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The Best Shows To Watch On Paramount+ Once It Launches

As of March 4, 2021, there will be another big player in the "Streaming Wars," and it's coming in strong against industry heavyweights like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon. In the wake of various major media conglomerates collecting all of their brands, franchises, and networks to build programming libraries for their own streaming services, ViacomCBS has rebranded its CBS All Access platform as Paramount+. Named after the legendary Hollywood movie studio that currently exists under the ViacomCBS corporate umbrella, the new network will go head-to-head with Disney's Disney+ and Warners' HBO Max, offering customers a massive amount of content for just a few bucks a month. The very moment CBS All Access becomes Paramount+, viewers will have a wealth of material to choose from — not just movies, but shows from CBS, MTV, Nickelodeon, Comedy Central, and other entities owned and operated by Viacom — with loads more on the way.

Here are all the best shows — original content, unheralded CBS All Access holdovers, and more — that will be ready to watch on day one of the Paramount+ era.

Star Trek: Discovery

Disney controls the rights to the Star Wars franchise, but the other major space-based sci-fi household name in 20th century entertainment is the content feather in the streaming cap of ViacomCBS and Paramount+. The new streaming service is the home of Star Trek, including its slate of theatrical films, plus the classic Star Trek original TV series and 1980s reboot Star Trek: The Next Generation. Paramount+ will also host the newer entries in the Star Trek canon which debuted on precursor streamer CBS All Access.

Star Trek: Discovery premiered in 2017, and over its three critically acclaimed and Emmy Award-winning seasons has depicted the expeditions of the USS Discovery, a Starfleet ship captained by former science specialist Michael Burnham (Sonequa Martin-Green). Set about 10 years before the '60s Star Trek, Discovery is the brainchild of cult TV icon Bryan Fuller (Pushing Daisies, Dead Like Me, Hannibal) and Star Trek reboot movie screenwriter Alex Kurtzman.

Star Trek: Picard

The Star Trek televisual universe grew dramatically on CBS All Access. Not only did Star Trek: Discovery bring new attention to the franchise (dead on the small screen since the end of Enterprise in 2005), but it allowed writers and producers to expand on the show's rich and vast pre-existing mythology. Another example is the 2020 series Star Trek: Picard, in which beloved actor Patrick Stewart reprises his role as wise and just Star Trek: The Next Generation captain Jean-Luc Picard. Set after the events of 2000s Star Trek movies — in which his loyal coworker Data dies and the planet Romulus gets destroyed — a despondent Picard lives out his days in the 24th century on his vineyard until he's roused out of retirement by android Dahj, who needs his help on some brand-new epic space adventures. Co-created by Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Michael Chabon and Oscar-winning screenwriter Akiva Goldsman, Picard earned an 87 percent approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes, making it one of the most lauded sci-fi shows in recent memory. A second season of Picard is on the way.

Animated Star Trek projects

Star Trek is a big world — it's a viable universe, in fact, full of races from dozens of members of the United Federation of Planets encountered by various Starfleet ships flying through space hundreds of years into the future. And it's not all serious stuff, like the stories perpetuated by the many Star Trek movies and live-action TV series over the past six decades — there's a lot of comedy to be mined from space exploration and the clashing of cultures. Paramount+ will stream the CBS All Access series Star Trek: Lower Decks, an animated show aimed at an adult audience. While every other Star Trek series to date has centered on important Starfleet personnel making weighty decisions, Lower Decks is a workplace comedy about low-level spaceship workers — the rank-and-file, ensigns, and overlooked underlings who make space flight possible — and their day-to-day problems and squabbles.

In the summer of 2021, a few months after Paramount+ goes live, another Star Trek animated series will debut. Star Trek: Prodigy, a cartoon show for children, will be about a bridge crew made of teenage aliens, working under the command of Star Trek: Voyager captain Kathryn Janeway (played once again, but in a voice-only capacity, by Kate Mulgrew).

The Twilight Zone

First airing from 1959 to 1964, The Twilight Zone is the most enduring and famous anthology series in TV history. Created and hosted by the mysteriously aloof Rod Serling, each episode told a self-contained story of some menacing fright, and there was usually a shocking twist ending and an allegorical statement about the dark side of human nature thrown in. The Twilight Zone returned as a movie in 1983, and as new TV series in 1985, 2002, and 2019 — the latter a CBS All Access exclusive, which will also be available on Paramount+. Boosting Serling's legacy of frightening storytelling is modern-day horror master, Get Out filmmaker Jordan Peele, who developed the series and serves as the onscreen narrator. Peele also wrote a couple of episodes of the new Twilight Zone, which includes brand-new stories like "The Comedian," which earned Kumail Nanjiani an Emmy Award nomination for his portrayal of a stand-up comic who discovers that whoever or whatever he jokes about disappears from existence.

The Good Fight

The twisty legal drama The Good Wife wrapped up a heavily-watched, seven-season run on CBS in 2016, winning all kinds of awards for Julianna Margulies, who played Alicia Florrick, spouse of a disgraced state's attorney who moves on by becoming a powerful litigator in a law firm that handles delicate, high-profile cases. Christine Baranski co-starred — and racked up six Emmy nominations — as Diane Lockhart, one of the firm's partners and a brilliant and outspoken advocate for progressive political issues. A year after The Good Wife concluded, Baranski returned as Diane in the continuation and spinoff The Good Fight, a CBS All Access exclusive which will make the move to Paramount+. The series focuses on the character when, like Alicia Florrick, she faces a scandal that necessitates a change of employment. Victimized and left broke by a scam, Diane joins an elite Chicago law firm to continue fighting, well, the good fight.

The Stand

In a career full of bestsellers and important books, Stephen King's The Stand is a crowning achievement of modern, popular literature. It's also a beast, at more than 1,100 pages in its uncut version. King needed all that room to tell an epic story about the end of the world. "Captain Trips," a strain of the flu, kills more than 99 percent of the world's population, leaving the few survivors who are left to group together into camps of essentially good vs. evil. The former rallies around 108-year-old Mother Abigail in Boulder, Colorado, where they'll prepare for the ultimate battle against the bad guy contingent in Las Vegas, summoned by the devil-like Randall Flagg.

The Stand is too grand for a movie adaptation — it was made into a hit ABC miniseries in 1994 and once more in 2020 for CBS All Access (and thus Paramount+) by The Fault in Our Stars director Josh Boone. A huge, high-profile cast populates King's post-apocalyptic tale, including Whoopi Goldberg as Mother Abigail, Alexander Skarsgård as Randall Flagg, and James Marsden as the heroic Stu Redman.

Strange Angel

Strange Angel packs a lot of different shows into its two-season run, which premiered on CBS All Access and will move to the Paramount+ streaming service in the spring of 2021. It's a historical drama, but also a show about science, as well as inspirational, aspirational, and dark, delving into the life of a fringe community that purports to have a connection to unsettling supernatural forces. What makes Strange Angel even more compelling: It's largely a true story.

Jack Reynor (best known for Dollhouse and Sing Street) stars as Jack Parsons, a custodian in a 1930s Los Angeles chemical plant who dreamed of bigger things — particularly building rockets and sending them into the sky and beyond. At the time, such a notion was as much fantasy as it was a budding reality, so Parsons fueled his scientific ambitions with the magical and the mystical, embroiling himself in ritualistic sex cults and becoming a devoted adherent of noted occultist Aleister Crowley. Nick Shager of the Daily Beast called Strange Angel "an intriguing case study in ambition, experimentation, and self-actualization."

No Activity

The CBS All Access series wonder and future Paramount+ catalog entry No Activity treads familiar ground. It's a crime story about seedy characters in different levels of and on opposite sides of the illicit drug trade, and like Breaking Bad, Fargo, or Traffic, it's slowly told and involves a large cast full of familiar faces. Unlike those examples, however, No Activity is a comedy, and, what with the complexity of the subject matter, the writers and actors surprisingly and masterfully pull it off. Based on an Australian series and produced by comedy stalwarts Will Ferrell and Adam McKay, No Activity stars Tim Meadows and co-creator Patrick Brammall as two agitated and powerless police detectives; Amy Sedaris and Sunita Mani as dispatchers who don't get along; Jason Mantzoukas as an unhinged FBI agent; and Arturo Castro and Adrian Martinez as criminals trying to get a large amount of drugs into the U.S. from Mexico. Justin Burke of the Australian called No Activity the "funniest new comedy" in years.

The Real World Homecoming: New York

When CBS All Access becomes Paramount+ on March 4, 2021, one of its launch shows will be a revisitation of an older, extremely influential franchise. MTV is part of the Paramount corporate family and it became a pioneer in reality television in 1992 with the premiere of The Real World, in which "seven strangers picked to live in a loft and have their lives taped and find out what happens when people stop being polite and start getting real." While more than 20 seasons of The Real World taped in different cities aired on MTV over the decades, there was arguably never a cast more iconic than the first, and all seven will reunite for The Real World Homecoming: New York. The documentary series will feature the entire original cast — Becky, Andre, Heather B., Julie, Norman, Eric, and Kevin — and explore where their lives went, and how being one of the first reality stars affected them.

Kamp Koral

SpongeBob SquarePants is one of ViacomCBS's biggest franchises. With the animated series an immensely popular staple of Nickelodeon's lineup for more than 20 years, it's spawned three films and, as of the Paramount+ launch day in March 2021, a prequel spinoff show. In the tradition of Muppet Babies and Tiny Toon Adventures — and with a title parodying the similarly nostalgic classic The Wonder Years — comes Kamp Koral: SpongeBob's Under Years, reimagining SpongeBob and his friends and frenemies, including Patrick Star, Sandy Cheeks, and Squidward, as children, attending an underwater summer camp in a kelp forest overlooking Lake Yuckymuck. The original SpongeBob SquarePants voice cast (such as Tom Kenny, Bill Fagerbakke, and Roger Bumpass) will reprise their roles as the younger versions of the characters they've been playing for years, while Carlos Alazraqui and Kate Higgins will join them as Nobby and Narlene, two new characters who are a narwhal brother and sister. Paramount+ has already committed to 13 episodes of nautical nonsense.

Reno 911!

Inside the Paramount+ streaming service will be a comedy portal, branded under and featuring content from cable network Comedy Central. This hub will eventually host a Workaholics revival movie and a Trevor Noah-hosted spinoff of The Daily Show called The Weekly Show, but at launch it will include episodes of Reno 911!, the 2003-2009 mockumentary that spoofs real-life police officers and shows like Cops. Shot in a visceral style with handheld cameras and faux-dashboard-cam footage, Reno 911! detailed the day-to-day, woefully but hilariously ineffectual police work of the men and women of the Reno Sheriff's Department.

Not only will old installments stream at Paramount+, but a special Reno 911! event series is in production, too. The political humor-minded Reno 911! The Hunt for QAnon will debut on the service at some point in the next few years. This is something of a surprise revival, as Reno 911! was rebooted in 2020 on the ill-fated, now-shuttered Quibi service.

What's coming soon to Paramount+

Over the course of an "Investor Day" event in February 2021, ViacomCBS revealed its programming slate for Paramount+, its signature streaming service. In addition to a couple thousand movies and pre-existing shows from CBS All Access and the networks in its corporate portfolio — including Comedy Central, MTV, Nickelodeon, and Smithsonian Channel — the company announced the new series it had ordered, which would be hitting Paramount+ over the next two to three years.

Yellowstone creator Taylor Sheridan will deliver a spinoff called 6666 (along with a previously divulged prequel, Y:1883) and The Mayor of Kingstown, a drama about prison economics starring Jeremy Renner. A long-simmering, big-budget show based on the sci-fi video game franchise Halo will stream on Paramount+, as will TV shows based on classic movies like Flashdance, Fatal Attraction, and The Italian Job.

Paramount+ will also serve as the home of reboots of enduring television favorites like Behind the Music, Yo! MTV Raps, iCarly, Inside Amy Schumer, Beavis and Butt-Head, Rugrats, and Frasier, the latter of which has star Kelsey Grammar already on board.