The Adventures of Danny and the Dingo
Episodes: One 22 minute show
Rank: F. Worst new show
Fuel TV keeps thrashing around, trying to find programming that will make their extreme-sport niche palatable to a broad audience. AD&D (hey!) is definitely not that programming. The titular pair of laid back Olympic snowboarders recite terrible, terrible scripted lines and try their hardest to pretend that the dialogue is real. I guess there might be a nugget of truth in their three month bus tour odyssey, but it's not worth watching it to find out. Officially the worst show Hulu has added this week.
Clips: Currently, 3 short clips (there were more offered when it was first posted)
Rank: D -
Rooftop Comedy has recently taken the strategy of offering their short stand-up comedy clips broken down by category. Bathroom Humor is, well, crappy. The only positive side for me is that now all the fart and poop jokes are in one place, so that I can more easily avoid them.
Clips: Also just 3 short clips
Rank: C -
Another Rooftop Comedy set of clips, this one focusing on relationship humor. Some comedians take a little time to warm up to, some are better when taken in short doses, and some will only be funny when you're in the nightclub, about seven drinks past the two drink minimum. So, the clips are hit or miss. In my opinion, they're pretty mediocre.
The Chef's Kitchen
Episodes: 17 full episodes, all about 22 minutes without commercials
I like a cooking show as much as the next guy, but when I tune in, I'm hoping to learn how to cook something. This offering by Hype is so far beyond my cooking skills that I felt like a first grader in a college physics class. Turbot roulade? Angolotti pasta in a shitake consomme? They look delicious, but I can't even pronounce them, let alone cook them. Are they just targeting an audience that's got more kitchen skillz than I do? I doubt that's going to work for them, because Ivy League chefs are going to go to a better recipe source than Hype.com for their expensive and amazingly intricate dishes. Nice try, Hype!
Clips: 1 clip at the moment, although I think the idea is to post a batch from each major fashion show
Of all of the crass and empty facets of American culture, perhaps none is as vapid and pointless as the high-end fashion industry, which puts women with eating problems on a catwalk wearing criminally expensive outfits that are in vogue-- this month. It's the pinnacle of the idea that we are defined by what we wear (which drove the awesome Ben Stiller movie Zoolander). That's where my low ranking comes from. If you love the fashion scene, however, I have to admit that this is a fine way to vicariously experience the show.
The Line -->-----------------------------------<-- The Line
Clips: One lonely clip (there used to be more)
Rank: C +
Rooftop Comedy gets a little bit of a pass from me on this one, for a few reasons. First, women often get a bum rap in stand-up comedy, and it's nice to see a platform for them that's focused on up-and-comers. Second, since the clips aren't being chosen based on their topic, they seem to have been chosen based on how funny they are, which is as it should be. So, this one gets just barely past the line and earns a C+.
Episodes: Five 23 minute episodes
The hosts are affable, the locations are beautiful, and the pace is brisk in this Australian fine dining show. No one is going to learn how to produce the upscale cooking experience that the episodes showcase, but that's not what the show is about. A travelogue/restaurant spotlight hybrid with an Australian accent makes this a nice little bit of time-wasting.
Episodes: All thirteen 22.5 minute episodes
Sony puts up this short-lived Jay Mohr comedy, which costars Buddy Hackett (still alive!) and Illeana Douglas (it aired on Fox in 1999). This is an example of Hulu presenting the entire run of a show that has no profit potential in the real world. This is great if you're a fan of the show in question, but for most of us, it's just filler that allows Hulu to brag on the number of offerings they have. That being said, this is a nice little mean-spirited comedy that spotlights Jay Mohr in his sleazy Jerry MacGuire persona, only this time he's a down and out Hollywood film executive. The final episode is written as the final episode, with the death of an important cast member, which is a rare bonus in a short-lived series like this one. Worth investing the 5 hours it would take to watch the entire series? Perhaps.
Episodes: Confusingly, they have Episodes 1 and 4 of Season 1 along with a note that they plan to offer the first five episodes the day after airing on SciFi, and subsequent episodes eight days after airing.
Clips: 3 behind-the-scenes clips
The SciFi channel gives us this story involving monsters who live among us, and the team of scientists (led by Stargate alum Amanda Tapping) who are trying to piece together how they fit into the future of the human race. There's some dense backstory with a lot of pseudoscience mumbo jumbo that I (a Johnny-come-lately) couldn't be bothered to learn, let alone relate. Here's what I will say: based on the episode I saw, this show is better than the 4400, and better than the much-ballyhooed Fringe. The writing was good, the effects well-done, and the story engrossing without asking too much of the viewer. It's kind of like the X-Files at its peak (adjusted for the fact that tv was a lot worse when X-Files hit the airwaves). This is the only new offering to earn a subscription on my hulu-queue.
Presidential Debate 08
Clips: 32 clips, including one massive "clips" that showcase each debate in it's entirety
Rank: A (Best New Show)
Political discourse is always appropriate in this democracy of ours, but that's never more true that just before a major election. Four years ago, President Bush re-upped by capitalizing on the Iraq war, which is always the Republican wheelhouse. This time, Obama seems poised to coast into office on the wings of a dire economic crisis. With more spin than a galaxy of carousels hitting the internet every day, it's nice to see some unfiltered views of the candidates doing their best to look presidential (and vice-presidential). Even a notoriously biased network like Fox can't mess this up. Undoubtedly the best new offering to hit Hulu. I'd add it to my queue, but I watch that shit live. TV is still the best platform for some things.