The 10 Best Miniseries on Hulu Right Now

The 10 Best Miniseries on Hulu Right Now

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The TV miniseries is a special creature. It gets to dive deeper and explore characters at a steadier pace than most feature films, but it also isn’t burdened by the pressure of having to sustain itself over the course of multiple seasons and a revolving roster of writers and directors. And for Hulu, we at agoodmovietowatch have found a number of miniseries that use limited, multi-chapter storytelling to explore shifting perspectives and different angles to central mysteries—all without losing their hold on great characterization. The 10 shows we’ve listed here may not be immediately familiar, but they should prove just as gripping and emotional as any long-running series.

9. Mrs. America

7.5

Country

United States of America

Actors

Ari Graynor, Cate Blanchett, Elizabeth Banks, Jeanne Tripplehorn

Moods

A-list actors, Character-driven, Discussion-sparking

Though it primarily revolves around the conservative, anti-feminist Phyllis Schlafly (portrayed as a fascinatingly contradictory character by Cate Blanchett), Mrs. America is a true ensemble drama. Each episode becomes a primer for a different significant figure in the movement for women’s rights in the 1970s, but it also emphasizes how difficult it was for this movement to cohere. As these wildly different perspectives clash, the need for a truly inclusive and intersectional coalition begins to arise. Blanchett is brilliant as always, but the miniseries also showcases stunning work from Rose Byrne, Uzo Aduba, Margo Martindale, Tracey Ullman, and many more.

8. Under the Banner of Heaven

7.6

Country

United States, United States of America

Actors

Adelaide Clemens, Andrew Garfield, Billy Howle, Chloe Pirrie

Moods

A-list actors, Challenging, Character-driven

In Under the Banner of Heaven, Andrew Garfield plays Detective Jeb Pyre, a devout Mormon whose faith is shaken when he takes up a violent case that involves his church. When he discovers the gruesome death of a fellow worshipper and her 15-month-old child, he is driven mad by the choices he needs to make about his faith, his family, and the threat of fundamentalism these two pillars present. Terrifying and compelling, Under the Banner of Heaven is not for the weak-hearted, but it is recommended to anyone up for a good, challenging watch. 

7. The Dropout

7.7

Country

United States, United States of America

Actors

Amanda Seyfried, Bill Irwin, Dylan Minnette, Elizabeth Marvel

Moods

Binge-Worthy, Character-driven, Dramatic

The Dropout is an eight-part series about disgraced biotech entrepreneur Elizabeth Holmes, played here to eerie perfection by Amanda Seyfried. The show follows Holmes as she drops out of Stanford and pursues her dream to be rich and famous at any cost—even if it means swindling her way to the billion-dollar finish line.

With the facts of the case publicly available and a plethora of scammer shows already streaming on the internet, it’s a small miracle that The Dropout is still able to stand out as a compelling series. This is thanks in large part to Seyfried: she plays Holmes as a shaky, self-conscious, and hyper-ambitious magnate with little to no remorse, and it works. Even though Holmes is pretty much a cautionary household name at this point, The Dropout is still worth watching if only to see Seyfried’s thoughtful portrayal. 

6. Looking for Alaska

7.8

Country

United States of America

Actors

Abbie Gayle, Andrea Andrade, Charlie Plummer, Deneen Tyler

Moods

Character-driven, Depressing, Emotional

Unlike other adaptations of young adult novels that get caught up in overly romanticized teenage angst, the eight-episode Hulu version of John Green’s Looking for Alaska is far more self-aware about its own precocious characters. Because no matter how much earnest faux-wisdom they spout, all their intelligence still hits a brick wall when faced with unanswerable questions of grief, guilt, and what it means to truly love another person. It’s as funny as it is devastating, with genuinely moving emotional payoffs that are more than worth the wait, thanks to a uniformly brilliant cast that includes Charlie Plummer, Kristine Froseth, and Denny Love.

5. The Patient

best

8.0

Country

United States of America

Actors

Andrew Leeds, David Alan Grier, Domhnall Gleeson, Laura Niemi

Moods

A-list actors, Binge-Worthy, Challenging

When therapist Alan Strauss (Steve Carell) is kidnapped and imprisoned by Sam (Domhnall Gleeson), a patient with homicidal urges, Alan begins a painful journey that directs his attention to his dangerous surroundings as well as his repressed thoughts.

Both Carell and Gleeson are creepily good in this, with Rotten Tomatoes even dubbing their work here as a “career best.” Carell is almost unrecognizable as the troubled but subdued prisoner, while Gleeson is unnerving as the reform-seeking serial killer. The backstories and the ongoing mystery propel the story with great force, but the show is at its best when it takes time to sit with its two leads and let them go at each other. All this makes for a rewarding mystery and a compelling two-hander.

4. The Act

best

8.0

Country

United States of America

Actors

AnnaSophia Robb, Calum Worthy, Chloe Sevigny, Joey King

Moods

Binge-Worthy, Character-driven, Dark

Based on true events, the series follows the lives of Gypsy Rose Blanchard her mother Dee Dee, whose relationship is pushed to the brink when it’s discovered that Dee Dee has been faking Gypsy’s illnesses. The strange case that gained publicity following a viral 2016 BuzzFeed story and a 2017 HBO documentary works well as an absorbing, well-paced drama. Each episode is visually interesting, offering compelling imagery with a palpable tension. Haunting and spectacularly acted by both Patricia Arquette and Joey King, The Act is a highly-recommended television series, perfect for drama and true crime fans.

3. Devs

8.0

Actors

Jin Ha, Nick Offerman, Sonoya Mizuno

Moods

Mini-series

This mini-series by Alex Garland (28 Days Later writer and Ex Machina director) is about a tech company like Google that has a building that only select developers (devs) work in. Sergei is one of the lucky ones that get the call but he disappears after his first day. His girlfriend, who works for the same company, tries to find out what happened to him, first by uncovering well-kept dark secrets about that building. If you liked Mr. Robot or Ex Machina, you will love this. And a surprise bonus: Nick Offerman plays the CEO of the company, in a great serious role.

2. The Looming Tower

best

8.1

Country

United States of America

Actors

Alec Baldwin, Annie Parisse, Bill Camp, Jeff Daniels

Moods

A-list actors, Binge-Worthy, Instructive

The incredible script for this Hulu-produced series comes courtesy of Lawrence Wright, who wrote the Pulitzer-winning book the series is based on, and Dan Futterman, the Oscar-nominated writer who gave us Capote. It is an eye-opening, semi-fictional account of how the CIA and the FBI took conflicting approaches to counteract Al-Qaeda in the lead-up to 9/11, withholding information from each other, and obstructing a unified strategy to combat terror. The disagreements between the two security services are numerous and the relationship between their staff is hostile. At the top, Jeff Daniels plays John O’Neill, the seasoned head of the FBI’s Counterterrorism Center, while Peter Sarsgaard stars as Martin Schmidt, the chief of the CIA’s respective facility, who are both amazing. Then there’s Ali Soufan, played by Tahar Rahim, who is one of only handful FBI agents who speak Arabic back in 1998, just three years before the Towers fell. With all this testosterone flying about, the women in this show are marginalized to the fairly weak romantic storylines, but other than that the series gets a lot of stuff right. Writing, acting, and action are on point and make The Looming Tower a gripping as well as insightful watch.

1. Over the Garden Wall

best

8.6

Country

United States of America

Actors

Elijah Wood

Moods

Binge-Worthy, Easy, Mini-series

Over the Garden Wall consists of 10 episodes that together run just under two hours. While each episode stands alone, it’s easy to watch the entire series in one sitting. The story beckons you to go deeper into its fantastical forest called the Unknown, at the center of which lies a dark mystery, and two boys on a quest to return home.

Wirt (Elijah Wood) and his younger half-brother Greg (Collin Dean) are lost in these enchanted woods. Beatrice, a talking bird, befriends the boys and offers to guide them home. Here, the trio encounter singing frogs, beastly creatures, and sinister forces hidden in the shadows.

There is no other series quite like Over the Garden Wall, which so perfectly balances its comedic and melancholic moments. If you’re looking for something a little bittersweet, musical, and fun, this miniseries will surely hit the spot—that is, if you’re brave enough to enter its Unknown.

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