Best Hulu Movies and TV Shows (January 2019)

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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 favorite Hulu content 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.

Movies

Sorry to Bother You (2018)

Credit: Annapurna PicturesCredit: Annapurna PicturesSorry 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.

Midnight in Paris (2011)

Gil Pender (Owen Wilson) is a hopeless romantic, and his one true love is Paris during the Roaring Twenties. Too bad his fiancée and her extremely conservative family don't share his worldview, even when they all travel to Paris together. But when Gil discovers a way to travel back in time each night, he soon discovers that the années folles were just as wonderful as he'd hoped. He meets literary giants like Ernest Hemingway and Gertrude Stein, and falls in love with Adriana (Marion Cotillard): one of Pablo Picasso's models. Midnight in Paris is a sweet, funny film with a surprisingly nuanced take on nostalgia, as living in the past begins to take a toll on the protagonist.

Amélie (2001)

Amélie is the film that put French actress Audrey Tautou on the international map, but it's also a charming romantic comedy in its own right. In the film, Tautou plays Amélie Poulain: a sheltered girl who decides to venture out into Paris, making people's lives better however she can. This leads her on a series of escapades and misadventures as she crosses paths with family members, co-workers, artists and clerks, trying to make each one's life a little brighter in the process. Amélie is decidedly on the light and fluffy side, but it's aged surprisingly well for fans of quirky, good-natured French fare.

The Shawshank Redemption (1994)

The Shawshank Redemption is the best movie ever made, at leastaccording to IMDB users. I'm not sure I would go that far, but it is a tremendously faithful and entertaining adaptation. Based on a novella by Stephen King, the film tells the story of two men imprisoned in Shawshank Penitentiary: Red (Morgan Freeman), a killer serving his time, and Andy Dufresne (Tim Robbins), a tax accountant wrongfully accused of murder. When it becomes clear that the system has failed Andy, he decides to take matters into his own hands and stage an elaborate, dangerous escape. But the real heart of the film is about how prison can — or can't — crush the human spirit.

Guess Who's Coming to Dinner (1967)

Spencer Tracy's final film is also one of his most enduring. Guess Who's Coming to Dinner is a comedy/drama that stars Tracy as newspaperman Matt Drayton, who discovers that his daughter, Joanna (Katharine Houghton) is engaged to a black man, John Prentice (Sidney Poitier). Back when the film came out, interracial marriage was still a hot topic, having been illegal in 17 states up until just a few months before the film's release. Drayton considers himself a liberal individual, and struggles to put into words his objections to Joanna's marriage. But the film feels good-natured rather than preachy, and has some thoroughly decent laughs along the way.

TV Shows

Castle Rock (2018-Present)

Credit: Dana Starbard/HuluCredit: Dana Starbard/HuluStephen 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.

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.

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.

Leaving This Month

Up in the Air (2009)

Comedy-drama is a hard genre to pull off, but when it’s  well-balanced, itcan make you laugh and think in equal measure. Up in the Air stars George Clooney as Ryan Bingham, a professional "downsizer." He’s a gun-for-hire who flies around the country firing people for big companies that don't want to deliver the bad news themselves. Bingham  spends a huge chunk of his life learning how to be the perfect air traveler — even if doing so alienates him from people who live back on solid ground. Anna Kendrick nearly steals the movie as his hesitant assistant, Natalie Keener. Up in the Air is funny and not preachy, but it may tug at your heartstrings a bit.

New This Month

Total Recall (1990)

Credit: Everett CollectionCredit: Everett CollectionTotal Recall combines Paul Verhoeven, Arnold Schwarzenegger and early '90s pop sci-fi. If that doesn't excite you, I don't know what to tell you. Based on a short story by psychedelic spec-fic author Philip K. Dick, Total Recall tells the story of Douglas Quaid (Schwarzenegger), a futuristic construction worker. A company called Rekall offers to implant Quaid with false memories of a trip to Mars, but the procedure does not go quite as planned, and he finds himself on the run from a group of deadly brutes. As Quaid's real memories start to conflict with his implanted ones, he can no longer be certain what's real and what's fake — if the difference was ever really there to begin with.

What Else to Stream

The amount of good content online doesn't stop here. Check out our list of the best shows to binge watch to find some more gems you'll want to stream.

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