James Franco travels back in time to save JFK in ‘11.22.63,’ the next series from J.J. Abrams & Stephen King

Posted in Television,Video by Scott Meisner on November 27th, 2015

J.J. Abrams and his production company Bad Robot (LostFringePerson of Interest) aren’t tipping toes into the world of subscription-based streaming; with 11.22.63, the ubiquitous storyteller is diving in head-first. Abrams’ latest TV series is coming to Hulu in 2016 and it’s based on Stephen King’s 2011 novel of the same name. King (Under the Dome) also serves as executive producer. Here’s the official logline, time travel included.

Hulu Original series 11.22.63 is a thriller in which high school English teacher Jake Epping travels back in time to prevent the assassination of President John F. Kennedy — but his mission is threatened by Lee Harvey Oswald, falling in love and the past itself, which doesn’t want to be changed.

Movie actor James Franco, best known for stoner comedies such as This is The End and Pineapple Express, takes a dramatic turn as lead character Jake Epping and the supporting cast includes Chris Cooper (The Bourne Identity), Josh Duhamel (Battle Creek), T.R. Knight (Grey’s Anatomy), Cherry Jones (24), Sarah Gadon, Lucy Fry, George MacKay, and Daniel Webber.

The series’ first teaser trailer rests above and packed inside the 30-second clip are more than enough tantalizing glimpses to appropriately whet your appetite. “I’m gonna tell you something that’s gonna seem crazy,” says an off-screen narrator. “If you go through there, it’s 1960.” Chills is the proper response.

Prepare for you next binge as 11.22.63 rolls out on Hulu on February 15, 2016. Happy President’s Day.

TV reminder: 5 series to look out for in September

Posted in Image cache,News,Television by Scott Meisner on September 8th, 2015

As summer draws to a close, we’ve made it to my favorite time of the year: new fall programming is upon us. But before we dive into the Big Network’s schedules (that’s coming later this week), let’s take a quick look at some of cable’s anticipated offerings premiering this September. Jump after the break for the rundown. (Click here for more…)

Hulu lets you ditch ads for $11.99/month

Posted in Music,News,Technology,Television by Scott Meisner on September 2nd, 2015

And just like that, Hulu’s jumping on the ad-free bandwagon. To compete with the ad-free competition (namely Netflix and Amazon), Hulu is now offering a No Commercials plan at $11.99/month. That’s four dollars more than the Limited Commercials plan (formally known as Hulu Plus) that has been around for awhile now. Nearly all of Hulu’s library of TV shows and movies will steam without ads; there are only a handful of series that will roll ads before and after (but not during) a viewing session and they are: Grey’s Anatomy, Once Upon A Time, Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Scandal, Grimm, New Girl, and How To Get Away With Murder. The reason? It’s simply a matter of licensing deals. Other than that, you can say goodbye to commercials on Hulu as long as you sign up for or upgrade to the new plan.

“At Hulu, we pride ourselves on listening to our customers and giving them the best possible experience,” said Hulu CEO Mike Hopkins in a blog post. “Many of our customers have asked us for a commercial free option, and so today we are excited to introduce just that. Providing more choice for consumers is fundamental to the Hulu experience, in addition to an array of choices in content and devices, our customers can now choose to watch with or without commercials.”

The ad-free plan comes at a time when Hulu really has to start showing its muscle if it wants to continue to compete with the likes of Netflix and Amazon. Both of those streaming services have consumers flocking to their content libraries thanks to high quality original productions (see: House of CardsTransparent, etc.) and exclusive partnerships with major film houses. In addition to introducing this new plan, Hulu is doing its part by churning out original content (The Mindy Project is coming soon, as is an anticipated new series from J.J. Abrams and Stephen King, 11/22/63) and making deals with companies like EPIX. In fact, Hulu recently snagged EPIX away from Netflix, and this will result in an influx of hit films from Lionsgate, MGM and Paramount. Game on.

[Via Hulu 1, 2]

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Fox reportedly cancels ‘The Mindy Project’–will Hulu be its savior? [Update: Saved!]

Posted in News,Television by Scott Meisner on May 7th, 2015

UPDATE (5/15): Confirmed! Hulu has saved The Mindy Project with a season 4 order consisting of 26 episodes! That’s a lot of episodes–the series debuted with 24 episodes, followed by seasons with 22 and then 21 episodes aired. The streaming service has been the exclusive home to all previously aired Mindy Project episodes, so making this pickup with the show’s producer Universal TV wasn’t that much of a stretch.

“Mindy has been a beloved member of the Hulu family, so this deal is a natural extension of our relationship,” said Craig Erwich, Hulu’s SVP and Head of Content.

The real Mindy Kaling–who plays Dr. Mindy Lahiri in her show–also commented on the exciting news to break today. “I am thrilled The Mindy Project has found a new home on Hulu, where so many of our fans are already watching the show,” she said.

While season 4’s premiere date is still up in the air, you can now rest assured knowing that you’ll get to see Mindy have her baby with Danny by her side; how comforting is that?! Plus, according to Deadline, Hulu has the option to renew The Mindy Project for additional seasons after its original pack of installments debuts. Today is a good day.

PREVIOUS (5/7): Scrolling through my Twitter feed…checking out the Trending Topics… The Mindy Project is cancelled?!

Though Fox has yet to confirm it, reports are swirling that the network has axed the low-rated but universally lauded Mindy Kaling sitcom after three seasons. Though the show certainly went through some growing pains, The Mindy Project rather quickly found its creative groove delivering funny–and sometimes even downright touching–material on a consistent basis. Since the series had trouble holding its ground in the ratings, news of cancellation isn’t that shocking for the perpetually on-the-bubble romp. Still, for loyal fans it’s a really hard pill to swallow. Allow me to quell your ferociously building furor.

Industry sources, such as Deadline, say that the romantically-tinged trials and tribulations of Mindy Lahiri and Danny Castellano will continue even if/when Fox formally pulls the plug. Universal Television, the studio that produces The Mindy Project, is apparently negotiating with Internet streamer Hulu to keep the series alive for at least an additional two more seasons. Hulu already works with Uni TV to stream previous seasons of Kaling’s comedy, so a deal to help manufacture new episodes with the studio isn’t completely farfetched. Fingers crossed; more to come soon, I’m sure.

Click here for other renewal/cancellation news from the big networks.

[Via Deadline]

ABC gives FSO to ‘Cristela’, FOX pulls ‘Red Band Society’, ‘Selfie’ moves to Hulu

Posted in News,Television by Scott Meisner on November 28th, 2014

Quick update for those of you keeping score: ABC Latino sitcom Cristela is the second comedy to get a full season order this fall following ABC’s African American sitcom Black-ish.

Elsewhere, Fox is pulling hospital drama Red Band Society from its schedule after the low-rated series’ fall finale airs next week on Dec. 3. The network hasn’t officially cancelled it yet, but with its latest airing logging a dismal 0.7 rating in the adults 18-49 demo, all signs point to this being the end.

Selfie fans, are you out there? Though ABC already axed the Karen Gillan/John Cho quirky sitcom, series creator Emily Kapnek tweeted out news that the remaining six unaired episodes will see the light of day on Hulu. They will premiere on the streaming site on a weekly basis between Nov. 25 and Dec 30.

Update (12/2): Another canceled ABC rom-com, Manhattan Love Story, will also play out the remainder of its first and final season on Hulu. Starting Dec. 4 the remaining seven unaired episodes will unspool every Thursday on the streaming site.

PSA: The final episode of ‘The IT Crowd’ now streaming on Hulu

Posted in News,Television by Scott Meisner on April 27th, 2014

In September of last year Graham Lineham released the final episode of his cult comedy The IT Crowd in the UK dubbed, “The Internet Is Coming.” A month later the 50-minute special leaked into the U.S. on sites like YouTube. Said leaks were pulled from the ‘Net and finding a legal way to watch the anticipated episode was tough until today. IT Crowders can now legally stream and enjoy the ep on Hulu. So what are you waiting for? Your favorite IT basement dwellers Roy, Moss, and Jen are waiting! Is the stream not working? Have you tried turning your computer off and on again?

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April Fools! 2013 Edition

Posted in Entertainment,Hilarity,Technology,Video by Scott Meisner on April 1st, 2013

Here we are again: April Fools Day. Only this time around it’s 2013 and no one is safe. We start, as is tradition, with Google’s masterful pranks. It’s all after the break…or is it. (Click here for more…)

Hulu Plus makes its way to Xbox 360 (free access this week!)

Posted in Images,News,Technology by Scott Meisner on May 1st, 2011

We all knew it was coming, and now it’s finally here. Hulu Plus is now available to enjoy on Xbox 360. Microsoft joins Sony in becoming the second video games console to support access to Hulu’s collection of TV shows and movies. Now check this: Courtesy of Jack Link’s Beef Jerky (ya’ll remember the Sasquatch?), all Xbox LIVE members (that includes paying Gold subscribers and free Silver members) will be able to access the entire Hulu Plus collection on their consoles for one week, specifically from April 29 through May 6. Setup is simple. Download the Hulu Plus application on your Xbox 360 and you’ll be instructed to enter a code at hulu.com/plus/unlock. After giving Hulu your name and email address (no credit card required!), you’re all set. Free access to Hulu’s mega-collection of popular TV shows and movies from the Criterion Collection right at your fingertips. No, really; Kinect support is live at launch. Check out some stills of Hulu on Xbox in action below and begin your free trial before it’s too late. Once May 6 passes, you’ll have to be an Xbox Live Gold member ($50/year) and a Hulu Plus subscriber ($7.99/month) to continue accessing the content.

[Via HuluBlog]

(Click here for more…)

April Fools, 2011 edition: Hulu’s gone all 1996 on us

Posted in Design,Hilarity,Technology by Scott Meisner on April 1st, 2011

In honor of April Fools Day the team at Hulu has redesigned the video streaming website to show what it would have looked like if it existed way back in the dial-up days of 1996. Notice the basic text, HTML frames, the page counter (stuck at 54), a “Sign our Guestbook” button (that brings you to the Simpsons episode “April Fools Origin”), shoutouts to Netscape Navigator, Internet Explorer, and the currently under construction Geocities neighborhood notice. Shows like The X Files and Sliders take center stage at the top of the page. And I won’t tell you what happens when you go to play a video. Find out for yourself at Hulu.com.

Reminder: Kiefer Sutherland’s web series ‘The Confession’ premieres tonight on Hulu

Posted in News,Video,Web Series by Scott Meisner on March 28th, 2011

The Confession, fully previewed here, is a thriller that follows a hitman (Kiefer Sutherland) who has a theological discussion with a priest (John Hurt) about why his victims deserved to die. The series streams exclusively on Hulu; 10 five-to-seven-minute webisodes have been produced. The first batch of “chapters” have been made available to watch starting today. In “Chapter 1” Sutherland enters a Catholic church confessional where he confronts a priest at gunpoint and forces the holy man to listen to his sins. Sutherland makes it a point that it has been 35 years since his last confession. The episode switches back and forth between the confession and action-packed flashbacks highlighting the hitman’s misdoings. Having watched the first episode I can say though this new character is not Jack Bauer, Sutherland certainly can’t contain the man he played for so many years. Also of note, 24‘s composer Sean Callery has produced the music for this series, and you can hear (ever-so-slightly) hints of 24‘s sound effects. Whether or not you’re a fan of the genre-defining FOX show you should make some time to watch this top notch, high caliber series being distributed over the web. Graphic scenes do pop up, so if you haven’t signed up for a free Hulu account you’ll have to do that to access the video page.

Watch the intense trailer above, then head over to Hulu and stream the first three chapters of The Confession.

Avatar Kinect gives you more control over your Xbox doppelganger

Posted in News,Technology,Video by Scott Meisner on January 9th, 2011

Microsoft has announced a new Kinect-specific update for Xbox 360 owners.  Here’s out the makers explain it: “With Avatar Kinect, you can control your avatar’s facial expression, head, and arm movements. As you talk, frown, smile, or scowl, your voice and facial expressions are enacted by your avatar, bringing your avatar to life!”  In other words, the update will give you a more detailed level of control over your avatar.  Right now the Kinect captures basic movements, such as arm flails, moving side-to-side, jumping, and ducking.  With Avatar Kinect, the sensor will be able to recognize a new slate of physical actions.  Microsoft is highlighting a virtual hangout where you can meet up with up to seven friends and converse with them using your avatars.  You’ll be able to select from 15 virtual environments.  Think of it as Wii’s Mii Plaza, except this space will allow for broader interaction (detailed avatar movements performed by you, voice support).  Avatar Kinect will hit Xbox 360s later this spring.  Look after the break to see it in action.

In related Kinect news… At CES 2011 Microsoft announced that they sold 8 million Kinect sensors worldwide during its first 60 days on the market; they sold 3 million more devices than they had predicted they would during that launch window.  More news… In a spring update, Hulu Plus will be joining Netflix, expanding users’ options when it comes to TV and movie content.  In addition, the two services will be Kinect-compatible.

[Via Xbox] (Click here for more…)

Hulu Plus officially launches, drops price to $7.99/month and adds Roku support

Posted in News,Technology by Scott Meisner on November 17th, 2010

Hulu Plus has already been exhaustively detailed, so let’s get right to the good stuff.  For the last four months Hulu has been testing the waters with the $9.99/month subscription based service in a preview period.  Today the streaming service finally officially launched Hulu Plus to the masses.  And at the same time they lowered the monthly fee to $7.99.  Score!  They say, “Any users who subscribed during the preview period will also receive a credit for the difference from the $9.99 preview price to be applied automatically to their next billing cycle.”  So that’s been sorted out nicely.  In tandem with the launch and price drop, Hulu Plus will now be accessible on Roku boxes. Check out the official PR after the break to see a list of all other Hulu Plus supported devices.  All new subscribers to Hulu Plus receive a 1-week free trial–get started here.

[Via HuluEngadget] (Click here for more…)

Hulu Plus preview opens up to everyone, now available on 2010 Sony BRAVIA TVs, coming next week to all PS3 users

Posted in News,Technology by Scott Meisner on November 5th, 2010

Hulu is ready to take its premium subscription service to the next level by opening it up to more people.  As of today you no longer need an invitation to subscribe to Hulu Plus; if you’re interested, go ahead and register for the service right now.  Is your living room packed with Sony products?  If so this next bit of news should crack a smile.  Hulu Plus is now available to access on 2010 BRAVIA HDTVs and BRAVIA Internet Video Link via the BRAVIA Internet Video platform.  It will “soon” be available on Blu-ray players, Blu-ray Home Theater Systems, Network Media Player, and Sony’s DASH.  PS3 owners, listen here: Hulu Plus will open for all of you sometime next week. (Update (11/10): It’s available today.)  Since July only those PS3 users who subscribed to PlayStation Plus (a $50/year service) could use Hulu Plus, but now Hulu is removing that road block and allowing all PS3 users with a (free) PSN account to sign up for their service.  PS3 will remain the exclusive video games console with Hulu Plus access through the remainder of the year; it’s expected to land on Xbox 360 and Wii sometime in 2011.  PR messages from Sony and Hulu sit after the break.

[Via PlayStationBlog; HuluBlog; Engadget] (Click here for more…)

Hulu Plus brings TV & movie content to Apple devices, Xbox 360, PS3, TVs & Blu-ray players

Posted in News,Technology,Television,Video by Scott Meisner on July 2nd, 2010

The rumor mill just couldn’t handle it anymore so Hulu decided to make things official: Hulu is expanding its video streaming services to an electronic device near you.  The new subscription-based service does not replace Hulu.com, mind you; it gives TV addicts the option to pay $10/month to access full libraries of TV shows on their computers and many other devices.  So you know how many of your favorite TV shows you watch on Hulu.com are limited to streaming only five episodes at a time?  Hulu Plus subscribers will gain access to every episode of every season “for almost all of the current broadcast shows” Hulu offers.  In addition to having access to modern hit shows like House and Modern Family, Hulu Plus subscribers will be able to watch  “back seasons or full runs” of some classic TV shows.  These include The X-Files, Arrested Development, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Hulu calls it “a treasure chest in the cloud for TV lovers.”  I concur.  And here’s the kicker: all native HD content will stream in 720p high definition.

If you’re a Hulu Price subscriber you can take all your Hulu content into your living room and on the go.  I’ll list out the devices.  Samsung Internet-connected and Samsung App-enabled TVs & Blu-ray players (available today); Sony & VIZIO Internet-connected TVs & Blu-ray players (support coming Fall 2010); Microsoft Xbox 360 (coming early 2011); Sony PlayStation 3 (coming soon).  Got an Apple device?  There’s a Hulu Plus app available in the App Store; it runs on iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, iPod touch 3G (all running iOS4), and iPad.  And it will stream content over 3G and WiFi.  Score!  You can download the app today for free and watch some free content to test it out for yourself.  It’s pretty incredible, the ability to watch all your favorite (network) TV shows in HD away from the computer.  Sure you have to cough up $10 a month but if you’re a TV junkie like me, a price like that might just have you consider cutting the cable cord and opting for Hulu all the way.  Unless, of course, True Blood and Mad Men mean too much to you.  Decisions, decisions..

Currently Hulu is handing out invitations for Hulu Plus.  If you want to be considered for the first wave of subscribers, click here.  Hulu says, “We’ll be sending out as many invitations as we can each week, and as soon as we’re ready, we’ll remove the need for an invitation and start bringing in new subscribers without delay.”  Look after the break for an informative video about Hulu Plus.

[Via HuluBlog] (Click here for more…)

Hulu intros new video player: updated design, new features

Posted in News,Technology,Video by Scott Meisner on May 13th, 2010

Today Hulu gave their video player a much needed refresh that brings with it a slightly updated look and a bunch of new features.  You can watch a brief guided tour about all the updates in the video embedded above, but I’ll run through some of them here.  The base video player is now 720×404 pixels large, that’s 25% more surface area than the old player.  When you’re watching a video and the mouse is at rest, the player is control-free, meaning on all-screen controls and menus are hidden from view.  There are new player controls that are now streamlined across all videos: normal player, fullscreen player, pop-out player, and embedded player.  New features include adaptive bitrate streaming (as your bandwith fluctuates, you can make it so the player chooses the resolution of the streaming video based on your current speed); ad volume normalization (the player analyzes the volume of your streaming video and normalizes the volume of the ad breaks to match what you’re watching); and seek hover preview (when you hover your mouse over any spot in the video, you will see a small thumbnail preview of what’s going on at that specific point in time).  Scrub through the video above to learn about some other neat features.  Overall, all the new features and the updated design combine to make a welcome, streamlined refresh of the Hulu video player.  Now about bringing Hulu to mobile devices…

[Via Hulu; Engadget]

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Posted in Television,Video by Scott Meisner on April 1st, 2010

Hulu Confidential – For Internal Use.  Super-secret.  Narrated by Alec Baldwin.  Watch it here.

Comcast merges with NBC, yielding yet another super conglomerate

Posted in News,Technology,Television by Scott Meisner on December 6th, 2009

General Electric, NBC Universal’s parent company, is no longer its controlling parental unit.  Comcast, the largest cable operator in the US, has officially merged with NBCU.  It owns 51% of NBCU compared to GE’s slightly lower sliver of 49%.

So how does this affect you?  Well it doesn’t, yet.  It will take at least one year for the merge to finalize.  However, though, it leaves this to ponder: Now a cable company owns a major network that reaches almost every US household.  This may seem unhealthy, right?  Look after the break for some ” merger nutrition facts” regarding this matter.  A lengthly press release follows.

What about everyone’s favorite TV show streaming site, Hulu?  How will that fare in the future?  Comcast COO Steve Burke: “NBC has been careful not to put too much cable content on the Internet. We think that’s a smart strategy… We think that going forward, you’re going to continue to have free broadcast stuff on Hulu, and cable stuff on TV Everywhere.”  There’s been word of “Hulu Premium” content that users will have to pay to watch, what of that?  “That’s certainly not in the cards.”  Oh, good.

[Via Engadget; Gizmodo, here & here]

(Click here for more…)

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer talks Windows 7 on Today Show

Posted in Technology,Television,Video by Scott Meisner on October 23rd, 2009

Samberg makes music on Jimmy Fallon

Posted in Hilarity,Television,Video by Scott Meisner on October 16th, 2009

Features a surprise visit from some SNL pals.

Conan, Obama jab Kanye, Kanye deserves it and more

Posted in Hilarity,Music,News,Television,Video by Scott Meisner on September 15th, 2009

[Click here to hear President Obama call Kanye a “jackass.”  This audio snippet was recored and picked up by TMZ from a pre-interview with CNBC.]

Oh Kanye.  Will you ever, ever learn from your mistakes?  I am a big fan of your music and I have supported all that you do musically.  You have changed the game of hip-hop and rap, and for that you deserve an applause.  However, it is very hard for me to continue accepting your apologies for your reckless acts outside the recording studio and off the tour stage.  Yes, you are a celebrity and that comes with a price of always being watched and analyzed.  But that does not give you reason to act like a total fool every chance you get.  Taylor Swift won her award fair and square, and you had no legitimate reason to destroy her moment.  Thankfully Beyonce is a person with class; she allotted her special time to Taylor, to give her a second chance at thanking her fans, friends, and family.  You could learn a thing or two from the person you rudely interrupted.  In the end, Kanye, it all comes down to this: if you do not change your attitude, help yourself to turn the corner and become a better person I will not support you any longer.  Believe me, this is something I do not want to do.  You are a very talented musician and I respect what you have done with your music and helping kids stay in school with the Kanye West Foundation.  But “sorry” does not cut it anymore.  My final words to you are these:  Change or leave.