The 20 best TV shows on Hulu right now

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Hulu is a day-after destination for many TV obsessives, but it’s also becoming a hive for original series and more obscure shows. That said, if you’re not looking for the latest episode of a show, it can be daunting to wade through Hulu’s vaults and find the show that speaks to you. So we’re here to guide you.

The best shows on Hulu Plus

1) UnREAL

UnREAL’s creator Sarah Gertrude Shapiro worked as a producer on The Bachelor, and the soul-deadening manipulations of the job became the foundation for this Lifetime show about the crew of a fictional dating show called Everlasting. Rachel (Shiri Appleby) is the sociopathic string-pulling producer, her boss Quinn (Constance Zimmer) the one who knows how to push her to the edge. UnREAL is a show about facades, but also the psychology women use on one another. —Audra Schroeder

2) One Punch Man

What started as a Japanese webcomic has become a sleeper series. One Punch Man focuses on Saitama, an ordinary man with extraordinary strength. In fact, one punch takes out his enemies, a power he often seems indifferent to. There are different classes of heroes, and each episode, Saitama takes on a different foe. There’s also a subtle, dry sense of humor in the series: Saitama’s fights aren’t really all that epic, and the other “superheroes” are kinda assholes. —A.S.

3) Angie Tribeca

Steve Carell and Nancy Walls created their version of The Naked Gun with TBS show Angie Tribeca. Rashida Jones stars as the titular character, a tough-as-nails cop whose partners keep dying. It’s a spoof of cop procedurals, down to the CSI: Miami scream in the intro, but the physical humor, sight gags, whip-fast dialogue, and in-jokes about branding elevate it to something beyond mere parody. —A.S.

4) Brooklyn Nine-Nine

best shows on hulu : Brooklyn Nine-Nine Photo via Fox

No matter how much star power a sitcom has, success hinges upon creating a cast that meshes well together. Brooklyn Nine-Nine gathers some of the best comedic actors in TV—Andy Samberg, Andre Braugher, Terry Crews, Stephanie Beatriz, Chelsea Peretti, Joe Lo Truglio, among others—and creates a hysterical working family within the context of a police station. Cops aren’t having the best moment in America right now, but the lovable crew of the 99th precinct makes you wish everyone with a badge laughed this much. —John-Michael Bond

5) The Mighty Boosh

This BBC show tells the story of Howard Moon and Vince Noir, two zookeepers whose mundane job often spits them into alternate universes and outlandish musical numbers. While talking animals and mutant creatures like Old Gregg fill out the “Zooniverse,” The Mighty Boosh is really about the friendship between odd couple Howard and Vince. —A.S.

6) Seinfeld

best shows hulu : Seinfeld Screengrab via Hulu

No show in modern broadcast history has done more to elevate crappy selfish people than Seinfeld, and for that, we owe NBC a debt of gratitude. The famous “show about nothing” has stood the test of time, remaining brutally funny nearly 20 years after its last episode aired. Seinfeld’s singular focus on the awful, awkward reality of everyday interactions gives it a timeless quality sitcoms rarely get to experience. Hulu is the only place you can watch Seinfeld online. Whether you seek to the be the master of your domain or find out what pisses off the Soup Nazi, Seinfeld is there to serve up absurd laughs 21 minutes at a time. —J.M.B.

7) Difficult People

In this Hulu original, Julie Klausner and Billy Eichner play difficult people, and they’re supported by a cast of characters who display varying degrees of difficulty. In 2015 Klausner, who created and wrote the series, told the Daily Dot, “I wanted to put on television a female and a gay male lead who were not supportive, chipper sidekicks.” She certainly succeeded, creating a show that is as much about celebrity worship as it is friendship. —A.S.

8) Empire

shows on hulu : Empire Photo via Fox

Fox’s hip-hop soap opera has stormed the ratings and the pop charts thanks to its addictive blendi of hit songs and melodrama. Lucious Lyon, CEO of Empire Entertainment, has to decide the fate of his record label when a medical diagnosis makes it clear his days are numbered. With three talented sons in the running to take over Empire, things are complicated, and the return of his ex-wife Cookie ignites an already volatile situation. That’s just episode one. Starring two Academy Award-winning actors, Terrence Howard and Taraji P. Henson, Empire is the best soap opera on TV right now. —J.M.B.

9) Spaced

Before Shaun of the Dead, Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright collaborated on Spaced, a Channel 4 show about two Londoners (Pegg and Jessica Stevenson) who pose as a couple to snag an apartment. That guise is a channel into explorations of geek and pop culture, which would make their way into many Wright projects to come. It also managed to make paintball funny. This is the anti-Friends. —A.S.

10) Twin Peaks

With Showtime’s revival of the show looming, now is as good a time as any to revisit the David Lynch and Mark Frost-created show, or jump into the fire for the first time. When Twin Peaks debuted on ABC in 1990, it quickly developed a fanbase enthralled by dream worlds, red rooms, murder, and owls that were not what they seemed. Though ratings couldn’t save it, Twin Peaks challenged what a TV drama could be, and insured that 25 years after it went off the air, fans are still obsessed. —A.S.


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11) Night Gallery

After The Twilight Zone, Rod Serling hosted this anthology series, in which he introduces tales of the bizarre in front of creepy paintings in his “night gallery.” The show was heavier on horror than The Twilight Zone, and featured appearances from Joan Crawford and Phyllis Diller, as well as the TV directorial debut of some guy named Steven Spielberg. —A.S.

12) Broad City

Since transitioning from a webseries to Comedy Central show in 2014, Abbi and Ilana have won our hearts and blunted minds. While the show is about the struggle to make it in New York City, the focus is really on Abbi and Ilana’s friendship, which often borders on romantic (at least in Ilana’s eyes). It also introduced “pegging” and “pussy weed” into the hive mind.—A.S.

13) Cowboy Bebop

best anime on hulu : cowboy bebop Photo via IMDb

Even if you don’t like anime, give Cowboy Bebop a shot. At just 26 episodes, this neo-noir/space opera is the perfect binge-watching experience. Set to a brilliant jazz score, Cowboy Bebop follows a group of intergalactic bounty hunters as they capture criminals and deal with the existential loneliness their life brings with it. Do you like fight scenes? Cathartic twists? Super intelligent Corgis? Cowboy Bebop has all that and more. Give it one episode, and you’ll see why Cowboy Bebop is regularly called one of the best anime of all time.

14) You’re the Worst

There are countless shows trying to mine the modern relationship for storylines, but Stephen Falk’s You’re the Worst goes beyond the tired will they/won’t they. The show’s main protagonists, Gretchen and Jimmy, aren’t necessarily a couple you’re rooting for: They’re both relationship-phobic and self-absorbed. But once their fears and neuroses are stripped away, something genuine emerges, and the show, in season 2 especially, paints issues like depression with true colors. —A.S.

15) Coming to the Stage

Comedy Dynamics’ original series puts a spotlight on emerging comedians, so you don’t have to scroll through a bunch of standup specials to find your new favorite. —A.S.

16) The Handmaid’s Tale

best shows on hulu: handmaid's tale Photo courtesy of Hulu

Based on the ever-relevant novel by Margaret Atwood, women are stripped of all of their rights in the Republic of Gilead, a theocracy formerly known as the U.S. The few women who remain fertile in this near-future dystopia are now Handmaids forced to bear children, and it’s difficult to tell who really believes and who’s playing a part to stay alive when stepping out of line could mean death. With a stunning performance from Elisabeth Moss and an all-star cast including Joseph Fiennes, Yvonne Strahovski, Samira Wiley, and Alexis Bledel, the show (along with the fiery anger it sparks) will stick with you long after it ends. —Michelle Jaworski

17) Rick and Morty

best shows on hulu : rick and morty Rick and Morty/Adult Swim

Adult Swim has built a fiercely loyal audience over the years by becoming a repository for dark, adultly comedic cartoons. Rick and Morty represents the pinnacle of what an Adult Swim show can be. Created by Dan Harmon and Justin Roiland, the series follows a young boy and his mad scientist grandfather through a series of interdimensional adventures that bring chaos to every living creature in the multiverse. Pitch black comedy is rarely sentimental, but Rick and Morty regularly manage to pull genuinely moving moments from even the darkest of scenarios. Season 3 is just around the corner. Thankfully for you seasons 1 and 2 are streaming in their entirety on Hulu. —J.M.B. 

18) The X-Files

hulu shows : X-Files Photo via Fox

For a brief, wonderful time, you could stream The X-Files on Netflix in glorious HD, free of commercials. Now your only option is Hulu, but at least the episodes are still in HD. Following the adventures of two FBI agents as they hunt for proof of the supernatural, The X-Files built a massive fanbase over the course of its nine seasons. True believer Fox Mulder and his skeptic partner Dana Scully dig through cases of alien conspiracies, mutant freaks, serial killers, ghosts, and even the odd musical number on their quest to discover the truth. While the last two seasons are a bit hit or miss, the legacy of The X-Files mythology can be felt in like-minded hits like LOST, Heroes, and American Horror Story. —J.M.B.

19) Fresh off the Boat

:best hulu shows : Fresh off the Boat Screengrab via Hulu

ABC’s Fresh off the Boat is based on the memoir of celebrity chef/writer/tv host. Eddie Huang, the son Taiwanese immigrants who moved from Washington, D.C., to suburban Florida when he was just 12 years old. Blending traditional sitcom tropes with a retro ‘90s setting and a family dealing with culture shock, Fresh off the Boat is as heartwarming as it is hysterical. Randall Park and Constance Wu steal the show as Eddie’s parents, setting a new standard for sitcom marriages. Thanks to Hulu’s relationship with ABC, you can watch the complete first three seasons whenever you want. —J.M.B.

20) Black-ish

best TV shows hulu : Black-ish Screengrab via Hulu

This award-winning single camera sitcom stars Anthony Anderson and Tracee Ellis Ross as upper-middle-class parents who begin to question if their lifestyle is getting in the way of their children’s cultural identity. Sitcoms that tackle issues can easy see their plots overwhelmed with preaching, but Black-ish handles the complicated racial world of modern America with comedic grace and occasionally righteous anger. Politically closer to All in the Family than The Cosby Show, Black-ish is thoughtful without ever forgetting to be funny. —J.M.B.

Editor’s note: This article is regularly updated for relevance. 

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