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Top 10 Shows on Hulu to Kickstart Your Free Trial

Toni Fitzgerald
Top 10 Shows on Hulu to Kickstart Your Free Trial
Whatever you're in the mood to watch, Hulu has you covered. With a diverse range of TV shows, movies, and exclusive content, there's something for everyone to enjoy.

Explore Hulu's diverse selection of content, where you'll find a perfect balance of innovative originals and classic hits in both comedy and drama. Since the debut of its hit series The Handmaid's Tale in 2017, Hulu has expanded to feature some of the most acclaimed shows on television.

Get started with a free seven-day trial to explore Hulu’s extensive lineup. We’ve handpicked 10 standout shows you won’t want to miss, chosen for their quality, critical acclaim, and variety of themes. Dive into these top picks and discover your next favorite series on Hulu!

Ready to dive into endless entertainment? Join Hulu today with plans starting at just $7.99 per month! Watch Now

1. Ramy


Release Year(s): 2019-2022

Genre: Comedy

Number of Seasons: 3

Topping our Hulu recommendations, Ramy (comedian and show co-creator Ramy Youssef) is a Millennial Muslim caught between the expectations of his devout Egyptian family and the more laid-back attitudes of his friends. The show is a comedy, but it mixes deep laughs with more dramatic subject matter, such as including flashbacks to the post-9/11 period when Ramy realized people looked at him and his Muslim community differently than they had before the World Trade Center fell.

The show follows Ramy’s spiritual journey as he explores his faith as well as navigates romantic relationships. It touches on subjects ranging from Islamophobia to wearing the hijab, exploring them without judgment while raising serious and often unexpected questions. This is a smart, boundary-pushing show designed to make viewers uncomfortable sometimes despite the humor.

Why It’s a Must-Watch: One of the first Muslim-focused comedies to earn widespread attention, Ramy was also a critical hit earning Emmy and Golden Glob nods and receiving an impressive 94% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

Best For: Fans of edgy comedy who want their laughs with a side of insight (and people who are not easily offended).

Watch Ramy on Hulu

2. The Handmaid's Tale

 The Handmaid's Tale

Release Year(s): 2017-present

Genre: Drama

Number of Seasons: 6 (season six coming in 2025)

This is hands-down one of the best Hulu shows ever. The Handmaid's Tale, based on the novel by Margaret Atwood, is set in a dystopian near future where environmental degradation, pollution, and sexually transmitted diseases have drastically reduced fertility rates. Following a violent civil war, a totalitarian regime takes control of the United States. 

Under this oppressive government, the few women who can still conceive are enslaved as "natal laborers." These women are subjected to repeated assaults by powerful men attempting to impregnate them and perpetuate their lineage. Women are subjugated in other ways in the religion-dominated society, too. The show follows June (whose name is changed to Offred to symbolize she is Of Fred’s property) and her struggle to reunite with her husband and daughter, who were separated from her after the uprising.

Why It’s a Must-Watch: The Handmaid's Tale features outstanding acting and writing, reflected in its 8.4/10 rating on IMDb and its many award nominations, including a Best Actress Emmy win for lead Elisabeth Moss.

Best For: Fans of edgy sci-fi who like exploring new worlds.

Watch The Handmaid's Tale on Hulu

3. Only Murders In The Building 

Only Murders in the Building

Release Year(s): 2021-present

Genre: Comedy

Number of Seasons: 4 (season 4 coming in 2024)

Aging actor Charles-Haden Savage (Steve Martin), washed-up director Oliver Putnam (Martin Short) and Millennial artist Mabel Mora (Selena Gomez) share a building and a passion for true crime podcasts. When an unexpected evacuation due to a “murder in the building” brings the three together, they decide to create a podcast to investigate the death. Between driving the police crazy with their detective work and spawning a legion of loyal fans, the unlikely trio become close friends helping each other through life’s rough spots.

The electric chemistry between longtime friends Martin, who co-created the show, and Short, plus their “proud uncle” dynamic with Gomez, has transformed the show into a sensation. Guest stars, a high-wattage group ranging from Meryl Streep to Paul Rudd to Tina Fey, have further raised the program’s profile, and the result is true comedy gold.

Why It’s a Must-Watch: Only Murders has quickly become Hulu’s highest-profile show through its blend of humor, pathos and wit, mixed with a deep understanding of what it means to be lonely and how we can treat this universal ill. The show is a critical smash, earning parcels of Emmy nods and an incredible 98% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

Best For: Mystery fans looking for a cozy weekend binge.

Watch Only Murders in the Building on Hulu

4. The Shield

The Shield

Release Year(s): 2002-2008.

Genre: Drama

Number of Seasons: 7

The Shield was a trailblazer in many ways. It was the first original drama to air on FX and the first basic cable show to earn a Lead Actor in a Drama Series Emmy. The Shield is often included on lists of the top 100 TV shows of all time.

It follows a successful but corrupt special division of the Los Angeles police department, known as the Strike Team, that uses extreme methods to take down criminals. Michael Chiklis plays Vic Mackey, a role that defined his career. Vic is savvy enough to realize that he can do whatever he wants if he supports the political aspirations of his boss, the LAPD captain. Of course, as the seasons go on, things become more dangerous for Vic and his team.

Why It’s a Must-Watch: Chiklis delivers one of his generation’s best TV acting performances as Vic, a man who struggles to be a good father and husband and gets his fulfillment from being criminally good at his job. The show has an excellent 8.7/10 IMDb rating.

Best For: Anyone feeling nostalgia for the hard-nosed cop shows of the early 2000s.

Watch The Shield on Hulu

5. The Killing 

The Killing

Release Year(s): 2011-2014

Genre: Drama

Number of Seasons: 4

Based on the Danish series Forbrydelsen, The Killing premiered on AMC as the ultimate crime drama, edgier than the weekly procedurals on broadcast and smarter than crime-of-the-week serials on cable. It goes in-depth on one case each season, giving the writers a chance to dig into the psychology of a crime and what it does to everyone involved.

Detectives Sarah Linden (Mireille Enos) and Stephen Holder (Joel Kinnaman) begin investigating the murder of Rosie Larsen. Season one covers the first two weeks after her death, and season two concludes their investigation. Season three covers a new case after Linden has left the force, pulling her back into the world she wanted to leave behind. And season four follows the pair as they reunite on yet another new case.

Why It’s a Must-Watch: The show stands out for its well-thought-out plotting and characterization. It boasts an exceptional cast and includes some elements of suspense and horror that make it different from other cop mysteries. The show holds an 8.4 rating on IMDb.

Best For: Horror fans looking for a something hair raising that will also make them think.

Watch The Killing on Hulu

6. American Horror Story

American Horror Story

Release Year(s): 2011-present

Genre: Horror

Number of Seasons: 12

One of the most unique programs to ever hit the airwaves, American Horror Story is an anthology that tells a new story of unsettling terror each season. Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk created the program for FX, and each season is a bit different, though they take place in the same greater world and sometimes have subtle connections. Though the cast rotates, attracting an array of impressive names from Kathy Bates to Angela Bassett, several have returned for multiple seasons, including Bassett, Jessica Lange, Sarah Paulson and Evan Peters.

The show often explores phenomena based on real-world happenings, including the Salem witch trials, early 20th-century freak shows, the lost Roanoke Colony and the 2016 election. Other settings include a summer camp and an isolated beach town.

Why It’s a Must-Watch: Murphy and Falchuk are gifted storytellers with fingers on the pulse of pop culture. Each season delivers a distinctive commentary on modern life, but in such an entertaining and insightful way that it doesn’t feel like a lecture. The show has won a number of awards, including two Emmys for Lange, and it has an 8/10 IMDb rating.

Best For: Horror fans looking for a show they can jump into and out of depending on their mood.

Watch American Horror Story on Hulu

7. Welcome to Wrexham

Welcome to Wrexham

Release Year(s): 2022-present

Genre: Reality

Number of Seasons: 3

A warm, uplifting show about hope, fandom and a city that desperately needs something to believe in, FX’s Welcome to Wrexham follows the unlikely purchase of the Welsh football club Wrexham by Hollywood actors Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney. They don’t know much about football (soccer in America) or running a team, but their enthusiasm and willingness to do “whatever it takes” helps turn the struggling team around.

Each episode also includes a deep dive into Welsh history, players on the team, devoted fans and people who work for Wrexham. Reynolds’ charisma and McElhenney’s enthusiasm make this more than just another reality show. It’s a program about hope, and it feels authentic, from watching the actors get drunk with locals at a pub to seeing them celebrate a big victory.

Why It’s a Must-Watch: Reynolds has a captivating personality, and he knows how to play to the cameras. McElhenney is the foil most of the time but also shows real devotion to learning about the business and the team, and tender moments with his family make the show even sweeter. Wrexham has a 91% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

Best For: Anyone who likes to dip in and out of shows—you don’t have to watch it in order or catch every episode to enjoy this one.

Watch Welcome to Wrexham on Hulu

8. The Other Black Girl

The Other Black Girl ​

Release Year(s): 2023

Genre: Suspense

Number of Seasons: 1

The Other Black Girl is based on Zakiya Dalila Harris's runaway bestseller of the same name. She developed the show with actress Rashida Jones. The program explores what it’s like to be Black in a predominantly white space and the best way to fight institutionalized racism (which may not be what people think). This is one of the most underrated Hulu recommendations on our list, falling under the radar at its release.

Nella is the only Black female employee at her publishing company, so she’s thrilled when another Black woman, Hazel, is hired. At first, Hazel seems too good to be true, but soon Nella notices some troubling inconsistencies about her and begins diving deeper into Hazel’s background. The shocking things she uncovers make Nella question her own beliefs and aspirations, bringing their relationship to a sudden and surprising head.

Why It’s a Must-Watch: The Other Black Girl presents a creative take on a troubling truth in American society. Nella’s investigation into and thirst for the truth make the show a propulsive thriller, and it features a talented lead in Sinclair Daniel. The show has an 85% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

Best For: Fans of psychological thrillers who want something more nuanced than a typical murder mystery.

Watch The Other Black Girl on Hulu

9. Normal People

Normal People

Release Year(s): 2020

Genre: Drama/Romance

Number of Seasons: 1

Sally Rooney’s beloved bestseller Normal People provides the basis for this Hulu original about a couple who grow up together and see their trajectories change as they threaten to grow apart. Marianne (Daisy Edgar-Jones) is a shy misfit at their high school, while Connell (Paul Mescal) is popular and gregarious. The two cross paths because Connell’s mom cleans Marianne’s house, and from their first meeting, they share an undeniable chemistry.

School and their differing social statuses complicate things, so they initially hide their relationship. When they both go to university in Dublin, things get even tougher as they swap social positions; Marianne is now the popular one while Connell sits on the sidelines. Rooney’s impressive characterization gives the show an uncommon emotional depth.

Why It’s a Must-Watch: Marianne and Connell do, indeed, feel like normal people navigating the unsurety and challenges of a relationship while also struggling to find themselves. Theirs is a touching, relatable story told well enough to earn a 91% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes and make it one of the top Hulu shows.

Best For: Romance fans who want some emotional heft to the plot.

Watch Normal People on Hulu

10. Reservation Dogs

Reservation Dogs

Release Year(s): 2021-2023

Genre: Comedy

Number of Seasons: 3

Creators Sterlin Harjo and Taika Waititi made history with the FX on Hulu program. It was the first American TV show to have a writers’ room made up entirely of Indigenous people. The cast and crew were almost all Indigenous North Americans as well.

The show follows a group of teenagers from the Muscogee Nation in Oklahoma, where they plan and commit petty crimes and try to scrape together enough money to finally leave the reservation. Called the Rez Dogs, the group struggles with the recent death of a close friend, who wanted to move to California. They all have family responsibilities that also wear on them, and season 3 explores how their elders felt when they were the Rez Dogs’ age, showing the universal vs. generational nature of restlessness and dissatisfaction.

Why It’s a Must-Watch: In addition to bringing a different perspective to the airwaves, Reservation Dogs is a critically lauded show that won a Peabody Award and received Emmy and Critics Choice nominations. The American Film Institute named it one of the best TV shows of the year every season of its run.

Best For: Comedy fans who want to try something new.

Watch Reservation Dogs on Hulu

Discover Your Next Binge Today

Hulu’s diverse programming ensures there’s something for everyone, whether you prefer comedies, dramas, reality shows, or romances. 

Activate your free trial today and gain instant access to Hulu’s full slate of content, including the latest shows, timeless classics, and exclusive Hulu Originals. 

Simply sign up, choose your plan, and start streaming without any initial payment. This trial is an ideal way to sample Hulu’s extensive library, showcasing why it's a top-tier choice for streaming entertainment.

Toni Fitzgerald
Toni Fitzgerald writes about entertainment and TV Services for Top10.com. Toni is a longtime journalist who has covered TV and the media industry for over two decades.