The 50 Best Sitcoms on Hulu (April 2018)

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40. The Venture Bros.

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Creator: Jackson Publick
Stars: Christopher McCulloch, Michael Sinterniklaas, James Urbaniak, Patrick Warburton, Doc Hammer, Steven Rattazzi, Dana Snyder
Network: Adult Swim 

While The Simpsons and South Park get most of the love when it comes to animated satire, The Venture Bros. deserves a seat right there with them. From an initial premise of “Just how fucked up would someone like Johnny Quest be once he reached adulthood?”, Jackson Publick and Doc Hammer’s series quickly expanded in tone and topic to explore pretty much every trope and cranny of comic book cliché. In the process, Venture Bros. has done things seemingly beyond the ability of DC and Marvel, diving into the action in medias res and trusting viewers to figure it out as we go along. (The series’ riffs on The Fantastic Four and Doctor Doom are arguably truer takes than anything Fox has crapped out.) Now in its sixth season (spanning 13 years), The Venture Bros. may never possess the cross-demographic appeal of some of its animated brethren, but as the MCU especially continues to spread the billion-dollar comic book gospel, Publick and Hammer’s creation should continue to find new converts for its brand of genre madness. Michael Burgin


39. The Mighty Boosh

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Creators: Julian Barratt and Noel Fielding
Stars: Julian Barratt, Noel Fielding, Michael Fielding, Rich Fulcher, Dave Brown, Richard Ayoade, Matt Berry
Network: BBC Three

There’s a fine tradition of British sitcoms that are essentially sketch comedy shows—think The Young Ones—and The Mighty Boosh is one of the very best. Yeah, it has regular and strongly defined characters that appear in every episode, but all standard notions of storytelling are basically tossed in the bin in favor of absurd situations and plots that can shoot off in unexpected angles at any moment. There’s a strong focus on music—Barratt’s Howard Moon is an annoying would-be jazzbo, Fielding’s Vince Noir is a supremely confident hipster who was raised in the forest by Bryan Ferry and calls himself the King of the Mods—including original songs and complex musical sequences. It’s probably an acquired taste, but if you can dial into it it could easily become one of your favorites. Garrett Martin


38. You’re the Worst


Creator: Stephen Falk
Stars: Chris Geere, Aya Cash, Desmin Borges, Kether Donohue
Network: FXX

In the midst of its second season, Stephen Falk’s acerbic sitcom announced its grand ambitions, slowly setting the line for its artful depiction of clinical depression—culminating in a pair of poetic, painfully funny episodes, “There Is Not Currently a Problem” and “LCD Soundsystem,” that were among that year’s very best. The third season only intermittently matched these heights (see the gorgeous bottle episode, “Twenty-Two,” in which Desmin Borges’ PTSD-afflicted veteran, Edgar, pulls back from the edge of despair), but You’re the Worst has, along with the likes of Lady Dynamite and Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, come to define the medium’s newfound interest in the humorous nuances of mental illness. It also features, in the form of Kether Donohue, a Judy Holliday of the modern age; her Lindsay Jillian is crass, self-seeking, featherbrained, and one of the funniest characters on television. Matt Brennan


37. Futurama

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Creator:   Matt Groening  
Stars: Billy West, Katey Sagal, John DiMaggio, Tress MacNeille, Maurice LaMarche, Lauren Tom, Phil LaMarr, David Herman, Frank Welker
Network: Fox

Totally underappreciated in its original run, which just caught the tail end of the ’90s, one gets the sense that Futurama at first suffered from misplaced expectations. Knowing it was coming from Matt Groening, perhaps people expected a futuristic version of The Simpsons, but Futurama is fundamentally different in quite a few aspects. Although it was similar in its satirical lampooning of modern (or futuristic) daily life and media, it was also capable of being surprisingly—even shockingly—emotional at times. Just ask anyone who remembers the end of “Jurassic Bark” or “The Luck of the Fryrish,” among other episodes. Likewise, its self-contained continuity was unlike almost every other animated sitcom, with events unfolding in both its first and second run on TV that fundamentally affected the viewer’s perception of earlier plot points. It’s now rightly recognized as one of the best animated comedies ever. Jim Vorel


36. The Last Man on Earth

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Creator:   Will Forte  
Stars:   Will Forte, Kristen Schaal, Mary Steenburgen, January Jones, Mel Rodriguez, Cleopatra Coleman
Network: Fox

Somehow Will Forte and his partners on The Last Man on Earth slipped one of the most absurd anti-comedy shows ever made onto a major broadcast network’s schedule, and have been able to keep it alive for four seasons now. Forte is one of the sharpest and most unpredictable writers in comedy today, and his spirit courses through this show’s constant twists, turns and detours. Whether it’s a long lost brother floating in space, the instantaneous murder of a guest-starring Jack Black, or a cannibal being blown to bits by a bomb hidden in a long-dead Mexican drug lord’s Rubik’s Cube, The Last Man on Earth hasn’t lost a bit of its verve or inspiration over the years. And the whole time it still made us care about its characters, due in part to the talent of such actors as Mary Steenburgen, Mel Rodriguez and January Jones. This is the show most likely to make future generations wonder how it ever made it to air. But, like, in a good way. Garrett Martin


35. Bob’s Burgers

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Creator: Loren Bouchard
Stars: H. Jon Benjamin, Dan Mintz, Eugene Mirman, Kristen Schaal, John Roberts
Network: Fox

Bob’s Burgers, from creator Loren Bouchard, runs the risk of being shoehorned into the middle ground between its brethren: The Simpsons, now more American institution than mere TV program, and Family Guy, the rat-a-tat gag factory devised by Seth MacFarlane. That it nonetheless manages to carve out a distinctive identity—with the Belchers goofily surviving crisis after crisis at the titular diner through a heady brew of whip-smart puns, witty musical numbers, gross-out humor, and real, true kinship—is only surprising if you’ve never seen it. Once you have, its warm, sentimental streak, so deftly balanced with its zanier elements, is impossible to miss: As Bob (H. Jon Benjamin) says in the Season Two finale, reading a review of the titular diner, “We did did have a rather unique and strangely inspiring experience while we were there. This shabby little dive seems to hold a special spot in the dingy town’s heart.” Matt Brennan


34. The Boondocks

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Creator: Aaron McGruder
Stars: Regina King, John Witherspoon, Cedric Yarbrough, Gary Anthony Williams, Jill Talley
Network: Adult Swim 

Based on writer, producer and cartoonist Aaron McGruder’s popular comic strip of the same name, The Boondocks’ four season, 55-episode run saw brothers Huey and Riley—transplants of inner city Chicago—navigate black culture in the fictional white suburb of Woodcrest. Part of Cartoon Network’s late-night comedy block on Adult Swim, the series was a brazen attack on the white American establishment and an unabashedly black satire that honed in on the complicated conversations surrounding racial identity, stereotypes, class, celebrity and viewpoint. From November 2005 to the end of its run in June 2014, the series unquestionably earned its reputation as one of the most controversial and culturally significant pieces of modern American comedy through its unapologetic approach to blackness, painfully honest humor, and clever subversion of traditional cultural dialogue. Abbey White


33. Rick and Morty

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Creator:   Dan Harmon  
Stars: Justin Rolland, Chris Parnell, Spencer Grammer, Sarah Chalke
Network: Cartoon Network 

Justin Roiland and Dan Harmon’s series is one of the most brilliant shows on television. Unlike The Big Bang Theory, it uses its nerdiness and intelligence not as a gimmick, but as a way to open the (literal) dimensions of creative possibility, whether the ideas are original (interdimensional cable, a sentient gas cloud named Fart) or tongue-in-cheek homage (to The Purge, Inception, even its own interdimensional cable episode). But behind the innovation is a Eugene O’Neill-ian dysfunction that probes the depths of familial unhappiness, and it’s when Rick and Morty leans into this (especially in episodes like “Total Rick-all” and “The Wedding Squanchers”) that it reaches its most sublime moments. Season Two, in particular, took protagonist Rick Sanchez into a profound depression matched only by BoJack Horseman among animated series. Zach Blumenfeld


32. Broad City

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Creators: Ilana Glazer, Abbi Jacobson
Stars: Ilana Glazer, Abbi Jacobson, Hannibal Buress, Arturo Castro
Network: Comedy Central

For the last few years, Comedy Central has consistently presented us with great comedy duos: Key & Peele, Kroll and Daly, and now Ilana Glazer and Abbi Jacobson. Broad City gives us two unforgettable characters who are desperately trying to become the boss bitches they are in their minds. This epic friendship is instantaneously contagious, and the brilliant plots, centered on the two twenty-somethings scraping by in New York City, makes this one of the great series of the decade. Staff


31. 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’s 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


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