Splitsider

Wednesday, September 8th, 2010

Where (On the Internet) To Watch Every Comedy This Season

Maybe you don't have a TV. Maybe you don't want to pay for cable, or rent a satellite dish. Maybe you don't like accommodating the odd and conflicting schedules of competing armies of shows, or maybe you just slip out of sync every once in a while. Sometimes you can't watch what you want to watch, and it would be nice to just be able to catch up online, preferably for free. Here's how to do that.

The Free Sites

Hulu

Free, ad-supported, and sanctioned by NBC, ABC and Fox, Hulu hosts a tremendous range of mainstream comedy shows. Most content is hosted within a day; some, like Fox's, is variously delayed. There's also of massive back catalog of off-the-air shows, from NewsRadio to Arrested Development, and British Sitcoms, like Peep Show and Black Books. You'll find:

-30 Rock
-The Office
-It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia
-Modern Family
-Louie
-Parks and Recreation
-Community
-The League
-How I Met Your Mother
-Glee
-The Simpsons
-Futurama
-Family Guy
-The Cleveland Show
-Saturday Night Live
-Late Night With Jimmy Fallon
-The Tonight Show with Jay Leno

ABC

ABC.com's own content generally mirrors what they allow streamed on Hulu, albeit streamed through a different player and, often, a bit more catalog depth. You'll find:

-Modern Family
-Scrubs
-Jimmy Kimmel Live!
-The Middle

NBC

NBC's website is altogether more ambitious that other networks', with a stable of online-only content to supplement its broadcast shows. As far as the latter goes, though, you'll find:

-30 Rock
-Community
-Parks and Recreation
-The Office
-Chuck
-Last Call with Carson Daly
-Late Night with Jimmy Fallon

CBS

CBS wasn't game for Hulu, and is generally fairly stingy in what it posts online, especially when it comes to sitcoms. That said, you can still (sometimes) watch full episodes of:

-The Late Show with David Letterman
-The Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson

Fox

Often posted with a long delay, Fox's full length streaming episodes include:

-Family Guy
-Glee
-The Cleveland Show

FX

Their schedule isn't sprawling, nor is their website. But the depth of available episodes is nice:

-Archer
-It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia
-The League
-Louie

Comedy Central

The Daily Show and Cobert Report, among others, were available on Hulu until recently, but Comedy Central reined in online distribution, electing to handle it (mostly) in-house. Most of the channel's shows are chopped up and hosted in small pieces (see Tosh.0, Ugly Americans), but there are small but worthwhile handful of exclusive full eps:

-The Daily Show
-The Colbert Report
-South Park

Adult Swim

A lot of Adult Swim's programming seems tailor-made for the internet, and their streaming episode selection is appropriately generous:

-Children's Hospital
-Metalocalypse
-Delocated
-Aqua Teen Hunger Force
-Superjail!
-Robot Chicken
-The Venture Bros.
-Tight Bros. (Coming soon)

HBO Go

Since this web service is only available to HBO subscribers with Verizon FIOS of Comcast internet connections, it's a stretch to call it "free". But it's a great resource, and contains nearly every show in their current and past lineups.

Showtime

It's a meager sample of free full-length episodes, but it's enough to get you started on current seasons of quasi-comedies like Weeds and Nurse Jackie.

Paid Content

iTunes

It's hard to beat iTunes' selection and ease of use, not to mention price: As of September, a large selection of their shows are available for rental for a buck, which is half the price at which they were previously sold (only ABC and Fox are doing the $0.99 rentals at the moment). The episodes also play on your iWhatevers. You'll find:

-NBC's full lineup
-ABC's full lineup
-CBS (extensive catalog)
-FX
-IFC (Kids in the Hall: Death Comes to Town; The Whitest Kids U'Know)
-Comedy Central (Daily Show/Colbert; Tosh.0; Futurama)
-Adult Swim
-HBO (Eastbound and Down; Curb Your Enthusiasm)

Amazon Unbox

Amazon's VOD service isn't compatible with as many devices as iTunes, but its catalog generally mirrors its larger counterpart. In response to iTunes' new show rental prices, Amazon lowered a bunch of their show purchase prices down to a dollar. You'll find:

-ABC
-NBC
-CBS
-Comedy Central
-Fox
-FX
-HBO

Anything missing here? (Read: There are things missing here!) Post your favorite legal streaming sites in the comments. One good resource for finding streaming TV shows online is Clicker.com, if what you're looking for isn't in the above list.

John Herrman is a lovable ginger who writes about technology at Gizmodo, amongst other places.