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Netflix is virtually synonymous with "streaming service," but it is by no means not the only one out there. I don't even have Netflix, but I do have Hulu. For $7.99/mo you can watch with limited commercials (between 0 and 4 per break, depending on the popularity of the show) or $11.99/mo for no commercials. (You can also add on HBO or Showtime packages.) I like Hulu better than Netflix for watching TV shows because I can watch most as they air rather than waiting until the season is finished and Netflix to pick it up. I can usually also binge watch old seasons until I am caught up. Here are some of my favorites on Hulu right now.
Harlots is a Hulu original in its 2nd season, and it has thankfully been renewed for a 3rd. The plot follows, well, harlots based around 2 bawdy houses in 18th century London. The costumes are gorgeous, the intrigue high, and the cast is superb.
What I like most about this series is that, while disenfranchised by the supremely patriarchal society of the time, the women are in charge in this world. They are intelligent, ambitious, vindictive, generous, loyal, independent, mothers, daughters, sisters, lovers, friends... And this look at history whitewashes little. The main and recurrent cast of characters include people of color, LGB folk, fat people, old people, a blind woman (though the actress is not blind), a woman with dwarfism, and Nancy, who dresses like a man and I love her. Also, unlike a lot of period dramas with pretty dresses, this world is filthy.
'The Handmaid's Tale'
Another show that has recently released its 2nd season, and is my favorite horror (ok, technically dystopian) show on TV right now, is The Handmaid's Tale. The costumes and sets are brilliant—this is a 100 percent believable, lived-in world.
It also feels all-too real and possible. This is, at times, a difficult show to watch, which I think speaks to its brilliance, but I understand when people say they just can't.
'The Bold Type'
The Bold Type isn't a show that I was sure I would enjoy as I had heard it compared to Sex in the City. It actually reminds me a bit of The Good Girls Revolt, and often proves the point that the more things change, the more they stay the same.
This is a show about 3 friends trying to build careers and lives in New York City at a fictional women's magazine reminiscent of Cosmo. One of the main love relationships is between a biracial American woman, Kat, and a Muslim Iranian woman and proud lesbian, Adena. Watching Kat's realization and acceptance of her unexpected attraction to Adena was pure joy.
'The Good Place'
My husband and I didn't discover The Good Place until it showed up on Hulu, and we were immediate converts, eagerly awaiting each new episode to be posted.
It's a difficult show to talk about without spoilers, so I won't say much. The cast is brilliant with great chemistry. I am not sure how they've managed to keep this conceit going, but I am far from bored!
'Stan Against Evil'
Starring John C. McGinley, Stan Against Evil is like Dr. Perry Cox from Scrubs retired, became a small-town sheriff and started fighting demons. It is also reminiscent of The Evil Dead, so fans of this franchise should enjoy Stan as well. It's easy to binge with the short episodes and seasons.
Based on the book series by Maureen Jennings, Murdoch Mysteries follows a detective for the Toronto constabulary and his associates as they solve murders in late 19th and early 20th century Toronto, 11 seasons and going.
Again, the costumes are wonderful, and this feels like another lived-in world. Much of the technology is anachronistic and jokes and winks abound for the modern viewer. Consequently, this show is popular with the steampunk crowd as well as mystery fans.