Quarantine Viewing: Nostalgia TV and Alt Streaming Options Can Keep You Entertained!!

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The coronavirus couldn't have come at a worse time for currently airing broadcast television hoping to end their full seasons.

Heck, it's not good for upcoming series or pilots under consideration, either.

While it's possible bubble shows might get a second life so their already carved path continues and viewers can snuggle in with what's already comfortable, if production stoppage goes on for a long time, seasons might not end at all and fall TV could get delayed until January 2021.


But amidst all of the chaos, there are silver linings.

We talk about the glut of great programming all the time and how impossible it is to watch what you want. What better time to check out alternatives than when all of your time is spent indoors?

Two streaming networks that I believe are highly valuable have extended their normal seven-day free trial to 30 days. With that much time with each entity, you might discover it's an option you cannot live without.


Up first is Sundance. Yes, Sundance has a linear network that you can find on your cable or satellite lineup, but the streaming entity is far more than just a repeat of the shows they're airing there.

Sundance Now features a lot of thrilling originals to the US.

If you haven't seen Riveria starring Julia Stiles about a "trophy" wife to a wealthy tycoon, then you've been missing out. It's a thrilling and glamorous mystery filled with new and well-known talent that is beautifully filmed, to boot.

You can also find one of my favorites, A Discovery of Witches, on Sundance. And why wouldn't you be interested in a passionate love story between a born witch and a vampire? We even cover it on TV Fanatic when it's on linear TV, so you'll want to be caught up to get in on that action.

There's also the British thriller starring Jenna Coleman titled The Cry about a young couple struggling in the aftermath of their baby's disappearance.

State of the Union

A unique take on dealing with separation and divorce comes with The State of the Union starring Rosamand Pike and Chris O'Dowd taking place almost entirely inside of a pub before and after their therapy appointments.

Trust me, it's a lot more emotional and downright funny than it sounds.

Another streamer that features world-wide entertainment new to you is Acorn. They, too, have expanded their seven-day free trial to 30 days.

It's filled with British murder mysteries, crime dramas, dramedies, Canadian dramas, and Australian essentials.

Jack Taylor

Some of my faovrites include Agatha Raisin, about a public relations guru who turns into a humorous amateur sleuth upon her move to the country.

A Place to Call Home is a sprawling historical Australian soap opera that pulls you in and won't let go.

Jack Irish stars Guy Pierce as a private eye with a snarky sense of humor who gets caught up in all kinds of mayhem that also gets him charged with a murder he must solve.

Game of Thrones Iain Glen stars on at least two series including his version of a grizzled PI on Jack Taylor and as a philandering husband on Delicious (featuring some of the best cooking scenes on television!).

Jack Irish

And why would you want to miss Lucy Lawless starring in My Life Is Murder about a retired cop named Alexa Crowe who can't help but find herself pulled into crime solving again and again?

And maybe it's just me, but I don't think it is, who still finds comfort in classic television, but there are some excellent networks to revisit beloved shows that can be found on cable and satellite or even with an HD antenna.

Personally, I've fallen into the trap of StartTV that airs compelling dramas featuring female leads.

If I don't end my night with an episode of Strong Medicine, a series from the early 2000s from Whoopi Goldberg, I feel incomplete.

Strong Medicine

Starring Rosa Blasi, Patrician Richardson, Janine Turner, Brennan Elliott, Ricky Schroder, Tamera Mowry-Housley, and even a turn by Nestor Carbonell, it's a medical drama that originally aired on Lifetime.

With guest stars that include Grey's Anatomy Ellen Pompeo and Giancarlo Esposito and a whole lot more, the stories focus primarily on female medicine and social issues that put today's medical dramas to shame.

If you think something is new to the genre today, you will be knocked out when you start watching Strong Medicine.

Also on StartTV you will find Cold Case, Medium, Ghost Whisperer, The Profiler, The Division, and The Closer, as well as the female partnership to end all female partnerships, Cagney and Lacey.

Cagney and Lacey

From the glass ceiling to alcoholism to the military to rape, the storylines of Cagney and Lacey were groundbreaking and stand the test of time today.

Then there is MeTV featuring classics like M*A*S*H, The Odd Couple, Perry Mason, Columbo, Mannix, Cannon, and The Twilight Zone.

If you're a fan of sci-fi, CometTV has you covered. You can catch episodes of The Outler Limits, Babylon 5, and Stargate SG-1 as well as movies like Motel Hell and Killer Tomatoes from Outer Space. And who doesn't love making fun of B movies like they did so well on Mystery Science Theater 3000?

AntennaTV features comedies like Designing Women, Murphy Brown, Coach, Wings, My Two Dads, Silver Spoons, Three's Company, The Partridge Family, Bewitched, I Dream of Jeannie, and That Girl among others. They also air classic Johnny Carson episodes, and if you've never experienced his late night offering, it's a must.

Charlies Angels Poster

COZI has Emergency!, Highway to Heaven, Roseanne, The Nanny, Little House on the Prairie, Starsky and Hutch, Charlie's Angels, The Six Million Dollar Man, and The Bionic Woman!

Yes, COZI speaks to me on many levels!

While MeTV has some westerns like The Big Valley, Wagon Train and Gunsmoke, you can find even more on Grit, a network dedicated to the bold, brave, and legendary action heroes with shows like The Virginian and Laramie as well as movies featuring Clint Eastwood, Charlton Heston, Roy Rogers, and Randolph Scott.

If you'd prefer some more recent programming, you can tune into ION which features series such as Blue Bloods, Chicago P.D., Rookie Blue, and Law & Order: SVU, shows that you love now with a vast history at your disposal.

Rookie Blue Poster

Bounce, the first and only multi-platform entertainment network catering to African Americans features a programming mix of original series (In The Cut, Saints & Sinners) and movies, off-network series, theatrical motion pictures, specials, live sports and events and more.

On CHARGE TV, you can watch CHiPs, Walker, Texas Ranger, and La Femme Nikita (not to be confused with the later Nikita from The CW).

And if you want classic comedy, Laff has the answers.

Night Court, According to Jim, That 70's Show, Grace Under Fire, and 3rd Rock From the Sun air daily.

So, yes, it really stinks to be stuck indoors, but there are decades and decades of programming for you to peruse that you can find almost anywhere.

Whether it's new and from the US or a world-wide favorite airing abroad to classics from the past, you can engage your mind and challenge your senses.

Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer and critic for TV Fanatic. She's a member of the Critic's Choice Association, enjoys mentoring writers, conversing with cats, and passionately discussing the nuances of television and film with anyone who will listen. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.

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