Recommending Hulu shows to watch is interesting. While its exclusive originals may feel fewer and further between than, say, Netflix, the streaming service is bigger than you might realize.
My colleague Kelly Woo has expounded on why Hulu was her favorite streaming service, by combining outstanding originals such as The Dropout and Life and Beth and current-season programming such as the excellent Abbott Elementary.
Personally, I've been almost ready to kick Hulu to the curb, because it's been running out of interesting content for me to watch. (My $1 per month Hulu deal from Black Friday, though has kept the service around even in lean times.) And today's one of those days where I'm happy I did.
That's because Hulu (via FX) is about to get the third season of a critically-beloved show that's slipped under the radar for some. I'm not going to say it slipped under all of our radars — how could it be up to a third season? — but here's why Breeders should be your next binge-watch.
Why you should watch Breeders on Hulu
First off, yes, the show is titled Breeders because it's about parenting. It's not about animals, except that it kind of is. Kids, as you may or may not know, can be the kind of little adorable monsters that make parents' lives a little hellish (on top of the normal nonsense we all go through).
Also, for linguistic reasons, it's good to know that Breeders is a British and American show, focusing on the lives of parents Paul (Martin Freeman) and Ally (Daisy Haggard) an unmarried couple who are the parents of a pair of very unruly children. Also, be prepared for foul language.
Just watch the above segment from the first episode, as it finds Paul on the moment of struggling to get his kids to sleep. Then, as you'll see (and I laughed at) everything got dicey when an outside argument pulled him outside, and he yelled at the arguing strangers.
While Paul doesn't seem like a violent person, these two blokes managed to upset his peace and calm. Getting back indoors proves to be a calamity in and of itself because of Paul's kids, and then the guy just can't have a cigarette (well, he uses that British term for them) because it creates another problem — not that he should be smoking in front of children.
This all adds up to a show that feels like a spiritual successor to FX's You're The Worst, where bad people dated each other and had a tough time with it all. Some reviews (more on that below) showed that critics thought Breeders would mostly appeal to parents. But as someone who has zero intent on having kids (don't tell my own parents), I can say that the show definitely works for me. Elsewhere in the episode, Paul and Ally joke about those moments where they ponder smothering their kids with a duvet.
Also, in season 1, you get the treat of Michael McKean (Better Call Saul) who plays Ally's estranged father. He seems just as bad of a parent as Ally and Paul, which makes you wonder if bad parenting is hereditary.
The critics like Breeders
Breeders has an overall Rotten Tomatoes score of 91%, which is split between its Certified Fresh 83% score from season 1 with a perfect 100% from season 2, though the latter only got 7 critics reviews (13 shy of consideration for Certified Fresh status).
For season 1, the BBC's Must Watch podcast gave Breeders an overall positive review, with Hayley saying "I really liked this. It’s in the same vein as Catastrophe and Motherland, but focusing more on the unveiled madness of parenthood. Everything about it felt like a lived experience and real." Her colleague Scott, though, said "If you don't know anyone with kids I don't think it would be that funny. It really is dependent on how connected you are to the issue at hand."
Personally, I'm able to refute this. Anyone who's watched parents deal with upset children in public has a chance at understanding Breeders' humor.
The Mail on Sunday's Deborah Ross applauded the show, writing "This is well performed by Freeman, and also Daisy Haggard...," but she also found "the anger directed at the children is hard to stomach."
For season 2, Saloni Gajjar at the AV Club said that Breeders found "a more self-aware voice in season two, the show has found its place in the genre." He also noted that the children getting older in the second season helps Breeders become "stronger as a show," and "one that actually has something more poignant to offer in lieu of its caustic comedy."
Brad Newsome at the Sydney Morning Herald writes that Breeders' creators "pull off a brilliant balancing act in keeping the show as funny as it is dark and as tender as it is aggravated."
Outlook: How to catch up on Breeders
Seasons 1 and 2 are streaming now (via FX) on Hulu, and each is comprised of 10 half-hour episodes (you can be caught up in 10 hours!). That means you can catch up if you love Breeders, or you'll just have a very good idea if you want to keep going by the time season 3 premieres on Hulu on Tuesday (May 10), following the show's Monday (May 9) debut in FX.
So if you have cable, or get FX on one of the best cable TV alternatives, you can watch new episodes earlier. (Just set it to record on your DVR.) Then, new Breeders episodes drop weekly on the service, the day after they air on FX. If you want to watch them live, but have cut the cord on cable, you can do so with Hulu With Live TV.
The one-stop-shop of it all is what makes Hulu stand out among the best streaming services.
In other streaming news, Netflix's #1 movie also has a 0% Rotten Tomatoes score. Plus, a guide on watching the UFC 274 live stream and new movies and shows this weekend.