IN TWEET: THE NEW HULU ORIGINAL ANIMATED SERIES “THE AWESOMES” ISN’T THE WORST THING ON TV. IT’S JUST NOT…WELL…AWESOME.
In the spirit of full disclosure, the new Hulu original series THE AWESOMES was already at a huge disadvantage right out of the gate. I am not a fan of television animation. I’ve never been able to sit through a full episode of THE SIMPSONS. I don’t think FAMILY GUY is a little slice o’ brilliance. I stopped watching SOUTH PARK several years back (right around the time it became as insufferably self-impressed as creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone). With that said, I’m also pretty sure that if you are a fan of the genre, THE AWESOMES is going to land in your house with a thud.
THE AWESOMES are a motley crew of seriously flawed super heroes. After their leader retires, Prock (Seth Meyers), his sad sack of a son, takes over. All the quality members of the group immediately flee and go solo. Prock has to re-assemble a team or lose government funding (don’t ask). He does so by cobbling together a new band of heroes from among those that were rejected in the past. Hilarity ensues. Except it doesn’t.
The biggest problem with THE AWESOMES are the long gaps of tepid dialogue that fill the space between a few very funny moments. For a series with 14 (!) credited producers, there should be a lot more meat on the bone. The best moments are sight gags and spit takes but THE AWESOMES needs more than an oblique GOLDEN GIRLS reference and tired send-ups of racial stereotypes to make you want to come back for more.
You have to point the blame finger at Meyers. In addition to his voice work, he is also the writer and executive producer. Hence, the weaknesses in the script are compounded by Meyers penchant for giving SNL cast members more work while they’re on break from killing comedy at NBC. That means for every scene with exceptionally sharp turns by Taran Killam (Frantic) and Paula Pell (who steals the show as Gadget Gal) you also have to endure funny-free VO from Bobby Lee (Sumo/Tim) and the always dreadful Kenan Thompson (Impresario). At least we now know both Lee and Thompson display the same stunning lack of comedic talent when you can’t see them mugging for the camera as when you can.
It’s also odd that Hulu has chosen to bleep the profanity. It’s both disconcerting and only makes THE AWESOMES seem more toothless and pedestrian than it already is. It’s not that I want the show to be a superhero riff on SOUTH PARK; it’s just that by having no backbone it really makes you wonder why Hulu bit when several other networks had already passed. In just about every way, THE AWESOMES feels like a neutered, MOR version of DRAWN TOGETHER, the wildly vulgar, politically incorrect and pee-your-pants hilarious animated series that ran on Comedy Central for three seasons (CLICK HERE if you don’t know what I’m talking about…NSFW).
You know you’re in trouble when a show can’t even manage to cobble together a minute of compelling footage for a ComicCon trailer. That’s the reality of THE AWESOMES and it’s probably not going to help make the series a fanboy favorite outside the after glow of a well-orchestrated “sneak preview” campaign last month.
RONTHINK GRADE: C-