The best shows on Hulu deliver quality entertainment right into your living room (or bedroom/bathroom/whatever room you prefer). Streaming continues to be a bright spot, even as pandemic restrictions ease. And the best shows on Hulu that are available right now (July 2021) offer something for everyone, from comedies like Shrill and Party Down to dramas like The Handmaid's Tale.
With its enormous vault of content, Hulu is one of the best streaming services. On the TV side, they've got classic library series, recent airings of current shows and a acclaimed originals, including Ramy and Normal People. And there's always something new popping up for our bingeing pleasure.
One of the service's best features is FX on Hulu, which has older hits like Justified and The Shield as well as next-day episodes of current FX series. FX on Hulu also brings exclusive series to Hulu subscribers (meaning, they won't air first on FX), like American Horror Stories.
If you like reality TV, Hulu is the best way to binge everything from Married at First Sight to The Bachelorette. Drama lovers will find everything from Grey's Anatomy to Cruel Summer. And comedy fans can laugh along to PEN15, Modern Family and Broad City.
Best Hulu TV shows
The best new sitcom — also Hulu's best new show — isn't a Hulu Original, it's ABC's Abbott Elementary, which Hulu airs the day after broadcast. One of the best workplace sitcoms in a while, Abbott Elementary uses The Office's trick of a documentary team filming characters in the workplace, but this time it's focused on the teachers at a seriously underfunded elementary school in Philadelphia. Hilarious in ways you don't expect, Abbott Elementary brings a fresh voice to primetime TV, as series star, creator, writer and producer Quinta Brunson plays optimistic teacher Janine Teagues, who is stuck with her pessimistic (but also wisened) colleagues and her lazy aspiring musician boyfriend. (Watch now)
The bold, brash comedy starring Saturday Night Live's Aidy Bryant ends as it began: with lead character Annie Easton continuing her journey of self-discovery. She’s gotten stronger while dealing with online trolls, an awful boyfriend, an eccentric boss and society’s fatphobia. In the third and final season, she engages in casual dating, undertakes a challenging assignment at work and faces the possibility of living apart from best friend Fran (Lolly Adefope). And Annie must confront her own internalized body shame when she meets a new love interest who doesn't immediately attract her. — Kelly Woo (Watch now)
Catering is no fun at all, especially when you dream larger than making someone else's day special. So when the phrase "Are we having fun yet?" rings as the chorus throughout FX's Party Down, you know that Henry Pollard (Adam Scott) isn't sincere about it. That question, in fact, haunts Henry, as the one bit of success he ever had, in a commercial. Now, he's dealing with inept boss Ron Donald (Ken Marino), who wants to open a restaurant chain called Soup 'R Crackers, which he doesn't realize is a terrible idea. The series isn't just a hit for its terrific dialogue and situational comedy, but for the murderer's row of actors it pulled into its short-lived orbit (Jane Lynch was here before Glee, and Scott got this gig before Parks and Rec). Lastly, the will-they-or-won't-they romance between Pollard and fellow caterer Casey Klein (Lizzy Caplan) makes the series all the more relatable. — Henry T. Casey (Watch now)
The Handmaid's Tale
Based on Margaret Atwood's science-fiction novel of the same name, The Handmaid's Tale gives voice to fears felt by women all over the Western world. The show envisions a future in which the United States has become a patriarchal theocracy, and most women have lost the ability to bear children. Fertile "handmaids" are forced to birth babies for wealthy couples. After escaping her captivity as Offred, June Osbourne (Elisabeth Moss) continues to agitate against the state of Gilead. She's trying to get her daughter back as well as seek revenge against the people who subjected her and other women to leading such degrading and destructive lives. (Watch now)
One of the weirdest and most heartwarming comes on television is back for more awkward adventures of teenage life. PEN15 will make you laugh, cry and cringe as it takes you back to messy middle school days. Maya Erskine and Anna Konkle play 13-year-old versions of themselves in the year 2000, navigating bad haircuts, unrequited crushes, hallway bullies and the never-ending quest to be cool. The show sends up the juvenile humor and dumb references of kids that age (the title itself is a joke spelling of penis), and deftly balances the stew of emotions that every teen experiences. (Watch now)
Lamorne Morris' Winston ended up being one of the best characters on New Girl. Now, the actor brings his often-goofy charm as the headliner of this comedy that's a mix of live action and animated sequences. Morris plays Keef Knight, a Black cartoonist about to hit it big with his cute Toast and Butter comic books. He usually avoids controversial topics, but after a disturbing encounter with the police, the traumatized Keef starts hearing inanimate objects that confront him about racism and injustice. Wokeness is his new superpower. (Watch now)
Taste the Nation With Padma Lakshmi
The Top Chef host and cookbook author (and very entertaining quarantine chef) travels around America to taste diverse foods and cuisines across the country, exploring how immigrant groups have shaped what American food is today. Lakshmi visits a new city in each of the 10 half-hour episodes, with El Paso her first stop. In each town, she focuses on one particular dish and its history, whether it's a family recipe passed down through generations or street food. At one point, she even tries eating a rodent! (None for us, thanks.) "This is the real America," Lakshmi says. (Watch now)
The acclaimed, groundbreaking 2018 film Love, Simon inspires this spinoff/sequel, which starts off by following Victor (Michael Cimino) as a new student at Creekwood High School. In the first season, as he adjusts to his new town and community, Victor is also undertaking his own journey of self-discovery as he struggles with his sexual orientation. For help and support, he reaches out to Simon (Nick Robinson, returning as narrator). In season 2, Victor navigates being out to his parents and classmates, while being in his first gay relationship. (Watch now)
The acclaimed comedy surprised many people when star/creator Ramy Youssef won the Golden Globe for Best Comedy Actor, though the trophy was entirely deserved. Now, the show returns for a second season to continue following young Muslim man Ramy Hassan (Ramy Youssef) on his spiritual journey, as he grapples with a deeper commitment to his faith while still living as a modern American. The latest season featured a very special guest star, two-time Oscar winner Mahershala Ali. (Watch now)
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Little Fires Everywhere
Powerhouse actresses Reese Witherspoon and Kerry Washington team up for this limited series adaptation of Celeste Ng's bestselling novel, which follows two families with very different backgrounds. Elena Richardson (Witherspoon) is a rich suburban mom with a picture-perfect family. She upends all of their lives by offering the mysterious new woman in town, Mia (Washington), a job as a maid after seeing that Mia and her daughter seem to be living out of a car. The story explores the weight of secrets, the nature of art and identity, the ferocious pull of motherhood — and the danger in believing that following the rules can avert disaster. (Watch now)
Stephen King adaptations are a dime a dozen, but completely original tales using King's mythos as a springboard? Those are a little rarer. Castle Rock is a love letter to King's connected universe of stories, as well as a thoroughly decent horror yarn in its own right. The series takes place in the town of Castle Rock, Maine, which featured prominently in works like The Dead Zone, Cujo and The Body. André Holland plays Henry Matthew Deaver: an attorney called back to his hometown of Castle Rock under mysterious circumstances. Murders and supernatural thrills ensue, with a story that touches on other dimensions and intersecting realities. (Watch now)
Rick & Morty
Part sci-fi romp, part family drama and part Lovecraftian horror, Rick and Morty isn't quite like anything else on TV. This animated comedy follows Rick, a dimension-hopping mad scientist, and Morty, his dimwitted teenage grandson, as they get themselves into trouble all around the multiverse. With joke-a-minute pacing and lots of colorful aliens to see, Rick and Morty is easy to sit down and binge. But when the three-dimensional characters start grappling with issues like mortality, individuality and existential freedom, it can get surprisingly deep, too. Few shows pull off the balance between the sublime and the ridiculous so well, all while exploring big ideas. (Watch now)
The period comedy genre doesn't have a lot of entrants, but here comes a new one about Catherine the Great, Russia's longest reigning female ruler. Elle Fanning stars as Catherine, who starts out as an idealistic, romantic young girl engaged to marry the mercurial Emperor Peter III (Nicholas Hoult). When she arrives at court, she finds a dangerous, depraved world and resolves to fix it. All she has to do is kill her husband, battle the the church, outsmart the military and get the nobles on board. (Watch now)