If you only use Hulu to watch each episode of ER again, you miss it. In addition to hosting the archive of beloved TV shows and broadcasting new episodes of current shows from major networks, the web streaming platform also produces its own award-winning original series in a variety of genres. From truly limited crime series to episodic comedies of adulthood, to dramatic mini-series adapted from best-selling novels, Hulu probably has a show to climb depending on the mood you are in right now. To help you narrow down your choices, here are some of the best original Hulu shows to broadcast right now. Oh, and if you don’t have Hulu, click here to sign up for a free trial.
This 12-part miniseries is based on the 2018 novel by Irish author Sally Rooney. As Marianne and Connell go through their final year of high school at Country Sligo, they begin a relationship over and over which continues throughout their stay at Trinity College Dublin. For all those who have experienced young romance and its volatile moments, Normal people is equal and heartbreaking.
This 2020 reinvention of Nick Hornby’s novel stars Zoe Kravitz in the role popularized by John Cusack in the romcom 2000 of the same name. Instead of playing a Chicago record store owner like the movie, Kravitz plays a record store owner in Crown Heights, Brooklyn who is trying to figure out why his past relationships have failed. Hulu has modernized aspects of the story, but it’s just as charming as the movie you know and love. So far, there are only the 10 episodes of season 1 to watch, but Hulu has not yet said no to a second season.
The tale of the servant
A multiple Emmy and Golden Globe winner, this adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s dystopian science fiction novel is one of the original series that put Hulu on the map. Now, with three seasons, the show has moved beyond the plot of the book but remains focused on life in the ancient United States after fertility rates have been decimated and women capable of giving birth are held in slavery. Elisabeth Moss plays the role of one of these “servants”, as they are called, assigned to the home of one of the regime’s commanders. A fourth season has been ordered, but production has been halted due to the coronavirus pandemic.
In search of Alaska
Based on the 2005 novel by John Green, In search of Alaska is an eight-part mini-series by Josh Schwartz, the same showrunner behind The O.C. The teen drama follows Miles “Pudge” Halter as he begins an exciting new life at Culver Creek Residential School in Alabama. There he meets his roommate Chip “Le Colonel” Martin and quickly falls in love with Alaska Young, an enigmatic young woman.
Small fires everywhere
Based on the novel by Celeste Ng 2017 and released in miniseries in eight parts in March 2020, Small fires everywhere is about two moms – Elena Richardson (Reese Witherspoon) and Mia Warren (Kerry Washington) – from different backgrounds who raised their children in Shaker Heights, Ohio. The fires in the title refer to the fire in Richardson’s house that occurs at the very beginning of the series, but the show is more about motherhood, race and mistrust than about strict unity. It’s no surprise that this is a comparison Big Little Lies, HBO’s award-winning drama which also stars Witherspoon and hits on somewhat similar subjects.
Created by Maya Erskine and Anna Konkle, PEN15 is about two best friends sailing in 7th grade in 2000. This comedy is as cranky as it is funny, mostly because Erskine and Konkle – who were both born in 1987 – play fictional versions of their high school students against 13-year-olds. The show tackles insecurity, peer pressure and puberty just as awkwardly as you remember.
Ramy Youssef, an Egyptian-American stand-up comic, won a Golden Globe for his portrayal of Ramy Hassan in the first season of this original Hulu series. Comedy is a fictional version of Youssef’s real life as he overcomes the challenges of Muslim growth in America.
After parting after the death of a friend, a group of six teenagers are reunited when they realize that their parents are part of Pride, an infamous company that performs ritual sacrifices of humans. Part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Runaways has three seasons on Hulu that aired between 2017 and 2019, which will likely be all we will have as Marvel begins to consolidate its shows by launching only new series via Disney +.
Aidy Bryant of Saturday Night Live stars in this original Hulu series about a young woman trying to launch her career as a journalist, while trying to find love and maintain healthy relationships with her friends and relatives. The only thing she’s not trying to do is change her body, despite what the rest of the world wants her to think. Filmed on site in Portland, Oregon, the show received critical acclaim for its depiction of self-esteem and acceptance. It aired its second season in January 2020 and Hulu has already renewed it for a third season.
Launched in 2004, this drama starring Kristen Bell as a teenage private investigator in the fictional seaside town of Neptune, California, ended up being cut short after just three seasons. Thanks to a dedicated fan base, the creator of the series was able to bring back the beloved series as a feature film in 2014. Hulu resumed the series for a fourth and final season in 2019. More than ten years after the end from the original series, the show brings back favorite characters like Logan, Wallace and Weevil as Veronica and her father Keith try to solve the mystery that is responsible for the bombings terrorizing their city.
With three seasons to its credit, Harlots is one of Hulu’s most critically acclaimed original shows, even if it receives a fraction of the buzz from passionate series like The Handmaid’s Tale. But that’s all the more reason to pay attention to this whipped-time drama that takes place in London brothels in the 18th century. The plot revolves around two rival ladies who are trying to protect their lucrative activities. It’s scary and shy, but also feminist and stimulating.
Patricia Arquette won both the best supporting actress Emmy and a Golden Globe Award for her interpretation of Dee Dee Blanchard in the real detective drama of Hulu The Act. The eight-part series tells the true story of how Dee Dee Blanchard, a woman who was likely suffering from Munchausen syndrome by proxy, abused her daughter Gypsy Rose Blanchard (Joey King) by thinking she was suffering from multiple illnesses when in fact she was in perfect health. After discovering this lie, Gypsy asks her boyfriend to kill her mother, a crime for which the real Gypsy is still serving a prison sentence today.
Behind the mask
This docu-series of 20 episodes follows the life of sports mascots from the secondary and college levels to the minor and major leagues. In both seasons, you learn what it looks like in and out of costume for mascots like Lou Seal of the San Francisco Giants baseball team and Bango the Buck for the NBA team of Milwaukee Bucks.
This black comedy with Billy Eichner and Julie Klausner lasted three seasons on Hulu from 2015. The couple essentially plays fictional versions of themselves: two comedians in New York who seem to hate everyone but each other . The series has won comparisons with Seinfeld during its run due to the way the main characters are self-absorbed, unkind, but ultimately hilarious.
Instead of being based on a Stephen King novel, stone castle– named after the city of Maine where it takes place – brings together themes and elements through King’s canon as well as actors who have played in other adaptations of his work. You will recognize Sissy Spacek from Carrie and Bill Skarsgard from he, although they are playing new characters here. So far, there are two seasons of streaming on Hulu and the series is awaiting renewal for a third.