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.
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.
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.
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.
Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (1986)
Also known as "The One with the Whales," Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home is easily the funniest Trek film. What you may not remember, though, is that there are a few serious messages underneath all the jokes. Capt. James Kirk (William Shatner) leads his crew on a time-travel mission to the 1980s in order to rescue a pair of humpback whales, whose whalesong could deter a mysterious probe bent on destroying Earth. It's mostly an excuse to poke fun at '80s pop culture and politics, and it holds up pretty well — humanity now is pretty much just as ridiculous as it was 30 years ago. But there's also a bit of drama, as a recently resurrected Capt. Spock (Leonard Nimoy) must once again learn how to reconcile his logical and emotional halves.
The Terminator (1984)
I maintain that while James Cameron has made many entertaining films, he's only ever made one great film: The Terminator. This sci-fi action/thriller stars Linda Hamilton as Sarah Connor, a perfectly ordinary waitress. But a time traveler named Kyle Reese (Michael Biehn) shatters Sarah's world, when he informs her that she's destined to give birth to a freedom fighter in a future war between humanity and a murderous AI called Skynet. In fact, Skynet has dispatched a ruthless Terminator robot (Arnold Schwarzenegger) to take her out and change history. This movie benefits from high-octane action scenes, lots of character development and absolutely perfect pacing. Plus, it gave us one of the most memorable one-liners in film history. ("I'll be back.")
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.
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 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
Secretary is one of the weirdest feel-good love stories you'll ever watch — at least from a mainstream cast and crew. Lee Holloway (Maggie Gyllenhaal) needs a normal job following a stay in a psychiatric hospital, and becomes a lawyer's secretary. The lawyer in question is E. Edward Grey (James Spader): a slightly neurotic, but talented, attorney, who wants to help Holloway improve herself. As they get to know each other better, they enter into a BDSM sexual relationship, which lets Holloway explore her psyche and Grey act out his fantasies. In spite of its taboo subject matter, Secretary is kind of a conventional romcom, too, complete with misunderstandings, reconciliations and a big, heartfelt ending.
New This Month
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.
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.
Roku Streaming Stick+
The Roku Streaming Stick+ is simply the most complete 4K HDR streaming device you can get for the price.
Google Chromecast (3rd Generation)
The new Google Chromecast is fast and intuitive, but the attractive little dongle is behind the times.
Amazon Fire TV Cube
The Amazon Fire TV Cube is an excellent marriage of an Echo speaker and a Fire TV device that's able to control your living room.