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Best Hulu movies and TV shows (December 2019)

Hulu made its bones as an inexpensive place to watch recent TV, but in the past few years, it's evolved to become a much more comprehensive streaming service. Now, Hulu offers high-concept original series, recent hit movies and complete runs of popular TV shows. Better still, there's something for everyone, from '90s sitcoms to imaginative sci-fi fare.

Tom's Guide has compiled a list of our the best Hulu shows and movies to help you find something good to watch. We've also highlighted some programming that's new for this month, as well as some that's about to leave the service. Movies and TV don't stick around on Hulu forever, so watch your favorites while you can.

New on Hulu this Month

Kill Bill: Vol. 1

Kill Bill: Vol. 1 (Image credit: Carolco/Kobal/Shutterstock)

Kill Bill: Volume 1 (2003)
Even by Quentin Tarantino standards, Kill Bill: Volume 1 is a bonkers movie from start to finish. Uma Thurman stars as the Bride, a wronged woman on a quest for revenge. After her former lover Bill (David Carradine) shoots her in the head and leaves her for dead, the Bride arms herself with a katana and swears to hunt down each and every member of Bill's Deadly Viper Assassination Squad. The first of two movies follows the Bride as she hunts down O-Ren Ishii, aka Cottonmouth: a Japanese swordswoman with whom she shared a close friendship. Kill Bill is pure stylish, balletic violence from start to finish, provided you've got a strong stomach for some blood and gore.

Hulu TV shows

The Handsmaid's Tale

(Image credit: George Kraychyk/Hulu)

The Handmaid's Tale (2017-Present)
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. Offred (Elisabeth Moss) is one such handmaid, who eventually finds small ways to rebel against her position, even though she risks her life by doing so. The TV series has now gone past where the book ended, for readers who were curious about what happens next.

Castle Rock (2018-Present)
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.

Rick and Morty (2013-Present)
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.

Twin Peaks (1990-1991)
Twin Peaks is one of those shows that sounds simple on paper, but gets increasingly complex once you start to watch it. Kyle MacLachlan plays Dale Cooper: an FBI agent who must solve the murder of popular high school student Laura Palmer. Cooper's assignment starts off like a regular investigation, but it's not long before he starts to encounter surreal clues, prophetic dreams and impossible creatures. Like a lot of David Lynch's work, it's never 100 percent clear what's happening, or how much of it is just in the protagonist's head, but if you pay close attention, you can at least figure out the symbolism. A 2017 reboot continued the series, but Hulu has only a few episodes available at present.

Seinfeld (1989-1998)
Seinfeld may be a show about nothing, but nothing is a surprisingly rich topic to plumb. Jerry (Jerry Seinfeld) and his clueless friends Kramer (Michael Richards), George (Jason Alexander) and Elaine (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) are four average thirty-somethings in New York City, who act on every stupid desire they experience, and never have to grapple with the consequences of their actions. Along the way, they face down a Soup Nazi, get lost in a parking garage, pretend to be wealthy industrialists and celebrate the made-up holiday Festivus. If you've ever had a bad idea, Jerry and the gang have probably tried to make it a reality.

Hulu movies

Sorry to Bother You (2018)
Sorry to Bother You has a solid premise: Cassius Green (Lakeith Stanfield) works as a telemarketer for a company called RegalView. The only trouble is that he can't make any sales — until he discovers that he can use a "white voice" (David Cross, of course) to engender trust in his middle-class customers. But as the movie progresses, it turns out that RegalView is in bed with some very, very weird companies. From there, Green enters a world of drugs, genetic engineering and voluntary-ish indentured servitude, and even the best-laid plans to get the world back to normal might not go far enough.

Credit: Cate Cameron

Colossal (Image credit: Cate Cameron)

Colossal (2017)
You're either going to love or hate Colossal based on the premise — but the good news is that the film executes said premise with confidence and style. Anne Hathaway plays Gloria: an unemployed alcoholic whose drinking habit finally pushes her boyfriend to kick her out. Moving back home to New England is challenging, as she has to furnish a house, find a job — and deal with the fact that each time she gets blackout drunk, she summons a giant monster that ravages Seoul, South Korea. The "alcoholism makes you a monster" metaphor is pretty on-the-nose, but the concept is unique, and the story has a number of satisfying twists and turns along the way.

Credit: Moviestore Collection/Shutterstock

Big Fish (Image credit: Moviestore Collection/Shutterstock)

Big Fish (2003)
Tim Burton's finest film is — surprisingly — not a kid-friendly horror romp or a love letter to schlocky B-movies. Instead, it's an adaptation of Big Fish: a novel by Daniel Wallace. In the film, Will Bloom (Billy Crudup) is a journalist who visits his cancer-stricken father, Edward (Albert Finney). Edward (also played by Ewan McGregor during flashbacks) tells Will the fantastical story of his life, from his childhood run-in with a witch, to his apprenticeship in a traveling circus, to his catching a catfish of mythic proportions. But Edward's stories start to grate on Will, particularly since Edward refuses to come to grips with his disease. Part upbeat fairytale, part serious father/son drama and all heart, Big Fish is a culmination of everything we love about Burton's offbeat-but-affecting sensibilities.

everything you always wanted to know about sex* (*but were afraid to ask)

Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex* (*But Were Afraid to Ask) (Image credit: United Artists/Getty)

Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex* (*But Were Afraid to Ask) (1972)
Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex* (But Were Afraid to Ask) is a mouthful of a title — and I'll finish this sentence without going for the obvious joke. Woody Allen directs and stars in this adaptation of the nonfiction book of the same name, but takes its source material to ridiculous extremes. In seven short sketches, Allen, Gene Wilder, John Carradine, Burt Reynolds and others explore topics from aphrodisiacs to homosexuality to zygotic reproduction. It's about as silly as it sounds, but some sequences are still part of the pop culture canon today, particularly Allen as a nebbishy sperm cell.


Stargate (Image credit: Carolco/Kobal/Shutterstock)

Stargate (1994)
The film that launched a thousand TV spinoffs, Stargate is still a surprisingly solid sci-fi/adventure flick. James Spader stars as Daniel Jackson: an archeologist who makes an incredible discovery about an ancient Egyptian artifact. He and a team of military operatives travel through a Stargate: an alien device that transports them to the distant desert planet of Abydos. As it turns out, the ancient Egyptians made contact with a starfaring race, and these aliens did not have good intentions for the Earthlings. Now, Jackson and his team must fight for freedom and find a way back home. The TV series, Stargate SG-1,  is arguably better than the standalone film, but this is where you'll want to start.

Leaving Hulu this month

True Grit

True Grit (Image credit: Skydance Productions/Kobal/Shutterstock)

True Grit (2010)
Back in 1969, John Wayne starred in a by-the-numbers adaptation of the Charles Portis novel True Grit. There wasn't really anything wrong with the film, but it didn't capture any of the book's dark humor or religious symbolism. Well, no one does dark humor and religious symbolism like the Coen brothers. Their take on True Grit is much closer to the book, as well as a much better movie overall. Teenager Mattie Ross (Hailee Steinfeld) hires federal marshal Rooster Cogburn (Jeff Bridges) to avenge the death of her father. There's only one problem: Ross sees their mission as a holy quest, while Cogburn sees it as some quick liquor money.