Tubi is free, but that doesn't mean it sucks. Here are six series worth a stream.

click to enlarge Tubi is free, but that doesn't mean it sucks. Here are six series worth a stream.
Fastlane is a cult hit of the early 2000s.

Since Tubi is a free streaming TV service (with ads, because everything has ads anymore), you'd probably assume that it sucks. But there are plenty of gems to be found if you're willing to put in the work. None of you are (I know my slacker audience) so I've rounded up some shows worth streaming.

Fastlane (2002-03)

Slick cars, gorgeous women and an Episode 1 appearance by Limp Bizkit frontman Fred Durst — Fastlane is more early 2000s than a flaming pile of Maxim magazines in a Hot Topic. The flashy cop drama about LAPD detectives Van (Peter Facinelli) and Deaq (Bill Bellamy) working undercover and off the books for evidence warehouse operator Billie (Tiffani Thiessen) is deliriously excessive: Each episode cost nearly $3 million. Showrunner McG put every penny on the screen, and the series' mix of action, humor, and proto-hipster sleaze has made Fastlane a posthumous cult hit.

Pandemic (2007)

Thirteen years before the real thing arrived, Hallmark Channel miniseries Pandemic unleashed a mysterious virus into the world (well, mostly Los Angeles, as per Hallmark's budget). The four-part series revolves around a CDC doctor (Tiffani Thiessen, again) racing to find the cure for a deadly flu ravaging California, while the governor (Eric Roberts) and the mayor of LA (Faye Dunaway) fight over a drug lord's epidemic-related blackmail scheme — there's a lot going on here. Pandemic is best viewed as retro nostalgia and quarantine theater that makes 2020's COVID-19 response look flawless.

Archie's Weird Mysteries (1999-00)

The live-action Riverdale likely took a few cues from Archie's Weird Mysteries, a 40-episode animated series wherein the gang investigates supernatural phenomena — it's the X-Files and Scooby-Doo mashup no one asked for. Also like Riverdale, Archie becomes more addictively entertaining the longer you stick with it. Vampires, werewolves, zombies, aliens, ghosts and sea monsters all pop up, as do more offbeat threats like a monster-creating energy drink and extraterrestrial potatoes.

Casual (2015-18)

On the other side of the critical spectrum, early Hulu original Casual won raves upon arrival — it even premiered at the 2015 Toronto International Film Festival, so posh. Producer/director Jason Reitman's (Ghostbusters: Afterlife) low-key comedy about the dating misadventures of newly divorced single mom Valerie (Michaela Watkins) and her younger brother Alex (Tommy Dewey) is still as fresh and funny as it was almost a decade ago. Casual also features future breakout stars like Britt Lower (Severance), Maya Erskine (PEN15), and Alisha Boe (The Buccaneers).

The Weird Al Show (1997)

It was supposed to be the next Pee-Wee's Playhouse, but The Weird Al Show was doomed from the start as a CBS Saturday morning babysitter. Still, Al tried like hell for 13 wild episodes loaded with anarchic animation, bizarro skits and a sprawling guest list (including Patton Oswalt, Fabio, Alex Trebek, "Macho Man" Randy Savage, John Tesh and even producer Dick Clark himself). The show didn't feature Al's signature parody songs, because CBS wouldn't pay the royalties(!).

V (2009-11)

Alien spaceships appear over Earth, and their leader (Morena Baccarin) assures humankind that their intentions are benevolent. (Spoiler: They aren't.) V is a glossier remake of the 1984 miniseries that leans harder into media manipulation and population delusion. Remove the aliens, and it's a documentary about 2024 'Merica. The funniest Easter eggs of V are future Resident Alien star Alan Tudyk as a covert space invader who's remained undetected on Earth for decades and the subtle nods to then-President Barack Obama. (Remember the tan suit that destroyed the nation? How did we survive?)♦

The original version of this story implied Jason Reitman was the producer/director of Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire, but he only served as a producer on the sequel.

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Bill Frost

Bill Frost has been a journalist and TV reviewer since the 4:3-aspect-ratio ’90s. His pulse-pounding prose has been featured in The Salt Lake Tribune, The Inlander, Las Vegas Weekly, SLUG Magazine, and many other dead-tree publications. He's currently a senior writer and streaming TV reviewer for CableTV.com,...