While Netflix seemingly led the way for other streaming networks to create compelling original programming, Hulu actually beat them all to the punch. In 2011—a year before Netflix’s Lilyhammer and two years before the arrival of House of Cards—the burgeoning streamer premiered The Morning After, a pop culture-focused news show that ran for 800 episodes over three years, plus A Day in the Life, a docuseries from Oscar winner Morgan Spurlock.
Hulu has continued to make TV history in the dozen years since, most notably in 2017, when it became the first streamer to win an Emmy Award for Outstanding Drama Series with The Handmaid’s Tale. In fact, that was just one of eight Emmys the series took home in its inaugural season, and it has continued to rack up nominations and wins over the years.
While more competition has popped up since Hulu started gaining critical credibility, the network has continued to stand out for its carefully curated selection of original series and network partnerships that make it the home of FX series and more. Below are some of our favorite shows streaming on Hulu right now.
Not finding what you’re looking for? Head to WIRED’s guide to the best TV shows on Amazon Prime, the best TV shows on Disney+, and the best shows on Netflix. Have other suggestions for this list? Let us know in the comments.
Justified: City Primeval
Few reboots have generated as much enthusiasm as this one, in which Timothy Olyphant reprises his role as no-nonsense US marshal Raylan Givens. Fifteen years older than when we last saw him in Justified, Raylan is now living back in Miami, helping to raise his teenage daughter Willa (played here by Olyphant’s real-life daughter Vivian) and still rocking a Stetson like no other actor ever could. But life for Raylan never stays quiet for long, and this miniseries sees him making his way to Detroit and facing off against a violent criminal known as the Oklahoma Wildman (Boyd Holbrook). Guns are drawn and wise is cracked in this limited series, with all eight episodes currently available to stream.
Back in 2021, Hulu went where Netflix’s Painkiller is currently going: to the late ’90s and early 2000s, aka the beginning of America’s opioid crisis. Danny Strong created this retelling of the lengths to which Richard Sackler (played here by the always excellent Michael Stuhlbarg) and Purdue Pharma would go to sell doctors on the powers of OxyContin—all with the promise of no addiction. Michael Keaton won an Emmy for his portrayal of a widowed doctor in Appalachia who buys into the lies, and eventually becomes a victim of them.
In case you haven’t heard—which would mean you’ve not been reading enough WIRED—Futurama is back. Following a decade-long hiatus, Matt Groening and David X. Cohen’s animated sci-fi comedy has been successfully updated for 2023, complete with gags about Twilight Zone and “Momazon” drone deliveries. Now is the perfect time to dive back in—or watch it all for the first time.
Taika Waititi and Sterlin Harjo cocreated this Peabody Award-winning series, which made history as the first mainstream TV show created by, starring, and crewed by an almost entirely Indigenous American team. It tells the story of four bored teens who are desperate to escape their lives on a reservation in Oklahoma. They decide that California is where they want to be and commit to a life of mostly petty crimes in order to save up enough money to leave. The series’ third, and final, season premiered on August 2 and is already being lauded as a brilliant sendoff.
What We Do in the Shadows
In 2014, Jemaine Clement and Taika Waititi cowrote, codirected, and costarred in What We Do in the Shadows, a funny mockumentary featuring a group of vampires who share a home. This series, which premiered in 2019, moved the vampire action from New Zealand to Staten Island and brought in a whole new group of vampires—who struggle to even get up off the couch, let alone take over all of New York City (as they’ve been instructed to). In the show’s fifth season, which kicked off on July 13, Nadja (Natasia Demetriou) recovers from a supernatural hex, energy vampire Colin (Mark Proksch) runs for office, and gentleman scientist Laszlo (Matt Berry) tries to figure out the secret behind the changes Guillermo (Harvey Guillén) is experiencing. If you haven’t been watching, now is the perfect time to tune in.
Even if you’ve never seen The Bear, you’ve undoubtedly heard about it (and had at least one person recommend it to you). The electrifying series, which premiered in June 2022, was all anyone could talk about last summer—and for good reason. Carmen “Carmy” Berzatto (Jeremy Allen White) is a superstar of the fine dining world who has returned to his hometown of Chicago to save his family’s struggling sandwich shop after the death by suicide of his brother. While Carmy initially struggles to acclimate himself to being home and to his inherited kitchen’s back-to-basics style, he eventually realizes that it’s not too late to change both himself and the restaurant. Anyone who has ever worked in a busy kitchen knows the stress that comes with it, and The Bear does an excellent job of making that tension palpable. While the plot sounds simple enough, much of Carmy’s previous life is a bit of a mystery, and it’s doled out in amuse-bouche-sized bits throughout the series. Now that The Bear’s highly anticipated second season is live on Hulu, it’s time to feast.
This twisty crime series—based on J.P. Pomare’s book—tells two parallel storylines: When a young girl is abducted, cult survivor Freya (Teresa Palmer) is forced to reckon with the traumas of her past. At the same time, we watch as a cult leader (Miranda Otto) perpetrates horrendous crimes against little girls. As you can probably guess, their stories eventually collide in surprising, and disturbing, ways.
Taste the Nation with Padma Lakshmi
“The gateway to another culture often happens first through food,” says Padma Lakshmi in the first season of Taste the Nation. That pretty much sums up this food show, made in the style of Parts Unknown and Bizarre Foods. Lakshmi makes for a compelling tour guide, and she doesn’t even need to leave the US to explore the cultures, and culinary delights, of Ukraine, Cambodia, Italy, and beyond.
Not Dead Yet
Nell Serrano (Jane the Virgin’s Gina Rodriguez) was a journalist living her best life in New York City until she put her career aside to follow a man to London. Five years later, she returns to NYC in the hopes of picking up where she left off—but finds herself having to start over. Struggles include being put on the obituary-writing beat, which leads to her seeing the dearly departed she’s writing about. Think of it as a funny The Sixth Sense.
Class of ’09
There are plenty of series about the FBI, including, erm, FBI. But Class of ’09 promises to be different. Set across three different timelines, it follows a series of bureau agents who “grapple with immense changes as the US criminal justice system is altered by artificial intelligence.” The Hulu-exclusive limited series features a stellar cast with some of the coolest-sounding character names to ever be introduced in a law-enforcement series: Brian Tyree Henry as “Tayo,” Kate Mara as “Poet,” and Sepideh Moafi as “Hour.” If you’ve been looking for an FBI series with a twist, your time has come.
Elle Fanning and Nicholas Hoult shine in this witty, fast-paced, comedic retelling (but not really) of Catherine the Great’s rise to power. Created by Tony McNamara, who earned an Oscar nomination for cowriting The Favourite, The Great offers the same combination of lush costumes and scenery mixed with a biting commentary on the world, and a woman’s place in it. A story that rings as true today as it did in the 18th century, when Catherine the Great became empress of Russia and brought about the Age of Enlightenment, this show, which dropped its third—and final—season in May, chips away at notions of class, propriety, and monarchical rule in a way few others do. If it’s historical accuracy you’re after, look elsewhere; the series’ creators describe it as decidedly “anti-historical” (which is part of the fun).
Tiny Beautiful Things
The reason to watch this eight-part limited series can be summed up in two words: Kathryn Hahn. A comedic juggernaut, Hahn can switch from funny to dramatic in the same scene, if not the same sentence. This talent is on display in Tiny Beautiful Things, where she plays Claire, a writer who takes up an advice column and pours all the traumas of her life into responding to her readers. Based on Wild author Cheryl Strayed’s collection of “Dear Sugar” columns, the vignettes here may be a bit out of sorts, but Hahn pulls them together.
Dave Burd is a comedian and rapper who goes by the stage name Lil Dicky. In Dave, Burd plays a rapper who goes by the stage name Lil Dicky and is attempting to raise his profile and make a much bigger name for himself. If only his many neuroses didn’t keep getting in the way. While Dave could have easily turned into some mediocre experiment in meta storytelling, Burd—who cocreated the series, stars in it, and has written several episodes—grapples with some surprisingly touchy topics, including mental illness. And he does it all with a level of sensitivity and honesty that you might not expect from a guy named Lil Dicky.
This latest adaptation of Charles Dickens’ novel isn’t so much a modern retelling—Alfonso Cuarón’s 1998 film this is not—as it is a fresh one. Starring Olivia Colman in the iconic role of Miss Havisham, this six-part series transforms the story of Pip, a young boy with dreams of an upper-class life, into a gothic tale that examines the moral compromises one must make to ascend in the world. Filled with stunning performances and a sleek look (or “try-hard edginess,” depending who you ask), it’s the perfect miniseries for fans of the novel—or viewers encountering Dickens’ classic story for the first time.
History of the World, Part II
Forty years after Mel Brooks’ History of the World, Part I, the comedy legend has assembled a who’s who of funny people for a new installment. Nick Kroll, Ike Barinholtz, Wanda Skykes, Jason Mantzoukas, Hannah Einbinder, and Quinta Brunson are just a few of the names in this collection of sketches. From Sigmund Freud to Rasputin to Jesus Christ, everyone gets a sendup—and a laugh.
Quinta Brunson created and stars in this hit series, which follows the daily lives—in and out of the classroom—of a group of teachers at what is widely considered one of the worst public schools in America. Despite a lack of funding for even basic educational necessities, and school district leaders who only care about the barest minimum standards, these educators are united by their drive to surpass expectations and encourage their students to do the same. Production on Abbott Elementary’s third season has been delayed during the writers’ strike, but the show has already received a massive number of awards, including three Emmys.
Donald Glover proved himself to be a quadruple threat of an actor, writer, musician, and comedian with this highly acclaimed FX series about Earnest “Earn” Marks (Glover), an aspiring music manager who is trying to help his cousin Alfred Miles, aka Paper Boi (Brian Tyree Henry), kick off his musical career. They’re surrounded by a supportive crew of friends, including Alfred’s BFF, Darius (LaKeith Stanfield), and Van (Zazie Beetz), Earn’s close friend and the mother of his child. This makes it all sound like a fairly straightforward buddy comedy, but Atlanta is so much more. Even better: It’s weird. Glover is not afraid to experiment with storytelling, which is part of what makes the show so compelling.
Zach Galifianakis stars alongside Zach Galifianakis as twin brothers Chip and Dale Baskets in this unexpectedly moving family comedy about an aspiring clown (Chip) who fails to graduate from a fancy clowning school in Paris and is forced to return home to Bakersfield, California, where he lives with his mother (the late Louie Anderson) and is constantly belittled by his higher-achieving brother (Dale). Between the dual role for Galifianakis and Anderson as the mom, it may sound like a cheap bit of stunt casting that can’t sustain more than an episode, let alone multiple character arcs. But if you’re a fan of absurdist comedy, Baskets truly ranks among the best of them. And Anderson, who won his first and only Emmy for his role as Costco-loving Christine, is absolutely transcendent. While it received a fair amount of critical acclaim, Baskets could rightly be considered one of the most underseen and underappreciated series in recent memory.
Amanda Seyfried won a much deserved Outstanding Lead Actress Emmy for her portrayal of the notorious Stanford dropout turned health care technology maven Elizabeth Holmes, who tricked some of the world’s savviest business minds into investing in her company, Theranos. While Holmes’ goal was altruistic enough—making health care more accessible to the masses via a device that could detect any number of diseases with little more than a single finger prick of blood—the technology wasn’t able to catch up. Rather than admit defeat, she kept pushing, making business deals and promises she could never fulfill.
Fleishman Is in Trouble
Taffy Brodesser-Akner created this series, based on her bestselling novel of the same name, which manages to tell a very specific story that is also universally relatable. Toby Fleishman (Jesse Eisenberg) is a recently divorced fortysomething hepatologist living in New York City. Things are looking up for Fleishman when he’s considered for a promotion and begins dipping his toe into the dating waters via an app. But then his ex-wife, Rachel (Claire Danes), disappears, leaving him with their two children. With the help of two of his best friends (played by Lizzy Caplan and Adam Brody), Fleishman realizes that it will take an honest deconstruction of his marriage to understand what happened to Rachel, and where she might be.
The Handmaid’s Tale
When Margaret Atwood wrote The Handmaid’s Tale in 1985, little did she know that its television adaptation would revolutionize the still-nascent world of original streaming content. And she may not have anticipated just how many parallels her dystopian classic would share with the real world at the time it was adapted into an award-winning television series. It’s set in an unnamed time in what is presumably the very near future, when the United States has been taken over by a fundamentalist group known as Gilead, under whose regime women are considered property and stripped of any personal rights. The most valuable women are those who are fertile, as infertility has become an epidemic, and they are kept as handmaids who are forced to take part in sexual rituals with high-ranking couples in order to bear their children. Recognizing the power she wields, Offred, aka June Osborne (Elisabeth Moss), is not content to remain enslaved and sets about changing the rules as she seeks to reunite with her lost husband and daughter.
It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia
If you thought the characters on Seinfeld were terrible people, wait until you meet the gang from Paddy’s Pub. For nearly 20 years, Dennis (Glenn Howerton), Mac (Robert McElhenney), Charlie (Charlie Day), Sweet Dee (Kaitlin Olson), and Frank (Danny DeVito) have unapologetically plotted against each other and total strangers in a series of completely self-centered schemes with absolutely no regard for the rules of civility. The show follows the “no hugging and no learning” rule Larry David established for Seinfeld, but elevates it to a new level of sociopathy. “Dennis and Dee Go on Welfare,” “Sweet Dee Has a Heart Attack,” “How Mac Got Fat,” “Dennis Looks Like a Registered Sex Offender,” “The Gang Turns Black,” and “The Gang Goes to a Water Park” are just some of the offbeat adventures awaiting viewers. In 2021, Sunny became the longest-running live-action sitcom in the history of television, and it shows no signs of slowing down—or taking it easy on its characters. It also happens to be one of the easiest shows to binge: Pop an episode on and, without even realizing it, you’ll be on to another season. Its 16th (!!) premiered on June 7.
What began as a web series is now a Hulu original that wrapped up its eleventh season in December. The show is a portrait of small-town Canada (the fictional Letterkenny of the title) and focuses on siblings Wayne (cocreator Jared Keeso) and Katy (Michelle Mylett), who run a produce stand with help from friends Daryl (Nathan Dales) and Squirrely Dan (K. Trevor Wilson). As is often the case in small-town series, many of the residents fall into specific categories—in Letterkenny, you could be a gym rat, a hick, a skid (their word for a drug addict), or a “native” (a member of the nearby First Nation reservation). But in contrast to many small-town series, these groups—and the individuals who comprise them—aren’t reduced to meaningless stereotypes.
Only Murders in the Building
Steve Martin, Martin Short, and Selena Gomez make for a delightful trio of true-crime-obsessed podcast fans who, in season 1 of this original Hulu series, decide to join forces and create their own podcast while attempting to solve the mysterious death of a fellow resident of their Manhattan apartment building. From the very beginning of their odd alliance, it’s been clear that all is not what it seems, and everyone is keeping secrets. Now they’ve upped the ante on guest stars, too; the third season, which premiered on August 8, sees Paul Rudd and Meryl Streep join in the fun.
Pam & Tommy
Lily James and Sebastian Stan are practically unrecognizable—and seem to be having the time of their lives—as they let their inner hedonists out to portray Pamela Anderson and Tommy Lee, one of the most famous couples (and tabloid staples) of the ’90s. What emerges is the portrait of two people who, like the rest of us, are simply doing their best to balance their personal and professional lives. Unlike the rest of us, this pair is forced to do that in the blinding light of paparazzi cameras tracking their every move. It’s nothing groundbreaking or revelatory, but for people who lived through the Pam and Tommy years, it’s a fun bit of nostalgia.
Steve Carell plays against type—or is at least nothing like The Office’s Michael Scott—in this psychological thriller from Joel Fields and The Americans creator Joe Weisberg. Carell is Alan Strauss, a therapist being held captive by his patient (Domhnall Gleeson), who cops to being a serial killer and desperately wants Strauss to “cure” his desire to kill. The series plays out like one big-bottle episode; much of the action occurs in a single room, with Carell and Gleeson speaking only to each other—each trying to determine his best next move.
Mining the awkwardness of one’s middle school years is hardly a new comedy concept. But being in your early thirties and playing yourself as a junior high school student and then surrounding yourself with age-appropriate actors who are actually going through that hellish rite of passage brings a whole new layer of cringe and humor. This is exactly what cocreators/stars Maya Erskine and Anna Konkle did for Pen15.
Under the Banner of Heaven
Murder and Mormonism collide in this true crime drama when detective Jeb Pyre (Andrew Garfield) is sent to investigate the murder of a woman (Daisy Edgar-Jones) and her baby near Salt Lake City. While trying to solve the crime, Pyre learns some troubling information about the most devoted members of the LDS church that forces him to reckon with his faith.