On June 20, three BBC series, never before aired in the U.S., will premiere on Hulu.com and Hulu Plus. These shows are prime examples of bold, imaginative programming. No matter what genres interest you, one of these fine offerings is sure to strike your fancy and leave you wanting more.
For science fiction fans, there is Misfits (premiering June 20). Ordinary becomes extraordinary as, after a freak accident, people begin to find themselves endowed with super powers. It may sound familiar; shows like Misfits of Science, The Incredible Hulk, and Heroes were based on the same principle. However, once you get past that basic premise, you'll find Misfits is far and away different. Five troubled teens, forced into community service, are struck by lightning and gradually discover they've developed supernatural powers related to their "deepest, darkest insecurities." It's not a nice show by any stretch of the imagination. It's a gritty, occasionally bloody affair, filled with angst, action, and fine acting from its young stars. Judging by the episodes I watched, its 2010 BAFTA award (the British equivalent of the Emmy) for best drama was well-deserved.
Whites (premiering July 20) is the story of chef extraordinaire, Roland White (Alan Davies, QI, Jonathon Creek), and his sous chef Bib. They've been working together for years and are currently employed at a lavish country house hotel. Although a culinary genius, White's laziness keeps him from the success he almost found years ago. His attitude irks restaurant manager and White's secret admirer, Caroline, but there is nothing she can do to change his ways. The comedy is drawn from a unique and disparate cast of characters, sharp writing, and the snark and sass of Roland White.
Booth At the End (premiering July11) is, perhaps, the most intriguing of the three, a quietly sinister half-hour that will seep into your gray matter and stay with you long after you sign off the site. Think Lost meets Twilight Zone, and you'll have some idea of the preternatural bent of this show. A mysterious man (Xander Berkeley, 24) sits in the rear booth of a diner, visited by people who've heard he has a gift. He can solve their problems: turn a plain girl into a beauty, restore a nun's lost faith, enable an average Joe to woo a supermodel. All he asks is that they complete a task he gives them, after which they must return to him and recount in detail what they've done.
The task is always something inconceivable: the wife of an Alzheimer's patient must construct a bomb and set it to explode in a crowd, a distraught father of a sick boy must kill another family's child. The man never forces or coerces. It's always up to these people whether to see the task through... or not.
If all this sounds promising, mark your calendars; programming this good is not always easy to find. Who knows? If enough viewers tune in, The Powers That Be at Hulu may be encouraged to seek out more fine, rare treasures like these to offer on their site.