Want to watch the best Hulu shows in 2022? We can help you with that, in great detail.
Hulu is owned by two broadcasting giants, Disney own 67% of it, with Universal's parent company, Comcast, owning the remaining 33%. That means the service gets the best of both worlds, drawing from huge broadcast players like ABC, NBC, and FX, as well as its own original programming for a fine and ever expanding array of shows.
Despite there being so much competition from HBO Max (opens in new tab), Netflix (opens in new tab), Paramount Plus (opens in new tab), Prime Video and Disney Plus in the streaming market, Hulu is more than managing to hold its own, producing a diverse range of shows which span sci-fi, drama, fantasy, comedy and everything else in-between.
Among the platform's best offerings are whipsmart comedy-drama Only Murders In The Building, sparky new drama, The Dropout, heart wrenching coming of age saga Conversations With Friends and feisty period spectacle The Great.
With so much to choose from, it's important we guide you towards the really good stuff, the unmissable shows. And here, without further ado, are the best Hulu shows right now...
The Girl From Plainville
Elle Fanning is front and center of this dark drama, which chronicles the events that led up to the death of Texas teenager Conrad Roy, who took his own life at the age of 18 .
Fanning plays Roy's girlfriend Michelle Carter, who was subsequently convicted for involuntary manslaughter after she was perceived to have encouraged him in text messages to kill himself. The drama takes us through the lead-up to the tragedy and Carter's subsequent trial.
Fanning is the star of the show, but there are also top performances from Chloë Sevigny and Cara Buono alongside her.
It's a grim tale, but one that is tastefully handled.
Under The Banner Of Heaven
Andrew Garfield leads this dark detective drama, which retells the events of the horrendous 1984 murder of Brenda Wright Lafferty and her 15-month-old daughter, Erica.
Garfield plays Jeb Pyre, a devout Mormon and a police detective whose faith is utterly shaken when he is asked to investigate the murder of a Mormon mother and her baby daughter that seems to involve The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Daisy Edgar-Jones, Sam Worthington, Rory Culkin, Denise Gough, Wyatt Russell and Billy Howle are among the supporting cast, while Dustin Lance Black, writer of Oscar-winning drama Milk, has adapted Jon Krakauer's book about events for Hulu, with the story playing out in seven parts.
Conversations With Friends
After the huge success of Normal People, Hulu and the BBC have teamed up once again to bring a second Sally Rooney novel to the screen.
The show follows newcomer Alison Oliver's Frances and her best friend Bobbi, played by American Honey's Sasha Lane, two college students in Dublin who find themselves drawn into a strange friendship with a married couple.
The couple, Joe Alwyn's Nick and Melissa, portrayed by Girl's Jemima Kirke, have an unusual relationship, and one that Frances and Bobbi quickly find themselves tangled up in...
Using the same half-hour format as Normal People, the drama plays out in 12 parts. Lenny Abrahamson, who directed a big chunk of Normal People, shares directing duties with His Dark Materials' overseer Leanne Welham
Only Murders in the Building
Now back for a second season, Steve Martin, Martin Short and Selena Gomez star in this easy-to-watch and engaging series about three true crime podcast addicts who get pulled into the orbit of a crime themselves – inside the building where all three of them live.
It's a novel premise, and it makes the most out of its two ageing lead funnymen.
Amanda Seyfried leads the way in this lavish drama which retells the rise and fall of Elizabeth Holmes, the founder of healthcare tech startup, Theranos.
Theranos had set out to revolutionize US healthcare by creating a machine that could undertake bloodtests in a matter of minutes. Along the way, she secured deals to put her machines in major US supermarkets and saw Theranos valued at $9 billion with more than $400 million raised in venture capital. Sadly, the technology never worked and Holmes is now facing prison after being convicted of fraud.
Seyfried delivers a stellar performance as Holmes with Naveen Andrews, Stephen Fry and Laurie Metcalf among the supporting cast.
An eight-parter, this is a stirring, gripping and superbly executed drama.
Sally Rooney's bestselling novel was taken tenderly and elegantly to the big screen in 2020 by a Hulu and BBC co-production, and it remains an absolute must-watch.
Set on Ireland's Atlantic coast, the show follows the lives of teenagers Marianne and Connell and their relationship as they move from school through university and into adult life.
Led by breakout stars Paul Mescal and Daisy Edgar-Jones, the series is an emotional rollercoaster as the pair's complex love life takes turn after turn after turn.
The story is told over 12 30-minute episodes, which is just as well, as that's all you'll be able to cope with in one go.
If you've seen the terrific Oscar-winning historical dark comedy The Favourite, don't miss The Great (opens in new tab) from that film's screenwriter Tony McNamara, which hits a similar tone – and also features Nicholas Hoult. It's about the rise of Catherine the Great (Elle Fanning) and her relationship with the appalling Emperor Peter III of Russia (Hoult), who she plots to remove from power. This comedy is as dark as it gets – in episode 1, Peter tries to drown his new wife as a joke – but its two leads are phenomenal.
Nine Perfect Strangers
A starry cast come together for this lavish series, with Nicole Kidman, Melissa McCarthy, Michael Shannon, Luke Evans, Samara Weaving and Bobby Cannavale among the ensemble.
We watch as the titular strangers gather for a 10-day retreat at Tranquillum House, a health and wellness resort in the fictional town of Cabrillo, California. Quickly, we learn that each of the guests is carrying a dark secret as they try and detox under the supervision of Kidman's Masha Dmitrichenko, the enigmatic founder of Tranquillum.
Quickly, things take a dark, dark turn and you'll be watching through fingers.
Nine Perfect Strangers marks the second major series for Liane Moriarty, author of Big Little Lies, and has the same twisty/turny feel. It makes from very, very good television.
Timothy Olyphant somehow always seems at home playing a cowboy, whether it's in Deadwood, The Mandalorian or Justified. This series has Olyphant playing Marshal Raylan Givens, a cowboy hat-wearing lawman who's expelled from the Miami law enforcement after killing a criminal in broad daylight. He's then relocated to his hometown in Kentucky, where he deals with more small-time types of crime – not to mention his childhood friend, the unpredictable and fiery Boyd Crowder.
Justified starts as a satisfyingly episodic modern Western, then becomes steadily more ambitious in telling serialized storylines. Don't miss it if you skipped the show when it aired on FX back in 2010-2015.
Hulu is certainly not hurting for a lack of adult animated comedies. As well as being the home of perennial Fox favorites like Family Guy and Bob's Burgers, it's also where espionage-themed series Archer lives.
Essentially, it's a James Bond riff, about pompous spy Sterling Archer (H Jon Benjamin) and his numerous colleagues in the espionage business – well, that's how the show starts, anyway, before it morphs into different forms over its many years on the air. It's more Adult Swim than Austin Powers.
Devs is a thriller from Ex Machina mastermind Alex Garland, who writers and directs every episode. After her boyfriend goes missing while working at an extremely successful but mysterious tech company, Lily (Sonoya Mizuno) investigates what happened to him. This beautiful-looking limited series thriller crosses both sci-fi and horror – it's slow-going but not to be missed.
Little Fires Everywhere
Adapted from Celeste Ng's critically acclaimed novel of the same name, Little Fires Everywhere welcomes us into the intertwined lives of two mothers (Reese Witherspoon and Kerry Washington) from very different socio-economic backgrounds. Dealing with race, class, and the irrevocable pull of motherhood, this is a thought-provoking drama that mustn't be missed.
Starring Zoë Kravitz, this new adaptation of the Nick Hornby book (which was originally set in London, even though both adaptations are set in the US) follows a record store owner and music obsessive as she catalogues her break-ups. This breezy show is one of the better recent Hulu originals, and Kravitz is a compelling lead, even if it's almost implausible that people under the age of 35 would still be obsessed with 'Come on Eileen' in 2020.
Sadly, this show only got one season on Hulu, but it's still terrific.
The Handmaid's Tale
An outstanding adaptation of Margaret Atwood's novel of the same name, and Hulu’s most acclaimed original series to date, The Handmaid’s Tale is one of the best TV shows of the last decade. Despite being based on a now three-decades-old book, the show's haunting dystopia remains as relevant as ever.
Following Offred (Elizabeth Moss), we're catapulted into a not-too-distant, totalitarian and theocratic future that dictates fertile women become 'handmaids' to elite couples who have trouble conceiving. Blessed be the fruit.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer
With more sass than you can shake a vampire-slaying stake at, Buffy the Vampire Slayer is so much more than your average undead-hunting drama series (sorry, Supernatural).
Starring Sarah Michelle Gellar as the no-nonsense, titular slayer, Buffy's battles against (the still terrifying) villains who attempt to take down her nearest and dearest are but a small part of what makes this show so great. Expect wit, roundhouse kicks, tears and tantrums – and, of course, myriad quintessentially '90s outfits. Seasons two and three mark the show at its best.
Is there anything Donald Glover can't do? Besides writing hits like This is America as Childish Gambino, Donald Glover wrote, starred and produced this superb show about the music scene in Atlanta.
The show charts the rise of two cousins as hip hop artists, trying make something of themselves to make a smart, funny and a fitting look at being black and middle class in America.
Mystery drama Veronica Mars felt like the heir to Buffy the Vampire Slayer when it debuted back in 2004. It's a smart-mouthed teen drama, but with a lot of crossover appeal, and it has a Twin Peaks-like mystery at the center of each season. After three seasons, though, The CW canceled it, bumping it off the schedule for a Pussycat Dolls reality show of all things.
Fans didn't forget the show, though, and in 2014 a Kickstarter-backed sequel movie was released. Then in 2019, Hulu surprised everyone by bringing it back from the dead for a fourth season that picks up with many of the same characters years later. Even with two revivals under its belt, Veronica Mars somehow feels underrated. This is still one of the best modern serialized dramas, though it's unlikely we'll see more seasons on Hulu.
American Horror Story
If you feel like you've been getting too much good sleep recently, American Horror Story is all-too-happy to fix that for you. You'll find eight seasons of the anthology show on Hulu, each of which centers around a different plot line and unique set of fears. That means the quality can fluctuate depending on the season's theme, but there's plenty to like here.
Not sure if clowns are all that scary? Watch American Horror Story. Think porous materials are harmless? Again, watch American Horror Story. Anything you love can and will be used to scare you silly.
Based on the work of author Stephen King (opens in new tab) but not a direct adaptation of any specific work, you'll find two seasons of this horror anthology show on Hulu. Set in King's fictional town, the titular Castle Rock in Maine, the show is bursting with references that fans of the writer will appreciate.
If you enjoyed the IT films and want something a little more mature, you might want to dig into this show next.
While its origins lie in the 1996 Coen brothers cult classic movie of the same name, FX’s black comedy crime drama has made a name for itself as a show in its own right, and a brilliant one at that, featuring a stellar cast including Martin Freeman, Kirsten Dunst and Mary Elizabeth Winstead. Season 4, meanwhile, builds on that by bringing Chris Rock, Jessie Buckley and Ben Whishaw in its ensemble.
While the first season pays homage to the vibe of the original movie, tracking a series of murders and the antics of a downtrodden insurance salesman, the second, third and fourth instalments venture into totally alternate storylines. Worth a watch? You betcha!
Tackling everything from paranormal phenomena and governmental cover-ups to regular appearances from nightmare-inducing monsters, The X-Files featured special agent duo Fox Mulder (David Duchovny) and Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson), with Mulder in particular convinced that the truth is out there.
And 'out there' this cultural touchstone of a series certainly was, as wonderful as it was totally off the wall. Featuring some of the most terrifying TV episodes of all time (one word: Tooms), and labyrinthine storylines, this show is a must for any conspiracy theorist or fan of great genre TV.
Rick and Morty
Need your fix of black humor and sci-fi gone wrong? Hulu’s got Adult Swim's brain-pummeling, universe-stretching, animated adventure on tap. So sit back and allow the grandpa and grandson duo to teach you a thing or two about psychology, bizarre family dynamics and Adult Swim's excellent scriptwriting through four seasons that promise to leave you scratching your head for days on end.
It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia
One of the darkest comedies on TV, and destined to run forever. Launched on a tiny budget back in 2005, It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia has grown from a cult hit into a heavily memed sensation over the last 15 years. The show is about characters Mac, Charlie, Sweet Dee, Dennis and the latter two's uncle, Frank, who run a bar in Philadelphia.
But really, this is a springboard for appalling antics involving everything from steroid abuse to Nazism to a musical. It's not for everyone, and it's a lot harsher than modern sitcoms like Brooklyn Nine Nine, but it's the heir to Seinfeld if you enjoy comedies about terrible narcissists doing stupid things.
Delivering subversive satire and laughs-a-plenty, Tina Fey’s 30 Rock, a show about a female TV writer trying to grasp control over backstage antics at a live, prime-time variety show, is as smart as it is downright hilarious.
Every episode is layered with running gags, absurd plot twists and pop-culture references; so much so that you'll need several sittings to appreciate each one. Fey stars alongside household names such as Tracey Morgan, Alec Baldwin, Jane Krakowski and Jack McBrayer.
Ever find yourself screaming "Yas queen!" without really knowing how the term came to be? Let Broad City educate you, for Comedy Central’s bangin' lady duo – Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer – are the reason this phrase will be forever lodged in your lexicon.
Championing female friendship like no other show on TV, Broad City shines a hysterically real and infinitely positive light on how ridiculous life can be… while perma-blazed on gingerbread blunts, naturally. The complete series is on Hulu.
Brooklyn Nine Nine
Brooklyn Nine-Nine is a sitcom about a dysfunctional police station. The series follows the brilliant but immature NYPD detective Jake Peralta, and this Golden Globe-winning series is a laugh-a-minute, with plenty of deadpan jokes, physical comedy, and crackpot characters.
With around 20 episodes per season, Brooklyn Nine-Nine is extremely easy to binge.
There’s a reason why NBC’s Community found such a huge fanbase during its six-year run. Laden with pop-culture references and geeky, self-referential humor, this community college-set sitcom is a witty and often unpredictable series about a culturally diverse crowd united in their quest for a better education.
The show boasts an outstanding cast of comedy actors, including Donald Glover, Alison Brie, Gillian Jacobs and Danny Pudi, all of whom give performances that never fail to capture the nuances of bizarre human behavior. While the quality fluctuates in later seasons (skip season 4, though make sure you watch season 5), this is another NBC classic.
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