After Hulu sent me an email about their new original series Battleground (not to be confused with the movie based on a board game named Battleship) I decided to check it out. Maybe Iâ€™m just a sucker for email marketing. Yes I am (sometimes), however in this case I was genuinely intrigued. Not so much about the show in particular (I really thought it was about naval warfare), more so about the fact it is true original online programming. I had been excited about the original programming prospect for quite some time since Netflix first announced Lilyhammer. I hadnâ€™t watched Netflixâ€™s foray into original programming so why not Huluâ€™s venture. Â Itâ€™s been 8 episodes out of a possible 13 episode season (though Iâ€™m not really sure). Â Hereâ€™s how I see it.
The show is very much a single camera comedy a la The Office or Parks and Recreation though not quite the same. Â Itâ€™s filmed as a faux documentary of a U.S. senate campaign in the battleground state of Wisconsin. Â We follow the liberal, democratic current state senator, her conniving husband, her simpleton step-son, the campaign manager, PR woman, speech writer, social media expert and interns throughout their day and see their wackyÂ shenanigans. Â Itâ€™s quite an interesting crowd. Â They really do all have good repoire with each other and it works well to highlight their interrelationships.
The first 8 episodes have been somewhat funny. Â There were a couple lull episodes in the beginning, episodes 2 through 4, though it got better. Â They derive a lot of their humor from the situation and some quirky characters. Â Iâ€™ve never been part of a political campaign so I donâ€™t really know how realistic any of the political â€œstuffâ€ is but it seemingly works in context. Â Iâ€™ve had a number of â€œa haâ€ and laugh out loud moments.
As part of the faux documentary they have interviews with their future selves. Â Most of them anyway. Â Theyâ€™ve been able to do a fair amount of foreshadowing and gives up some lingering questions that we want answered. Â Yet another reason to continue watching.
The casting is not too bad. Â I have no idea how the financials work with this show but Iâ€™d imagine that they donâ€™t have a huge budget. Â There are certainly no big name actors, probably canâ€™t afford them. Â The male lead (â€œTakâ€ Davis â€“ the campaign manager), played byÂ Jay Hayden, can totally carry the show. Â Heâ€™s charismatic and can really act. I must also give a notable mention to the intern characters Ben and Lindsay, played by Ben Samuel and Lindsay Payne respectively. Â Ben is really playing two different characters and does a great job at it. Â Lindsay really brings home a great girl next door though she is a stronger female character as well.
So I say give it a shot if you havenâ€™t done so already. Â Itâ€™s not that bad and Iâ€™m going to keep going. This is Huluâ€™s first foray into original programming and they have much more in the pipeline. Â Itâ€™s bound to get better (though it could get worse). Â As more and more original programming shifts away from the traditional networks to a web based platform weâ€™re going to see better and better shows.
Watch Battleground on Hulu. Â 8 episodes are available right now and they put up new ones every Tuesday. Â Enjoy!