Difficult People

(Photo by KC Bailey / ©Hulu / courtesy Everett Collection)

80 Hidden Gem Series on Hulu

Hulu, one of the OG streamers, has one of the deepest catalogues out there – browsing the service can be a little bit like drowning in TV history. There’s a ton of old-school classics, a collection of game-changing peak TV series, plenty of currently-airing network and cable shows, and, of course, a slew of acclaimed Hulu originals, like The Handmaid’s TaleRamy, and Little Fires EverywhereFinding something to watch isn’t hard – there’s so much – but finding something special, a hidden gem you weren’t expecting, well that can take some time.

Fortunately, time is something we have at Rotten Tomatoes and we’ve done the Hulu hidden-treasure hunt for you. In this guide, you’ll find Hulu originals with high Tomatometer scores that never got their time in the sun, staff-favorite network and cable series worth rediscovering, throwback classics you’ll be surprised to find on the service, and a bunch of gems from overseas – including a variety of great British comedies. And while many of the selections have multiple seasons, we linked to the page for each show’s first season because that’s generally the best place to start and get a sense of whether the show is right for you. To help you navigate our selection, we’ve categorized the list by genre so you can jump straight to selections to match your mood.

If you’re after the very best Hulu series, we’ve got that, too, along with the very best movies available on Hulu. But if you’re looking for something a little more off-the-beaten track, add one of the shows below to your queue.

Found a hidden gem on Hulu that’s not on our list? Let your fellow fans know in the comments. 


Action and Sci-Fi 

#8
Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: Black Sails boasts visual appeal, but the show's bland characters aren't strong enough to keep the show from being dragged down into its murky depths of aimless exposition.

Firefly: Season 1 (2002)
77%

#7
Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: Firefly earns its audience's adoration with the help of Nathan Fillion's dry delivery, a detailed fantasy world, and compelling storylines -- even if it doesn't stand with creator Joss Whedon's most consistent work.
Directed By: Joss Whedon, Tim Minear

The Quest: Season 1 (2014)
79%

#6
Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: It's familiar stuff, but The Librarians offers family-friendly fun with a mixture of silliness and adventure.

#5
Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: Sleeper Cell approaches its provocative high-concept with a respectful exploration of religious extremism, but the series works better as a gritty thrill-ride than the nuanced drama it aspires to be.

#4
Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: The nonsensical time travel in 12 Monkeys makes it less watchable than its original source material, but the high quality execution and cool characters are top-notch.

Dollhouse: Season 1 (2009)
62%

#3
Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: Joss Whedon's provocative procedural poses troubling questions about autonomy and consciousness, but repeatedly hitting the reset button on Eliza Dushku's character makes Dollhouse feel dispiritingly empty.

#1
Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: The premise of ordinary people gaining superpowers has been done before, but this irreverent yet gritty drama stands out from the crowd by making its heroes a group of young offenders doing court-mandated community service.
Starring:

Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: Odd and ambitious, Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency sometimes overdoses on pure weirdness but offers absurdist rewards to those who stick with it.


Comedies

#22
Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus:
Directed By: Stephen McCrum, Tom George

#21
Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus:
Directed By: Kyle Newacheck

#20
Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: Bouyed by strong acting and a sharp, funny script, Better Off Ted is a fresh, clever satire, even if it may not appeal to a particularly broad audience.

#19
Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: Though sometimes juvenile in nature, Getting On finds the funny, even in a somber setting, with humorous yet sensitive narratives and characterizations.

#17
Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: Before shows about struggling actors were done to death, there was Party Down.
Directed By: Fred Savage

Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: Aided by Chris Rock's humorous narration, Everybody Hates Chris' first season offers refreshingly honest insights into real life by addressing race, class, and adolescence.

#15
Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus:

Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus:
Starring:

Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: Difficult People makes the unlikable likable with mean-spirited, unhappy characters who still can't help but amuse.

Awkward.: Season 1 (2011)
95%

#11
Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: Smartly written, well acted, and emotionally resonant, Awkward captures the anxiety of teenage life with wit and insight.
Directed By: Lauren Iungerich

Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: An odd couple sitcom with a modern twist, Don't Trust the B---- in Apartment 23 is sleeker and smarter than expected, thanks to strong acting and snappy dialogue.

#8
Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: Happy Endings has its moments, but overall, it's an uneven sitcom that strands a likeable cast in unbelievable situations.

Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus:

Spaced: Season 1 (1999)
100%

#6
Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus:

Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: Amusingly surrealistic and enjoyably odd, Man Seeking Woman is easy to fall for, taking a ridiculously funny approach to a common theme.

#4
Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: Carried by Desiree Akhavan's dry wit, The Bisexual explores identity politics with humor and heart.

Legit: Season 1 (2013)
88%

#3
Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: Legit is proudly rude, crude, and politically incorrect, but thanks to strong writing and sharply-drawn characters, it's frequently hilarious and often oddly charming.

Terriers: Season 1 (2010)
93%

#2
Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: Well-acted and quite funny, Terriers breathes quirky new life into the detective show.


Horror and Supernatural

#11
Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus:
Directed By: David Kerr

NOS4A2: Season 1 (2019)
70%

#10
Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: Though Nos2a2 strains to build the necessary atmosphere to pull off its ambitious premise, it does capture the spirit of Joe Hill's singular work and provide a new psychopath for Zachary Quinto to sink his teeth into.

#9
Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: The Exorcist doesn't come close to its classic source material, but still boasts a tense narrative that manages some legitimate scares and credible special effects.

#8
Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: The Strain makes the most of its familiar themes through an effective mix of supernatural thrills and B-movie gore -- though it may not appeal to everyone.

Salem: Season 1 (2014)
48%

#7
Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: While the horror scenes are well-executed, Salem lacks enough substance to sustain even a guilty-pleasure interest.

#6
Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: In the Flesh exists within several genres, growing into profound entertainment that haunts as it entertains.
Directed By: Jonny Campbell

#5
Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: Despite its overstuffed plot, Sleepy Hollow is a fun romp with exciting action scenes and sparkling production values.

Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: Stan Against Evil is a light, gruesome horror-comedy with a fun premise, but the series has yet to solidify its tone and characters.
Directed By: Jack Bishop, Justin Nijm

The Fades: Season 1 (2011)
82%

#3
Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: The Fades succeeds as a genuinely unnerving horror chronicle, striking a fine balance between gruesome set-pieces and likable characters.
Directed By: Farren Blackburn

#2
Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: A thriller wrapped in a prestige drama package, The Terror makes for gripping, atmospheric supernatural horror.

#1
Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: Creepy and strange in the best way possible, Wayward Pines is a welcome return to form for M. Night Shyamalan.

#3
Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: Too tasteless for mainstream viewers and too silly for horror enthusiasts, Scream Queens fails to satisfy.

Medium: Season 1 (2005)
67%

#2
Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: Medium may have a unique premise, but with bland storytelling, the outcome -- well, you can see it coming.

Siren: Season 1 (2018)
95%

#1
Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: Siren turns traditional lore on its tail with a unique, well-paced show that presents dangerous, violent mythical creatures in a surprisingly empathetic and exciting light.


Dramas, Crime, And Historical 

#23
Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: Emily Watson plays a dangerous game with exceptional finesse in Apple Tree Yard, a rattlingly intense erotic thriller that deftly explores disturbing dilemmas and themes.
Directed By: Jessica Hobbs

Brockmire: Season 1 (2017)
94%

#22
Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: Brockmire insinuates itself as the series goes on, elevated by assured, compelling performances from Hank Azaria and Amanda Peet -- and a raw humor all its own.

Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: An engrossing drama with a fun '80s soundtrack, Deutschland 83 chronicles an intense spy story that brings viewers uncomfortably close to the Iron Curtain.

Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: Bittersweet and beautifully performed, Looking For Alaska is the rare adaptation that deviates from its source material only to find something even better.

The Path: Season 1 (2016)
78%

#18
Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: With strong performances, deep writing, and skilled direction, The Path offers an absorbing observation of the human condition, even if a rushed pace occasionally blunts the impact.

Bunheads: Season 1 (2012)
100%

#17
Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: Smart, sharp, and effortlessly charming, Bunheads is a captivating blend of drama and comedy that succeeds on the strength of a terrific ensemble cast.

#16
Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: Brotherhood achieves an authentic sense of place while unleashing ferociously good actors onto a story rife with thought-provoking moral quandaries, but some viewers may find the series too glum and patient in its storytelling.

#15
Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: Underground blends credible terror with enough compelling thrills to overcome the storyline's occasional cliches.

Das Boot: Season 1 (2018)
85%

#14
Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: Das Boot possesses the atmospheric pressure of its cinematic forebear while adding new depth to its compelling ensemble, making for a riveting international production.

Harlots: Season 1 (2017)
92%

#13
Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: Harlots uses its titillating subject matter to draw the viewer into a deeper drama about the intersection of survival, business, and family.

Snowfall: Season 1 (2017)
62%

#12
Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: Despite Singleton's accurate recreation of 1983 Los Angeles and a strong lead performance from Damson Idris.Snowfall struggles to create a compelling drama from its separate storylines.

#11
Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: With an authenticity of culture and place and strong performances throughout, Queen Sugar rises above melodrama in this alluring, unhurried and powerful portrait of a fractious black American family.

Trust: Season 1 (2018)
78%

#9
Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: Donald Sutherland delivers a powerful turn as the titular Getty in Trust, yet another telling of the affluent family's saga.

Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: National Treasure offers a unique perspective on celebrity crime through the eyes of its perpetrator -- and gripping performances from a strong ensemble cast.
Directed By: Marc Munden

()
%

#7

Lodge 49: Season 1 (2018)
86%

#5
Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: Lodge 49 takes a surreal journey into the television dreamscape that can prove quite rewarding for viewers who stick with it.

Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: A powerfully impressive -- and still relevant -- update on a television classic, Roots boasts remarkable performances, deep emotion, and occasionally jarring beauty.
Starring:

Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: Top of the Lake remains impressively idiosyncratic and ambitious in its second season, even if the plot of this six-episode arc isn't quite as tightly wound as its predecessor's.

#1
Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: Shots Fired tackles tough topics commendably -- and remains consistently compelling despite an occasionally meandering plot.


Throwback

#11
Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: Family Matters' first season proves that a simple sitcom built from basic ingredients can still deliver plenty of laughs if there's the right kind of chemistry between the cast -- particularly one with a breakout star waiting in the wings.


Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus:

Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: Although the jokes don't always stick the landing, the excellent actresses alone make Designing Women worth watching.

Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: An exceptional ensemble and a smart sense of humor suggest The Mary Tyler Moore Show and its titular star may just make it after all.

Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: You're about to enter a show, a show not only of frights and fears but of mind. A journey into the limitless world of imagination. A show that pushes the boundaries of what a show can be. Next stop, The Twilight Zone.

Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: A comedian swaps standup for domestic duties in The Bernie Mac Show -- and proves you can still have a few laughs along the way.
Directed By: Larry Wilmore

Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: Not content to settle for Twilight Zone knockoff status, The Outer Limits set the bar for gruesome monster anthology series and stands the test of time.

Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: A smart teen show with magic and a talking cat, Sabrina the Teenage Witch won our hearts and went on to be a 90s TGIF staple.

#2
Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: While it is fun to watch the core quartet mingle, Living Single's ribald humor won't be to everyone's taste.

#1
Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: Although this sleek summertime soap oozes melodrama, Melrose Place struggles with one-dimensional storylines and shallow characterizations.

Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: Although the jokes don't always stick the landing, the excellent actresses alone make Designing Women worth watching.


Animated 

Daria: Season 1 (1997)
94%

#9
Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: While balancing sarcasm and subversive sensibility, Daria challenges social norms most teens can relate to.
Directed By: Karen Disher

#8
Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: With a distinctive color palette and profoundly good-natured sensibility, Steven Universe beams onto screens as a fully realized gem that will appeal to all demographics.

Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: The Venture Bros. is both affectionate towards the science fiction hallmarks that it parodies and disdainful of its own characters, making for a pastiche that is easier to admire than love -- but viewers who enjoy dense riffs on the genre should find much to relish here.
Starring:

Animaniacs: Season 1 (1993)
100%

#6
Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus:
Directed By: Steven Spielberg

#5
Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus:

#4
Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus:

Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus:
Directed By: Steven Spielberg

Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus:
Directed By: Craig McCracken

Hey Arnold!: Season 1 (1996)
100%

#1
Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus:


Thumbnail image: Jean Whiteside/©Fox, Steve Dietl / ©WGN America, KC Bailey / ©Hulu

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