TV Talk

All the Streaming Services and Networks Offering Free Trials – And How to Get On Board

Now's a great time to catch up with Star Trek: Picard, Homeland, The Good Fight, Ray Donovan, newcomer Most Dangerous Game.. Plus, Walking Dead finale delayed and more in the biggest TV and streaming stories of the week.

by | March 27, 2020 | Comments

Streaming services get serious about attracting viewers stuck at home, The Mandalorian season 2 casts another character, The Walking Dead finale delayed, new trailers, and more in the week’s top TV news.


TOP STORY

Star Trek: Picard, Most Dangerous GameHomeland, The Good Fight, and Ray Donovan Are Among the Free Binge-Watch Options

Liam Hemsworth in Most Dangerous Game trailer-screencap (Quibi)
(Photo by James Dimmock/CBS)

The news, particularly the proliferation of cancellations and coronavirus-sparked delays, has been bleak in TV land recently. But the networks and streaming services know viewers need the escape of good (and just as much, the sometimes deliciously bad) TV offerings to help get us through the global pandemic. And in a spot of brightness, a whole lineup of networks and streaming services are dishing up free trials that put hundreds of TV shows and movies before us for the binge-watching. Below, a list of those offers, plus a roundup of streaming services that offer free viewing options year-round:

  • CBS All AccessStar Trek: Picard star Patrick Stewart announced on Instagram that, through April 23, fans can watch CBS All Access for free, with the code GIFT. The offer, which includes both the limited-commercial and commercial-free versions of the service, allows viewers the chance to watch the first season of Picard, The Good Fight, and The Twilight Zone, as well as current CBS programming, and retro series like Beverly Hills 90210, The Brady Bunch, Cheers, Family Ties, Frasier, Happy Days, I Love Lucy, Medium, Melrose Place, The Odd Couple, Taxi, Twin Peaks, and Wings, as well as Star Trek, Deep Space Nine, Enterprise, The Next Generation, Voyager, and the animated Trek.
  • Showtime – through May 3, viewers can watch online or on the Showtime app great series like Homeland, Ray Donovan, Episodes, The Affair, Dexter, Billions, The Chi, Desus & Mero, Shameless, and Wu-Tang Clan: Of Mics and Men.
  • Starz – through the end of March, and possibly longer, a selection of Starz episodes are available to view for free at the network website, including the pilot eps of Outlander,Power, Vida, and American Gods.
  • Amazon Prime Video – even if you’re not an Amazon Prime member, you can watch select kids programming free, including Pete the Cat, If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, and Arthur.
  • Quibi – launching April 6, the “quick bites” streaming service offers 90 days of free entertainment for those who download the app and sign up before April 20. The service will it will launch with 50 shows, including Survive, Most Dangerous Game (with Liam Hemsworth, pictured above), Thanks A Million, Chrissy’s Court, Murder House Flip, Last Night’s Late Night, The Replay by ESPN, and more, featuring stars including Jennifer Lopez, Chrissy Teigen, Chance the Rapper, Sophie Turner, Lena Waithe, Nicole Richie, Christophe Waltz, and Reese Witherspoon.
  • Acorn TV – using the code FREE30, viewers can get free 30-day access for British series like Doc Martin, Midsomer Murders, Manhunt, Fisher’s Modern Murder Mysteries, and the dark Canadian comedy Slings & Arrows.
  • Sundance Now – with the code SUNDANCENOW30, you get a 30-day trial to check out series like The Little Drummer Girl, Deutschland 83, and McMafia, plus great true crime documentaries like Cold Blooded: The Clutter Family Murders, Jonestown: Terror in the Jungle, and Amanda Knox: Killing for Love.
  • Shudder – like its AMC Networks sister site Sundance Now, Shudder’s trial is free for 30 days, with the code SHUTIN. Among the gems to be found there for fans of horror binging: Greg Nicotero’s Creepshow, NOS4A2, and Lucky Man, plus movies The Hills Have Eyes, Escape From New York, and Halloween.
  • UMC – the Urban Movie Channel will give you free 30-day access, with the code UMCFREE30, to Growing Up Hip Hop, Bronx SIU, All of Us, Breaking Up Is Hard to Do, Notorious B.I.G.: Bigger Than Life, 2 Turntables and a Microphone: The Life and Death of Jam Master Jay, and I Ain’t Scared of You: A Tribute to Bernie Mac.
  • IMDB TV – all free, all the time, the TV treasures to be streamed at IMDB TV include Schitt’s Creek, The Middle, Psych, ALF, Columbo, Fringe, The Rockford Files, Bewitched, Starsky and Hutch, Heroes, Dallas, The A-Team, My So-Called Life, White Collar,Desperate Housewives, The Partridge Family, and The Incredible Hulk, as well as movies like Bull Durham, Hitch, Shrek, Blade Runner, Legally Blonde, Get Shorty, and Free Willy.
  • Tubi – TV shows and movies, free everyday, including 21 Jump Street, Dark Shadows, The Dead Zone, Celebrity Ghost Stories, Degrassi: The Next Generation, The Andy Griffith Show, 3rd Rock From the Sun, Family Affair, The Dick Van Dyke Show, The Beverly Hillbillies, The Dean Martin Celebrity Roasts, That Girl, You Bet Your Life, and The Greatest American Hero. The service also includes a whole section of live concerts and music documentaries from the likes of Nirvana, Adele, U2, Jay-Z, Lady Gaga, Led Zeppelin, Dedmau5, Katy Perry, Eminem, Justin Bieber, and Backstreet Boys.
  • Vudu – the TV and movie rental and buying site has a selection of free TV shows and movies (with ads), including Leverage, Roseanne, Blue’s Clues, Hell’s Kitchen, Highlander, Bean, and Forensic Files, and on the movie side, Happy Feet, Cocktail, the Lethal Weapon flicks, Superbad, and Dead Poet’s Society.
  • Pluto TV – live TV, The First 48, Hey Arnold!, The Lucy Show, and the original British version of Getting On are among the TV options at this free streaming site, but it’s the movie offerings that really shine, including a dozen James Bond movies.
  • Crackle – the free streaming service includes whole seasons of series like All in the Family, Barney Miller, Charlie’s Angels, The Facts of Life, Fantasy Island, Huff, I Dream of Jeannie, My Boys, the original One Day at a Time, Silver Spoons, What’s Happening!!, and Who’s the Boss?
  • Filmrise – free TV and movies, all the time. Unsolved Mysteries and Wiseguy make for great TV bingewatches, while the best movie choices include Memento, Bernie, Monster, and the Emmy-winning documentary Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief.
  • Hoopla – with access provided by local libraries (you can find out if yours provides access when you sign up), this always-free service includes ebooks, audiobooks, comics (like The Walking Dead), movies, music, and an eclectic mix of TV series, including Chappelle’s Show, SpongeBob SquarePants, Rick and Morty, The Great British Baking Show, Beavis and Butt-head, The Jim Gaffigan Show, Key & Peele, Reno 911!, and Yoga for Kids.

The Walking Dead Season 10 Finale Postponed

The Walking Dead
(Photo by Jackson Lee Davis/AMC)

It’s a good thing the penultimate episodes of The Walking Dead seasons tend to be eventful, because for this season, the 15th episode is going to be the season finale. AMC announced this week that “current events have unfortunately made it impossible to complete post-production” on episode 16 – titled “A Certain Doom.” So episode 15, “The Tower,” will wrap up season 10 on April 5, with “A Certain Doom” to be rescheduled as a special episode later in the year.

In other TWD news, AMC has postponed the premiere of the spin-off series The Walking Dead: World Beyond from April 12 to later in the year, and both TWD season 11 filming and Fear the Walking Dead season 6 filming have been delayed for at least several weeks.


New Trailers: Chris Evans Stars as Dad of a Maybe-Murderous Teen in Defending Jacob

More trailers:

  • The Most Dangerous Game, a thriller series starring Liam Hemsworth and Christoph Waltz (Quibi)
  • Mrs. America, drama about the movement to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment, starring Rose Byrne and Cate Blanchett (FX)
  • Coffee & Kareem, a buddy-cop comedy movie starring Ed Helms and Taraji P. Henson (Netflix)
  • The Willoughbys, an animated movie starring Martin Short, Will Forte, Maya Rudolph, Terry Crews, Jane Krakowski, and Ricky Gervais (Netflix)
  • Solar Opposites, an animated series created by Justin Roiland and Mike McMahan (co-creator and former head writer, respectively, of Rick and Morty)  and starring Thomas Middleditch, Mary Mack, and Sean Giambroni (Hulu)
  • #FreeRayshawn, drama starring Laurence Fishburne (Quibi)
  • Singled Out, a dating game show hosted by Keke Palmer and Joel Kim Booster (Quibi)
  • The Iliza Shlesinger Sketch Show (Netflix)
  • Vida, third and final season, starring Mishel Prada and Melissa Barrera (Starz)
  • The Great, the Catherine the Great dramedy miniseries, starring Elle Fanning and Nicholas Hoult (Hulu)
  • Never Have I Ever, coming-of-age dramedy, starring Maitreyi Ramakrishnan (Netflix)
  • Harley Quinn, season 2, starring Kaley Cuoco (DC Universe)
  • We’re Here, the reality show about a cross-country effort to produce a one-night-only drag show (HBO)

For all the latest TV and streaming trailers, subscribe to the Rotten Tomatoes TV YouTube channel.


Casting News: Michael Biehn Joins The Mandalorian for Season 2

Michael Biehn
(Photo by Phillip Chin/Getty Images)

The Terminator and Alien star Michael Biehn has joined the cast of the Disney+ Star Wars drama The Mandalorian for its second season, in which, Making Star Wars reports, he will play a bounty hunter. Season 2, which will also include new cast member Rosario Dawson, is scheduled to premiere in October.

In a Dick Wolf multi-network crossover, Chicago P.D. star Tracy Spiridakos will take her Hailey Upton from NBC to CBS (and a New York setting) for a guest appearance on Wolf’s FBI drama in the March 31 ep of FBI.


Development News: Elton John, Country Superstars Lead At-Home Concert Events on CBS, Fox

Elton John
(Photo by Steve Granitz/WireImage)

We’re going to get a peek at Elton John’s living room: the legendary pop star will host Fox Presents the iHeart Living Room Concert for America, March 29 (9 p.m.) special that will feature performances from John, in his living room, and Mariah Carey, Billie Eilish, Alicia Keys, Backstreet Boys, and Billie Joe Armstrong from their living rooms. The hour-long special will air commercial free, and is dedicated to the medical workers who are tirelessly trying to get all of us through the pandemic. Viewers will be encouraged to donate money to Feeding America and the First Responders Children’s Foundation during the telecast, which will also stream on Fox digital platforms.

CBS, meanwhile, has revealed an all-star list of performers for its previously-announced ACM Presents: Our Country concert that will air on April 5 (8 p.m.). Kelsea Ballerini, Dierks Bentley, Kane Brown, John Legend, Luke Bryan, Brandi Carlile, Eric Church, Luke Combs, Sheryl Crow, Florida Georgia Line, Lady Antebellum, Miranda Lambert, Little Big Town, Tim McGraw, Old Dominion, Brad Paisley, Darius Rucker, Thomas Rhett, Blake Shelton, Gwen Stefani, Shania Twain, Carrie Underwood, and Keith Urban will be featured in at-home performances, while Bryan, Paisley, and Rucker will perform a tribute to the late Kenny Rogers.

The aforementioned Billie Eilish and John Legend will also perform on Homefest: James Corden’s Late Late Show Special on March 30 (10 p.m.). BTS, Andrea Bocelli, David Blaine, Dua Lipa, and Will Ferrell will also be among the guests, as Corden hosts from his garage.

Corden, by the way, will be featured in the National Theatre’s streaming of the play One Man, Two Guvnors, part of the British theater’s weekly screenings of full-length plays. Corden’s performance will be streamed for seven days, beginning at 7 p.m. on March 26. (YouTube)

And more musical TV news: CBS will air Let’s Go Crazy: The Grammy Salute to Prince on April 21. Maya Rudolph hosts the tribute concert, which will feature performances by Foo Fighters, Sheila E., Beck, Common, H.E.R., John Legend, Gary Clark Jr., Earth, Wind, & Fire, Chris Martin, Morris Day and The Time, and the Revolution.

The Late Show With Stephen Colbert will be the first broadcast late-night talk show to return to a daily schedule. Colbert (who announced the return on Twitter) and his staff will be working for their own homes, and new eps resume on Monday, March 30. No word yet on the content or potential guest line-ups for the show.

John Oliver and Bill Maher are also returning with new episodes of their HBO late-night series, also both taped from their homes. Last Week Tonight with John Oliver returns on March 29, while Real Time with Bill Maher returns on April 3.

NBC’s medical drama New Amsterdam, starring Ryan Eggold, has postponed an upcoming episode which revolved around a flu pandemic in New York City. Series creator David Schulner said “the world needs a lot less fiction right now, and a lot more facts” about the episode, titled “Our Doors Are Always Open,” which was scheduled to air on April 7. The network now plans to air it next season. (Deadline)

Family Guy characters Stewie and Brian were so bored with board games they decided to record a coronavirus quarantine podcast. It’s on FG creator Seth MacFarlane’s Instagram.

Shout! Factory will release the first-ever streamed episodes of The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson on April 1. Curated from the more than 5,000 episodes Carson produced across three decades, the first batch of episodes to be released will be grouped thematically: Comic Legends of the 60s, featuring Carl Reiner, Bob Newhart and Mel Brooks; and Hollywood Icons of the 70s, featuring Burt Reynolds, Goldie Hawn and Michael Caine. Episodes featuring Jerry Seinfeld, Richard Pryor and Garry Shandling will also be available.

Eric Stonestreet and Will Forte will be the first contestants on the Jimmy Kimmel–hosted Who Wants to Be a Millionaire series of special episodes that will mark the iconic game show’s 20th anniversary. The first episode, which finds the celeb guests playing to win money for their favorite charities, airs on April 8.

AMC has greenlit the anthology series National Anthem, an eight-episode musical dramedy, the “tragically funny story of a middle class midwestern family tumbling down the ladder of American society … periodically bursting into song as they struggle to catch themselves.” The series comes from Emmy and Oscar-winning producer Mark Johnson (Breaking Bad, Better Call Saul, Rectify, Rain Man, Bugsy, The Natural).

The Ringer is launching The Wire: Way Down in the Hole, a podcast devoted to a rewatch of The Wire. Former ESPN star, and current writer for The Atlantic, Jemele Hill, will co-host the show with The Ringer’s Van Lathan. (THR)

Netflix has ordered 40 episodes of an Angry Birds animated series, which will feature tween-aged characters at summer camp. The episodes, 11 minutes long each, will premiere in 2021.

Netflix has greenlit a new series from organization whiz Marie Kondo. Sparking Joy with Marie Kondo will find the titular star and her team heading to a small town in America to help the citizens tidy up. People can nominate towns at TidyMyTown.com.

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