The 10 Best Musical TV Shows to Stream Right Now

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The 10 Best Musical TV Shows to Stream Right Now

While certainly not for everyone, there is an undeniable charm to a musical TV show. They almost always feature all the nonsensical bursts into song of their movie peers and the show-stopping choreography and vocals of their on-stage contemporaries, all while utilizing the medium of TV to tell more long-form stories in this beloved genre. Spanning everything from campy comedies to grounded dramas, there is truly something for everyone in these delightful musical worlds.

Featuring soundtracks that will make you belt along (or wish you could remove them from your Spotify Wrapped) and characters always worth rooting for, we have rounded up the best musical TV shows that hit all the right notes.

High School Musical: The Musical: The Series

High School the Musical: The Musical: The Series' Season 3 Finale Continues the Franchise's Meta Streak of Winking

Watch on Disney+

High School Musical: The Musical: The Series is a delight. To crib the rhythm of a waning TikTok trend: Does it flaunt the platform’s corporate reach(™)? Yes. Is it unwieldy as hell? YES. Who’s ready to crown it a self-aware heavyweight champ? Me! Is that because this Disney+ defining teen series came out of the gate so extremely self-aware that it blazes right past the meta event horizon that would incinerate all other attempts at such a vertically integrated creative experiment, rolling instead to a victorious stop in the land of what I am, of this moment, going to be calling post-cringe? Ah! (Translation: Yes.)

High School Musical: The Musical: The Series follows the fictional students of the fictional version of the real Salt Lake area high school where the real High School Musical was filmed, as they embark on staging the first production of the fictional High School Musical: The Musical at the real (that is, fictional) East High—if your brain’s not broken yet, then I suspect you’re already doubled over with how chaotically genius this is.

The corporate behemoth that Disney has become is literally the only operation in town that could produce something as vertically integrated and as richly and winkingly self-referential as HSM: TM: TS. And for all that, it’s both fun and fascinating to see the company use its new Disney+ platform to send up its own fairly conservative cable television past. —Alexis Gunderson

Julie and the Phantoms

Watch on Netflix

Between the sparkling charm exuded by newcomer Madison Reyes, the ‘90s pop-punk bro-ness of the Phantom boys backing her up, and the Descendants / High School Musical / Hocus Pocus bona fides of marquee EP/choreographer Kenny Ortega, Netflix’s half-hour musical series Julie and the Phantoms (based on the 2011 Brazilian series Julie e os Fantasmas) was always destined to be the next big family-friendly thing. Add in a pair of showrunners with decades of Nickelodeon experience, a bevy of stadium-ready pop performances, and Descendants’s own Booboo Stewart as an adorable skatebro ghost boyfriend (that Disney’s never quite gotten around to giving any of its cute and emotionally available rocker dudes), and you’ve got legit tween catnip on your hands. (That said, we, uh, definitely recommend battening down the aural hatches in preparation for the series’ fortune of future Radio Disney earworms being played and/or sung, for months on a loop. They’re all great songs! But, you know, so is Let It Go. Make of that what you will.) —Alexis Gunderson

Rap Sh!t

Issa Rae's Unapologetic Rap Sh!t Will Scratch Your Insecure Itch

Watch on Max

Issa Rae’s highly anticipated follow-up to the critically acclaimed Insecure is a story about a fledgling girl rap group in Miami. In Rap Sh!t, Shawna (Aida Osman) is resistant to falling into the same traps as her peers (namely rapping about sex, men, drugs, and money). But things aren’t taking off with her socially conscious raps, and she “sells out” by turning to her friend Mia (KaMillion) mainly because of her existing fan base from her sexual OnlyFans account. A girl group is born, much to the disappointment of Shawna’s law school boyfriend Cliff (Devon Terrell) who definitely has dreams of becoming Barack Obama.

The eight-episode Max series is a natural successor for Rae’s artistry: She created the show though she does not appear in it, but featured rapping as a cornerstone trait of her character on HBO’s Insecure. The series hits a lot of the same themes as Rae’s first series (female friendship, career fulfillment, existentialism) but relocates them into the different, vibrant locale of Miami, which is as important to the story as Los Angeles was for Insecure. The breakout here is KaMillion—a bona fide rapper in real life—as Mia, who convincingly steps into an acting role that requires depth and range. Rap Sh!t is unapologetic in what it is and who it’s for, and TV is better for it. —Radhika Menon


The 15 Best Christmas TV Episodes Streaming on Netflix

Watch on Hulu

Ryan Murphy isn’t exactly known for creating reality-based shows. So no, you didn’t go to a high school where the glee club could put together multiple Broadway-level productions complete with costumes, special effects, and elaborate sets each week. But Murphy understands teens. Glee spoke to the football jock and popular girl who always felt like they were pretending. It spoke to the gay teen who wished he could sing “Single Ladies” on the football field, and to the overachiever who would settle for nothing less than a Tony-winning career. You didn’t have a teacher like Sue Sylvester (Jane Lynch) because she would have been fired—but you definitely had a teacher who terrorized students. And if you were lucky, you had a teacher who believed in you the way Mr. Schuester (Matthew Morrison) believed in his students. The series could be maddening (you could create a whole show with the characters Glee forgot about) and the plot twists were often ridiculous, but when Glee soared you never wanted to stop believin’. —Amy Amatangelo


Girls5eva Is an Xennial Primal Scream of a Musical Comedy

Watch on Peacock

Meredith Scardino’s series, which is also executive produced by Tina Fey and Robert Carlock (her bosses from Netflix’s Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt_ focuses on the four remaining members of a one-hit wonder ‘90s girl pop group. Thrown together then by a lecherous and demoralizing manager, they had nothing in common, no autonomy over their talents or their bodies, and no idea what they were getting into. They sang songs entitled “Jailbait” and “Dream Girlfriends” (which included lyrics like “We’ve got the kind of birth control that goes in your arm. And tell me again why Tarantino’s a genius”). Now Wickie (Renée Elise Goldsberry), Dawn (Sara Bareilles), Summer (Busy Philipps), and Gloria (Paula Pell) have all but been forgotten by anyone beyond a bored Wikipedia editor—until a chance at a comeback has them taking a second look at where they’ve been and where they’re going.

Girls5eva is a cautionary tale about the era of low-rider jeans and sateen “going out tops”; about a time when young girls were supposed to giggle when their boyfriends compared them to the women in Maxim magazine and didn’t flinch if their professors offered to buy them drinks after class. But it also has a special present for the Gen Xers, late Millennials, Xennials, and anyone else who groks with its commentary on aging and the frustration and rage one can feel over being ignored and underappreciated—especially the frustrations we have with ourselves for not being “better.”—Whitney Friedlander

Daisy Jones & The Six

Prime Video's Faux-Biopic Daisy Jones & The Six Hits (Almost) All the Right Notes

Watch on Amazon Prime

Based on the novel by Taylor Jenkins Reid of the same name and brought to the small screen by co-showrunners Scott Neustadter and Will Graham, Prime Video’s Daisy Jones & The Six catalogs the cosmic collision of homegrown band The Six (which only consists of five members, it’s a thing) and magnetic songwriter Daisy Jones (Riley Keough), beginning with the end of the line—in October of 1977, Daisy Jones & The Six played a sold out Soldier Field in Chicago, only to never set foot on stage together again. Rewinding from there to The Six’s humble beginnings, the series follows frontman Billy Dunne (Sam Claflin), his wife and photographer Camila (Camila Morrone), guitarist Graham (Will Harrison), pianist Karen (Suki Waterhouse), bassist Eddie (Josh Whitehouse), and drummer Warren (Sebastion Chacon) as they follow their dreams all the way out to Los Angeles, where music producer Teddy Price (Tom Wright) links them with Daisy to create one of the most legendary bands of the ‘70s.

In a mix of documentary-style interviews and narrative dramatization, Daisy Jones & The Six follows the band as they build themselves from the ground up, only to tear themselves down piece by piece. A striking look at life in the limelight and the price of dreams and art, Daisy Jones & The Six is captivating in its central performances, both dramatic and musical. It’s impossible to avoid the sheer magnetism of this cast and their stellar fictional band, and for good reason—this wild rock ‘n’ roll rollercoaster ride lives up to its unimaginable hype. —Anna Govert

We Are Lady Parts

How Peacock's Raucous We Are Lady Parts Fights for Girls' Rights to Failure

Watch on Peacock

“Own your freakiness, before it owns you.” So rings the declaration of Muslim mother, fierce bassist, and indomitably sweet spirit Bisma (Faith Omole). While she serves it as a piece of encouragement to the perpetually nervous, stage fright-ridden, but dorkily charismatic Amina (Anjana Vasan), it could easily translate to a subheading for Peacock’s raucous musical comedy series.

Documenting the accidental (but transformational) addition of the sometimes hapless, staunchly buttoned-up microbiology PhD student Amina to an all-woman, devoutly Muslim British punk band that takes delight in shredding the ears of its disapproving audiences, creator Nida Manzoor’s series revels in the same tone of cathartic outrage as its titular band’s riot grrl, punk, and heavy metal idols. With instantly lovable characters who practically bathe in anxiety around their interpersonal relationships, played by a cast of delightfully excitable performers who thrive in the series’ melodramatic, stylized interludes, the show’s first season is a combination of loud joy, anger, and terror that is especially well-suited for an audience facing the challenges of coming into their own, or coming out themselves.

In addition to a genuinely exciting soundtrack and brilliant bits of silliness in each episode, the series also sets itself apart by making the girls’ repeated screw-ups a necessary launch pad on the road to DIY stardom. In its season finale rendition of “We Are the Champions,” there’s little doubt that no matter how often they get knocked down, the girls will keep rumbling, and continue to fine-tune their freakiness through encouragement and raw enthusiasm of their sisterhood. —Shayna Warner


Watch on Apple TV+

Schmigadoon!, Apple TV+’s first and only venture into musical television, is delightfully campy, perfectly bingeable, and filled with undeniable bops. Produced by Lorne Michaels, the series follows couple Melissa (Cecily Strong) and Josh (Keegan-Michael Key) as they stumble upon the magical land of Schmigadoon while on a hike in the woods. When they arrive in this strange musical land, they find out the only way to leave is to find true love. The only problem? Melissa and Josh thought they were already each other’s true love.

Spinning out from there is a series that features not only incredible musical numbers in every episode, but heartfelt storytelling and undeniable humor. It’s a genuine joy to watch, and while the first season features classic musical tropes that poke fun at the Brigadoon era of musicals, the second season brings everything up a notch. Now stuck in the land of Schmicago, Melissa and Josh find themselves wrapped up in various musicals from the ‘70s and ‘80s, with more substantial season-long storylines and more accessible musical moments. Joined by various theater giants (or simply iconic performers) like Kristen Chenowith, Jane Krakowski, Titus Burgess, and Aaron Tviet, Schmigadoon! is a genuine, show-stopping delight. —Anna Govert

Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist

Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist Gives Viewers Something to Sing About

Watch on Peacock

Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist is a pure delight. A show that is 1000% guaranteed to put a smile on your face, get your feet tapping and leave you humming a happy tune. I defy you to not be in a good mood after watching it. Jane Levy stars as the titular character who, after an MRI gone awry, can suddenly hear the soundtrack of people’s lives. Their innermost thoughts set to a Beatles song, a Whitney Houston ballad or a Katy Perry number. Because Zoey is privy to people’s innermost thoughts whether they are singing about sexual desire or loneliness or marital frustration, she tasks herself with solving their problems. But by adding the extra layer of full on, big musical numbers everything Zoey does seems natural. Musicals, by their very nature, require a huge willing suspension of disbelief. The show also isn’t afraid to tackle big emotional problems: from the sudden death of a parent, to a husband who doesn’t respect you, to being your true self to everyone. It’s NBC taking a risk. As far as musical TV series go, for every Glee or Crazy Ex-Girlfriend there’s a Cop Rock. For network television to be airing, promoting, financing a show like this is a sign that broadcast TV isn’t throwing in the towel to Netflix or Prime Video. NBC has come to play, thank you very much. And that’s something to sing about. —Amy Amatangelo

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend

All 39 Crazy Ex-Girlfriend Songs

Watch on Netflix

Don’t let the name keep you from tuning into this one—creator / star Rachel Bloom (who was nominated for a Golden Globe for her work on the show) addresses it before the theme song’s even over, responding to choruses of “she’s the crazy ex-girlfriend” with lines like “that’s a sexist term” and “the situation’s more nuanced than that.” And it is: Crazy Ex-Girlfriend is a clever musical-comedy (think Flight of the Conchords, if they leaned more heavily on musical theater) about Rebecca Bunch, a lawyer who turns down a partnership at her New York firm to follow her ex-boyfriend Josh to West Covina, California and try to win him back. But it’s more complicated than that: along the way Rebecca learns to address some of the neuroses she’s been carrying around since childhood and gets sidetracked (depending on how you look at it) by a sort of Sam and Diane “will they/won’t they” thing with Josh’s friend Greg. Her “crazy” is sometimes funny, sometimes sad, but always presented smartly and sensitively—never what you might expect from a show called Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. —Bonnie Stiernberg

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