Even with all the choices available for watching great television these days, it’s easy to fall into a pattern of watching the same shows you already know and love. Maybe you’re a chronic viewer of The Office, and mostly stick to Netflix for your binge-watching — and there’s nothing wrong with that. But there are so many hidden gems on other streaming platforms, like Hulu, and you really should give some of them a chance. (The Office will still be there when you’re done). Here are 13 different options for shows on Hulu you should try out before you revert back to your usual small screen selections.
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The Bold Type (2017 - Present)
The Bold Type is a fairly recent addition to Freeform’s lineup, but even with only two seasons under its belt, it’s already one of my favorite guilty pleasure shows. The series is about three friends – Jane, Kat and Sutton — who work for Scarlet, a women's magazine. It follows the young women as they find their footing in New York City media, but it also explores some really important topics: everything from race, to sexuality, to sexual assault in the age of #MeToo. It might not be a totally accurate portrayal of magazine journalism, but it sure is a lot of fun.
Credit: John Medland/Freeform
Future Man (2017 - Present)
Another more recent selection on this list, Future Man is a Hulu original that hasn’t gotten nearly as much attention as the platform’s other productions, like The Handmaid’s Tale, have. Future Man is about Josh Futterman: a janitor who is suddenly recruited to save the world from the Biotic Wars. His qualifications? He successfully beat his favorite video game of the same name. Josh Hutcherson is great as Josh Futterman, and the whole cast has some wonderful chemistry. Future Man has had only one season so far, but it’s been renewed for a second one, so it’s a good time to get into the show.
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Harlots (2017 - Present)
And now, something for the period drama fans. Harlots is a British-American television series that follows Margaret Wells. Wells runs a brothel in 18th-century England, and steadfastly tries to protect both her business and her daughters in the ruthless business of prostitution. This historical dramedy about the world of sex work hasn’t captured nearly the attention that it deserves. The show’s got it all: romance, scandal and characters so wicked that you can’t help but love to hate them. It was recently renewed for a third season, and it’s easy to binge-watch the 16 episodes that are currently available.
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Marvel’s Runaways (2017 - Present)
I’ll admit, I love the Marvel films and many of the TV shows, but it can be hard to keep track of all the intersecting properties out there right now. But Marvel’s Runaways is a Hulu original that’s definitely worth a try. It’s set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), and follows a group of teenagers from different backgrounds with extraordinary abilities, who come together against their criminal parents. That’s pretty standard Marvel stuff, but as a series featuring teenagers, it’s great for young adult viewers. And if you’re wondering, yes: Stan Lee makes a cameo appearance.
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I will admit it: I am an unabashed fan of ABC’s Selfie. A comedy starring Karen Gillan and John Cho, it was basically a modern retelling of My Fair Lady. Selfie followed Eliza Dooley, a woman obsessed with social media, and desperately trying to achieve fame through it. She befriends Cho’s Henry Higgs, a marketing guru and coworker, who helps her try to “rebrand” herself. What may seem like a cheesy show with a terrible title was actually a surprisingly heartfelt project with great performances by Gillan and Cho. It’s too bad it was cancelled so quickly.
Dead Like Me (2003 - 2004)
Dead Like Me ran for only two seasons, but it’s still beloved all these years later by the fans who stuck by it during its short run. Created by Bryan Fuller of Hannibal and Pushing Daisies fame, Dead Like Me presents a simple but interesting premise: when some people die, they are offered the job of grim reapers. The show centers on George Lass (Ellen Muth), the show's protagonist and narrator, who dies and becomes a reaper, and how she adjusts to her new role in the afterlife. The show was well-received, but there were creative differences behind the scenes, and the production ultimately didn’t last long enough.
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Firefly (2002 - 2003)
Firefly might be the most famous “hidden gem” here. The show was a “space western”: a sci-fi drama unlike anything else that had come before it, created by writer and director Joss Whedon. The series is set hundreds of years in the future, after mankind has made its way to a new star system. It focuses on the adventures of the crew of Serenity, a "Firefly-class" spaceship, hence the name. This Fox show was canceled after just 11 of the 14 produced episodes aired, and it’s still considered one of the most egregious examples of shows that were cancelled too soon.
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Scrubs (2001 - 2010)
For some reason, even though it aired around the same time as other 2000s comedies like The Office, Scrubs just hasn’t gotten the same nostalgic legacy treatment, and that’s a real shame. The show mostly follows John “J.D." Dorian, played by Zach Braff, as he learns to become a doctor at Sacred Heart Teaching Hospital. Braff narrates the whole show, aside from some one-off episodes where other characters take the spotlight. Although Scrubs was a comedy, it had its serious moments, which it did very well. Plus, it gave us the epic J.D./Turk bromance.
Hey Arnold! (1996 - 2004)
What ‘90s kid DIDN’T watch Hey Arnold! on Nickelodeon? This animated television series aired from 1996 to 2004, and centered on Arnold, a fourth-grader who lives with his grandparents in a city boarding house. Many of his friends are main characters on the show as well, including his best bud, Gerald, and Helga, who bullies him but is secretly in love with the “football head.” A feature film based on the series came out in 2002, and fans of the show are likely very aware that the long-awaited Hey Arnold!: Jungle Movie finally premiered in 2017, too.
Pinky and the Brain (1995 - 1998)
Pinky and the Brain is another animated television series, although it strikes a slightly different tone than the other ones on this list. The show follows Pinky and Brain, who are genetically enhanced laboratory mice living in a research facility. Brain is, well, the brains of the operation, and Pinky is good-natured but a bit dim. This show from Warner Bros. Animation ran for four seasons, but the characters first appeared in a segment on Animaniacs before spinning out into its own project. Steven Spielberg executive produced the show, and it’s held up very well over the years.
Credit: Warner Bros.
Boy Meets World (1993 - 2000)
You want to talk about cheesy shows? Boy Meets World is about as cheesy as they come. But it’s also classic ‘90s TV, and a generation of kids grew up watching the iconic ABC series. The show followed Cory Matthews, played by Ben Savage, and all his teenage/young adult life lessons. The show also featured great supporting performances from Rider Strong, Danielle Fishel and William Daniels as Cory’s teacher, George Feeny. It lasted 7 seasons, and remains a beloved show all these years later. Recently, it even got a Disney Channel sequel/spinoff in the form of Girl Meets World.
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Sailor Moon (1992 - 1997)
This show was one of my favorites as a kid, and I know I’m not alone in being thrilled that it’s available for streaming now. Sailor Moon was a popular anime adapted from a manga series. The show followed the adventures of schoolgirl Usagi Tsukino after she finds out she can transform into the heroic Sailor Moon, and that she’s destined to protect Earth from evildoers. Other Sailor Scouts join her along the way, and their ranks grow as the series continues. Hundreds of episodes are available to watch on Hulu now, so what are you waiting for?
Credit: Toei Company
The Twilight Zone (1959 - 1964)
This might be the oldest selection on the list, but it absolutely stands the test of time if you’re into weird science fiction series. An anthology series that ran for five seasons on CBS, episodes of The Twilight Zone would present a standalone story where characters found themselves dealing with disturbing events and surreal situations. It was an odd combination of horror, science-fiction, drama, comedy and fantasy, and there’s still not really anything else like it on TV. Fans consider The Twilight Zone to be one of the best shows of all time.