You came, you saw, you streamed. And when we say streamed, we’re talking just about everything there is to uncover from the major streaming platforms: Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime. Heck, maybe you even caught all of Billions on HBO Max. The Undoing, too. And yet, here you are, bored at 9 o’clock on a Tuesday night, having seemingly unturned every rock in the streaming abyss. Now what?
Now, dear readers, you pony up and turn to these 12 superb streaming platforms to enlighten, entertain, educate, and maybe even elevate you to a heightened state of wellness.
12 Best Streaming Platforms That Aren’t Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon Prime
1. If You Want to Learn Something New: MasterClass
Want to write a thriller? Mix a better cocktail? Skateboard like a pro? Be like David Sedaris? There’s a MasterClass for that, and so much more with classes from 100+ top-notch instructors including Ron Finley, James Patterson, Steve Martin, Jimmy Chin, Gordon Ramsay, Steph Curry, James Suckling, and Daniel Negreanu on their respective trades. No excuses, gents, let this be the year you make like chess grandmaster Garry Kasparov and hone those double attacks. (P.S. In addition to computers, mobile devices, and tablets, MasterClass runs on Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, and Roku devices.)
[$180/year; masterclass.com]Buy it
2. If You’re a Veteran or Have Family Who’s Served: VET Tv
Vet Tv is driven by one simple, powerful desire: To make the military community feel less alone through TV shows and movies that are heavy on the crude humor. Founded by retired Marine Captain and Wounded Warrior Donny O’Malley shortly after his friend Art Lazukin, a double amputee from the war in Afghanistan and also a fellow member of Donny’s Wounded Warrior Battalion, committed suicide. Unlike most video on-demand platforms, everything on VET Tv is done in-house, from content creation to distribution, with 21 original series and a full-length feature film available thus far. Start with Drunken Debriefs (a reminiscing show that’s exactly what it sounds like) and Checkpoint Charlie for some much-needed comedic relief. Each show concludes with a message urging viewers to reach out to someone they served with in an effort to promote social connection, a key factor in preventing veteran suicides. Perhaps jarring, but an important reminder for us all, especially during these pandemic times.
[$4.99/month or $54.99/year; veterantv.com]Buy it
3. If You’re an Anglophile: Acorn TV
Hop over the pond with this winner from AMC Networks. As North America’s largest streaming service specializing in British and international television, Acorn TV will delight you with mysteries, dramas, and comedies from Great Britain, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, Canada, and other European countries. New premieres are added weekly, but we’ve been having a ball rewatching favorites like beloved World War II-era period drama Foyle’s War and Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries. Newcomers for 2021 include nail-biting Irish thriller Bloodlands starring James Nesbitt and season three of the top-rated French drama Balthazar about a suave Paris forensic pathologist working to solve crimes in the City of Lights.
[$5.99/month or $59.99/year—watch free for 7 days; store.acorn.tv]Buy it
4. If You Really Need a Vacation: iFit
It’s been a while since we’ve explored the world in favor of spending majority of our days seated or supine. Break your lazy streak with epic workouts filmed in over 50 countries across all seven continents through iFit’s interactive, connected fitness platform that powers NordicTrack, ProForm, and Freemotion bikes, treadmills, rowers, ellipticals, and strength machines. From hiking Maccu Piccu to running the Boston marathon to hitting the red rocks of Southern Utah. Check out the newly released Aron Ralston series, eponymously named after the athlete who survived a canyoneering accident by cutting off his own arm. This streaming platform is about as close as you can get to a far-flung locale without leaving home.
Worth noting: You don’t need iFit-enabled equipment to go on your globetrotting tour—simply download the iFit app, and prop a smartphone or tablet onto your machine, then manually adjust the incline, decline, speed, and resistance to match the iFit workout. For what it’s worth, this NordicTrack Studio Cycle is well worth the splurge as the workout-from-home shuffle slogs on.
[Individual Plan, $15/month, or Family Plan with up to 5 iFit profiles, $39/month or $396/year; ifit.com]Buy it
5. If You’re the Writerly Type: Gotham Writers
Quarantine got you thinking you could be the next Jim Harrison? Hone your craft with a thought-provoking class or two from Gotham Writers Workshop, now streaming on a Zoom screen near you. Options range from memoir (try Cullen Thomas) to screenwriting, and you can also hire a one-on-one tutor, whether you simply need some proofreading on a specific project or ongoing mentorship. The NYC-based creative hub also offers free weekly “Inside Writing” tutorials to stream at your leisure on YouTube or on any major podcasting platform like Spotify.
[From $165-$500, depending on length and subject; writingclasses.com]Buy it
6. If You’d Like to Watch More Diverse Programming: ALLBLK
Savor incredible storytelling from the Black creative community with ALLBLK, which boasts an impressive mix of original series, indie films, classic Black cinema, live theater, and network television shows. Previously UMC, this digital platform from AMC Networks is streaming New Jack City, the 1991 film starring Wesley Snipes and Allen Payne all January long, which is reason alone to sign up, but there’s also must-watch independent film Blackout, original series For the Love of Jason, original miniseries Terror Lake Drive, and many other compelling options to click away from your Netflix account for a weekend (or indefinitely).
[$4.99/month or $49.99/year; allblk.tv]Buy it
7. If You Could Watch Nature and Environmental Docs Until the End of Time: Discovery+
New for January 2021, this is the platform for you if you’d rather soak up knowledge and real-life adventures than binge the latest zombie series. Discovery+ includes more than 55,000 episodes of current and classic shows from Discovery’s network portfolio, including HGTV, Food Network, TLC, ID, OWN, Magnolia Network, and most excitingly to us, Travel Channel, Discovery Channel, and Animal Planet. There’s also a plethora of content from A&E, The HISTORY Channel and Lifetime, as well as exclusive streaming access to the largest collection of natural history from the BBC. Ready to sit back and savor our pale blue dot’s wonders with Sir David Attenborough? Us too. P.S. From the 50+ original series currently available, Mysterious Planet, narrated by David Schwimmer and A Perfect Planet, a new five-part series narrated by Attenborough are well worth carving out a weekend to blaze through.
[From $4.99/ month, with an ad-free version available for $6.99/month, and Verizon also offers up to a year free depending on plans; auth.discoveryplus.com]Buy it
8. If You Like Being Scared Out of Your Wits: Shudder
Horrors and thriller enthusiasts will find no shortage of stellar options on Shudder, devoted exclusively to horror, thriller, and supernatural movies, series, and originals. Dive in to Nicolas Cage’s Mandy or Rob Zombie’s 3 From Hell. It’s high time to turn your living room into a veritable scream fest.
[$5.99/month or $56.99/year; shudder.com]Buy it
9. If Your Eyes Just Need a Break: Audible
With 600,000 titles to choose from, give your eyes the respite they need with Audible. Zone out (or fuel your next run) to audio storytelling with binge-worthy audiobooks, exclusive podcasts, and Audible Originals. Some of our current favorites are Audible Original selections from best-selling journalist Michael Pollan and Kevin Hart. New projects are on the way from Keegan-Michael Key, James Paterson, Aaron Paul, Colin Kaepernick, and Conan O’Brien’s Team Coco.
[$7.95/month for Audible Plus and $14.95/month or $149.50/year for Audible Premium Plus; audible.com]Buy it
10. If You’re a Self-Proclaimed Culture Snob: Sundance Now
Brimming with riveting dramas, thrillers, and must-watch series and originals, you’ll always be the first to know about that under-the-radar show before it blows up with a subscription to Sundance Now. Be sure to check out true-crime docuseries The Night Caller; British true-crime thriller Des, starring David Tennant; Australian drama Upright, starring Tim Minchin; and true-crime series The Preppy Murder: Death in Central Park. Then recover from all the grit with on-the-run art world drama Riviera, starring Julia Stiles, and thank us later.
[$6.99/month or $4.99/month with an annual subscription; sundancenow.com]Buy it
11. If You Basically Just Want to Go Back to School: Coursera
Missing the good ‘ol days of a college lecture hall? We are too. Coursera, a virtual learning platform, lets you embrace your intellectual curiosities with access to courses and degrees from leading universities and companies like Yale, UPenn, Google, and IBM. As of late, we’re digging The Science of Well-Being from Yale, Programming for Everybody (Getting Started with Python) from the University of Michigan, and the Science of Exercise from University of Colorado Boulder. Come nightfall, flip on Wine Tasting: Sensory Techniques for Wine Analysis from the University of California, Davis, to whet your whistle for that vineyard adventure you’ll be booking when all of this is behind us.Buy it
12. If You Want to Clear Your Head from All That TV: Alo Moves
Counteract all that Netflix-and-chill couch action with Alo Moves, a first-rate yoga, fitness, and mindfulness platform with a dizzying array of on-demand classes. We recommend HIIT classes on the fitness front, yoga nidra classes designed to enhance sleep, and calming sound baths to zen the hell out.
[$20/month or $199/year, currently on sale for $99 for first year; alomoves.com]Buy it
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