Oh Peak TV, you silly, silly beast. You make the mere concept of being a TV watcher a stressful hobby, one rife with potential FOMO and overall anxiety about the things that, simply, you cannot find the time to watch. It’s a subject that I have railed upon many times in the past but, with the number of scripted series somehow still growing on a year-to-year basis, it bears repeating: there are too many TV shows out there guys, and so many of strong quality too. Granted, a lot of them are pretty bad too, but I chose to focus on the ones that are great…or in many cases, even just good. Because, honestly, it’s the latter category of TV that is getting the biggest shaft in the age of Peak TV.
And, in a certain way, it makes a lot of sense — with so much great content at our fingertips, why settle for things that are just good? Well, personally, I chose to watch the good because I love watching the moment when it evolves into something great — and, in my experience, most good shows do. Even if they aren’t consistently great like a Mad Men or The Americans, sometimes you have to take in some bad to get to the good, right?
I have just done that recently with two Hulu shows, both I feel very comfortable describing as “mostly pretty good”: The Runaways and Future Man. One is a Marvel superhero series based on an acclaimed Brian K. Vaughn comic, and the other is a sci-fi comedy from producers Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg. They are pretty different conceptually, but have one thing in common: no one is talking about them nearly as much as they should be.
Seriously: I think I can count the number of tweets I’ve seen for the two shows on like four hands, max. I barely read anything about them on other TV websites either, which leads me to believe the audience for both series is not that large (or, at the very least, vocal.) Which is a shame, I think — though they have a fair share of problems (Runaways namely in the plot momentum department, and Future Man in its over-reliance on juvenile humor), I found a lot to like in both shows, and really wish I could at least participate in balancing the pros and cons of them with an audience of fellow TV nerds, rather than the pair just fading away into the social attic of the internet.
But even if Runaways and Future Man fail to be buzzworthy TV in the way that Hulu probably hoped they would be (especially when compared to their breakout hit earlier in the year, The Handmaid’s Tale), apparently they did well enough for the streaming service to renew each for a second season. The renewals comes about a month and a half after the first season of Future Man first dropped, in a Netflix style “all-at-once” style. Runaways, on the other hand, chose the more tried-and-true weekly release route, a discrepancy between the two I frankly don’t understand. If you want to be like Netflix, be like Neflix. If you want to be like all other TV, be like all other TV. Pick a lane, Hulu! Anyways, Runaways renewal comes right on the eve of its season one finale, so it was probably a good way for Hulu to further keep the show in the news…something that has failed to happen in its run so far, quite frankly.
But, hey, now that both are guaranteed to come back, maybe people will actually give them a chance. Like myself, they may end up liking what they see. At the very least, it would mean that other people would be talking about the James Cameron episode of Future Man, expect just me. The joys of Cameronium must be known to all.
Also published on Medium.