When their wildly comical new show “The Great” premieres on Hulu this week, stars Elle Fanning and Nicholas Hoult plan to celebrate quarantine-style. (May 14)
There’s more great TV on Hulu than you may realize.
Although the streaming service has plenty of original series and makes network series from ABC, NBC and Fox available the day after they air on TV, there is more to its library of TV shows. The streamer has golden oldies (“The Golden Girls”), modern classics (“Buffy the Vampire Slayer”) and reality gems (“Top Chef”), among many other choices.
There is so much good TV on Hulu, in fact, it can be hard to find the right show to watch at any given moment or keep track of what’s still on the service, and what might be gone.
To help your binge-watching, we have curated the best of the TV shows Hulu has available to stream as of August 2020 (in alphabetical order).
Don’t have Hulu? 50 best TV shows to watch on Netflix right now
Tina Fey and Alec Baldwin starred on NBC’s “30 Rock.” (Photo: Ali Goldstein/, NBC)
1. “30 Rock”
Alec Baldwin, Tina Fey and Tracy Morgan make an endlessly appealing trio in this award-winning series about NBC’s “Saturday Night Live”-style sketch comedy series. The original is almost enough to make you forget the recent infomercial the cast did for NBCUniversal’s new streaming service, Peacock.
Donald Glover’s audacious FX series about a college-dropout father trying to climb the economic ladder as a manager for his rapper cousin (Brian Tyree Henry) is proof of the multi-talented artist’s creative prowess.
The ABC series follows an upper-middle-class Black family in a predominantly white Los Angeles neighborhood, as it navigates social issues. With great performances by Anthony Anderson and Tracee Ellis Ross, it’s one of the best sitcoms on TV.
4. “Broad City”
This millennials-in-New-York Comedy Central series is both outlandish in its humor (drug-fueled trips to Whole Foods, children who shout “Yas, queen!”) and relatable (bad roommates, bad boyfriends). Stars/creators Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer bring their kooky world to life expertly.
5. “Brooklyn Nine-Nine”
From the producer of “Parks and Recreation” and “The Good Place, Fox’s (and now NBC’s) workplace comedy, set in a New York police precinct, also masters fast-paced humor and an upbeat tone.
Sarah Michelle Gellar as the iconic teen superhero in “Buffy the Vampire Slayer.” (Photo: ROBERT VOETS/UPN)
6. “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”
Witty, funny, thrilling and occasionally heart breaking, WB’s seminal fantasy series about a high school girl on a mission to save the world is a must-watch for anyone who hasn’t seen it. And maybe those of us who already have.
With a superb cast (Ted Danson forever!), smart humor and a nostalgic setting, NBC’s classic sitcom set in a Boston bar still holds up after all these years.
This slightly zany NBC comedy about a group of diverse friends attending a local community college has its ups and downs, but its funniest, most ambitious installments are among the best TV episodes ever made. The last few seasons don’t quite live up to the sharp first three.
9. “Don’t Trust the B—- in Apt 23”
This quirky series about a nightmare roommate didn’t last long on ABC, but made great comedy, with Krysten Ritter and James Van Der Beek, who played a fictional version of himself.
Before “Grey’s Anatomy” treated us to soapy hospital drama, NBC’s huge hit was set in an emergency room. From the George Clooney days to its final few seasons, the series always knew how to balance tragedy with heartwarming elements.
FX’s superb anthology crime series, based on the Coen Brothers movie, captures the spirit of the film in its distinctive seasons. Each installment is so good and so tonally resonant it’s hard to pick a favorite (nope, just kidding, it’s Season 2).
Fox’s “Firefly” gave us only 13 episodes and one box-office-bomb feature film, but this space Western starring Nathan Fillion is stunning.
If “Cheers” isn’t enough for you, try this slightly more cynical and mature NBC sitcom about Dr. Frasier Crane (Kelsey Grammer), one of the most successful spin-offs of all time.
14. “Fresh Off the Boat”
From the creator of “Don’t Trust the B—-” comes another Hall of Fame ABC family sitcom. Especially in the first four seasons, this story of a Taiwanese American family in 1990s Orlando, Florida, was full of great, specific humor and a talented cast, including Constance Wu and Randall Park.
15. “Friday Night Lights”
The drama on NBC’s acclaimed high school football series undeniably makes it one of the best shows to binge-watch, equally entertaining for teens and adults.
16. “The Golden Girls”
They don’t make them like they used to, right? A visit from Dorothy, Rose, Blanche and Sophia is always funny and calming, no matter if you’re just discovering the beloved NBC sitcom or rewatching it.
17. “The Great”
Hulu’s original series about Russia’s Catherine the Great (Elle Fanning) was a delight when it premiered last spring, a farcical royal romp from the writer of Oscar-winner “The Favourite.”
18. “Happy Endings”
One of the many “Friends”-like hangout sitcoms to emerge over the past two decades, ABC’s “Endings” is on the quirkier, more heightened side, following five thirtysomethings in Chicago.
19. “High Fidelity”
Zoe Kravitz is an appealing rom-com lead in this gender-flipped take on the Nick Hornby novel. The Hulu original series subverts many cheesy tropes of the genre, while respecting what makes a romance so appealing.
20. “Hill Street Blues”
The 1980s NBC police drama from Steven Bochco was critically beloved and a multiple-Emmy winner because it pushed the police procedural genre to a new level of intricacy and gravitas.
21. “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia”
If you enjoy a certain brand of crass, cringe comedy, more than 150 episodes of this long-running FX lovingly poke fun at Philly (and Danny DeVito), with a lot of mishaps along the way.
Timothy Olyphant is at his absolute best in FX’s cowboy tale of a U.S. Marshal with his own code of justice and deep ties to criminals in his small Kentucky town.
23. “Key & Peele”
If you’re more interested in morsels of laughter than long narratives, this Comedy Central sketch show, which jumpstarted the careers of Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele, is perfect, and requires very little commitment to get big laughs.
24. “Killing Eve”
Sandra Oh and Emmy-winner Jodie Comer are a delectable cat and mouse duo in BBC America’s crime drama about a sociopathic assassin (Comer) and the intelligence agent (Oh) hunting her down.
25. “Living Single”
Queen Latifah and Kim Coles are among the bright young stars in this rollicking twenty-something 1990s Fox sitcom about, well, singles living in Brooklyn.
26. “Lodge 49”
Lost underachiever Dud (Wyatt Russell) finds purpose at a dusty fraternal order in this AMC dramedy. Sunny, relaxing and sweet, “Lodge” may be the chillest show around.
We have to go back … to ABC’s 2004-10 mystical drama. It inspired endless copycat series (“The Event,” “Manifest,” “Revolution,” “Terra Nova”), but nothing beats the story of airplane crash survivors on a mysterious island.
The CBS smash set at an army hospital during the Korean War lasted far longer than that conflict because it was just too wonderful to take off the air. A classic for a reason, the series is funny, smart and full of wonderful actors at their best, including Alan Alda, Mike Farrell and Loretta Swit.
29. “Mrs. America”
FX’s historical drama, depicting the fight for and against the Equal Rights Amendment in the 1970s, has a cast so talented it’s embarrassing. Cate Blanchett, Rose Byrne, Uzo Aduba, Margo Martindale and Sarah Paulson bring the ERA era to life, helped by sharp scripts and gorgeous costuming.
30. “Normal People”
Hulu’s romantic drama captivated quarantined hearts and minds when it premiered last spring, for good reason. The adaptation of Sally Rooney’s novel, starring appealing young actors Daisy Edgar-Jones and Emmy-nominated Paul Mescal, tells the story of life and love in an achingly normal way.
31. “Parks and Recreation”
Although “Parks and Rec” increasingly feels like a period piece, considering how much the political and government culture has changed since it aired on NBC, the performances, plots and jokes are still wonderful and hilarious.
32. “Party Down”
Fans of “Veronica Mars” and “iZombie” will love this cynical Starz comedy about bowtie-sporting cater-waiters that stars Jane Lynch and Adam Scott.
A certain swath of millennials can appreciate how, with painstaking accuracy, creator/stars Maya Erskine and Anna Konkle recreated the middle school experience of 2000 in all its awkward glory. Hulu’s cheekily named original comedy is so cringe-y you might implode from embarrassment, but it’s hilarious in equal measure.
Creator/star Ramy Youssef’s original Hulu series is a brilliant work of art, telling the story of a Muslim man (Youssef) looking for love in New Jersey and caught between his faith and modern excesses.
The original “Not Ready for Prime Time Players” of NBC’s “Saturday Night Live”: Laraine Newman, left, John Belushi, Jane Curtin, Gilda Radner, Garrett Morris, Dan Aykroyd and Chevy Chase. (Photo: NBC/Universal Studios Home Entertainment)
35. “Saturday Night Live”
The beloved NBC institution is on hiatus (and in quarantine), but if you’re missing sketch comedy you can dive into the 45 seasons of the cultural institution for some quick laughs and topical (well, at the time) parodies.
The sweet, silly comedy of NBC’s (and later ABC’s) long-running “Scrubs,” starring Zach Braff, Donald Faison and Sarah Chalke, is what we most often remember. . But it’s also a celebration of the doctors who work so hard to save lives, a more realistic look at life in the hospital than high-drama soap operas.
If you’ve never seen Jerry Seinfeld’s landmark NBC show about nothing, it’s a great time to start. But you might want to skip the disappointing series finale. Or maybe you love it. We don’t judge.
38. “The Simpsons”
At a time when the quirky citizens of Springfield feel less odd than real life, Fox’s (very) long-running adult animated comedy feels almost quaint in its rude humor and pop culture parodies. But it’s comforting and satisfying nonetheless.
Gone too soon after just three seasons, ABC’s comedy about a family in which one son has cerebral palsy is representation of disability you’ve never seen before, with searing satire and riotous humor.
40. “Star Trek” franchise
Whether you want to hang with Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart), original bros Kirk (William Shatner) and Spock (Leonard Nimoy) or travel to “Deep Space,” there’s a “Star Trek” series for every mood.
This NBC series, about employees at a big box store, is something of a modern-day “Cheers,” a workplace comedy set outside a traditional white-collar office in a place we all have wandered into at some point. (The blue vests of the fictional Cloud 9 store might remind you of a certain retail chain).
An oldie but goodie, CBS’s 20-years-and-counting reality competition series shows us the best (and, the worst) of human resilience.
43. “The Terror”
AMC’s anthology historical horror series (try saying that five times fast) beautifully brings its time periods to life: an Arctic expedition in the 1800s in Season 1 and World War II internment camps in America in Season 2. Smart, with superb casts (Jared Harris, Ciaran Hinds and George Takei), there’s nothing quite like it.
44. “Top Chef”
There are dozens of food shows and chef competitions, but this Bravo staple remains the best, pitting a group of chefs in a series of grueling competitions.
45. “Top of the Lake”
Starring Elisabeth Moss at her best (and eventually Nicole Kidman and Gwendoline Christie in Season 2), Jane Campion’s exquisite Sundance TV crime drama is about so much more than a detective on a case.
46. “The Twilight Zone”
Sometimes it feels like we’re living in the twilight zone, so it can be comforting to revisit the seminal mid-century CBS anthology series. Its science fiction stories are still sharp and clever, with twists that surprise, delight and horrify, from a woeful pair of glasses to an alien cookbook.
47. Twin Peaks
David Lynch’s eerie 1990s ABC crime drama was a ratings bonanza for a reason, even if it faded in a disappointing Season 2.) It’s unlike anything that had been on television before, and still stands out among similar series that popped up in its wake.
48. “Veronica Mars”
Long before she was a singing princess, Kristen Bell was a teenage gumshoe in a toxic Southern California town. A superb modern noir, the original UPN series, fan-funded film and the Hulu revival are seedy, successful and satisfying.
49. “What We Do in the Shadows”
FX’s vampire comedy, based on the 2014 Taika Waititi and Jemaine Clement film, is farce at its absolute best, putting its gothic vampires, a boring “energy vampire” and their belabored human “familiar” in a series of ever-escalating conundrums.
50. “The X-Files”
The recent Fox revival was mostly disappointing, but the original was groundbreaking, thrilling and eerie. If you’re trying to fill up weeks of viewing, there are nine long seasons of Mulder (David Duchovny) and Scully (Gillian Anderson) investigating the unknown.
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