Looking for a quintessentially western show that isn’t necessarily, well, a western? As the weather starts to cool and the days get shorter, it feels like the perfect time to catch up on some buzzworthy fare. Ranging from heartfelt comedies to thought-provoking dramas, here are half a dozen shows to stream that open windows onto radically different, unforgettable worlds.
Jean Smart and Hannah Einbinder bring to life the dynamic duo of Deborah Vance, a legendary Las Vegas comedian quickly falling out of the spotlight, and Ava, a young, unemployed comedy writer. Their intergenerational chemistry is captivating from episode one, when Ava lands in the desert heat and proceeds to insult, and impress, her new boss.
After a year spent recovering from drug addiction, Los Angeles defense attorney Mickey Haller (Manuel Garcia-Rulfo) inherits a law practice—one that he operates from the back seat of his Lincoln. This means that most of this legal drama, adapted from the Michael Connelly series, unfolds on the road, showcasing L.A. hot spots like the Viper Room as Haller hightails it out of trouble.
The 1995 “trial of the century” was re-created in 21st-century style, and this dramatization has the Emmys to show for it. Sarah Paulson, Sterling K. Brown, and Cuba Gooding Jr. star in this 10-episode limited series that recounts the landmark Los Angeles event in gripping detail, right down to the Juice’s freeway car chase. The show is riveting for those who remember exactly where they were when the verdict was announced—and also for those born years later.
New Mexico’s stunning plains serve as the backdrop to this western drama set in 1971. Zahn McClarnon and Kiowa Gordon play police officers Joe Leaphorn and Jim Chee, unlikely partners (familiar to Tony Hillerman readers) brought together to solve crimes that occur on an outpost of the Navajo Nation where the characters come to terms with what justice means on Indigenous land.
After their senior husbands leave them for each other, hippie, Del Taco–loving Frankie (Lily Tomlin) and straitlaced Grace (Jane Fonda) end up unwilling roommates in a seaside house in San Diego’s La Jolla community. Their mismatched friendship yields a vibrator company for older women and spurs witty dialogue, in addition to sweet and weighty moments between the two acting pros, often set to the pair gazing out on the Pacific Ocean.
It’s a vibrant Los Angeles we don’t see on-screen often enough: middle-class and wealthy Black people whose experiences cannot be reduced to pain and trauma or hokey sitcom humor and platitudes. Instead, show creator (and star) Issa Rae celebrates the quotidian through the eyes of smart, complex, lovable women, while a West Coast realness plays out in conflicted dialogues between the main character (also named Issa) and her own image in the mirror.