Ranking the Best Streaming Services for Television and Film

A couple of weeks ago, I made a decision to abandon my subscription with Apple Music and transitioned to becoming a Spotify user. Despite Spotify having a more beneficial algorithm and manageable interface, my stubbornness prevailed for far too long. I had all these playlists that I didn't want to let go of, and Apple's aesthetic was just so familiar to me. But at the end of the day, I came to the conclusion that I needed more bang for my buck.

What's interesting is that this conundrum doesn't exist for the modern-day television consumer in the same way it does for an avid music listener. There are people that pay for five or six streaming service subscriptions every month. I, myself, pay for only two or three of those subscriptions—it's so hard to keep track—but have several other ones that my friends share with me in return. However, I understand that not all of us have the financial capacity or free time to determine which streaming services we should be active subscribers.

So, in an attempt to cure the tough decisions that many households will have to make over the next year as cable becomes fossilized and streaming becomes immortalized, here is a definitive power ranking of the best streaming services for television and film.

9. Discovery+

Cost: $4.99/month

The Selling Points: HGTV and Planet Earth, I guess?

My mother recently purchased a subscription to Discovery+ in order to have unlimited access to house hunting series, tasteless cooking shows and the cheesiest, most predictable stories that modern television has to offer—Lifetime movies. She can't get enough of them, and I can't fathom why anybody would pay $5/month to even be a shareholder in this company, let alone a consumer of them.

8. Apple TV+

Cost: $4.99/month

The Selling Points: Ted Lasso, Boys State, and Beastie Boys Story

I don't know much about what Apple TV+ has to offer, so I tried doing some research on their content. As it turns out, not even Apple knows exactly what they have to offer. Obviously, there's the beloved Ted Lasso series, which I've only heard the highest of praises about; there's The Morning Show, which eighteen people really enjoyed; and then there's the Tom Hanks-deserves-a-Medal-of-Honor-vehicle, Greyhound, which I'm sure blew hundreds of dads away. Until Apple starts pumping out this Scorsese movie, I'll be observing their catalog from a distance.

7. Peacock

Cost: $4.99/month

The Selling Points: The Office, Yellowstone, A Serious Man (2009)

Is the name good? No. Was the rollout effective? Not particularly. Do they offer never-before-seen footage of America's favorite sitcom The Office? Hell yeah, baby. Aside from the mock docuseries about a struggling paper company based in Scranton, Pennsylvania, Peacock offers a ragtag group of movies that are actually quite good for a young streaming service that is behest by one of the most powerful corporate entities the universe has ever known. On the flip side, you can still find 30 Rock, Parks and Recreation, and Seinfeld on either Hulu or Netflix.

6. Prime Video

Cost: $8.99/month

The Selling Points: Fleabag, Zodiac (2007), Dr. Strangelove (1964), Chinatown (1974), Reservoir Dogs (1992), Lost in Translation (2003), Inside Llewyn Davis (2013) and The Lighthouse (2019)

Now, this is where things start to get semi-spicy on the list. Prime offers a wide range of films that span decades and genres (see above). You could go consecutive days without watching a single film that has the same tempo, director or genre, and still find yourself pleasantly surprised with how much you purely loved that movie. From Stanley Kubrick's Cold War satirical masterpiece, Dr. Strangelove, to Phoebe Waller-Bridge's critically adored television series Fleabag, Amazon offers a tasty slate of brilliant auteurs at the top of their games.

Where Amazon lacks is its interface and aesthetic quality. The scroller naturally becomes slightly bored by the curation and selections of the algorithm, asking themselves, "Why does Amazon want me to watch The Report so bad? I love me some Adam Driver, but..." until they realize that Amazon Studios has a lot of weight behind The Report. Nice try, Amazon, but that movie's boring—just like your interface.

5. Hulu

Cost: $11.99/month

The Selling Points: Boogie Nights (1997), Parasite (2019), Gone Girl (2014), Booksmart (2019), Superbad (2007), Seinfeld, 30 Rock, and The Handmaid's Tale

Hulu is so damn close to having it figured out. To have both Boogie Nights and Parasite in your Rolodex is quite the flex, but to have Seinfeld and 30 Rock, too? That's almost too much power for a service as underrated as Hulu. It should be noted that Hulu, Disney+ and ESPN+ also offer each of their services as a package for only $15/month, which is quite the bargain if you're really into The Avengers, The Handmaid's Tale and Kevin Durant's DETAIL series which he adopted from the late, great Kobe Bryant. Where Hulu is lacking is, you guessed it, their interface. It's too difficult to navigate to their classic movies selection and their related titles are often absent from the Home Screen, making it far too difficult on the user to find a new show or movie that might adhere to their particular interests.

4. Disney+