The 100 Best TV Shows on Hulu, Ranked (December 2019)

November 2019

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The 100 Best TV Shows on Hulu, Ranked (December 2019)

Don’t be discouraged by the not-always-intuitive interface and many instances of commercial breaks even in the paid tiers—Hulu boasts some of the best programming of any streaming service. 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). Recently, 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 recently critically acclaimed trio of PEN15, Shrill, and Ramy, 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.

Below are our ranked picks for 100 of the best series you can find on Hulu (some of which are part of the Showtime add-on), which should keep you bingeing happily for many months to come:

100. The Last Man on Earth

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

The Last Man on Earth is a weird show. The comedy explores the question of “what if you survived the apocalypse, but with an annoying guy who just won’t stop talking and a bunch of other people you might not necessarily choose as friends?” The comedy isn’t afraid to take bold risks, from killing off characters (because you can’t learn how to perform an appendectomy from reading a book) to constantly changing its set (everyone eventually resides in a huge self-sustaining office building). At the heart of the series is Will Forte’s Tandy (a.k.a. Phil Miller), a man whose optimism flies in the face of his circumstances. The series seamlessly adds new people and delights in glorious inside jokes as it continues on, but The Last Man on Earth never loses sight of the harsh realities these characters face. They’ve lost their loved ones. They have no access to fresh food. They are faced with repopulating society. Any character could die. It’s hard to know what The Last Man on Earth will do next, but it’s a joy to find out. —Amy Amatangelo

99. Top of The Lake

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Creators: Jane Campion, Gerard Lee
Stars: Elisabeth Moss, David Wenham, Peter Mullan, Thomas M. Wright, Holly Hunter, Gwendoline Christie, Nicole Kidman
Original Network: SundanceTV

In the first chapter of creator Jane Campion’s Top of the Lake, audiences saw Elisabeth Moss’s deeply troubled detective, Robin Griffin, acting on behalf of brutalized women and girls everywhere as she attempted to take down the despicable figures responsible for child sex trafficking in New Zealand.

The second chapter, Top of the Lake: China Girl, picks up with Robin suffering PTSD from that experience. She’s also heading to Sydney—not only to track down Alice Englert’s Mary, the daughter she conceived as a result of a gang rape when she was a teenager and subsequently gave up for adoption, but also to join a police force that includes Gwendoline Christie’s much-in-need-of-a-mentor Miranda. That Mary’s adoptive mother, Julia, is played by Campion’s longtime friend, Nicole Kidman—and that Englert is Campion’s daughter—should not go unnoticed with regard to the themes of the series.

This season is really so much about motherhood, and Robin’s main challenge is to figure out how she’s going to be a mother to Mary, who is essentially a stranger. Plus, Robin has a case to solve: An Asian Jane Doe—the titular “China girl”—has washed up on Bondi Beach. How did she die? And did she die alone? —Matt Brennan

98. PEN15

Creators: Maya Erskine, Anna Konkle, Sam Zvibleman
Stars: Maya Erskine, Anna Konkle
Original 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

97. Absolutely Fabulous

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Creators: Jennifer Saunders, Dawn French
Stars: Jennifer Saunders, Joanna Lumley, Julia Sawalha, June Whitfield, Jane Horrocks
Original Network: BBC

Yes sweetie darling, you simply must watch one of the UK’s most iconic series, Absolutely Fabulous. Jennifer Saunders and Joanna Lumley star as two clueless, aging fashion mavens who are still holding on to their glory days (or so they see it) of sex, drugs, and rock ’n roll as Mods in London. Their characters’ names—Edina Monsoon and Patsy Stone, respectively—really tell you all you need to know about their personalities, but not nearly enough about their co-dependent and often enabling dynamic that, somehow, is endearing, agonizing, and hilarious all at once. The wealthy duo’s indulgent lifestyle is at odds with the staid, quiet existence of Eddy’s daughter Saffron (Julia Sawalha) and her mother June (June Whitfield), but fits perfectly with Eddy’s airhead assistant Bubble (Jane Horrocks). Yes there is a laugh track, and yes some of the gags haven’t age particularly well, but on the whole Absolutely Fabulous is a frothy and fun throwback. —Allison Keene

96. Elementary

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Creator: Robert Doherty
Stars: Jonny Lee Miller, Lucy Liu, Jon Michael Hill, Aidan Quinn, John Noble, Nelsan Ellis, Desmond Harrington, James Frain
Original Network:CBS

It was not elementary, my dear Watson, when Jonny Lee Miller and Lucy Liu took on the iconic roles of Sherlock Holmes and his sidekick Watson in this CBS series. For one thing this Watson was the sober companion to the just-out-of-rehab Holmes. The duo teamed up with the NYPD to solve crimes sometimes much to the chagrin of Captain Thomas Gregson (Aidan Quinn). Sherlock was a maverick who could see a crime the way no one else could, of course, but the real difference with this adaptation is that it never succumbed to the will-they-or-won’t-they schlock so many series fall prey to. Instead,  Elementary positioned the pair as intellectual equals, committed friends, and colleagues who developed the kind of emotional attachment that can save a person from forgetting themselves, no heart fluttering necessary.—Amy Amatangelo and Alexis Gunderson

95. 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
Original 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 as well as 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

94. Dexter

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Creator: James Manos Jr.
Stars: Michael C. Hall, Jennifer Carpenter, David Zayas, James Remar, C.S. Lee, Lauren Vélez
Original Network: Showtime

The character development of Dexter Morgan over eight seasons was fascinating to follow. If Season 1 saw us trying to come to terms with our empathy towards a serial killer who kills other serial killers, we were eventually cheering an old friend’s slow progression towards something akin to humanity. His moral code might be a world away from ours, but he often does a better job adhering to it than the rest of us. In addition to the constant edge-of-your-seat plot twists, each season (even the later, shakier ones) gave us incredible guest stars as allies and antagonists, including Jimmy Smits, John C. Lithgow, Peter Weller, Mos Def, Edward James Olmos and Julia Stiles. —Josh Jackson

93. Stumptown

Creator: Jason Richman
Stars: Cobie Smulders, Jake Johnson, Tantoo Cardinal, Cole Sibus, Adrian Martinez, Camryn Manheim, Michael Ealy
Original Network: ABC

Created for television by Jason Richman and based on Greg Rucka’s comic book limited series of the same name (Rucka also writes for the show), Stumptown is a modern-day hardboiled detective drama that follows Dex Parios (Smulders), a former Marine investigator with a gambling problem, a drinking problem, and a monster-sized case of undiagnosed PTSD when she stumbles her way into a gig as Portland’s new favorite private investigator.

As a detective procedural on an alphabet network, the story that follows traces a fairly standard shape: A civilian (Dex) has a case land in her lap that parallels a formative tragedy/mystery from her past and her mixed success with that case sparks the idea that, hey, there might be some kind of career to be made out the whole detection game. The difference in this case is that does all that with a handcrafted Pacific Northwest cedarwood scalpel. The formulaic parallels aren’t the surgical part—it’s the finesse will which all the exposition and characterization necessary to introduce Dex’s world, including the tiny but sympathetic support system she has in her brother Ansel (a very charming Cole Sibus) and best friend Grey (Jake Johnson, who was born for a hipster-brewer beard and shearling denim jacket). This is especially true about Dex’s military background, which sets up both her exceptional hand-to-hand combat skills and her cynical loner attitude as natural consequences of the life she’s lived, rather than convenient coincidences for the hardboiled story the show wants to tell. —Alexis Gunderson

92. The Bold Type

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Created by: Sarah Watson
Stars: Katie Stevens, Aisha Dee, Meghann Fahy, Melora Hardin, Sam Page, Stephen Conrad Moore
Original Network: Freeform, 2017-present

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 it has 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

91. Fresh Off the Boat

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Created by: Nahnatchka Khan
Stars: Randall Park, Constance Wu, Hudson Yang, Forrest Wheeler, Ian Chen, Lucille Soong
Original Network: ABC

It’s no wonder that Fresh Off the Boat continues to thrive in the network television environment. “Representation” is often tokenism, despite being a mainstream talking point for the industry, but FOTB is the real thing—and it shows. The specificity of experience written into these Chinese-American characters we’ve grown to love over its many seasons makes the sitcom able to navigate choppy emotional waters with a grace grown from reality. Never losing a slightly surrealist edge, the series continues to understand how to create a family comedy that never feels expected or cliché. “Four Funerals and a Wedding,” a recent highlight, is a perfect example of how dedication to not making a show solely about universal experiences makes Fresh Off the Boat one of the most complex, engaging, moving comedies on TV. —Jacob Oller

90. Castle Rock

Creators: Sam Shaw, Dustin Thomason
Stars: André Holland, Melanie Lynskey, Bill Skarsgård, Jane Levy, Sissy Spacek
Original Network: Hulu 

Castle Rock, inspired by the stories of Stephen King, is not a perfect piece of prestige TV, with plenty of silly allusions and worn concepts that are, if not quite ham, at least ham-adjacent. Bacon, maybe. Ham but a little more crisp, a little tastier, a little worse for your health. For good and for ill, that’s where much of King’s work aims, and Castle Rock is nothing if not a winning offering to its idol. Fans will find exactly what they came for, while curious newcomers and King agnostics will find themselves enveloped by the self-assured mystery’s densely woven blanket. —Jacob Oller

89. My Hero Academia

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Creator: Bones Studio
Original Network: MBS

Beloved anime My Hero Academia (based on the manga) kicks off with a protagonist who is bullied for not having a superpower (in a world where they are the norm), but who is soon bestowed with a particularly powerful one after, indeed, saving a bully. From there, young “Deku” goes into training at an elite academy where he must balance his schoolwork and friendships with his requirements as a hero.

It’s not too soon to liken My Hero Academia to a quintessential shonen, because the show is heavy on what the genre does best: Izuku is refreshingly emotional (so, of course, he helps his classmates open up enough to alter their lives), and villains are undergoing a renaissance thanks to the fumbles of hero society. It’s a fresh spin on a genre that’s laden with tropes, and—not for nothing—the fights are very good. —Sarra Sedghi and Allison Keene

88. 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
Original 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

87. Veronica Mars

Creator: Rob Thomas
Stars: Kristen Bell, Percy Daggs III, Teddy Dunn, Jason Dohring, Sydney Tamiia Poitier
Original Network: UPN / Hulu 

Equal parts witty and riveting, Veronica Mars follows the title character, who is an ostracized high-school student moonlighting as a private eye for her classmates. Kristen Bell uncannily portrays someone who is simultaneously smart, vulnerable, tough and injured. The series, which received a fan-funded movie revival in 2014 and a recent Hulu revival, is thematically compelling, stylistically coherent, and fully realized TV show (despite the controversy of the revival’s conclusion). The first season followed Veronica as she solved the murder of her best friend Lilly (Amanda Seyfried) and uncover who assaulted her at a party. The eventual reveal of the murderer was shocking but the show proved it was much more than a one-trick pony. Subsequent seasons introduced new mysteries and corruption all while delivering some of the most fantastic dialogue on television (“Love stinks. You can dress it up in sequins and shoulder pads, but one way or another, you’re just gonna end up alone at the spring dance strapped in uncomfortable underwear.”) For UPN, the series represented a foray into critically acclaimed television. The show was then and remains one of the best TV series of all time. And marshmallows, we pause here to give a special shout out to Jason Dohring, who brought a nuanced combination of cockiness and hurt to bad boy Logan Echolls. —James South and Shaina Pearlman

86 Cougar Town

Creator: Bill Lawrence, Kevin Biegel
Stars: Courteney Cox, Christa Miller, Busy Philipps, Dan Byrd, Josh Hopkins, Ian Gomez, Brian Van Holt
Original Network: ABC

Cougar Town ’s title was so bad and so misleading that the show itself started making fun of it pretty much immediately, with meta commentary during its actual title sequence. Such is the joy, though, of the smart and sassy Cougar Town, which is about women in their 40s living in Florida, but is not about them necessarily chasing down younger men. Instead, it’s a show about an incredibly close-knit cul-de-sac community of neighbors—some date, some are divorced, some are married (or later get married)—who are also really great friends. The series’ cast has outstanding chemistry and wonderful comedic timing, and the show only gets better as it dives deeper to explore the emotional connections among its characters, and those they choose to bring into their clique (while still remaining devilishly funny). Cougar Town is also a series that very much understands Central Florida, creating a sunny, friendly, and often very bizarre locale that can serve as its own brand of mini-vacation just by watching it. —Allison Keene

85. Brooklyn Nine-Nine

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

“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, not only in terms of 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. In other words, there’s a lot the series has to offer, and that just drives home how vital its constancy really is to its success. Never underestimate well-regulated humor. —Andy Crump

84. Archer

Creators: Adam Reed
Stars: H. Jon Benjamin, Judy Greer, Amber Nash, Chris Parnell, Adam Reed, Aisha Tyler, Jessica Walter, Lucky Yates
Original Network: FX

The sign of a good show is that it evolves over the course of its run. Archer, which itself is already an evolution from creator Adam Reed’s Frisky Dingo, layers its self-references, constantly reinvents itself, and is never afraid of sacrificing story or character for a single piece of wordplay. Blessed with characters of far more hilarious depth than any Ian Fleming dreamed up, not to mention its instantly iconic tone, style, and voice acting (looking at you, H. Jon Benjamin and Jessica Walter), the parody of super-spy tropes is a masterpiece of silliness, living and dying by a singular unit bound together in one sense of humor. Through all its boredom-beating tangents and constant winks, though, one thing has remained consistent: Archer is one of the funniest shows on television, and is that in a completely different way than any other contemporary adult-oriented animation. —Jacob Oller

83. Shrill

Creators: Aidy Bryant, Alexandra Rushfield, Lindy West
Stars: Aidy Bryant, Lolly Adefope, Luka Jones, John Cameron Mitchell, Ian Owens
Original 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, as 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 also 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

82. Please Like Me

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Creator: Josh Thomas
Stars: Josh Thomas, Thomas Ward, Debra Lawrance, David Roberts, Renee Lim
Original 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

81. Nathan for You

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

For two seasons, Nathan for You was something warped, uncomfortable, and 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 patronization 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 human, 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 3, Nathan for You 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

80. The Wrong Mans

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Creators / Stars: James Corden, Mathew Baynton
Original Network: BBC 2, Hulu 

The very under-the-radar The Wrong Mans finds two unsuspecting, average Britons caught up in a web of crime and conspiracy. The series hinges on the charm of stars James Corden and Matthew Baynton, who also wrote and created the show, taking viewers on a very fun, very short (two seasons totalling 10 episodes) caper that is given a surprisingly decent budget for cinematic action. The series winningly combines a number of familiar formulas, from The Odd Couple to Hitchcock’s The Wrong Man, to great effect, as the two men desperately try to reclaim their normal lives after reluctantly answering a cellphone at the site of a car crash. The Wrong Mans is a silly, fun, and very charming ride that manages to hit some surprising emotional beats. —Allison Keene

79. Scrubs

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

J.D. and the gang gave a completely absurd (and yet often the most realistic) look into the world of hospitals. The episodes 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 very much character-driven. Though it was consistently overlooked by the Emmy Awards, and viewership dwindled throughout the seasons, 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

78. Moone Boy

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Creator: Chris O’Dowd
Stars: Chris O’Dowd, David Rawle, Deirdre O’Kane, Peter McDonald
Original Network: Sky One

You’d be hard-pressed to find a more whimsically joyful series than Moone Boy, which follows the mischiefs of a young Irish lad, Martin (David Rawle) and his imaginary, sarcastic, and fully-bearded friend, Seán (Chris O’Dowd). The very charming series takes place in the early 1990s amid a rural landscape where Martin’s creativity really takes flight—sometimes literally, as his sketches become animations within the series. These surrealist elements really elevate the coming-of-age family drama, which bears the hallmarks of many classic shows that cover the same subject matter (it’s not a fault, but a framework that just works very, very well). Like Martin, the series marches to the beat of its own drum. Soon, you’ll be wanting to shout at people, “where’s me jumper?!” —Allison Keene

77. Everybody Hates Chris

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Creator:   Chris Rock, Ali LeRoi
Stars: Tyler James Williams, Terry Crews, Tichina Arnold, Tequan Richmond, Imani Hakim, Vincent Martella
Original Networks: UPN, The CW

Chris Rock  is one of the funniest comedians of all time. This is far from a controversial stance. Upon developing a period sitcom about his Brooklyn childhood for the (now defunct) UPN back in the mid-2000s, however, the question emerged of whether or not his brand of knowing, acerbic comedy could survive the transition to network TV. The answer proved to be both yes and no. From the opening seconds of its pilot, Everybody Hates Chris positions itself as an incisive, utterly confident comedic tour-de-force that is perfectly in line with Rock’s brand. And yet, in the hands of co-creator/showrunner Ali LeRoi, the show aimed to be much more than simply the comedian’s stage work reformatted into TV storylines. The result was a family sitcom that both harkened back to the Norman Lear comedies of old, while still retaining the rapid pace and tight construction of the best single-camera productions. The show was never more successful, however, than when it came to its casting, with Tyler James Williams demonstrating immense charisma and comic timing as a young Chris; meanwhile, Terry Crews and Tichina Arnold would promptly enter the pantheon of great TV couples as Chris’ larger-than-life parental units. And though low ratings and frequent schedule shifts would ultimately snuff Chris out after four seasons, it quickly sketched out its place as one of the greatest sitcoms of the new millennium. —Mark Rozeman

76. Lodge 49

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

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