If you’re thinking about picking up Hulu, you probably want to know what the best shows on Hulu are – not just the current shows, but especially popular, must-see shows that Hulu offers and that are hard to find anyplace else. Thanks to Hulu’s expanded original content and how it keeps up with so many of the latest buzzworthy TV, there are a lot of choices! If you want movies too, Hulu has some of the best streaming for movies and shows.
However, going on sheer quality, starpower, and must-see TV praise, Hulu’s top show has to be The Handmaid’s Tale. This gripping drama has received major awards and nominations for its edge-of-the seat, not-quite-dystopian story that’s designed to keep you uncomfortable…and waiting for more. But check out our full list for other favorites from many categories! If you want to easily watch Hulu from your home TV, take a look at best streaming device too. If you just want to go on a movie binge, take a look at 24 of the best movies streaming on Netflix for 2013.
Top 20 Best Shows on Hulu
#1 The Handmaid’s Tale
Award: TOP PICK
WHY WE LIKE IT: Starring Elizabeth Moss, this Hulu original is adapted from the famous novel, but goes far beyond the original work to explore a near-future dystopia where fertile women are enslaved in a religious dictatorship that has taken over what used to be the United States. The main character, Offred, seeks both freedom and revenge in her new world. It’s a gripping tale with amazing production values, and easily the best thing Hulu has yet produced.
Read Full Review: The Handmaid’s Tale Review
#2 The Act
WHY WE LIKE IT: The Act hits hard, and then hits harder. Based on a true story, it follows a true-crime tale that explores a toxic mother-daughter relationship that shatters as the young daughter eventually discovers the extent of her mother’s lies and control. True crime fans will love it, even if it is hard to watch at times, and it’s bound to create all-new discussions for any group brave enough to follow through to the end.
Read Full Review: The Act Review
WHY WE LIKE IT: Created and led by the famed Donald Glover, Atlanta was a sleeper hit that soon won huge acclaim for its insightful combination of humor, ambition, and clarity – and that can apply to the show itself as well as all the characters. It follows a tight group of family and friends trying to navigate burgeoning fame in the Atlanta rap world. Even if you don’t know anything about that scene, it’s worth a watch by just about everyone, and you’re more than likely to get hooked. The show is ongoing, with the 3rd season currently in production.
Read Full Review: Atlanta Review
#4 Bob’s Burgers
WHY WE LIKE IT: Hulu’s animated options include plenty of mainstream fare, but Bob’s Burgers stands a bit above the rest. Instead of relying on the old gags and body humor of other animated comedies (although there is a bit of that too), Bob’s Burgers focuses more on the family dynamics as Bob tries to keep his burger joint afloat while dealing with three kids and his wife, all quirky in the best ways. Excellent voice acting keeps the show worth watching, and the zany plots ensure you don’t get bored.
Read Full Review: Bob’s Burgers Review
#5 Brooklyn Nine-Nine
WHY WE LIKE IT: Any mention of the top comedy shows of the past few years surely has to include Brooklyn Nine-Nine. The show follows a mostly-functional police precinct in NYC, and is filled with favorite characters, perfect deadpans, and tons of well-placed humor and romance. Whether the team is following a case or vying for a fake trophy, every episode is worth watching. Hulu will no doubt keep up on the next season when it comes out as well.
Read Full Review: Brooklyn Nine-Nine Review
#6 Castle Rock
WHY WE LIKE IT: Castle Rock is a fascinating type of horror show that explores the fictional Maine town created by Stephen King himself. As you can imagine, the show is filled by characters, ideas, and horrors that King also created, so any fan of his work is bound to like it. We can’t say too much, but it’s about a grisly secret war between two different factions that covers a lot of ground in a remarkable manner.
Read Full Review: Castle Rock Review
WHY WE LIKE IT: It’s hard to imagine a show that properly explores the WW2 ultra-black comedy Catch-22 – or at least it was, until George Clooney gave it a shot and Hulu provided the investment. The story follows bomber Yossarian, an American soldier permanently trapped in war through a series of loopholes. There aren’t a lot of laughs in this satire, as funny as the situations may be, but it’s the perfect on-the-edge look at the travesties of war in all their madness, and it’s carried out with just the right tone. If you love the action of this show, you’ll also want to check out 30 of the best action movies streaming on Netflix.
Read Full Review: Catch-22 Review
WHY WE LIKE IT: A newer addition to Hulu’s line-up from FX, Devs is an ambitious sci-fi miniseries that follows a software engineer deep down the rabbit hole as her new job turns into an exploration of how software affects reality itself. It’s weird, awesome, and just the right length to watch without getting too bored or confused. Oh, and Nick Offerman’s in it, too.
Read Full Review: Devs Review
#9 Drunk History
WHY WE LIKE IT: There’s nothing quite like Drunk History on TV, which is the point: This show follows celebrities who get drunk and recite history, with hilarious re-enactments. You’ll learn something, but only by delightful accident.
Read Full Review: Drunk History Review
#10 The Good Place
WHY WE LIKE IT: It’s hard to call The Good Place a comedy, although it certainly is. The show is more of a philosophical, high-end sitcom that follows a group of mismatched souls through the afterlife and explores what it means to be good – and why people should be. Few shows are as perfect from beginning to end, and viewers are guaranteed plenty of laughs and tears along the way.
Read Full Review: The Good Place Review
#11 The Great
WHY WE LIKE IT: A new satire from Hulu, The Great is about Catherine the Great…sort of. No true history is promised, but a lot of humor is guaranteed as the story follows the bungling royal family and its various attempts to kill one another. Casting is great, the plot is light enough to enjoy even if you aren’t a history buff, and the comedy dark enough to appreciate if you do remember this particular historical record.
Read Full Review: The Great Review
#12 It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia
WHY WE LIKE IT: It’s incredible how long Always Sunny has been alive, renewing and reinventing itself in each season (now up to 14) even as its asshole characters remain more or less the same. The show follows a group of misfits who own a bar and get constantly in trouble because of their unflinching hubris – if you’ve never taken the time to watch it, Hulu is the perfect spot to grab all the seasons.
Read Full Review: It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia Review
#13 Key & Peele
WHY WE LIKE IT: Comedy sketches are by their nature experimental, but Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele come exceedingly close to perfecting the formula with their brilliant take on the show. It’s mostly just the two actors and a bunch of clever ideas (as well as a lot of brilliant cultural takes), making it easy to watch in bite-sized chunks whenever you feel like it!
Read Full Review: Key & Peele Review
WHY WE LIKE IT: It’s easy to see how this Canadian sitcom was inspired by the likes of Trailer Park Boys or Always Sunny, and it’s no surprise that Hulu rescued it for additional seasons. Following a small Canadian farming town, it explores all the zaniness of the culture with a cast of lovable misfits and a bunch of incredibly ambitious deadpan comedy. It’s also lighthearted enough to encourage those who don’t like their comedy too dark.
Read Full Review: Letterkenny Review
#15 Mrs. America
WHY WE LIKE IT: Mrs. America follows the American women pushing for the Equal Rights Amendment – and the women pushing against it. The cast is packed full of famous actors including Cate Blanchett, Rose Byrne, Margo Martindale, and pretty much every other acclaimed female character actor in the business. It’s a great drama for exploring culture, politics, and ultimately, the 1970s.
Read Full Review: Mrs. America Review
#16 My Hero Academia
WHY WE LIKE IT: Hulu has quite a few anime options, and what you like best will depend entirely on your tastes. However, the top choice has to be My Hero Academia, an immensely popular show that follows a team of superhero students vying with each other to become real heroes – and discovering what exactly it means to emulate their idols, both good and bad.
Read Full Review: My Hero Academia Review
WHY WE LIKE IT: Pen15 is one of the most unique adult comedies ever created, following Maya Erskine and Anna Konkle as they play tween versions of themselves back in 2000, struggling to come of age all over again – with all the pain and humor that entails.
Read Full Review: Pen15 Review
#18 This Is Us
WHY WE LIKE IT: One of the top dramedies of the decade, This Is Us follows a set of triplets and their parents throughout their lives as they navigate family life in all its glory and tragedy. It’s also one of the best uses of timeskips in any modern TV! There’s a good reason that the show has stacked up so many awards and nominations, and we highly recommend giving it a try.
Read Full Review: This Is Us Review
WHY WE LIKE IT: This Hulu original comedy follows Ramy, a first-generation Egyptian-American who’s trying to find himself in a New Jersey town that’s also struggling with its identity. The show navigates politics, humor, Muslim culture, and millennial struggles with an incredibly deft hand.
Read Full Review: Ramy Review
#20 Rick and Morty
WHY WE LIKE IT: If Rick and Morty is on your list of “animated shows I wanted to see but never had time” then Hulu is a great place to get caught on this memeable series. The show follows an incredibly dysfunctional mad scientist, Rick, and his grandson Morty, as they navigate the multiverse and generally discover how little anything matters…but encounter some great dark comedy along the way.
Read Full Review: Rick and Morty Review
How We Decided
To discover the best shows available on Hulu, we started by watching a lot of TV! Of course, opinions can be relative, so we also did a lot of research on reviews, ratings, recommendations, and what data Hulu has released about the shows that people like to watch. Good scores, lots of buzz, and starpower certainly help! We also tried to pick a variety of shows to prevent getting stuck in one genre for too long. If you’re in the mood for a movie binge instead, take a look at 53 of the best movies streaming on Netflix for 2012.
We also paid particularly close attention to original content. The shows Hulu has from other networks can be watched in other ways, or caught live if you’re a particularly big fan. But Hulu original content can’t be found anywhere else, so it gets extra points for being worth the watch.
We also awarded more points for shows that are ongoing, or have satisfactory resolutions. After all, it’s great to start a high-quality new show, but very disappointing to find that show was cancelled before it had time to end properly.
Best Shows on Hulu FAQs
How Do I Get Hulu?
You can sign up for Hulu online whenever you want just by visiting their website. You’ll need to provide your email, create an account, provide credit card info, and accept their terms to service to begin. Then you can download the Hulu app on any device you want and log in to start watching. The app is available on everything from iPads to smart TVs, so you shouldn’t need to worry about compatibility. There is an option to start a free trial and get the first month of Hulu for free to check out shows and see if you want to keep the subscription. Hulu also offers a package with no ads, and a package with 60 channels of live TV, if you prefer to enhance your experience.
Does Hulu Have Original Content?
Yes! In addition to the original content picks that we made on our list, Hulu has a variety of original content, which it started producing in 2012. You can find a few dozen original shows over several different genres if you’re specifically interested in content that Hulu has produced itself. Hulu tends to be picky about what original content it renews, so only a few of these shows are actually ongoing, but they are all there to experience. Hulu also hosts live events from time to time, including concerts and sporting events, which may be difficult to find elsewhere - although that’s not quite the same thing as original shows. The Handmaid’s Tale, Veronica Mars, and The Looming Tower are all original series available on Hulu. The Handmaid’s Tale is an American dystopian tragedy. The first season of the series follows Atwood's book before eventually moving the literature. Veronica Mars starring Kristen Bell is an American teen noir mystery drama set in the fictional town of Neptune, California. The Looming Tower is set in New York City where Jeff Daniels plays John O’Neill, the chief of the New York FBI’s Counterterrorism Center in the 1990s.
What is the Most Watched Series on Hulu?
It’s hard to say, since we only know when Hulu talks about its internal numbers. The last time Hulu discussed stats like these was back in 2018, when it mentioned that its most watched show was South Park. As for original content, it’s harder to say but very likely that it’s The Handmaid’s Tale.
Is Hulu Better Than Netflix?
That depends what you are looking for. Netflix has a larger library of shows and movies, a better interface, and a lot more original content than Hulu. However, Hulu is more affordable, and is good about adding new episodes soon after they are on live TV, something Netflix doesn’t do. And, of course, you won’t be able to watch Hulu’s original content on Netflix, either. It really depends what you are most interested in. Whether you enjoy crime-based dramas, anthology series, or light-hearted shows following students messing around community college, Netflix and Hulu offer a variety of content to choose from. Both services offer free trials if you want to compare them.