The best free TV shows on YouTube (July 2024)

Two cops stand on a beach and stare.
ITV

YouTube is one of the most popular video-sharing platforms on the internet. YouTube’s inception started as a place where users could upload their videos or watch content from their favorite music artists, comedians, and content creators. Because of its popularity, YouTube has now become a place where users can watch TV shows for free.

YouTube’s TV shows range from dramas and comedies to reality competitions and food programs. All the shows below can be streamed for free with ads, a fair tradeoff for television programs that don’t cost any money to watch. However, some shows are from creators’ YouTube channels, meaning they’re also free. Here are some of the best free TV shows to watch on YouTube.

Check out the best shows on Netflix, the best movies on Hulu, the best movies on Amazon Prime, and the best movies on Disney+. Also, check out the best free movies to watch on YouTube.

Broadchurch (2013) [New]

Broadchurch
Broadchurch
  • Metacritic: 84%

  • IMDb: 8.4/10

  • Rated: TV-MA

  • Seasons: 3

  • Genre: Crime, Drama, Mystery

  • Cast: David Tennant, Olivia Colman, Julie Hesmondhalgh

  • Created by: Chris Chibnall

Broadchurch is the best version of a murder mystery series — tense, suspenseful, and emotionally gripping. Broadchurch, a picturesque coastal town, becomes a crime scene when the body of 11-year-old Danny Latimer (Oskar McNamara) is found dead at the base of the cliffs. Detective Inspector Alec Hardy (Doctor Who‘s David Tennant), an out-of-town veteran with a complicated past, becomes the lead on the case, much to the dismay of local Detective Sergeant Ellie Miller (Wonka‘s Olivia Colman).

The two cops learn that Danny’s death occurred via strangulation, and the body’s position was altered to look like an accident. As Hardy and Miller progress with the investigation, the townspeople begin to unravel, as secrets come to the forefront of a once-peaceful town. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a better crime drama than Broadchurch.

Watch on YouTube

The Jerry Springer Show (1991) [New]

The Jerry Springer Show
The Jerry Springer Show
  • IMDb: 3.7/10

  • Rated: TV-14

  • Seasons: 23

  • Genre: Talk

  • Cast: Jerry Springer

“Jerry!, Jerry!, Jerry!” Jerry Springer became one of the most controversial talk show hosts in America with The Jerry Springer Show. Beginning in the early 1990s, the daytime talk show became known for off-color commentary on a variety of issues, from illegitimate children and sexuality to divorce and infidelity. Springer embraced the trashiness of the program, introducing each episode as the “worst TV show of all time.”

The best episodes of Jerry Springer played like a car crash — so bad that you can’t look away. Morality aside, The Jerry Springer Show could always make you laugh thanks to an eclectic group of characters at the center of each episode. The show is not for everyone, but if trash TV is your speciality, then you’ll love The Jerry Springer Show.

Watch on Netflix

American Gladiators (1988) [New]

American Gladiators
American Gladiators
  • IMDb: 6.6/10

  • Rated: TV-PG

  • Seasons: 7

  • Genre: Reality, Documentary

  • Cast: Mike Adamle

  • Created by: Johnny C. Ferraro, Dan Carr

Before the days of MTV’s The Challenge and American Ninja Warrior, the best competition reality show on television was American Gladiators. In every episode, amateur athletes (“contenders”) would square off against the “gladiators,” an A-list group of warriors with elite size, strength, and speed. Men and women would try to best each gladiator in a series of notable events, from pyramid and tug-of-war to Swingshot and Hang Tough.

The final test was The Eliminator, a treacherous obstacle course that put amateurs to the ultimate test. Only one man and one woman stand tall at the end of each episode. American Gladiators was the perfect combination of athletic competition and reality show drama.

Watch on YouTube

Hell's Kitchen (2005)

Hell's Kitchen
Hell's Kitchen
  • IMDb: 7.2/10

  • Rated: TV-14

  • Seasons: 22

  • Genre: Reality

  • Cast: Gordon Ramsay, Christina Wilson, Marino Monferrato

If you enter Hell’s Kitchen, be prepared to meet the devil, chef Gordon Ramsay. The reality series is a competition between talented chefs, with the winner becoming the head chef at one of Ramsay’s restaurants. If you thought this would be easy, think again. At the beginning of the series, Ramsay divides the chefs into two teams.

These teams then compete in a series of challenges at “Hell’s Kitchen,” one of Ramsay’s kitchens in Hollywood. The challenges range from prep work and taste tests to dish recreation and dinner services. Ramsay does not hold back, as he frequently screams and berates the contestants when they fail a task. Contestants will have to go to hell and back to win this show.

Watch on YouTube

The Good Wife (2009)

The Good Wife
The Good Wife
  • Metacritic: 81%

  • IMDb: 8.4/10

  • Rated: TV-14

  • Seasons: 7

  • Genre: Drama

  • Cast: Julianna Margulies, Christine Baranski, Matt Czuchry

  • Created by: Michelle King, Robert King

Emmy-winner Julianna Margulies headlines The Good Wife is Alicia Florrick, the wife of Peter Florrick (Chris North), the State’s Attorney of Cook County (Chris North). Alicia’s life comes crashing down after Peter heads to prison for his involvement in a sex and political corruption scandal. The embossing scandal damages the Florrick family’s reputation.

More importantly, Alicia now must find a new source of income to support her family, having left the workforce to support her husband’s political aspirations. Alicia returns to work as a junior litigator for the law firm Stern, Lockhart & Gardner. Now at the bottom of the totem pole, Alicia must learn to balance her private and professional lives to succeed at the firm.

Watch on YouTube

ReBoot (1994)

ReBoot
ReBoot
  • IMDb: 7.9/10

  • Seasons: 4

  • Genre: Animation, Action & Adventure

  • Cast: Paul Dobson, Sharon Alexander, Kathleen Barr

  • Created by: Gavin Blair, Philip Mitchell, Ian Pearson, John Grace

Created in 1994, ReBoot is the first computer-animated television series in history. Yes, even before Pixar’s Toy Story, Canadian network YTV was using computer animation to ask some probing questions about an emerging digital world. Bob is a guardian from the Super Computer.

He is tasked to defend the digital city of Mainframe from evil computer viruses that seek to control the city and infect the entire ‘net. He’s helped along the way by his friends Dot and Enzo and his dog Frisket. It pales in comparison to Toy Story, of course, but ReBoot is a fascinating look at the dawn of the computer age.

Watch on YouTube

Eighty-Sixed (2017)

Eighty-Sixed
Eighty-Sixed
  • Rated: NR

  • Seasons: 1

  • Genre: Comedy

  • Cast: Cazzie David, Owen Thiele, Kristi Lauren

  • Created by: Cazzie David, Elisa Kalani

If you’re looking for a show that will both entertain and make you cringe, Eighty-Sixed may be just the one for you. Cazzie David stars in and co-writes the show, unapologetically dubbed “Curb your Enthusiasm” for millennials. While that might be a bit of a stretch, the show unapologetically charges forward through both funny and embarrassing topics.

A series that mirrors this web series, with similar plot lines, characters, and events, is expected to debut on television. Producers will slightly adjust it for TV audiences; it will be called Half Empty, and Cazzie David will also serve as the primary writer. It’s an excellent show for viewers who don’t want to invest a lot of attention in each episode. It’s funny, subtle, and each episode will be short, which is perfect for the folks who like to binge-watch.

Watch on YouTube

Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader? (2007)

Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?
Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?
  • IMDb: 4.9/10

  • Rated: TV-PG

  • Seasons: 4

  • Genre: Family, Kids

  • Cast: Jeff Foxworthy

  • Created by: Mark Burnett, Barry Poznick, John Stevens

Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader? is a game show made for the entire family. Contestants have to answer 10 questions and one final bonus question to win. The questions are from elementary school textbooks, meaning adults should know the answers. However, you’ll be surprised how many contestants forget simple reading, writing, and arithmetic.

If a contestant needs help, they can turn to one of their classmates on the set. These classmates are brilliant elementary school kids who can provide air when a contestant uses a lifeline. If the contestant gets a question wrong or walks away from the game, they must look into the camera and declare that they are not smarter than a fifth grader.

Watch on YouTube