Hulu might not have the sheer volume of original content that Netflix and Amazon provide, but there are more than a few impressive shows the streaming video service produces in-house that set it apart from its competitors.
From award-winning dramas like The Handmaid’s Tale to hilarious comedies like Difficult People, Hulu’s original programming covers a wide range of genres and tone, and it’s only getting more diverse as the company increases its profile in the streaming video environment.
Here are our favorite original series currently available on Hulu, so you can spend less time searching through the streaming platform’s library, and more time bingeing on the best it has to offer.
This critically acclaimed comedy series follows a newly divorced single mother who finds herself living with her slacker brother, the founder of a popular dating site, after her ex-husband leaves her — and their teenage daughter — for a younger woman. Michaela Watkins, Tommy Dewey, and Tara Lynne Barr star in the series, which also featured Oscar-nominated Juno and Up in the Air director Jason Reitman behind the camera for several episodes of the series’ four-season run.
Widely praised for its clever dialogue and insightful look at the modern dating scene, Casual earned a Golden Globe Award nomination in 2016 as one of the year’s best comedy series.
“Difficult” is an understatement when it comes to the lead duo in this series, which follows a pair of struggling New York City comedians who are terrible to just about everyone they encounter — all except for each other, that is. Julie Klausner and Billy Eichner portray the two mean-spirited comedians who can’t seem to get out of their own way, with Amy Poehler serving as executive producer on the series.
The three-season series earned comparisons to Curb Your Enthusiasm over the course of its run, and like the latter series, it also featured a long list of familiar faces from the comedy world who make cameos or play supporting roles in the series. The final season of the series premiered in 2017.
The Hunger Games actor Josh Hutcherson stars in this sci-fi comedy series that casts him as a lowly janitor whose mastery of a popular video game leads to him being recruited for a time-hopping mission to stop a future apocalypse. If it sounds like the plot of The Last Starfighter, it’s supposed to — and that’s not the only pop-culture touchstone the series mines for inspiration.
The show comes from the mind of Misfits creator Howard Overman, and the presence of Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg as producers — better known for their collaborations on Superbad, The Pineapple Express, and Knocked Up — offers a good indication of the sort of humor and pop culture references that fill the show. Its well-received first season was followed by a second-season renewal in early 2018.
‘The Handmaid’s Tale’
The crown jewel of Hulu’s original programming, this dystopian drama is based on Margaret Atwood’s 1985 novel of the same name, and unfolds in an alternate future wherein a civil war has turned the former United States of America into a totalitarian, patriarchal society that subjugates women. Elisabeth Moss plays a woman forced into servitude as a “handmaid” tasked with child-bearing duties for a military leader and his infertile wife.
The first season of the series won eight Primetime Emmy Awards and was nominated 13 times, giving Hulu its first win in the “Outstanding Series” category. The second season has been nominated in 17 categories. To the surprise of no one, Hulu renewed the series for a third season in May.
Business is pleasure, and pleasure is the family business in this British-American drama that follows a pair of rival brothel owners in 18th-century England. Samantha Morton portrays former prostitute Margaret Wells in the series, and the show chronicles her efforts to compete with the high-class brothel run by her former employer while juggling the demands of raising her own family and status.
The series premiered in 2017 to positive reviews, and was followed by a second season that debuted in July.
Hulu’s lone entry (for now, at least) in Marvel’s cinematic universe, Runaways is based on the comic book series of the same name featuring a group of teenagers in a wealthy Los Angeles suburb who discover that their parents are supervillains. The young cast impressed audiences with an stellar first season that masterfully blended modern high-school drama with traditional comic-book themes and gave the entire show a unique vibe that set it apart from its superhero movie and television peers.
After the first season was released episodically between November 2018 and January 2018, Hulu eventually renewed Runaways for a second, 13-episode season that will premiere in December.