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  1. Ad-supported and ad-free streaming are affected, Live is not Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge Hulu’s streaming plans cost $1 more starting on October 8th, with its ad-supported tier going up to $6.99 each month and its ad-free tier going up to $12.99 monthly. According to Variety, the price of Hulu’s live TV service, which also includes access to its streaming content, isn’t increasing. Disney, the majority owner of Hulu, has increased the prices of its other streaming services over the past year, making its bundle that includes all of them look more and more attractive. The price of the Disney bundle, which includes Hulu, Disney Plus, and ESPN Plus, doesn’t appear to be going up along with Hulu’s prices — however, it already went up by a dollar earlier this year when Disney Plus got a $1 per month price hike. It currently costs $13.99 per month for a version with ad-supported Hulu and $19.99 a month for ad-free Hulu. If you want all the services, the bundle is a good deal — it’ll save you almost $8 a month versus buying the services separately (after the Hulu price change) whether you go with the ad or ad-free plans. Disney’s CEO has reportedly said that the company is pushing the bundle. The screen Hulu subscribers are shown when logging in. Subscribers have also been sent emails. For those who had existing Hulu subscriptions before signing up to the Disney Bundle, billing is handled by charging the regular price for Hulu then giving the user a discount on their Disney Plus subscription. Hulu’s support Twitter account has confirmed that the price of the Disney Bundle will not change due to the price increase. Hulu hasn’t been resting on its laurels since its last price increase, though. In recent months, subscribers have gotten access to HDR for some original shows and movies and a Watch Party feature that lets friends watch shows together. Whether these features and the content available on the service add up to something worth $7 or $13 a month will be up to you, but come October, that’s the price of admission. Streaming service prices in September 2021 Streaming Service Price per month Hulu with ads (starting Oct. 8th) $6.99 Hulu without ads (starting Oct. 8th) $12.99 Disney Plus $7.99 ESPN Plus $6.99 Disney Bundle with Hulu ads $13.99 Disney Bundle without Hulu ads $19.99 HBO Max with ads $9.99 HBO Max without ads $14.99 Netflix Basic $8.99 Netflix Standard $13.99 Netflix Premium $17.99 Peacock Premium (with ads) $4.99 Peacock Premium Plus (without ads) $9.99 Amazon Prime Video (standalone) $8.99 Paramount Plus with ads $4.99 Paramount Plus without ads $9.99 Apple TV Plus $4.99 It’s simple, really. Especially if you consider that some offer annual plans. Hulu’s monthly prices increase by $1 as Disney pushes its streaming bundle
  2. The Handmaid's Tale and other Hulu Originals lead the charge. Enlarge / Hulu's The Handmaid's Tale, now available in HDR on some devices. Hulu HDR has been a standard feature of new TVs for years now, and you'd be hard-pressed to find many 4K TVs that don't support HDR. But even as Netflix, Amazon, Disney+, HBO Max, and others have rolled out HDR support for some content, Hulu hasn't. That finally changed, with a support page on Hulu's website announcing HDR support for select shows and devices. These are the devices on which Hulu says it now offers HDR streaming: Roku (HDR compatible models) Fire TV, Fire TV Stick, Fire TV Cube devices (HDR compatible models with Fire OS 7 or later) Apple TV 4K (Gen 5 or later) Vizio (HDR compatible models) Chromecast Ultra (HDR-compatible models) Hulu says that the supported formats include HDR-10, HDR-10+, and Dolby Vision. Content that supports HDR will carry a special badge so viewers know what they're getting. The available content is limited, though. For the moment, the badge only appears on select original series and films by Hulu. They include The Handmaid's Tale, High Fidelity, Catch-22, Happiest Season, and WeWork, among just a handful of others. Hulu has supported 4K for a while, though it made the leap after its competitors, too. And 4K came in fits and starts: some devices received 4K support, then lost it, then gained it again. 4K increases the number of pixels compared to HD, resulting in a sharper image. But many people don't have TVs large enough or close enough to their seating to really see that difference. On the other hand, HDR can be seen at any reasonable viewing distance. It increases the vibrancy of the image, the contrast between light and dark spots, and the depth of the colors in ways that we think are more impactful than 4K. Hulu was among the last services to support HDR, and the overwhelming majority of its library is still streaming in standard dynamic range. Years after its competition, Hulu begins streaming in HDR
  3. And it premieres next month (Image credit: FX) Brian K. Vaughan and Pia Guerra's comic series Y: The Last Man is considered by many to be one of the medium's finest, telling the story of a cataclysmic event that causes all beings on Earth with the Y chromosome to suddenly die, save for one male human named Yorick Brown and his pet monkey, Ampersand. After spending more than a decade as one of Hollywood's most sought-after properties, and with numerous failed attempts to bring the story to screen, Y: The Last Man is finally getting the live-action treatment, courtesy of a new TV series from FX and Hulu. With Y: The Last Man set to stream on Hulu in the US and internationally via Disney Plus Star from September 13, FX has decided to whet our appetites even further by dropping the show's very first trailer, proving once and for all that yes, this is really happening. You can check out Y: The Last Man's trailer below. Analysis: will the show do the comic justice? Based on the trailer above, FX's adaptation of Y: The Last Man seems to have nailed the Vertigo comic's vision of a global androcide that plunges the world's population towards its inevitable extinction. It appears as though showrunner Eliza Clark (Animal Kingdom, The Killing) and her creative team are treating the material with the appropriate amount of seriousness, showing just how immediate the devastation would occur. The show also seems perfectly cast, with Ben Schnetzer (Warcraft: The Beginning, The Book Thief) in the title role, alongside Diane Lane (Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice) as Yorick's mother, Senator Jennifer Brown, and Olivia Thirlby (Dredd, The Wackness) and his paramedic sister, Hero Brown. If the show's creators play their cards, Y: The Last Man could end up being a Walking Dead-level megahit. Of course, we'll have to wait until September 13 to see if the show does the comic justice. Y: The Last Man TV show is finally happening and looks insanely good in first trailer
  4. UFC Pay Per View Events Can Now Be Accessed Through ESPN+ on Hulu Now that ESPN+ content can be accessed through Hulu, an update will also allow Hulu subscribers to watch UFC pay per view events on Hulu if they are subscribed to both streaming services. Starting today, ESPN+ is making it easier for Hulu viewers to watch events by adding UFC pay per view events to ESPN+ on Hulu. UFC fans who are subscribed to the Disney bundle or those who have the ESPN+ on Hulu add-on can now purchase the events through the Hulu app. The first event that will be available through Hulu will be UFC 262 on May 15. Only subscribers who are billed directly by Hulu will be able to purchase PPV event access through the Hulu app. After purchasing access to the event, it will be available in the My Stuff section under a new Purchases tab. Those who are billed through Disney will need to purchase event access through ESPN.com or the ESPN app. Source: UFC Pay Per View Events Can Now Be Accessed Through ESPN+ on Hulu
  5. Hulu Finally Adds ViacomCBS Networks to Live TV Service Comedy Central/Courtesy of Everett Collection Hulu, more than four years after launching its live TV service, has added ViacomCBS’ cable networks to the lineup. Starting Friday (April 30), nine ViacomCBS networks will be available on Hulu + Live TV: Comedy Central, BET, Nickelodeon, Nick Jr., VH1, CMT, MTV, TV Land and Paramount Network. The price of the streaming package will remain at $64.99/month (with SVOD ads) and $70.99/month (with no SVOD ads). Another five ViacomCBS linear nets — BET Her, MTV2, NickToons, TeenNick and MTV Classic — will be available in Hulu’s Entertainment add-on package (which remains priced at $7.99/month extra). The other channels in that package are CNBC, American Heroes Channel, World Cooking Channel, Crime + Investigation, Destination America, Discovery Family, Discovery Life, DIY, Great American Country, Military History Channel and Science. In addition, under the distribution deal between Disney’s Hulu and ViacomCBS, Hulu will add a collection of library shows from the media company to its on-demand service, including “Freaks and Geeks,” “Moesha” and “Sister Sister.” It’s another example of co-opetition among media conglomerates as direct-to-consumer streaming era is in full swing. In early March, ViacomCBS rebranded — and expanded — the CBS All Access service to become Paramount Plus. Disney has been aggressively pushing its streaming products worldwide, including offering a discounted bundle of Disney Plus, Hulu and ESPN Plus in the U.S. Hulu + Live TV now offers more than 75 live TV channels in the baseline package. Customers also get access to the core Hulu on-demand service (which costs $5.99/month with ads or $11.99/month without ads as a standalone offering). Source: Hulu Finally Adds ViacomCBS Networks to Live TV Service
  6. Hulu Plus Attracted Many of its First 2 Million Subscribers From Pirate Sites Pirate sites are considered a threat by the majority of today's legal streaming platforms but at least one can say it directly benefited from them. According to a former key member of Hulu's marketing team, the launch of Hulu Plus saw pirate sites given an option - either find themselves sued or plaster their sites with links to the fledgling platform. The strategy paid off. More than a 13 years ago, in the same year that Netflix took its business online, a new service called Hulu made its debut. In common with its competitor, Hulu – founded by News Corporation and NBC Universal – hoped to take a decent slice of the fledgling streaming market and with the later addition of Disney, this dream slowly began to take shape. Three years later Hulu launched Hulu Plus, offering full seasons of TV shows and instant access to new episodes. Today, Hulu is a success story, offering three products – Hulu basic, Hulu with no ads, and the range-topping Hulu + Live TV. As of late last year, Hulu had more than 36 million subscribers but it’s the way that the service went from zero to two million that today piques our interest. When it Came to Streaming, 2010 Was Still the Wild West In 2010, unlicensed streaming link sites such as Surf The Channel were pulling in large numbers of eyeballs, around 400,000 per day in this platform’s case. That earned the site’s operator a four-year prison sentence for facilitating copyright infringement but many more similar sites remained operational, filling in the gaps underserved by the legal services of the day. Today, running a pirate platform is much less straightforward but the fact remains that their ‘pirate’ users are potential customers for legal services. The big question is how to reach them. It would be unthinkable to market a legal service on a pirate site in the current climate but back in 2010, it transpires that Hulu Plus was unafraid to do so. Hulu Plus Marketed Itself Directly on Pirate Sites On Twitter yesterday an interesting discussion was triggered by Patrick OShaughnessy who asked a straightforward question: What is the most clever customer acquisition strategy you’ve ever seen? A response came from Jay Rockman, who previously worked as a key member of Hulu’s marketing team. He retold a story from the launch of Hulu Plus that reveals that rather than treating pirates as the enemy, Hulu made the decision to target them directly, on their platforms of choice. “A fun story… when Hulu Plus launched, I contacted every illegal streaming listings site (with great SEO/20M+ uniques per month each) before Google was forced to remove them from organic search listings,” Rockman explained. “Most were foreign operated… Cyprus, Russia.. I told them instead of suing them I’d like them to skin their sites with Hulu Plus ads on every single page of their sites. They had no better way to monetize so I offered them all a $0.50 CPM and in some cases an affiliate fee,” he continued. The Strategy Worked, Boosting Hulu Plus Subscriptions According to Rockman, targeting pirates on their home turf really paid off. Sites like the hugely popular but now defunct TV-Links.eu carried Hulu Plus links which encouraged pirates to test out the fledgling streaming service either instead of, or in addition to, sailing the high seas. “[T]his strategy was a major contributor to [the] first 2M paid Hulu Plus subs,” Rockman revealed. “It was a long time ago, but the strategy is simple. Start [with] your value proposition and then consider how someone looking for that value behaves. In this case, Googling ‘watch gossip girl online free.’ All the top results were flooded with traffic. I had them all redirected to us.” Streaming Services Still Utilize Pirate Data Advertising on pirate sites today would be a big no-no for the vast majority of streaming services and even if they wanted to, the same technique would be much less effective. As Rockman points out, this only worked because pirate site links appeared prominently in Google search, something which is much less the case today. However, pirate data is still a useful resource. As reported back in 2013, Netflix admitted that it used the popularity of content on pirates sites to in part determine what TV series the company bought. In 2016, Hulu went on to reveal that it was doing the same, although we can presume that the days of paying pirate sites to promote legal content are long gone. Hulu Plus Attracted Many of its First 2 Million Subscribers From Pirate Sites
  7. Hulu, ABC to air '1619 Project' documentary series The Pulitzer Prize-winning journalism project is headed for Hulu and TV. Story at a glance The New York Times’s “The 1619 Project” is headed to production with Hollywood heavyweights at the helm. Hulu hasn’t set a release date for the series yet. In this screengrab released on December 19th Oprah Winfrey during Global Citizen Prize Awards Special Honoring Changemakers In 2020 Shaping The World We Want on December 19, 2020 in New York City. Getty Images/Getty Images for Global Citizen Movie and television streaming service Hulu has teamed up with Oprah Winfrey to host a documentary series based on “The 1619 Project,” the project helmed by New York Times journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones that chronicles the Black American experience and achievements since the arrival of the first enslaved Africans to the U.S. in 1619. Based on @nhannahjones' impactful and thought-provoking work, The 1619 Project docuseries is coming soon to @hulu! https://t.co/SplrPSScXc pic.twitter.com/eO5BbvsuTU — Lionsgate TV (@LionsgateTV) April 1, 2021 Production company Lionsgate will help develop the series, alongside Winfrey and Hannah-Jones. Roger Ross Williams, an Academy Award-winning filmmaker, is slated to direct the series. Shoshana Guy, an Emmy nominee and Peabody award winner, will join the series as a showrunner, Deadline confirms. “This project will be a showcase of Black stories and Black talent,” Hannah-Jones tweeted on Thursday regarding the forthcoming series. Hulu hasn’t set a release date yet, but Williams took to Twitter to confirm it will also air on ABC. “The 1619 Project is an essential reframing of American history,” Williams commented. “Our most cherished ideals and achievements cannot be understood without acknowledging both systemic racism and the contributions of Black Americans. And this isn’t just about the past — Black people are still fighting against both the legacy of this racism and its current incarnation. I am thrilled and grateful for the opportunity to work with The New York Times, Lionsgate Television, Harpo Films and Hulu to translate the incredibly important The 1619 Project into a documentary series.” Source: Hulu, ABC to air '1619 Project' documentary series
  8. ‘WeWork: Or the Making and Breaking of a $47 Billion Unicorn’ Trailer: Hulu Doc Relives the Whole Catastrophe How much of a scandal could a company that rents desks really create? The rise and fall of WeWork was more of an amusingly bad business story than an example of dangerous fraud, but the new Hulu documentary WeWork: Or the Making and Breaking of a $47 Billion Unicorn asks if that’s all there was to it. Watch the WeWork documentary trailer below. WeWork Documentary Trailer Hulu has released a new trailer for its upcoming documentary chronicling the rise and fall of WeWork, which made its world premiere at SXSW this week ahead of an April streaming debut. Directed by Jed Rothstein, WeWork: Or the Making and Breaking of a $47 Billion Unicorn explores “the rise and fall of one of the biggest corporate flameouts and venture capitalist bubbles in recent years – this is the story of WeWork and its hippie-messianic leader Adam Neumann who makes you beg the question, was he trying to create a cult?” The trailer focuses on WeWork’s founder Adam Neumann and how he managed to convince everyone, including Japanese conglomerate SoftBank which invested $4 billion, that WeWork was going to change the world. His former employees are among the interviewees in the film, which also highlights how Neumann grew increasingly erratic over time, and how that all culminated in the infamous implosion of the company that ended in bankruptcy and suddenly shut-down offices. As someone not familiar with the intricacies of the story, all the revelations in the trailer are new to me. The idea that Neumann cultivated an almost cult-like following and that mass expenditures and partying culture led to this extremely lucrative company going bankrupt overnight is all very fascinating. As is the beleaguered attitude of the talking heads, one of which exclaims in the trailer, “For God’s sake, they’re renting fucking desks.” /Film’s Jacob Hall saw the documentary at SXSW and was similarly unfamiliar with the story, but said on Twitter: Hulu's WEWORK documentary is a thorough rundown of that whole debacle, presented with just enough style and humor. As someone who didn't follow that story at all as it was happening, I found it informative and entertaining. #SXSW — Jacob Hall (@JacobSHall) March 17, 2021 The WeWork documentary feels to me like something very much in the vein of Netflix and Hulu’s competing Fyre Fest documentaries — a look at the schadenfreude of start-ups so that regular people at us can laugh at rich people’s mistakes. Which I’m not complaining about. And it’s apparently great story fodder — the WeWork disaster is also serving as inspiration for a scripted TV drama, WeCrashed, which will star Jared Leto. WeWork: Or the Making and Breaking of a $47 Billion Unicorn premieres on Hulu on April 2, 2021. Source: ‘WeWork: Or the Making and Breaking of a $47 Billion Unicorn’ Trailer: Hulu Doc Relives the Whole Catastrophe
  9. ESPN+ live sports and originals are now available on Hulu You'll be able to buy UFC pay-per-views through Hulu this summer. Hulu Hulu users now have access to even more live sports. Subscribers to Disney's streaming bundle (which includes Disney+) can start watching sports programming from ESPN+ on Hulu today. Live events and other ESPN+ shows are also available through a $5.99/month add-on. You can watch a wide array of live action, including soccer, UFC, college sports, MLB, tennis and golf. ESPN+ originals and studio shows have made their way to Hulu too, along with documentary series like 30 for 30. ESPN+ pay-per-views, such as UFC events, will be available through Hulu this summer. It emerged in December that Disney would bring sports programming from ESPN+ to Hulu sometime this year. Pulling all of that content together into a single hub should be useful for viewers who are content to use the Hulu interface. You won't need to use a separate app if you want to catch some of a Hulu show during half time of a big game, for instance. Disney increased the cost of ESPN+ monthly and annual plans in recent months, though you still get plenty of bang for your buck. On March 26th, the company is bumping up the price of its streaming bundle by a dollar to $13.99 per month. That gets you access to Disney+, ESPN+ and Hulu with ads (the ad-free version will cost you extra). Disney+ subscriptions are going up in the US on the same day to $7.99/month or $79.99/year. Source: ESPN+ live sports and originals are now available on Hulu
  10. ‘Modern Family’ Sets Full-Series Streaming Run On Both Peacock And Hulu Modern Family, which wrapped its highly decorated, 11-season broadcast TV run last year, is embarking on a significant new streaming chapter via a shared deal with Peacock and Hulu. Starting February 3, all 250 episodes of the sitcom will be available on both services after years of only having a limited batch of episodes on Hulu. The go-go streaming market remains in effect, with sources indicating a multi-year acquisition price well into nine figures, consistent with healthy rates for recent half-hours like Friends, The Office and Seinfeld. Prices have been driven higher by a handful of new billion-dollar players entering the streaming fray over the past year. NBCUniversal’s Peacock, which launched in mid-2020, appears to have benefited from an expansive rights deal reached in 2010 that put syndicated episodes on USA Network, according to people familiar with the talks. Even though that long-term agreement was reached at the dawn of streaming, it included all rights, which enabled Peacock to keep its place at the table. The initial USA deal locked the digital rights in the basic-cable sphere with media companies at the time focused on “TV Everywhere” streaming apps requiring a pay-TV subscription. Sources indicated that parties were able to find a way to unlock the digital rights and have Peacock share in the new setup. The deals were negotiated separately by the streaming platforms with Disney Media and Entertainment Distribution. A further wrinkle of note in a deal labeled “unprecedented” by the companies is the corporate ownership of Hulu, which was once controlled equally by three media companies: Disney, NBCU parent Comcast and 21st Century Fox. When Disney bought most of Fox in 2019, it also acquired Comcast’s Hulu stake. “In the end, we decided that this was the best model for all of us,” Val Boreland, head of acquisitions for NBCU Television and Streaming, told Deadline in an interview. She declined to address financial terms. At launch, Boreland said, the first 12 episodes of the 24-episode first season of Modern Family will be available on Peacock. The remaining 10 seasons will be on Peacock Premium, which is $5 a month for most customers. Comcast has said Peacock has attracted 26 million users to date, though the company has not broken out numbers for the premium tier. Hulu had 38.8 million subscribers as of December, according to Disney. The high-profile acquisition follows Peacock’s heavily touted debut of The Office earlier this month after its blockbuster stretch on Netflix. “Once you make such a splash, everything that comes after it now has to come after it and follow and try to live up to that,” Boreland said. “The bar has been set by The Office.” The nature of Modern Family and its long tenure on ABC lend themselves to materials and options that can be marshaled for its streaming run, much as The Office has made use of extended scenes and other bonuses for fans. USA’s relationship with Modern Family is an advantage with the Peacock bow, Boreland said, because there is “a lot of marketing work and stunting work in the last years that will be very helpful” to Peacock. “Thanks to its sharp writing and an eccentric but exceedingly likable cast of characters, Modern Family ushered in the return of the family sitcom and offered viewers a unique and refreshing portrayal of family life,” Hulu VP of content partnerships Brian Henderson said in the official announcement. “We were fortunate to bring this beloved series to Hulu audiences next-day during its celebrated run, and now we’re excited to offer every episode so new fans can meet the Pritchetts, Dunphys and Tuckers and old friends can visit them again.” In all, the series tallied 85 Emmy Award nominations and 22 wins, including a record-tying five straight years when it was named Outstanding Comedy Series. Modern Family was produced by 20th Television in association with Steven Levitan Productions and Picador Productions. Steven Levitan and Christopher Lloyd were co-creators/executive producers. Paul Corrigan, Brad Walsh, Danny Zuker, Abraham Higginbotham, Jeffrey Richman, Elaine Ko, Stephen Lloyd, Vali Chandrasekaran, Jack Burditt, Jon Pollack and Jeff Morton also served as executive producers on the final season. Source: ‘Modern Family’ Sets Full-Series Streaming Run On Both Peacock And Hulu
  11. Two demon-hunting siblings reunite to save the world in Helstrom trailer The Hulu series is the sole survivor of a planned Marvel-centric fear-based franchise Tom Austen and Sydney Lemmon star as siblings Daimon and Ana Helstrom in Helstrom, a 10-episode horror series that hits Hulu next month. An ethics professor and secret demon hunter reunites with his estranged sister to take on a powerful demonic entity in the trailer for Helstrom, an upcoming horror series based on Marvel Comics characters. The 10-episode series debuts on Hulu next month Helstrom has a complicated back story. As we reported in 2019, Hulu announced the development of two new Marvel-centric series, Ghost Rider (with Gabriel Luna reprising his role from Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.) and Helstrom. The shows were intended to kick off a standalone "Adventure into Fear" franchise that would bring a chilling horror element to the Marvel formula. Ghost Rider soon fell by the wayside, and by December 2019, Marvel Television was shut down. That makes Helstrom the sole survivor of the planned fear-based franchise. Shooting finished in March, right before the coronavirus pandemic caused most Hollywood productions to grind to a halt. Showrunner Paul Zbyszewski's contract was terminated in April—also due to the pandemic—but he stayed on for postproduction. The series focuses on two characters from Marvel Comics. First: Daimon Helstrom, the son of Satan, introduced in Ghost Rider #1 (1973). He eventually became a recurring character in The Defenders. The other protagonist is his sister, Satana (Ana in the TV adaptation), who embraces the occult and her paternal heritage while Daimon chooses to defend humanity. Per the official premise: "The world isn’t ready for a Helstrom family reunion. As the son and daughter of a mysterious and powerful serial killer, Helstrom follows Daimon (Tom Austen) and Ana Helstrom (Sydney Lemmon), and their complicated dynamic, as they track down the worst of humanity—each with their own attitude and skills." First image of article image gallery. Please visit the source link to see all images. The first teaser debuted in July at [email protected], and the overall tone was pretty much in line with the oft-delayed The New Mutants, another attempt to bring elements of horror to the superhero genre. The New Mutants was released a few weeks ago, despite many theaters still being closed; apparently there were contractual reasons the film couldn't be released on Hulu or Disney+. It mostly received mixed reviews and thus far has only grossed about $35 million against a budget that purportedly was between $67 million and $80 million. Let's hope Helstrom fares a bit better, given that streaming television has been keeping us all sane in these strange times and horror is fitting October fare. In addition to Austen (The Royals, Grantchester) and Lemmon (Velvet Buzzsaw, Fear the Walking Dead), Helstrom features Elizabeth Marvel (Homeland, House of Cards) as Daimon and Ana's mother, Victoria, who has been institutionalized for 20 years; Robert Wisdom (The Wire) as Caretaker, a demon-fighting guardian of the occult; June Carryl (Mindhunter) as Louise Hastings, head of the psychiatric institution housing Victoria; and Ariana Guerra (Raising Dion) as Vatican agent Gabriella Rossetti. The trailer opens with a voiceover from Caretaker: "For centuries, we've been fighting and keeping track of things that move in and out of this world. The most dangerous ones, we find a way to contain. This is one of the worst ever." Then we see Daimon visit his mother in the institution—except she appears to be possessed by a demonic entity. Cue Peter Gabriel's "My Body Is a Cage" as we see Daimon inform Ana by phone that whatever the thing is inside their mother, it's growing stronger. Apparently, Caretaker and Louise Hastings aren't sure it's such a good idea to reunite the siblings, but as Caretaker points out, they're dealing with "a demon so powerful it could wipe out all of mankind." So maybe it's worth the risk. I do like Ana's opening line when she finally faces her brother again: "Please tell me the <bleep> is dead." (Yes, they really bleeped it.) Helstrom will debut on Hulu on October 16, 2020. Listing image by YouTube/Hulu Two demon-hunting siblings reunite to save the world in Helstrom trailer (To view the article's image gallery, please visit the above link)
  12. Hulu scraps support for older Roku devices These devices were already limited to the classic app with no live TV support. Enlarge / The 2017 Roku Ultra, which will still be supported by the latest Hulu app. Samuel Axon Several older Roku devices will lose access to the latest Hulu app on June 24, 2020, the subscription-based streaming service has announced with an update to its support pages. Users of the affected devices will see messages like "Hulu is no longer supported on this device," or simply "your user session has expired," according to Hulu documentation. Affected devices include Roku Streaming Stick models 3420 or earlier, as well as Roku Streaming Player models 2400 to 3100. Roku device owners can navigate to the About panel under Settings within the Roku interface to determine which model they have. The sticks and players were already limited to using the "classic" Hulu app instead of the modern one. The classic app has a number of limitations—most notably the lack of live TV support. However, with this change, it appears that users of these models will not be able to access Hulu in any form after the end-of-support date. This end-of-the-road problem isn't unique to either Roku or Hulu; HBO recently announced that it would end support for older Apple TV devices. The company pushed back the date amid the COVID-19 pandemic, though, when affected users complained that it was a suboptimal time to make them go out and buy a new device to enjoy entertainment at home. The affected Roku players were introduced in 2012 and earlier and have not been sold in quite some time. According to Hulu documentation, they were the only Roku devices that were not supported by the modern app, so this is likely a case of Roku ending software support for that version of the classic app. Hulu currently lists the following devices as ones that are supported by the modern app, and users can therefore expect these to be supported for a while yet: Roku Ultra Roku Premiere and Premiere+ Roku Express and Express+ Roku 3 and 4 Roku 2 (model 4210) Roku Streaming Stick (model 3500 or later) Roku TV 4K Roku TV In December, Hulu announced that newer Roku devices were getting 4K and 5.1 audio, so modern devices like the Roku Ultra and Roku TVs are still being actively supported—though it's worth noting that newly added 4K support came after a long and frustrating saga for Roku users. Hulu scraps support for older Roku devices
  13. You can now sync Amazon Prime movies with your friends – with Hulu and Disney Plus to follow Rave the roof Rave (Image credit: Rave) You'll have probably heard of Netflix Party – a Google Chrome browser add-on that lets you sync up playback of Netflix shows while chatting in a side-pane with your friends and family. If you're looking for similar features in other TV streaming services, though, the social streaming app Rave may have the solution. We first reported on Rave back in 2019, as a smartphone app able to sync Netflix watching over mobile with in-app chat functions – but it's now got Amazon Prime Video integration, meaning you can sync up Good Omens, Parks and Rec, or whatever Amazon Prime shows you're keen on watching too. What's more, Rave is also set to get Disney Plus and Hulu – according to a press release we received from the company – though there's currently no date given for those respective launches. We're told, though, that usage of Rave has jumped up tenfold since March – hardly surprising, given it's around the time many Western countries entered lockdown – and it's clear many viewers will be looking for solutions for staying in touch with their friends in more fun and dynamic ways than the the occasional Zoom meeting. Platform problems The major downside to Rave in the past has been its platform limitations, as the app is only available on iOS and Android smartphones. Obviously, many phones and tablets actually offer a decent display for watching TV these days, but it's not quite the same as kicking back in front of a TV, or even a laptop screen. That is set to change, though, with Rave "coming soon to Mac and PC" – which should help it compete with the likes of the Netflix Party browser add-on, or the Mac-enabled Houseparty app. If you're keen to make use of Rave's new Amazon Prime Video functions, too, here are the best Amazon Prime shows and Amazon Prime movies to start with. You can now sync Amazon Prime movies with your friends – with Hulu and Disney Plus to follow
  14. Hulu’s New Comedy Woke Is Perfectly Absurd The show, starring Lamorne Morris, is just too weird to ever feel preachy. Phew. The characters on Woke are a goofy, ultimately-loveable-but-also-unsettling send-up of San Francisco.Photograph: Liane Hentscher/Getty Images Keef Knight, the protagonist of Hulu’s surreal new social justice comedy Woke, talks to his markers. He’s a cartoonist, and to be clear, they talk back. The logo warps into a goateed face (voiced by J. B. Smoove) that heckles and bullies Knight into drawing something that matters. In San Francisco corner stores, Knight is wooed by bug-eyed bottles of malt liquor claiming to be replacements for therapy. A trash can whips him up until he tries to hurl it through the window of a nightmarishly gentrified barber shop. A photo of Knight himself, skin lightened to a sickly gray by a syndication company promoting his work, comes alive and helps goad Knight into a viral public breakdown about racism in America that threatens to end his career just as it’s about to begin. It all starts when a white cop throws him to the pavement for holding a stapler. Prior to the police brutality, Knight—played by Lamorne Morris, finally getting his own sitcom after many years of carrying New Girl on his back—was broke, complacent, and liked to “keep it light.” His roommates are a goofy, ultimately loveable but also unsettling send-up of San Francisco: Clovis (T. Murph), a pathological liar who picks up a string of women who can't tell that he’s not a famous Black athlete; and Gunther, a human drug rug (fittingly played by Blake Anderson) who sells “energy powder” that’s definitely not cocaine. Sasheer Zamata rounds out the cast as a lesbian journalist who is better than them (mostly). The cop punctures the affable apathy, and Knight is horrified by the everyday racism around him. “Houston, we have a problem,” says Clovis. “Man, you woke.” He pronounces the word like a personality disorder. Woke is provocative; so is Keef Knight. After literally gnawing posters at a conference in a fit of righteous mania, he goes and gets himself canceled. (“I got canceled when I was 12,” his Australian artist girlfriend tells him.) Each 22-minute episode takes on at least one of the issues America, and San Francisco in particular, like to walk past quickly, looking resolutely ahead. Like homelessness. Also, liberal white women fetishizing Black men, and wealthy Americans’ tendency to lavish attention and money on everything but the people suffering right in front of them. Which sounds preachy, but the show is too weird for that. At one point Knight gets punched in the face by a person dressed as a koala to honor Kubby, an escaped zoo animal who was rumored to be able to code and understand sign language but was then murdered by a police officer who put him in a chokehold. Funny, surreal, but only a little stranger than Harambe. Adding just a few extra degrees of strangeness to San Francisco in 2020 turns out to be an effective way to skewer almost anything in a way that’s enjoyable but also makes it feel like you’re chafing inside your own skin. Knight chafes. He is almost never where he wants to be. At a prestigious conference, he’s reduced to screaming “I am the sausage!” At a weird and woozy Oakland art salon, he scribbles over his own work in the bathroom in a panicked attempt to get another artist’s approval. He becomes a ride-share driver, and passengers are drunkenly necking, chicken-wing-gnawing terrors. He takes the bus, and he gets trapped inside. That’s the comedy, of course, but it’s also an illustration of the systems Knight finds himself trapped in. Racism follows him like a slapstick monster with a thousand faces. Woke is a show that mixes its chuckles and good-natured guffaws with moments that leave you squirming, and it only eases the tension on some of them. Knight squirms (and, eventually, snaps) right along with you. It’s important that Knight doesn’t start out a social justice warrior. He doesn’t even want to be woke. He tries to throw away his new reality with its talking inanimate objects and omnipresent systemic oppression multiple times. (Seriously, that marker spends a lot of time in the trash.) He behaves just like regular people do in real life when information is too uncomfortable to incorporate into their worldview. The point Woke makes is that you don’t get to do that and stay whole. Knight can’t draw crowd-pleasingly mundane comic strips any more. He can’t smile along while a cop offers him a phony apology. His options are to stew inside his own skull while his marker berates him into a nervous breakdown or to act out. Knight never gets to go home again. It is painful and, as his friends said from the very beginning, a problem. By rising to meet the grinding everyday horrors of being Black in America with absurdity, Woke presents a kind of solution. The system is absurd. You can’t capture its essence if you cling to the norms it’s taught you to adhere to, and you certainly can’t fight it that way. Spoilers: Knight blows up his life twice, first by sabotaging his own career and then by flicking beer at a cop who promised to arrest him if he did it. While he’s sitting in jail—one of the tensest moments in the whole show, a culmination of an eight-episode breakdown arc—Knight smirks. That smirk is Woke all over. Hulu’s New Comedy Woke Is Perfectly Absurd
  15. Hulu Canceled High Fidelity Right When We Needed It Most At the beginning of quarantine, it was a lifeline for folks missing the thing people used to call “going out.” After the coronavirus lockdowns started hitting the US in early March, High Fidelity became something of a lifeline. Photograph: Phillip Caruso/Hulu Late yesterday, Twitter lit up with a bit of news few were expecting. Not a rare occurrence these days, but this time it wasn’t a story about a Covid-19 vaccine trial or a new Axios interview with President Trump. It was something else: Hulu had canceled High Fidelity after just one season. The High Fidelity news wasn’t the biggest thing to break yesterday—it wasn’t the FBI searching Jake Paul’s house or anything—but it stung. Hulu launched the series on February 14 (Valentine’s Day, awwwww), and after the coronavirus lockdowns started hitting the US in early March, it became something of a lifeline. The show, a reimagining of Nick Hornby’s book and the John Cusack movie of the same name, starring Zoë Kravitz, wasn’t particularly groundbreaking—it was about a bunch of Brooklyn music nerds who spent a lot of time hanging out. But at a time when everyone was “hanging out” on Zoom or group texts, it was like a broadcast from an alternate timeline where impromptu meetups at dive bars were still happening. When it premiered, Jillian Mapes wrote a piece for Pitchfork declaring bluntly, “We Didn’t Need the High Fidelity TV Show.” The thesis was that much of the original book and film were infused with a kind of toxic masculinity specific to music fandom and that attempts to gender-flip the lead and introduce more women, people of color, and queer characters to the story was a “morally suspect” move when Hulu—or any streaming service, really—could’ve just green-lit an entirely new show. “Why spend all this time, money, and energy updating and changing the gender on source material that, in hindsight, is pretty dodgy about women?” Maps wrote. “Is High Fidelity really so beloved (or its brand name so powerful) that they couldn’t have started from scratch on a series about music obsessives who aren’t exclusively straight white men?” I’d argue Mapes was right about everything in her piece, except the headline—we did need the new High Fidelity, just not in the way she was talking about. In many ways, High Fidelity is just one of many shows and movies that have come along to fill the void during quarantine. Everything from Twister to Tiger King has proven to be a comfort, or at least a distraction, as people while away the hours. Hulu’s show tapped into a certain kind of layabout, day-drinking malaise that is currently missing from a lot of people’s summers. And even though it does have the patina of its predecessors, show creators Veronica West and Sarah Kucserka recently told The Hollywood Reporter that they were hoping for “many seasons” with which to explore the show’s various characters and hopefully escape the book and film’s largely cishet-white-male story lines. Now, we’ll never know. Of course, the thing that makes High Fidelity great—the hangout vibes, the hours spent in record stores and friends’ apartments—is the same thing that likely makes it hard to produce. Hollywood is slowly figuring out how to make TV shows during a pandemic (::waves at Tyler Perry::), but on High Fidelity there was a fair amount of hugs, making out, close talking—all things that break the rules of social distancing. Sure, Hulu could’ve bought some blow-up dolls, but that definitely would’ve chipped away at the show’s authenticity. Still, Rob (Kravitz) and her coterie deserved more time. We would’ve waited. Hulu Canceled High Fidelity Right When We Needed It Most
  16. Thundercats is coming to Hulu tomorrow and I am on a major nostalgia trip “Thunder! Thunder! Thunder! Thundercats HO!!!” Image: Hulu Thundercats ho! Hulu has locked down the rights to stream Thundercats on its service starting tomorrow. This includes both the iconic original series from the 1980s, plus the 2011 reboot. The kid within me is screaming with pure joy. I was born in 1995, so, unfortunately, I did not have the pleasure of watching the original Thundercats cartoon when it aired between 1985 and 1989. Fortunately, in 2002, Cartoon Network’s programming block Toonami did air it, and I remember watching as a seven-year-old kid, stumbling upon the cartoon after viewing a promo and thinking to myself “wow, this show looks cool.” The next time it aired, I made sure to tune in. The intro grabbed me right away: it was catchy, colorful, and hearing Lion-O screaming, “Thunder! Thunder! Thunder! Thundercats HO!!!” I thought it was like the coolest thing ever. Seriously, for the longest time, I would grab a toy sword and replicate that quote as if I was a member of the Thundercats. My twin brother thought it was kind of dorky, but I thought it was really cool. Thundercats was one of those shows that let me live in a power fantasy and helped boost my self-confidence. I haven’t yet seen the 2011 reboot series, not because I wasn’t interested (though I am scared it won’t live up to the original), but also simply because I don’t watch a ton of television these days outside of paid streaming services and YouTube. Now that both Thundercats TV shows are on Hulu, you best believe I will be watching these shows in my spare time. Thundercats is coming to Hulu tomorrow and I am on a major nostalgia trip
  17. Hulu brings back that irreverent magic with trailer for Animaniacs reboot They're "animaney, totally insaney, never man-splainy Animaniacs." Yakko, Wakko, and Dot are back in Hulu’s reboot of the classic Animaniacs cartoon. Readers of a certain age will have fond childhood memories of weekday afternoons spent in the company of the Warner siblings, Yakko, Wakko, and Dot, the central figures of the hugely popular, Emmy-award winning animated series, Animaniacs. Now a whole new generation can appreciate their comic genius with Hulu's revival of the show, slated to debut next month. The premise of the original Animaniacs was that Yakko, Wakko, and Dot were characters from the 1930s who were locked way in a water tower on the Warner Bros. lot until they escaped in the 1990s. Now they exist to wreak havoc and have fun. The format borrowed heavily from sketch comedy, with each episode typically featuring three short mini-episodes centered on different characters, connected by bridging segments. Other regular characters included two genetically altered lab mice, Pinky and the Brain, who are always trying to take over the world; Ralph the Security Guard; Slappy Squirrel and her nephew, Skippy; Chicken Boo; Flavio and Marita, aka the Hip Hippos; studio psychiatrist Dr. Otto Scratchansniff and Hello Nurse (also a common catchphrase); and a trio of pigeons known as The Goodfeathers. As appealing to adults as to kids, the show was smart, funny, irreverent, and even educational, especially with its playful songs listing the nations of the world, for instance, or all the US states and their capitals—set to the tune of "Turkey in the Straw"—or all the presidents set to the "William Tell Overture." (My personal favorite was "The Solar System Song," complete with the obligatory joke about Uranus.) The writers were masters of parody, so much so that it became something of a badge of honor to be so featured. Honorees included A Hard Day's Night, Seinfeld, Friends, Bambi, Power Rangers, Rugrats, and The Lion King, as well as the Gilbert and Sullivan comic operas Pirates of Penzance and H.M.S. Pinafore. And of course, the Goodfeathers segments invariably parodied characters from both The Godfather and Goodfellas. When the original series began streaming on Netflix, it proved so popular that Steven Spielberg's Amblin Television and Warner Bros. Animation began thinking about reviving Animaniacs. They ultimately inked a deal with Hulu, which included the rights for the original series, as well as Tiny Toon Adventures, Pinky and the Brain, and Pinky, Elmyra, and the Brain. (That means we can all revisit our favorites on Hulu.) Spielberg returned as executive producer and insisted on bringing back most of the original voice cast for the reboot. A first-look clip debuted earlier this month at the virtual New York Comic-Con (embedded below), parodying Jurassic Park (John Hammond—or rather, a cartoon Spielberg channeling Hammond—reanimates the Warner siblings). First image of article image gallery. Please visit the source link to see all images. Per the official summary: They're back! The Warner brothers, Yakko and Wakko, and the Warner sister Dot, have a great time wreaking havoc and mayhem in the lives of everyone they meet. After returning to their beloved home, the Warner Bros. water tower, the siblings waste no time in causing chaos and comic confusion as they run loose through the studio, turning the world into their personal playground. Joining Yakko, Wakko and Dot, fan-favorite characters Pinky and the Brain also return to continue their quest for world domination. The trailer showcases the same irreverently goofy attitude of the original, with the Warners not above poking fun at themselves—in this case, denouncing reboots as being "symptomatic of a fundamental lack of originality in Hollywood." But they gleefully change their tune when Hulu presents them with a big check for the Animaniacs reboot ("You sellouts!"). Cue the classic Animaniacs theme song with cheeky new lyrics ("It's time for Animaniacs/You should see our new contracts!"). After being off the air for so long, the Warner siblings have a lot of catching up to do, particularly when it comes to the latest technology. And Pinky and the Brain make a welcome appearance, with Pinky fretting over an online dating app. All in all, it looks like a promising revival. The new Animaniacs debuts on Hulu on November 20, 2020. Animaniacs clip parodying Jurassic Park. Listing image by YouTube/Hulu Hulu brings back that irreverent magic with trailer for Animaniacs reboot (To view the article's image gallery, please visit the above link)
  18. The Animaniacs reboot, reviewed: Zany is harder to pull off in 2020 It's totally zany, fully lamp-shady, An-i-mani-acs! (Those are the facts!) Enlarge / Come join the Warner Brothers (and the Warner Sister, Dot). Hulu The Warner Brothers—and the Warner Sister—are back, thanks to Hulu. The streamer has rebooted the Emmy-winning, enormously popular Animaniacs, stalwart of 1990s afternoons, for a new generation and a new era.Animaniacs first hit the small screen in 1993, part of a cohort of cartoons that tried to reach young audiences in a whole new way. At the highest level, Animaniacs was an animated variety show, with the main plot, such as it was, centered on Yakko, Wakko, and Dot Warner, animated creations from the 1930s who spent most of the 20th century locked up in a water tower until their escape in the 1990s. The show's artistic DNA seemed to be equal parts Looney Tunes and Laugh-In, with a Dadaist streak and a heavy dose of Mel Brooks-style parody woven through. Animaniacs was, in the end, a pretty weird show, equal parts absurdist and educational. And that suited me perfectly because I was, frankly, a pretty weird kid. I was in middle school when Animaniacs began airing, right on the cusp of an exceptionally awkward and uncomfortable adolescence. I was the only child of two classical musicians, one of whom was also a politics junkie and total history buff. I could tell you anything you'd like to know about the Hollywood studio system, the music of George Frideric Handel, or the rise and fall of the Soviet bloc, but I couldn't name more than two of 1993's Top 40 songs if you'd paid me. And along came Animaniacs, a kids' show that didn't talk down to me. It felt, at the time, as though it had infinite layers. Not only could you get your daily dose of slapstick (and how), but also it had educational songs that actually stuck, wrapped in layers of slyly referential humor that rewarded you for paying attention—and for being able to get the references. Suddenly all that absolutely useless knowledge in my head about 1930s and 1940s Hollywood was useful. In a show carefully designed for the kids and the adults to laugh in completely different places, I was able to laugh in both, and Animaniacs seemed to relish giving me the opportunity. First image of article image gallery. Please visit the source link to see all images. But as Yakko, Wakko, and Dot themselves are the first to tell you during the pilot episode of the reboot—in song, of course—the world has changed quite a lot in the past 27 years. Nostalgia is cheap and easy; the adults who were once '70s, '80s, and '90s kids are not above lapping it up at any opportunity. But a reference by itself is neither zany nor amusing, and today's children have a decidedly different media diet and bar for humor than we did. So with constantly connected computers in our pockets, bringing us the latest and greatest in short-form humor on demand at all times, is there still room in our century for Animaniacs to be, well, funny? I watched the first four episodes this weekend with my 7-year-old (more about her opinions in a bit) to find out. The answer, luckily, is yes—but it takes some time to get there. Much like Good Idea, Bad Idea, you need to see the positives and the negatives juxtaposed in order to get the most out of what you're watching. The nostalgia is the joke Animaniacs was always a deliberately self-aware show that existed to break the fourth wall and frolic in a meta-referential field. That was one of its charms. The new show, however, lays that on so thick in the first couple of episodes that the charm wears off. Fast. The word that appears most often in my notes is lampshading: a trope wherein a creator specifically calls out some ludicrous thing they're doing (i.e., hanging a lampshade on it) to make sure you know they know that you know. Animaniacs is very thorough with its lampshades: there's a whole song-and-dance number (literally) in the first segment about how this isn't the 1990s anymore, in which the Warners explain that their job is pop culture and that pop culture has changed. Unfortunately, as the Warners also explain, the episode was written in 2018. Traditional TV takes time, even when you design it for a streaming service, and time is not on the Warners' side when it comes to topicality. In 2020, a trend can hit TikTok at breakfast, be all over Twitter by lunchtime, and be yesterday's news by dinner, and TV just can't move that fast. As a result, Animaniacs' jokes about Donald Trump feel deeply passé when the show is thinking about the covfefe era and we are now into the lame-duck period, and a Game of Thrones reference landed with an entire thud. Other attempts to stay topical feel almost ghoulish against the 2020 we ended up having: a segment riffing on the Olympics, for example, serves only to remind us that we cancelled the Olympics this year because of a widespread pandemic. “Bloompf” When the show leans into its worst impulses, it seems to become all form and forget its function. A Red Scare setup twice removed—told by a generation of adults who heard about it from their grandparents, rather than by a generation of adults who lived through it—feels pointless. Riffing on an idea from the '50s by way of riffing on the '90s becomes such a tangled nest of referents that it's more dull than entertaining, and it borders on the offensive when it leans on ancient, dried-out stereotypes to do so. But when Animaniacs widens its scope just the tiniest bit more, it works. Gloriously. Where the show find its feet is not in rehashing everything the Warners already did nearly 30 years ago but, instead, in discovering what the Warners can do now. The first bit that made me genuinely laugh aloud—a real, hearty laugh—came at the tail end of episode 4, when the Warners don black turtlenecks to advertise a new ultrashort-form video service, "Bloompf." It is a parody for today broadly, not for a single frozen moment in our fleeting decade, and it's delivered with impeccable timing and a keen understanding of what, in our current reality, is best lampooned. To prove their mousey worth, they’ll overthrow the Earth... I, like many others, was a big fan of the "Pinky and the Brain" segments in the original. The genetically altered, megalomaniac lab mice were so popular that they earned their own spinoff show, which ran from 1995 to 1998. To this day, I can still sing every word of the theme song from their spinoff (which is two verses longer than the version in Animaniacs shorts). I particularly enjoy answering, "I think so, Brain, but how are we going to make pencils that taste like bacon?" in a deliberately atrocious mockery of Pinky's already-atrocious accent whenever my 7-year-old asks if I know what she's thinking. I mention all this to explain how much it pains me to admit that Animaniacs' 2020 edition has, in fact, given us far, far too much of a good thing. This is not to say that Pinky and the Brain are unwelcome or that they have run out of creative ideas for taking over the Earth. But the way they feature in every episode, unsparingly, lends a sense of dry, formulaic necessity to their presence. The opening credits of the whole show, both old and new, asks us to, "Meet Pinky and the Brain, who want to rule the universe," and that's all well and good. But in lieu of Goodfeathers flock together / Slappy whacks 'em with her purse in the rebooted opening credits, we have instead the line, our brand-new cast who tested well / in focus group research. There's a joke there, but not a personality, and that shows. Animaniacs is at heart a variety show—which I didn't fully appreciate until the reboot brought with it a stunning lack of variety. The three-act cartoon format always was pleasantly modular, allowing the show's creators to put together an episode from the palette of many different recurring characters. I liked Slappy Squirrel, felt largely indifferent to the Goodfeathers, and actively disliked Rita and Runt, Elmyra, and Mindy and Buttons (poor Buttons!)—but their presence was, I think, necessary in a way. I hope that season 2 broadens the show's scope, the same way season 1 broadens the Warners'. “This is a kids’ show!” Animaniacs has always been loaded with double entendre and grown-up-friendly humor. That's true twice over for the remake, which is counting on its original audience to have returned as the adults in the room. (*raises hand* present.) But as Yakko, Wakko, or Dot tend to remind us after every sly wink at standards and practices, Animaniacs is, in theory, children's programming. My opinion, therefore, is only half of what matters. Do actual children, who were not alive in the 1990s, enjoy the show? Well, my kids do, at any rate. My second-grader seems to have found a kindred soul in Pinky, and I half expect her to start saying "narf!" around the house. And we do, indeed, laugh in completely different places, as the cartoon gods intended. For example, I cackled when a sports announcer said, "High jump: now legal in 12 states!" and she laughed when the character attempting the jump face-planted ingloriously. A perfect division of cartoon labor. That said, your modern kid is also quite likely to have a YouTube-sized attention span. The traditional-length show segments all felt slightly too long for her, especially when they got mired down in stories and jokes she doesn't quite understand. There is a dearth of catchy, two-minute song segments for which Animaniacs became famous in the first place—which is a pity, because I think she would both enjoy them and learn from them. (As, for that matter, would I.) A victim of the binge Which leads to the real feeling I took away from the show. In the end, you have to take Animaniacs for what it is: an artifact of the 1990s, trying to find its way in a world where we might by now be immune to zany thanks to incessant daily exposure. And the most important feature of broadcast programming in the 1990s was: you couldn't binge it. You had to watch new episodes when they were delivered to you. Animaniacs is not a great show to binge-watch, but it has the seeds of a great show in it. Go into the reboot with the spirit of the original, then, and take the episodes one or two at a time. They'll seem better for it, and you'll get to spread the laughs out longer. The Animaniacs reboot, reviewed: Zany is harder to pull off in 2020 (To view the article's image gallery, please visit the above link)
  19. It'll go into effect on December 18th. Hulu has just announced it will increase its live TV bundle by $10 a month starting in December. The price will start at $65 a month (the “no ads” version of Hulu with Live TV will be $71 a month). This will go into effect for both new and existing subscribers of the Hulu + Live TV bundle. As before, that bundle includes not just the live TV service of 65+ channels, but also access to Hulu’s own content library. That includes not just on-demand content from major networks but also the company’s own original shows such as The Handmaid’s Tale and the upcoming Animaniacs reboot. The subscriptions for Hulu’s on-demand library without Live TV still cost the same; they start at around $6 per month with ads, and can be bundled with Disney+ and ESPN+ starting at $13 a month. The $65 a month price now puts it on par with YouTube TV, which also had a price increase earlier this year. Both live TV services offer similar features with a few differences; YouTube TV has unlimited DVR for nine months, for example, while Hulu offers an ad-free option for its on-demand content for $6 more a month. One of the reasons for the price increases is the cost of adding more channels to the service. Cheaper options exist, like Sling TV for example, but their channel and DVR offerings are often weaker in comparison. The new $10 increase in the Hulu + Live TV bundle will go into effect on December 18th. Source
  20. The fight to make Netflix and Hulu pay cable fees A Georgia lawsuit is pushing to expand TV franchising rules Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge Streaming services are slowly turning into cable TV — complete with bundles, an ever-growing list of channels, and a reinvented TV guide. And a series of lawsuits could portend the return of something even worse: the hidden cable fee. Three municipalities in Georgia are suing Netflix, Hulu, and other streaming video providers for as much as 5 percent of their gross revenue in the district — joining a nationwide group of towns and counties that want these services regulated more like cable TV. It’s a small but growing front in the war over cord-cutting, challenging regulators to decide which matters more: the increasing role streaming services play in American media diets or their significant practical differences from traditional TV. The federal lawsuit, reported earlier this month by Atlanta Business Chronicle, was originally filed in state court last year. It argues that Netflix and Hulu — along with satellite providers Dish Network and DirecTV, as well as Disney’s entertainment distribution division — violated a 2007 law called the Georgia Consumer Choice for Television Act. That rule specifies that “video services” must pay a quarterly franchise fee to local governments, unless they’re part of a larger internet service package or operate wirelessly. Georgia isn’t the only place where local towns are pushing for streaming fees. As The Hollywood Reporter reported last year, two law firms recently filed similar suits on behalf of towns in Texas, Indiana, Ohio, and Nevada. And in 2018, the city of Creve Coeur, Missouri paved the way by suing Netflix and Hulu under that state’s franchise laws. With municipal budgets cratered by the pandemic, slapping a franchise fee on cash-heavy tech companies has never been more appealing. A single successful lawsuit could cost these companies millions. Gwinnett County, one of three municipalities named in the suit, charges 5 percent of a company’s local gross revenue in franchising fees. A filing calculates that Netflix made $103 million from Gwinnett County subscribers over the past five years — which would translate to $5.15 million in retroactive fees for that area alone. (Netflix declined to comment on the numbers cited in the story.) The plaintiffs in these cases are seeking class action status, which would make companies liable for any “similarly situated” state locales as well. TV providers have opted to directly bill subscribers for franchise fees, and companies like Netflix and Hulu could follow their lead, passing the costs to users. Those fees aren’t why cable costs so much, and they help fund important services — but they’re also something many consumers find irritating or bewildering. If the cases succeed and aren’t preempted by any federal laws, they could draw streaming services — a category that’s exploded in popularity — under a new regulatory umbrella. Even traditional TV providers have moved to online streaming: the suit notes that Dish and DirecTV chose to “fundamentally change” their satellite-only options by adding services like the Dish-owned Sling TV, which routes live TV over broadband networks. The Georgia suit in particular could have broader, potentially unpredictable effects. Its definition seems to potentially encompass many smaller and less profitable streaming video companies, although there’s far less incentive to sue them. Meanwhile, the exemption for internet service packages could give telecom-run streaming offerings — like Comcast-owned NBCUniversal’s Peacock service — a built-in advantage over competitors like Netflix. The Consumer Choice for Television Act wasn’t passed with streaming video in mind. Passed in 2007, the law amended existing rules meant for cable TV providers, which pay franchise fees for the right of way to lay wires along public infrastructure like roads. “It’s a remnant of how we did cable franchising,” says John Bergmayer, legal director of the internet-focused nonprofit Public Knowledge. And it specifically exempts some services that don’t require that physical access, like programming from mobile services. Despite this, the municipalities contend that streaming companies tick the same legal boxes as cable TV. The complaint says people are getting a similar service; in the complaint’s words, they “view professionally produced and copyrighted television shows, movies, documentaries, and other programming.” More technically, it argues that this programming counts as a “video service” because it’s carried over public internet lines that require the right of way. But conversely, the suit also notes that streaming giants like Netflix aren’t just running over a global internet backbone. They’re building local content delivery networks (or CDNs), like Netflix’s Open Connect, which route user traffic to a nearby server. Internet service providers in many states — including Georgia — already pay for broadband rights of way, and the servers are located in data centers, not underground pipes or utility poles on public land. The companies have objected to the string of franchise fee lawsuits. “These cases falsely seek to treat streaming services as if they were cable and internet access providers, which they aren’t,” a Netflix spokesperson told The Verge. “They also threaten to place a tax on consumers that the legislature never intended, and we are confident that the courts will conclude that these cases are meritless.” Franchise fee claims — all based on different local laws — remain mostly untested in court. But earlier this month, a Missouri state judge rejected an early bid to toss that state’s lawsuit, agreeing with the claim that these companies were “video service providers.” The judge specifically noted the presence of CDNs like Open Connect, a system that “bypasses the ‘public internet’” and distinguishes streaming giants from smaller services. She also rejected claims that the federal Internet Tax Freedom Act provided blanket protection from the fees. With little precedent, it may take years to understand the implications of these cases. Companies will likely appeal any decision, and unless the Supreme Court takes up one of the cases, states will be covered under a patchwork of lower court rulings. But an increasing number of local governments see these fees as an opportunity to recover money from the services that are slowly replacing cable TV. “They need money now, and they’ve got this law on the books,” says Bergmayer. With the status of streaming services in flux, they’ve settled on an optimistic approach: “let’s go for it and see what happens.” The fight to make Netflix and Hulu pay cable fees
  21. Hulu Inks ViacomCBS Deal to Add 14 Cable Networks to Live TV Package Courtesy of Nickelodeon Disney’s Hulu + Live TV subscribers will — finally — get Comedy Central, MTV, Nick, BET and other legacy Viacom cable channels as part of their lineup. ViacomCBS announced a new multiyear distribution agreement with Hulu, under which Hulu’s live TV subscription streaming service will add 14 cable networks: BET, Comedy Central, MTV, Nickelodeon, Paramount Network, VH1, CMT, Nick Jr., TV Land, BET Her, MTV2, NickToons, TeenNick and MTV Classic. Hulu’s live TV package has lacked the legacy-Viacom nets ever since its spring 2017 debut. ViacomCBS’s agreement with Hulu comes after the media conglomerate secured a similar deal last spring with Google’s YouTube TV, which also had not previously carried the 14 cable networks. In ViacomCBS’s first year as a combined company, it also has inked renewals with pay-TV providers including Comcast, Dish Network and Verizon. The 14 Viacom channels are joining Hulu + Live TV after Disney hiked rates for the internet pay-TV package by $10 per month as of Dec. 18, 2020. Under the new pricing, the baseline Hulu + Live TV tier with ad-supported VOD rose to $64.99 per month, an 18% increase. The multiyear pact between ViacomCBS and Disney-controlled Hulu includes continued carriage in the live TV service of CBS broadcast stations, as well as CBS Sports Network, Pop TV, Smithsonian Channel, and the CW, as well as continued distribution of Showtime as an add-on. “Hulu continues to be a great partner, and this agreement ensures that Hulu + Live TV subscribers are now able to enjoy the full breadth of our leading content across news, sports and entertainment for the first time,” Ray Hopkins, ViacomCBS president of U.S. networks distribution, said in a statement. At its investor day last month, Disney said Hulu had 38.8 million subscribers as of Dec. 2, including more than 4.1 million live TV customers. That’s up from 30.4 million subs overall (including 3.2 million with live TV) at the end of 2019. Notably, Disney and ViacomCBS are both competing for share in the growing direct-to-consumer subscription space. In early 2021, ViacomCBS is gearing up for the rebranding of CBS All Access as Paramount Plus. Source: Hulu Inks ViacomCBS Deal to Add 14 Cable Networks to Live TV Package
  22. Hulu is bringing back a simpler, more familiar home screen Launching first on Apple TV and Roku and coming to other platforms by July GIF: Hulu If you buy something from a Verge link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement. Hulu’s grand experiment to reinvent the user experience of a streaming app is coming to an end. Today, starting on Apple TV and Roku, the company is rolling out a revamped home screen that’s much closer in line with Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and other streaming services. The new look will make its way to other platforms by the end of July. Hulu underwent a huge redesign in 2017, replacing the traditional horizontal trays of content with a vertically scrolling landing page that featured enveloping, full-screen artwork for each show or movie. But customers were frustrated by a lack of efficiency — Hulu’s “Lineup” only showed three or four selections on-screen at a time (or even just one on a phone) — and confused by its navigation. To some, it felt like the company had gone all in on a radically different, sleek design at the cost of accessibility and ease of use. Hulu continued to iterate on the redesign and bring back missing features in the years since. More recently, it made menus easier to read. Now, under VP of product management Jim Denney, Hulu is moving to a user experience that will feel more familiar to people coming from another streaming app — including Disney’s other apps Disney Plus and ESPN Plus. It sounds obvious, but consistency in a world where everyone subscribes to multiple services is important. Hulu going so far off the beaten path was jarring for some subscribers. “Viewers can now navigate through collections vertically and explore within a collection by moving horizontally,” Denney said in a blog post co-written with Jason Wong, Hulu’s director of product management. Image: Hulu You’ll still see touches of the 2017 design in the new Hulu: the company is still a fan of that cinematic, full-bleed artwork for whatever piece of content is in the hero slot when you open the app, and you’ll also see larger rectangles to emphasize certain collections or items as you progress down the home screen. “I think the benefit of it is that it broke new ground,” Denney told The Verge on Tuesday, speaking about the huge refresh executed by former product boss Ben Smith and his team. “Sometimes you need to push the envelope far in order to figure out what works and what doesn’t work.” He added, “I don’t want to judge whether they overshot or didn’t, but we learned a lot of good things from the current UI.” But “there was room for change,” according to Denney, and overall navigation is getting much more intuitive. “Categories of content like TV, movies, and sports will be moved to the master navigation, which gives our viewers a clear pathway to find what they’re looking for.” “We know that we have one of the largest libraries available, and we need to make sure that we’re creating the platform for people to navigate through that — and understand the breadth of that content, that offering, without it being overwhelming,” Denney told me. Hulu will be taking feedback from tvOS and Roku customers and tweaking the new design as it continues to roll out more broadly over the next few months. Source: Hulu is bringing back a simpler, more familiar home screen (The Verge)
  23. Hulu's Monsterland Is America The show, with each episode set in a different American city, is about decay—moral, physical, civilizational. Monsterland is an adaptation of Nathan Ballingrud’s short-story collection North American Lake Monsters, tweaked for the screen by showrunner Mary LawsPhotograph: Barbara Nitke/Hulu The horror of Hulu’s new anthology series Monsterland is human. Sharp-toothed mermaids swim in the oceans, demon-eyed horn players roam the French Quarter of New Orleans, shadows plot families’ destruction, a greasy pelican erupts from an oil company CEO’s body like the chestburster in Alien—but the real dread, and the real evil, usually comes from the regular people who cross these monsters’ paths. Some of them even know it. Toni, a teenaged waitress who abandons her troubled daughter outside a hamburger joint, leans over a bar and tells a man that she’s had an epiphany brought on by a new drug made from the blood of alien creatures who literally fell from the sky. “I’m a monster,” she says, with a broken sort of smugness. The man confesses that he’s a monster, too. Monsterland is about decay—moral, physical, civilizational. It tells eight separate stories (though Toni and that pelican weave their way into a few of them), each set in a new American city. The show is an adaptation of Nathan Ballingrud’s short-story collection North American Lake Monsters, tweaked for the screen by showrunner Mary Laws, who we all should be paying attention to now. The episodes are named after their locations. They are not glamorous places but bleak, exhausted little somewheres full of casual cruelty done in the name of getting by. Even its vision of New York City feels like that. The protagonists of each episode are invariably at the low point of their lives when they are visited by the supernatural, which either pushes them over the edge or is the manifestation of their breakdown. Apart from the mermaid, they’re not your usual fantastic beasts. They’re grittier, more subtle, fitting so neatly into the tone and visual language of the show that sometimes it doesn’t feel like you’re watching something supernatural at all. It’s not clear what’s real and what’s hallucinatory, or what is grotesque and what is beautiful. Decay can be like that. Most of the characters resist supernatural explanations at first. They write monsters off as serial killers, figments of children’s imagination, or tricks of the light. Others fall in headfirst, seduced. In Eugene, Oregon, a boy named Nick, who is failing to support himself and his ill, housebound mother, is resigned to his grim life, saying there are some people who get noticed and others who just don’t. After a shadowy figure appears in his home, he is pulled into an online community of Shadow Watchers, people who claim to have had their lives destroyed by these shadows because nobody’s luck could be so bad. Nick’s worldview changes. Now people are divided into those the shadows target and those they leave alone. It’s galvanizing, and it ruins him. There’s a kind of comfort in the presence of monsters. Without a supernatural scapegoat, he’s left with nowhere to lay blame. Monsterland’s humans are all looking to shrug off blame. They have made horrible decisions for complicated, often sympathetic reasons. It’s so easy to imagine yourself as one of them that some of the ick rubs off onto the viewer and sticks like an oil spill. Which works, because sometimes the viewer is partly to blame. Monsterland is not exactly a social justice show—it offers no solutions, and its social critiques are often oblique—but it is a social issues show. Abortion access, the rage of isolated young white men, the predations of the 1 percent, pollution, sexual abuse in the post-#MeToo era, mismanaged mental illness and substance abuse, climate change, sexism, poverty, and racism undergird all of the onscreen pathos no matter where in the country the show takes you. This is America. Don’t catch you slippin’ now. Monsterland isn’t a straightforward eat-the-rich horror movie where the wealthy are lizard people (or vampires) out to get everyone else. It works in metaphor, and by building intense, uncomfortable empathy with intense, uncomfortable characters. The decisions that make these people monstrous were made in desperation, and the causes of that desperation are far bigger than a single person. Refusing to empathize with them is refusing to acknowledge that you are trapped inside a similar system—or refusing to acknowledge your privilege. Hulu's Monsterland Is America
  24. Should Netflix and Hulu give you emergency alerts? The federal emergency alert program was designed decades ago to interrupt your TV show or radio station and warn about impending danger — from severe weather events to acts of war. But people watch TV and listen to radio differently today. If a person is watching Netflix, listening to Spotify or playing a video game, for example, they might miss a critical emergency alert altogether. "More and more people are opting out of the traditional television services," said Gregory Touhill, a cybersecurity expert who served at the Department of Homeland security and was the first-ever Federal Chief Information Security Officer. "There's a huge population out there that needs to help us rethink how we do this." Possible vs. practical Adding federal alerts to those platforms might not entirely be a technical issue, at least on the government's end. The service has already been updated to include smartphones. A deadly tornado scattered their possessions miles away. Here's how people are finding them And FEMA, the agency that manages the system's technology, told CNN Business that there are "no known technical hurdles involved in transmitting alerts" to devices that are connected to the internet. In fact, the agency has a way to do that, according to a FEMA spokesperson. But a new tool would need to be developed to distribute alert information to streaming platforms. FEMA said the "unknown quantity" is figuring out who would develop and install the applications. That's not a simple task, said Touhill, who's now president of the cybersecurity firm Cyxtera Federal Group. He told CNN Business that the required tool would need to be "exquisitely complex." It would need to be thoroughly tested and safeguarded to ensure that only authorized parties have access. "Is it possible? Yes. Is it practical? Maybe not," Touhill told CNN Business. Another concern is whether devices connected to the internet are reliable indicators of a person's location. Emergency alerts need to be able to target a specific area so that they only reach people who are at risk. People on the internet can be traced through their IP addresses — unique strings of numbers assigned to each device that are also associated with a specific set of geographic coordinates. That's how companies like Netflix determine which language and content to show its customers. But those locations can be unreliable or easily manipulated, Touhill said. It's also not clear that enough information is there in some cases. A source familiar with Netflix's thinking told CNN Business that the company's ability to pinpoint a customer's exact location may vary depending on that person's internet service provider. That means Netflix might not reliably know a person's location with enough specificity to provide effective emergency alerts. Congress has considered some of these issues. Hawaii Senator Brian Schatz, a Democrat, proposed a bill last year that called for authorities to look into the feasibility of adding streaming services to the federal emergency alert system. The READI Act received bipartisan support and passed the Senate, but it died in the House. Schatz's office told CNN Business this week that he plans to refile the bill for the current Congress. How to improve Adding streaming platforms to the alert system "is not a bad idea," said National Weather Service senior meteorologist Kevin Laws. Laws is based in Birmingham and was part of a team that issued warnings to residents when tornadoes struck Alabama last Sunday. His team watches storms on a radar, and their predictions are automatically routed to FEMA's alert system. But upgrades to the system are expensive and slow. Instead, Laws said he thinks alerts would be better helped through improvements to the type of information that authorities can share when a storm is in the area. A tornado killed 23 people in this Alabama town. Its residents say it could have been worse His ideal scenario? A day when storms are tracked automatically and alerts are consistently updated to show residents percentage of the likelihood that they will be affected. Such a feature would have helped last Sunday, he said, when some storms were particularly strong and unpredictable. Some parts of Alabama received emergency warnings more than half an hour before they were hit. But when a deadly tornado unexpectedly veered toward Lee County, where the death toll reached 23 people, locals were only notified about nine minutes beforehand. "I've spent many tearful days out there doing this job. And it kills me a little more every time," Laws said, adding that disasters like the one that hit the state will happen again. "We have to keep improving the system," he said. Source
  25. Disney now owns 21st Century Fox, X-Men, and most of Hulu Welcome to Disney, Deadpool Michael Loccisano/Getty Images After more than a year of working to get final approval, Disney’s lengthy process of acquiring 21st Century Fox is finally done. The merger went through at 12:02 am ET, giving Disney full control over a number of 21st Century Fox entities including the company’s entire movie studio division, its 30 percent stake in streaming service Hulu, and the Fox Television Group. The acquisition received final approval from antitrust regulators around the world in recent months. Despite the acquisition, Fox Corp. will retain its independence, and entities like Fox News and Fox Sports in the United States. “This is an extraordinary and historic moment for us — one that will create significant long-term value for our company and our shareholders,” CEO Bob Iger said in a press release.“Combining Disney’s and 21st Century Fox’s wealth of creative content and proven talent creates the preeminent global entertainment company, well positioned to lead in an incredibly dynamic and transformative era.” Still, Disney’s main focus is on 20th Century Fox’s film assets, its catalogue of film and television shows, and its stake in Hulu. Disney CEO Bob Iger has previously spoken about the company’s plans to incorporate Fox content into its own business plans, including possibly integrating franchises like Deadpool and the X-Men into its own Marvel universe and bringing Hulu to an international audience. The deal now gives Disney control of nearly 40 percent of today’s marketshare, according to Vanity Fair. Perhaps the biggest addition to Disney’s portfolio, and the most important as it prepares for a direct-to-consumer business model, is becoming a majority stakeholder in Hulu. Disney now has a controlling 60 percent stake in Hulu, and analysts predict that Iger will try to gain even more ownership over the streaming service. He’s told investors numerous times that he has no plans to abandon ship, even in light of Disney gearing up to launch its own streaming service, Disney+. Iger wants to increase spending on Hulu’s programming side, and bring it international. It would make Hulu, which already boasts 25 million subscribers in the United States, more of a competitor to Netflix. And if Disney does expand Hulu into the European market, it means more original content and licensing of European series as new impositions have made it mandatory for streaming services. On the film franchise side, it might be a while before the Fantastic Four or the X-Men show up in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Iger has said there is a place for films like Fox’s superhero films (which are currently under the Marvel Entertainment umbrella, but not produced by Disney’s Marvel Studios), but it might not be within the PG-13 universe that Disney has cultivated. R-rated movies like Deadpool “will continue,” Iger told investors in February, but noted they had to be kept separate. It’s the same mentality Iger has suggested will apply to series and films either on Disney+ or Hulu; those on the former must abide by Disney’s family-friendly status quo, while Hulu could carry more adult titles. Kevin Feige, co-president of Marvel Studios, also doesn’t have much more to offer fans finally hoping to see some of the Avengers team up with the X-Men. Feige spoke about the deal on Variety’s Playback podcast in December, and noted that while the “notion of the characters coming back is great,” they haven’t started planning anything yet. It’s not just content and streaming that will be affected by the acquisition. On the corporate end, both Disney and Fox employees are expected to be hit by the acquisition, which will see an estimated 4,000 employees laid off. Most of these jobs are expected to be roles that now find themselves duplicated. Analyst Rich Greenfield told The Hollywood Reporterthat it could be closer to 8,000 employees, calling the merger “bloodshed.” “This is virgin territory for Disney, which has never done a mass integration,” he said. Source
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