Every month, American streaming services add movies and TV shows to its library. Here are our picks for some of March’s most promising new titles.
As many different services vie for your attention, Hulu has really upped the ante in terms of its streaming catalog. While Netflix may have the upper-hand when it comes to original series, Hulu still boasts an impressive lineup of TV shows that you can’t find anywhere else, including some of their more recent in-house productions. So here are the 23 best shows on Hulu right now, ranked.
Hulu is one of the most popular TV and movie streaming services for good reason. It's the perfect complement and counterpoint to Netflix, with a huge variety of familiar shows from networks like ABC, Fox and NBC that you can watch soon after they air, as well as a growing catalog of its own critically acclaimed original series. If you have $6 per month to spare and don't mind trading a few ads for a wealth of TV options, Hulu is a no-brainer.
Hulu for beginners
Hulu was founded back in 2007 as a joint venture between News Corporation and NBC Universal. Hulu.com launched a year later as a place to watch ad-supported shows for free. In the years since, Hulu has launched its subscription service Hulu Plus, a commercial-free plan and a Live TV package.
Hulu began streaming original TV shows and movies in 2011 and in 2017 it became the first streaming service to take home the Outstanding Drama Series Emmy Award for its original series The Handmaid's Tale. Today, it has a catalog of 70,000 episodes of TV, including original TV shows and movies like Little Fires Everywhere, Normal People, Marvel's Runaways and PEN15.
The platform is now owned by the Walt Disney Company. As of February, Hulu had 39.4 million paid subscribers (for context, Netflix has over 200 million). The Hulu app can run on Android, iOS, Roku, Amazon Fire TV ($34 at Amazon), Apple TV ($180 at Best Buy) (4th generation or later), Android TV (certain models), Chromecast, Echo Show, Xbox, PlayStation and the Nintendo Switch. Hulu is only available in the US but Disney plans an international rollout this year.
Loads of TV (and movies too)
Hulu's library of Originals is not as extensive as those for Netflix or Amazon Prime -- at the time of this writing, there were about 140 listed. However, it does have critically acclaimed shows like The Handmaid's Tale, PEN15, The Act, The Great, Normal People and Ramy, and original movies such as Palm Springs. The service also produced some high-profile documentaries, including Fyre Fraud, Margaret Atwood: A Word After A Word After A Word Is Power and Hillary. Hulu also picked up shows from other networks, including The Mindy Project and Veronica Mars.
Hulu's real strength is the thousands of TV shows, many of which come to the service the day after they air on live TV on networks like ABC, NBC and Comedy Central. (Though NBC launched its own Peacock streaming service last year, you'll still find NBC shows on Hulu for the time being.) While Hulu has most newer episodes of a given show, it doesn't always have full past seasons -- for example, ABC's Grey's Anatomy only has its current season available to watch and none of the past ones. However, some shows do have all seasons and episodes available. And others, like the BBC's Killing Eve, do drop in full seasons after the whole season has aired.
Hulu has a wide collection of movies as well. Sometimes it gets new releases that other streaming platforms don't, such as Portrait of a Lady on Fire and 2020 Best Picture winner Parasite.
New to Hulu
Starts streaming: March 5
The action-comedy “Boss Level” is a lot like “Groundhog Day” in that both are about cocky guys who learn humility when forced to relive the same day. But the repetition in this new film has more in common with video games, where the heroes reset at the same point every time they get killed. Frank Grillo plays Roy, a smart-alecky bruiser who’s gotten good at surviving the gauntlet of assassins who try to murder him each time his day restarts — although he can’t quite figure out how to fight his way up to the main bad guy (played by Mel Gibson). Directed and co-written by the accomplished action filmmaker Joe Carnahan, “Boss Level” follows Roy as he learns how to notice all the small details and side characters in his world, to help him survive into tomorrow.
Starts streaming: March 22
The first two seasons of the historical drama “Genius” covered the lives of Albert Einstein and Pablo Picasso, with all-star casts helping to tell stories that jumped around in their subject’s timelines, illustrating the moments that shaped their greatness. The third season takes a similar narrative approach, but has a higher degree of difficulty, given that it’s about Aretha Franklin, who sang some the best-loved R&B songs of all time. The producers had the good sense to cast the Emmy-, Tony- and Grammy-winning performer Cynthia Erivo, who has the musical chops and the screen presence to do Franklin justice. The actor-singer belts out the likes of “Respect” and “I Never Loved a Man the Way That I Loved You,” while also capturing a complicated artist’s stubborn unwillingness to let the public and the press get too close.
“Charles & Diana: 1983”
“Staged” Season 2
“Mayans M.C.” Season 3
“Breeders” Season 2
“Into the Dark: Blood Moon”
“Solar Opposites” Season 2
Is paying for ad-free Hulu worth it?
The answer largely depends on, well, how much you hate ads.
Hulu offers two main on-demand subscription plans: the basic Hulu for $6 and Hulu (No Ads) for $12.The two offer the same catalog of shows and movies -- with the latter, you're just paying twice as much to not see any commercials. I tried watching a few shows on both to get a sense of the difference.
With basic, ad-supported Hulu the frequency of ads varied quite a bit. In one 22-minute episode of Bob's Burgers, in fact, there were no ads at all. In a 23-minute episode of Brooklyn Nine-Nine there was one 15-second ad. But while watching an hour-long episode of Saturday Night Live, I saw one 15 second ad at the start, followed by eight more ad breaks throughout -- six lasted 90 seconds, one for 60 seconds and one for 45 seconds. This was obviously more disruptive, but similar to how it would have been watching it on regular live TV.
There appear to be fewer ads during Hulu Originals: Before an episode of The Handmaid's Tale, I saw one 30-second ad. The same was true for an episode of Utopia Falls. In an episode of High Fidelity, I saw one 30-second ad in the middle.
If you use Hulu frequently -- or if you've really gotten used to Netflix's no-ads model and can't stand watching commercials -- the extra $6 per month is probably worth it to watch shows uninterrupted. It brings the price up to almost that of Netflix's standard plan ($12 for Hulu vs. $14 for Netflix).
Another big advantage of the no-ads plan? It's the only way to download shows to watch offline. Unlike Netflix, you can't download shows to watch later unless you have the upgraded plan.
But if you're just checking out a show or movie here or there on your TV -- especially a shorter comedy -- you can probably spend the extra few seconds watching the ad to save the money.