Honor Betty White’s 100th Birthday with these Great Streaming Picks

Grab a hot dog and some vodka! FIELD OF STREAMS is not mourning, but celebrating, the life and career of Betty White

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Even though her passing is still fresh in many a fan’s minds, I can’t help but feel Betty White is still here. Since she left us this past New Year’s Eve, I’ve been in a sort of denial. I haven’t been able to watch any of the tributes aired in her honor and have only causally glanced at social media responses to the news of her death. Instead, I turned to some of my favorite clips of hers; her SNL monologue, her many late show interviews and of course, that hilarious viral video with Ryan Reynolds and Sandra Bullock.

All of these clips may have been in the last decade or so, but they each helped give White a renewed popularity in the digital age. But it must never be forgotten just how much of a television pioneer the actress was. The milestones were huge: The first to actress to win an Emmy, the first actress to produce her own show and one of the few who stood up against racist industry practices by refusing to get rid of a black entertainer when asked to by the sponsor (a move which led to the cancelation of her series). So prolific is White’s career, that she can even be traced back to one of the earliest television broadcasts in recorded history.

I struggle to remember which Betty White character entered my life first: the man-hungry happy homemaker Sue Ann Nivens on The Mary Tyler Moore Show or the eternally naïve Rose Nylund on The Golden Girls. Both were lessons in the skill of character crafting and the art of situation comedy with White nailing every laugh she attempted. How the actress managed to shape two such well-rounded characters and not steal the spotlight from her co-stars is a testament to her professionalism and talent. It was a talent seen from the early days of 1952s Life with Elizabeth (her first hit series) to 2010’s Hot in Cleveland (her final hit series). Through it all, the wit, timing, gratitude and joy within White remained and bounced onto the many viewers who fell in love with her.

In honor of her 100th birthday today, we’ve decided to not mourn her death, but rather celebrate her life as a television icon with some of White’s more underrated TV turns, all of which are available for your streaming pleasure.

DATE WITH THE ANGELS (Tubi, Roku Channel)

Following the success of Life with Elizabeth, White returned with this follow-up in which she starred as Vickie Angel, a California housewife with a tendency to daydream elaborate fantasies that test the patience of her husband Gus (Bill Williams). Date with the Angels is a charming piece of 50s TV fluff that still manages to work even though it was forced to lose its fantasy elements at the behest of an unamused sponsor. Without them, the show may have unavoidably slipped into the I Love Lucy mold, but still remains watchable thanks to the endless charm of its leading lady. “I can honestly say that was the only time I have ever wanted to get out of a show,” White later wrote about her reaction following the changes enforced by the sponsor. Those feelings aside, White’s ability to soldier on never give anything less than her all is what makes Date with the Angels a pleasant diversion to this day.



When Beatrice Arthur decided to leave at the end of The Golden Girls’ seventh season, the show was retooled and taken to another network as The Golden Palace. Following Dorothy’s (Arthur) departure, Rose (White), Blanche (Rue McClanahan) and Sophia (Estelle Getty) decide to sell their home and buy a beachfront hotel where they find out that they must take on staff duties as well. “It was like trying to take a leg off of a table,” White said in reference to the show’s single-season run. She’s not totally wrong. Even though she returned for a two-part guest spot, the show couldn’t overcome Arthur’s absence. Still, the laughs are there and the new characters (including Don Cheadle as the overworked manager and Cheech Marin as a sassy cook) are great. The spin-off also managed to spotlight some real issues during its brief run, such as animal cruelty and racism. If The Golden Palace doesn’t totally connect with fans as its own entity, the ladies themselves, especially White, deliver that same kind of Golden Girls laughter that endeared them to many.


LADIES MAN (Fubo, Crackle, Philo)

You’d be forgiven if you didn’t know that Alfred Molina had his own sitcom in the late 90s/early 00s. But he actually did. Molina starred as Jimmy, an average Joe who found himself constantly overwhelmed by the women in his life including his wife (Sharon Lawrence), ex-wife (Park Overall), mother-in-law (Dixie Carter), daughters (Alexa Panavega and Kaley Cuoco) and mother (White). The show is humorous and harmless enough, but it only ever really reaches its potential when White is around. As Mitzi, White has a ball as a rich grandmother with little filter who is always trading barbs with Carter’s character. In a way, Mitzi is all of the Golden Girls characters (save for Rose) wrapped up into one. As usual however, White makes the character her own and quickly becomes the show’s MVP as well probably the reason Ladies Man even lasted two seasons.



“He’ll end my career,” White said about mega-producer David E. Kelley, who by 2004 had already cast her as a foul-mouthed lady in Lake Placid and a pill pusher in Ally McBeal. But it’s Catherine Piper in The Practice that remains their best collaboration. In this three-part storyline, attorney Alan Shore (James Spader) returns to his hometown to defend his childhood friend (Patrick Dempsey), who is accused of murder. Among the many setbacks he faces is Catherine, the sweet-looking neighbor who happened to see the accused leaving the victim’s home and is now demanding $1.3 million to keep quiet. In a sea of guest stars that also includes Jill Clayburgh and Edward Asner, it’s White who keeps us glued. The actress mixes Catherine’s kindly demeanor with a sadistic edge, earning jaw drops and laughs along the way. “I need another $50,000,” she tells Alan at one point. “Actually, that’s a lie. I don’t need it..I WANT it,” she clarifies with a smile. Catherine became so popular with audiences, that she ended up with a three-season recurring role on the spin-off Boston Legal and White found herself with one of the most outrageous characters she ever played.


THE LOST VALENTINE (Sling, Fubo, Roku Channel)

Even though White made her name in comedy, she was just as adept at drama. It’s no surprise then that she should earn a Screen Actors Guild nomination for the made-for-TV movie The Lost Valentine. Co-starring Jennifer Love Hewitt, the telefilm casts White as a woman who visits the same train station every Valentine’s Day since saying goodbye to her husband, who disappeared in action during WWII. The Lost Valentine is about as sentimental as you think it would be and Hewitt’s storyline as a TV producer dodging a proposal from her workaholic fiancée plays out without any surprises. But the film drops plenty of its saccharine qualities whenever White is on the screen. Her scenes as a woman who has never stopped loving the only man in her life have such an ethereal quality thanks in large part to White’s memories of her real-life romance with late husband Allen Ludden. There isn’t a false moment in White’s performance here. Whether she’s reminiscing or shedding tears, it’s impossible not to feel moved by how much she makes The Lost Valentine come alive.


There are countless services to explore and great things to watch on all of them. Which ones did we miss that you would suggest to us? Tell us what we’re missing out on or what new services we should check out by leaving a comment below or emailing us.

Till next week, stream on, stream away.

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