Whether you love your nature documentaries, binging Peep Show or delving into the latest season of The Handmaid’s Tale, we all enjoy winding away a few hours on our favourite shows from time to time. But which streaming service has the best?
Using the IMDB Top 250, we looked at how many of these top shows we could watch in 7 of the top streaming services available – Netflix, Amazon Prime, Sky, NOW TV, BBC iPlayer, Britbox and All 4. It’s an impressive 250 list, with Planet Earth and Planet Earth II the highest rated followed by Band of Brothers, Breaking Bad and Chernobyl. So which services comes out the best?
Netflix is king of content with a THIRD of the top 250 including Breaking Bad and Planet Earth
Fan favourite Netflix comes out on top with a staggering 84 shows in the IMDB Top 250, and with so many of their originals making the list – including Narcos, Stranger Things, The Crown and Bojack Horseman to name but a few – it’s easy to see why. Even more remarkably, 3 of the top 5 rated shows (David Attenborough’s nature epics Planet Earth and Planet Earth II, alongside Vince Gilligan’s masterpiece Breaking Bad) were included in their already impressive roster.
Sky, Amazon and NOW TV vie for second place with Mrs Maisel, Game of Thrones et al
Following in a close contest comes both Sky and Amazon Prime, with 31 and 30 (12.4% and 12%) entries under their belt respectively. The difference comes in what type of shows tickle your fancy, with Sky and NOW TV both featuring many well-established series like The Sopranos, Game of Thrones and Twin Peaks that’ll guarantee a good watch for fans of tried and trusted television.
Those looking to soak up some newer original content should definitely go for Amazon Prime, which has managed to sneak a fair few gems of its own into the list, with the likes of This Is Us, The Marvelous Mrs Maisel, Fleabag and The Grand Tour making the cut.
BBC and All 4 are at the bottom of the pack, but are better value
Unsurprising to see the streaming side of two of Britain’s free-to-watch TV channels come out at the bottom of the pack, with BBC iPlayer’s 14 and All 4’s 12 trailing far behind the subscription-based powerhouses above them. Nonetheless, the cost-free element makes both of these options an ideal choice for those restricted in their spending. Amongst their smaller selection, customers can still watch a hefty share of British drama and comedy classics such as Peep Show, Luther, Peaky Blinders and Spaced.
Newcomer Britbox barely has more of the 250 than BBC and All 4 - despite costing £5.99
Launched in November 2019, Britbox boasts a selection of British greats from BBC, ITV and Channel 4. But with only 1 more show than iPlayer and 3 more than All 4, its £5.99 monthly price tag seems like something of a false economy.
South Park and Black Books come out as streaming champions
Both of these comedy kingpins found themselves as the most easily accessible of quality TV shows, with both titles being found on 4 of the 7 platforms respectively. It seems comedy is the common thread amongst most streaming platforms, with 9 of the 11 most frequent entries (each featuring on a minimum of 3 services each) being comedy titles.
Top 11 most common TV shows
- South Park (Netflix, Amazon, Now TV and Sky)
- Black Books (All 4, Amazon, Now TV and Sky)
- Only Fools and Horses (Netflix, Now TV, Britbox and Sky)
- Fawlty Towers (Netflix, Now TV, Britbox and Sky)
- Downton Abbey (Amazon, NOW TV, Britbox and Sky)
- QI (Netflix, Sky and BBC iPlayer)
- Top Gear (Netflix, Sky, Britbox and BBC iPlayer)
- Peep Show (All 4, Netflix and Sky)
- Spaced (All 4, Amazon and Sky)
- Futurama (Amazon, NOW TV and Sky)
- The Thick of It (BritBox, Netflix, and BBC iPlayer)
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Streaming services content from JustWatch, except for BritBox whose listings were from Radio Times.
We only included the show if it was available for no extra charge after the subscription fee. Only services with more than 5 shows in the top 150 were included.
Research done on the 11th November.