Hulu doesn’t have the breadth of original content to match their biggest competitors, Netflix and Amazon, but the TV-focused streaming service does offer over 50 original titles including documentaries, exclusively-licensed international titles, and selections from all genres.
Below, in no particular order, are the seven best Hulus originals. (Note: All of the below are also available on Amazon except The Looming Tower, though none are included with Prime.)
The Handmaid’s Tale
This two-season series was a surprise success from Hulu when it premiered in 2017. With 34 awards, including two Golden Globes and the first major Emmy wins for a streaming series, The Handmaid’s Tale brought attention to Hulu that few expected, and put Hulu in the same league as Netflix and Amazon in terms of quality original content, despite their much smaller catalog. It’s for that reason this is easily one of the best Hulu shows on the platform.
The show stars Elizabeth Moss of Mad Men fame and tells the story of an alternate-history United States that is run by an autocratic Christian theocracy. An adaptation of the 1985 Margaret Atwood novel of the same name, the show’s release was timely, corresponding with the rise of Donald Trump’s candidacy in what many view as a coup for the hard-right Christian population of the U.S.
The show’s strong female characters — and their resistance to the governmental system that oppresses them — became fictionalized champions of the “Resist” political movement. Featuring exemplary cinematography in a gripping, well-acted story, The Handmaid’s Tale is certainly a must-see show and one of the best Hulu originals.
In this eight-part series, James Franco plays a high school teacher who finds a portal that allows him to travel through time to the fall of 1960. Once there, he sets about trying to prevent the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, but his growing love of the time period and complications from other people of the era threaten to derail his mission.
This gripping, dynamic show was nominated for one Emmy and is a compelling spin on historical fiction, science fiction, and period pieces. The show was co-written by Stephen King, and co-executive produced by J.J. Abrams.
The Looming Tower
Adapted from Lawrence Wright’s non-fiction book, The Looming Tower is another limited series from Hulu. It chronicles the 1990s rivalry between the CIA and FBI that helped allow the tragedies of 9/11.
With excellent performances from Jeff Daniels, Tahar Rahim, and Wrenn Schmidt, the series takes a compelling look at how failures in bureaucracy at the highest levels can manifest in the worst possible ways. The Looming Tower is one of highest rated Hulu shows, and will most likely see award nominations for Daniels, if not others.
Fun fact for those of you outside the U.S.: The Looming Tower will be distributed by Amazon, and is billed as Prime-exclusive title.
Difficult People was a three-season (2015-2017) comedy starring Julie Klausner and Billy Eichner who play camped-up versions of themselves as struggling actors/comics living in New York City.
With an ensemble cast featuring incredible performances from James Urbaniak and Andrea Martin, the show teeters from touching brilliance to over-the-top absurdity, but does so in a way that maintains a wonderful balance. At times it is slightly too self aware to be camp, but it also seems like the writers and actors are aware of this, and their ability to work comfortably in that pocket makes it all the more endearing. It is definitely Hulu’s best original comedy series and one of the best Hulu originals overall.
Future Man is a ton of fun and manages to marry a self-reflexive, time-traveling narrative with low-budget production looks in a package that works far better than the trailers lead on. This is easily one of the best Hulu shows out there, if you don’t mind a little potty humor (okay a lot) along the way.
It features dialogue with quick word play, over-the-top narrative leaps, and bizarre character development that make it a ton of fun, even if the timeline logic of it all gets a bit hard to follow at times.
The story is that of Josh Futterman (John Hutcherson) who is destined to become the savior of the human race when he is the first person to beat a video game that is actually a test. He’s then sent back in time to find the only person worthy of leading a resistance group. He is met by future resistance fighters Tiger (Eliza Coupe) and Wolf (Derek Wolf), who are very disappointed in Futterman’s lack of fighting skills and real-world abilities.
The trio embarks on a rollercoaster ride through time, breaking the first rule of time travel (don’t change anything in the past) over and over and over.
This emotional drama starring Aaron Paul and Michelle Monaghan is the story of a family whose members are part of a cult that believes in Meyerism — it’s a fictional cult that mixes various aspects of different modern-day cults.
The Path details their trials and tribulations dealing with the convergence of faith and power, and can be read as a commentary on religion, faith, and navigating the complex emotions tied to desire in the modern world. This Hulu show ran for three seasons (2016-2018), but was not picked up for a fourth. It was announced cancelled on April 23, 2018 by the show’s creator, Jessica Goldberg, but it remains one of the best Hulu originals available.
This dark dramedy was a two-season show for Hulu, and focused on Charlie Haverford (Jeffrey Donovan), a failed magician and general-practise con artist working as a clairvoyant.
After suffering a head injury at the hands of client’s unhappy beau, Charlie begins to have real visions. Playing with aspects of organized crime stories, Shut Eye features Isabella Rossellini as a hard-edged matriarch and strong performances from all cast members.
Those are our picks of the best Hulu originals that you can stream today. Did we miss any of your favorite Hulu shows? Let us know what you’re watching in the comments below.
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