The 75 Best TV Shows on Hulu Right Now

May 2019

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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). Last fall, Hulu added two aces in the hole—beloved NBC sitcoms 30 Rock (moving from Netflix) and Will & Grace, streaming in full for the first time—and continues to devote admirable attention to bringing modern classics to audiences.

Hulu’s comedy slate is once again the highlight of its original programming, with the critically acclaimed trio of PEN15, Shrill, and Ramy debuting in early 2019, and on the drama side, it became the first streaming service to win the Emmy for Outstanding Drama Series in 2017, for The Handmaid’s Tale.

Here are the 75 best TV shows on Hulu:

75. PEN15


Creators: Maya Erskine, Anna Konkle, Sam Zvibleman
Stars: Maya Erskine, Anna Konkle
Network: Hulu 

Two young women make a comedy about middle school. It’s based on their own experiences, and they name the characters eponymously: Maya (Maya Erskine) and Anna (Anna Konkle). Then they make a really interesting choice, casting their 30-ish selves as the 13-year-old principal characters, and surround themselves with a supporting cast of actual middle schoolers. The result is so excruciatingly awkward it probably out-awkwards actual middle school, which is no small feat. Erskine and Konkle absolutely hurl themselves into the roles, sparing nothing in their quest to anatomize seventh grade in all its disgusting, giddy glory. They’re hilarious, and there are moments when you entirely forget they’re adults. And then there are moments when that fact sticks out like a sore thumb and those moments are possibly the best, because they evoke the competing impulses of the age—to race into adulthood and to go back to the safety of childhood—with a kind of zany, surreal brilliance. These are young people for whom every single minute seems momentous and defining, and who cannot realize that nothing momentous and defining has yet happened to them. —Amy Glynn

74. 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

73. 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, Olivia Colman
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

72. The Bold Type

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Creator: Sarah Watson
Stars: Katie Stevens, Aisha Dee, Meghann Fahy, Melora Hardin, Sam Page, Matt Ward, Stephen Conrad Moore, Nikohl Boosheri
Network: Freeform

When The Bold Type first premiered, I viewed it as a terrific version of the kind of show I love and exactly the type of show Freeform should be doing. But as its first season progressed, it blossomed into the kind of show everyone should love and all networks should be doing—smartly tackling a wide range of topics, including cyber bullying, gendered double standards and genetic testing. Jane (Katie Stevens), Kat (Aisha Dee) and Sutton (Meghann Fahy), twenty-something women trying to find success at Scarlett magazine while navigating their complicated love lives and the ups and downs of friendship, speak not only to The Bold Type’s target audience, but to women of all ages. Given the current political climate and misogynistic cultural environment, we need shows that celebrate women and hear them roar more than ever. —Amy Amatangelo

71. 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

70. Shrill


Creators: Aidy Bryant, Alexandra Rushfield, Lindy West
Stars: Aidy Bryant, Lolly Adefope, Luka Jones, John Cameron Mitchell, Ian Owens
Network: Hulu 

Saturday Night Live ’s Aidy Bryant takes center stage as Annie, an overweight woman who wants to change her life. But it’s not what you think: So many TV series, from This Is Us to Netflix’s repugnant Insatiable, build entire storylines about a fat woman losing weight. Before we even get to the opening credits, a total stranger tells Annie, “There is a small person inside of you dying to get out… You could be so pretty.” Annie’s got a boyfriend who makes her leave through the backdoor so his roommates don’t see her and a mom who drops not-so-subtle hints about dieting and exercising. But an unexpected event in the first episode forces Annie to reassess her life and flips the proverbial script on the “fat woman” story TV and movies are so fond of telling. Amazingly, Annie doesn’t have to lose weight to improve her life. She’s ready to advocate for what she deserves. Bryant is so utterly charming, you can’t help but root for her. Lolly Adefope is a true breakout as Annie’s best friend, Fran. The series is a delight. “I’m the one with the fat ass and the big titties, so I get to decide what we do,” Annie says. Damn straight, she does. —Amy Amatangelo

69. Ramy


Creator: Ramy Youssef, Ari Katcher, Ryan Welch
Stars: Ramy Youssef, May Calamawy, Mohammed Amer, Dave Merheje, Stephen Way, Hiam Abbass, Amr Waked, Laith Nakli
Network: Hulu 

A quarter-life crisis has never been sweeter than in Ramy. The half-hour Hulu dramedy follows a fictionalized version of star Ramy Youssef (who also writes many of the first season’s episodes) as he figures out life as a young Muslim Egyptian-American in New Jersey. Co-creators Ari Katcher and Ryan Welch, along with showrunner Bridget Bedard, find an endearing doofus in Ramy and plenty to say about generational compromise, religious identity, and culture clash. Ramy is easy to watch, radically optimistic, and a groundbreaking portrayal of Islam on screen. —Jacob Oller

68. 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

67. 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

66. 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

65. 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

64. 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

63. 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

Pamela Adlon’s almost experimental comedy has never generated the excitement of its network 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. Defined by Adlon’s perceptive direction and poetic ear, Better Things is far more interested in the testy, soused relationship Sam Fox (Adlon) maintains with her mother (Celia Imrie), the wan roles she’s offered as a moderately successful middle-aged actress, and 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 One 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

62. 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

61. Lodge 49
Network: AMC


Creator: Jim Gavin
Stars: Wyatt Russell, Brent Jennings, Sonya Cassidy, Linda Emond, David Pasquesi, Eric Allan Kramer
Network: AMC

If Jim Gavin and Peter Ocko’s quietly extraordinary fable recalls the blissed-out Southern California of the 1970s—shag carpet and stained wood; surf shops and lodges; the rakish disrepair of once-booming Long Beach—that’s because its subject is the disappearance of a way of life. Though its plot is set in motion when Dud (Wyatt Russell), a down-and-out beach rat reeling from the death of his father, joins a fraternal order in search of new purpose, Lodge 49 expands its warm, gentle embrace from there until its simple pleasures become almost mystical: An out-of-work newspaper reporter begins having visions; the laid-off employees of an aerospace manufacturer come together for a midnight project; a plumbing salesman chases his holy grail; Dud’s sister, Liz (the wickedly funny Sonya Cassidy), abandons ship (literally) when a dalliance with corporate culture becomes too much to handle. Far from uncomplicatedly nostalgic, Lodge 49 is, rather, a humane, tenderhearted examination of the communities that emerge where others have withered, and perhaps the finest treatment of the Great Recession and its aftermath yet to appear on TV. Matt Brennan

60. 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

59. 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

58. 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

57. You’re the Worst


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

It isn’t just that creator Stephen Falk’s dramedy is a rom-com for people who hate rom-coms. It isn’t just that it brings up issues like depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, dead relationships, and getting older with the same candid realism that it aims at sex scenes and the absurdity of the Los Angeles film industry alike. It’s that the four leads—Aya Cash’s needy Gretchen, Chris Geere’s narcissistic Jimmy, Desmin Borges’ loveable Edgar and Kether Donohue’s underestimated Lindsay—say and do and make us admit the worst things about our own selves when we watch from home. And for that, this show is the best. —Whitney Friedlander

56. Casual

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Creator: Zander Lehmann
Stars: Michaela Watkins, Tommy Dewey, Tara Lynne Barr, Nyasha Hatendi, Julie Berman
Network: Hulu 

Girls, Togetherness,Love, Flaked—did we really need another indie dramedy involving white privileged folks attempting to navigate their disastrous love lives? Well, Hulu’s first foray into the overcrowded sub-genre has gradually revealed itself to be a sharper, snarkier and smarter watch than most of its fellow angsty 20/30-something counterparts. Indeed, while Casual’s first season stuck to the tried and tested formula of non-committal relationships implied by its title, its second wisely shifted its gaze to the often-neglected area of platonic friendships. Still baring all the hallmarks of executive producer Jason Reitman’s trademark cynicism, it was an about-turn which allowed the talented leading trio to expand upon their neatly-defined roles of newly-divorced shrink (Michaela Watkins), womanizing brother (Tommy Dewey) and sexually adventurous teenage daughter (Tara Lynne Barr). Yes, it’s still very much ‘rich people have problems, too,’ but Casual achieves the tricky feat of making you actually care about them. Jon O’Brien

55. Happy Endings

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Creator: David Caspe
Stars: Eliza Coupe, Elisha Cuthbert, Zachary Knighton, Adam Pally, Damon Wayans, Jr., Casey Wilson
Network: ABC

File Happy Endings under the dreaded “canceled too soon” category. Happy Endings could have and should have lasted far longer than three seasons, but sometimes the TV gods are cruel. Based in Chicago, the ensemble comedy had a pretty simple premise (“a group of friends in their early 30s hang out in the city”), with the clever twist that one of them (Elisha Cuthbert’s Alex) leaves another at the altar (Zachary Knighton’s Dave) in the pilot. They try to remain friends, hence the titular happy ending, and it adds a pretty strong “will they or won’t they” element to the show, but ultimately what made Happy Endings so great was the chemistry between its six leads. Sometimes “friends hanging out” is the only situation you need for a comedy to work. Also worth noting: this show doesn’t get nearly enough props for one of the least stereotypical portrayals of a gay character on a sitcom; Adam Pally’s Max is basically no different from Peter, the character he’d go on to play on The Mindy Project. He’s a goofy frat bro who just happens to be attracted to men, and that’s just one of the ways Happy Endings managed to subvert the standard sitcom formula, while still adhering to it. Bonnie Stiernberg

54. Please Like Me

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Creator: Josh Thomas
Stars: Josh Thomas, Thomas Ward, Debra Lawrance, David Roberts, Renee Lim
Network: Pivot, Hulu 

After attracting a cult following on the now-defunct Pivot network, this charming LGBT-themed Aussie export has deservedly attracted a larger audience since Hulu picked up its fourth and final season. The brainchild of stand-up Josh Thomas, Please Like Me thankfully isn’t one of those comedy dramas that forgets to bring the jokes. The refreshingly natural rapport between the likable, if unashamedly snarky, cast provides a constant source of laugh-out-loud moments, with Thomas’ knack for self-deprecation (“I look like a 50-year-old baby”) often a highlight. But it’s the authentic portrayal of mental illness— bipolar disorder, anxiety and depression are all handled in a sensitive but matter-of-fact manner rarely seen on TV— and numerous emotional sucker punches that have elevated the show into the realm of this decade’s true greats. If that hasn’t sold you, it also boasts the most infectious doo-wop theme tune since Happy Days, and an impossibly cute Cavapoo named John. Jon O’Brien

53. 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

52. Angel

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Creators:   Joss Whedon, David Greenwalt
Stars: David Boreanaz, Charisma Carpenter, Glenn Quinn, Alexis Denisof, J. August Richards, Amy Acker
Networks: The WB, UPN

While watching Buffy straight through for the first time, I took a break after the fourth season to watch its spin-off, Angel. I’ve loved it every bit as much as Joss Whedon’s first series, especially all the half-demon as illegal alien motifs. If Boreanaz was a little too irritatingly brooding in Buffy he’s given more depth as the lead. Joss Whedon may have moved on to big-screen blockbusters, but his TV shows found that overlap of “smart” and “entertaining” every time. Josh Jackson

51. Sons of Anarchy

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Creator:Kurt Sutter
Stars:Charlie Hunnam, Katey Sagal, Mark Boone Junior, Dayton Callie, Kim Coates, Tommy Flanagan, Ryan Hurst, Johnny Lewis, William Lucking, Theo Rossi, Maggie Siff, Ron Perlman
Network: FX

Take the hooker-with-a-heart-of-gold archetype, replace the hooker with a rough-around-the-edges bike club set in the ironically named town of Charming, Calif., add a conscience and things always going wrong, and you have the basic setup for Sons of Anarchy. Kurt Sutter’s gang of motorcycle-riding brothers and their lovingly nicknamed “old ladies” constantly find themselves in hot water trying to do the right thing while bending the rules just a little… which turns into bending the rules a lot. Having the town chief of police in their back pocket, along with Charlie Hunnam as the conflicted vice-president of the club who is carrying on his father’s legacy doesn’t hurt, either. It would be really easy to make the show’s motorcycle club reminiscent of a gang of pirates on bikes, pillaging and plundering with a complete lack of morals, but Sutter resists that temptation and makes the gray area of right and wrong the driving force behind each episode and each decision. Patty Miranda

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