I guess I haven't been paying enough attention to Hulu lately, because the company sent out a press release and a blog post outlining its original and exclusive content for 2013 and I was really surprised by how much of it there is. I figured if I was unaware of all this potentially good TV viewing, some of you might be as well, so I thought I'd share.
First up is 10-episode animated super-hero series, "The Awesomes" by Saturday Night Live head writer Seth Meyers and SNL alum Michael Shoemaker. It's about what goes on in a super hero group after all the good members quit. Needless to say, it's a comedy.
Next is "The Wrong Mans" produced by Hulu in partnership with the BBC. This is a 6-episode dark comedy/thriller starring James Corden ("Gavin and Stacey") and Mathew Baynton ("Spy"). It's about a couple of office workers who unwittingly get caught up in a criminal conspiracy. Misunderstandings pile up, fingers are pointed and hijinks ensue. It'll air on the BBC in Great Britain but you'll only see it on Hulu in the States.
Last up is "Behind the Mask," a documentary series about sports mascots. It features the performers behind mascots, one each from the high school, college, minor league and professional levels. Ever wondered what it's like to be a mascot? This 10-episode series will give you an idea.
In addition to these Original Series, Hulu will be offering half a dozen Exclusive Series: "Mother Up!," "Braquo," "Prisoners of War," "Fresh Meat," "Pramface" and "The Only Way is Essex." (Exclusive Series are shows that Hulu didn't help create, but that will only appear on Hulu in the US.) That's a decent amount of original content and I'll include Hulu's descriptions and scheduling info from the press release below so you can learn more about these shows. Interestingly, Hulu seems to follow a traditional TV schedule with its original content, rolling out a new episode every week. In contrast when Netflix has an original series it just releases a whole season at once. As a 'binge viewer' I have to admit I prefer Netflix's system (I tend to store up a bunch of TV episodes on the DVR then watch them back-to-back) but then Netflix doesn't have advertisers to please. On the other hand, Netflix also doesn't have nearly as many original shows. (Off hand I can think of "Lilyhammer," "House of Cards," and the new season of "Arrested Development.") Speaking of Hulu and ads, you should start seeing fewer of them according to a post on The Verge which quotes Hulu's VP of content Andy Forssell as saying the company is reducing the number of ads based on viewer feedback. All of these shows will be available both on the free Hulu.com website and on subscription-based Hulu Plus on devices. With the stagnation of the major networks on broadcast TV, I couldn't be more pleased to see Hulu providing us with alternatives to cable. Anyway here're the show descriptions from Hulu: HULU ORIGINAL SERIES "The Awesomes" Premieres: Summer 2013 "The Awesomes" is an animated show for adults that combines the thrills of comic book storytelling with the irreverent and inspired comedy that is the hallmark of show co-creators Seth Meyers ("SNL") and Michael Shoemaker ("Late Night with Jimmy Fallon"). It is the story of the greatest superhero team in history, The Awesomes, and what happens after all the most powerful members leave. The team is led by the possibly under-qualified Professor Doctor Awesome, voiced by Meyers, who is determined to bring these funny-if-flawed superheroes to glory. Meyers and Shoemaker called upon their many friends in the comedy world to voice the characters, including some of "Saturday Night Live's" most celebrated cast and alumni Kenan Thompson, Bill Hader, and Taran Killam. This first animated Hulu Original Series is executive produced by Meyers, Shoemaker, and Broadway Video. Ten (10) episodes. http://www.hulu.com/the-awesomes “The Wrong Mans" For fans of: “Spy,” “The Office” (U.K.), “Peep Show,” “Hot Fuzz,” “Chuck” Premieres: Summer 2013 From Tony Award-winning actor and writer James Corden ("Doctor Who," "Gulliver's Travels," "Gavin & Stacey") and Mathew Baynton ("Peep Show," "Spy," "Gavin & Stacey"), the series centers on Sam (Baynton), and Phil (Corden), two lowly office workers who become caught up in a deadly criminal conspiracy after Sam discovers a ringing phone at the scene of a horrific car crash. Answering this phone turns his world upside down, as he and Phil soon realize it's up to them to step up and save the day. They are in the wrong place at the wrong time, with the wrong skills. They are The Wrong Mans. Hulu's second co-production with BBC brokered by BBC Worldwide Americas, the series is directed and produced by Jim Field Smith ("Episodes," "Butter," "She's Out of My League"). Six (6) episodes. http://www.hulu.com/the-wrong-mans "Behind the Mask” For fans of: "Hard Knocks,” “Hoop Dreams,” “Project Greenlight” Premieres: 2013 "Behind the Mask" takes viewers on a behind-the-scenes adventure into the colorful and never-before-seen world of sports mascots. Through the eyes of four dedicated performers at the high school, college, minor league and NBA pro levels, "Behind the Mask" takes an authentic look at the sports world’s most unsung heroes. Funny, entertaining, and at times poignant, this show tells the moving stories of these real-life Clark Kents, capturing their highs and lows, both inside and outside the suit. "Behind the Mask" is created by Emmy Award-winning filmmaker Josh Greenbaum and produced by Occupant Entertainment ("Better Living Through Chemistry," "The Wackness"). Ten (10) episodes. http://www.hulu.com/behind-the-mask HULU EXCLUSIVE SERIES "Fresh Meat" (Season Two) For fans of: "Misfits," "The Inbetweeners" (U.K. & U.S.), "Skins" (U.K. & U.S.), “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia,” “Coupling,” “The Real World,” “Greek” and "Peep Show" Premieres: January 13, 2013 New episodes premiere every Sunday beginning on January 13th; All episodes will be available on Hulu and Hulu Plus beginning March 3rd "Fresh Meat" is a BAFTA-nominated comedy drama series about the hilarious and painful truths of being a student from Sam Bain and Jesse Armstrong ("Peep Show"). The perils and joys of house sharing in those first university years continue in the second season of this painfully amusing drama. Expect more errors of judgment from JP, the entitled public school boy with good teeth (Jack Whitehall), the crushingly insecure Kingsley (Joe Thomas), the tightly-wound girl next door Josie (Kimberley Nixon), socially-awkward Howard (Greg McHugh), hard-living VOD (Zawe Ashton) and desperate to be cool Oregon (Charlotte Ritchie). The six housemates return to their shared house for the rest of their first year as students with more awkward moments, reinventions and appalling behavior. "Fresh Meat" is made by Objective Productions an ALL3MEDIA Company and made available on Hulu and Hulu Plus from ALL3MEDIA International. Eight (8) episodes. http://www.hulu.com/fresh-meat “Braquo" For fans of: "The Shield," "Line of Duty," “The Following,” “The Wire,” “Homicide,” “The Unit,” ‘Chicago Code,” and “Southland” Premieres: January 22, 2013 New episodes premiere every Tuesday beginning on January 22nd; All episodes will be available on Hulu and Hulu Plus beginning March 12th "Braquo," winner of the international Emmy for Best Drama, follows a squad of Paris cops who exist in the blurred boundaries at the very edge of the law, often using violence and intimidation to get the job done. The lives of these officers change radically when their squad leader, falsely accused of corruption, commits suicide. Determined to clear his name they start an investigation of their own, only to find that the police department itself stands in their way. Driven by adrenaline and a thirst for justice, they must turn their backs on the laws they’re sworn to enforce if they are to uncover the truth. Facing constant danger from all sides - and with the two most likely outcomes being imprisonment or death – the stakes couldn’t be higher, but that merely cranks up the tension in this acclaimed series. "Braquo" is a Capa Drama production made available on Hulu and Hulu Plus from Zodiak Rights. Eight (8) episodes. http://www.hulu.com/braquo “The Only Way Is Essex” ("TOWIE," Season four) For fans of: “Jersey Shore,” “Laguna Beach,” “The Hills” Premieres: February 2013 Life imitates soap; real people, real lives - maximum entertainment! From the producer of "Big Brother" and leading U.K. soap "Hollyoaks," this is "dramality." In the fourth season of "The Only Way is Essex" reunite with your favorite uber glam, super tanned friends and new characters playing themselves--all living in the golden triangle of Essex, England's fake tan capital. "The Only Way is Essex" is produced by Lime Pictures and made available on Hulu and Hulu Plus from ALL3MEDIA International. Ten (10) episodes. http://www.hulu.com/the-only-way-is-essex “Prisoners of War” (Season Two) For fans of: "Homeland" Premieres: Spring 2013 Written and directed by Gideon Raff, this nine-time Israeli Emmy Award-winning series follows the journey of two soldiers as they return to their families after 17 years in an enemy prison. Uri and Nimrode struggle to fit back into society and viewers watch as each makes an effort to restore old relationships and initiate new relationships. As they attempt to start their lives free from captivity, they go through a number of examinations and questionings by a military psychologist. Before long it is discovered that their stories do not match and an undercover investigation ensues. At the same time of this investigation, Uri and Nimrode are on a quest for answers tied to their own captivity. In the second season, the secret continues to be unraveled, but more mystery and unanswered questions are now added to the equation. Starring Yael Abecassis, Mili Avital, Yoram Tolledano, Assi Cohen and Ishai Golan, all episodes will be available exclusively on Hulu and Hulu Plus from Keshet International. Fourteen (14) episodes. http://www.hulu.com/prisoners-of-war “Pramface” (Season Two) For fans of: “My So Called Life,” “New Girl,” “Awkward,” “Secret Life of the American Teenager,” “Up All Night,” "Skins” (U.S. and U.K.), “Teen Mom” Premieres: Spring 2013 "Pramface" is a heart-warming comedy series that follows teen parents Jamie (Sean Michael Verey) and Laura (Scarlett Alice Johnson) as they try to come to terms with the enormity of having a new baby in their lives. Just like normal first time parents they’re tired, anxious, broke, and tetchy. But, unlike most other couples, they don’t know how they feel about each other. In fact, they’re not even sure if they’re a couple or just two people who happen to have had a baby. Jamie, still reeling from the birth, is finding it difficult to cope. His current plan is to just hang in there and hope everything somehow works out. But he’s struggling with other areas of this life; work, school, and even just hanging out with his mates - he’s finding nothing’s quite the same once you have a child. Meanwhile, Laura’s got all the new mother worries. She’s looking after a newborn and occasionally a teenage boy, whilst trying to find a career and new friends, not to mention trying to hold on to her old ones. It’s said a new baby brings people together, and that’s certainly true here - it’s brought them together and now they’re falling out. With Christenings, college balls, eighteenth birthday mayhem, drugs, disastrous dating, strippers, interfering relatives, and nappy rash to deal with, the only certainty is things aren’t going to get easier any time. "Pramface" is a Little Comet production made available to Hulu and Hulu Plus from BBC Worldwide Americas. Six (6) episodes. http://www.hulu.com/pramface "Mother Up!" For fans of: “South Park,” “Family Guy,” “Up All Night,” "Don’t Trust the B in Apartment 23" Premieres: Fall 2013 "Mother Up!" is a 13-episode, half-hour adult animated comedy series starring Eva Longoria ("Desperate Housewives") as Rudi Wilson, a former high-powered music exec who takes on the greatest challenge of her life: motherhood in suburbia. Rudi is striving for the life of a super-mom but she forgets one important detail -- she's not a very good parent. Bringing her street smarts and urban lifestyle to the suburbs, Rudi confronts the endless challenges of parenthood with a series of misguided improvised solutions, putting her life on the line like never before. Eva Longoria and Mass Animation’s Yair Landau ("Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs") and Michael Shipley ("Family Guy," "American Dad") are executive producers. The series was developed by Rogers Media and co-produced by Breakthrough Entertainment and Bardel Entertainment, in association with Mass Animation. "Mother Up!" premieres on Hulu and Hulu Plus in Fall 2013. Thirteen (13) episodes. Read more of Peter Smith's TechnoFile blog and follow the latest IT news at ITworld. Follow Peter on Twitter at @pasmith. For the latest IT news, analysis and how-tos, follow ITworld on Twitter and Facebook.