Hulu’s Best (and Worst) Original Shows
Sure, you can’t experience success without some failures, but Hulu has managed to find its niche and build upon a good foundation without taking too many hits. Here are some of Hulu’s best and worst original shows so far.
1. The best: The Mindy Project
The Mindy Project is Mindy Kaling’s romantic comedy series about obstetrician/gynecologist Mindy Lahiri (Kaling also stars) as she attempts to balance work, life, and love. The series is one of those cursed shows where, despite widespread critical acclaim and positive word-of-mouth, viewership never experienced any kind of positive upswing.
Luckily, after Fox canceled the series following its third season, Hulu picked it up for more episodes. Writing about the fourth season, The New Yorker’s Emily Nussbaum writes, “There’s plenty to admire in the show’s willingness to cross the wires, to resist giving the audience what it craves.”
The Mindy Project’s sixth and final season debuts September 2017.
2. The worst: The Hotwives of Orlando
The Hotwives of Orlando is a satire of Bravo’s The Real Housewives series that ran for two seasons from July 2014 to August 2015 and has yet to be renewed for a third season. While the series has some critic supporters, the show has mostly been a middling series in the limbo area of “not great, but not terrible.”
Variety’s Brian Lowry explains that “the half-hour episodes feel a bit like a Saturday Night Live sketch stretched to its limits — fun for a while, then a trifle repetitive.”
The idea of a 30-minute episode of an SNL sketch isn’t exactly the most enticing description.
3. The best: The Path
The Path is one of Hulu’s newest original series and stars Aaron Paul, Michelle Monaghan, and Hugh Dancy in a drama about the members of a fictional religion/cult named Meyerism. The show received widespread acclaim from critics and was renewed for a third season. While there were some growing pains associated with the first season, the series looks like it will continue to get better as it continues.
“Despite its flaws, The Path builds one hell of a foundation for seasons to come. It demonstrates the potential to grow deeper and more rewarding as it matures,” writes The A.V. Club’s Joshua Alston. “Should The Path make it to, say, a third season, it could be among the contenders for the unofficial title of best drama on television.”
4. The worst: The Awesomes
The Awesomes ended in November 2015 after three seasons, but the series had way more promise than what we saw in the final product. Created by Seth Meyers and Mike Shoemaker, in addition to being executive produced by SNL‘s Lorne Michaels, The Awesomes is an animated comedy series about a group of superheroes and their attempts to take over the mantle of a legendary superhero group.
Unfortunately, the show couldn’t live up to its intriguing concept. “A misfit bunch of superheroes with a few odd powers? I liked it better when it was called Mystery Men,” writes The A.V. Club’s Gwen Ihnat. She adds, “… Being humorous is a superfeat The Awesomes has yet to accomplish.”
5. The best: Difficult People
Difficult People is a comedy series from Julie Klausner about two struggling comedians (played by Klausner and Billy Eichner) in the New York City comedy scene. The series, which is executive produced by Amy Poehler, premiered in 2015 and will debut its third season in the summer of 2017.
“We find ourselves siding with the nasty duo and feeling just a little guilty about it. But the guilt doesn’t last long: Mostly, we’re just laughing,” writes the San Francisco Chronicle’s David Wiegand.
6. The worst: Resident Advisors
Resident Advisors is a comedy series (backed by Elizabeth Banks as an executive producer) about a group of RAs at a college. But the show floundered in its first season and has never been picked up for a second season — and it might have trouble doing so. The New York Times’ Mike Hale called the series “an amateurish Animal House knockoff… that is very bad stuff indeed.”
7. The best: Casual
An all-star television production created by Zander Lehmann and executive produced by Jason Reitman (who also directs the first two episodes), Casual is a dramedy series about newly divorced single mother Valerie, and her teen daughter as they move in with Valerie’s younger bachelor brother.
Receiving strong reviews from critics, Casual has drawn praise for its insights into the ever-changing dating landscape. TheWrap’s Tim Grierson calls the series a “laid-back but thoughtful and well-observed comedy about love and family in the modern age.”
Casual‘s third season begins in May 2017, which means it’s the perfect time to catch up.
8. The best: The Wrong Mans
The Wrong Mans is officially over, but it’s worth mentioning because it hasn’t received a lot of attention (outside of the U.K.) and, frankly, it’s better than the rest of Hulu’s current crop of shows. A co-production between BBC Television and Hulu, The Wrong Mans lasted two seasons and is a hybrid series combining elements of a situation comedy with the plotting and story of an action series.
The show follows two unassuming characters who become embroiled in a conspiracy of crime and corruption, and are obviously not prepared or willing to take on what comes their way. A huge hit in the U.K., the New York Post’s Eric Hegedus says that The Wrong Mans is “harrowing, hilarious and genre-busting.”
Additional reporting by Michelle Regalado.
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