Sometimes, when looking for fresh material for our Spotlight feature, or just when feeling a little nostalgic, I like to look up some old favorite shows of mine, in order to watch an episode. Unfortunately, this often leads to aggravation over either not being able to find the show on any subscription service, or not being able to find the show at all. In some cases, there aren’t even DVDs or VHS tapes available, not even in Amazon’s marketplace. As such, I have decided to make this week’s edition of Top Ten Tuesday, a list of shows that we simply cannot find streaming. Though to be clear, some of these ARE available to stream if purchased. I looked up all of these shows (and many more) on Just Watch (not a Sponsor), a great website for tracking down streaming shows. I also looked up the more obscure titles directly, on various streaming services, both subscription and purchase.
Two final notes before we get started: We are not including illegal methods, and we are only exploring options in the United States.
10. Get A Life
This over the top comedy starring, and created by, Chris Elliot (Groundhogs Day) ran for 2 seasons on Fox, beginning in 1990. The series was about Chris Peterson, a man child who never grew out of riding his childhood bike and working his job of delivering newspapers. By the second season, things got truly weird. Like Chris savoring the excretions of an Alien that he later barbecued and ate weird.
09. Boston Legal (available to buy)
William Shatter (Star Trek) and James Spader (The Blacklist) starred in this amazing legal dramedy from David E. Kelley (Picket Fences). Largely focused on the unconquerable friendship between the aging and sometimes delusional Denny Crane (Shattner) and the brilliant Alan Shore (Spader), Boston Legal routinely traversed the absurd, even, and often, breaking the fourth wall.
08. Psych (available to buy)
Another ridiculous series about a close friendship, Psych told the story of Shawn Spencer, the gifted, but immature, son of a retired Police Detective. Spencer uses his photographic memory, alongside some snooping and investigative instincts, to solve crimes as a consultant for his local Police Department. Shawn drags his friend Gus, a pharmaceuticals representative, along for the ride. Since his work would require him to get a Private Investigator’s licence, Shawn instead lies, saying that he is a Psychic. The series ran for 8 seasons on USA.
07. Picket Fences (available to buy)
Another, much older, project from David E Kelley (Boston legal), Picket Fences explored the legal system in a small and friendly town, revolving around the town’s Sheriff and his family. The series had a strong family at its center, but often explored dark and troubling subject matter. My favorite part of the series was the elderly Jewish Defense Attorney Douglas Wambaugh (as portrayed by the awesomely named late Stage Actor, and David E Kelley regular, Fyvush Finkel (Boston Public)). Picket Fences ran for 4 seasons on CBS.
06. Breaking In (available to buy)
Christian Slater (Mr. Robot), Bret Harrison (Reaper), and Odette Annable (Banshee) starred in this Fox comedy about a security company who were paid by companies to test their security by physically breaking in to their facilities and/or hacking them. Though it only ran for 2 seasons, the series was a favorite of geeks for its many geek culture references and homages. In particular, I loved seeing Smallville‘s Michael Rosenbaum suffering an allergic reaction, that later played into him, unintentionally, paying homage to the deformed Goonies character, Sloth.
05. The Adventures of Brisco County Jr.
As a huge fan of Bruce Campbell (The Evil Dead) there is no way I could overlook the complete absence of his brilliant, but short lived, 1993 series, The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr. Besides the involvement of Campbell, Brisco was notable for being created by Jeffrey Boam (Crime Story) and Calrton Cuse (LOST) who had recently worked together on Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. Brisco County Jr. followed the titular character (Campbell), a Harvard educated Lawyer in the old west, who takes on the role of a Bounty Hunter, in order to avenge the death of his father by a time-traveling Outlaw.
04. A Touch of Cloth
Fans of Black Mirror might be interested to know that Mirror Creator Charlie Brooker also made a 3 season long hilarious spoof of police procedurals starring John Hannah (Spartacus: Blood and Sand). Said fans, at least those in America, can then be outraged that the series, titled A Touch of Cloth, is not available to stream or buy by any legitimate means. Cloth is a police spoof in the tradition of Naked Gun, though with often smarter, and more densely packed, comedy. Oddly enough, Rashida Jones (Parks and Recreations), who recently wrote an episode of Black Mirror, has a remarkably similar, though sadly lesser, comedy series, Angie Tribeca, which is currently airing on TBS.
03. Space: Above and Beyond
Written by Glen Morgan and James Wong (The X Files), though sadly only lasting 1 season, Space: Above and Beyond, in 1995, was treading many of the same gritty and serious science fiction themes that the 2003 Battlestar Galactica remake later did. When somebody says they liked Battlestar Galactica, and wants another show like it to watch, Space: Above and Beyond is the first series that comes to mind. Unfortunately, I cannot recommend the series, because it is completely unavailable by any legitimate means. At least now I can also recommend SyFy’s The Expanse.
02. DuckTales (available to buy)
This 4 season animated series made by Disney in 1987, was a cornerstone of the childhoods of many 80s and 90s kids. The series featured Huey, Dewey, and Louie the triplet duck siblings as they went on adventures with their rich grand uncle Scrooge McDuck. Based largely on various Disney related comic books written and illustrated by the late, but legendary, Carl Barks, DuckTales captivated audiences with vast and spectacularly animated adventures involving world mythology, tall tales, folklore, and pure spectacular imagination. Disney is currently working on reviving the series for their Disney XD channel in 2017. Unfortunately, the original series isn’t available on any legit subscription streaming service.
Like A Touch of Cloth, Utopia is a fantastic British series that we simply have no legitimate means of watching in the United States. HBO was, at one point, working on an American remake of the series with Director David Fincher (Fight Club), but it unfortunately fell through. Utopia, not to be confused with several other projects from several other countries with the same name, is a conspiracy story about an organization trying to track down a graphic novel written by a mad man that might hold some actual clues towards something dangerous. Over the course of the series 2 seasons we learn about the organization, and their extremist plans, through the eyes of our protagonists whose lives have sadly been marred by the machinations of others. The series had an amazing visual presentation with bright and vibrant colors which was matched by a truly unique score by Cristobal Tapia de Veer (Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency).
What do you think of my list? Tell me in the comments, share your hard to find streaming picks, and stay tuned to TVEnthusiast for more coverage of all of your favorite shows.