This prolonged period of self-isolation has afforded TV addicts the opportunity to revisit some of their favorite shows — or at least those that happen to be available. Because while free and paid services offer a vast array of past and present programming, countless classic series are nowhere to be found in the streaming era.
Of the 18 top-rated scripted series since 1970, only half of them are readily available to binge in their entirety: The Cosby Show (on Amazon Prime), Cheers (on Amazon Prime, CBS All Access, Hulu and Netflix), CSI: Crime Scene Investigation (on Hulu), Dallas (free on IMDbTV), Desperate Housewives (on Hulu and IMDb TV), ER (on Hulu), NCIS (on CBS All Access), Roseanne (on Amazon Prime, not counting the recent revival season) and Seinfeld (on Hulu). Two more will be made available in the coming weeks: The Big Bang Theory and Friends (on HBO Max, which launches in May).
That leaves seven beloved programs, two of which — All In the Family (on Crackle) and Happy Days (on CBS All Access) — only have select episodes available, and five of which — Dynasty (1981), Home Improvement, Laverne & Shirley, Marcus Welby M.D. and Three’s Company — are not available at all.
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And that’s just scratching the surface. What about other beloved dramas (such as Chicago Hope, The Fugitive, Homicide: Life on the Street, Northern Exposure, Once and Again and thirtysomething) and sitcoms (Gilligan’s Island, The Honeymooners, The Love Boat, Mork & Mindy, Soap, WKRP in Cincinnati and most of the Norman Lear catalog) that didn’t necessarily hit No. 1? Or old episodes of your favorite defunct soap opera (such as All My Children or One Life to Live) or variety/sketch series (like Kids in the Hall, MADtv and SCTV)?
Also MIA are myriad cult classics (like Ed, Frank’s Place and The Days and Nights of Molly Dodd) and one-and-done treasures (like Freaks and Geeks, Undeclared and Wonderfalls), as well as multiple “Must-See TV” comedies (like Suddenly Susan and Veronica’s Closet).
The above examples represent only a small sample of TV series with zero digital footprint — and that’s where you come in! Is there a show you’ve wanted to binge in recent weeks, but simply couldn’t? Hit the comments and tell us the one — and only one — series you most wish was available to stream.