When shows like Orange Is the New Black and House of Cards helped Netflix garner the second-most Emmy nominations of any “network” after HBO this year it felt like an announcement that, after years of promise, digital—or computer-only—“television” shows were finally coming into their own and making a play for the prestige viewers and awards that cable had long owned. Add to that the recent announcements that E!’s Chelsea Handler and NBC’s Community are moving to online platforms this year (the former to Netflix and the latter to Yahoo), and it seems that not only are some of the best new entertainments available via streaming services, but also some of our old favorites.
That’s especially good news at this time of year, the summer doldrums, when networks mostly offer up reruns or hot-weather reality television nonsense. (Bet on Your Baby, anyone?) Perhaps the best thing about digital-only shows—the ones paid for, commissioned, or carried solely by a streaming service—is that, freed from the commercial constraints that chain network shows in a prison of “broad appeal” and target demographics, they can put front and center characters who are often marginalized on your average network program (e.g., people of color and members of the LGBT community). Instead of passing the time with Big Brother, log on to your computer, and enjoy the following 10 streaming shows.