With the explosion of streaming services available in the last decade, it’s become harder than ever to decide which platforms would best suit you. You could go with the classic Netflix, delve into Disney’s history with Disney+, or maybe Prime Video with their exceptionally well made series and movies. In a bid to one up their competitors, each of these platforms has an expansive library of content to entice new customers and keep current subscribers. This has come at the cost of quality and quantity of certain genres that are overlooked by the big streaming names in favour of popular trends and flooding their platforms with content to the point where some don’t even know what to start watching.
Luckily, there are a few streaming platforms that offer more specific content, offering quality movies and series, both new and old, often for a cheaper price.
If you’re anything like me, than you love nothing more than a good docu-series on the natural world, science, history, or space. To quench your thirst for knowledge, Curiosity Stream has you covered. Created by the same creator as The Discovery Channel, Curiosity Stream offers thousands of titles relating to science and history, including original programs like Stephen Hawking’s Favorite Places, Lincoln’s Last Day, and coming this summer, Rescued Chimpanzees of the Congo with Jane Goodall.
Curiosity Stream is available for as little as $2.99 per month, or $19.99 per year.
Maybe you prefer the classics, watching beautiful films the likes of which don’t often come out of the small minded, marketing prioritized practise of today’s Hollywood. For those who are looking for classic films that might be harder to find than on the big three, The Criterion Channel has you covered. Considered the gold standard for film labels since the days of Laserdisc, The Criterion Channel provides patrons with a monthly rotating collection of critically acclaimed films from around the world, both new and old. The service groups together certain movies as “double features”, or entire theme months of films for all ages and interests.
The Criterion Channel costs about $10.99 per month, or $99.99 per year, with a 14-day free trial.
I’m capable of liking movies of any genre, but if you had to bend my arm and make me choose a favourite than horror is the way to go. With the rise in quality of horror movies over the last decade, it’s never been a better time to be a horror fan, which is why Shudder is such a delight. Offering classic series like Friday the 13th and off-brand cult classics, Shudder also has a wide library of original series and movies. Possibly the best being Creepshow, an anthology series continuing the Steven Kind and George A. Romero collaboration of the same name. Shudder also has exclusive streaming rights to many acclaimed classic and new releases, including the Zoom-based Host and the Indigenous-led Blood Quantium.
With a 7 day free trial, you can subscribe to Shudder for as little as $5.99 per month, or $56.99 per year.
Some streaming services have decided to offer a free viewing option, allowing visitors to pay to skip commercials, but still offering their services for free. For those of you who might have grown up watching Friday evening anime on the tv, the Retrocrush will be a tear-jerking hit of nostalgia. Offering a plethora of older anime in all genres, both in original Japanese and English dub, Crushretro is sure to bring back fond memories of childhood television or expose you too thought provoking concepts and gorgeous animation.
Crushretro is free with commercials, or $4.99 without ads.
Other free streaming services like Crackle and Tube also offer a revolving door of free movies and tv shows.
Maybe you like to go a bit more nuanced with your viewing selections. Blockbuster movies may be entertaining, but they often play it safe and often don’t have the same passion that an independent movie might have. For those who feel this way, MUBI is the choice for you. MUBI solves the problem of “endless scrolling” in a very simple way, there are only 30 films hosted on the sight at any given time. Each day a film is removed and another one is added, offering patrons a much more relaxing selection as well as driving the need to see a particular movie before it disappears.
MUBI is available for $10.99 per month or $98.55 per year.
Of course, you could always ignore my advice and go right to Youtube. Why pay for movies and tv when some of the most talented creators are readily available for free? Well what if I told you some of those creators have all their content plus exclusive videos on a separate platform. Created to get around the hectic YouTube algorithm, Nebula hosts many edutainment creators who you may have seen on YouTube, such as Linus Sebastian, Legal Eagle, and Tierzoo. By subscribing to Nebula, you support creators far more effectively than you would by watching them on YouTube.
Nebula goes for $20 per month.
Hopefully this list has given you some ideas on how you want to entertain yourselves, maybe moving the money spent on one of the big three subscription services to one of these niche ones.
If you have any streaming services that you like, don’t hesitate to share your thoughts.