Hulu has quietly become one of the best streaming services for television dramas. Because of Netflix’s massive subscriber count and Apple’s massive budgets, it’s easy to forget that Hulu became the first streaming service to win the Emmy for Outstanding Drama Series in 2017 for The Handmaid’s Tale.
Unfortunately, the actors’ and writers’ strikes have paused work on all productions in Hollywood. Thanks to its growing library of original series and FX programs, Hulu has several critically-acclaimed dramas available for consumption right now. From an iconic series about high school football to a true crime mystery, here are five drama TV shows on Hulu to watch this summer.
Friday Night Lights (2006-2011)
“Clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose.” This motivational phrase from Coach Eric Taylor (Kyle Chandler) became a rallying cry for fans of Friday Night Lights. The TV series is based on H. G. Bissinger’s nonfiction book and adapted from the 2004 film of the same name. In the fictional Texas town of Dillion, high school football is king. The Dillon Panthers are the main attraction, and at the center of the pandemonium is Coach Taylor, who preaches love for one’s family and football.
For the team, Coach Taylor is a mentor for star players Tim Riggins (Taylor Kitsch), Smash Williams (Gaius Charles), and Matt Saracen (Zach Gilford). For his family, Coach Taylor is a loving husband to Tami Taylor (Tami Taylor) and a caring father to Julie Taylor (Aimee Teegarden). Led by a strong ensemble cast of well-developed characters, Friday Night Lights is a winning drama, on and off the field.
Stream Friday Night Lights on Hulu.
The Dropout (2022)
Remember Elizabeth Holmes, the self-made billionaire who became one of the most influential entrepreneurs thanks to her blood-testing company, Theranos? Well, it turns out Holmes was a fraud, and The Dropout depicts her meteoric rise and catastrophic fall. Amanda Seyfried stars as Holmes, the college dropout who created Theranos, a company many believed would change the healthcare system with an at-home blood test.
However, the test never worked, but that didn’t stop Holmes from defrauding investors for millions. Based on the ABC News podcast of the same name, The Dropout is an eye-opening and entertaining portrayal of how one woman’s mission to become the next Steve Jobs ended in scandal and controversy.
Stream The Dropout on Hulu.
Under the Banner of Heaven (2022)
What happens when True Detective investigates the Mormon faith? The result is Under the Banner of Heaven, Hulu’s true crime drama about Jon Krakauer’s 2003 book of the same name. The series opens in Utah with the aftermath of a brutal murder involving Brenda Lafferty (Daisy Edgar-Jones), a member of the Mormon Church, and her baby daughter.
Detective Jeb Pyre (Andrew Garfield, still the best Spider-Man ever) and Detective Bill Taba (Gil Birmingham) are assigned to the case. Jeb, also a Mormon, starts to uncover disturbing secrets about his religion and how they may have played a role in Brenda’s death. Religion aside, Under the Banner of Heaven is a compelling crime procedural with a standout performance from Garfield.
Stream Under the Banner of Heaven on Hulu.
The Bear (2022-)
Is The Bear a comedy or a drama? Frankly, it’s both, and the only reason the Emmys consider The Bear a comedy is for its half-hour runtime. Semantics aside, The Bear has quickly become one of the best series on television after two fantastic seasons. Carmen “Carmy” Berzatto (Jeremy Allen White), an award-winning chef, returns to Chicago to run an Italian beef sandwich restaurant owned by his late brother.
Upon arrival, Carmy learns the restaurant is in serious debt. The staff is inexperienced, the equipment is terrible, and the place is falling apart. Faced with an impossible task, Carmy steps up to save the restaurant from failure. With stunning performances from the cast and excellent writing from creator Christopher Storer, The Bear combines culinary jargon with emotional depth to craft a winning recipe.
Stream The Bear on Hulu.
Justified: City Primeval (2023)
From 2010-2015, Timothy Olyphant starred as the outlaw U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens on Justified. Eight years later, Olyphant dons Givens’s trademark hat for another go-around in Justified: City Primeval. Based on the character created by Elmore Leonard, City Primeval transports Givens from Kentucky to Miami, where he continues working as U.S. Marshal while balancing his responsibility as a father to his teenage daughter (Vivian Olyphant).
After a violent encounter in Miami, Raylan is summoned to Detroit to help catch Clement Mansell (Boyd Holbrook), a criminal known as “The Oklahoma Wildman.” The first two episodes of Justified: City Primeval premiered July 18 on FX, and new episodes will be released weekly on Tuesdays. However, you can stream the latest episodes the next day on Hulu.
Stream Justified: City Primeval on Hulu.