Best Hulu Original Series and Exclusives CordCutters 2020
Hulu has claimed a place as one of the strongest players in streaming. A major part of their appeal are Hulu originals and exclusive series. These original and exclusive series cover a wide variety of styles, including comedies, dramas, thrillers, classics, and visions of the future. Here is a selection of the best Hulu has to offer, separated into Original Series and Exclusive Series collections.
Best Hulu Original series
Hulu began producing original scripted series around the same time as other major streaming services. While it took them a little while to get their first hit, Hulu has a big selection of excellent original shows that represent some of the best content available in Hulu's catalog.
- Flagship Favorite: The Handmaid's Tale
- Stephen King Multiverse: Castle Rock
- Sci-Fi + Silly: Future Man
- Red Light Drama: Harlots
- Horror Holidays: Into the Dark
- You won't believe your eyes: The Act
- Teen drama with superpowers: Marvel's Runaways
- Body positivity!: Shrill
- Who will be first to Mars?: The First
- Assassin Obsession: Killing Eve
- Current Comedy: Black-ish
- Glad I got my girls: Living Single
Hulu's best known and most acclaimed original is based on Margaret Atwood's novel. The Handmaid's Tale centers on an oppressive dystopian society where women capable of having children become surrogate slaves known as Handmaids. The show has been loved by fans and critics, and won numerous awards, including the Emmy for Outstanding Drama Series. It returns for season 3 on June 5, 2019.
Characters from Stephen King's fictional universe come to life with a vision of Executive Producer JJ Abrams. Castle Rock begins with a focus on a death-row attorney who returns to his hometown, balances appeal to King super fans and those just looking for a new show to watch. It's coming back for a second season.
Josh Futturman, the main character of this fun and funny show, almost breaks the fourth wall in the first episode, as he points out that the plot is the same as "The Last Starfighter". He obsessively plays a video game that was a sent by time travelers as a test to find their savior. Short episodes make this one an easy one to try, and binge once you are fully in.
While most series set 18th-century England focus on the royalty and aristocracy, Harlots focuses on brothels and the streets. When a powerful Madam sees her daughter become a prostitute in a rival brothel, the conflict turns from tense to violent. Two seasons await you, and a third season is in the works.
From Blumhouse Productions, makers of Get Out, Split, and Paranormal Activity. Into the Dark is a twelve-part horror series with episodes inspired by a holiday in each month. From Halloween to New Year's and Valentine's to April Fools Day, be prepared for frightening and twisted new ways to celebrate. New episodes of Into the Dark are premiering through September 2019.
Are you into true crime? The Act is a Hulu anthology series where each season covers a different case. Season 1 tells the story of Gypsy and Dee Dee Blanchard (played by Joey King and Patricia Arquette respectively) and the murder that exposed their family's secret. It's a story that's hard to believe, but it's true.
Marvel's Runaways doesn't get the same attention as the MCU movies, but it's a solid teen drama that also just happens to involve superpowers, dinosaurs, aliens, mad science, and more. You'll fall in love with these kids. The show was recently renewed for a third season.
The comedy, based on the book by Lindy West, tells the story of Annie (Aidy Bryant), a fat, budding journalist trying to just live day-to-day in a world that seeks to push her down. Sure it's funny, but it's also touching and inspiring. The show was just renewed for a second season.
Ever wonder what the race to Mars will look like? Check out The First, which stars Sean Penn and Natasha McElhone, tells a near-future story about what that first flight would look like. It was canceled after one season, but it's worth a shot if you love a low-key sci-fi story.
Best Hulu exclusive series
Hulu continues to be a strong provider of network shows, which were the core of the service when it began. Many of these network series are exclusive to Hulu, and not available on any other streaming services. Some are classic hit series, with the entire catalog available to enjoy, while others are airing on networks now with the previous episodes streaming only on Hulu.
This breakout series has become a season 1 exclusive on Hulu. Two strong, brilliant women battle wits and guile in this killer original series. Based upon Luke Jennings novels, an assassin codenamed Villanelle is pursued by an MI5 team led by Eve Polastri. Their interest in one another twists from respect to obsession and beyond. Season two starts up on April 7, 2019.
Hulu's exclusive deal to stream Black-ish was a big deal for the company when it started a year ago. The series, which focuses on the lives of a well-off African-American suburban family, has found a solid and loyal audience and critical acclaim. Black-ish is in season 5, and new episodes appear on Hulu the day after they air on broadcast.
Few understood during the five year run of Living Single the heavy impact it would have on the culture, and an audience that was hungry for what it uniquely offered. The show centered around four professional single women living and laughing together along with two men who had an upstairs apartment in the Brooklyn home they shared. The characters were all black, but they were different from most of the black characters on TV at the time.
As the famous show about nothing, Seinfeld was a ratings juggernaut dealing with a comedian's life turned into stand-up in the 1990's. Parts of the show have become integrated into language and life beyond TV. Binge it all, and remember why Junior Mints, the J. Peterman catalog, and "No soup for YOU!" still make us all laugh.
TV fans of a certain age will be very excited about Hulu adding exclusive streaming rights to these famous 1990's comedies. Full House, Family Matters, Step by Step, Perfect Strangers and Hangin' with Mr. Cooper aired as a block of comedies on Friday nights. Pop some popcorn, create your own playlist from these 37 combined seasons, and let Urkel, Balki, Kimmy Gibbler and Mr Cooper make you feel like a kid again.
Finding originals and exclusives to fit your tastes
Taste in television shows tend to be very personal, so the series that are favorites of everyone else may not be for you. Streaming services like Hulu make it easy to sample the first episode and get a feel for a show without feeling committed.
If you're wondering what to watch next, The Handmaid's Tale is the obvious choice. It's a dark look at humanity, but it's won multiple Emmys and includes some truly amazing performance. If you're looking for something lighter, I've been really enjoying Future Man, which I found to be unique and refreshing. The laughs build along with the story, and the call-back jokes grow deeper the longer you watch the show.
Killing Eve may be my favorite show airing now, and it's great to have the option to go back through the first season so easily on Hulu. It's gripping, and the acting is phenomenal. In fact, the chemistry between the two lead characters, played by Sandra Oh and Jodie Comer, elevates this to a level that you just can't turn away from.
Meanwhile, Living Single feels comfortable, like my childhood home. It's a great option to pop on anytime I need a few laughs, or want something I can watch casually while I take care of other things. If you've never seen it before, I highly recommend you give it a shot.
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