10 TV Classics on Crackle
Free streaming service Crackle is known for its movie collection, but there are also plenty of cool-but-forgotten TV shows in the mix.
Crackle, formerly part of Sony but now owned by the Chicken Soup for the Soul media company, is one of the oldest streaming services out there—it technically launched a year before YouTube, if you can imagine that far back in time. The free on-demand streamer is known mostly as a destination for movies, but there’s also a treasure trove of obscure-but-awesome TV shows on Crackle. To the orange app!
1. Pacific Blue (1996–2000)
A cable smash for five seasons and over 100 episodes, Pacific Blue was more than just “Baywatch on bikes” . . . OK, it wasn’t, but so what? The light crime drama follows the daily lives of Santa Monica beachside bicycle cops, all of whom are as implausibly good-looking as the Baywatch crew, with splashes of humor, romance, and high-flying bike action in the mix. Killer theme song too.
2. Pan Am (2011)
When Mad Men was all the rage circa 2011, other TV networks rushed to get their own swingin’ ‘60s period shows on the air—ABC went with Pan Am. The flashy drama about the flight attendants and pilots of the Jet Age is headlined by Christina Ricci (Yellowjackets) and features future breakout stars Margot Robbie (Barbie) and David Harbour (Stranger Things). The flight lasted just 14 episodes.
3. Marry Me (2014–2015)
After his hit comedy Happy Endings (also on Crackle) concluded, creator/producer David Caspe launched the somewhat similar Marry Me in 2014. The short-lived sitcom about a long-committed couple (Happy Endings’ Casey Wilson and Ken Marino) is as fresh and funny as Caspe’s previous work, but it only lasted one season. There also are just a handful of episodes on Crackle, but they’re worth a watch.
4. Quark (1977–1978)
Quark, a gloriously stupid NBC Star Wars/Trek parody, was barely noticed in the late ‘70s but has since become a comedy-obscura favorite. (It was even referenced in Breaking Bad.) Commander Adam Quark (Richard Benjamin) thought he was destined for Captain Kirk-level stature, but he instead runs an intergalactic garbage scow with a motley crew of aliens, ‘bots, and sexy twin pilots (Betty I and Betty II).
5. The Tick (2001)
Speaking of cult comedies, there are few that loom larger—or bluer—than 2001’s The Tick, a live-action take on the ‘90s animated series. Patrick Warburton (Seinfeld) embodies the booming-voiced and dull-witted superhero as even more of a cartoon than the original, taking down increasingly silly supervillains like Destroyo, The Red Scare, and Apocalypse Cow(!). The MCU will never best The Tick.
6. Action (1999)
Action is probably the darkest and most caustically accurate satire of Hollywood ever greenlit by a studio, and it was also the first FOX series to receive a cable-level TV-MA rating. Movie producer Peter Dragon (Jay Mohr) will stop at nothing to top his last blockbuster flick, including hiring a former child star-turned-prostitute (Illeana Douglas) as his studio vice president. Action was basically BoJack Horseman 1.0.
7. Black Scorpion (2001)
Darcy Walker (Michelle Lintel) is an Angel City police officer by day; vigilante superheroine Black Scorpion by night, slugging it out with out-there baddies like (kid you not) Pollutia, Gangster Prankster, and Aerobicide. Like a Batwoman outfitted by Victoria’s Secret, Black Scorpion is a serious martial artist in a high-camp world so ridiculous that even Adam West (who has an episode cameo) could appreciate it.
8. The Net (1998)
Sandra Bullock’s early-internet thriller The Net was a hit in 1995, so Sony produced a TV series to cash in … three years later. Despite the timing, the TV version of The Net (starring Brooke Langton in Bulloch’s Angela Bennet computer hacker role) is a credible expansion of the movie, keeping Angela on the run from malevolent cyber goons for 22 episodes. It also features Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s first TV drama appearance.
9. V.I.P. (1998–2002)
General knowledge of Pamela Anderson’s acting career pretty much ends at Baywatch and Barb Wire, but her action-comedy series V.I.P. is an underrated gem. Vallery Irons (Anderson) is hired to be the face of a bodyguard agency (headed by future Breaking Bad star Bryan Cranston) while badass pros do the actual work. Anderson shines comically as part of the V.I.P. ensemble—no, really.
10. Deals From the Dark Side (2011–2012)
What if Pawn Stars had more of a creepy, Hot Topic aesthetic? That’d be Deals From the Dark Side, a single-season Syfy reality series about imposing escape artist/historian Steve Santini, his research assistant Stef Procter, and his “spiritual advisor” Biker Rob. The trio tracks down macabre artifacts like torture devices, executioner axes, and other objects of historical (or paranormal) interest. Spooky.