When I was putting together our weekly guide on the new movies and TV shows to watch last week, I was surprised to realize that the three titles I was most interested in — Life & Beth, Deep Water and Welcome to Flatch — are all on Hulu.
Not only that, I've been using Hulu a lot this month to devour the fascinating scammer show The Dropout and catch up on the excellent ABC comedy Abbott Elementary. Oh, and the service recently added Romy and Michele's High School Reunion, which I want to re-watch.
Yes, somehow, Hulu has become my current favorite streaming service, and even I'm surprised!
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Hulu makes first-rate originals
I shouldn't be surprised by how much I like Hulu, as it's been producing phenomenal originals for years. In fact, Hulu — and not Netflix — was the first streaming service to win the Emmy for Outstanding Drama Series with The Handmaid's Tale.
Their other acclaimed original dramas include Little Fires Everywhere, A Teacher, Dopesick, Runaways, Looking for Alaska and the recently-concluded Pam and Tommy. I foresee awards in The Dropout's future, too (Amanda Seyfried's impersonation of Elizabeth Holmes from Theranos is frighteningly on point).
Where Hulu really shines is in original comedies, and get a pen and paper for this. PEN15 is one of my favorite series of all time. I recommended Only Murders in the Building to friends more than any other show last year. Reservation Dogs is a blast. I'm currently watching The Great season 2 and Dollface season 2. I also loved Casual, Shrill and the too-brief High Fidelity. And then there's the aforementioned Life and Beth, which just premiered.
Hulu was also home to a few of the best original movies to come out on streaming in the past couple of years, including the time-tripping Palm Springs, the raunchy and trippy Vacation Friends and Christmas romance Happiest Season. And the service debuted Adrian Lyne's latest erotic thriller, Deep Water, starring Ben Affleck and Ana de Armas.
And originals are just one part of Hulu's library.
Access to current TV shows and major movies
Last year, I cut the cord on cable TV and decided to use Sling to continue watching and recording my favorite channels. But sometimes I mess up and forget to DVR something. In some cases, I can hop onto Hulu the next day or a few days later and play it on-demand. I did that with Better Things season 5 premiere episode, which I forgot to tape. Fortunately, it's available via FX on Hulu.
Or here's a slightly different example. I started reading good things about Abbott Elementary in the TV critic social-verse and my colleague Henry T. Casey also noted that the best new sitcom was on Hulu. The show airs on ABC and premiered back in December. ABC and Hulu are both owned by Disney, so all of Abbott Elementary's past episodes are streaming on the service. I've been slowly catching up and everybody's right: It's fantastic.
Right now, Hulu has access to current TV shows on all Disney-owned channels (ABC, FX, Freeform, National Geographic); in the case of FX, that means the return of Atlanta later this week, so you can turn to Hulu to binge Atlanta's back catalogue of episodes. Hulu also includes shows from NBCUniversal channels (NBC, Bravo, E!, Syfy, USA), though that will change this fall. NBCU has ended its content-sharing deal with Hulu and new episodes of their current shows will become exclusive to Peacock.
Still, Hulu will retain some NBCU library shows like Law & Order: SVU and This Is Us. And licensed content will still flow in from other network partners like Fox, AMC, TBS, TNT, Comedy Central, MTV, Food Network, Lifetime and TLC.
The licensed movie selection is pretty good, too. Hulu is the only place you can see Oscar-nominated Kristen Stewart as Princess Diana in Spencer, or last year's Best Picture winner Nomadland (and 2020's Parasite). They've also got tons of older popular movies, ranging from Juno to Sideways to The Hunger Games. And some kind of licensing quirk took Batman and Batman Returns off HBO Max and put them on Hulu.
Hulu's got it all — for a decent price
Recently, I complained about how expensive my streaming services bill has become. If I need to pare down, I'm fine churning Disney Plus, Peacock and Paramount Plus. But I'm going to hold onto Hulu. The $6.99/month cost for the basic plan is on the lower end among streamers and considering everything I get on Hulu, worth it.
Of course, I do have to watch ads, which gets annoying, but for the excellent originals and access to current shows and popular movies, Hulu can take my money.