Beyond broadcast: A guide to finding original shows

Baffled by the new shows popping up on cable networks and streaming services? Here are some of the new go-to places for acclaimed programming.

  • close
    Ellie Kemper in 'Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.'
    Eric Liebowitz/Netflix/AP
    View Caption
  • About video ads
    View Caption

As the Emmys approach, Netflix’s “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” and “House of Cards” have scored nominations in lead categories. No surprise, right? It’s easy to forget just how quickly Netflix has grown from being just a movie rental house to also producing original content since “House of Cards” debuted in 2013. Its string of hits has proved it’s a creative powerhouse – and placed it firmly on the list of go-to places for acclaimed programming. 

So how do viewers separate the good from the not-so-great when it seems as if every streaming service and cable channel is rolling out original shows? Here’s a quick overview of some of the cable and satellite networks and on-demand services that have turned out recent hits. Check them out and decide for yourself:

Amazon: Its show “Transparent,” starring Jeffrey Tambor, became a critical hit when it debuted in 2014. It’s now nominated for the prestigious Best Comedy Series Emmy Award and Tambor is nominated for Best Lead Actor in a Comedy. Amazon’s series “Bosch” and “Mozart in the Jungle” have also scored well with critics.

Recommended: The 20 best TV sitcoms of all time – readers' choice

Starz: The cable channel’s shows “Black Sails” and “Da Vinci’s Demons” weren’t popular with reviewers, but the network hit it big with “Outlander,” the Scottish historical drama that debuted in 2014. An upcoming adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s classic fantasy novel “American Gods” shows the network is investing in promising projects.

IFC: The network got the public’s attention with the TV show “Portlandia.” Its new show “Documentary Now!,” which parodies the documentary format, is receiving good reviews.

Hulu: The streaming service recently saved the well-reviewed Mindy Kaling sitcom “The Mindy Project” after Fox canceled it. The new season begins Sept. 15. Hulu has also signed on to adapt Stephen King’s popular time-travel novel “11/22/63.” 

Now your only problem is finding time to check out all this quality programming!

Make a Difference
Inspired? Here are some ways to make a difference on this issue.
FREE Newsletters
Get the Monitor stories you care about delivered to your inbox.

We want to hear, did we miss an angle we should have covered? Should we come back to this topic? Or just give us a rating for this story. We want to hear from you.