The 75 Best TV Shows on Hulu Right Now

August 2017

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The 75 Best TV Shows on Hulu Right Now

Hulu  has the best TV show selection of any streaming service, despite enormous efforts by Netflix and Amazon. A joint venture among Disney/ABC, FOX, NBCUniversal, and Time Warner, Hulu benefits in particular from a rich back catalogue of titles, including a terrific array of current and classic network series as well as must-sees from Britain (Peep Show, Prime Suspect) and Australia (Please Like Me).

Though the streaming service has replaced its Criterion Collection offerings with a host of newer titles, as reflected in our list of The 100 Best Movies on Hulu, Hulu’s original programming continues to blossom, particularly among half-hour comedies (The Mindy Project, saved from FOX’s chopping block; the oft-underrated Casual; and Difficult People, which missed this list by a whisker). And now Hulu has its first landmark drama, Bruce Miller’s adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s dystopian novel The Handmaid’s Tale, starring Mad Men’s Elisabeth Moss.

Here are the 75 best TV shows on Hulu:

75. This is Us


Creator: Dan Fogelman
Stars: Milo Ventimiglia, Justin Hartley, Chrissy Metz, Sterling K. Brown, Mandy Moore
Network: NBC

When I first watched the pilot for This is Us and got to the big reveal—Rebecca (Mandy Moore) and Jack (Milo Ventimiglia) are the parents!—I thought, “Well, that’s clever. But now what?” The freshman drama surprised me by playing with time much the same way Lost did. While unfolding the stories of siblings Kevin (Justin Hartley), Kate (Chrissy Metz) and Randall (Sterling K. Brown) in the current day, the show bounces back and forth in the past as we visit key moments in their upbringing. The performances are extraordinary. Hartley brings depth and humor to his could-be-clichéd character. Brown (also so great in The People v. O.J. Simpson) is powerful screen force. Metz makes you feel her struggle and swoon over her blossoming romance. There’s no doubt this is Ventimiglia’s career-defining role. And I’ll confess right now that I completely underestimated Moore’s talents. The producers clearly delight in shocking their audience with each twisty reveal. Yes, the show does seem determined to make you ugly cry in every single episode, and some of the aging makeup needs work (I’m talking to you, Jon Huertas). But at its root, This Is Us is a touching and beautiful exploration of how our families and our childhoods shape us. Get your tissues out. Amy Amatangelo

74. Rescue Me

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Creators: Denis Leary, Peter Tolan
Stars: Denis Leary, Michael Lombardi, Steven Pasquale, Daniel Sunjata, Andrea Roth, Callie Thorne, John Scurti
Network: FX

From the opening moments of the series when off-color but very funny jokes are made about the amount of sex these firemen have been able to have since 9/11, Rescue Me distinguished itself as the rare series that could easily handle the tragedy and humor that life brings. No show before or since has so eloquently portrayed the long-lasting and haunting effects the attack on the World Trade Center had on those who were the first responders. As the soul of the series, NYFD firefighter Tommy Gavin (Denis Leary) is simultaneously utterly despicable and utterly lovable. You’ll root for him and you’ll want to slap him. The show had its faults—creating fully realized female characters was not its strong suit—but the raw emotion and huge laughs the show delivered on a weekly basis still linger. Amy Amatangelo

73. The Mindy Project

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Creator:   Mindy Kaling  
Stars:   Mindy Kaling, Ed Weeks, Ike Barinholtz, Chris Messina, Beth Grant, Xosha Roquemore, Adam Pally
Networks: FOX, Hulu 

As anyone who’s sat through the second or third Bridget Jones movies can attest, not that much interesting stuff happens after the couple you’ve been rooting for in the romantic comedy finally get together. Then again, most female romantic leads aren’t Mindy Lahiri. Creator and star Mindy Kaling’s impressively dressed, self-centered OB/GYN is a walking master class in relationship failure. Although she’s had some strong hits along the way (the show’s will they/won’t they build-up with co-star Chris Messina’s Danny, for example), Mindy is most fun for viewers when she’s single and on the prowl. But all the vapid pop culture references—“There’s a sequel to the Bible and not to Gone Girl?” is a personal favorite—meet-cutes and elevator sex are really just sugar coating. Where The Mindy Project really excels is in its conversations about feminism, single parenting, and whether a woman truly can have it all. Whitney Friedlander

72. Roots

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Creators: Mark Wolper, Will Packer
Stars: Malachi Kirby, Forest Whitaker, Anna Paquin, Laurence Fishburne, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Anika Noni Rose
Network: HISTORY

The original Roots, which aired over eight consecutive nights on ABC in 1977, was event television, watched by nearly half of the population of the U.S. It’s a mighty legacy to live up to, let alone try to better, especially considering the glut of options available. But while it may have lacked for viewers and cultural dominance, the 2016 remake of Roots stayed true to the intent of the original: to keep this dark chapter of American history fresh in our minds. The blunt impact of this miniseries is strengthened by its modernization. New historical research is brought to bear on the story, and the depiction of the unconscionable treatment of the slaves isn’t ignored or stylized. The huge cast, including well-known names like Derek Luke, T.I. and Anna Paquin and rising stars like Malachi Kirby and Anika Noni Rose, shared the burden of this righteous task with honor, nuance, and the most raw emotion broadcast or streamed on screens in 2016. This is one for the ages. Robert Ham

71. Peep Show

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Creators: Andrew O’Connor, Jesse Armstrong, Sam Bain
Stars: David Mitchell, Robert Webb, Matt King, Paterson Joseph, Neil Fitzmaurice
Network: Channel 4 (U.K.)

Although Peep Show has a similar sense of humor to other British sitcoms that came in the wake of The Office, it uses the same sort of awkward comedy for a very different purpose. The show’s title comes from the peek we’re offered into its leads’ brains, as throughout the show we’re offered running monologues of their thoughts in a way that almost no other sitcom has tried. More important than this stylistic quirk, though, is Peep Show’s preference for long arcs, continuity and running gags of the sort Arrested Development and It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia would envy. The show has a deep memory and an equally deep sense of morality, so its characters are never let off the hook, even if it takes a few seasons to see how their horrible actions karmically return for their undoing. Peep Show can be difficult to binge-watch, especially early on, but its short seasons make for filler-free writing, and Mitchell and Webb are so good that they lend their characters a strange likability that’s closer to the U.S. Office than the original. Sean Gandert

70. Downward Dog

Creators: Samm Hodges and Michael Killen
Stars: Allison Tolman, Lucas Neff, Kirby Howell-Baptiste, Barry Rothbart, Ned
Network: ABC

At the heart of Downward Dog, starring the quietly magnificent Allison Tolman as Nan and the comic dream team of Ned the Dog and voice actor/series co-creator Samm Hodges as her pup, Martin, is its radical earnestness—the recognition that to be and to feel fully is almost always to court embarrassment. By the time the sole season’s through line comes into focus, in the form of an ad campaign Nan devises for the retailer where she works, this wholehearted commitment to Nan’s idea transforms the series into a rare artifact, suggesting again and again that vulnerability can be its own superpower. Indeed, even if even if these eight small, sincere, perfectly imperfect episodes are the sum total of Downward Dog, I’ll remember it as one of the defining network comedies of this unsettled age, a beacon of the prosaic and the humane in a world that’s been thrown to the wolves. Matt Brennan

69. Spaced

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Creators: Simon Pegg, Jessica Stevenson, Edgar Wright 
Stars: Simon Pegg, Jessica Stevenson, Nick Frost, Mark Heap, Julia Deakin
Network: Channel 4 (U.K.)

Prior to blowing the film world out of the water with Shaun of the Dead, the creative partnership of writer/director Edgar Wright and actor/writer Simon Pegg first crystallized back in the late’90s with the British sitcom Spaced. Conceived by Pegg and co-lead Jessica Stevenson with Wright directing every entry, Spaced centers on a pair of aimless Londoners who decide to fake a relationship in order to secure a “couples only” apartment. Over the course of its 14 episode run, the series gleefully subverted the popular image of twenty-somethings leading cushy, comfortable lives with burgeoning careers (as evidenced by the likes of Friends) in favor of depicting a world filled with squalid living spaces, drug use and various artistic aspirations gone to seed. More notably, Spaced arguably served as the first post-modern sitcom in terms of how it employed specific, cinematic vocabulary as an extension of the characters’ interior lives (i.e. a horrible work experience turns into a One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest parody, while a competitive game of paintball escalates into a dramatic action sequence straight out of Platoon or Saving Private Ryan). In a landscape where older, out-of-touch TV execs were frantically trying to appeal to erstwhile, younger viewers, Spaced was a show all about the less savory experiences of being a broke twenty-something; adding to its authenticity was the fact that it was being written and produced by individuals who were going through these specific experiences firsthand. Mark Rozeman

68. The IT Crowd

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Creator: Graham Linehan
Stars: Chris O’Dowd, Richard Ayoade, Katherine Parkinson, Chris Morris, Matt Berry, Noel Fielding
Network: Channel 4 (U.K.)

Stuck in a small, chaotic basement office, IT nerds Roy Trenneman (Chris O’Dowd) and Maurice Moss (Richard Ayoade) are always happy to help;well, Moss is, Roy is a lot happier sitting on his arse doing nothing. Head of the IT department Jen Barber (Katherine Parkinson) really has no idea of what she’s doing and is convinced that typing “Google”; into Google will “break the internet.” Moss is your typical school-yard-bully victim. While he’s extremely articulate and proper in his way of speaking and dressing, he seems to have been overly coddled by his mother with whom he still lives. You might not necessarily want these guys to take a crack at fixing your computer, but you should definitely reserve them a place on your screen. Roxanne Sancto

67. Speechless

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Creator: Scott Silveri
Stars: Minnie Driver, John Ross Bowie, Mason Cook, Micah Fowler, Kyla Kenedy, Cedric Yarbrough
Network: ABC

Like the show’s fiercely overprotective mother Maya DiMeo (Minnie Driver), Speechless thrives because it refuses to treat JJ (Micah Fowler) as anything less than a full realized person. JJ, who is confined to a wheelchair and unable to speak, isn’t a character to be pitied. He’s a teen experiencing the joy and sorrow that comes with a first crush, learning how to navigate the high school social scene, and sparring with his parents over his independence. By giving JJ equal treatment and screen time, Speechless achieves what no other show has been able to do: JJ’s disability might be a facet of his character, but it’s not the defining one. And did I mention the show is hilarious? Speechless effortlessly avoids any cloying very special episode mentality. The always charming Driver is a force to be reckoned with and as JJ’s aide Kenneth, Cedric Yarbrough is the uproarious voice of reason in JJ’s wacky household. Fowler is terrific as are Mason Cook and Kyla Kenedy who play his siblings. We laugh with, but never at, the DiMeo family. Amy Amatangelo

66. Daria


Creator: Glenn Eichler
Stars: Tracy Grandstaff, Wendy Hoopes, Julián Rebolledo, Marc Thompson
Network: MTV

Significantly more influential than one would have expected from a Beavis and Butt-head spin-off, Daria is without a doubt the defining show of angsty teens of the late ‘90s who couldn’t quite get over the death of grunge. It’s a paean to the lazy, the slackers, the cynical and the sarcastic, as Daria and her friend Jane bemoaned the plight of a broken society by watching tabloid shows with titles like Sick, Sad World. Its fatalism was deep, dark and often hilarious, and one got the sense that few shows have ever actually captured the zeitgeist of their subjects more accurately. Every teen who ever shrugged their shoulders and sighed in frustration after being asked how their day at school was by Mom was clearly thinking, “My life is just like Daria.” Jim Vorel

65. Brooklyn Nine-Nine


Creators: Michael Schur, Dan Goor
Stars: Andy Samberg, Melissa Fumero, Andrew Braugher, Terry Crews, Steaphanie Beatriz, Chelsea Peretti, Jo Lo Truglio
Network: FOX

“Consistency” might not be the most flattering virtue you can ascribe to a sitcom, but consistency is a big part of Brooklyn Nine-Nine’s greatness. Week in and week out, Dan Goor and Michael Shur’s half-hour cop comedy manages to hit just the right notes without losing its groove. Some episodes hit higher notes than others, and yes, in the series’ lifespan, there have in fact been a few off-key episodes intermingled with the others. But when Brooklyn Nine-Nine is good, it’s good, and it’s good with an impressive regularity. When it’s great, it’s arguably the best sitcom you’ll find on network television, thanks in part to sharp writing, but mostly to an even sharper cast. Consistency is what fuels Brooklyn Nine-Nine’s motor, but the characters are the ones steering the ship. The show is enormously diverse in terms of not only gender and ethnicity, but also in terms of comic styles: There’s career sad sack Joe Lo Truglio, the stoically hilarious Andre Braugher, king of the clowns Andy Samberg, master of badassery Stephanie Beatriz, and that only covers a little less than half the team. Since Brooklyn Nine-Nine’s debut back in 2013, each character on the show has developed and grown, and in the process we’ve come to care about all of them in equal measure. At the top of its game, Brooklyn Nine-Nine harmonizes our attachment to these people with great gags, and occasionally even sharp (if brief) action. There’s a lot the series has to offer, in other words, and that just drives home how vital its constancy really is to its success. Never underestimate well-regulated humor. Andy Crump

64. Inside Amy Schumer

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Creator:   Amy Schumer, Daniel Powell
Stars: Amy Schumer 
Network: Comedy Central

Trainwreck might have gotten the most attention, and her HBO stand-up special might’ve felt more, well, special, but the key to Amy Schumer’s huge year in 2015 was her Comedy Central sketch show. Its third season was its smartest, funniest, most fearless, highlighting the bullshit that women continue to have to deal with in society today with deep insight and brutal efficiency. Even fans of the show might’ve gotten annoyed at the ecstatic praise websites heaped on the latest “best sketch ever” every single week, but there’s no denying that gems like “Last Fuckable Day,” “Football Town Nights” and “I’m Sorry” tackled issues that most comedy shows would avoid, with both great humor and great truth. If the series fourth season failed to surpass the third’s high bar, Inside Amy Schumer deserves a spot on this list for the episode-length sketch “12 Angry Men Inside Amy Schumer” alone. Garrett Martin

63. Nathan for You

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Creators:   Nathan Fielder, Michael Koman
Stars: Nathan Fielder 
Network: Comedy Central

For two seasons, Nathan for You was something warped and uncomfortable;but actually, ultimately refreshing. Ideas like “Dumb Starbucks”; went viral, making it increasingly difficult for Fielder to use relative anonymity to convince his “clients”; to go along with his disturbingly effective ideas. It wasn’t totally original TV, but there did seem to be a certain sincerity under it all;Fielder doing his best to never exploit the people he helped for the benefit of a good joke, hoping that somehow, at the very least, he could drum up attention for the suffering businesses. But the third season of Nathan for You is obviously something so much more sublime: Over the course of eight episodes, Nathan has contrived a fake exercise program replete with a fake creator to dredge up free labor for a moving company, created a sound-proof box for imprisoning children while their parents have sex in hotel rooms (which he tested with a porn star orgy), and devised a way for a dive bar to allow smokers inside through turning a typical night of patrons into an experimental bit of theater;all the while transforming each client interaction into a desperate bid to make a friend. It’s even in “Nail Salon/Fun”; that Nathan finally admits he doesn’t have many friends, even though he’s actually a really fun guy to hang out with, so he concocts a plan to scientifically validate he’s an entertaining guy;which of course involves stealing the urine of his new friend and suggesting on a lark they go get blood drawn together. It’s all so much more than cringe-worthy faux-documentary pranking; in season three, Nathan for You has stumbled into the sublime, taking to task the pathetic, empty human connections at the heart of even the most basic tenets of capitalism. Dom Sinacola

62. The Good Place

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Creator: Michael Schur
Stars: Kristen Bell, Ted Danson, William Jackson Harper, Jameela Jamil, Manny Jacinto, D’Arcy Carden
Network: NBC

Some of the best sitcoms in history are about bad people. M.A.S.H., Seinfeld, Arrested Development: It’d be hard to argue that the majority of their characters aren’t self-involved, intolerant or downright assholes. It’s far, far too early to enter The Good Place into any such pantheon, but it’s relevant in pinning down why the latest comedy from Michael Schur (The Office, Parks & Recreation, Brooklyn Nine-Nine) feels simultaneously so cozy and so adventurous.

Fitting into a middle ground of sensibilities between occupational comedies like NewsRadio and the sly navel-gazing of Dead Like Me, The Good Place is the rare show that’s completely upfront about its main character’s flaws, creating a moral playground that tests Eleanor’s worst impulses at every turn. Played by Kristen Bell at her most unbridled, she’s a vain, impish character—the type of person who’ll swipe someone’s coffee without a second thought, then wonder why the universe is plotting against her. She’s a perfect straight woman in an afterlife surrounded by only the purest of heart, but the show doesn’t hold it against her. If anything, following in the grand tradition of sitcoms, the show knows that we’re all bad people at one time or another. Michael Snydel

61. Scrubs

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Creator: Bill Lawrence
Stars: Zach Braff, Sarah Chalke, Donald Faison, Neil Flynn, Ken Jenkins, John C. McGinley, Judy Reyes
Network: ABC, NBC

J.D. and the gang gave a completely absurd (and yet often the most realistic) look into the world of hospitals. Each episode didn’t center around some outlandish disease that everyone thought was lupus, only to find out it was something else in the last five minutes of the show. Instead Scrubs was character-driven. It was consistently overlooked by the Emmy Awards, and viewership dwindled throughout the seasons. Still, the witty writing and off-beat characters deserved more. When NBC canceled the show, ABC was confident enough to pick it up for two more (laborious, unwatchable) seasons. But in its prime, it was one of the best sitcoms on TV. Adam Vitcavage

60. Better Things

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Creator: Pamela Adlon and Louis C.K. 
Stars:Pamela Adlon, Mikey Madison, Hannah Alligood, Olivia Howard, and Celia Imrie
Original Network: FX

Co-created by Pamela Adlon and Louis C.K., Better Things never generated the excitement of its FX counterpart, Atlanta, but it’s no less novel for elaborating a multigenerational portrait of women in which sex and romance are not the determining factor in life’s equation. The series’ debut season, in which men largely remain on the margins, is far more interested in the testy, soused relationship Sam Fox (Adlon) maintains with her mother (Celia Imrie), with the wan roles she’s offered as a moderately successful middle-aged actress, with the ceaseless chaos of single motherhood. Indeed, as Sam raises Max (Mikey Madison), Frankie (Hannah Alligood) and Duke (Olivia Edward), she emerges as the flawed “Superman” of the brilliant season finale: Half mournful and half expectant, she’s committed, despite the obstacles, to squaring the same feminist space for her three children that Better Things does for women on TV. Matt Brennan

59. Dead Like Me

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Creator:   Bryan Fuller  
Stars: Ellen Muth, Mandy Patinkin, Laura Harris, Callum Blue, Jasmine Guy, Cynthia Stevenson
Network: Showtime

The grim reaper is an 18-year-old directionless college drop-out named Georgia Lass whose post-life boss is a bank robber who died in the 1920s played by Mandy Patinkin. But, sadly, her on-air life was even shorter. Creator Bryan Fuller (Wonderfalls, Pushing Daisies, Hannibal) has always gathered more of a cult following than a mass audience, and was forced out during his first season. But his dark, peculiar vision lingered in his delightfully twisted world, just like the reapers who populated it. Josh Jackson

58. The Path

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Creator: Jesse Goldberg
Stars: Aaron Paul, Michelle Monaghan, Emma Greenwell, Rockmond Dunbar, Hugh Dancy
Network: Hulu 

Let’s face it: Cults make for great TV. And the next sect to invade the small screen is the mysterious Meyerists of Hulu’s The Path, starring Hugh Dancy, Aaron Paul and Michelle Monaghan. Created by Jessica Goldberg, the original series follows a family at the center of the movement as they struggle with faith, power and each other. Aaron Paul returns to live-action TV after his indelible role as Jesse Pinkman on Breaking Bad. On The Path, Paul plays Eddie Lane, a Meyerist adherent who’s going through a crisis of faith after discovering something disturbing while on a spiritual retreat. When he returns home, his wife Sarah (Michelle Monaghan from the first season of True Detective), one of the Movement’s strongest supporters, senses her husband’s troubles and believes he’s “transgressed.” Hugh Dancy, fresh from playing Will Graham on Hannibal, is the Meyerists’ charismatic leader, Cal Roberts. There’s a real depth to these characters and their intertwined storylines. The series combines drama with elements of mysticism, mystery and romance. Christine N. Ziemba

57. Frasier

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Creators: David Angell, Peter Casey, David Lee
Stars: Kelsey Grammer, David Hyde Pierce, Jane Leeves, John Mahoney, Peri Gilpin, Moose
Network: NBC

Many classic sitcoms are paeans to blue-collar family life, but Frasier was the odd show that made cultural elites and eggheads somehow seem like lovable characters to a mass audience. Both Frasier and his brother Niles can be infuriatingly snobbish, but audiences soon found that when their petty jealousies were directed at each other, they could also be hilarious. The show soon became an off-hand representation of the idea of “smart comedy” on TV, but it was also still a sitcom full of relationship humor. Viewers waited a hell of a long time in particular for the long-teased relationship between Niles and Daphne to finally come to fruition (seven full seasons). Frasier, on the other hand, is never really lucky in love, but he was always better as a semi-depressed single, turning his probing mind on himself. Jim Vorel

56. Mystery Science Theater 3000

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Creator: Joel Hodgson
Stars: Joel Hodgson, Trace Beaulieu, Josh Weinstein, Jim Mallon, Kevin Murphy, Frank Conniff, Michael J. Nelson, Mary Jo Pehl, Bill Corbett, Patrick Brantseg
Networks: KTMA, The Comedy Channel, Comedy Central, Sci Fi Channel

The funniest sci-fi show of all time (apologies to both Futurama and Red Dwarf), MST3K was as good as the movies it parodied were bad;meaning it was very, very good. The movie theater on the Satellite of Love was more ruthless than a cage of Klingons when it came to savaging B-movies. Josh Jackson

55. Strangers With Candy

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Creators: Amy Sedaris, Paul Dinello, Stephen Colbert, Mitch Rouse
Stars: Amy Sedaris, Paul Dinello, Stephen Colbert, Greg Hollimon, Deborah Rush, Larc Spies, Orlando Pabotoy, Maria Thayer, Sarah Thyre
Network: Comedy Central

Strangers with Candy’s Jerri Blank, a 46-year old crack-whore-turned-high-school-freshman, prone to layers of makeup, disturbingly sculpted hair and crocheted vests is one of television’s most revoltingly loveable anti-heroines. Jerri’s overbite, high-rise pants, and tendency toward inappropriate sexual advances require an actress in possession of excessive valor and gusto: enter the New York-born, North Carolina-raised Amy Sedaris, sister of David, baker of cupcakes and cheeseballs, and beloved comedic foil;she boasted the rubbery mug, incomparable commitment and high, squeaky voice necessary to spark Jerri Blank into hideous fruition. Amanda Petrusich

54. Horace and Pete


Creator:   Louis C.K.  
Stars: Louis C.K., Steve Buscemi, Edie Falco, Alan Alda, Jessica Lange
Network: louisck.net

Louis C.K.’s thought experiment in how to make a TV show without the help of studios or networks enjoyed lots of success—praise from the press; two Emmy nominations, including one for guest actress Laurie Metcalf—and endured some failures—as it turns out, this is not a financially viable plan after all—but one can’t help but speculate that the series’ unique structure and dialogue stem from the lack of meddling suits. C.K. and Steve Buscemi star as Horace and Pete, the owners, along with their sister, Sylvia (Edie Falco), of their family’s run-down Brooklyn bar. Although there are comic moments—hipsters are charged extra because that’s what you get when you drink somewhere ironically—C.K. has always maintained that this story is one of tragedy. Debates about relationships, politics and gentrification ensue. Whitney Friedlander

53. Scandal


Creator:   Shonda Rhimes  
Stars:   Kerry Washington, Tony Goldwyn, Guillermo Diaz, Darby Stanchfield, Katie Lowes, Jeff Perry, Joshua Malina and Bellamy Young
Network: ABC

When so much of a show’s plot is made up of infuriatingly dramatic cliffhangers, it can be deeply satisfying to experience a series, like Scandal, on Hulu. If you haven’t jumped on the bandwagon yet, have no clue what a Gladiator in a suit is, and don’t know whether you’re Team Jake or Team Fitz, there’s no time like the present. Kerry Washington plays Olivia Pope, a lawyer and crisis management expert who represents high-profile politicians and other clientele in Washington D.C. AKA the people running this great nation, who always seem to find themselves in the midst of a scandal. Based on real-life D.C. fixer Judy Smith (the former Bush Administration aide who has represented folks like Monica Lewinsky, Kobe Bryant, and former Senator Larry Craig), Pope is a formidable character, often as much of a scandalous megalomaniac as her clientele. Sure, Rhimes (also the creator of Grey’s Anatomy and Private Practice) draws on many-a-cliche for this series—endless love triangles, characters killed off at a moment’s notice, etc. But Scandal is, simultaneously, a refreshing and forward-thinking experience, with a black woman at the head of a very bizarre Scooby gang (brought to us by Guillermo Díaz, Darby Stanchfield, and Katie Lowes), one of the first gay villains on television, and a stark quality that seeks to peel the mask off of American politics. Funny, sexy, downright frightening at times, and complete with an amazing ‘70s soundtrack for every episode, Scandal is the stuff Hulu binge-watching dreams are made of. Shannon M. Houston

52. The League

the league 75.JPG Creator: Jeff Schaffer, Jackie Marcus Schaffer
Stars: Mark Duplass, Nick Kroll, Stephen Rannazzisi, Paul Scheer, Jon Lajoie, Katie Aselton
Network: FX, FXX

Don’t let all the fantasy football talk deter you if you’re not into sports. For all its NFL-star cameos and inside-baseball terminology, The League at its heart, is really just a show about a group of friends who like to compete with and talk smack about each other. It’s basically Friends, if Ross and Chandler were allowed to call each other “shit-sippers”; on primetime network TV. This semi-improvised show is wonderful, weird and features a bunch of people who are very funny but usually relegated to more bit roles in TV and movies (Nick Kroll, Paul Scheer, Katie Aselton, etc.). And when it comes to the show’s smack-talking bros, there’s a favorite for everyone, be it crass, sex-obsessed loose cannon Rafi or Kevin and Jenny, who despite occasionally playing the goofy-dad/smart-mom TV-cleaning-product commercial dichotomy, will remind you of all the things you liked about the good relationships you’ve been in. Lindsay Eanet

51. Party Down

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Creators: John Enbom, Rob Thomas, Dan Etheridge, Paul Rudd 
Stars: Adam Scott, Ken Marino, Lizzy Caplan, Martin Starr, Jane Lynch, Jennifer Coolidge, Megan Mullally, Ryan Hansen
Network: Starz 

Party Down boasts a formula so simple and ingenious, it’s absolutely insane that no one had attempted it before. The general premise centers on a gang of aspiring LA-based actors, writers and entrepreneurs who make ends meet by working at a catering company. This being Hollywood, their assignments veer from the mundane (corporate retreats, birthday parties, weddings) to the absurd (backstage concert parties, porn awards, orgies). No matter what the setting, however, the lackadaisical crew of Party Down catering can always be counted on to ruin the occasion, frequently in ways that leave the audience crying from laughter. Taking cues from the best Judd Apatow productions, however, beneath all the crass, scatological humor and cringe-inducing scenarios lies a bittersweet story of dreams deferred and the lengths people go to, in order to find validation and acceptance. Boasting an insanely talented main cast that included Adam Scott, Ken Marino and Lizzy Caplan, the show also employed its “new week, new location” structure to recruit guest turns from the likes of J.K. Simmons, Kristen Bell, Rob Corddry, Thomas Lennon and Steve Guttenberg. In the end, despite strong critical reviews and a devoted cult following, the show’s ratings were nothing short of anemic and Starz pulled the plug after two seasons. Though both fans and critics would bemoan the show’s short existence, there’s no denying that it lived fast and left a great-looking corpse. Mark Rozeman

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