7plus: What to stream for free including Patrick Melrose, Friday Night Lights and Life

Headshot of Wenlei Ma
Wenlei Ma
The Nightly
4 Min Read
Benedict Cumberbatch as Patrick Melrose
Benedict Cumberbatch as Patrick Melrose Credit: supplied/supplied

Cost of living is biting and more and more people are cancelling or pausing their subscription streaming services.

But that doesn’t mean you have to sit around bored.

There are some incredible gems on 7plus, including some forgotten series, and they’re all free.

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Benedict Cumberbatch had called Patrick Melrose one of his two bucket list roles (the other being Hamlet) and you can see why the character is catnip for a serious thespian.

The five-part series is adapted from Edward St. Aubyn’s semi-autobiographical books and the show is an intense exploration of a damaged addict who grew up with privilege and pain.

It’s not a flattering portrait of the British upper class and a cameo from Harriet Walter as a scathing Princess Margaret drives home the abuse of class systems. It’s a tour de force performance from Cumberbatch, who is utterly entrancing.

TOD TV Patrick Melrose - Benedict Cumberbatch
Patrick Melrose is a performance showcase for Benedict Cumberbatch. Credit: Supplied/Supplied


If the phrase “Clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose” triggers a flush of the warm and fuzzies, then you already know. All five seasons of Friday Night Lights is on the platform, which means you can relive the exploits of a high school football team from Dillon, West Texas over and over again.

For the not-yet-believers, the reason Friday Night Lights is so beloved is that it hits a sweet spot of small town drama with characters that deserve your investment (Coach and Mrs Coach!) and stories that traverse cultural and social issues that never feel forced.

Friday Night Lights with Kyle Chandler.
Friday Night Lights ran for five seasons. Credit: supplied

LIFE (June 12th)

Before Damian Lewis’s intense performance as the soldier-turned-POW-turned-terrorist-turned-misunderstood terrorist in Homeland, or as the arrogant but brilliant Bobby Axelrod in Billions, his first lead role in the US was in a little-seen two-season series called Life.

The show was a procedural cop show with cases of the week, but it also has the over-arching mystery surrounding Lewis’s character, Charlie Crews, who was exonerated and released after serving 12 years in prison.

He had been convicted of triple murder, which he didn’t commit, and after a $50 million compo payment and his reinstatement in the police force, he needs to discover who framed him.

LIFE -- "Merit Badge" -- Pictured: (l-r) Damian Lewis as Charlie Crews, Sarah Shahi as Dani Ree -- NBC Photo: Trae Patton
Life was Damian Lewis’s first lead role in an American series. Credit: Trae Patton/? NBC Universal, Inc.


Co-created by Shawn Ryan (The Shield, The Night Agent), The Last Resort only had one season but what a gloriously over-the-top, sometimes pulpy and generally unhinged season it was. This is truly a suspend-your-disbelief show.

The ridiculous premise involves the crew of an American nuclear submarine who are declared enemies of the state when its leaders (Andre Braugher and Scott Speedman) refuse to fire nukes at Pakistan. They then find themselves fired upon and take refuge on an island and commandeer a NATO facility while contending with trying to prove their innocence in a nefarious political conspiracy. There are assassinations, mutinies and the threat of nuclear annihilation. Also, a local drug dealer!

If you thought Designated Survivor was silly, you haven’t seen Last Resort. It’s completely bonkers in the most amazing way. And the best part is, it only lasted one season so it didn’t have time to peter out.

Last Resort starred Andre Braugher and Scott Speedman.
Last Resort starred Andre Braugher and Scott Speedman. Credit: ABC


Sure, there are loads of TV shows set in hospitals, but how many are there about doctors who fly? RFDS, as the name implies, is a drama about the Royal Flying Doctor Service, a modern update to classic Aussie series The Flying Doctors, which ran from 1986 to 1992.

It’s a solid Australian scripted drama that takes the action out of the city to showcase the stories of the bush. And it has a great cast in Justine Clarke, Rob Collins, a pre-Heartbreak High Thomas Weatherall and Stephen Peacock.

RFDS tv series on channel seven
Stephen Peacocke in RFDS. Credit: Seven/supplied


Never underestimate Kirsten Dunst’s ability to really immerse herself in a role. You totally believe she is Krystal (and yes, that’s with a K), a woman who knows how to hustle. The year is 1992 and pyramid schemes are all the rage, promising riches and upward mobility if you can just work and push hard enough.

Krystal wants a better life and she’ll do what it takes to get herself out of her low-paying job at a waterpark. When she discovers she’s in debt to the pyramid scheme her husband had been sucked into, she realises the only way to survive it is to hack the system that exploits the disadvantaged.

The show is darkly comedic and Dunst has all the snap, crackle and pop you’ve seen in some of her other best performances, including Fargo, Drop Dead Gorgeous and Bring it On.

On Becoming a God in Central Florida - Season 1 - Episode 102 -"The Gloomie-Zoomies"
Kirsten Dunst on the hustle in On Becoming a God in Central Florida. Credit: Patti Perret


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