The streaming wars are officially upon us and Hulu is constantly vying for people’s attention in this packed landscape. As HBO Max’s original movies and Disney+’s cinematic-universe adjacent television programs dominate the media, Hulu has slowly become one of the best streaming platforms available. Not only does it have a lot of great network and cable programs available for viewers to watch at any time, but it has a wide array of original series that appeal to different audiences.
Whether you want to watch an animated comedy or a live-action drama that will leave you shocked as the credits roll, Hulu has you covered. Throughout the streamer’s history, the platform has shifted partial ownership a few times and now lands primarily under Disney’s purview as it continually puts out great content and licenses new movies each month. Next time you’re looking for a great series, consider picking from one of these 35 best Hulu originals.
If anyone is deserving of an Emmy nomination come September, it’s Amanda Seyfried, who plays founder and former CEO of Theranos, Elizabeth Holmes, in The Dropout, which just concluded its eight-episode run. Seyfried fully immerses herself in the role of Holmes, whom we track from her time just before Stanford to the downfall of herself and her company. Her claim to fame was being able to run over 70 medical tests with only a drop of blood on her trademark machines, though it turned out that it never actually worked. Despite that, she was able to make over a billion dollars and get some of the most prominent people in the United States to donate their money and become board members.
Only Murders in the Building was an instant hit when it first aired in 2021, featuring the unlikely pairing and friendship between three neighbors on the Upper West Side, portrayed by Steve Martin, Selena Gomez, and Martin Short. When a suicide occurs in their building, the three band together over their love of true crime podcasts to prove that the “suicide” was actually a murder.
Starring Michael Keaton, Dopesick is a deep look into the nefarious side of the pharmaceutical industry, focusing on opioid addiction and how Purdue Pharma played a role in getting millions of Americans addicted to their drugs. Based on the non-fiction book by Danny Strong titled Dopesick: Dealers, Doctors, and the Drug Company that Addicted America, Keaton plays Dr. Samuel Finnix, who prescribed OxyContin to his patients and who eventually became addicted himself.
Telling the infamous story of Dee Dee (Patricia Arquette) and Gypsy Rose Blanchard (Joey King), The Act quickly received critical acclaim for both the way its plot was uncovered to the sheer acting. Based on the true story of the toxic mother-daughter duo, the series is about how Dee Dee abused her daughter by claiming she had illnesses which her actually fake. Arquette ended up taking home the Emmy for her portrayal of Dee Dee.
Pam and Tommy tells the complex story of, well, Pam and Tommy—Pamela Anderson and Tommy Lee—as their infamous sex tape is released to the public without their knowledge or consent. Lily James and Sebastian Stan star as the leading roles; honestly, James is practically unrecognizable in her portrayal of Anderson. Not only is the series about the aftermath of the tape, but it also focuses a great deal on how exactly the tape was found in the first place.
Having just been renewed for a second season, Life & Beth has really hit the ground running. It features Amy Schumer as Beth, who’s a bit lost in her life and is trying to figure out if she should start a new life for herself or stay in the same spot. Through a strange series of events, she eventually ends up finding solace at a farm, but more so in John, played by Michael Cera.
Based on Liane Moriarty’s book of the same name, Nine Perfect Strangers features a very cult-like Nicole Kidman, who hosts a group of strangers at a wellness resort in California. However, while there, the guests begin to realize that the retreat isn’t exactly what they thought it would be, which leads to them learning a little too much about each other.
There’s a fair chance that you saw this story on the news when it first broke, but The Girl From Plainville is a live version of the situation, focusing on Michelle Carter, portrayed by Elle Fanning. A much different vibe than her other Hulu original, The Great, this series is pretty dark, as it deals with a texting-suicide case that left her (mostly online) boyfriend, Conrad Roy, dead. The series follows the time before his death as well as the trial that followed it, with Colton Ryan and Chloë Sevigny starring in supporting roles as Conrad and Lynn Roy, respectively.
While not a fictional show, McCartney 3, 2, 1 is definitely worthy of a mention, as it’s a docuseries that hones in on the process of some of Paul McCartney’s hugest hits. The series also stars Rick Rubin, who stands alongside McCartney and goes through each song with him.
Billy Eichner and Julie Klausner are at the forefront of Difficult People, which is all about aspiring comedians and the struggles they face both on and off the stage. The series was executive produced by Amy Poehler and ran for three seasons, featuring a plethora of guest appearances by people including Jessica Walter, Seth Meyers, Amy Sedaris, a few Real Housewives of New York City, and Debbie Harry.
Before superhero shows were streaming on every platform, Hulu gave audiences the satirical animated series The Awesomes. Lasting three seasons, The Awesomes follows a group of superheroes who step up to take over an iconic superhero team after the original members dissolve the group. Co-created by Seth Meyers, who also lends his voice to the program, The Awesomes is a silly take on caped crusaders that features hilarious voice actors like Kenan Thompson and Rashida Jones.
A horror anthology series from Blumhouse Television, Into the Dark, is a creepy good time with different episodes that can appeal to various types of horror fans. Each episode lasts anywhere from 80-90 minutes, meaning viewers actually get time to see complex stories unfold rather than being rushed through a series of jump scares that fill a 45-minute runtime. Each episode stars a different cast and has a different creative team guiding things forward, enabling Into the Dark to display different tones and artistic styles without ever feeling forced.
Long before the pandemic forced families to move back in with one another, Zander Lehmann’s Casual showed audiences what it would be like to force a newly divorced woman named Valerie (Michaela Watkins) and her teenage daughter Laura (Tara Lynne Barr) to move in with Valerie’s bachelor brother Alex (Tommy Dewey). The show is both funny and heartwarming as each member of the family has to modify their behavior around each other and figure out exactly what they want from this new chapter in their lives.
A collaboration with BBC Studios, Normal People follows Marianne (Daisy Edgar-Jones) and Connell (Paul Mescal), two people from the same small Irish town, as they dip back in and out of each other’s love lives in their young adult years. Based on Sally Rooney’s novel of the same name, the author is actually one of the writers on the show- meaning any fans of the book should be pleased with this tender adaptation.
Hot off the heels of Breaking Bad’s finale, Aaron Paul’s starring role in The Path was enough to make people interested in the series when it first debuted in 2016. Eddie Lane (Aaron Paul) and his family are all members of the Meyerist Movement, a philosophical group that is best described as a cult, and after returning from a trip abroad Eddie learns a secret that shatters his trust in the organization and the people who built it up. An action-packed drama, The Path does a phenomenal job at slowly building tension until everything snaps.
Crossing Swords animation may look a bit childish, but its comedic sensibilities are anything but. A stop-motion animation series set in medieval times, Crossing Swords follows Patrick (Nicholas Hoult), a peasant who suddenly finds himself thrust into the royal lifestyle when he becomes a squire for King Merriman (Luke Evans). His excitement and honor slowly subside though as he realizes the people who lead the nation aren’t the noble individuals he thought they were, they’re just a bunch of horny crooks.
Being a teenager is hard, but it’s even harder when your parents run a criminal organization called Pride. Based on the Marvel comic of the same name, Runaways follows a group of six teenagers with special abilities who all realize that their parents have a dark and dangerous secret. Dramatic and entertaining, the show has a great ensemble and is set within the Marvel Cinematic Universe- meaning it is a must-watch for any Marvel completionists out there.
A comic book-adjacent series, Keith Knight and Marshall Todd’s Woke follows comic creator Keef Knight (Lamorne Morris) as he suddenly finds himself able to see and hear inanimate objects after an aggressive, racially charged interaction with a police officer. This unique mix of live-action and animation is charming and silly, but it doesn’t shy away from larger political issues and the power of any form of art to speak to society’s woes.
A remake of the classic animated series, Animaniacs is a hilarious series that sees the iconic mice return in the modern-day. Starring the Warner siblings Yakko, Wakko, and Dot—who are all voiced by their original voice actors—Animaniacs drops the chaos-spreading kids into crazy situations like breaking into the NSA or accidentally starting the French Revolution. To make things even better, each episode of the series also features a new Pinky and the Brain short that also features the original voice actors.
Co-created by Wu-Tang Clan member RZA and screenwriter Alex Tse, Wu-Tang: An American Saga depicts a fictionalized version of the formation of the iconic rap group. Set in the early 90s, when the band was first coming up, the band follows how each member of the crew came together as a way to escape the drug epidemic sweeping the streets at the time. The show has been renewed for a second season and recently cast Uyoata Udi to play Inspectah Deck as a series regular.
Mindy Kaling’s The Mindy Project started on Fox, but it ended its six-season run as a Hulu original. Starring Kaling as Mindy Lahiri, a gynecologist who is trying to balance her stressful professional life and personal life as she runs her own, the show is partially based on the life experiences of Kaling’s own medical professional mother. Set in New York City, The Mindy Project is a quirky, romantic comedy full of great characters and amazing comedic performances.
Devs was originally envisioned as an FX original, but it ended up being one of the first FX on Hulu series released directly on the streaming platform. Written and directed by Ex Machina and Annihilation helmer Alex Garland, Devs follows Lily Chan (Sonoya Mizuno), a software engineer at the mysterious Amaya firm, as she tries to uncover what happened to her boyfriend and why things aren’t exactly as they seem at the quantum computing firm. Nick Offerman’s fantastic performance as Amaya’s oddly intense CEO Forest, Devs is a thought-provoking series that will grip viewers throughout its 8 episodes.
After being dumped by a longtime boyfriend, Jules (Kat Dennings) suddenly has to adjust to life alone after an extremely codependent relationship. A comedic show that dips into some heavy visual metaphors as Jules’ imagination takes hold of her, Dollface follows her attempts at rekindling old, abandoned friendships as she continues her career as a web designer at a wellness company.
Like The Mindy Project, Letterkenny started with another network but has since become a Hulu original series. A Canadian sitcom set in a small, rural Canadian town, the show focuses on brother-and-sister Wayne (Jared Keeso) and Katy (Michelle Mylett) as they go about their lives and Wayne, in particular, defends his tough-guy reputation. The hilarious and award-winning show follows the siblings and their fellow community members as they deal with their problems and get into local shenanigans to pass the time.
A time-traveling adventure based on a novel by Stephen King, 11.22.63 is historical fiction at its finest. English teacher Jake Epping (James Franco) is given an opportunity to go back in time through a portal to prevent the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, but things suddenly become increasingly complicated when Jake becomes increasingly enamored by the life he sets up for himself in the past. As he tries to collect intel leading up to the assassination of the President, Jake establishes a new life for himself and slowly becomes wrapped in a series of time crises that threaten to ruin everything.
If Rick and Morty is your cup of tea, then co-creator Justin Roiland’s Hulu original Solar Opposites, which follows a family of aliens who become refugees in the United States, should be on your radar. Not only does Roiland lend a number of voices to the series, but his comedic sensibilities are felt in every scene of this satirical, sci-fi romp. The second season debuted on the platform in March and was just renewed for a third.
A mini-series based on Joseph Heller’s book of the same name, Catch-22 is a satirical story that follows Captain John Yossarian (Christopher Abbott) and his desperate attempts to stay alive while stationed in the Mediterranean during World War II. Unfortunately for Yossarian, he is stuck in a situational loop that sees him continuously flying dangerous combat missions despite his desire to be relieved of duty. The six-episode series has a fantastic ensemble, including George Clooney, and even features two episodes directed by Clooney himself.
Starring Saturday Night Live performer Aidy Bryant as Annie Easton, Shrill is a hilarious series about self-love in a world always trying to change people. Annie is an overweight woman who wants to change certain things about her life, but she is quite happy with her weight. While working as a journalist, Annie tries to find some semblance of work-life balance as she dates and tries to assist her sick parents. An incredibly positive program, Shrill reminds viewers that everyone is unique and worthy of appreciation and love.
A twist on Nick Hornby’s novel of the same name, High Fidelity follows record store owner Robyn Brooks (Zoë Kravitz) as she attempts to reconnect with individuals who are on her Top 5 Most Memorable Heartbreaks list. A dramatic and funny show about romance and why certain people connect, the show has a unique sensibility and even breaks the fourth wall at moments to allow Robyn to fully express herself. The series also has a unique connection to the film adaptation as Kravitz is actually the daughter of Lisa Bonet, who had a role in the 2000 movie as someone on Rob Brook’s heartbreak list.
Based on Celeste Ng’s novel of the same name, Little Fires Everywhere is a star-studded mini-series and slow-burning mystery that follows the seemingly picture-perfect Richardsons family, led by journalist and mother of four Elena (Reese Witherspoon), and the way their lives are turned upside down by the introduction of Mia Warren (Kerry Washington) and her daughter into their community. A complex and scarring story that explores mother-daughter relationships and how differing socioeconomic backgrounds impact people and their motivations, Little Fires Everywhere is a must-watch for all drama lovers.
Middle school is always awkward, but the one depicted in Pen15 is something else entirely. Co-created by Maya Erskine and Anna Konkle, who also star in the series as middle school versions of themselves among an ensemble of actual children, Pen15 is a hilarious exploration of the hormones and awkward interactions that define middle school experiences. If you are happy to be far-removed from school-yard crushes and choir practices but remember how silly those days can be, then this is the show for you.
An anthology series that features numerous characters and locations from Stephen King’s countless novels, Castle Rock is a psychological horror show that is extremely creepy and moody. Set in the fictional town of Castle Rock, Maine, the show is both extremely intimate and character-driven while also being larger-than-life and mythic-feeling. Executive produced by J.J. Abrams, Castle Rock won a Writers Guild of America award for Best Original Long Form series in 2019.
Created by and starring Ramy Youssef, Ramy is a dramedy that follows Ramy Hassan (Youssef), a millennial, first-generation Egyptian-American, as he tries to live a modern life while also pleasing his Muslim family. With a fantastic ensemble that features Mahershala Ali in the second season, the show is both touching and overwhelmingly funny as Ramy tries to figure out the best way to live his life. The A24 co-production has won a Peabody Award and landed Youssef a Golden Globe for his acting, and already been renewed for a third season.
A historical fiction that takes great liberties with its real-life cast and events, The Great follows Catherine the Great (Elle Fanning) before she becomes Empress of Russia. Stuck married to the foolish and cruel Emperor Peter III (Nicholas Hoult), Catherine plots a coup and tries to assert her own independence as she plots out a better future for Russia. Created by Tony McNamara, the screenwriter behind the Oscar-winning The Favourite, the dramatic and hilarious series has been nominated for numerous awards and was renewed for a second season.
Hulu’s signature original title is definitely Bruce Miller’s The Handmaid’s Tale. Based on the novel by Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid’s Tale is a dystopian story that follows the disintegration and transformation of American society after a second Civil War and fertility crisis. In this new totalitarian society, fertile women are deemed Handmaids, child-bearing slaves who serve the new patriarchal rulers. Elisabeth Moss leads this packed ensemble as June Osborne, a woman who is forced to become a Handmaid as she tries to rescue her daughter from this corrupt regime.