Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Announcing the Hulu Award for "Best Television Show"

(Please welcome guest presenter Toni Rankin, whose many accomplishments include three blogs: Fanatic Space, Watching Sitcoms, and Watching CW )

And the Hulie goes to....



Arrested Development!









It is interesting to me that although Arrested Development was up against many other really great shows, some that are more current or that were on the air much longer, the little underdog beat out all the competition for Best Comedy TV Show. I'd have to say it was because of the great ensemble cast, who worked so well together and pulled off three great seasons of television that I want to watch again and again. I'm not even sure I could pick out a favorite episode, if I had to.

Trying to find one clip for this show was really hard. Not because there were no good clips, but because there were far too many. In the end I went for one that definitely shows off the zany and somewhat uncomfortable humor of the show, as well as the acting chops of Jason Bateman and co-star David Cross.

Hopefully, talks of a movie in the works will come to fruition soon.

After 20,000 votes, the Audience Favorite is also "Arrested Development."

The other worthy nominees were "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," "Chuck," "Alfred Hitchcock Presents," "Battlestar Galactica," and "Friday Night Lights."

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Announcing the Hulu Award for "Best Scifi/Fantasy TV Series"

(Please welcome guest presenter Toni Rankin, whose many accomplishments include three blogs: Fanatic Space, Watching Sitcoms, and Watching CW )

And the Hulie goes to....



BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER!








To accept this award for Buffy the Vampire Slayer, we had the Drs. Horrible, of Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog, who had this to say about both wins:



Dear Hulu Awards,


Thank you very much for awarding us (Dr. Horrible) the Best Web Original Award. We are a web original so it was absolutely the correct category to put us in. To be serious for a brief moment, we are flattered. It is a joy to work in this vibrant, new medium and we couldn't have done it without the support of the fans.


I would also like to take the moment to thank you for choosing Buffy as the Best SciFi/Fantasy Show Award. Buffy deserves many awards in our book and it's nice to see it still getting people's attention all these years later.


Thank you very, very much,
The Doctors Horrible

(It may have already been mentioned, but, at least on twitter, the Doctors Horrible are Jed Whedon and Maurissa Tancharoen Whedon and we're honored that they chose to send us an acknowledgment of our awards.)





Now there was never doubt in my mind that BtVS is, was and always will be the best ever SciFi/Fantasy ever. Ad infinitem. Forever and ever and ever. Amen. That comes as no surprise to any one who has ever read any of my blogs, however, since I generally try to work some mention of BtVS and/or Joss Whedon into pretty much anything I write.



Because BtVS is my fave show ever, it did make it very difficult to choose a clip. Honestly, when I started to think about what episode, what moment really defined the seven seasons of Buffy, I just had no idea where to start. After wandering aimlessly around Hulu for some time, watching and choosing clip after clip, I realized I had to just pick something, one thing. So the clip I chose may not be what anyone else would choose, especially since the first season was so very long ago and the clip is from the second ep ("The Harvest," the second half of "Welcome to the Hellmouth"). If you watch the clip, you'll see a short bit of interaction between the the four main characters, Buffy, Willow, Xander and Giles, which occurs right after the first time they come together to defeat evil. There were similar scenes throughout the series and I just feel like it really sums up what the show was all about. Friends using good to overcome evil and save the world . . . a lot.







The other nominees in this category were: Angel, Battlestar Galactica, Firefly and Fringe. When three out of five nominees are from the same guy, you have to know his stuff is good. Based solely on the audience votes, their favorite was Firefly, which is, as noted another awesome Whedon series. So it was all win-win.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Announcing the Hulu Award for "Best Web Original"

(Please welcome guest presenter Toni Rankin, whose many accomplishments include three blogs: Fanatic Space, Watching Sitcoms, and Watching CW )




And the Hulie goes to....




Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog!




Here's what the show had to say about their boffo win:

Dear Hulu Awards,

Thank you very much for awarding us (Dr. Horrible) the Best Web Original Award. We are a web original so it was absolutely the correct category to put us in. To be serious for a brief moment, we are flattered. It is a joy to work in this vibrant, new medium and we couldn't have done it without the support of the fans.

[some portions deleted as they would spoil the announcement of another award(s). Please keep your eye out for the message in its entirety.]

Thank you very, very much,
The Doctors Horrible


I'm not trying to drop any names, but, at least on twitter, the Doctors Horrible are Jed Whedon and Maurissa Tancharoen Whedon (writers, actors, singers, and all around fun guys) and we're honored that they chose to send us an acknowledgement of the award. Thank you, Team Whedon, keep up the good work and send us more Dr. Horrible.

The other nominees for the final vote were:

National Geographic Animals

National Geographic Environment

National Geographic Travel

Spacerip

OK, let's be honest. When you look at the rest of the nominees, it's no wonder that Dr. Horrible swept the category (it was also the audience vote favorite, netting a Awards-Season-best 99% of the vote). I could not remember what other shows were in this category originally, so I looked it up. Here's a link to the entire category on Hulu: http://www.hulu.com/channels/Web

I would have thought that at least some of those had to be more interesting than National Geographic specials. But if not, it just proves that one thing we need way more of in this world (and on the web, of course) is Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog.

Although I love the entire thing, I think probably my favorite part is watching Dr. Horrible (Neil Patrick Harris) singing "Brand New Day" (clip above). Just the way that slow smile builds on his face and we get to watch his mouth move along rapidly. Then he does that thing with his fingers . . . .you have to see it to get what I'm saying, but as Felicia Day sings in Commentary! The Musical (by the way, if you don't have the DVD for Dr. Horrible yet, Commentary! alone is worth the price), "that intro's unreal."

I'm ready for the next chapter anytime, guys.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Announcing the Hulu Award for "Best Movie"

(Please welcome guest presenter Tamara Brooks, a regular contributor to the excellent site Zap2It)

And the Hulie goes to....



Ghostbusters!










Here's a word of thanks from the Ghostbusters peeps themselves (aka the producers):


Upon hearing of its recent Hulu "award," the group denounced the hoax, seeing through the ruse to lure the group into an alternate paranormal universe. After learning that Hulu is not one of Zuul's demon henchmen, but in fact a well-respected, totally non-evil video site, the Ghostbusters would like to retract its initial rejection of the award and express their gratitude for such an honor. To celebrate, the group will release Ghostbusters on Blu-ray High Definition, June 16, 2009.


People just can't resist the glory of Peter, Ray, Egon, and Winston. Infinitley quotable, funny, smartly written, well-acted, and awesomely directed, years and dozens of viewings later it's still one of my favorite movies of all time. And clearly I'm not the only one who feels this way.


After 20,000 votes, the Audience Favorite is also "Ghostbusters"

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Announcing the Hulu Award for "Best Unscripted Television Show"

And the Hulie goes to....



Kitchen Nightmares!







Kitchen Nightmares becomes the second piece of content to garner multiple Hulu Awards, coming off of a big win in the "Best Competitive Reality Show" category. In order to win this highest aggregate award, KN had to steamroll the biggest and best names in the reality show business.

Here's what we had to say when Gordon Ramsay cursed his way to the top of the competition:

The celebrity in question is bad boy chef Gordon Ramsay, a man whose constant stream of furious expletives has turned him into the unlikely face of British fine cuisine. American viewers may not be aware that Ramsay's hit "Kitchen Nightmares" is a British export that has been given a slight makeover for US viewers.

The formula is as predictable as a sunset, yet compelling in its details. A local restaurant is on the brink of financial ruin. Desperate to keep the doors open, they ask Ramsay for help. He comes in, tastes the food, and pronounces it inedible. He spends the next couple of days exposing any dirt he can, with the focus on filthy kitchens and unhelpful personalities. Typically, he identifies a scapegoat, whether that's the owner or a manager. He berates the owner on everything he can until the owner breaks and agrees that major changes are needed. Then Ramsay retools the menu, gussies up the dining room, and hosts an event that fills the restaurant to the brim with paying customers. Afterward, Ramsay pronounces the restaurant cured of its ills, and rides off into the sunset.

The success of the show is based on Ramsay's proven entertainment factor, as well as the innate interest we have in seeing behind the scenes of the local restaurants that serve us our food.

Fans will be excited to hear that Fox has announced a third season for this fall.

There's also a lot of buzz on the web regarding the actual fortunes of the restaurants featured on the program. How many failing restaurants are actually given a new lease on life by Ramsay's one-week visit? According to Wikipedia, 10 of the 21 featured restaurants have been closed down, with two others changing ownership since they were made over by Ramsay.

By one measure, this is a pretty dismal score. About half of the restaurants are gone, despite Ramsay's much-ballyhooed best effort. On the other hand, half of the businesses have actually been saved by a simple makeover. It's a glass half empty/glass half full kind of thing. I think the show would be better served by being a little more honest about the rickety ground that some restaurants have been left on at the end of the week.

Still, there's another measure of success for the show. In a Hulu-landscape chock-full of crappy reality shows fueled by crappy reality stars, one man stands head and shoulders above the rest. Congratulations to Gordon Ramsay and the other minds behind Kitchen Nightmares!



After 20,000 votes, the Audience Favorite is "Top Chef"

The other worthy nominees were "Biggest Loser", "Project Runway", and "30 Days."

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Announcing the Hulu Award for "Best Comedy TV Show"

(Please welcome guest presenter Toni Rankin, whose many accomplishments include three blogs: Fanatic Space, Watching Sitcoms, and Watching CW )


And the Hulie goes to....




Arrested Development!








It is interesting to me that although Arrested Development was up against many other really great shows, some that are more current or that were on the air much longer, the little underdog beat out all the competition for Best Comedy TV Show. I'd have to say it was because of the great ensemble cast, who worked so well together and pulled off three great seasons of television that I want to watch again and again. I'm not even sure I could pick out a favorite episode, if I had to.

Trying to find one clip for this show was really hard. Not because there were no good clips, but because there were far too many. In the end I went for one that definitely shows off the zany and somewhat uncomfortable humor of the show, as well as the acting chops of Jason Bateman and co-star David Cross.

Hopefully, talks of a movie in the works will come to fruition soon.

Nearly 20,000 audience votes were registered, and even though the fan favorite was Buffy the Vampire Slayer (which got my vote, too), the judging panel's votes outweighed the audience, pushing Arrested Development to victory.

The other nominees in this category, that moved their way up through the voting process to be the best of the best were "30 Rock," "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," "The Office," "Saturday Night Live," and "The Simpsons"

Monday, July 20, 2009

Announcing the Hulu Award for "Best Horror Movie"

(Please welcome guest presenter Sam Christopher, who, along with his cronies, runs the awesome SciFi site Axiom's Edge)

And the Hulie goes to....



28 Days Later!






Seems the fans and panelists were on the same wavelength here, as both chose this seminal work as the Best Horror Film on Hulu, over such worthies as John Carpenter's The Thing.

And it is a seminal work; what Romero and Russo did in inventing the modern zombie picture in the original Night of the Living Dead (see Best Classic Movie) writer Alex Garland and Academy Award-winning director Danny Boyle did with this film, which reinvented that sub-genre for the postmodern era. Gone were the slow-moving reanimated dead whose sole purpose was to feed on the living, replaced by relentless sprinters with a biological imperative to do nothing more than spread the disease which made them the blood-thirsty automatons they've become.

The story is simple: Animal rights activists in England break into a laboratory and free a monkey infected with a new disease called Rage, which sweeps the nation and wipes out virtually the entire population in weeks. Jim (Cillian Murphy) wakes from a bicycle accident after 28 days to find a nearly empty London. He then hooks up with other survivors Selena, Frank and Hannah (Naomie Harris, Brendan Gleeson, and Megan Burns, respectively). They then end up in a military facility run by Major West (Christopher Eccleston), where Jim makes a wonderful, and somewhat devastating discovery.

The isolation-- the desolation-- that Jim must feel upon waking to find that everything he's ever known is gone is captured very well by this film. We as an audience are drawn into his personal hell as every step, every corner he turns leads him further into this Twilight Zone-esque scenario. We feel his fear as he wonders, "Where is everyone?" And then we feel his abject horror as he wonders, "Where are my parents?", especially as more and more of the reality of the situation is revealed. Then, whereas Jim is our Everyman, we are given a tour of how others would deal with this situation: Selena is the survivor who will do anything to protect herself, Frank and Hannah are the people who hide away hoping the situation will work itself out, and Major West is the military man who holds his team of young men together by any means necessary. While none of these people are completely us, we see pieces of ourselves in each of them.

This is a marvelous film that, in the tradition of the best in sf (speculative fiction), uses an extreme situation to tell us something about ourselves and about the world around us.

After 20,000 audience votes, the Audience Choice was also "28 Days Later," with a hefty 51% of the vote.

The other nominees were "John Carpenter's The Thing," "Naked Lunch," "When a Stranger Calls," and "Christine."


Friday, July 10, 2009

Announcing the Hulu Award for "Best TV Drama"

(Please welcome guest presenter Scooter McGavin, who runs the excellent site Scooter McGavin's 9th Green)


And the Hulie goes to....



Friday Night Lights!







Friday Night Lights is an unassuming show. On the surface it would be easy to dismiss it as One Tree Hill with football or a serialized version of Varsity Blues, but for anyone who has actually seen an episode, you know there is much more from much better acting and writing. There is a grandeur about Friday Night Lights that you just don’t see in high school dramas. There are no bored rich kids in Dillon, just football, it can be your ticket out of town or keep you around where all you have are your memories of a state championship long ago. Like real life, the characters are much more than their label, there is laughter and tear, and you want to root from each of them. With the conclusion of the third season it may be time to stop debating if it is the best show currently on television and start to debate if it is the best show this decade.

After tabulating nearly 20,000 audience votes, the audience favorite was House, with a shopping 34% of the votes!

The other nominees in this category were "Bones," "Burn Notice," and "ER."

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Announcing the Hulu Award for "Best Cartoon Series (non-anime)"

(Please welcome guest presenter Tamara Brooks, a regular contributor to the excellent site Zap2It)

And the Hulie goes to....



The Simpsons!








Way back in 1987, an animated family skit appeared on "The Tracey Ullman Show" on FOX. These squiggly, somewhat unconventional characters earned their own show in the 1989-1990 season and twenty years later, "The Simpsons" is still going strong. Not only is it the longest running US sitcom in current history, it's also the longest running animated series and just surpassed "Gunsmoke" as the longest running primetime entertainment show.

The genius of the show is the way its heartfelt moments are surrounded by sightgags, pop culture references, sarcasm, mischief, and double entendre. And really, how many cartoons have created words that have ended up in Webster's Dictionary? With five rotating full episodes and well over 1,000 glorious clips from it's illustrious run, you could spend hours checking out your favorite moments in Simpsons history.

The other nominees were "King of the Hill", "Family Guy", "Wallace and Gromit", and "Futurama".

After 20,000 votes, the Audience Favorite is...Futurama!



Creator Matt Groening is a double winner in this category. Taking some of the same sensibilities of "The Simpsons" and time-warping them to the 31st century, the adventures of cryogenically frozen 21st century Philip J. Fry and an assortment of oddballs had a rough run.

Originally airing on FOX, it was yanked around the schedule for four seasons before being canceled in 2003. But you can't keep a good show down. Thanks to syndication by Cartoon Network and Comedy Central, the show found new life and has gone on to make new direct-to-dvd movies - four and counting.

Much like "The Simpsons", "Futurama" can be enjoyed in bite sized pieces. There are a little over 300 clips available from five seasons.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Announcing the Hulu Award for "Best Classic TV Show"

And the Hulie goes to....



The Dick Van Dyke Show!







That's the opening from the very first episode, which you can watch in its entirety on Hulu (interestingly, in this pilot, the main character is played by Carl Reiner, not Dick Van Dyke). Hulu also hosts the entire 64 episode run that makes up the show's first two seasons.

We did get a brief note from "Friend of the Hulu Review" Doug Denoff, whose father, Sam Denoff, was involved with the original show as a writer, producer, and occasional bit player. Doug is also Andy Kaufman's cousin, for those of you keeping score. He writes:

"Thanks for the honor. Cool site!"
He also tried to coordinate a statement from Carl Reiner or Dick Van Dyke himself (which was an exciting possibility for me, let me tell you), but we were unable to get the statement before press time. You can get all of your current "Dick Van Dyke Show"news at the official site of the show, here.

After 20,000 votes the Audience Favorite was also "The Dick Van Dyke Show," with 36% of the vote.

The other final nominees were "Alfred Hitchcock Presents" and "Bewitched."

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Announcing the Hulu Award for "Best Movie Comedy"

(Please welcome guest presenter Tamara Brooks, a regular contributor to the excellent site Zap2It)

And the Hulie goes to....



Ghostbusters!







Here's what the good folks over at Ghostbusters Central had to say about their award:

Upon hearing of its recent Hulu "award," the group denounced the hoax, seeing through the ruse to lure the group into an alternate paranormal universe. After learning that Hulu is not one of Zuul's demon henchmen, but in fact a well-respected, totally non-evil video site, the Ghostbusters would like to retract its initial rejection of the award and express their gratitude for such an honor. To celebrate, the group released Ghostbusters on Blu-ray High Definition.


And, after 20,000 votes, the Audience Favorite is also Ghostbusters!

People just can't resist the glory of Peter, Ray, Egon, and Winston. Infinitley quotable, funny, smartly written, well-acted, and awesomely directed, years and dozens of viewings later it's still one of my favorite movies of all time. And clearly I'm not the only one who feels this way.

The other contenders in this category were "Eddie Murphy: Raw", "Men In Black", "Raising Arizona", and "Three Amigos" - all fine, hilarious nominees.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Announcing the Hulu Award for "Best Classic Movie"

(Please welcome guest presenter Sam Christopher, who, along with his cronies, runs the awesome SciFi site Axiom's Edge)

And the Hulie goes to....



Night of the Living Dead!







And here, accepting the Hulie for Best Classic Movie is Kyra Schon:

I am deeply honored to have been asked to accept the Hulu Award for Best Classic Movie on behalf of Night of the Living Dead, and I am thrilled that this movie was chosen, among the greatest classic films in history, to claim this award.

Full credit for the film must go to the extraordinarily talented group of adults who were involved in its creation, and not to the nine year old kid who, through sheer luck, happened to land a small part in it.

The "adults" and creative geniuses behind the production were co-producers and actors Russ Streiner and Karl Hardman, co-writer and actor John Russo, and the brilliant and dedicated ensemble cast members, Judith O'Dea, Bill Hinzman, Duane Jones, Keith Wayne, Judith Ridley, Marilyn Eastman, Charles Craig and George Kosana. Many more people generously contributed their time and talents on-screen and behind the scenes to help create what would become a classic in the horror genre.

The "Night" crew was fortunate to count then-fledgling director and co-writer George A. Romero among its friends and colleagues. Night of the Living Dead was George's first feature film, but his style was already clearly in place. George consistently brings sanity, soul and a sardonic sense of humor to his film projects, encouraging us to recognize persecution and injustice. His socio-political views have most often found their voice in the guise of horror films, but there's much more to them than just zombies. They reveal the stupidity of racism, sexism, abusive and overreaching government, social inequity, mindless consumerism, class warfare and, yes, the threat of zombies. His voice has resonated through generations of horror film fans who recognize the subtext as more than meets the eye. Without George's direction and editing, Night of the Living Dead may have been a far different film.

On behalf of the "Night" family, I extend heartfelt gratitude to the awards panel for bestowing this special honor on Night of the Living Dead.
Many thanks to Kyra, a Friend of the Hulu Review, for taking the time to personally accept this award. You can check out here latest pursuits at her website, The Ghoul Next Door.

After 20,000 audience votes, the Audience Choice is "Some Like it Hot."

One of the great comedies of all time, this film boasts a stellar cast including Marilyn Monroe, Tony Curtis, Jack Lemmon, George Raft, and a bunch of other people you've heard of. The story is that a couple guys are hiding from gangsters dressed as female musicians. And, of course, one of them falls in love with Marilyn Monroe (I know, I know, if you only had a nickel, right?), and the other... well, you just really need to watch the movie.

The other nominees were "Wuthering Heights" and "Pride of the Yankees."


Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Announcing the Hulu Award for "Best Short Format Comedy Series"



And the Hulie goes to....



Dorm Life!






Dorm Life is the little web series that could, beating out other competitors with far bigger budgets, and far more famous comic talents. For those who don't know, the show takes the mockumentary model made famous by Christopher Guest and "The Office," and transposes it to a college setting. The creators of the show have shown remarkable savvy-- how many college students will sit down and make an insightful and appropriate comedy centered on their actual surroundings, rather than choosing an obscure intellectual topic they just learned about in class?

It comes as no surprise that Dorm Life is Hulu's most-watched web show.

After 20,000 audience votes, the audience favorite was also "Dorm Life," with an emphatic 44% of the vote.

The other nominees were "The All For Nots," "Carpet Brothers," "The Writer's Room," and "That Guy."

Announcing the Hulu Award for "Best Comedic Clip"


And the Hulie goes to....



Peter's Interview from "Office Space"!











There were literally thousands of comedic clips on Hulu to choose from, and the list of ten finalists was long, distinguished, and hilarious.

But only one clip made the final cut, and it's fitting that it comes from an independent cult classic such as "Office Space." Even more fittingly, fans of director/writer Mike Judge can look forward to this year's "Extract," where Judge works with Ben Affleck, Mila Kunis, and Jason Bateman to bring us all some thoughtful comedy.

After 20,000 audience votes, the Audience Favorite was "Dick In A Box," the much ballyhooed Timberlake/Samberg digital short, which aired on Saturday Night Live.

The other nominees were

Arrested Development: "Making Fun of Michael" Animal House: "Toga Guitar Smash" The Office: "Goodbye, Toby" Robin Hood: Men In Tights: "Men In Tights" Shaun of the Dead: "Throwing Records"
The Big Lebowski: "Don't Fuck With Jesus" 30 Rock: "Jenna on Hardball" It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia: "Spin Class"



You can see all of the nominated clips in their entirety
HERE


Monday, June 29, 2009

Announcing the Hulu Award for "Best Non-Competitive Reality Show"



And the Hulie goes to....



30 Days!






Many thanks to Morgan Spurlock, friend of the Hulu Review, for sending us this picture. It truly captures the pride and surprise with which he received his award.

Similarly, 30 Days has captured the hearts and minds of our voting panel. Many intellectuals turn their back on the landscape of reality television, dismissing the genre as beyond redemption. But Spurlock has taken the more admirable approach-- he has harnessed the love that the mouth-breathing public feels for reality television, and turned it into an effective means of education on a wide range of issues.



Over the course of its three season run, the program touched on every controversial topic imaginable. Immigration, religious intolerance, abortion, animal rights, gun rights, and more all got the full treatment. In this case, for those who don't know, the full treatment usually involves immersing a person from one way of life in the community of their ideological opposite. So, the homophobe lives among homosexuals for the titular 30 days, and thereby learns a little something about the other side of the fence. Not all of the shows revolved around opposites. For example, Morgan Spurlock himself spent a sweaty month working in a coal mine, alongside hard laborers for whom he already had a large amount of respect.

Spurlock fans can look forward to his next film project, an adaptation of the hit (and thought-provoking) book, "Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Looks at the Hidden Side of Everything." It should come out sometime this year.

Now, with the show gone from the airwaves, it lives on in digital format at Hulu.com. One nice thing about the 30 Days presence on Hulu is that the roster is complete-- no teasing here. Watch all 18 episodes at your leisure, here.

After 20,000 audience votes, the audience favorite was "Pressure Cook," with 31% of the vote.

The other nominees were "Destination Truth," "Queer Eye," "Ghost Hunters," and "America's Most Wanted."

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Announcing the Hulu Award for "Worst Reality Show"

And the Hulie goes to....



Living Lohan!










When you're searching for the worst reality show on Hulu, there's no shortage of candidates. How does one show sink far enough below the bar to beat out the most damnable shows in tv history? Answer: Be ruined fame whore Dina Lohan, from whose womb the endlessly vacant Lindsay Lohan sprang.

In a sense, the show serves as an apology and a raison d 'etre for Lindsay Lohan's apparent lack of humanity. Who among us could be raised by such a woman and emerge with an ounce of moral fiber?

The show has taken two detestable and fame-hungry people (Dina and Lindsay sibling Ali-- we'll exclude the pubescent Cody for the time being), and created heaps of horrifically artificial conflict and drama in an effort to wring out a palatable storyline.

With literally nothing going for it, it's a miracle that the show was ever greenlighted by the good folks at E! television. Good job E! You're number one at sucking!


After 20,000 votes, the audience pick is also "Living Lohan," with a 29% share.

Other nominees were "Denise Richards: It's Complicated," "Temptation Island," "Keeping Up With the Kardashians," and "Hey Paula."

Announcing the Hulu Award for "Best Celebrity-Driven Reality Show"


And the Hulie goes to....



Kitchen Nightmares!










The celebrity in question is bad boy chef Gordon Ramsay, a man whose constant stream of furious expletives has turned him into the unlikely face of British fine cuisine. American viewers may not be aware that Ramsay's hit "Kitchen Nightmares" is a British export that has been given a slight makeover for US viewers.

The formula is as predictable as a sunset, yet compelling in its details. A local restaurant is on the brink of financial ruin. Desperate to keep the doors open, they ask Ramsay for help. He comes in, tastes the food, and pronounces it inedible. He spends the next couple of days exposing any dirt he can, with the focus on filthy kitchens and unhelpful personalities. Typically, he identifies a scapegoat, whether that's the owner or a manager. He berates the owner on everything he can until the owner breaks and agrees that major changes are needed. Then Ramsay retools the menu, gussies up the dining room, and hosts an event that fills the restaurant to the brim with paying customers. Afterward, Ramsay pronounces the restaurant cured of its ills, and rides off into the sunset.

The success of the show is based on Ramsay's proven entertainment factor, as well as the innate interest we have in seeing behind the scenes of the local restaurants that serve us our food.

Fans will be excited to hear that Fox has announced a third season for this fall.

There's also a lot of buzz on the web regarding the actual fortunes of the restaurants featured on the program. How many failing restaurants are actually given a new lease on life by Ramsay's one-week visit? According to Wikipedia, 10 of the 21 featured restaurants have been closed down, with two others changing ownership since they were made over by Ramsay.

By one measure, this is a pretty dismal score. About half of the restaurants are gone, despite Ramsay's much-ballyhooed best effort. On the other hand, half of the businesses have actually been saved by a simple makeover. It's a glass half empty/glass half full kind of thing. I think the show would be better served by being a little more honest about the rickety ground that some restaurants have been left on at the end of the week.

Still, there's another measure of success for the show. In a Hulu-landscape chock-full of crappy reality shows fueld by crappy reality stars, one man stands head and shoulders above the rest. Congratulations to Gordon Ramsay and the other minds behind Kitchen Nightmares!

After 20,000 votes, the Audience Favorite is "Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D List," which scored a convincing 31% of the audience vote.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Announcing the Hulu Award for "Best Clip (non-comedy)"


And the Hulie goes to....



Psycho's Shower Scene!










When you consider the thousands upon thousands of clips populating Hulu, it seems fitting that an iconic classic is what cuts through all the background noise to grip us. Here it is in all its black and white glory:




It's rare that a horror film asks us to dwell for so long on the aftermath of a murder. Usually, when we see a victim who has been mortally stabbed, it's because that victim is about to do something amazingly heroic. Here, Janet Leigh simply dies. We're invited to think about the way that the heart stops beating, the eyes glaze over, and whatever makes up one's life essence dissipates into the great beyond. Janet Leigh was the main character in the film; now she's gone.

Before you take a gander at the same scene in the 1998 Psycho remake, here are a few interesting tidbits about the original 1960 shower scene:
1. Even though the scene reeks of blood, gore, and violence, there are actually only three brief frames showing any type of penetration, and these show only minor cuts to Janet's stomach.
2. The blood is chocolate syrup, while the sound of the knife was created by stabbing a melon
3. Depending on which reference you believe, there are 50 cuts, and 71 or 78 angles in the three minute scene. This creates a very modern-feeling MTV effect.





After 20,000 audience votes, the Audience Favorite was

Obama's Inauguration

Obama's level of success in office will certainly determine whether this is a seminal moment in world history, or just another entry in the long list of presidential disappointments, but for now, at least, Hulu viewers have faith.

The other nominees were

My Cousin Vinny: "Expert Witness" NBC News Time Capsule: "Martin Luther King Speech" Scarface: "Say Hello to My Little Friend" Field of Dreams: "Ray and His Dad Play Catch" The Usual Suspects: "Interrogation"

You can see all of the nominated clips in their entirety
HERE


Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Announcing the Hulu Award for "Best Action TV Series"

(Please welcome guest presenter Tamara Brooks, a regular contributor to the excellent site Zap2It)

And the Hulie goes to....



24!










Jack Bauer has had a few bad days. Seven to be exact and our panelists have loved every one of them. "24" combines intense action, espionage, drama, innovative real-time storytelling and a great cast lead by Kiefer Sutherland. Bombings? Check. Bio-weapons? Yup. Moles, sleeper agents, and betrayals? Yes, yes and yes. Assasination plots? Those too. Thanks to this category, Jack's also bested an undercover agent ("Burn Notice"), an involuntary time-traveler ("Journeyman"), a pair of jail-jumping brothers ("Prison Break"), and a Nerd Herder ("Chuck").

After 20,000 votes, the Audience Favorite is Chuck (39%)!



While the panelists favored a more hard-edged show, the voting public have given the nod to the adventures of accidental spy Chuck Bartowski, CIA handler/love interest Sarah Walker, and NSA handler/newly minted Colonel John Casey. "Chuck" combines action, intrigue, and suspense with comedy, pop culture shout-outs, and a cast of diverse (and odd) characters. It's like the Reese's Peanut Butter Cup of TV.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Announcing the Hulu Award for "Worst Movie"

(Please welcome guest presenter Tamara Brooks, a regular contributor to the excellent site Zap2It)

And the Hulie goes to....



Jackass 2.0!









In 2000, MTV debuted a series in which the stars performed occasionally funny, often dangerous, and almost always painful stunts from tasering to skateboard shenanigans to mangling body parts. Of course, do to its questionable nature, it became an instant hit. Johnny Knoxville and company eventually made the leap to the big screen not once but twice and it's that second offense that's landed them on the list.

The movie, which is just a collection of shorts, starts with the whole cast in a "Running of the Bulls" scenario and ends with a big musical number with the guys singing and dancing amidst bruising and potentially lethal stunts. Now, certain things are universally funny in spite of our better judgment, like people tripping and/or falling, but I've never been able to understand the appeal of watching a grown man staple his privates or getting battered by a bull. I'm totally not their demo.

When the voting period was taking place, "Jackass 2.0" was available for viewing. As of now the movie has been removed from the queue, to the relief of many I'm sure. But the Jackass crew's exploits can still be seen thanks to full episodes and clips from the whole series as well as the dangerous-in-a-slightly-different-way spin-off "Wildboyz".

This is a time when both the panel and the audience agrees as, after 20,000 votes, they also picked "Jackass 2.0".

The other less than stellar nominees in this category were "National Lampoon's Spring Break", "Nutty Professor 2: The Klumps", "Planet of the Apes" (the remake), "Starship Troopers", and "Xanadu". Though I have to disagree with that last one - "Xanadu" is so bad it's fantastic. I'm not ashamed to admit I own the soundtrack.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Announcing the Hulu Award for "Best Minor Television Network"

And the Hulie goes to....



20th Century Fox Television!







This win actually deserves to have an asterisk or two next to it. We've created a separate category for "Major Networks," because Fox and NBC are so clearly ahead of their smaller rivals in terms of high-profile content on Hulu. But taking out "Fox" left "20th Century Fox Television" still in the running, and that "non major network" took our panel's breath away with such shows as "Angel," Buffy," and "Arrested Development."

So, I'll primarily take this as a lesson on category-structuring for next year. But let's not completely ignore the achievement, which spotlights some of our panelist's favorite content on the web, bar none.

After 20,000 votes, the audience favorite is "USA" which eked out the win with 26% of the vote.

The other nominees were "Comedy Central," "Sci Fi," and "FX".

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Announcing the Hulu Award for "Worst Scripted Show"

(Please welcome guest presenter Tamara Brooks, a regular contributor to the excellent site Zap2It)

And the Hulie "winner" is....



Knight Rider!





Oh...shed a single tear for this reboot attempt. NBC tried to give "Knight Rider" a second life but ended up dooming it to an ignoble death according to our panel.

The cheese-tastic original 80's series starred David Hasselhoff as Michael Knight. The new version starred Justin Bruening as Mike Traceur, Knight's estranged son. Bruening, a former soap actor, was charismatic enough and which is important since...well, let's be honest, they aren't replicating Shakespeare. Despite having a simple blueprint to start from, I knew there might be some bumpy roads ahead based on the fact they killed off Mike's mom for no real reason in the movie pilot. But the real problems arose from the overly elaborate updates.

Instead of Knight Industries, Mike's adventures were handed out by the government; Bonnie's job as tech guru/mechanic was distributed to a large team of scientists including Mike's old flame and her genius father; and K.I.T.T., well, he was appropriately crazy advanced even if his morphing abilities were a glorified Ford commercial. They tried to right the ship by removing the government element and returning to the "infiltrate X to save Y from Z" format of the original, but it was too little to late. Did they start out taking themselves too seriously? Was it a mistake to try to legitmize pure buttered popcorn TV entertainment? Yes and yes. At least the Turbo Boost looked sweet.

Somehow "Knight Rider" beat out "The Munsters Today", "One Tree Hill", "Heroes", "Team Knight Rider", and "Testees". Clearly some of our panel members a) don't really remember "The Munsters Today" or "Team Knight Rider" or b) don't hate "One Tree Hill" on general principle like I do.

After 20,000 votes, the audience's least favorite is...Heroes!



Never have I seen a show so beloved fall so fast from grace. When "Heroes" first premiered, it was like you could hear everyone's minds get blown at the same time. After all that awesome, Season 2 didn't quite live up to most people's expectations. Where were the team-ups? Where were all the villains? Why was the pace so slow? Why is fill-in-the-blank acting like such a douche? And why is this Maya chick so freaking annoying? By the time the writers and producers had the opportunity to try and fix their admitted mistakes, the Writer's Strike cut any acts of penance short.

Then came Season 3. Oh Season 3. For me, while the pace was faster and they delivered some solid moments, there was still the little problem of the characters. Claire had become nearly intolerable, Peter was all over the place, Hiro was acting completely unlike himself, every moment that Speedster chick was on camera I actively wanted her to die, and Suresh...don't get me started on Suresh. But there's hope. Bryan "Pushing Daisies" Fuller has returned to the series and, like everyone else involved, is looking to tighten up the storytelling and deliver a season on par with the first. It's quite possible "Heroes" might become a favorite again.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Announcing the Hulu Award for "Best Informational Show"



And the Hulie goes to....



Nova!







PBS owes much of its sterling reputation to its most watched documentary, Nova. This is a show that has produced thirty five years of cutting edge science programming, all without resorting to condescension to the lowest common denominator. Their sterling brand name has attracted some terrific and well-known hosts, including David Attenborough, Oliver Platt, John Lithgow, and Stockard Channing.

Nova's presence on Hulu is solid, but it does have some huge gaps that leave us wanting more. Right now, 23 episodes are posted in their entirety, all of which have been produced in the last several years. Hopefully, they'll post some vintage episodes from the seventies one of these days.


After 20,000 audience votes, the audience favorite was "National Geographic Channel," with a dominating 59% of the vote.

The other nominees were "Wired Science," "Historic Campaign Ads," and "Scientific American Frontiers."

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Announcing the Hulu Award for "Worst Movie"

(Please welcome guest presenter Tamara Brooks, a regular contributor to the excellent site Zap2It)

And the Hulie goes to....



Jackass 2.0!









In 2000, MTV debuted a series in which the stars performed occasionally funny, often dangerous, and almost always painful stunts from tasering to skateboard shenanigans to mangling body parts. Of course, do to its questionable nature, it became an instant hit. Johnny Knoxville and company eventually made the leap to the big screen not once but twice and it's that second offense that's landed them on the list.

The movie, which is just a collection of shorts, starts with the whole cast in a "Running of the Bulls" scenario and ends with a big musical number with the guys singing and dancing amidst bruising and potentially lethal stunts. Now, certain things are universally funny in spite of our better judgment, like people tripping and/or falling, but I've never been able to understand the appeal of watching a grown man staple his privates or getting battered by a bull. I'm totally not their demo.

When the voting period was taking place, "Jackass 2.0" was available for viewing. As of now the movie has been removed from the queue, to the relief of many I'm sure. But the Jackass crew's exploits can still be seen thanks to full episodes and clips from the whole series as well as the dangerous-in-a-slightly-different-way spin-off "Wildboyz".

This is a time when both the panel and the audience agrees as, after 20,000 votes, they also picked "Jackass 2.0".

The other less than stellar nominees in this category were "National Lampoon's Spring Break", "Nutty Professor 2: The Klumps", "Planet of the Apes" (the remake), "Starship Troopers", and "Xanadu". Though I have to disagree with that last one - "Xanadu" is so bad it's fantastic. I'm not ashamed to admit I own the soundtrack.

Announcing the Hulu Award for "Best Cooking/Food Show"

(Please welcome guest presenter Tamara Brooks, a regular contributor to the excellent site Zap2It)

And the Hulie goes to....



Ace of Cakes!







Having very few clips and no episodes currently available on Hulu could not overcome the skill and charisma of Duff Goldman and the "Ace of Cakes" crew. Our panelists just couldn't resist those crazy-awesome confections and Duff's unmistakable laugh.

The first time I saw Duff was on "Food Network Challenge" where all the chefs had to prepare Extreme Cakes. He won and shortly therafter got his own show in 2006, making appearances on "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" and other talk shows. Duff's so cool he even has his own mini-mate action figure. http://secure1.missionmedia.net/charmcitycakes/store/index.cfm?fuseaction=product.display&Product_ID=15&CFID=2114760&CFTOKEN=cdb7011610dfd711-34365F22-9B70-D1F6-E482C18EF0AC81FD&jsessionid=f23086e9c16009598bd0d18a733141d85f43

The folks at Charm City Cakes beat out "30 Minute Meals", "Good Eats", "Hell's Kitchen", "Kitchen Nightmares", and "Top Chef".

After 20,000 votes the Audience Favorite is "Good Eats!"



Alton Brown is a TV chef rarity - not only can you learn to cook from him, you can learn in general. Alton skillfully and playfully guides the viewer through the ingredients, steps and techniques of recipies while mixing in history, trivia and science. He also makes a heck of a host on "Iron Chef America". Though there's only a handful of clips currently available, when they show you how to make tasty bits like a variety of waffles and scallop scampi it's all good.

Announcing the Hulu Award for "Worst Web Original"

(Please welcome guest presenter Tamara Brooks, a regular contributor to the excellent site Zap2It)

And the Hulie goes to....



Gorgeous Tiny Chicken Machine Show!







This parody talk show bases all of its comedy around fictional Japanese host Kiko and her wonky attempts at interviewing confused guests while guiding them through odd activities. Purposely a little off-putting and full of weirdness, it just wasn't working for the majority of the voting panel.

GTCMS got its start as a viral video on YouTube in 2007 and quickly became a sensation. Two episodes were produced independently by creators Greg Benson and Kim Evey (who plays "Kiko") until Sony optioned the quirky creation to anchor the company's own YouTube channel and website Crackle. But not everyone is repulsed by the Chicken Machine - they've had guests including Wil Wheaton and Adam Arkin appear in the mostly improvised shorts.

After 20,000 votes, the audience's least favorite is..."Dating Brad Garret," with 59% of the vote.



Brad Garrett is one of those comedians that either you love or don't. Well, most of the audience falls on the less fuzzy end of that spectrum when it comes to these webisodes. Fairly fresh off a divorce, 6-foot-8 Garrett teamed with Sony's Crackle (dubious owner of both "winners" in this category) to go on a series of ten blind dates and boil them down to five-or-so minute adventures. His goal was to present a slice of real dating, what he calls the "Anti-Bachelor", free of the pretense of one glossy dude handing out roses to 35 hot women. I guess the audience prefers glossy un-reality.

The Tiny Chicken folks were less tolerable than "Barely Political", "Comedy Gumbo", and "Destination X".

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Announcing the Hulu Award for "Best News Show"



And the Hulie goes to....



Comic Con 2008!







NBC's coverage of Comic Con 2008, the legendary comic book convention-turned- pop culture hurricane, has pulled off an upset win over the more staid competition.

The credit for the win goes to two factors. First, you have the fanboy-fantasy nature of Comic Con itself. What if you and some other fans threw a party, and all of your favorite stars and artists were suddenly clamoring to come? Second, you have the way that Comic Con was presented on Hulu. Namely, an in-depth viewing experience that made all of the millions of at-home fans feel like they were actually mingling with comic writers, tv personalities, and Kitt, the car-star of Knight Rider. NBC's coverage was hosted by an affable "Comic Con virgin," whose presence allowed Hulu watchers to feel smug about knowing more than her.

The very first Comic Con took place in 1970, and drew 300 fans. By 2007, the number had grown to 125,000, and the trend shows no signs of slowing down. 2008 was the first year that the event's tickets sold out before the convention began. Congratulations, Comic Con!

After 20,000 audience votes, the audience favorite was also "Comic Con 2008," with 34% of the vote.

The other nominees were NBC Meet the Press," "NBC Nightly News," "NBC Today Show," and "Access Hollywood."

Annoucing the Hulu Award for "Best Talk or Interview Show"



And the Hulie goes to....



Late Night With Conan O'Brien!






When you're handing out awards during the end of an era, sometimes the result seems like a forgone conclusion. People forget that Conan O'Brien, who recently wrapped up a 16 year stint as host of NBC's Late Night, was anything but a foregone conclusion when he first came on the scene.

A complete unknown, O'Brien went from being a SNL comedy writer to becoming a pop culture icon. While other talk show hosts bend over backwards to prove how cool they are, Conan's coin has always been how cool he's not. A towering irish beanpole of blinding whiteness, Conan has left a legacy from which Jimmy Fallon is already struggling to escape.

Where do hardcore O'Brien fans go to meet and greet each other on the web? Horny Manatee, of course! This is the website that NBC launched after Conan ad-libbed a line involving the phrase "hornymanatee.com." NBC snapped up the site to make sure that no one else would use it to link objectionable content to their studio, and finally decided to put up some horny manatee-related content. The site has registered over 10 million hits, and you can check it out here.

After 20,000 audience votes, the audience favorite was "The Daily Show With John Stewart," with a decisive 47% of the vote.

The other nominees were "The Colbert Report," "Inside the Actor's Studio," and "Attack of the Show."

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Announcing the Hulu Award for "Best Videogame Coverage"



And the Hulie goes to....



Gamespot!








Any videogamer worth his salt is going to know that Gamespot is a mark of quality in an overcrowded cyberworld of games, platforms, and brands. What may surprise you instead is the laser-beam focus that Gamespot has brought to Hulu. Ever since it's inception on Hulu, Gamespot has focused on a three-pronged content scheme that brings gamers exactly what they're most interested in: Gameplay Footage, Video Reviews, and Game Trailers.

I would argue that Hulu is actually a better way to experience Gamespot than their own website, which can be a little overwhelming.

So, what does the best gaming review site say are the best video games on the planet? Here's a list of their coveted "Game of the Year" title holders from the inception of the system (as per Wikipedia):



After 20,000 audience votes, the audience favorite was also "Gamespot," with a whopping 52% of the vote.

The other nominees were "X Play," and "Game Reviews."

Announcing the Hulu Award for "Best Travel or Leisure Show"



And the Hulie goes to....



Destination Truth!









Ever since the awards were first conceived, I felt that, as long as Destination Truth won this category, the awards were going to turn out okay. That's right. This goofy little travel reality show has validated the entire year-long effort that is the Hulu Awards. Here's what I had to say about this show last year:

What is it about a reality show that makes it superb?

You need a format that is actually interesting throughout, and that doesn't rely on 90% filler leading up to that 10% of actual drama.

You need your lead personalities to be charismatic in a warm, genuine way, rather than just being the latest smiley fame whore.

Finally, you need a decent production crew that can take advantage of the situation they're dealing with for maximum impact.

Destination Truth has all three of these qualities in spades. The premise is simple: the amazingly fun and funny lead, Josh Gates, travels to exotic locales with a small team in search of real-life legendary monsters.

Each 43 minute episode is packed with travels to not one, but two exotic locales, usually some sparsely-populated village on the edge of a jungle.

In Act 1, the setup includes a computer animation of the supposed monster, which might be a giant bat with a monkey face one week, and an enormous lake serpent the next. Then Josh joshes around with the locals, where he shows that a winning personality can overcome significant cultural barriers.

In the course of talking to them, he usually ferrets out a local or two who swears, on camera, to have had a close encounter with the creature in question. This is the part of the show where I look at the native and think "Man, could it possibly be true? Could there be a giant unknown primate in this backwater land?" That's when I'm hooked for Act 2, which usually involves a remote campsite, some infrared cameras, and Josh getting freaked out by a large creature in the nighttime jungle.

For Act 3, Josh takes whatever footage he has and asks some biology expert to review it and try to deny that the shadowy footage might be the Loch Ness Monster.

Then it's wash, rinse, repeat for the second half of the program.

This is absolutely one of my favorite shows on Hulu. I can't recommend it highly enough.


Good job, Josh & Co.!

What has this offbeat show really contributed to the field of Cryptozoology? Most notably, some Bigfoot prints in the Himalayas. You can read about it at the most respected blog in the field, here.

After 20,000 audience votes, the audience favorite was also "Destination Truth," with 31% of the vote.

The other nominees were "After Hours With Daniel," "Any Given Latitude" "Bikini Destinations," "The Rachel Zoe Project," and "Uncorked."