What’s the best streaming service in 2020? I’m guessing that 80% of the answers would be Netflix. Frankly, I’m not surprised. In terms of the amount of content provided, Netflix is king. No one can match up with their giant library of movies and shows to go along with their original programming. However, if we’re judging quality instead of quantity, Hulu wears the crown.
Hulu is having a moment in 2020. Thanks to high-quality original and produced shows, Hulu’s original programming has been tremendous. Every week, a new critically acclaimed show debuts on the service. If some of these shows were seen by a wider audience on Netflix, Amazon, or Disney+, they’d be gigantic hits.
Speaking of Disney, Hulu received a giant boost to their programming with the addition of the FX. “FX on Hulu” includes FX produced shows that were originally scheduled to air on the network, but after the Disney acquisition, those shows premiered streamed on Hulu. In sports, it’s like when a smaller market team gets a star player. Pretend that the Toronto Raptors are Hulu and Kawhi Leonard is FX. That partnership ended with a championship in 2019.
Hulu has produced some of my favorite programs of the year. Devs, the sci-fi murder mystery from Alex Garland, was as beautiful as it was addicting. Normal People, which was co-produced with BBC Three, moved me to tears and depicted one of the most accurate portrayals of millennial first love. Dave*, the surprise show of 2020 from the rapper, Lil Dicky, was fun, charming, and surprisingly full of depth as it balanced penis jokes with mental health depictions. Other noteworthy shows from Hulu that debuted in 2020 are Mrs. America, High Fidelity, Little Fires Everywhere, and The Great. All of the aforementioned shows have a score of 70 or greater on Metacritic besides Dave, which has a score of 64.
*Dave airs weekly on FX. However, Dave has benefited from streaming on Hulu, becoming FX’s highest-ranked comedy series ever.
Before the past year or so, when I personally thought of Hulu, two things came to mind: The Handmaid’s Tale and ads. “The show with the red capes and white caps?” Yes, that show. What The Handmaid’s Tale has on its side is history since it’s the only drama series from a streaming service to win Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Drama Series. Plus, the show stars Elisabeth Moss, who could very well be the pound-for-pound best television actress of the 21st century thanks to roles on The West Wing, Mad Men, Top of the Lake, and The Handmaid’s Tale.
Despite the success and popularity of The Handmaid’s Tale, Hulu is known as the streaming service with ads, which unfortunately scares people from subscribing. Hulu has a live tv service, but setting that aside, there are two options: Hulu with ads at $5.99 per month and Hulu with no ads for $11.99. I’m not here to tell you to choose one over the other. I personally subscribe to Hulu with ads and it really doesn’t distract from my viewing experience. For someone with a small bladder, the ads serve as built-in bathroom breaks during my binge sessions. However, I could see the ads being a minor disruption for those used to other services such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, or Disney+. Don’t let the minor disruption hinder you from accessing some of television’s best shows.
If you can look past a dystopian show about procreation and a streaming service with ads, then you’ll see that Hulu’s quality, not quantity, shine, making it the top streaming service in 2020.
What’s your top streaming service in 2020? Leave your thoughts in the comments.