snider and Cassidy Clark.
Jonne Roriz/Paramount

While there are plenty reality competition shows across a multitude of streamers, MTV stands tall with its magnum opus, The Challenge, which Paramount+ offers starting with 2005’s 10th season. What initially began as a humble spinoff affair for The Real World and Road Rules has since blossomed into the ultimate television crossover event. The Challenge now plays host to a diverse roster of reality stars plucked from a smorgasbord of shows including Survivor, Are You the One?, American Ninja Warrior, Big Brother, Love Island, and more. An ever-evolving competition, contestants are thrown into the gauntlet, playing in teams or flying solo while tackling a myriad of missions in their quest for game supremacy and cash prizes. —J.M.

Where to watch The Challenge: Paramount+

Related content: Paulie Calafiore says he ‘never was blacklisted’ from The Challenge: ‘I had to take a break’

Cheers (1982–1993)

NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images

Looking for “a place where everybody knows your name?” Swing by the iconic Boston bar owned by none other than Sam “Mayday” Malone, a former Red Sox pitcher who serves up drinks alongside a captivating crew of regulars who later take up a lot of screen time. (As EW’s critic wrote, “For a show without a center, Cheers is still awfully funny.”) With sharp dialogue, masterful physical comedy, and characters you can’t help but root for, this show amassed 28 Emmys and four Golden Globes — and had the second-most-watched series finale of all time. Let’s raise a glass to that! —J.M.

Where to watch Cheers: Paramount+

EW grade: A– (read the review)

Cast: Ted Danson, Shelley Long, Nicholas Colasanto, Rhea Perlman, George Wendt, John Ratzenberger, Kelsey Grammer, Woody Harrelson, Kirstie Alley, Bebe Neuwirth

Related content: Cheers stars Ted Danson and George Wendt once puked with Woody Harrelson on set ‘out of solidarity’

Evil (2019–present)

Elizabeth Fisher/Paramount+

She’s a forensic psychologist who’s visited by demons in her dreams. He’s a proponent of hallucinogenic drugs who’s studying to be a Catholic priest. Together, they explore what’s bogus vs. what’s real about supernatural events and the dark side of faith. Katja Herbers stars alongside Mike Colter on Evil, an inventive, wild, and often sidesplitting take on an X-Files-style setup that migrated from CBS to Paramount+ around its third season. EW’s critic praised the series for its abundance of “sheer acting talent and narrative trickery built into every episode. Colter remains impossibly charming as a decent person whose spiritual confidence masks profound insecurities,” while “Herbers is a dream of witty toughness and parental anxiety, balancing daily concerns about her children with a curiosity about the bizarre world her cases open up.” —J.L.

Where to watch Evil: Paramount+

EW grade: A (read the review)

Cast: Katja Herbers, Mike Colter, Aasif Mandvi, Kurt Fuller, Marti Matulis, Brooklyn Shuck, Skylar Gray, Maddy Crocco, Dalya Knapp, Christine Lahti, Michael Emerson, Ashley Edner, Andrea Martin

Related content: Evil stars share their scariest on-set moments

Frasier (1993–2004; 2023)

Kelsey Grammer on ‘Frasier’.
Gale Adler/Paramount/Getty

Psychiatry extraordinaire Frasier Crane can be found on the airwaves through this beloved Cheers spinoff series (which is set for a revival on Paramount+ in October 2023). After leaving his life and marriage in Boston, the eponymous character relocates to Seattle, where he reunites with his father — a retired detective sidelined by a gunshot wound to the hip — and his younger brother/fellow psychiatrist, Niles. There, he procures a new gig as a radio show host, offering psychiatric advice to occasional surprise callers from famous voices. With an impressive haul of 37 Emmys, including five consecutive Outstanding Comedy Series awards, Frasier‘s true essence lies in its family dynamics between Fraiser and Niles, which EW’s critic described as “the most hilarious and poignant siblings on television” because of their “lofty, melancholy, yet funny exchanges [that] represent the least typical joke-writing.” —J.M.

Where to watch Frasier: Paramount+

EW grade: B+ (read the review)

Cast: Kelsey Grammer, Jane Leeves, David Hyde Pierce, Peri Gilpin, John Mahoney, Dan Butler

Related content: Inside Kelsey Grammer’s return to Frasier: His new TV family, and how the show pays tribute to John Mahoney

Freaks and Geeks (1999–2000)

NBCU Photo Bank

It’s unforgivable that the show that launched the careers of James Franco, Linda Cardellini, Seth Rogen, Jason Segel, and more fell victim to NBC‘s premature cancellation during its first season. (“Is it just me, or does the whole world suck?“) In a mere 18 episodes, this sleeper hit gem left a lasting imprint on viewers across generations and earned cult status over the years. Created by Paul Feig and executive produced by Judd Apatow — who went on to harness the talents of this ensemble in subsequent projects — Freaks and Geeks is the coming-of-age tale of a high school mathlete who joins a clique of music-loving, pot-smoking burnouts, while her nerdy younger brother steers through the perils of freshman year. As EW’s critic wrote, the series’ authentically nuanced portrayal of teen life “embodies all of its contradictions, craziness, hopes, and fears,” and is one of those rare sitcoms that “sustains funniness for its full 60 minutes.” —J.M.

Where to watch Freaks and Geeks: Paramount+

EW grade: A (read the review)

Cast: Linda Carellini, John Francis Daley, James Franco, Seth Rogen, Jason Segel, Samm Levine, Martin Starr, Becky Ann Baker, Joe Flaherty, Busy Philipps

Related content: Paul Feig still wants to make a Freaks and Geeks musical — with a dodgeball dance number

The Good Fight (2017–2022)

Robert Ascroft/CBS

Brilliantly acted, often satirical, and furiously contemporary, The Good Fight follows in the footsteps of the hit CBS legal drama The Good Wife (see below). This spinoff tracks the rise and fall of the whip-smart, fabulously dressed attorney Diane Lockhart, who joins the across-town firm of Reddick, Boseman & Kolstad alongside Good Wife veteran Lucca Quinn. Also starring Rose Leslie and featuring a strong ensemble cast, the series debuted its first four seasons on CBS All Access and its remaining two on Paramount+. With frequent animated musical asides, its final season’s “civil war” concept, and powerhouse talent additions like John Slattery and Andre Braugher, The Good Fight always keeps things interesting. —J.L.

Where to watch The Good Fight: Paramount+

EW grade: A (read the review)

Cast: Christine Baranski, Cush Jumbo, Erica Tazel, Rose Leslie, Delroy Lindo

Related Reading: Christine Baranski reflects on her ‘most fraught season’ as Diane on The Good Fight

The Good Wife (2009–2016)

Eike Schroter/CBS via Getty Images

Art truly mirrors life on The Good Wife, where married showrunners Robert and Michelle King drew inspiration from a weirdly specific yet all-too-familiar pattern of political scandals involving prominent male politicians cheating on their lawyer wives. After years of embracing the role of the self-sacrificing mother and spouse, Georgetown graduate Alicia Florrick is forced to resurrect her legal career as a junior litigator after her high-profile husband is sentenced to jail for misusing state funds for prostitutes. Boldly shattering the television mold, The Good Wife introduced audiences to a remarkably complex and unapologetically flawed female protagonist, and was hailed by EW’s critic as “a non-genre series that drops Easter eggs and rewards careful viewing; a program that led the conversation on issues like cybersecurity and political graft; and a show that explored the romantic lives of 40- and 50-year-olds, but not for laughs.” —J.M.

Where to watch The Good Wife: Paramount+

EW grade: A (read the review)

Cast: Julianna Margulies, Josh Charles, Christine Baranski, Chris Noth, Matt Czuchry, Archie Panjabi, Zach Grenier, Matthew Goode, Cush Jumbo, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Alan Cumming

Related content: Good Wife creators share emotional goodbye letter

Halo (2022–present)

Paramount+

Bringing the vast landscape of the smash hit Halo video games to the screen was a challenge accepted by executive producer Steven Spielberg. Pablo Schreiber stars as resolute supersoldier Master Chief Petty Officer John-117, who becomes involved in humanity’s 26th-century struggle against an aggressive bunch of aliens known as the Covenant. Joining Schieber’s Master Chief in the United Nations Space Command are Olive Gray’s Commander Miranda Keyes and Natascha McElhone‘s brilliant scientist Dr. Elizabeth Halsey. If you want world-building, Halo‘s got you covered. And if you want sci-fi action, that’s here, too. But what might surprise you most about the series is the level of humanity Schreiber brings to his Master Chief. —J.L.

Where to watch Halo: Paramount+

Cast: Pablo Schreiber, Olive Gray, Shabana Azmi, Natascha McElhone, Bokeem Woodbine

Related content: Halo producer unpacks why the TV show succeeds where the movie failed

The Hills (2006–2010)

Jeff Lipsky/MTV

Ah, the iconic moment etched into every millennial’s memory: Lauren Conrad confronting Heidi Montag with a resounding “You know what you did!” at Les Deux nightclub. Conrad’s fame began with her gig on Laguna Beach: The Real Orange County, but what really catapulted her to reality TV royalty was her very own spinoff series, which perfectly captured the era of velour tracksuits and side-swept bangs. From Conrad’s internship at Teen Vogue to all of the nights spent at the hottest spots, The Hills not only offered a glimpse into the world of Y2K fashion but also the entertaining escapades of twentysomethings navigating Los Angeles’ glittering playground. While you’re at it, extend your nostalgic time travel trip with The Hills‘ 2019 spinoff, New Beginnings. (Even if it did end up hitting the brakes after two seasons, remember: “The rest is still unwritten.”) —J.M.

Where to watch The Hills: Paramount+

Cast: Lauren Conrad, Heidi Montag, Audrina Patridge, Whitney Port, Kristin Cavallari, Lo Bosworth, Stephanie Pratt

Related content: The Hills cast: Where are they now?

Key & Peele (2012–2015)

Danny Feld/Comedy Central

While Jordan Peele continues to churn out acclaimed psychological horror movies (including Get Out, Us, and Nope), and Keegan-Michael Key takes the lead on whimsical series like Apple TV+‘s Schmigadoon, it’s absolutely essential to rewind to their roots on their Emmy-winning sketch variety show. Following in the footsteps of iconic comedy duos, this dynamic pair possesses an electric synergy that’s fit for endless material, including “Meegan, come back!” and the substitute teacher who creatively butchers every student’s name. Although Key & Peele wrapped in 2015, the comedy counterparts’ friendship continues to conjure onscreen magic, with projects like Keanu (2016), Toy Story 4 (2019), and Wendell & Wild (2022), and an ever-growing list of joint ventures. —J.M.

Where to watch Key & Peele: Paramount+

Cast: Keegan-Michael Key, Jordan Peele

Related content: Key & Peele: Keegan-Michael Key picks favorite sketches

SpongeBob SquarePants (1999–present)

SpongeBob SquarePants.
Nickelodeon

Let’s go back to 1999, when a certain absorbent, yellow, and porous fellow made his debut in a pineapple under the sea. And more than (cue the time card) two decades later, SpongeBob SquarePants is still riding the Nickelodeon waves, earning its place as one of the longest-running animated series alongside the likes of The Simpsons and South Park. Our ever-optimistic fry cook continues to radiate his “Best Day Ever” energy in the whimsical Bikini Bottom, where he embarks on hilarious escapades alongside his eclectic crew — including a slightly clueless starfish, a penny-pinching crustacean, a grouchy squid, and a science-savvy squirrel. With its effervescent humor and never-ending supply of underwater adventures, SpongeBob is a timeless delight that has kept generations entertained, and even led them to adopt nautical catchphrases like “Barnacles” or “Oh, tartar sauce” into their swear vocabulary. —J.M.

Where to watch SpongeBob SquarePants: Paramount+

Cast: Tom Kenny, Rodger Bumpass, Bill Fagerbakke, Clancy Brown, Mr. Lawrence, Dee Bradley Baker, Carolyn Lawrence, Jill Talley, Mary Jo Catlett

Related content: SpongeBob SquarePants: The complete oral history

Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987–1994)

CBS via Getty Images

For those yearning to “live long and prosper,” the third voyage of the Star Trek TV franchise beckons. While behind-the-scenes turbulence initially threatened the journey — artistic conflicts between Trek creator Gene Roddenberry and writers and producers almost deprived us of Patrick Stewart’s legendary Captain PicardStar Trek: The Next Generation transports viewers into a new era of interstellar exploration aboard the USS Enterprise (NCC-1701-D). Here, a novel crew of Starfleet officers embarks on exhilarating missions through unexplored territories. As noted by EW’s critic, “There is a whole galaxy of explanations for why people respond to Next Generation. The thrills and chills of space travel, the vivid depictions of brave new alien worlds and civilizations, the sheer drama of blasting into the unknown — these are also powerful reasons to tune in.” —J.M.

Where to watch Star Trek: The Next Generation: Paramount+

Cast: Patrick Stewart, Jonathan Frakes, LeVar Burton, Marina Sirtis, Brent Spiner, Michael Dorn, Gates McFadden, Majel Barrett, Wil Wheaton

Related content: Patrick Stewart’s Star Trek: The Next Generation crew reunite in new photo

Star Trek: Strange New Worlds (2022–present)

Tawny Newsome and Jack Quaid reprise their animated ‘Star Trek: Lower Decks’ roles in live-action on ‘Star Trek: Strange New Worlds’.
PARAMOUNT+

Among a bright cast of new helmspeople, medical officers, and engineers, Anson Mount spearheads this Star Trek: Discovery spinoff series as Christopher Pike, captain of the USS Enterprise during the years before the events of the original show. And yes, Spock is here, too. Strange New Worlds has received high marks for its production design, with its kicky riffs on 1960s aesthetics as well as its further development of characters that have been around for more than half a century. —J.L.

Where to watch Star Trek: Strange New Worlds: Paramount+

EW grade: B (read the review)

Cast: Anson Mount, Ethan Peck, Jess Bush, Christina Chong, Rebecca Romijn, Celia Rose Gooding, Melissa Navia, Babs Olusanmokun, Bruce Horak

Related content: Of course Star Trek looked to Buffy for its big musical: ‘That was our bar’

Survivor (2000–present)

Kelly Wiglesworth, Rudy Boesch, Susan Hawk, Richard Hatch, and Sean Kenniff on ‘Survivor: Borneo’.
CBS

The EW tribe has spoken: You should watch Survivor. Hosted by Jeff Probst, the gripping reality competition series plucks contestants from their comfort zones, dumping them at remote locations where they must unleash their inner warriors. As they navigate an intense blend of physical and mental challenges for rewards and immunity, their strategic skills are tested through calculated votes for eliminations, ultimately leaving one “sole survivor” standing with a million-dollar prize. From Sue Hawk’s unforgettable “rat and snake” speech in season 1 to the blindsiding of Erik Reichenbach in season 16 to the scheming antics of supervillain Russell Hantz in season 19, the show has been generating iconic moments since its 2000 debut. Don’t be daunted by the number of seasons; you can leap in at any point, but why not start from the beginning? If it somehow doesn’t click, you can bring us your torch. —J.M.

Where to watch Survivor: Paramount+

Cast: Jeff Probst

Related content: Why do the Emmys hate Jeff Probst?

The Twilight Zone (1959–1964)

Everett Collection

Your next stop: the Twilight Zone! Courtesy of the Emmy– and Golden Globe-winning mind of Rod Serling, this sci-fi/horror anthology series is arguably one of the greatest TV shows to ever exist. Each half-hour episode unpacks a self-contained saga where characters grapple with phantasmagorical forces, ultimately culminating in unforeseeable twists that typically reveal profound moral truths. While it bears the hallmarks of its era, its evergreen appeal and visionary ingenuity continue to delight viewers and inspire auteurs — as evidenced by the numerous attempts to resurrect its magic, most recently Jordan Peele‘s 2019 reboot. —J.M.

Where to watch The Twilight Zone: Paramount+

Cast: Rod Serling

Related content: The 30 best Twilight Zone episodes, ranked

Twin Peaks (1990–1991; 2017)

ABC via Getty Images

In an era of formulaic network television, oddball director David Lynch (Eraserhead, Blue Velvet) emerged as the perfect visionary to reshape the medium with this genre-bending series co-created by Mark Frost. With its pioneering introduction of season-long murder mysteries, innovative camerawork, music by Angelo Badalamenti, and surreal aesthetics, this tour de force — a part-neo-noir, part-supernatural horror, part-comedy — marked an unprecedented achievement in small-screen storytelling, as its unfading influence pops up on shows like Riverdale, Stranger Things, and more. Twin Peaks engrosses its viewers in the titular town, where, amidst its eccentric citizens, FBI Special Agent Dale Cooper investigates the murder of homecoming queen Laura Palmer. For more twisted mysteries, Paramount+ also offers the 2017 revival series, Twin Peaks: The Return, a cinematic experience that pushes the boundaries of TV even further. —J.M.

Where to watch Twin Peaks: Paramount+

Cast: Kyle MacLachlan, Michael Ontkean, Mädchen Amick, Dana Ashbrook, Richard Beymer, Lara Flynn Boyle, Sherilyn Fenn, Warren Frost, Peggy Lipton, Joan Chen, Everett McGill, Kimmy Robertson, Ray Wise, Piper Laurie

Related content: Twin Peaks cast: Where are they now?

YO! MTV Raps (2022)

Ser Baffo/Pramount+

Paramount+ has really leaned into society’s collective need for nostalgia, offering a suite of updated, MTV-derived programming. YO! MTV Raps is one of the latest legacy titles to resurface, joining Behind the Music, which appeared on the streamer in 2021. Back in the ’80s, Fab 5 Freddy and André “Doctor Dré” Brown were the ringleaders for the show’s rambunctious mix of live segments, interviews, and rap video programming, but while the content remains the same, this YO! MTV Raps reboot features DJs Conceited and Diamond Kuts as hosts, who welcome guests like singer Freddie Gibbs and rapper Latto. —J.L.

Where to watch YO! MTV Raps: Paramount+

Cast: DJ Conceited, DJ Diamond Kuts

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