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The best Hulu original shows to watch now

From Only Murders in the Building to Casual, these are the best Hulu original shows you can stream now.

While it’s easy to default to a service like Netflix, which definitely has a solid library of movies and shows, it’s important not to forget about Hulu. Hulu has long been the scrappy underdog of the streaming landscape, but it has an excellent library of movies, documentaries, and shows. Whereas a service like Netflix mostly hosts new and original content, Hulu has an archive of great shows and movies that goes back much further, and that’s without even considering this lineup of some of the best Hulu original shows.

There’s something for everyone in Hulu’s original offerings, from outright comedies to truly meaty dramas. In fact, some of the best Hulu shows are originals. You’ll fall in love, you’ll be on the edge of your seat, or you’ll laugh out loud. The best Hulu originals have something for everyone.

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Normal People (2020)

Normal People
82 %
tv-ma 1 Season
Genre Drama, Comedy
Cast Daisy Edgar-Jones, Paul Mescal
Created by Sally Rooney (based on the story by)
Normal People is Hulu’s crowning achievement. The 12-episode series, based on a novel of the same name, tells the story of two people who are desperately in love but can’t get out of their own way. It’s a sexy, moving series about two deeply sympathetic characters, and it’s beautifully acted by Paul Mescal and Daisy Edgar-Jones. The series is perfectly shot, and it tells this story of young love without ever feeling overly melodramatic or saccharine. Real love is rare, and Normal People knows that better than most TV shows.

The Handmaid's Tale (2017)

The Handmaid's Tale
81 %
tv-ma 5 Seasons
Genre Sci-Fi & Fantasy, Drama
Cast Elisabeth Moss, Yvonne Strahovski, Joseph Fiennes
Created by Bruce Miller, Margaret Atwood (based on the story by)
When it first debuted, The Handmaid’s Tale felt like a series perfectly calibrated to the moment in which it debuted. Over the seasons since it debuted, the response to the show has become more mixed, but it’s hard to deny the quality of the direction and performances throughout the show’s five seasons. Initially, the show is set mostly in Gilead, a dystopian version of the United States in which the government has been overthrown by a fascist, religious sect. The series, which follows one Handmaid who is tasked with giving birth to children for wealthy men, is often horrific in its depictions of abuse and assault, even as it chillingly depicts how the world can fall apart in an instant, even when that seems impossible.

PEN15 (2019)

87 %
tv-ma 2 Seasons
Genre Comedy
Cast Maya Erskine, Anna Konkle, Mutsuko Erskine
Created by Maya Erskine, Anna Konkle, Sam Zvibleman
Pen15 is, in one sense, a very high concept show. The show features stars Anna Konkle and Maya Erskine playing 13-year-old versions of themselves. The twist is that the rest of their classmates are played by actual 13-year-olds, which makes everything that they say and do feel even stranger. The comedy here definitely leans heavily on its cringe factor, but Pen15 also knows when to be sweet.

High Fidelity (2020)

High Fidelity
70 %
tv-ma 1 Season
Genre Comedy, Drama
Cast Zoë Kravitz, David H. Holmes, Da'Vine Joy Randolph
Created by Veronica West, Sarah Kucserka
Based on a novel and movie of the same name, High Fidelity takes the male perspective at the center of what’s come before it and flips it on its head. On the show, Rob is played by Zoë Kravitz, and she’s dealing with the aftermath of an intense breakup. Although High Fidelity features plenty of moments that directly echo the novel and film, the series really flourishes in the new territory it is able to stake out for itself. Kravitz is electric in the role, and she’s supported by a stellar cast. High Fidelity is a comedy series that believes that messy, broken people can still find love. It was unjustly canceled after just one season, but that doesn’t make its greatness any less apparent.

The Great (2020)

The Great
77 %
tv-ma 2 Seasons
Genre Drama, Comedy
Cast Elle Fanning, Nicholas Hoult, Phoebe Fox
Created by Tony McNamara
The Great may be based on real history, but it’s about as ahistorical as historical fiction gets. The show follows the rise of Catherine the Great in 18th century Russia, and delights in a wide array of twists and turns that may or may not be based in fact. In lifting up some of history’s most famous figures, what The Great really does is shine a light on all of the ways these figures are as human as anybody we may know. Catherine the Great was still just a person, and as played by Elle Fanning, she was a pretty funny one. The Great features a wry wit and plenty of absurdity. It’s a great comedy and a great drama, and darn it, just great.

Mrs. America (2020)

Mrs. America
tv-ma 1 Season
Genre Drama
Cast Cate Blanchett, Rose Byrne, Uzo Aduba
Created by Dahvi Waller
A wonderful reminder that American history is longer than we often remember, Mrs. America tells the story of the fight to pass the equal rights amendment (ERA). The series features a slew of great performances from Uzo Adubo, Rose Byrne, Margo Martindale, and Cate Blanchett, among others, and it’s a smart look at the origins of the modern right-wing in America. The fight to pass the ERA wasn’t really about equal rights for women. Those who opposed it were fighting for a way of life that kept them constrained, and they didn’t realize that the people they were fighting weren’t the villains they believed them to be.

Casual (2015)

81 %
tv-ma 4 Seasons
Genre Comedy
Cast Michaela Watkins, Tommy Dewey, Tara Lynne Barr
Created by Jason Reitman, Zander Lehmann
Casual was one of Hulu’s first original offerings, and it remains one of the platform’s most underseen gems. The series stars Tommy Dewey and Michaela Watkins as siblings who are both adrift in their lives and find themselves living together as adults. Although Casual is a comedy, it’s ultimately about the relationship between these two self-destructive people as they slowly inch their way toward becoming better versions of themselves. Casual is often hilarious, but it’s moving at least as frequently, and that’s in part thanks to the central performances from Watkins and Dewey, who know their characters inside and out by the time the show’s fourth and final season rolls around.

Ramy (2019)

tv-ma 3 Seasons
Genre Comedy, Drama
Cast Ramy Youssef, May Calamawy, Hiam Abbass
Created by Ramy Youssef, Ari Katcher, Ryan Welch
Ramy is one of many shows from young comedians that allows them to play a version of themselves. In the series, creator and star Ramy Youssef plays Ramy, an Egyptian-American who is torn between what it means to be a millennial living the U.S. and what it means to be a faithful Muslim. What’s refreshing about Ramy is how much religion is at the center of everything that the show is grappling with. Ramy knows how to poke fun at the absurdity of any and all religions, but it just as often takes aim at young people, who don’t seem to care about anything, religion or not.

Veronica Mars (2004)

Veronica Mars
78 %
tv-14 4 Seasons
Genre Mystery, Drama, Comedy
Cast Kristen Bell, Enrico Colantoni, Jason Dohring
Created by Rob Thomas
Veronica Mars did not start its life on Hulu, but it did wind up there for its fourth season. The show had an original three-season run more than a decade ago on UPN and The CW, but its return on Hulu allowed the series to be a darker, but no less intelligent version of itself. Kristen Bell’s portrayal of Veronica continued to be remarkably complex, and the show’s willingness to put her in complicated moral situations remains one of its many strengths. Veronica Mars was a high school show when it first debuted, but it has grown up with its main character, and the version that aired on Hulu proved that the show is totally capable of adapting to a new setting.

Devs (2020)

71 %
tv-ma 1 Season
Genre Sci-Fi & Fantasy, Drama, Mystery
Cast Sonoya Mizuno, Nick Offerman, Alison Pill
Created by Alex Garland
Everything writer/director Alex Garland makes is worth watching, and Devs is no exception. The series is a discursive thriller that focuses on Lily (Sonoya Mizuna), a young woman who begins investigating her boyfriend’s former employer after he dies by suicide. As Lily winds her way toward answers, she discovers that the silicon valley tech company that he worked for may be developing technologies that could change the world. As straightforward as that description may sound, though, there’s nothing easy about Devs. The show is challenging, but in ways that ultimately make you think deeper about the implications of the story it’s telling.

Only Murders in the Building (2021)

Only Murders in the Building
77 %
tv-ma 2 Seasons
Genre Comedy, Crime, Mystery
Cast Steve Martin, Martin Short, Selena Gomez
Created by Steve Martin, John Robert Hoffman
You might not think that a show that starred Steve Martin, Martin Short, and Selena Gomez would be genuinely great, but that’s exactly what it is. Only Murders in the Building is an effective parody of an era obsessed with true crime, even as it devotes plenty of screen time to the actual murder at the center of the story. It’s incredibly difficult to lovingly parody a genre without overplaying your hand, but that’s exactly what Only Murders in the Building manages to do throughout its first season. 

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Joe Allen
Joe Allen is a freelance culture writer based in upstate New York. His work has been published in The Washington Post, The…
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