Two weeks ago, Amazon released a slew of pilots onto the web, throwing its hat into an arena that has thus far been dominated by Netflix. Now, however, Hulu has announced a summer line-up that looks surprisingly robust with both original shows and exclusive content.
Of course, pushing out a slate with original shows and exclusive airings of international and domestic content is not a new concept for Hulu. Previously, the streaming network has brought Fresh Meat, Mongrels, The Booth at the End, soap operas like All My Children and One Life to Live, Kevin Smith's Spoilers and Battleground to its subscribers, but they seem to be raising the bar this time around with shows that will feature Chris O'Dowd, Seth Meyers, Eva Longoria, and a few other familiar faces.
Here's a look at some of those new shows:
First up is the Irish-made Moone Boy, a UK broadcast sitcom that will air exclusively on Hulu here in the U.S. The show was created by former IT Crowd, Girls, and Bridesmaids star Chris O'Dowd, who looks right at home here as the imaginary friend of an awkward 12-year-old who he constantly steers in the wrong direction. Moone Boy debuts July 10th on Hulu, and O'Dowd's other new series, Family Tree, debuts on HBO May 12th.
Hulu will also import episodes of Israeli drama Prisoners of War (which begins on May 28th), and by way of a BBC/Hulu co-production, The Wrong Mans, an action/comedy/thriller that co-stars former Doctor Who recurring guest star and Tony Award-winner James Corden. The Wrong Mans is set to debut in the fall.
Another exclusive show to Hulu is The Awesomes, an animated show from SNL Weekend Update host Seth Meyers and Mike Shoemaker that had been initially announced back in 2009 for MTV. The Awesomes debuts August 1st on Hulu. Here's the synopsis:
After Mr. Awesome announces his retirement as leader of The Awesomes, a superhero task force, his not-so-super son Prock (Seth Meyers) fills the roster with previously rejected applicants, but despite their incompetence and general lack of ability, the team must band together to battle diabolical villains, the ever-present paparazzi, and a less-than-ideal reputation as second-class superheroes.
Former Desperate Housewives star Eva Longoria will topline another animated series called Mother Up!, where she'll play a former music executive and current mom. There was no trailer or release date for this one, but a fall debut is planned.
Hulu notes that this next show is a teen drama featuring an all Latino cast and crew. According to Hulu, the show was developed with:
More than 15 leading public health organizations such as Advocates for Youth, Voto Latino, California Family Health Council and Legacy LA, among others, advised on the scripts and content to address teen issues related to relationships and sexuality in a meaningful way.
So all of a sudden I'm getting a DeGrassi vibe. Here's a look at the synopsis:
“East Los High” is not your typical high school. Dance, sex, romance and mystery are at the heart of this inner city school in East L.A. where two teenage cousins, Jessie, a 16-year-old virgin, and Maya, a troubled runaway with a violent past, fall in love with Jacob, a popular football player. With this forbidden love triangle, Maya, Jessie and Jacob, along with their close friends, must face true-to-life decisions throughout a turbulent year that will mark their lives forever.
Last year, Ronald D. Moore developed Hangtown, a western pilot with forensic and procedural elements. It never saw the light of day, but now we have Quickdraw, a western/forensics sitcom and Hulu original series from John Lehr, who previously created and starred in 10 Items or Less for TBS.
Here's a the synopsis
From writer/director Nancy Hower and writer/star John Lehr, “Quick Draw” is a comedic half-hour western set in 1875 that centers on a Harvard-educated sheriff and his quest to introduce the emerging science of forensics to an unruly Kansas town. Though the citizens of Great Bend, Kansas are generally unimpressed with Sheriff Hoyle’s (Lehr) educational pedigree, they come to appreciate his sharp mind and sharper shooting as he and his reluctant Deputy Eli (Nick Brown) hunt down robbers,murderers, and the dangerous riff-raff that have plagued the town for years.
Will these shows be enough to separate Hulu from the (online streaming) pack? Clearly Netflix is trying a different strategy, pouring more money into individual shows in an effort to court known talent and buzz, while Amazon and, to a lesser degree, Hulu, employ more of a buckshot approach to programming.
In the end, though, are they really competing with anyone but themselves in terms of quality and talent? As it stands, it's hard for one to say that these content venues feel like real networks because, historically, a lot of their shows never felt like they could actually make it on either broadcast or cable TV.
A show like House of Cards took a step toward toppling that perception earlier this year, and there are a few web series (Husbands, Bandwagon) that have done the same, but are any of these new Hulu shows going to build on that? We'll have wait and see.
Keep an eye on Screen Rant for more news about Hulu's slate of new shows.