In the past, we’ve suggested that Netflix is the best streaming service for cord-cutters with Amazon Prime not far behind, especially with its recent push into original and exclusive content. But what about Hulu?
Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu are the three kings of online streaming, but Hulu tends to be the forgotten third sibling. However, it would be a mistake to dismiss Hulu out of hand, as it hosts a number of unmissable TV shows that are perfect for binge-watching. Especially if you have nabbed yourself a free trial of Hulu Plus!
Note that we’ve only included shows that provide an archive of all episodes starting from the beginning. Hulu has plenty of other binge-worthy titles but only provide the last five episodes of them due to licensing agreements.
Genre and Drama Shows
14 episodes across one season.
Firefly is one of the greatest science-fiction shows of all time — if not for its highly memorable and lovable characters, then for its flawless execution of world-building. Best described as a “western in space”, no other show is quite like this one.
Not only that, but you’ll likely recognize most of the cast: Nathan Fillion, Alan Tudyk, Adam Baldwin, Summer Glau, and Morena Baccarin, among others. For many of them, Firefly was their first big break. How cool is that?
2. The Shield
89 episodes across seven seasons.
The Shield is without a doubt one of the greatest shows of all time, whether you take genre into consideration or not. It’s right up there with The Wire, Breaking Bad, and the first season of True Detective, at least in terms of how nuanced everything is.
The main draw of The Shield is its uncompromising portrayal of well-meaning but corrupt police officers and what happens when that plays out in a complicated city like Los Angeles. It’s an intense ride, through and through.
78 episodes across four seasons.
Hulu has chosen the absolute worst promo image to use for this show, so if you’re a fan of science fiction TV but the red eyes above are turning you away, I urge you to give this show a chance anyway.
Battlestar Galactica is perhaps the grittiest space opera to ever grace a television network, earning critical acclaim for its characters and heart-pounding narrative force, even winning Time Magazine’s Best Show on Television in 2005.
Eight episodes across one season.
Based on the best-selling novel by Stephen King, 11.22.63 is a mystery mini-series that takes place in the early 1960s, making it an awesome show to watch for anyone who loves period pieces. The level of detail in this show is truly impressive.
The story follows a recently divorced teacher who is sent back in time to prevent the assassination of John F. Kennedy. Yet as thrilling and even nonsensical as that sounds, 11.22.63 takes its time telling its story, and the result is fantastic.
5. 12 Monkeys
26 episodes across two seasons (ongoing).
12 Monkeys is a re-imagining of the film of the same name that debuted in 1995. In this, a time traveler from the future returns to the present day to stop the release of a virus that ends up wiping out over 90 percent of the world’s population.
It has a healthy mixture of procedural and serial narratives that keep it interesting to watch, and the second season is a noticeable improvement over the first. All science fiction fans should give this better-than-excepted show a shot.
6. The Path
10 episodes across one season (ongoing).
The Path is a slow, measured, and deep exploration of a man involved in a fictional religion, his crisis of faith, and how all of that impacts his relationships and even his own sense of the meaning of life.
It’s a strong show, not just because it has excellent writing and performances, but because it touches on elements of the human condition that most shows aren’t willing to touch. It may be slow, but it’s compelling all the same.
23 episodes across two seasons (ongoing).
The Last Ship is what you get when you mash together military fiction with post-apocalyptic science fiction — namely, what happens when a virus wipes out most of the world and humanity’s last hope is a lone U.S Navy ship and her crew?
In a lot of ways it’s a show “for men” when you consider how much military jargon and how many explosions are present in every episode, but even if you aren’t a fan of those elements, the narrative and the acting are more than solid. It’s well worth a watch.
20 episodes across two seasons (ongoing).
Based on the Wayward Pines novel series, this mystery thriller is the kind of show that has high highs and low lows. When it lives up to its potential, it’s solid and engrossing. When it doesn’t, one can’t help but to feel disappointed.
However, overall it’s a fun watch, and with only 10 episodes per season, it doesn’t require too much of an investment.
156 episodes across seven seasons.
There aren’t many shows that have lasted as long as The Good Wife while staying as consistent from season to season. This political drama is heavily serialized with the occasional procedural episode thrown in for good measure.
One thing that kicks The Good Wife up a notch is its honest look at the relationship between the internet, social media, and politics, making it an insightful watch even in our current social climate.
Situational Comedy Shows
53 episodes across three seasons.
Arrested Development is the cleverest comedy show ever created, commonly described as “a smart show about stupid people”. It may not be heartwarming or emotional, but it’s packed full of jokes and densely layered.
You can re-watch it 10 times and still find jokes that you missed the first nine times.
The fourth season isn’t available on Hulu — you’ll have to go to Netflix for it — but seeing as that season received mixed reviews, your experience may be better if you just stick with the original three seasons.
169 episodes across eight seasons.
Few shows have made me tear up as much as Scrubs did. It’s deeply funny, yes, but hidden beneath the silly exterior of this show is a heartfelt journey through everything that makes us human. I’m getting goosebumps just thinking about it.
Set in a hospital and following the lives of medical students, Scrubs touches on the ups and downs of friendship and romance, the moral gray that exists in hospital administration, the hardships of failure and death, and what it means to grow up.
But it’s funny. Oh yes, it’s funny. Watch it. You won’t regret it.
171 episodes across nine seasons.
This “show about nothing” redefined television in many ways. The characters are timeless, the jokes are still funny years later, and it’s just comfortable to watch at any time under any circumstance. There’s a reason why Seinfeld is consistently labeled a Top 5 Sitcom no matter who you ask.
113 episodes across 10 seasons (ongoing).
It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia is not everyone’s cup of tea. It’s weird, it’s depraved, and it’s unlike any other show on TV. The best way to describe it is “Seinfeld taken to an absurd extreme” yet even that doesn’t quite cut it.
To be honest, it takes a while to “get used” to these characters. They aren’t the kinds of people you’d want to hang out with, but their antics are so inanely (and insanely) hilarious that it’s hard not to laugh. This is dark comedy at its absolute best.
85 episodes across seven seasons (ongoing).
Like It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Archer is the kind of show you’ll either love or hate. Despite it being animated, it’s meant for adults — not that it’s raunchy, but it has a lot of mature language and some sexual situations.
Long story short, Archer is a parody of the “cool spy” action genre. You’ll notice the similarities with James Bond right away, but what makes this a winning show are the characters, the dialogue, and the jokes.
138 episodes across seven seasons.
Race through the awkward first season as fast as you can (thankfully it’s only seven episodes long) and you’ll be heartily rewarded for your patience. Parks and Recreation starts off as a clone of The Office but eventually finds its footing in the second season and immediately takes off.
When most other shows are trying to be gritty, serious, dramatic, and mature, Parks and Recreation stands out for its utterly optimistic view of people and humanity. It’s not all sunshine and rainbows, but it’s the kind of show that makes you smile without being overly saccharine.
68 episodes across three seasons (ongoing).
The realm of police sitcoms has been empty for quite a while with the closest thing being Psych — that is, until Brooklyn Nine-Nine burst onto the scene in 2013. It takes a few episodes before it finds itself, but once it does, it never looks back.
The second season is even better, if you ignore the occasional misstep. The cast has wonderful chemistry together and the show just has an incredible energy that makes it compelling to watch. It may turn out to be not for you, but it deserves a few episodes at least.
Which Hulu Shows Do You Watch?
As someone who has admittedly neglected Hulu in favor of Netflix and Amazon Prime, I have to say that I’m pleasantly surprised by how much great content is available on the platform. I’m seriously considering turning my free trial into a full account.
Hulu has quite an impressive library of shows, so if you feel that a particular show deserved to be on this list but wasn’t mentioned, please don’t hesitate to share it with us down in the comments.
Did any of these shows catch your eye? What do you think about Hulu in comparison to other streaming services? Is Hulu’s No Commercials plan worth it? Please let us know your thoughts in the comments below!