12 amazing shows we still can’t stream in Australia and what to watch instead

Streaming platforms offer thousands of hours of television, but great shows still fall through the digital cracks. Here’s how to avoid FOMO.

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Competition on the streaming market is fierce. Whichever service you choose to subscribe to comes with an overwhelming amount of content. Even Amazon, which offers the smallest content library of the bunch, has an impressive collection of both original and licensed TV shows. Binge-watching them all would take months at least, and with new content constantly hitting streaming platforms, it’s safe to assume we won’t run out of series to obsess over anytime soon. That’s why it’s so frustrating to discover that one of your favorite shows is nowhere to be streamed.

Yet it’s understandable that streaming platforms can’t offer every show ever made. Licensing deals are complicated and expire. Netflix made a name for itself by buying basically anything networks were willing to sell to them. Eventually, said networks realised this might not be the smartest way to go, since a huge chunk of viewers prefer to stream on their own terms, without having to wait a week between episodes or sit through commercial breaks. That’s why more networks and studios are currently looking into launching their own streaming apps. It also explains why platforms like Netflix are investing heavily in producing original content.

Unfortunately, this also means that TV shows can end up suspiciously missing from all streaming services, regardless of how popular or critically acclaimed they are. If that’s the case, you have two options. One: you purchase the series from digital retailers or on DVD. Two: you wait patiently for the show to make it to a streaming service and watch something else in the meantime to overcome FOMO (fear of missing out).

If you choose the latter, we have some suggestions that will help. Here are some of the best series currently not available on streaming platforms, along with recommendations of what to watch instead.

1. New Girl


Currently airing its last season, New Girl follows a group of friends as they navigate adulthood in goofy and endearing ways. It started with a focus on Zoey Deschanel’s adorkable Jess only to evolve into a fun ensemble show with everyone getting their moment in the spotlight. Part rom-com, part hangout show, New Girl is quirky, heartfelt and deeply relatable. Too bad it’s not available to stream just yet.

Year of release: 2011
Cast: Zooey Deschanel, Jake Johnson, Max Greenfield, Hannah Simone

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How I Met Your Mother


Despite ending with a polarising finale a few years ago, the impact of How I Met Your Mother on pop culture is undeniable. Thanks to a powerful ensemble cast and smart storytelling, the series is all about how you have to go over a few bumps to become the person you need to be when meeting the love of your life. With a nice balance of silliness and emotion, HIMYM remains one of the best comedies of its era, with all its iconic slap bets, Robin Sparkles performances and two-minute dates.
Year of release: 2005
Cast: Neil Patrick Harris, Josh Radnor, Cobie Smulders, Alyson Hannigan

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2. The Simpsons


If you haven’t lived under a rock for the last 20-plus years you’re likely familiar with both the long-running animated series and the fact that it’s not available to stream Down Under (but might be soon?). The Simpsons follows Homer and his dysfunctional family, as well as a wide array of supporting characters. It’s iconic, it’s fun, it’s bonkers. Too bad we have to rely on TV listings to get our fix.
Year of release: 1989
Cast: Dan Castellaneta, Nancy Cartwright, Julie Kavner, Yeardley Smith

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Bob’s Burgers


Bob Belcher runs a restaurant with help from his loving wife and their three children, despite the fact that he is constantly in danger of going out of business. Mostly hilarious, Bob’s Burgers is a strange and sweet show, with a big focus on characters. Alternatively, maybe Family Guy is more up your alley?
Year of release: 2011
Cast: H. Jon Benjamin, John Roberts, Kristen Schaal, Dan Mintz

3. Portlandia


This absurdist series pokes fun at Portland and its eccentric, laid-back inhabitants. The show, starring comedic duo Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein, has never been hugely successful but managed to gather a loyal cult following during its eight-season run. It portrays hipster culture through well-crafted comedy sketches, continually challenging and surprising fans with its playful nature. It’s a tad niche, sure, but that doesn’t make it any less fun.
Year of release: 2011
Cast: Fred Armisen, Carrie Brownstein, Jonathan Krisel, Kyle MacLachlan

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Parks and Recreation


Another show with a (larger) cult following, Parks and Recreation is both heartfelt and hilarious. With a brilliant ensemble cast, the series follows a group of employees from the Parks and Recreation Department of fictional Pawnee, Indiana. It’s a mockumentary, so expect a lot of dry humour and awkwardness, all part of the show’s charm. Stream it on Stan. Or if sketch comedy is more your thing, try Inside Amy Schumer, available on both Stan and Foxtel Now.
Year of release: 2009
Cast: Amy Poehler, Chris Pratt, Aubrey Plaza, Nick Offerman

4. You’re the Worst


You’re the Worst is an anti-rom-com featuring very dysfunctional people. They’re arrogant, narcissistic, selfish and mean. Yet, despite their shortcomings, you can’t help but root for their tumultuous relationship. Funny and sharp, the series doesn’t shy away from tackling important issues like mental illness, for which it has been praised by critics and fans alike. It’s a brilliant and daring show and we’d be remiss not to recommend it as the quintessential dating comedy for the modern age. Unfortunately, you’ll have to purchase it if you want to bask in its glory.
Year of release: 2014
Cast: Aya Cash, Kether Donohue, Chris Geere, Desmin Borges

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What to watch instead:

Love


Love doesn’t quite reach the high bar You’re the Worst sets for anti-rom-coms, but it’s an honest and funny look at building a realistic relationship in today’s fast-moving world. Thanks to two charismatic leads and a solid script, the show gets better with every season, eventually making viewers fall head over heels for the protagonists, just as they come to terms with their mutual attraction.
Year of release: 2016
Cast: Gillian Jacobs, Paul Rust, Claudia O'Doherty, Briga Heelan

5. Freaks and Geeks


Freaks and Geeks is the little show that could. The teen dramedy is still talked about 18 years after its debut, and for good reason. It boasts an impressive cast and offers an honest portrayal of high school life in the 80s. Moreover, it’s touching and nostalgic, but never sappy. The series may have been unceremoniously axed after only one season, but it lives on, currently holding a 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
Year of release: 1999
Cast: James Franco, Linda Cardellini, Seth Rogen, Jason Segel

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What to watch instead:

Everything Sucks!


Another show cancelled after only one season, Everything Sucks! shares a similar premise. This time we follow a group of teenagers as they experience high school in the 90s, one growing pain at a time. The series is far from perfect, but it certainly has its moments, including a touching and well-crafted coming out arc. Stream it on Netflix. Alternatively, if dry humour and high school shenanigans are your things, you can also give Daria a try. All seasons are available on Stan.
Year of release: 2018
Cast: Peyton Kennedy, Sydney Sweeney, Elijah Stevenson, Rio Mangini

6. M*A*S*H


M*A*S*H is the kind of show that doesn’t quite work on paper. A dark comedy following the personnel at a Mobile Army Surgical Hospital during the Korean War? But thanks to a formidable cast and great writing, it became one of the highest-rated shows in US television history. Part gritty sitcom, part meditation on the futility of war, M*A*S*H never disappointed, securing a well-deserved spot on any serious “best series of all time” type of list.
Year of release: 1972
Cast: Alan Alda, Loretta Swit, Gary Burghoff, Jamie Farr

What to watch instead:

Seinfeld


Just as iconic, Seinfeld revolutionised television. It gave viewers a show about nothing, with flawed yet oddly endearing characters. Hugely popular and critically acclaimed, the sitcom stands the test of time, proving just as hilarious today.

Year of release: 1989
Cast: Jerry Seinfeld, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Jason Alexander, Michael Richards
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7. Cheers


Sometimes you just want to go where everybody knows you name. That’s the premise behind this successful sitcom following a recovering alcoholic who just happens to be a bartender, as well as his oddball customers. It remains a comedy classic that still brings on the laughs, even more than 30 years after it first premiered.

Year of release: 1982
Cast: Ted Danson, Shelley Long, Rhea Perlman, George Wendt
What to watch instead:

Frasier


A Cheers spin-off, Frasier follows the title character as he returns to Seattle, reconnects with his family, and hosts a radio show where he offers advice. Just as successful as the original, Frasier is witty and heartfelt. The best part? The series follows several broken individuals as they develop meaningful relationships over the course of eleven seasons. Stream the show on Stan.

Year of release: 1993
Cast: Kelsey Grammer, David Hyde Pierce, John Mahoney, Jane Leeves
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8. Grey’s Anatomy


Heart-wrenching deaths, memorable characters, epic romances and thoughtful social commentary – Grey’s Anatomy delivers all this and more. The series follows a group of doctors working at a Seattle hospital and chronicles both their personal and professional lives. The long-running medical drama isn’t without its fans Down Under, so you can catch it on TV. However, streaming the show from the pilot isn’t currently an option.

Year of release: 2005
Cast: Ellen Pompeo, Patrick Dempsey, Justin Chambers, Jessica Capshaw
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What to watch instead:

Scandal


Scandal has all the juicy twists and turns you’d expect from a political show, with a solid dose of melodrama. It’s created by the same people behind Grey’s Anatomy, so expect steamy hook-ups and fast-paced dialogue. Plus, it recently wrapped up its final season, so you can binge it all in one go on Foxtel Now. Alternatively, if medical dramas are more your thing, try House, M.D. It’s on Amazon.

Year of release: 2012
Cast: Kerry Washington, Tony Goldwyn, Katie Lowes, Bellamy Young
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9. Fringe


Fringe took its time to build a loyal audience. The show’s first season is a textbook procedural, with a small team investigating strange and seemingly impossible events. From season two onward, however, the series becomes bigger and better, updating its "case of the week" structure to incorporate parallel universes and larger-than-life storytelling. Both thrilling and terrifying, Fringe dazzles with intriguing twists and impressive character development. It also stars Anna Torv as Olivia Dunham, one of the most complex heroines to ever grace the small screen.

Year of release: 2008
Cast: Anna Torv, Joshua Jackson, John Noble, Jasika Nicole
What to watch instead:

The X-Files


Before we had Fringe there was The X-Files, the iconic procedural following two agents investigating unexplained things. Mulder and Scully are complex and fascinating – so much so that the characters were brought back for a revival series. Watch The X-Files episodes on Foxtel Now. Bonus: for a solid dose of parallel universe extravaganza, consider The Flash. It’s available to stream on Stan.

Year of release: 1993
Cast: Gillian Anderson, David Duchovny, Mitch Pileggi, William B. Davis
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10. It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia


Unpredictable and often ridiculous, It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia is the dark comedy you didn’t know was missing from your life. Think of it as Seinfeld on steroids. The show follows a group of friends who own a bar and get into all sorts of trouble. You might not want to be buddies with them in real life, but they’re fun to watch on TV. It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia is offensive and disturbingly funny. In other words, the perfect weekend binge, as long as you’re willing to purchase it.

Year of release: 2005
Cast: Glenn Howerton, Charlie Day, Rob McElhenney, Kaitlin Olson
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Arrested Development


The verdict is in: the Bluths are TV's best dysfunctional family. Arrested Development is absurd and hilarious, with tons of dark humour and running gags. Its ensemble cast has great chemistry, the writing is sharp, the plotlines bizarre in the best possible way.

Year of release: 2003
Cast: Jason Bateman, Will Arnett, Portia de Rossi, Michael Cera
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11. Scrubs


Scrubs offers a compelling look at what it’s like to work for a hospital, delivering a balanced mix of comedy and drama. Emotionally honest and always eager to embrace its goofy side, the show is a celebration of friendship and humanity. It makes viewers laugh hard and cry even harder, relying heavily on voiceovers and fantasy sequences. All in all, it’s the best kind of odd.

Year of release: 2001
Cast: Zach Braff, Sarah Chalke, Donald Faison, John C. McGinley
What to watch instead:

Friends


Regardless of how much time has passed since your last binge-watch, these six friends will always be there for you. The beloved sitcom is still going strong thanks to relatable characters and the undeniable chemistry between the main cast.

Year of release: 1994
Cast: Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Matthew Perry, Lisa Kudrow
  • Stream all episodes on Stan

12. 24


The premise of this action-packed show is its main selling point: each episode follows an hour of agent Jack Bauer’s efforts to save his country from foreign and domestic enemies. Smart and riveting, 24 also spoils viewers with nuanced performances and sharp dialogue. Crazy addictive, it’s not recommended for the faint of heart.

Year of release: 2001
Cast: Kiefer Sutherland, Mary Lynn Rajskub, Elisha Cuthbert, Kim Raver
What to watch instead:

Homeland


Stylish and provocative, Homeland does everything a spy thriller needs to do, including keeping viewers on the edge of their seat. It’s fast-paced and complex, offering plenty of adrenaline and a compelling main character brilliantly portrayed by Claire Danes.

Year of release: 2011
Cast: Claire Danes, Mandy Patinkin, Rupert Friend, Damian Lewis

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