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April 8, 2022 11:00 AM PDT

Of the three prestige TV shows based on real-life tech-world scandals lately gracing streaming services, including Showtime’s “Super Pumped” and Apple TV’s “WeCrashed,” Hulu’s “The Dropout,” which aired its season finale on Thursday, is far and away the best. And the competition isn’t even close.

It’s not just the acting that sets “The Dropout” apart (although the performances are superlative, particularly Amanda Seyfried as Theranos CEO Elizabeth Holmes and Stephen Fry as doomed chemist Ian Gibbons). Nor is it the writing—although that, too, is excellent, with bonus points going to the scenes revolving around The Wall Street Journal’s nailing of Holmes.

Nor is it simply that the Theranos scam was, quite literally, a matter of life and death, a reality that contrasts sharply with “WeCrashed,” about the rise and fall of WeWork (a pleasantly zany but ultimately trivial tale), and “Super Pumped,” about the rise of Uber and fall of its founder, Travis Kalanick, which attempts but inevitably fails to make high drama out of municipal transportation squabbles.

No, the biggest reason “The Dropout” is so emotionally affecting—to the point of generating compassion for someone who knowingly put the health of millions in jeopardy—has to do with the universal experience of knowing what you need and yet not knowing how to ask for it.

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