I delved deep into the world of superheroes and the supernatural this summer, thanks to Hulu. It provided an easy escape from the daily grind, and I appreciated that I could escape for hours at a time into a world where, say, teens have the power to move mountains, literally.
The “super” genre in general is often an excellent place to escape to. With Marvel and DC movies popping up every couple of months to huge success, I know I’m not the only one who enjoys stepping into a different world. Having these shows on a streaming service allows newbies to jump in feet first rather than having to wait a week or more in between (and possibly lose interest).
Hulu has a wide variety of shows that stray from the “norm,” so to speak. Love YA but wish there were more explosions, telepathy, or mutant villains? Hulu has you covered (with more than one show)! Wishing you could turn the clock back to the ’90s so you can get your fill of mysterious alien happenings and slayers who take on vampires without chipping a nail? They’ve got that, too.
From old favorites that you can rewatch forever to new ones you just can’t get enough of, these are the top super shows Hulu has to offer…
I’m not sure why Marvel has all of a sudden tapped into the YA market, but I’m enjoying it nonetheless. One of three new shows (all available on Hulu!) focusing on teens and their powers, The Gifted takes place within the X-Men universe. Although the characters talk about the core X-Men, it’s a little unclear where within the canon timeline the show takes place. What we do know, however, is that The Gifted is that the original X-Men and Brotherhood have disappeared somehow and now mutants are being hunted with law enforcement doing whatever it takes to capture them, laws be damned.
The Gifted follows the Struckers, a family with various ties to the mutant community. The father, Reed (played by True Blood‘s Stephen Moyer), is a lawyer who prosecutes mutants for the government while his kids, teens Andy and Lauren, come into their own special abilities. The first episode sets the tone: something devastating happens and the Struckers find themselves on the run, meeting underground mutant organizations, learning long lost family secrets, and discovering just how integral they all are to the impending battle between humans and mutants.
Watch if you just can’t get enough of the X-Men.
Cloak & Dagger
Fresh from Freeform (but now available on Hulu), Marvel’s Cloak & Dagger is a show that delivers superpowered teens while also tackling current-day hot topics. The main focus is on the intersecting lives of Tyrone Johnson/Cloak (Aubrey Joseph), a black private school student dealing with the trauma of losing his brother to a police shooting years before, and Tandy Bowen/Dagger (Olivia Holt), a teen runaway who is handling her own troubles—a dead father, an addict mother, and a lifestyle that has her conning people in order to score money and survive. But woven throughout their adventures of coming into (and trying to figure out) their powers, the show not-so-subtly dives into deeper themes of racism and growing up Black in America, as well as sexism.
What I love about Cloak & Dagger is that neither of the two main characters are immediately comfortable with the idea that they may be superheros. Both of their lives have been marked by tragedies, so the path to get to the eventual end (where they acknowledge and understand the power they’ve been given) isn’t an easy one, though it makes for great TV.
Watch if you can’t get enough of Black Lightning.
Marvel’s Runaways is another ensemble superpowered show about teenagers, but it still manages to stand out on its own, despite similar themes. Like Cloak & Dagger,Runaways is based on a popular comic, and fans have been pretty pleased with how well it’s stayed true to form. The “runaways” are a group of teens from an affluent LA suburb who realize that some of them have developed strange powers at the same time they find out that their parents are involved in something that may involve murder. In between the action adventure and intrigue, we’re given a fairly realistic look at what it’s like to be a teen facing a lot of pressure at home—and that’s thanks to co-creator Josh Schwartz, of Gossip Girl and OC fame, who’s no stranger to teen drama. Of course teen drama in this case comes from catching your parents in red robes participating in a cult-like ceremony and from realizing you can telepathically control a dinosaur found in your parents’ basement lab.
Watch if you can’t get enough of The OC.
A show about a badass librarian (ER‘s Noah Wyle) who fancies himself an Indiana Jones type, his skeptical but capable “muscle” (Rebecca Romijn), three assistants, each with their own odd quirks (Christian Kane, Lindy Booth, John Kim), and an other worldly caretaker played by the fabulous John Larroquette? Sign me up! I’ve been a huge fan of The Librarians since it premiered on TNT, so I’m glad Hulu has all the episodes in one place for easy re-viewing.
This show is a fast-paced adventure series (with lots of humor!) about the folks in charge of keeping tabs on special magical objects and books. Each episode sees the Library gang off on a new adventure, fighting against some magical foe or doing their part to ensure the world keeps spinning on its axis and things aren’t disrupted (too much).
Watch if you can’t get enough of The Magicians.
Sometimes it’s all about the classics, and I am beyond thrilled that Hulu has a handful of my favorite shows from the ’80s and ’90s, including cult classic The X-Files. Catch up on over 200 episodes as you follow agents Fox Mulder (David Duchovny) and Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson) while they investigate one strange occurrence after another. Do aliens exist? Will conspiracy theorist Mulder ever convince his partner that the truth is out there? And just who is the Cigarette Smoking Man?
Satisfy all your alien and supernatural cravings with this blast from the past—either for the first time or for your 300th time. Just don’t blame us when you can’t stop whistling the theme song!
Watch if you can’t get enough of Fringe.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer
With word that a reboot of Buffy is on the horizon, there’s no better time than to get (re)acquainted with the original slayer. Buffy the Vampire Slayer was a fairly influential show for me when it first aired. Seeing a female character kick ass and slay vampires was significant, as it filled the gap when it came to media presentations of women outside the traditional norm.
While it helps to be a fan of the supernatural—after all vampires, demons, angels, witches, and warlocks are all a part of Buffy’s daily life—there’s enough action, smart dialogue, and various romantic dalliances (will you be #TeamSpike or #TeamAngel?) to keep anyone entertained.
Watch if you can’t get enough of True Blood.
Quantum Leap—the late ’80s/early ’90s show about scientist Sam Beckett (Scott Bakula) who finds himself trapped in time, leaping into the body of a new person each episode—was a staple in my childhood. Joining Sam for each leap is Dean (Al Stockwell), a hologram that has all the info about the who/where/when each time Sam enters a new body. Each episode took viewers into a new story, as Sam had to figure out just what he needed to accomplish in order to allow him to leap again… with the hope that his next leap would be the one back home.
Sam Beckett was one of my first big TV crushes, and probably why I hold this show so dearly. After all, not only was Scott Bakula a total cutie, but he also played the role of Sam with such heart. I still cry each time I watch the episode where Scott leaps into someone very special, and ends up playing John Lennon’s “Imagine.” Luckily for those of you who have yet to see this time-traveling supernatural show, you can catch that episode, and more, on Hulu!
Watch if you can’t get enough of Timeless.
I love superhero shows. I also love cartoons. The Awesomes happens to be the perfect cross-section of these things. Fans of SNL and Late Night With Seth Meyers will not only notice Meyers’ voice, but also his dry sense of humor throughout the show. He plays Prock, the son of Mr. Awesome (who was the leader of the greatest superhero team before he retired). Unfortunately, Prock does not have the powers nor leadership skills his father possesses, and his second rate team of superheroes only makes it more obvious. The new team consists of underdogs like Frantic, the third fastest man on earth, Gadget Gal, who is 85 on the inside, but looks 25 thanks to a ray gun incident, and Impresario, who can bring things to life by imaging them but is usually stymied by visions of his mother berating him.
However, all the bumbling and inefficient superheroing is enjoyable to watch. Plus, the cast is filled with amazing voice actors like SNL vets Kenan Thompson, Rachel Dratch, Bill Hader and Taran Killam.