Hulu: Five Smart Comedies Every Millennial Should Be Watching

As the "cut the cord" movement continues to grow and consumers seek wallet-friendly television options outside of traditional cable or satellite services, virtually everyone has a Netflix account. "Netflix and chill" has become a regular part of the American lexicon, and the streaming video service has made "binge-watching" the preferred method of television consumption for many viewers. And while Netflix is far and away the industry leader in on-demand television streaming, services like Hulu, Amazon Prime, and Apple TV are doing everything they can to keep up.

One of the obvious advantages of Hulu over Netflix is that Hulu gives subscribers access to many popular current television shows the day after they air on broadcast television. With Netflix, newer shows generally aren't accessible until the season is finished and another season is about to debut. In an attempt to make up for this one downside to their service, Netflix has invested heavily in producing their own original series. The success of shows like House of Cards and Stranger Things has forced competitors like Hulu and Amazon to start creating original content of their own.

For anyone who needs a good excuse to begin a free trial (or borrow a friend's login credentials) for Hulu, what follows is a list of five very smart sitcoms that appeal to millennials that you won't find on Netflix.

@midnight With Chris Hardwick (Comedy Central)

Chris Hardwick was first introduced to American pop culture when he co-hosted Singled Out on MTV alongside Jenny McCarthy. Nowadays, he's more recognizable as the host of The Talking Dead, where Chris and other fans of The Walking Dead discuss (and geek-out over) the most recent episode.

Chris Hardwick, host of @midnight
Chris Hardwick hosts @midnight, available on Hulu. [Image by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images]

However, since 2013, Chris has been hosting @midnight on Comedy Central. Since replacing the recently cancelled Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore as Trevor Noah's follow-up, the 11:30 start-time makes the title of the show a little more confusing. However, if you want an assortment of comedians to make jokes about the current events of the day, @midnight is just what you're looking for. Technically, it's an improv-based comedy game show. Not unlike Tosh.0, the show makes fun of what it finds on the web. However, unlike Tosh, the focus tends to remain on current events, like the nightly "Panderdome" segment that focuses on recent political news. While the scoring is somewhat arbitrary, the show is less about who wins and more about how much fun everyone has. And while many of the comedians are virtually unknown to anyone outside of the indie stand-up scene, some regular contestants include Doug Benson, Jim Jeffries, Marc Maron, Natasha Leggero, and Aisha Tyler. Even bigger names like Patton Oswalt, Judd Apatow, Neko Case, and "Weird Al" Yankovic have made appearances.

The show was nominated for two Creative Arts Emmy Awards in 2014 and won the Outstanding Social TV Experience Award in 2015. Just like Comedy Central's "real" news programming, it airs new episodes every Monday through Thursday, meaning Hulu subscribers get new episodes every Tuesday through Friday morning.

Casual (Hulu Original)

The way millennials look for love is much different than the way their parents pursued romance. Dating apps are the new bar scene, divorce is the norm rather than the exception, and it's not uncommon for people to simply give up on love in general. The award-winning Casual addresses these issues from several angles. The product of swinger parents who showed little affection towards their children, recently divorced Valerie (Michaela Watkins) and her teenage daughter Laura (Tara Lynne Barr) move in with their brother/uncle Alex (Tommy Dewey), a never-married playboy who struck it rich when he developed a successful dating app. All three characters struggle to find love. The daughter Laura, for example, (spoiler alert!) secretly tapes a sexual encounter with a classmate in an attempt to make her teacher jealous. When the debacle blows up in her face, she transfers from the school and falls for a kid who has been diagnosed with terminal cancer.

The series currently has a score of 88 percent at Rotten Tomatoes and was nominated for Best Television Series - Musical or Comedy at the 73rd Golden Globe Awards. The first two seasons are currently available to stream on Hulu, with a third season scheduled to premiere in 2017.

You're The Worst (FXX)

Love in 2016 is a complicated thing. While the character Alex covers the never-married demographic in Casual, the show places equal emphasis (if not more) on the "divorced single mom" and the "sexually confused teenager" demo. You're The Worst, however, focuses primarily on Jimmy (Chris Geere) and Gretchen (Aya Cash), two millennials who have completely given up on love. The tone for the series is set in the pilot, where Jimmy and Gretchen agree to be completely honest about themselves as they embark on what they both assume is simply a one-night stand. Predictably, these two self-consumed, cold-hearted people fall for each other, and are forced to deal with each other's baggage. Despite being generally bad people, they each have a friend who can provide a solid b-story to any episode. Gretchen's friend Lindsay (Kether Donohue) plays a promiscuous blonde who marries a nerd for his money. Jimmy's roommate Edgar (Desmin Borges) plays an Iraq War veteran with severe PTSD and virtually no social skills.

The show and its actors have received several nominations from the Critics' Choice Television Awards and the TCA Awards. While the third season currently airs on FXX, the first two seasons are available to stream via Hulu.


Difficult People (Hulu Original)

A large part of Donald Trump's rise to the top of the GOP can be attributed to the fact that people claim he "says what everyone else is thinking." In that same vein, but with a strictly liberal point of view, Hulu created Difficult People. The show stars creator Julie Klausner and Billy Eicher (Billy on the Street) as comedians who hate almost everything and can't seem to catch a break when it comes to their careers. While a sassy redhead and her gay best friend sound like obvious tropes, the jaded outlook on life and loathsome social commentary in Difficult People makes viewers forget that a show like Will And Grace ever even existed.

The first two seasons are available to stream on-demand with a Hulu subscription. Thanks to Executive Producer Amy Poehler, plenty of SNL alumni make appearances throughout the show. At least half a dozen former Saturday Night Live cast members can be seen in the Season 1 trailer below.

Son Of Zorn (Fox)

While it may seem a bit presumptuous to add Son of Zorn to this list after just one episode, the pilot was promising enough to give the show that kind of consideration. Imagine an animated superhero that looks like He-Man, talks like Thor from Marvel's Avengers, and has the same insensitivity and self-aggrandizing narcissism as the titular character from Archer. Now place that cartoon character into live-action suburban America (think Roger Rabbit or Cool World) with his conservative ex-wife and vegan teenage son. The result is the protagonist from Fox's newest animated comedy, Son of Zorn. Voiced by Jason Sudeikis, Zorn returns to our universe to try to make up for the time he has missed with Alan (short for "Alangulon"), the teenage son he had with Edie (Cheryl Hines). In just the first episode, it accomplishes what Seth Meyers' The Awesomes (also available on Hulu) never quite could: poking fun at the superhero genre with the kind of humor generally reserved for Adult Swim.

The show currently airs Sunday evenings on Fox, meaning new episodes are available to stream via Hulu on Monday mornings.

How To Get Hulu

After a free trial week, the cost of the most basic Hulu plan is $7.99 (the same price as the one-screen-only Netflix option). While most of Hulu's programming comes with commercials at the $7.99 monthly rate, upgrading to the commercial-free version costs $11.99 each month (the same price as the four-screens Netflix option).
Additionally, you can add Showtime content to your Hulu library, which costs $8.99 per month (in addition to the $7.99 or $11.99 subscription fee) after the one-month trial. More information can be found at Hulu's website.

[Featured Image by FOX/Son of Zorn]