5 Sources for Free Movies and TV

Free – or almost free – sources for streaming movies and TV is what I’m sharing today. These are things you can watch anywhere you can get an Internet connection without shelling out big bucks to the cable company or the phone company. The free services generally have ads, but you are bombarded with ads on the TV you pay to have piped into your home by the cable company anyway.

Vudu

Vudu home page

Vudu is not a free service, but it has some great deals. If you click on the Deals tab and go to the bottom of the page, you can find some $2 for 2 nights deals, which is not much more than renting a movie from Red Box.

TVland

TVland home page

TVland offers full episodes of its current lineup of original shows like Hot in Cleveland and Younger. TVland shares a few old episodes of shows like I Love Lucy, The Golden Girls and Roseanne. You can’t binge watch a whole series, but you can get a good laugh from somewhere on the nights when you need one. Completely free.

Shout Factory TV

Shout Factory TV home page

Shout Factory TV offers lots of horror and sci fi movies, some TV series, and the occasional really interesting collection, such as the complete collection of Werner Herzog films. The TV series are oldies such as The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis. This month they are featuring Roger’s and Hammerstein’s Cinderella. Completely free.

Internet Archive

Internet Archive home page

Internet Archive has pretty much the whole world in its hands. In the feature film archive you’ll find such diverse films as House on Haunted Hill, Charlie Chaplin and The Three Stooges films, The Birth of a Nation and more. There are over 770,000 items in the television archive alone. There’s a very handy search feature on this site. Completely free.

Crackle

Crackle home page

Crackle is worth knowing about because it has all of Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee. If you need more reason than that to go check it out, it also has original programming, movies and series such as Damages and The Shield. Completely free.

These are legitimate sites, not places sharing pirated shows. If you know other such trustworthy sources of free or almost free programming, please speak up in the comments.

Ali Wentworth image from Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee

3 Reasons Hot in Cleveland is Fabulous

Hot in Cleveland is in its 5th season on TVLand. I don’t enjoy sitcoms as much as dramas, but this one is pure delight. What makes this sitcom stand out in the crowded landscape of 30 minute comedy shows? Here are 3 good reasons.

1. The cast projects pure fun

The central cast of Hot in Cleveland
The central cast of Hot in Cleveland, Wendy Malick, Valerie Bertinelli, Jane Leeves, and Betty White.

The women who form the central cast of Hot in Cleveland are having such a romp with this show. Their enjoyment of the silly antics they are up to is infectious. It’s goofy and they know it, but they appear so delighted to be where they are, doing what they are doing that it spills out of the TV and into your living room.

Georgia Engel is around as a regular and she steals scenes with precision – and the cast loves it when she does.

2. Betty White

Betty White!

This show has Betty White.

Betty White
Betty White

There are benefits to having Betty White on your show. She’s funny. She can deliver a line like no one else. She brings all of TV history to the show with her and she’s not afraid to use it – which leads to reason number 3.

3. Fantastic guest stars

This show has Betty White. Everyone who has ever worked in TV is willing to be on a show with Betty White. On one episode you might see the entire cast from The Mary Tyler Show. Carl Reiner or Susan Lucci or Cedric the Entertainer or Pat Harrington, Jr. or Joan Rivers might show up at any moment, deliver a line or two and disappear.

When someone like Pat Harrington, Jr., who was on One Day at a Time with Valerie Bertanelli, shows up, there’s always some hilarious double take as the two look each other over.

If Carol Burnett guests, Tim Conway might come shuffling into the scene with that hilarious walk he did for years on The Carol Burnett Show. Tim Conway is willing to come to Hot in Cleveland, shuffle across the stage, say one silly thing to Carol Burnett, and be done. Name one other show that can entice actors to do something like that! You never know who will enter a scene on this show to get a well-deserved laugh.

Have some fun. Watch Hot in Cleveland.

Images from Hot in Cleveland © 2011 Viacom International Inc.

Amy Poehler and Natasha Lyonne and Old People: I’m Excited

The news is that Amy Poehler received the go ahead for a new comedy on NBC, tentatively called Old Soul. The series will star Orange is the New Black sensation Natasha Lyonne as a young woman working as an aide to a group of old people.

According to this report in Deadline,

 “This show, hopefully, will blow up some of the cliches we think about old people,” NBC chairman Bob Greenblatt said.

I don’t want this show to take Natasha Lyonne away from OITNB, because she’s wonderful there and needed there. Please let the scheduling gods be with her on this so that she can do both.

Lyonne’s droll brand of melancholy seems perfect for a story about a younger woman dealing with an opinionated bunch of wise-ass elders.

Image @Rob Kim/Getty Images North America
Image @Rob Kim/Getty Images North America

Anything Amy Poehler touches will be funny – you know that in advance. But the really important thing about this whole project to me is that I think the elders in this series will be treated with respect. I’m hoping it will be like Golden Girls or Hot in Cleveland, where elders are funny but not made fun of. For that reason alone, I’m excited about the potential of Old Soul, or whatever it ends up being called.

Amy Poehler image: Jason Merritt/WireImage