Thursday, October 9, 2008

New Shows This Week

The Losers

The Real Housewives of Atlanta
: The 44 minute series premiere
Clips: 14 clips of behind-the-scenes stuff and some excerpts from the program
Rank: F
I'm a reality television apologist, but even I have to draw the line somewhere. That line is way, way higher than this show on its best day. This is the third location that Bravo has mined for "real housewives," and I suppose the ratings must justify it for them. But the shows are just stupid. The reality is kept to an absolute minimum, with manufactured situations dictating the topic of the day. It's in the vein of other heavily produced reality shows, like the ones featuring the Lohans, the Kardashians, Denise Richards, and Tori Spelling. Unlike those shows, these ones don't even have a quasi-celebrity to hang their hat on. Such a waste. Shame on you, Hulu!

LG15 The Resistance

: Three "episodes," ranging from 9 to 12 minutes in length
Clips: None
Rank: D
Eqal brings us this horribly realized story involving a group whose mission is to save girls with a mutation that makes them valuable commodities. The crazy and confusing editing is supposed to give us a high tech, modern feel, but instead it just jumbles everything up into a confusing mishmash of images. If you like motion sickness, you'll love LG15.

Episodes: All thirteen 22.5 minute episodes
Clips: 37 clips, most of them at least 4 minutes in length
Rank: D +
This isn't a new series so much as a rejiggering of the fashion content floating around on Hulu. I honestly can't keep up with all the the new ways they've packaged this stuff. This latest incarnation is one of several subsets of, which operates like Mojo. It features fashion catwalks, interviews with fashionistas on topics such as metallic shoes, and commentary on what's in and out. The fashion industry turns me off in a big way, so I'm downgrading it based on that personal preference. If you like that kind of thing, you should go ahead and tune in (and be ashamed of yourself).

: Twenty 23 minute episodes
Clips: None
Rank: C
Viz Media adds a third anime show to their lineup. As a japanime novice, I naively break down the genre into two blocks. The first, which I like, is quiet, moody, thoughtful, and quirky. The second is loud, crass, over-the-top, and, also, quirky. Bleach is definitely part of the second group. Some people will no doubt love the action story of an evil battling Soul Reaper, but to me, it just seemed like a hybrid of videogames, cheap Saturday morning cartoons, and crack. Lots and lots of crack. I will say that the opening sequence is terrific, evoking everything from the NBA to social networking websites to a fashion runway to urban art, all set to some Japanese rap. Trippy.

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

The Winners

Ikki Tousen
: Nine 24 min episodes
Clips: None
Rank: C +
New (to Hulu) anime studio Gong describes this program as a fantasy battle-action series, but I'd have to put the emphasis on the fantasy. Scantily clad young women are the subject of choice, and that's never more apparent than in the hip, poppy title sequence. Ever wonder what would happen if a ditzy Playboy model was a kung fu master? Or if Pokemon recruited its battlers from the NFL cheerleading pool? This manga-derived show has the answer (Hint: it involves plenty of crotch-baring high kicks). Aside from the copious cartoon flesh and hijinks, the storyline revolves around a school for a species of martial arts whose practitioners are known as "Fighters." The writing is, by turns, sly and wry, which places it above some of the sensory-overload anime I've seen.

The Finish Line
: One 52 minute episode
Clips: None
Rank: B-
Not much to say about this one. It's a sports program dedicated to the week's horse racing developments (brought to you by TVG Interactive Horseracing, natch). It has the typically mediocre production values, but seems to be the only game in town (that town being Huluville) with this kind of coverage. I'm sure if you're a horse racing enthusiast, you're going to be very happy to see this added to (ahem) Hulu's stable.

Episodes: None
Clips: Currently, just 2 clips, which are ads for the series
Rank: B-
This FX show hasn't yet made it to Hulu in any significant way, but it looks kind of funny, in a lowbrow way. The setup is decent-- two friends are human guinea pigs in a variety of medical experiments. We'll have to see if the execution goes beyond the anal probing and teste zapping that the commercials promise. I've subscribed and am awaiting further content.

Built to Shred
: Two episodes posted, clocking in at 22 minutes each
Clips: None
Rank: B+ (best new show of the week, in a weak field)
Last week, I ripped on Fuel TV for their failed efforts to make extreme sports programming accessible. This week, I'm happy to report a success of theirs on that front. Built to Shred has all the authenticity and camaraderie of a Jackass episode, with none of the gross or reprehensible behavior. It basically features a group of inventive pro skateboarders building dreamscapes to skate upon. They use of a variety of materials and locations for their raw material. You don't have to be a skateboarding fan to enjoy this program. One downside is the quick-cut editing. I think that the average shot length is literally about three quarters of a second. I'm not exaggerating. Hey Fuel! These retinas have to last me a lifetime! Quit trying to burn them out!


The Hulu Man

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