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Last updateTue, 18 Sep 2018 1pm

I’m a Spotify Premium subscriber, because I don’t want ads interrupting my stream of the 16 new Oh Sees albums released last week. Thanks to my exorbitant Coachella Valley Independent salary, it’s a small luxury I can easily afford. Please clap.

In March, Spotify added another perk to Premium membership: a free Hulu subscription. Sure, it’s the basic ad-supported version of Hulu, but so what? There’s plenty of cool shit on the streaming service, including every Seinfeld ever (spoiler—it doesn’t hold up) and mucho-buzzed-about originals like The Handmaid’s Tale (the feel-good hit of the Trumpy the Clown era).

Here are eight more lesser-hyped original Hulu series that you may or may not be aware of, so you can get the most out of your freebie sub. Also, after you spring for the Spotify Premium upgrade, give my band a listen—10 million more streams, and we’ll make enough in royalties to buy a case of PBR.

Shrill (Season 1 on Hulu): Saturday Night Live’s Aidy Bryant stars as Annie, an insecure, full-figured young woman toiling away at a Portland newspaper; the death of print is the least of her problems. Fed up with everyone trying to “fix” her, Annie decides to stop apologizing and just be herself—and the results are as human as they are funny. Shrill is short, sweet and one of the best comedies of 2019.

Hard Sun (Season 1 on Hulu): In British import Hard Sun, London detectives Hicks (Jim Sturgess) and Renko (Agyness Deyn) stumble upon government evidence that Earth will suffer a solar extinction event in five years—I know; I wish it were sooner, too. Despite the sci-fi twist, Hard Sun is a gritty Brit cop drama (it’s from Luther creator Neil Cross) that’s deeper than it seems. And waaay violent.

Future Man (Seasons 1-2 on Hulu): An average janitor (Josh Hutcherson) who’s an above-average video-gamer is recruited by future warriors to save the world—turns out the game he just beat was a recruitment tool. (Rejoice, e-nerds.) Imagine Back to the Future if Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg (the producers of Future Man) applied their sick, stoned imaginations to it, or Ready Player One if it didn’t suck.

Deadbeat (Seasons 1-3 on Hulu): Deadbeat (upper right) is an old, old, old-school Hulu original: It debuted all the way back on 2014! Tyler Labine stars as Pac, a slacker-slob medium who helps spirits move on … when he gets around to it. With the help of his drug-dealer Roofie (Brandon T. Jackson), Pac fucks with “fake” medium Camomile White (Cat Deeley); spooky hilarity ensues. Don’t think about it too hard.

Shut Eye (Seasons 1-2 on Hulu): On the medium note: Charlie (Jeffrey Donovan) is a “fortune teller” conman desperate to escape Los Angeles’ gypsy mafia and start his own racket—but then his clairvoyant visions become real, inspiring him to give up the grifter life. Naturally, his mob boss (Isabella Rossellini) doesn’t see eye-to-third-eye with him. Odd that Shut Eye couldn’t predict its own cancellation. 

Difficult People (Seasons 1-3 on Hulu): What’s your tolerance level for Billy Eichner? You might reconsider after checking out Difficult People, wherein he and Julie Klausner play self-absorbed New Yorkers who hate everything and everyone but each other. The pair’s comic interplay sings like an off-Broadway production they’d adore, but wouldn’t cross town to see. DP MVP: James Urbaniak (The Venture Bros.).

The Hotwives (Seasons 1-2 on Hulu): It seems impossible to parody The Real Housewives, the TV franchise that helps you understand an anti-American terrorist’s point of view. However! Hulu’s 2014-2015 series The Hotwives (of Orlando; later of Las Vegas) nailed it, thanks to a ridiculously funny cast (including Andrea Savage, Casey Wilson and Kristen Schaal), and a grand total of zero reality TV fucks given.

UnReal (Seasons 1-4 on Hulu): On the darker side of reality TV, UnReal (below) dramatizes the behind-the-scenes machinations of a Bachelor-style dating show, with only a few exaggerations (Drugs! Depression! Murder!) and one hard truth. (Reality shows are 110 percent bullshit). Showrunners Rachel (Shiri Appleby) and Quinn (Constance Zimmer) are as emotionally wrecked as they are ruthless, and UnReal is too real.

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Still sounds good, still feels right: Lady Dynamite (Season 2 premiere Friday, Nov. 10, Netflix), Maria Bamford’s semi-autobiographical meta-comedy about dealing with bipolar disorder (much like, but totally differently from, BoJack Horseman’s bouts with depression, or Jessica Jones’ lingering PTSD—Netflix is your one-stop therapy shop), is damned near impossible to explain. There’s time-hopping; there’s fourth-wall obliteration; there’s heartbreak; there’s pugs; and there’s Bamford herself, long an odd-woman-out comedian who makes utter and complete sense within the surreal context of Lady Dynamite. You could skip Season 1 and just jump right in … but why would you do that, dummy?

How do I know it’s November? The Hallmark Channel is cranking out Christmas movies. The Sweetest Christmas (Saturday, Nov. 11, Hallmark Channel) stars perennial Hallmarker Lacey Chabert, this time as a struggling—and, of course, single—pastry chef who’s made it to the finals of the American Gingerbread Competition … but her oven is broken! Desperate, she reaches out to her ex (Lea Coco—he’s a dude; relax, watchdog groups), a pizzeria owner with just the right equipment. Will she win? Can love re-bloom for a Christmas miracle? Will I resist the obvious hot, throbbing gingerbread-man/oven joke?

I’m rarely wrong, and it’s even rarer for me to cop to it when I am, so hold onto your asses: Star Trek: Discovery turned out to be an impressive prequel, and CBS’ All Access streaming service might actually work in the long run. Here’s another winner: No Activity (series debut Sunday, Nov. 12, CBS All Access), a Funny or Die comedy about the clueless humps (in this case, Patrick Brammall and Tim Meadows) on the periphery of those action-packed crime procedurals—the cops who never get to slide across the hood of a squad car, bust a perp or do anything cool. Will Ferrell and other FoD usuals guest on No Activity, meaning you may want to keep All Access even though ST:D (ha!) is over for now. Sorry.

What’s so funny about cancer? Ill Behaviour (series debut Monday, Nov. 13, Showtime), a British show acquired by Showtime, has an idea. Recent divorcee Joel (Chris Geere) moves in with Charlie (Tom Riley), who then announces that he has cancer and, instead of clinical treatment, is going the holistic route. Naturally, Joel and mutual friend Tess (Jessica Regan) kidnap Charlie and begin injecting him with chemo drugs against his will. And if that’s not funny enough, also in the mix is alcoholic sex-addict doctor, Nadia (Lizzy Caplan, who always makes anything better). It’s more hilarious (and chaotically British) than it sounds, and Geere almost tops his You’re the Worst performance. Almost.

The rise of eSports baffles me—how the fuck is playing videogames a “sport”? I’m typing this paragraph athletically quickly right now, so can I be in the Olympics? Anyway: Future Man (series debut Tuesday, Nov. 14, Hulu) is about a hapless gamer (Josh Hutcherson) who’s recruited by time-traveling bad-asses (Eliza Coupe and Derek Wilson) to use his eSkills to save humanity. (Obviously, these visitors haven’t been paying attention and don’t realize that humanity is no longer worth the effort.) Future Man is a Seth Rogan and Evan Goldberg joint, and the kitchen-sink action/comedy mix they brought to Preacher and This Is the End is in full effect here, just on a smaller scale. But humanity? Nah.

The Mindy Project (series finale Tuesday, Nov. 14, Hulu) is one of those rare shows that survived being cancelled by a TV network (Fox) by landing on a streamer (Hulu) and running longer than anyone ever expected (three more seasons). Not that Mindy Kaling’s rom-com-gone-wrong really had six seasons and 117 episodes-worth of material, but kudos for going farther than anything called a “project” should. (I’m looking at you, Alan Parsons Project and Vanilla Ice Project.) Over the years, unlucky-in-love OB/GYN Mindy Lahiri evolved from a hot mess into at least a warm mess, and Kaling smartly let her co-stars (a cast with a higher turnover rate than Papa John’s) shine. Now, when’s The Office reboot happening?

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