Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The Weekend's New Shows

Hulu is adding shows at a rate that makes my head spin. I initially planned to make this a weekly feature, but there are just too many shows to fit in on a weekly post. I'm going to try breaking it down into a weekday/weekend format and see what happens.

Presented from Worst to First

The Losers

The Skinny: Fat Free News
Episodes: None
Clips: One 2 minute clip which is labeled a "minisode"
Rank: F (Worst New Show)
The idea by "15 Gigs" is a little nuanced, so I'll spell it out. Two girls (real) provide commentary (scripted) that is funny (not) about news stories (real), and then go interact with people (not in on the joke) who are in some way tangentially related to the news story. In this first clip, they talk about an article that speculates that women are biologically programmed to marry for money. After firing off a couple of bon mots about marrying older men for money, they go to an old folks home and make fun of the old people there. It's about as not-funny as it sounds. Confusing concept, terrible execution, and mean-spirited to boot. Easily the worst show of the week, and I write that not yet having seen any other shows.

Fox Reality Channel Really Awards 2008
Episodes: None
Clips: 7 clips about a minute each
Rank: D
Fox Reality Channel gives us a smattering of red carpet and lounge interviews with some of the reality stars we all know and love (to bitch about). Jerry Springer, Perez Hilton, and Corey Feldman are among the offerings. I get enough of this crap during the major awards ceremonies, although I admit I'd tune in if there was a star there I really was interested in seeing. Right now, I'm not seeing that star.

Easy Money

Episodes: Currently, one 42 minute episode, which represents the season premiere
Clips: None
Rank: C -
Rosanne alum Laurie Metcalf is the only recognizable name in this comedic drama about a family of loan sharks, brought to us by MRC Studios. They're not actually loan sharks in the mobster sense; they run one of those short term loan companies that hoodwinks people out of their hard earned paychecks. The promos for the program keep touting the fact that this is from the Sopranos producers, but I didn't see much of a correlation. The concept allows for a good, Sopranos-style structure of ongoing, interlocking story lines, but I didn't care for the execution. I'm not sure what outlets (other than Hulu) are carrying this show, but I doubt it will last long.

Notre Dame Central

Episodes: Two 45 minutes episodes
Clips: 4 clips, about 10 minutes long each
Rank: C+
Not a football fan. I just can't keep track of all of those helmeted players at one time. But if I were, I imagine I'd enjoy the chance to look back at some classic games that stand out in one way or another. NBC Sports has only populated with stuff from 1995 and 1999, but I would guess that there's more to come.

The Line -->----------------------------------<-- The Line

The Winners

The Adventures of John McCain and the Straight Talk Express

: One 8 minute episode
Clips: Five clips, mostly behind the scenes stuff
Rank: B-
The studio "unwrapped.tv" hits us with this animated series, the point of which is to make fun of GOP hopeful John McCain. The first episode imagines a McCain presidency, where McCain and his talking bus take office. McCain stays alive for 100 years in order to make good on a campaign promise to finish out the war in Iraq. I appreciate that a lot of the humor goes beyond stereotyping McCain's weaknesses of old age and belligerence. They do hit those topics, of course, but there's also a lot more going on. I wasn't exactly busting a gut watching, but it was pretty fun-- it reminded me of Aqua Teen Hunger Force. The brevity and timeliness of it earned it a spot on my subscription list, anyhow.

D.C. Follies

Episodes: All twelve 21 minute episodes, which originally aired in 1987
Clips: None
Rank: B
MGM gives us this 20 year old political comedy; I suspect it wasn't due to popular demand. The show's premise is truly bizarre-- Fred Willard plays Fred Ward, the owner of a bar down the street from White House (named DC Follies). The gimmick is that Willard is the only human (with the exception of guest stars) on the screen-- everyone else is a puppet caricature of a famous person. The first five minutes of the pilot had puppet versions of presidents Reagan, Ford, Nixon, Carter, as well as Oprah Winfrey, Jack Nicholson, and Woody Allen. The puppets were created by the Kroft people, and the structure of the show is like a hybrid of Cheers and The Muppet Show. There are a lot of broad zingers based on the stereotypes of the personalities involved. As weird as it is, I found it to be pretty damn entertaining. I just wish the jokes weren't all 20 years stale.


Episodes: The 42 minute pilot, which just aired on tv
Clips: None
Rank: B
MRC Studios brings us this offbeat romantic comedy series with a high concept-- the greek gods are dabbling in mortal's relationships, creating all sorts of drama and wacky hijinks (for future reference, all usage of the term "wacky hijinks" can be assumed to be ironic). Specifically, they use their magic powers to get soul mates to fall in love. I thought this was a nice little trifle-- the concept allows for a lot of fun ideas to hit the board ala Quantum Leap, and I hope the writers take full advantage by making matches among those who are not white urban well-to-do's. For now, it's a little rough around the edges, so we'll see if it gets the chance to be polished before it gets canceled.

Sesame Street

Episodes: None
Clips: 74 clips, broken into 3 categories (Muppets of S. St.; Celebrity Guests; and Animation and Shorts)
Rank: A +
I love it! Just days after Youtube partners with CBS to bring crappy MacGyver episodes to their site, Hulu responds with one of the most-loved shows of all time! Take that, YouTube! The show needs no introduction or extra praise from me. The clips are all centered around a few runs of seasons (2-5 and 30-36). I take this to mean that they'll be adding archived content over time, as they process it into Hulu-friendly chunks, which excites me to no end. The celebrity offerings are pretty sweet-- Ruben Studdard, Natalie Portman, The Dixie Chicks, John Leguizamo, etc. Nothing makes me warm up to a celeb like seeing them pal around with the iconic Sesame Street characters. Hands down, the best new offering of the weekend.


The Hulu Man
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