Do you know what is really missing when you give up cable? Old-school binging. You know the kind that happens on a slow Saturday morning, end of a late-night party, a sick day on the couch, or snowed in for three days. Yes, today we can binge a million things, but sometimes you don’t have the capacity to catch up on a dozen prestige series on Hulu, Amazon, and Netflix.
Sometimes you want the zen of flipping channels until you land on a silly reality TV, childhood favorites, or a terrible-but-good horror film. Tubi, a free cable alternative service, might just be the perfect find for this missing gap in life without cable.
As more and more on-demand streaming services and cable TV alternatives come up, each one has a slightly different buffet of options and services it fulfills. They come at different price points and have each negotiated their own series of partnerships with networks and distribution companies. Tubi, launched in 2014, really started growing in the last year and provides more than 12,000 movies and TV shows. All for free. Yes, free.
Tubi fills a comfort food zone of cable programming, partnering with networks like Lifetime, A&D, NBC, and CONtv to bring a bevy of options not necessarily available through other services. For each network, Tubi may not have all the shows or the latest, but they definitely acquired some popular titles. Here are a few of the finds available to watch for free through Tubi.
Free TV Shows on Tubi
A&E is one of the big basic cable channels to provide programming to Tubi, and it includes binge favorites as Hoarders, Cold Case Files, Storage Wars spin-offs in Texas and New York, and a whole slew of paranormal series and documentaries. Also, Wahlburgers, if you were wondering.
With the Lifetime channel, Tubi offers a plethora of the classic Lifetime drama films (who doesn’t occasionally have that guilty pleasure) and for hardcore fans, multiple Dance Moms spinoffs, including Abby’s Ultimate Dance Competition and Dance Moms: Miami.
Classic TV on Tubi
The networks are finally getting into the binge-mentality, offering more and more of their classic shows from the 1980s and 1990s on their own sites. Tubi partnered with NBC to get a whole slew of classic TV. Check out the Tubi category “Nostalgia TV” to rewatch such iconic NBC television as Xena: Warrior Princess, The A-Team, Punky Brewster, The Bionic Woman, and The Six Million Dollar Man. Other nostalgic finds? He-Man and the Masters of the Universe and Alf.
Free Sci-fi TV
Considering how much Paramount and CBS have been locking down control on the Star Trek franchises over the years, it’s always nice to see a few titles licensed out for streaming. A pleasant surprise on Tubi is four of the original Classic Trek movies; Tubi is actually the only place to stream for free Star Trek: The Motion Picture, as well as films II, III, and V (but IV is missing). In other science fictions, the service has the chilling 2009 remake of V starring Morena Baccarin, and the original Highlander series.
There are some serious fans of The Bachelor out there, who will be delighted to hear that you can go back and watch early seasons of series anytime you want with Tubi. One of its exclusive offerings, the service also has The Bachelorette and The Bachelor in Paradise. For cooking show fans, a couple of top finds are Gordon Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares and Hell’s Kitchen.
Free Movies on Tubi
Cult movies also abound on Tubi. In addition to the massive amount of classic B-movie horror and sci-fi flicks, there are some great cult favorites as Tank Girl, Evil Dead, and But I’m a Cheerleader (featuring Russian Doll star Natasha Lyonne), and the original pre-musical 1960s The Little Shop of Horrors—in color.
There are many search categories to choose from, including both traditional genres as well as a few quirkier filters. For a quick jump into what makes Tubi unique, try searching the “Tubi exclusive” or “Not on Netflix” tags.
What’s Not to Love
Well, there is a lot going for Tubi, but given that it is a free service, there are a few limitations. Shows do have commercials—although in most cases it’s only one or two at the beginning and end, not every break in the original program. Secondly, not every series has all of the show. Some of the nostalgic NBC shows, for example, only feature the first season or so, even if the show ran longer.
But all in all, given the service doesn’t require a monthly subscription fee, the amount of offerings is pretty impressive and quite fun to explore. Especially on your next sick day.
How to stream Tubi
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