I honestly hadn't seen any of the new Hulu original series until I was given a Klout Perk* to see the premiere episode of Deadbeat before the release of all 10 episodes, on April 9th.
The tagline “Helps ghosts. Can't help himself” is a perfect way to get people intrigued for this show. It's about an unfortunate hot-mess named Kevin Pacalioglu, who happens to be a medium. He's a guy who can't seem to get it together but somehow finds a way to help the spirits of New York in resolving their unfinished business.
Deadbeat is the first collaboration between Hulu and Lionsgate and it involves a smorgasbord of well-respected producers co-creators. Troy Miller (Arrested Development, Flight of the Concords) directed and executive produced the show so I was excited to see how this new comedic series would end up. The playful retro horror trailers (there are three total) were a fun extra and I liked their whisper campaign. When I paired all of this with the fact that this supernatural comedy starred Tyler Labine, I stopped what I was doing to watch.
The first thing I will say about Deadbeat is that Labine has excellent comedic instincts and carries this series as its leading man with ease. It was refreshing to see him in a starring role and not in an ensemble or being the quirky best friend. The rest of the casting seemed just as strong but luckily they focused more on the main character in the pilot rather than trying to introduce too many people.
The episode starts off with some completely unnecessary racial jokes and there are a few sprinkled in throughout. Honestly, that was the biggest hurdle for me to get over. I know they're calling it "fun, edgy and provocative" but ethnic potshots are not fun, edgy or provocative. They're avoidable and unwarranted in a world trying to overcome stereotypes.
Some of the writing was obvious in trying to push for laughs and it was the only reason I never fully connected to Kevin. He is the type of character that is like a dumb puppy. You want to get mad or irritated at him but somehow you can't. It's like he just doesn’t know any better. He's already a stoner, a loser and bit of a simpleton... He doesn't need to make racial jokes as well as trying to get us to laugh. A lot of us respond to that type of underdog and if they ease up in future episodes, Kevin could be a guy we all and up loving.
The whole episode was a bit campy (in a good way) and it definitely didn't take itself seriously. I think it may be a good show for people who will need to fill in the gap after the upcoming Psych finale, as it holds the same kind of ridiculous over the top scenarios.
There is some serious potential in this series, if they can stop trying to add one-two punch jokes or "funny" drug induced scenarios that come across as trying too hard. In a half-hour show that would be interesting enough on it's own, there is really no time to take away from the plot to try and get a laugh. There were a few times that the writing made me feel like I was watching Fozzy Bear try to push a punchline... (Waka Waka!) Which, let's face it, only works for Fozzy.
Overall, it was entertaining enough for me to be a little curious about the next episode but I'm not sure I'd rush out and get a Hulu Plus subscription just to see it.
If you already have Hulu Plus or a trial subscription to it, you may want to check it out.
See the Deadbeat trailer here: the full series starts April 9 on Hulu.
*For those that don't what Klout or a Klout Perk is, I'll give you the lowdown.
Klout.com is a website and mobile app that uses social media analytics to rank its users according to online social influence via the "Klout Score", which is a numerical value between 1 and 100. This is a great site or those of us who work (or have worked) a great deal with social media or for those who have marketing reasoning behind being online… of course, some of us just love the internet and Klout is cool for that too.
Regardless of why you sign up, you can earn "Klout Perks" based on your location, influential topics or Klout Score. You can be offered discounts, product samples or really fun opportunities. It's kinda neat… you become known for what you love and/or areas you have clout in. Clever naming, right?!
Anywhoo, this site was the reason I got to see the premiere episode of Deadbeat so far in advance, so there are some fun freebies to be had. Feel free to read about the perks here or sign up for Klout and look me up.