Hulu doesn’t have nearly as many original series as its rivals Netflix or Amazon Prime Video. However, a case could be made that Hulu is trying to offer quality over quantity with its original content. Here are our picks for the best Hulu originals that are currently available on the streaming network. We also take a look at a few honorable mentions, along with upcoming Hulu shows.
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Best Hulu originals:
Editor’s note: We will update this post as more original Hulu originals launch on the streaming service.
The Handmaid’s Tale
Based on the 1985 Margaret Atwood novel, The Handmaid’s Tale is a cautionary look at a possible future United States that lets an ultra-Christian theocracy take over the country. In this version of the future, women are seen as no more than servants, wives, and, in the case of Handmaids, birth mothers. As the title character Offred, Elizabeth Moss gives the performance of her career as a woman who fights this horrible life in her own way — with dignity and grace.
This is by far the best Hulu original series, and it’s also the first-ever streaming series to win an Emmy for Best Drama. Three full seasons of The Handmaid’s Tale are available on Hulu now. The first season pretty much adapts the novel’s storyline, but the second, third and fourth seasons go beyond the original novel. Look for season 5 to begin in 2022.
This Marvel Hulu original series is based on the acclaimed Marve comic. It combines superhero action with teen angst. Six teenagers learn that they each have superpowers; however, this is not a cause for celebration, as these teens also learn that their parents are part of a secret supervillain group called The Pride that has some very bad intentions. As you might expect from the title of this show, these kids decide to break away from their moms and days to fight them, along with trying to figure out the normal teenage issues of love, acceptance, and more. Three seasons of Runaways are available on Hulu.
We live in an era of movie and TV franchises that create a “universe” of interconnected stories. The folks at J.J. Abrams’s Bad Robot were smart enough to know that there was already one such universe that was available to mine. That franchise was the many novels and short stories of Stephen King. King’s version of Maine has been brought to life in books and movies, and Hulu used those stories and settings to create Castle Rock. The series, which takes its name from the fictional Maine small town that figures into many of King’s works, tells an original tale, but with lots of connections and Easter Eggs that should keep both new viewers and King fans happy. You can catch the show’s two seasons on Hulu via the button below.
The time travel comedy is a sub-genre unto itself. We have seen entries like the Back to the Future film trilogy and the Hot Tub Time Machine films. This Hulu original series fits squarely into that category. Josh Hutcherson plays a janitor who just wants to play his video games without anyone bothering him. However, it’s his ability to play action video games well that gets him recruited by people from the future. They need his “skills” to help fight a massive enemy. Future Man can be a bit crude in its humor sometimes. However, it’s worth it to check out the funny time travel situations and paradoxes that come about with Hutcherson’s character trying desperately to be a hero. You can catch all three seasons now on Hulu.
The Great is a historical series that plays a bit loose with the facts. Even so, it’s still a lot of fun to watch. Elle Fanning plays Catherine the Great, who rose to become Russia’s longest-running female ruler in the late 18th century. This version of her story may not be historically accurate, but it’s entertaining. Nicholas Hoult plays Catherine’s husband Peter III, who is definitely lacking a few cards from his deck. This is one of the best Hulu shows, and it’s been renewed for a second season.
This is not only one of the best original shows on Hulu, but it may also be one of the most romantic. Based on the popular novel by Sally Rooney, it follows two people, Marianne and Connell, in a town in Ireland. They first encounter each other at school. Connell is popular, while Marianne is not. However, these two “normal people” discover each other and fall in love. The series follows the couple through the years as they connect, and then disconnect, with each other time and again. There’s no melodrama here; it’s just life between two people who ultimately are supposed to have a connection.
Not only can you watch the first three seasons of this classic teen detective series on Hulu right now, but you can also binge watch the all-new eighth episode fourth season of Veronica Mars. Kristen Bell returns as the title character. She’s much older and wiser as she tries to figure out who is setting off bombs in her home town of Neptune, California. Many other characters from the original run return for the fourth season, and hopefully we won’t have to wait for a fifth season to debut on Hulu.
Devs was a show originally developed for the FX cable network. However, it launched as a Hulu exclusive. Written and directed by Alex Garland (Ex Machina), this surreal sci-fi series is all about a fictional Silicon Vallery tech company. The company’s secret computing division, Devs, has been working on a project that is so powerful the company is willing to kill for it. It’s a show that rewards its audience with some deep themes of what it means to have free will.
Little Fires Everywhere
This limited series is based on the 2017 by Celeste Ng. Set in the late 1990’s, the series stars Reese Witherspoon as a well-off mother of a typical family household in Ohio. Things start to get more complicated when a woman, played by Kerry Washington, and her daughter move in with Witherspoon’s family. Deep, dark secrets are slowly revealed in this dramatic series, and it’s definitely one of the best on Hulu.
This animation show comes from Rick and Morty co-creator Justin Roiland. He and this show’s co-creator Mike McMahan (the upcoming Star Trek: Lower Decks) bring us this adult series about four aliens stranded on Earth in a suburban town. We have seen this kind of show or movie before (Coneheads, Third Rock from the Sun), but this series is still very entertaining, The first two seasons are now available, and a third is planned for 2022.
Best Hulu originals: Honorable mentions
- The Looming Tower – This limited series takes a look at the history of the US intelligence forces in the years just prior to the 9/11 attacks of 2001.
- 11/22/63 – Steven King’s novel of time travel is adapted into this limited series. A man finds out he has a chance to prevent the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.
- Catch-22 – A new adaptation of the classic satirical World War II novel. This limited series tells the story of a US military pilot in Italy who tries to get himself certified as crazy so he can’t fly, and possibly, die.
- Pen15 – A very funny satire on teen life, starring Maya Erskine and Anna Konkle, adults who play 13 year old versions of themselves in the year 2000.
- Dollface – Kat Dennings stars in this comedy series about a young woman who tries to reconnect with her girl friends after breaking up with her boyfriend.