5 Best Pre-OTT Shows To Binge If You Haven’t Already Watched Them

Let’s be honest – the OTT platforms are now the rulers of the digital space. They’ve successfully chased away our quarantine blues by providing fresh content every day, offering us a plethora of movies and shows to choose from across different genres and languages.

Apart from releasing new content, they also have old shows from Star World and AXN in their kitty, rebooting several fan-favorites. If you’re feeling nostalgic and want to take a trip down memory lane, this quarantine period is the ideal time for binge-watching!

Here’s a list of 5 shows from the pre-OTT era that you can binge upon if you haven’t already watched them –

1. 21 Jump Street


Created by Patrick Hasburgh and Stephen J. Cannell, this show ran from 1987 to 1991 with 103 episodes on the Fox network. It featured an ensemble cast that included Johnny Depp, Holly Robinson, Peter DeLuise, Dustin Nguyen, Steven Williams, and Richard Grieco.

The series focused on a group of young police officers who work out of a chapel on 21st Jump Street. These officers mostly worked undercover in high schools or colleges to solve whatever crime had taken place there – their youthful appearances allowing them to pass off as teenagers. The show covered various issues like alcoholism, hate crimes, drug abuse, homophobia, AIDS, and child abuse.

A spin-off series Booker (1989-1990) was produced for the character of Dennis Booker, played by Richard Grieco; 21 Jump Street was also adapted into a movie released in 2012 starring Channing Tatum. A sequel was released in 2014 titled 22 Jump Street.

No. of seasons – 5

Where to watch – Amazon Prime Video

USP – A young Johnny Depp. Enough said! Brad Pitt also appears as a guest star in one of the episodes.

2. Full House

This American sitcom created by Jeff Franklin featured an ensemble cast consisting of John Stamos, Bob Saget, Dave Coulier, Candace Cameron, Jodie Sweetin, Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, and Lori Loughlin. It aired from 1987 to 1995, running for 192 episodes.

The story is centered on Danny Tanner (played by Saget), a widowed father who enlists the help of his best friend, Joey Gladstone (Coulier), and brother-in-law Jesse to raise his three young daughters. The men move into the Tanner household, helping out with the daily activities and chores, their bond growing more potent as a family.

A sequel series Fuller House debuted on Netflix in 2016 and ran for five seasons. It focused on D. J. Tanner – the eldest of the three girls, whose life starts to parallel her father’s as she is left widowed with young kids and enlists the help of her best friend Kimmy and sister Stephanie. The original cast members reprised their roles, except for the Olsen twins.

No. of seasons – 8

Where to watch – Netflix

USP – John Stamos as Uncle Jesse, a budding rock star. The Olsen twins are adorable too!

3. Gilmore Girls

Starring Lauren Graham and Alexis Bledel in the lead roles as Lorelai and Rory Gilmore, respectively, this show created by Amy Sherman-Palladino debuted in 2000 and went off the air in 2007. This comedy-drama series set in the fictional town of Stars Hollow follows the journey of a thirty-something single mother, Lorelai, and her teenage daughter Rory, who is a high school student at the beginning of the series, and then later attends Yale University.

The show also featured prominent supporting characters played by Mellisa McCarthy, Scott Patterson, Kelly Bishop, Jared Padalecki, Milo Ventimiglia, Chad Michael Murray, and Matt Czuchry.

Gilmore Girls was praised for its witty dialogues, cross-generational appeal, and a well-balanced mix of humor and drama, with Netflix reviving the show for a four-part miniseries in 2016, called Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life.

No. of seasons – 7, and the revival

Where to watch – Netflix

USP – Witty banter, heart-warming relationships, overall a feel-good watch.

4. The O.C.

This 2003 teen drama was one of the most popular television shows of its time, extensively referred to as a pop-cultural phenomenon that received a positive reception from critics and audiences alike. It came to an end in 2007, after 92 episodes.

The show is set in Southern California’s Orange County – after which the show is named. The O.C. follows Ryan Atwood, a troubled teen who lands in jail after being forced to steal a car by his elder brother. The D.A. Sandy Cohen gets him out of jail, offers shelters at his home, and eventually signs on as his guardian. The series centers on how Ryan navigates his life in the high-profile world of Newport Beach and the new relationships he stumbles upon.

The series touches on themes such as inter-generational conflict, class issues, anxiety, environmentalism, various types of addictions, psychological issues, sexualities, and trauma through blithe comedy and climactic drama.

No. of seasons – 4

Where to watch – Netflix

USP – Adam Brody as Seth Cohen, Ryan’s sharp-witted foster brother, is hilarious. Also, Sandy Cohen is hands down the best father character onscreen.

5. Parks and Recreation

Also known as Parks and Rec, this is an American political satire ‘mockumentary’ sitcom created by Greg Daniels and Michael Schur. The series aired on NBC from 2009 to 2015 for 125 episodes, with a special reunion episode airing on April 30, 2020. The ensemble cast features Amy Poehler, Rashida Jones, Paul Schneider, Aziz Ansari, Chris Pratt, Adam Scott, and Rob Lowe, among others.

This series received mixed reviews during its first season but went on to garner wide acclaim subsequently. It has also been often compared with another popular show, The Office. Amy Poehler plays the role of Leslie Knope, a mid-level bureaucrat in the Parks Department of a fictional town in Indiana, Pawnee.

The idea for this show was partly inspired by the portrayal of local politics on the HBO drama series The Wire and the renewed political interest following the 2008 United States presidential election.

No. of seasons – 7

Where to watch – Amazon Prime Video

USP – Cameos by real-life political figures like Joe Biden and Michelle Obama.

Bonus content – Parenthood

This American comedy-drama series developed by Jason Katims ran on the air from 2010 to 2014. Loosely based on the 1989 film of the same name, this series featured an ensemble cast that included Lauren Graham, Dax Shepherd, and Mae Whitman, among others.

The show revolves around three generations of the Braverman family – an older couple, their four children, and their families focusing on the issues of family bonding, inter-generational conflicts, infidelity, redemption, adoption, and Asperger’s.

No. of seasons – 6

Where to watch – Amazon Prime Video

USP – The music! It is also a heartbreakingly authentic portrayal of Asperger’s Syndrome and how it affects the individual and their family.

Happy binging!

Edited by Prakriti Arora

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