5 Hulu Original Shows That Prove the Streaming Service Is Severely Underrated

From Amazon Prime and Disney+ to Netflix and Hulu, multiple streaming services compete for subscribers — offering various original TV shows and movies, while also securing the rights to classic films, sitcoms, and critically acclaimed dramas. Yet, when it comes to the number of subscribers each service has, Hulu is scraping the bottom of the barrel. 

The Handmaid's Tale
‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ | display at the Hulu booth | Robyn Beck / AFP via Getty Images

According to Statista, in the third quarter of 2020, Netflix boasted over 70 million US subscribers. And, at the end of 2019, the home of Orange Is the New Black boasted over 160 million subscribers worldwide. Amazon Prime, as of 2019, has over 100 million US subscribers, while Disney+ is home to over 70 million subscribers. Yet, Hulu only has over 30 million US subscribers. In short, Hulu is nowhere near the level of its main competitors, despite the fact that several unique shows have premiered on the platform. 

1. ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’

A quality list about Hulu originals can’t exist without including The Handmaid’s Tale. The show — based on the novel of the same name — is set in Gilead, a totalitarian society in what used to be part of the United States. Women are treated as property and a fundamentalist regime forces fertile women into sexual servitude as a result of the plummeting birthrate. The show is dark, dramatic, and filled with twists and turns. It also premiered to critical and audience acclaim. 

RELATED: ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’: Elisabeth Moss Does Not Know if a Happy Ending Is Possible

2. ‘Shrill’

Shrill is a comedy series based on the book Shrill: Notes From a Loud Woman. The series follows Annie (Aidy Bryant) — a struggling journalist who is committed to improving her life without changing her body. From bad boyfriends and best friends to a judgmental boss and overbearing societal norms, the sitcom tackles important issues without resorting to preachiness or somber storytelling. 

3. ‘Dollface’ 

Dollface works because Kat Dennings of Two Broke Girls impeccably carries the show. While its feminist messaging is a bit shallow, the series has a ton of heart and humor. It will make you laugh, smile, and tear up at all the right moments. 

As for the narrative, the show follows Jules (Dennings) after she breaks up with her boyfriend of 5 years and must rekindle her friendships (which have all virtually expired). 

4. ‘Normal People’

Normal People follows Marianne and Connell — two people from different backgrounds – who weave in and out of each other’s lives in a whirlwind romantic journey. The show, rather than succumbing to romance tropes, examines both characters as individuals – with lives that continue on with or without each other. The show works to examine the second coming-of-age period that goes underexplored in TV and cinema– the journey from late teenager to adult (as opposed to the journey through adolescence). 

5. ‘Woke’

Woke follows Keef: a Black cartoonist about to catch his big break. In the first episode, he experiences racism first-hand when a few cops assume he is someone else and tackle him to the ground in broad daylight. His worldview and life perceptions change as he confronts and challenges new ideas and voices that enter his head (quite literally as inanimate objects come to life and speak to him).