Nothing good on Netflix? Try one of these free streaming TV trials
Get extended free viewing on Acorn TV, Hulu, Showtime and more.
Rick BroidaSenior Editor
Rick Broida is the author of numerous books and thousands of reviews, features and blog posts. He writes CNET's popular Cheapskate blog and co-hosts Protocol 1: A Travelers Podcast (about the TV show Travelers). He lives in Michigan, where he previously owned two escape rooms (chronicled in the ebook "I Was a Middle-Aged Zombie").
I'll be honest: Even before the coronavirus the Netflix well was running a little dry for me, especially now that I've blown through Ozark season 3. Fortunately, lots of other
have stepped up with longer free trials for people stuck at home, meaning you no longer have to try to shoehorn an entire season or series into just a week or two.
Below I've rounded up some of the best free-trial deals you can get right now. Take note that with many of them, standard rules apply:
You'll have to provide a credit card number
After the trial ends you'll start getting billed at the regular monthly rate
If you don't want to get billed, you need to cancel before the trial ends (pro tip: set up a calendar reminder the day before)
One other thing to note: Showtime, listed below, is a division of ViacomCBS, CNET's parent company.
For each service I've included my recommendations for what to binge. But I want your recommendations too, so list them in the comments!
Missing your weekly dose of Downton Abbey? Find another great British series at Acorn TV, which is home to a wealth of Australian and Canadian shows as well. The standard trial lasts just seven days, but promo code FREE30 will score you a full month.
You can continue as an Acorn subscriber for $5.99 a month, though there's a discount if you prepay annually ($60).
What to binge: A Place to Call Home, Detectorists, Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries
If memory serves, Netflix has always had a 30-day trial, so there's nothing "extended" here. (Not yet, anyway -- cough, cough, how 'bout it, Netflix?) Still, assuming you haven't already taken advantage of it, it's a free month in which to consume a pretty deep well of TV shows, movies and original content.
After the trial, subscriptions start at $8.99 a month, though you're probably going to want at least the $12.99 plan so you can enjoy high-definition streaming.
What to binge: Better Call Saul, BoJack Horseman, Stranger Things, The Crown, Tiger King
Showtime may not have the prestige of HBO, but there's plenty of good stuff to watch there -- and a full 30 days in which to watch it. For example, if you've never seen the Matt LeBlanc series Episodes, do yourself a huge favor. It's one of the most bingeable shows ever.
After the trial, a subscription would cost you $10.99 a month.
What to binge: Billions, Episodes, Escape at Dannemora, Homeland