Summer vacation has finally arrived: less school work and more free time! One of my favorite ways to unwind after a long semester is getting tangled into a new television series, binge-watching an old one or rewatching some of my favorite movies.  

In our current age, the decline of cable television is quite noticeable. And the rise of streaming services does not seem to be slowing down either. Luckily for the warmth of summer, streaming services allow us to watch our favorite shows and movies on the back deck, by the pool or even at the beach. It is important, however, to decipher which streaming services deserve that monthly fee.

As a guide for all readers, I have generated a ranked list of what I believe to be the best streaming platforms available, as well as my personal favorites from their selections.

  1. HBO Max

Back in high school, my sister and I had our mother sign up for the HBO seven day free trial for one, sole reason: to watch the current season of “Euphoria”. Of course, that free trial ended up surpassing those seven days, resulting in a full subscription, but it was definitely worth it in the end—and we have certainly gotten our use out of it. 

If you are looking for a strong and enticing variety of shows and movies, HBO is the place for you. “Euphoria” still remains one of its best choices—if it ever comes out with a new season—however, the platform also holds classics, like “Game of Thrones,” dramas like “The White Lotus” and realities like “Impractical Jokers”. 

As for movies, HBO Max seems to come out with every new film to hit the scene. “The Menu” and “Elvis” are two infatuating films showcased on the platform that I became, only somewhat, obsessed with. For the longest time, I did not understand the hype around HBO Max. Now, I would consider it immoral not to recommend it to someone else.

  1. Netflix

Netflix is a classic. It was the first streaming platform I ever had, and I assume the first for most other people, too. I think it has become clear, however, that the platform does not hold the same steam and excitement that it used to. 

Still, I rank it highly because of its shows, especially its original shows. There is something so addictive about Netflix originals, whether they came out six years ago or one year ago. Foremost, “Stranger Things” is an absolute masterpiece of a television show. Each season seems to get better and better, the character relations more dynamic, and my anticipation further through the roof. Moreover, shows like “Squid Game,” “Big Mouth” and “You” either have me at the edge of my seat, dying of laughter or replaying its episodes in my head for days: with the occasional search of: “final episode explained”. 

Netflix has a strong skill set when it comes to crafting unpredictable, engaging plots, and I will forever send them their due credit. Netflix also offers more of an abundance of shows that have grabbed my attention and not let go. “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Breaking Bad,” for example, are also masterpieces of television dramas, and most likely two of my favorite shows ever. 

When it comes to movies, Netflix begins to lack. It seems like every time I search for a movie in the Netflix search bar, they do not have it. It has become disappointing, yet I doubt it will change any time soon.

  1. Disney+

Disney+ already holds a disadvantage because it is restricted to merely Disney-owned media. That being said, I have found some great and nostalgic shows and movies that keep bringing me back to it. A no-brainer, the platform’s plethora of old Disney content, such as “Good Luck Charlie” or “The Fox and the Hound,” make me feel like a kid again. There is something so refreshing about watching the content that made me laugh and cry ten years ago; I thank Disney+ for gifting me that experience. 

Its content not specifically from Disney or Disney Channel is still just as good. “Star Wars” and “Marvel” films capture a wide audience, many of them my own friends, that greatly appreciate their inclusion. Moreover, “Dance Moms” has been a favorite of mine for a long time, and “Glee” is so bizarre that it actually creates a funny and addictive series.

  1. Paramount + and Peacock

Although I do not have subscriptions to either of these streaming services, I did my research on the content they have to offer. Conclusion? I was not impressed. Paramount + has a solid selection of movies, ranging from horror movies like “Smile,” to dramas like “If I Stay” to Oscar winners, like “The Godfather.” Other than that, their selection of television shows demonstrated nothing I found interesting, and barely anything that I recognized.

Similarly, Peacock showed a lack of good movies, but some solid reality television shows, such as “Keeping Up With the Kardashians,” “Love Island” and “Top Chef.” While I love exciting and drama-filled reality shows, a successful streaming platform cannot rely on them.

Despite Hulu being one of today’s major streaming platforms, I could not place it on this list; I was disappointed not to, however, I expected more from it. I also do not have a Hulu subscription, so I conducted my own research on its content. To my dismay, I did not find many shows or movies that demanded my respect or attention. Perhaps, Hulu is not as great as society makes it out to be.

Use this information how you will, but do not waste your money on a useless streaming service. This summer, that money could be better spent on the beach, with a smoothie in hand, or towards a much-needed vacation. With the right streaming service, your summer could be spent watching “Outer Banks” at the Outer Banks. The choice is yours. 

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