Hulu’s Hidden Gems
While Netflix has become the ultimate destination for binge watchers, with full show catalogs at the ready, Hulu is better known for its new episodes, allowing audiences to keep up with current seasons of their favorite shows. However, Hulu is also home to some hidden gems, series often forgotten in the age of “Peak TV,” that are well worth the investment.
From Veronica Mars creator Rob Thomas and Paul Rudd, Party Down revolves around a Hollywood catering company populated by has-beens, wannabes, and out of work actors. The crew is led by dopey, earnest boss Ron (Ken Marino), cynical Henry (Adam Scott), whose famous one-liner in a beer commercial overshadowed his career, aspiring comedienne Casey (Lizzy Caplan), handsome idiot Kyle (Ryan Hansen), and deadpan sci-fi writer Roman (Martin Starr). The show aired for 2 seasons on Starz in the early-aughts, with each episode focusing on a different catering gig. Combining irreverent humor with guest cameos galore, Party Down is a quick and hilarious watch.
Mostly known these days as the birthplace of the Dawson crying meme, Dawson’s Creek was once a staple of late-90s teen fare on The WB. The show follows precocious (some might say pretentious) teen Dawson Leary (James Van Der Beek) in small-town Massachusetts, girl next door Joey Potter (Katie Holmes), class clown Pacey Witter (Joshua Jackson), and the mysterious new girl Jen Lindley (Michelle Williams). The dialogue is a bit over the top, especially in the first season, but the show does at least have a sense of humor about itself, and a lot of heart. You’ll be drawn in by the endless love triangles and classic teen angst. Fun fact: Dawson’s Creek featured the first prime time same-sex kiss in Season 3.
This under-the-radar Fox sitcom ran for 3 seasons, focused on a group of friends in Chicago. The show was promoted as a successor, but never shied away from the quirkiness of its characters, and the cast included standouts in Damon Wayans, Jr., Adam Pally, and Casey Wilson. The actors have great chemistry and comedic timing, making a fun, uncomplicated watch.
Taking quirky to a whole new level, EP Dan Harmon’s comedy centered around Jeff Winger (Joel McHale, at his smarmy best) as a slimy lawyer busted for forging his college degree, and forced to return to community college. Despite the sitcom-y setup, broke all the rules – from experimentations in form (Cartoon? Claymation? Movie homages? All of the above!) to alternate timelines and dimensions. Young Donald Glover co-stars as part of a best friend duo with Danny Pudi (“Troy and Abed in the Morning”), and Chevy Chase rounds out the gang as a bored heir to a moist towelette fortune. Constantly surprising, Community is a welcome departure from the formulaic sitcom routine.
Dead Like Me
Bored teen Georgia “George” Lass (Ellen Muth), on a lunch break from her soul-sucking corporate temp job, meets an untimely death via a flaming toilet seat, dropped from a returning space station. Really, that’s how she dies. Shortly after her demise, George is inducted into a group of grim reapers, tasked with shepherding souls into the beyond. The reapers, who all met death in different eras, are led by the stoic Rube (Mandy Patinkin). Inventive, charming, and often touching, was unlike anything else on TV.