Hulu Streaming Guide: Best Movies and TV Shows On Now

Also streaming: Amazon | Netflix | Online Originals

Hulu really isn't just the online-TV site anymore. While it hosts a massive roster of network and cable shows, its movie inventory is ballooning. While a lot of that ballooning is baloney, quite a few great films are now slipping in, such as A Most Wanted Man, The Wolf of Wall Street and two installments from The Hunger Games this month. All those titles and others are arriving thanks to a new deal with Epix (which Netflix recently ditched), meant to provide more recent releases.

There's also a shimmer of hope for Hulu's heretofore-amateurish in-house TV productions, which have badly trailed Netflix and Amazon. Following last month's debut of clever cringe-comedy Difficult People, Hulu launches its middle age-dating-meets-family-bonding sitcom Casual.

TV Shows

American Horror Story: Freak Show (Oct. 6)

American Horror Story: Freak Show (Official Extended Trailer HD)

With a new storyline and characters every season, American Horror story is an easy show to jump into. And the fourth season, Freak Show, is a great place to either start or continue your creepy journey. Series standard-bearer Jessica Lang stars this season as Elsa Mars, the devious owner of a travelling freak show encamped in 1950s Florida. The star oddity is Bette Tattler, a product of such tightly conjoined twins that she is essentially a two-headed monster (both played smartly by returning actor Sarah Paulson). Along with other AHS stalwarts like Evan Peters and Lily Rabe (who reprises her role as devilish Sister Mary Eunice McKee from AHS: Asylum), the show welcomes Neil Patrick Harris as a magician who believes his ventriloquist dummy is actually alive.

Casual (Oct. 7)

Casual Series Trailer

Hulu is finally pushing up the quality of its original shows and producing legitimate competitors to cable (witness the debut of comedy Difficult People last month). Casual promises to continue that trend. The sitcom picks up the zeitgeist of Gen Xers remaking their lives in middle age. Straight off her divorce, 40-something Valerie (Michaela Watkins) is reunited with her bachelor brother Alex (Tommy Dewey) as roommates. The two siblings coach each other through the dating world while also raising Valerie's teenage daughter, Laura.

iZombie: Season 2 (Oct. 7)

iZombie - Trailer (Official)

The CW challenges archetypes of the undead. First, it was the daylight-loving creatures of the Vampire Diaries; now it's the farcical tale of Olivia Moore, the prettiest, most articulate zombie to grace the screen. As an assistant medical examiner, Liv More (get it?) has ready access to fresh, tasty brains, which have the side effect of imbuing her with the deceased's memories — and clues to how they died.

Jane the Virgin: Season 2 (Oct. 13)

Jane The Virgin | Extended Trailer | The CW

The CW, it turns out, also challenges stereotypes of virgin birth, with this tale of an extremely good girl who becomes pregnant through an accidental artificial insemination. It's a mouthful of a premise, but go with it and enjoy this whacky but also poignant Latino-American romp through the telenovela genre.

Wicked City: Series Premiere (Oct. 28)

Wicked City - Presentation

Giant hair and neon leggings weren't the only atrocities of the '80s; there was also the rash of serial murders that plagued Southern California. Wicked City is a fictionalized tale inspired by the crimes of the era, a romance between a dashing murderer and his sexy, sociopathic lover.

Other TV Arrivals

Arrow: Season 4 Premiere (Oct. 8)

Bones: Season 11 Premiere (Oct. 2)

Cake Boss: Next Great Baker: Complete Seasons 2 - 4 (Oct. 1)

Chicago Fire: Season 4 Premiere (Oct. 14)

Chicago P.D.: Season 3 Premiere (Oct. 1)

Grimm: Season 4 Premiere (Oct. 31)

MythBusters: Complete Season 16 (Oct. 1)

Reign: Season 3 Premiere (Oct. 10)

Saturday Night Live: Season 41 Premiere (Oct. 4)

Say Yes to the Dress: Complete Season 12 (Oct. 1)

Sleepy Hollow: Season 3 Premiere (Oct. 2)

The Flash: Season 2 Premiere (Oct. 7)

The Good Wife: Complete Season 6 (Oct. 4)

The Originals: Season 3 Premiere (Oct. 9)

The Vampire Diaries: Season 7 Premiere (Oct. 9)

Toddlers & Tiaras: Complete Seasons 7 & 8 (Oct. 1)

Undateable: Season 3 Premiere (Oct. 10)


All Is Lost (Oct. 1)

All is Lost Official Trailer

Rare is the actor who can solo an entire movie, but Robert Redford is up to the challenge in this tale of an ocean voyage that starts out dire and keeps getting worse. Redford's nameless character is cool and competent as he deals with a ruptured hull, a vicious storm, a busted radio and other adversities, though eventually he can no longer look away from his own mortality.

Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues (Oct. 1)

Official Anchorman 2 Trailer

Few sequels can top the original, and Anchorman 2 doesn't defy this trend. But it still has plenty of delightful moments for free streaming. This installment cleverly spoofs the dawn of the 24-hour news cycle in the 1980s, with Ron Burgundy's realization that anything, now matter how insignificant, can be transformed into breaking news with enough live coverage, empty speculation and meaningless chatter.

Billy Mize & The Bakersfield Sound (Oct. 1)

Billy Mize and the Bakersfield Sound TRAILER

Not every artistic innovator makes it into the popular narrative of history. This documentary seeks to remedy that omission in the case of Billy Mize, a founder, along with legends such as Merle Haggard, of the Bakersfield Sound style of country music. Putting family before his music career, Mize lost his chance at stardom. Then, through a string of tragedies, he lost most of his family, and later the very ability to speak. But this film isn't one that will leave you feeling glum; to celebrate his 80th birthday, Billy has prepared a special surprise for his friends. Listen carefully.

The Blair Witch Project (Oct. 1)

The Blair Witch Project

After what seems like a hundred installments of Paranormal Activities, the found-footage genre may be played out. But in 1999, the Blair Witch Project's use of grainy, shaky, off-kilter video was a creative milestone in scary storytelling. It created the illusion that you, the viewer, will ultimately know more than the filmmakers themselves about how this tale ends.

Blood Simple (Oct. 1)

Blood Simple. Official Trailer #1 - M. Emmet Walsh Movie (1984) HD

So many careers started with this film: the first written and directed by Joel and Ethan Coen, the first staring Joel’s wife, Frances McDormand, and the first shot by cinematographer Barry Sonnenfeld. But M. Emmet Walsh (Blade Runner) shines as the heartless killer Loren Visser in this convoluted tale of deceit and double-crossing.

Hannah and Her Sisters (Oct. 1)

HANNAH AND HER SISTERS - Trailer ( 1986 )

Coming off her unexpected triumph (i.e., not getting slaughtered) in the series' first episode, Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) has little time to breathe before she is drawn back into another round of games, the Quarter Quell, by a furious President Snow (Donald Sutherland) intent on crushing any hope she and her sham lover Peeta brought to the 12 Districts that serve the Capitol. But the rebellion Katniss inadvertently triggered in the first movie only grows bigger.

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (Oct. 1)

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire - Official Trailer The Hunger Games The Hunger Games

Coming off her unexpected triumph (i.e., not getting slaughtered) in the series' first episode, Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) has little time to breathe before she is drawn back into another round of games, the Quarter Quell, by a furious President Snow (Donald Sutherland) intent on crushing any hope she and her sham lover Peeta brought to the 12 Districts that serve the Capitol. But the rebellion Katniss inadvertently triggered in the first movie only grows bigger.

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 (Oct. 23)

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 (Jennifer Lawrence) Final Trailer – “Burn”

The battle to liberate the 12 districts of Panem from the tyranny of the Capitol and President Snow heats up in the penultimate screen edition of Suzanne Collins' postapocalyptic young-adult thriller book series. This flick comes out in plenty of time for you to catch up and get ready for the final installment, Mockingjay — Part 2, which arrives in theaters on Nov. 20.

A Most Wanted Man (Oct. 1)

A Most Wanted Man Official Trailer #1 (2014) - Philip Seymour Hoffman, Willem Dafoe Thriller HD

Philip Seymour Hoffman's final staring role masterfully caps a life that ended far too soon. This intense adaptation of John Le Carré's novel casts Hoffman as German Günther Bachmann, who single-mindedly heads a stealth branch of German law enforcement charged with capturing terror suspects by any means necessary. Günther's obsession with the job and flagrant disregard for his health as an overweight chain smoker is an eerie foreshadowing of Hoffman's own impending demise. As the film progresses, it become less clear who is the bigger enemy: the jihadist sympathizers or meddling U.S. diplomats headed by Robin Wright, with all the cold-steel vigor she brings to Claire Underwood in House of Cards.

Nebraska (Oct. 1)

Nebraska Official Trailer #1 (2013) - Alexander Payne Movie HD

Woody Grant (Bruce Dern) is about at the end — aged and alcoholic — when he receives a letter announcing he's won the lottery. Though Woody's son David (Will Forte) immediately recognizes it as a scam, Woody continues to believe and sets out repeatedly to walk from Billings, Montana, to Lincoln, Nebraska, to claim the prize.

Private Parts (Oct. 1)

Private Parts - Trailer

Howard Stern stars in his own biopic chronicling the shock jock's unlikely rise to fame by challenging all the notions of decency on FCC-regulated media. Of course, the film is narcissistic. But Stern brings plenty of humor in pointing out his own foibles, and he gives ample credit to his collaborators Robin Quivers and Fred Norris, who also star as themselves.

Star Trek: Into Darkness (Oct. 1)

Star Trek Into Darkness Official Trailer #3 (2013) - JJ Abrams Movie HD

The latest installment of J.J. Abrams' sci-fi reboot brings deceit, death and destruction upon the very core of Starfleet Command. It also brings Benedict Cumberbatch in a sometimes compelling, sometimes clunky portrayal of Kahn, Kirk's genetically enhanced nemesis. Cumberbatch's cold, precise rendition is a radical departure from Ricardo Montalbán's cheerful barbarian version. I'm not sure I like what they've done to my Kahn.

The Wolf of Wall Street (Oct. 1)

The Wolf of Wall Street Official Trailer #1 (2013) - Martin Scorsese, Leonardo DiCaprio Movie HD

Inspired by the true story of corrupt penny-stock broker Jordan Belfort, Martin Scorsese's tale of Wall Street's unbridled greed and decadence is ably helmed by Leonardo DiCaprio in a title role that was made for him. But the real treat is Jonah Hill's breakout, Oscar-nominated performance as Belfort's equally unscrupulous partner, Donnie.

World War Z (Oct. 1)

World War Z TRAILER 2 (2013) - Brad Pitt Movie HD

Brad Pitt might not be the first actor's name that comes to mind for a sci-fi action hero, but he ably carries this thriller. The film successfully adapted Max Brooks' oral history of a zombie apocalypse into a riveting action flick. Bonus for Doctor Who fans: Peter Capaldi's portrayal of an irascible WHO physician about a year before he was chosen to be the 12th Doctor.

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Sean Captain is a freelance journalist based in Brooklyn who's thrilled to get paid for watching TV. Follow him @seancaptain. Follow us @tomsguide, on Facebook and on Google+.

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  • So I felt like I was missing out on cable and TV, so I picked up Hulu Plus for a few months to 'catch up' with mainstream shows... turns out that the shows are rubbish, and paying for the right to watch commercials is one of the dumbest 'features' ever to hit the internet. I thought that I would enjoy Hulu enough to get a real cable service... but it isn't even worth the $8/mo for Hulu... how on earth do people justify their cable bills?