NBC is one of the oldest networks on TV, which means Peacock, the NBCUniversal-owned streaming service, has plenty of those available for its users to start watching right away; not to mention shows currently on air and even some of its own Peacock originals.
Peacock features hundreds of titles and thousands of hours of television, as well as movies, in its library. While some seasons or entire shows require a Peacock Premium subscription, much of what’s available can be watched for free with no subscription (just some ads).
Here’s a list of some of the best shows available on Peacock right now.
After years serving as the head writer on Saturday Night Live, Tina Fey’s first project after leaving the venerable variety show saw her star as a head writer for a popular variety show. They do say write what you know.
In all seriousness, Fey’s 30 Rock was one of the high marks for NBC during its seven season run. It was weird in the best kind of way and featured fantastic turns from Fey, Alec Baldwin, Tracy Morgan, Jack McBrayer and Jane Krakowski, as well as plenty of memorable guest appearances.
All seven seasons of 30 Rock are available to stream on Peacock.
Brooklyn Nine-Nine started off on Fox, but found its way to NBC after surviving cancellation. This in turn has led the comedy series to be available to stream on Peacock.
Brooklyn Nine-Nine comes from Dan Goor and Michael Shcur (The Good Place, Parks & Rec) and is set at a police precinct in Brooklyn. That may not seem like the best place to have a comedy take place, but it works out when you have Andy Samberg, Andre Braugher, Melissa Fumero, Stephanie Beatriz, Terry Crews and Joe Lo Truglio on the case, as well as Chelsea Peretti for earlier seasons.
The show is going to wrap up with its eighth and final season this year on NBC, and viewers can watch the entire show’s run up till season eight on Peacock Premium.
Cheers, where everybody knows your name. NBC’s flagship program from the 1980s is considered one of the best sitcoms of all time and made stars out of Ted Danson, Shelley Long, Woody Harrelson, Rhea Perlman, George Wendy, John Ratzenberger, Kirstie Alley and Kelsey Grammer, whose character would get his own spinoff show in Fraiser.
The premise was pretty simple, chronicling the lives of the employees and patrons at a Boston bar, but it was the actors that made it feel like the place you’d want to be.
See what Cheers was all about with five episodes available for free on Peacock; the rest of the series requires a Peacock Premium subscription.
Downton Abbey made a splash on both ends of the Atlantic when it debuted in 2010, so much so it’s already had one movie adaptation and has another on the way for 2022.
From Julian Fellowes, Downton Abbey is the seat for the aristocratic Crawley family in the early years of the 20th century. The plot follows both the well-off members of the Crawley family, including the memorable Maggie Smith as the Dowager Countess, and the servants that also reside on the estate.
All six seasons of Downton Abbey can be streaming right now on Peacock.
Friday Night Lights
Inspired by the film Friday Night Lights, NBC’s hit drama of the same name starred Kyle Chandler as coach Eric Taylor of the Dillon Panthers, one of the best teams in the football-crazed state of Texas. His message of “Clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose” has become a rallying cry for fans of the show.
Of course there was more than football going on, as the show dealt with both the weight of expectations for coach Taylor and the athletes as well as their personal issues.
Chandler starred alongside Connie Britton, Taylor Kitsch, Jesse Plemmons, Aimee Teegarden, Adrianne Palicki and Michael B. Jordan, among others.
The entire series (five seasons) is available on Peacock.
Medical dramas are always popular on TV, and for a time TV’s top doctor was Gregory House, portrayed by Hugh Laurie. Despite his prickly demeanor, House is able to diagnose the strangest of illnesses to save his patients lives.
The cast of House included Laurie, Omar Epps, Robert Sean Leonard, Lisa Edelstein, Jesse Spencer, Jennifer Morrison, Peter Jacobson and Olivia Wilde among its longest tenured characters.
Peacock has all episodes of House available on its service, but only for Peacock Premium subscribers.
Law & Order
Was there TV before Law & Order, I honestly can’t remember. Created by Dick Wolf, Law & Order, or one of its spinoffs, has been on TV since 1990. The shows take stories from the headlines and put its ensembles on the case.
Among the actors that have been regulars on the different Law & Order shows are Sam Waterston, Jerry Orbarch, Jesse L. Martin, S. Epatha Merkerson, Mariska Hargitay, Christopher Meloni, Ice-T, Vincent D’Onofrio and more.
Eight seasons of the original Law & Order are available only for Peacock Premium subscribers. The entire runs of Law & Order: SVU and Law & Order Criminal Intent are on the free version of Peacock, and eight episodes of Law & Order: Organized Crime can be watched for free.
The crown jewel of Peacock is The Office. In case you’ve somehow missed knowing anything about this show since its premiere in 2005, it follows the employees of a paper company in Scranton, Pa., most notably their oddball boss, played by Steve Carell. Jenna Fischer, John Krasinski, Rain Wilson, Mindy Kaling, Ed Helms, Craig Robinson and Ellie Kemper are just some of the other office workers.
The Office was popular when it first aired on NBC, but its popularity has only increased with streaming, being discovered by new fans as well as being rewatched multiple times by its biggest fans.
Viewers can watch the first five seasons of The Office for free on Peacock, while the remaining four seasons require Peacock Premium.
Parks and Recreation
Done in a similar faux-documentary style like The Office, Parks & Recreation (better known simply as Parks & Rec) was also one of NBC’s most popular series when it played on TV, and fans continue to love it on streaming.
Amy Poehler stars as a local government official in the town of Pawnee, Ind., who tries to bring her optimistic outlook for making their town a better place to her colleagues who include Nick Offerman, Rashida Jones, Adam Scott, Aubrey Plaza, Rob Lowe, Aziz Ansari, Chris Pratt and more.
Parks & Rec ran for seven seasons, all of which are available on Peacock, the first two for free and the remainder on Peacock Premium.
Saturday Night Live
For 46 seasons, Saturday Night Live has been an institution, introducing viewers to new comedic talents like Dan Aykroyd, Bill Murray, Gilda Radner, Eddie Murphy, Adam Sandler, Will Ferrell, Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Kristen Wiig, Andy Samberg, Bill Hader, Kenan Thompson and Kate McKinnon.
Be it through political sketches and news parodies, classic characters like Wayne and Garth or just stuff that is plain weird, like every SNL Digital Short, Saturday Night Live has been making people laugh for nearly half a century.
Every single episode of Saturday Night Live can be watched for free on Peacock.
Saved by the Bell
Not to be confused with the Save by the Bell reboot currently on Peacock, I’m referring to the classic teen comedy from the early 90s that starred Mark-Paul Gosselaar, Mario Lopez, Tiffani Thiessen, Elizabeth Berkley, Dustin Diamond, Lark Voorhies and Dennis Haskins.
Saved by the Bell ran for five seasons, but has a legacy a lot larger than just its run thanks to syndication, a few spinoffs and an all-time great theme song. Fans would follow the group of friends from Bayside High anywhere.
The original five seasons can be watched for free on Peacock, and if you want, Saved by the Bell: College Years and the Saved by the Bell reboot are also there to check out.
This Is Us
Make sure you grab a box of tissues before you start streaming This Is Us. The drama series that chronicles the lives of the Pearson family through all of their ups and downs has been known to get the waterworks going for many viewers.
One of the most well-regarded broadcast shows in this era of TV, This Is Us stars Sterling K. Brown, Mandy Moore, Milo Ventimiglia, Chrissy Metz, Justin Hartley, Susan Kelechi Watson and Chris Sullivan.
The show is still going through its run, with season six expected sometime in 2022, but all five seasons thus far are available for free. When This Is Us does return with new episodes, they will be available the day after their air for Peacock Premium subscribers.
Yellowstone airs on Paramount Network, and Paramount Plus is building the world of the show with spinoffs, but if you need to catch up with the modern day western TV series you’ll need Peacock.
Yellowstone stars Kevin Costner as the head of a ranching family in Montana who is beset by rivals trying to encroach on his land. Luke Grimes, Kelly Reilly and Wes Bentley have headlined the cast for the first three seasons of the show, all of which are available for Peacock Premium subscribers, with the pilot available for free.
Season four of Yellowstone is coming this fall, so we’ll see if/when it becomes available on Peacock.
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Michael Balderston is a DC-based entertainment and assistant managing editor for What to Watch, who has previously written about the TV and movies with TV Technology, Awards Circuit and regional publications. Spending most of his time watching new movies at the theater or classics on TCM, some of Michael's favorite movies include Casablanca, Moulin Rouge!, Silence of the Lambs, Children of Men, One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest and Star Wars. On the TV side he enjoys Only Murders in the Building, Yellowstone, The Boys, Game of Thrones and is always up for a Seinfeld rerun. Follow on Letterboxd.