×
Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Hulu's Best Original Shows Of 2022 So Far

The 2021 to 2022 award season was a good year for Hulu. The streaming service received a record-breaking 58 nominations at the 2022 Emmy Awards, including 14 for "Dopesick" and a whopping 17 for "Only Murders in the Building" (per Deadline). Of course, this also means that the award ceremony has put a lot of pressure on Hulu to top itself and audiences have been eagerly anticipating what Hulu is going to do next. Luckily, since the debut of "Dopesick" and "Only Murders in the Building," Hulu has launched a number of unique and exciting TV shows that continue this trend.

The year has certainly brought some excellent installments in returning shows on Hulu, including "The Handmaid's Tale" and "Reservation Dogs." However, here we're going to focus on the standout shows that made their debut on Hulu in 2022. Some are true crime series based on disturbing real-life events, while others are inventive new comedies from established stand-up comics like Amy Schumer and Chris Estrada — but all of these original shows are essential viewing if you subscribe to Hulu.

The Bear

In "The Bear," Carmy (Jeremy Allen White) is a successful professional chef who returns home to Chicago after his brother Michael (Jon Bernthal) dies by suicide and leaves the family restaurant to Carmy. With the help of his disgruntled kitchen staff, Carmy attempts to revive the restaurant using some of the tricks he learned as a professional chef. However, he meets resistance when his friend and colleague Richie (Ebon Moss-Bachrach) stubbornly digs in his heels, as he is still mourning Michael and doesn't want to see the restaurant change.

"The Bear" is a down-to-earth show with admirable simplicity. It shows all the inglorious work that happens behind the scenes at a restaurant kitchen. Every artistic choice, from the cinematography to the sound mixing, creates the sensation of what it's like to work in a cramped and stressful kitchen, observes The Telegraph. The dialogue is authentic, and the situations the characters must deal with are even more so — after all, who hasn't needed to deal with a flooding toilet or impudent customers? "The Bear" will definitely resonate with anybody who's worked in the food service industry or held pretty much any kind of crappy job. It should come as no surprise that this Hulu show is considered a serious award contender (per Gold Derby).

If you or anyone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline​ by dialing 988 or by calling 1-800-273-TALK (8255)​.

The Girl from Plainville

"The Girl from Plainville" offers an intimate perspective on the real-life story of Michelle Carter. In the series, the teenage Michelle (Elle Fanning) maintains a long-distance relationship with Conrad Roy III (Colton Ryan). Both have demons to face (Michelle has an eating disorder and Conrad deals with depression) and bond over their similar experiences. However, when Conrad dies by suicide, Michelle comes under fire for her possible role in his death –- including texts that she sent him that seem to encourage him to harm himself. Toggling back and forth between Michelle and Conrad's love story and the fallout of his death, "The Girl from Plainville" attempts to unravel this real-life tragedy.

This Hulu limited series is well-acted, with a brilliant Elle Fanning at its center. Fanning throws herself into the many layers of Michelle's character, ranging from the sensitive yet clingy outsider who befriends Conrad to the stubborn interloper who wants to be acknowledged by Conrad's mourning family. Critics also loved Chloë Sevigny in the role of Conrad's mother, and Concrete Playground points out that the series wisely explores Conrad as a character in his own right rather than just using him as a catalyst for the events of the series. "The Girl from Plainville" may not offer any definitive answers on why exactly Michelle did what she did — but perhaps the series is stronger for that.

If you or anyone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline​ by dialing 988 or by calling 1-800-273-TALK (8255)​.

Under the Banner of Heaven

Like many of the best Hulu originals from 2022, "Under the Banner of Heaven" is based on a true story. In 1984, the bodies of a woman named Brenda Lafferty (Daisy Edgar-Jones) and her infant daughter are found at the scene of a grisly murder in a small Utah town. Mormon detective Jeb Pyre (Andrew Garfield) and his partner Bill (Gil Birmingham) are tasked with figuring out who would do something so horrifying. The prime suspects are Brenda's brothers-in-law, members of an influential Utah family with ties to extreme fundamentalist Mormonism. As he unearths disturbing secrets about the Lafferty family, Jeb is forced to ask difficult questions about his faith.

"Under the Banner of Heaven" is unlike other crime thrillers. This show is less concerned with the reveal of whodunnit, instead focusing on the chain of events that led to the murder and what Jeb discovers about himself and his faith along the way. Plus, the series makes excellent use of the gorgeous Utah countryside and the distinctive cultural milieu of a Mormon community. Andrew Garfield plays yet another deeply religious character, pouring everything into the role of Jeb. Other standout performances include Billy Howle as Brenda's disillusioned widower and Wyatt Russell as the earnest yet deluded Dan Lafferty. If you're looking for an intense true crime series set in a community rarely depicted in the genre, this Hulu series is a perfect fit.

If you or someone you know is dealing with domestic abuse, you can call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1−800−799−7233. You can also find more information, resources, and support at their website.

Life & Beth

Comedian Amy Schumer plays a fictionalized version of herself in the comedy series "Life & Beth." Beth (Schumer) is a wine seller who hates her job and is going through a midlife crisis — when asked by her doctor if she has any preexisting conditions he should know about, she replies, "I'm a woman." Her boyfriend Matt (Kevin Kane) is enthusiastic but blind to Beth's feelings. However, Beth gets a chance to find love again when she meets John (Michael Cera), an awkward but sincere vineyard farmer. Along the way, Beth must confront her past, including unresolved conflict with her mother (Laura Benanti).

Critics have praised the series for showcasing the brutal honesty that Schumer is famous for, as is seen in a realistic scene in which Beth shops for contraceptives. Still, "Life & Beth" is pretty distinct from "Inside Amy Schumer" or most of the comedian's previous work. "Life & Beth" takes a quieter and more reflective tone while preserving Schumer's signature sense of humor. The cast is excellent, and Cera is especially endearing as John, a character loosely based on Schumer's husband. The Daily Beast insists that if you liked the HBO series "Somebody Somewhere" (or just like Amy Schumer), then you'll love "Life & Beth."

Pam & Tommy

At a glance, "Pam & Tommy" sounds like a tabloid brought to life, but the show is much more than that. The series explores the scandal surrounding "Baywatch" star Pamela Anderson (Lily James) and drummer Tommy Lee (Sebastian Stan). The pair's whirlwind romance becomes complicated after the couple decides to record their consummation via camcorder and the tape ends up in the hands of a contractor named Gauthier (Seth Rogen), who has a bone to pick with Tommy. Gauthier decides to get revenge by leaking the tape, using a little something called the internet (which was still a novelty at the time). Soon the sex tape sends Anderson and Lee's lives spiraling out of control.

"Pam & Tommy" constantly reminds viewers that these two celebrities wrapped up in scandal were real people. Critics praised the two leads, who give convincing and empathetic portrayals of Anderson and Lee. According to Concrete Playground, "Pam & Tommy" is a self-aware series that knows that viewers are expecting a show, so the stylish drama delivers exactly that even as it comments on people's obsession with prying into the private lives of celebrities. The show (mostly) avoids the provocative sensationalism it sets out to criticize, and it is undoubtedly thoughtful in its exploration of how the scandal impacted Pam much more than it did Tommy.

Candy

In 2022, Hulu was on a roll with its true crime shows, including the limited series "Candy." The titular Candy Montgomery (Jessica Biel) is a suburban housewife in 1980 Texas who is itching with restlessness. Candy seems close with her neighbor Betty (Melanie Lynskey), whose role as a mother deferred her dream of becoming a teacher. However, after Candy has an affair with Betty's husband (Pablo Schreiber), things quickly grow sour between the two women. Perhaps even sour enough for murder, because soon Betty is found dead, having been hacked to pieces with an ax. In five tense episodes, "Candy" traces our protagonist's involvement in this gruesome crime.

"Candy" demonstrates a remarkable sense of place, from the distinctive period costumes to the portrayal of a seemingly-peaceful suburb with an ocean of discontent seething beneath the surface. Biel's performance is riveting, as she does an amazing job showing Candy's transformation from pleasant to unhinged. Reviewers such as The Chicago Sun-Times also loved how Lynskey made viewers care deeply for a character who is already dead in the first episode. This Hulu series has strains of "Fargo," "American Horror Story," and "Mad Men" –- all of which director Michael Uppendahl has worked on.

Reboot

As a Hulu series about the making of a Hulu series, "Reboot" is gleefully meta. In the show, a young indie filmmaker named Hannah (Rachel Bloom) convinces a room full of Hulu executives to sponsor a modernized reboot of the nostalgic '90s sitcom "Step Right Up." She brings back all of the old cast members, such as washed-up drama-school grad Reed (Keegan-Michael Key), the recently-divorced Bree (Judy Greer), recovering drug user Clay (Johnny Knoxville), and momma's boy Zack Jackson (Calum Worthy). However, there's a catch. Hannah is contractually obliged to work with the original show's creator Gordon (Paul Reiser), whose old-fashioned sensibilities and even more old-fashioned sense of humor guarantee that he and Hannah will be butting heads every step of the way.

When it comes to the stacked cast of this sitcom, there couldn't be a fuller house. The romantic tension between Reed and Bree is loads of fun, and fans loved the back-and-forth between Bloom and Reiser. Keith Loves Movies writes that "Jackass" star Johnny Knoxville shows a refreshingly wider range in this show. Plus, the satire is spot-on. "Reboot" straddles the line between parody and pastiche, drawing plenty of comedy from the clash between old and new. It should come as no surprise that the critical response to "Reboot" is largely favorable, though many reviewers are saying it occasionally falls into the same traditional sitcom tropes it sets out to spoof.

Tell Me Lies

"Tell Me Lies" follows college freshman Lucy (Grace Van Patten) as she gets sucked into a toxic relationship with a boy named Stephen (Jackson White), who is just enticing enough to keep reeling her back in every time he hurts her. It begins when Lucy meets Stephen at a campus party and he tells her, "You're killing me in that dress." The red flags only get more alarming from there. Stephen lies left and right while manipulating Lucy until she is utterly dependent on him. He might even be involved in the death of a classmate.

"Tell Me Lies" is not an easy watch, but it's an engrossing one. Van Patten expertly captures the heroine's contradictions, while White's portrayal of Stephen convincingly swings between despicable and endearing. The moment you think you have Stephen figured out, he does something that catches you off-guard. Stephen is undeniably a jerk, but the series does a marvelous job exploring how easy it is to become so intoxicated by somebody's presence that you forget how abusive they are. Even if viewers will occasionally be shouting warnings to the heroine as if she's stuck in a terrible soap opera, The Hollywood Reporter argues that "Tell Me Lies" stands out from similar shows by demonstrating a mature complexity and a haunting ambiguity.

Reasonable Doubt

If you enjoy TV shows about strong-willed yet flawed Black women, you'll likely love Hulu's legal drama "Reasonable Doubt." In particular, fans of Olivia Pope from "Scandal" will probably find this series appealing. Jax (Emayatzy Corinealdi) is a successful criminal defense lawyer who is not as cool and collected as she seems. For one, she's going through a messy separation from her husband (McKinley Freeman). Plus, she has a weakness for handsome convicted criminals. It doesn't help that she still feels guilty about an innocent man named Damon (Michael Ealy), who spent over 15 years in prison because she couldn't acquit him. Jax may have bitten off more than she can chew when she takes on a high-profile case of a man (Sean Patrick Thomas) suspected of killing his colleague.

The Hollywood Reporter praised "Reasonable Doubt" for examining Jax's moral ambiguity, acknowledging her failings while showcasing her winning charisma. Corinealdi slips effortlessly into the role of the anti-heroine, who is a fascinating bundle of contradictions. Her romance with Damon is seductive and sensitive, even if this may not be the case for her other love interests. So long as you can forgive the occasional moment of soapy melodrama, "Reasonable Doubt" is good fun.

This Fool

Here's another excellent Hulu series inspired by a true story. This one, however, is a laugh-out-loud comedy. Drawn loosely from comedian Chris Estrada's personal life, "This Fool" follows 30-year-old Julio (Estrada), who still lives with his mother (Laura Patalano) in Southern LA. Julio spends his days working at Hugs Not Thugs, an unfortunately-named rehabilitation program for former inmates and gang members. However, his life gets a little more complicated whenever his cousin Luis (Frankie Quiñones) grudgingly enrolls in the program after being released from an eight-year prison sentence. Luis won't take anything seriously and still thinks "Austin Powers" is cool, so he clashes with his earnest, dorky cousin. Hilarity inevitably ensues.

Critics loved the chemistry between Estrada and Quiñones, an endearing odd couple with a distinctive Latinx twist. In particular, Quiñones expertly walks the tightrope between playful and obnoxious, writes The Spool. Another highlight is Michael Imperioli from "The Sopranos," who is unforgettable as the self-serious minister of Hugs Not Thugs. "This Fool" seamlessly incorporates Spanglish into its dialogue and deals with plenty of relatable real-life scenarios. This Hulu show does an excellent job touching on darker subjects like prison life and depression without losing its buoyant levity.

The Dropout

In "The Dropout," Stanford student Elizabeth Holmes (Amanda Seyfried) drops out to launch a company called Theranos, selling a product she claims can test customers' blood using only a single drop. However, her invention is founded on shaky science and doesn't actually work, yet Holmes continues to expand her company aggressively. Incredibly, Theranos becomes a huge success, despite the fact that Holmes has been selling dysfunctional products. Still, it's only a matter of time before characters such as entrepreneur Richard Fuisz (William H. Macy) uncover the truth.

Most critics, including Time Magazine, agree that the show stands out above most "true story" TV series about con artists because it does more than just show viewers how Elizabeth Holmes pulled off the scam by digging into the complicated psyche of each of the characters. In a tour de force performance, Seyfried expertly captures the many facets of Holmes' character, making her simultaneously sympathetic and enigmatic. 

The series also has plenty to offer by way of compelling supporting actors, including Stephen Fry, whose character places his faith in Holmes from the beginning and later pays for it, and Macy, whose character cares more about getting revenge than exposing the truth. "The Dropout" may not offer anything particularly revelatory about the downfall of Theranos — a tale already summed up nicely in the documentary "The Inventor: Out for Blood in Silicon Valley" — but the outstanding performances make this a show definitely worth a watch.

The Patient

"The Patient" is aptly named as the show's title has a clever double meaning. Although Sam (Domhnall Gleeson) is ostensibly the patient in question, the psychiatrist Dr. Alan Strauss (Steve Carell) is also a patient, as the experience forces him to confront his blind spots as a therapist and his troubled past.

Alan is a recently-widowed therapist who feels like he can handle any patient — until his client Sam kidnaps Alan and holds him captive in his basement. As it turns out, Sam often gets the compulsion to kill people and has already acted on this impulse multiple times. However, Sam genuinely wants to curb his urge to murder and wants Alan to figure out a way to 'cure' him. Alan is torn between escaping his disturbing predicament and helping Sam rehabilitate.

For a psychological thriller that happens almost entirely in a single room, "The Patient" has no problem maintaining a compelling narrative. The two leads are perfectly cast, with Gleeson lending a vulnerable side to the cold-blooded killer archetype and Carell bringing out the darker side of his seemingly calm and enlightened character. Of course, we should also give a shoutout to David Alan Grier's mesmerizing performance as Charlie, the psychiatrist who lives in Alan's head. Easily one of Hulu's best new shows from 2022, "The Patient" is riveting, right down to the gruesome finale that caught even Steve Carell off-guard.