Difficult People

(Photo by KC Bailey / ©Hulu / courtesy Everett Collection)

80 Hidden Gem Series on Hulu

Hulu, one of the OG streamers, has one of the deepest catalogues out there – browsing the service can be a little bit like drowning in TV history. There’s a ton of old-school classics, a collection of game-changing peak TV series, plenty of currently-airing network and cable shows, and, of course, a slew of acclaimed Hulu originals, like The Handmaid’s TaleRamy, and Little Fires EverywhereFinding something to watch isn’t hard – there’s so much – but finding something special, a hidden gem you weren’t expecting, well that can take some time.

Fortunately, time is something we have at Rotten Tomatoes and we’ve done the Hulu hidden-treasure hunt for you. In this guide, you’ll find Hulu originals with high Tomatometer scores that never got their time in the sun, staff-favorite network and cable series worth rediscovering, throwback classics you’ll be surprised to find on the service, and a bunch of gems from overseas – including a variety of great British comedies. And while many of the selections have multiple seasons, we linked to the page for each show’s first season because that’s generally the best place to start and get a sense of whether the show is right for you. To help you navigate our selection, we’ve categorized the list by genre so you can jump straight to selections to match your mood.

If you’re after the very best Hulu series, we’ve got that, too, along with the very best movies available on Hulu. But if you’re looking for something a little more off-the-beaten track, add one of the shows below to your queue.

Found a hidden gem on Hulu that’s not on our list? Let your fellow fans know in the comments. 


Action and Sci-Fi 

#8
Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: Black Sails boasts visual appeal, but the show's bland characters aren't strong enough to keep the show from being dragged down into its murky depths of aimless exposition.

Firefly: Season 1 (2002)
77%

#7
Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: Firefly earns its audience's adoration with the help of Nathan Fillion's dry delivery, a detailed fantasy world, and compelling storylines -- even if it doesn't stand with creator Joss Whedon's most consistent work.
Directed By: Joss Whedon

#6
Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: It's familiar stuff, but The Librarians offers family-friendly fun with a mixture of silliness and adventure.
Starring:

#5
Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: Sleeper Cell approaches its provocative high-concept with a respectful exploration of religious extremism, but the series works better as a gritty thrill-ride than the nuanced drama it aspires to be.
Directed By: Ethan Reiff, Clark Johnson

#4
Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: The nonsensical time travel in 12 Monkeys makes it less watchable than its original source material, but the high quality execution and cool characters are top-notch.

Dollhouse: Season 1 (2009)
62%

#3
Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: Joss Whedon's provocative procedural poses troubling questions about autonomy and consciousness, but repeatedly hitting the reset button on Eliza Dushku's character makes Dollhouse feel dispiritingly empty.

#1
Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: The premise of ordinary people gaining superpowers has been done before, but this irreverent yet gritty drama stands out from the crowd by making its heroes a group of young offenders doing court-mandated community service.
Starring:

Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: Odd and ambitious, Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency sometimes overdoses on pure weirdness but offers absurdist rewards to those who stick with it.


Comedies

#22
Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus:
Directed By: Stephen McCrum, Tom George

#21
Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus:
Directed By: Kyle Newacheck

#20
Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: Bouyed by strong acting and a sharp, funny script, Better Off Ted is a fresh, clever satire, even if it may not appeal to a particularly broad audience.

#19
Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: Though sometimes juvenile in nature, Getting On finds the funny, even in a somber setting, with humorous yet sensitive narratives and characterizations.

#17
Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: Before shows about struggling actors were done to death, there was Party Down.
Directed By: Fred Savage

Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: Aided by Chris Rock's humorous narration, Everybody Hates Chris' first season offers refreshingly honest insights into real life by addressing race, class, and adolescence.

#15
Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus:

Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus:
Starring:

Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: Difficult People makes the unlikable likable with mean-spirited, unhappy characters who still can't help but amuse.
Directed By: Amy Poehler, Dave Becky

Awkward.: Season 1 (2011)
95%

#11
Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: Smartly written, well acted, and emotionally resonant, Awkward captures the anxiety of teenage life with wit and insight.
Directed By: Lauren Iungerich

Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: An odd couple sitcom with a modern twist, Don't Trust the B---- in Apartment 23 is sleeker and smarter than expected, thanks to strong acting and snappy dialogue.

#8
Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: Happy Endings has its moments, but overall, it's an uneven sitcom that strands a likeable cast in unbelievable situations.

Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus:

Spaced: Season 1 (1999)
100%

#6
Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus:

Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: Amusingly surrealistic and enjoyably odd, Man Seeking Woman is easy to fall for, taking a ridiculously funny approach to a common theme.

#4
Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: Carried by Desiree Akhavan's dry wit, The Bisexual explores identity politics with humor and heart.
Directed By: Naomi De Pear

Legit: Season 1 (2013)
88%

#3
Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: Legit is proudly rude, crude, and politically incorrect, but thanks to strong writing and sharply-drawn characters, it's frequently hilarious and often oddly charming.

()
%

#2


Horror and Supernatural

#11
Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus:
Directed By: David Kerr

NOS4A2: Season 1 (2019)
70%

#10
Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: Though Nos2a2 strains to build the necessary atmosphere to pull off its ambitious premise, it does capture the spirit of Joe Hill's singular work and provide a new psychopath for Zachary Quinto to sink his teeth into.

#9
Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: The Exorcist doesn't come close to its classic source material, but still boasts a tense narrative that manages some legitimate scares and credible special effects.

#8
Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: The Strain makes the most of its familiar themes through an effective mix of supernatural thrills and B-movie gore -- though it may not appeal to everyone.

Salem: Season 1 (2014)
48%

#7
Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: While the horror scenes are well-executed, Salem lacks enough substance to sustain even a guilty-pleasure interest.

#6
Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: In the Flesh exists within several genres, growing into profound entertainment that haunts as it entertains.
Directed By: Jonny Campbell

#5
Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: Despite its overstuffed plot, Sleepy Hollow is a fun romp with exciting action scenes and sparkling production values.

Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: Stan Against Evil is a light, gruesome horror-comedy with a fun premise, but the series has yet to solidify its tone and characters.
Directed By: Jack Bishop, Justin Nijm

The Fades: Season 1 (2011)
82%

#3
Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: The Fades succeeds as a genuinely unnerving horror chronicle, striking a fine balance between gruesome set-pieces and likable characters.
Directed By: Farren Blackburn

#2
Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: A thriller wrapped in a prestige drama package, The Terror makes for gripping, atmospheric supernatural horror.

#1
Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: Creepy and strange in the best way possible, Wayward Pines is a welcome return to form for M. Night Shyamalan.

#3
Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: Too tasteless for mainstream viewers and too silly for horror enthusiasts, Scream Queens fails to satisfy.

Medium: Season 1 (2005)
67%

#2
Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: Medium may have a unique premise, but with bland storytelling, the outcome -- well, you can see it coming.

Siren: Season 1 (2018)
95%

#1
Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: Siren turns traditional lore on its tail with a unique, well-paced show that presents dangerous, violent mythical creatures in a surprisingly empathetic and exciting light.


Dramas, Crime, And Historical 

Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: Emily Watson plays a dangerous game with exceptional finesse in Apple Tree Yard, a rattlingly intense erotic thriller that deftly explores disturbing dilemmas and themes.
Starring:

Brockmire: Season 1 (2017)
94%

#22
Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: Brockmire insinuates itself as the series goes on, elevated by assured, compelling performances from Hank Azaria and Amanda Peet -- and a raw humor all its own.

Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: An engrossing drama with a fun '80s soundtrack, Deutschland 83 chronicles an intense spy story that brings viewers uncomfortably close to the Iron Curtain.

Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: Bittersweet and beautifully performed, Looking For Alaska is the rare adaptation that deviates from its source material only to find something even better.

The Path: Season 1 (2016)
78%

#18
Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: With strong performances, deep writing, and skilled direction, The Path offers an absorbing observation of the human condition, even if a rushed pace occasionally blunts the impact.

Bunheads: Season 1 (2012)
100%

#17
Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: Smart, sharp, and effortlessly charming, Bunheads is a captivating blend of drama and comedy that succeeds on the strength of a terrific ensemble cast.

#16
Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: Brotherhood achieves an authentic sense of place while unleashing ferociously good actors onto a story rife with thought-provoking moral quandaries, but some viewers may find the series too glum and patient in its storytelling.

#15
Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: Underground blends credible terror with enough compelling thrills to overcome the storyline's occasional cliches.

Das Boot: Season 1 (2018)
85%

#14
Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: Das Boot possesses the atmospheric pressure of its cinematic forebear while adding new depth to its compelling ensemble, making for a riveting international production.

Harlots: Season 1 (2017)
92%

#13
Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: Harlots uses its titillating subject matter to draw the viewer into a deeper drama about the intersection of survival, business, and family.

Snowfall: Season 1 (2017)
62%

#12
Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: Despite Singleton's accurate recreation of 1983 Los Angeles and a strong lead performance from Damson Idris.Snowfall struggles to create a compelling drama from its separate storylines.

#11
Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: With an authenticity of culture and place and strong performances throughout, Queen Sugar rises above melodrama in this alluring, unhurried and powerful portrait of a fractious black American family.

Trust: Season 1 (2018)
78%

#9
Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: Donald Sutherland delivers a powerful turn as the titular Getty in Trust, yet another telling of the affluent family's saga.

Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: National Treasure offers a unique perspective on celebrity crime through the eyes of its perpetrator -- and gripping performances from a strong ensemble cast.
Directed By: Marc Munden

()
%

#7

Lodge 49: Season 1 (2018)
86%

#5
Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: Lodge 49 takes a surreal journey into the television dreamscape that can prove quite rewarding for viewers who stick with it.

Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: A powerfully impressive -- and still relevant -- update on a television classic, Roots boasts remarkable performances, deep emotion, and occasionally jarring beauty.
Starring:

Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: Top of the Lake remains impressively idiosyncratic and ambitious in its second season, even if the plot of this six-episode arc isn't quite as tightly wound as its predecessor's.

#1
Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: Shots Fired tackles tough topics commendably -- and remains consistently compelling despite an occasionally meandering plot.


Throwback

#11
Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: Family Matters' first season proves that a simple sitcom built from basic ingredients can still deliver plenty of laughs if there's the right kind of chemistry between the cast -- particularly one with a breakout star waiting in the wings.


Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus:

Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: Although the jokes don't always stick the landing, the excellent actresses alone make Designing Women worth watching.

Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: An exceptional ensemble and a smart sense of humor suggest The Mary Tyler Moore Show and its titular star may just make it after all.

Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: You're about to enter a show, a show not only of frights and fears but of mind. A journey into the limitless world of imagination. A show that pushes the boundaries of what a show can be. Next stop, The Twilight Zone.

Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: A comedian swaps standup for domestic duties in The Bernie Mac Show -- and proves you can still have a few laughs along the way.
Directed By: Larry Wilmore

Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: Not content to settle for Twilight Zone knockoff status, The Outer Limits set the bar for gruesome monster anthology series and stands the test of time.

Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: A smart teen show with magic and a talking cat, Sabrina the Teenage Witch won our hearts and went on to be a 90s TGIF staple.

Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus:

#1
Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: Although this sleek summertime soap oozes melodrama, Melrose Place struggles with one-dimensional storylines and shallow characterizations.

Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: Although the jokes don't always stick the landing, the excellent actresses alone make Designing Women worth watching.


Animated 

Daria: Season 1 (1997)
94%

#9
Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: While balancing sarcasm and subversive sensibility, Daria challenges social norms most teens can relate to.
Directed By: Karen Disher

#8
Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: With a distinctive color palette and profoundly good-natured sensibility, Steven Universe beams onto screens as a fully realized gem that will appeal to all demographics.

Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: The Venture Bros. is both affectionate towards the science fiction hallmarks that it parodies and disdainful of its own characters, making for a pastiche that is easier to admire than love -- but viewers who enjoy dense riffs on the genre should find much to relish here.
Starring:

Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus:
Starring:

#5
Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus:

#4
Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus:

Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus:
Directed By: Steven Spielberg

Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus:

Hey Arnold!: Season 1 (1996)
100%

#1
Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus:


Thumbnail image: Jean Whiteside/©Fox, Steve Dietl / ©WGN America, KC Bailey / ©Hulu

13 Reasons Why stars Dylan Minnette and Katherine Langford (Beth Dubber/Netflix)

(Photo by Beth Dubber/Netflix)

UPDATED Feb. 24, 2019

Sometimes the first season of a show is so good that the second season just can’t measure up, resulting in the dreaded sophomore slump. The 2018 season 2 release of Netflix’s 13 Reasons Why notably stumbled in its follow-up season, scoring an abysmal 25% on the Tomatometer after being Certified Fresh with a 79% score for 2017’s season 1.

How does that plummet compare to other sophomore slumps we’ve seen before? We’ve put together a list of shows with the biggest drops from season 1 to season 2 by Tomatometer, each with at least 10 reviews on each season. The series on this list fell for different reasons – some had good second seasons that simply weren’t as great as their first; others truly lost their way. Few that made it past season 2 ever truly recovered.

And if you’re wondering where shows like The Walking Dead, Friday Night Lights, Heroes, Glee, and even the original run of Twin Peaks are on this list, their second seasons still got good reviews even though word-of-mouth seemed to suggest otherwise. If you disagree, let us know in the comments.

Here are the 11 biggest sophomore slumps on television by Tomatometer score.

Please note that the percent change is based on the scores at the time of the update — scores may change as additional reviews are added to the Tomatometer.


() %Marvel's Daredevil: Season 2 (2016) 81%

DOWN 19%

The show: Marvel’s first Netflix series told a grounded version of Matt Murdock (Charlie Cox), the blind lawyer who uses his other enhanced senses to fight crime as Daredevil.

The ratings: Netflix famously does not reveal their ratings, but the success of Daredevil launched several more Marvel series and more seasons of Daredevil.

What happened: Season 1 was a revelation, both compared to the derided Ben Affleck movie and to show how serious superhero shows could work on streaming. By the time season 2 rolled around, Daredevil couldn’t measure up to the monster it created in Jessica Jones. “It’s still nowhere near as interesting or innovative as Marvel’s Agent Carter or Jessica Jones,” wrote The Daily Dot’s Gavia Baker-Whitelaw. “It’s hard to do anything new in the superhero genre, but the second season of Marvel’s Daredevil seems resolutely determined not to try,” wrote Abraham Riesman 0f New York Magazine/Vulture. Sharing the spotlight with Frank Castle (Jon Bernthal) just made people more excited for The Punisher than Daredevil. Aggressive Comix’ Steph Cozza called Punisher “the true MVP here” in her Fresh review.


V: Season 1 (2009) 60%V: Season 2 (2011) 40%

DOWN 23%

(Photo by ABC)

The show: A modern-day reboot of the ’80s series, in which lizard-like aliens arrive wearing human skin.

The ratings: Season 1 dropped from 14.3 million viewers to below five, but ABC still gave it another chance. Season 2 couldn’t rise much above 5.7 million so that was that.

What happened: V went on hiatus after only four November episodes. By the time it returned in March following the Olympics, viewers just didn’t come back.  A second season may have been a chance to establish stability, but critics assured viewers it hadn’t improved. Uproxx’s Alan Sepinwall said, “This one’s not working, and it doesn’t matter how many fresh coats of paint or new showrunners they try to slap onto it.” The San Francisco Chronicle’s David Wiegand said, “The groan-worthy dialogue, usually spoken in a monotone by alien and human alike, is rarely credible and lacks the kind of self-aware irony that might make this enjoyable.”


Smash: Season 1 (2012) 80% | Smash: Season 2 (2013) 56%

DOWN 23%

(Photo by NBC)

The show: The NBC series featured all of the drama of putting on a Broadway musical, the fictional Bombshell about the life of Marilyn Monroe, along with the backstabbing and rivalries behind the scenes.

The ratings: Starting strong with 11.44 million viewers, season 1 steadily lost viewers week by week, ending with 6.74 million. Season 2 began with only 4.48 million and by the middle of the season NBC moved the show to Saturday to dump the remaining episodes.

What happened: Show creator Theresa Rebeck departed the series following the first season, and the plot veered Off Broadway, literally, splitting its focus between Bombshell and a new independent rock musical, and in so doing losing some of its glitzy central appeal. “Its failure wasn’t so much that it didn’t reflect the real workings of Broadway; it never came close to reflecting any aspect of the real world,” New York Times critic Charles Isherwood wrote. With the grind of writing new songs every week and rehearsing the same show, basically it was never as good as the pilot. Or as Boston Herald’s Mark A. Perigard put it, “It still feels as if you’re trapped in the middle of opening night of a third grade dance recital.”


True Detective: Season 1 (2014) 87% | True Detective: Season 2 (2015) 62%

DOWN 23%

The show: Each season centers on a different set of detectives investigating a harrowing case.

The ratings: The first season debuted mid–Hunger Games mania for Woody Harrelson and Matthew McConaughey‘s career “McConaissance” (coming off of acclaimed performances in the likes of Dallas Buyers Club and Magic Mike) and captivated 3.5 million HBO subscribers by the finale. Season 2 stars Colin Farrell, Vince Vaughn, Rachel McAdams, and Taylor Kitsch were each probably hoping for their own career renaissance (“Vaughnaissance”? “McAdaissance”?) after collectively starring in a number of Rotten movies around the time they signed on for the series. But the HBO thriller held onto viewers (2.7 million, which was on par with season 1 regular viewing), who stuck with season 2 hoping it would get good again.

What happened: They rushed it. With the first season’s success, HBO asked creator Nic Pizzolatto for another season, but a show as intricate as True Detective takes time. HBO President of Programming Michael Lombardo copped to essentially setting Pizzolatto up to fail. Lombardo told radio show The Frame: “When we tell somebody to hit an airdate as opposed to allowing the writing to find its own natural resting place, when it’s ready, when it’s baked — we’ve failed … I take the blame. I became too much of a network executive at that point. We had huge success. ‘Gee, I’d love to repeat that next year’ … I think that’s what I learned from it: Don’t do that anymore.” We’ll see if more time and new directors save the third season.


Under the Dome: Season 1 (2013) 83% | Under the Dome: Season 2 (2014) 61%

DOWN 25%

The show: Based on Stephen King’s 1,000-plus page novel, the town of Chester’s Mill becomes enclosed in a clear dome leaving the residents to deal with a lack of resources and laws.

The ratings: A summer hit for CBS, season 1 averaged 11 million viewers. By season 2, they were down to six or seven million, still enough to earn a third season. By the time season 3 hit a low of 3.7 million, there was no plan for season 4.

What happened: Under The Dome straying from the book showed early potential for keeping the story going beyond the finite novel. By the second season, viewers and critics alike felt the story was stretched too thin to try to make it last. Showbiz Junkies’ Rebecca Murray said the show “has taken itself so seriously and yet it’s one of the most nonsensical prime time shows to ever survive more than three episodes.” Backing her up, Screenrant’s Kevin Yeoman called it “one of the most frustrating and dim-witted shows on television.”


Bloodline: Season 1 (2015) 81%Bloodline: Season 2 (2016) 53%

DOWN 28%

The show: The dysfunctional Rayburn family admits in the series premiere that they killed Danny (Ben Mendelsohn), compelling viewers to find out just what tore this Florida dynasty apart. Kyle Chandler, Linda Cardellini, Norbert Leo Butz, and Sissy Spacek played the Rayburns.

The ratings: Netflix does not release ratings, but the creators of the show were planning five or six seasons. They got three.

What happened: Danny died by the end of the first season. The season finale ended with a cliffhanger reveal that his long-lost son came looking for his aunt and uncles, but the real mystery was over. The Young Folks’ Katey Stoetzel called the season “a long, drawn out plot that at times seemed to make up mysteries on the spot in an effort to be just as mysterious as the first season.” In Vulture, Brian Tallerico wrote, “This year’s story never felt as confident as the first.”


The Man in the High Castle: Season 1 (2015) 95%The Man in the High Castle: Season 2 (2016) 64%

DOWN 31%

The show: When you imagine what the world would be like if Hitler had won World War II, that’s good drama. Based on the Philip K. Dick novel.

The ratings: Amazon called The Man in the High Castle their most streamed original series. Season 2 came with no such announcement, but they are still making season 3.

What happened: The setup was great! The follow-up started treading water with aimless subplots and villains failing to remain threatening. “The scary people who were villains in season one ultimately become antiheroes,” said YouTube reviewer Jeremy Jahns. Andy Hartup of Gamesrada went further, saying, “Thanks to dull characters and mostly flaccid story lines, it falls short of being essential viewing.”


The Killing: Season 1 (2011) 94% () %

DOWN 31%

The show: Based on the Danish series, detectives Sarah Linden (Mireille Enos) and Stephen Holder (Joel Kinnaman) investigate the death of Rosie Larson, which has ties to mayoral candidate Darren Richmond (Billy Campbell).

The ratings: Season 1 averaged two million viewers — pretty strong for AMC. Season 2 was down to 1.5 million and AMC canceled it. Thanks to a deal with Netflix, they revived it for a third season, and Netflix streamed the fourth and final.

What happened: They solved Rosie’s murder, but it was too little too late. By then, critics grew tired of the mystery and its characters. Slant’s Mike Lechevallier called it “a mystery show whose mysteries agitate and bore rather than mesmerize and astound.” The Mercury News’ Chuck Barney wrote, “The longer we spent with the show’s brooding characters, the more we came to realize that they were an unbearably dour and detestable bunch.”


Wayward Pines: Season 1 (2015) 78%Wayward Pines: Season 2 (2016) 43%

DOWN 36%

(Photo by Fox)

The show: A Secret Service agent (Matt Dillon) wakes up in the mysterious town of Wayward Pines after an accident, and the authorities in town just will not let him leave.

The ratings: Season 1 was a solid summer hit with about 3.82 million viewers. Season 2 dropped to 2.0.

What happened: Once season 1 revealed what Wayward Pines actually was, season 2 was just about new characters (Jason Patric, Djimon Hounsou) who didn’t know as much as the audience. IndieWire’s Ben Travers wrote, “You almost feel bad for the series in its second season, limping along, trying to rebuild from what little was left.” THR’s Dan Fienberg wrote, “If what you liked about the first season was the insidious unknown, that’s gone with little to replace it.”


Genius: Einstein (2017) 84% | Genius: Picasso (2018) 57%

DOWN 38%

The show: Each season told the biography of a different genius. Season 1 was Albert Einstein (Geoffrey Rush), season 2 was Pablo Picasso (Antonio Banderas). Season 3 will be Mary Shelley.

The ratings: Only two-thirds of Einstein’s audience of a million tuned in for Picasso, down to only half in week two, and only about one-third by midway through the season.

What happened: Perhaps artistic genius was too abstract to contain in episodic format. Surely an artist as complex as Pablo Picasso cannot be encapsulated in a TV series, but critics complain Genius didn’t even try. The Straits Times’ Alison de Souza called it “disappointingly conventional” and New Statesman’s Rachel Cooke said the script failed both Picasso and Banderas. “Even he can’t make his lines sound convincing,” Cooke said. Plus, the creative magic that led to ​season 1’s 10 Emmy nominations, including one for Rush’s buzzy performance, may have set the bar impossibly high for any subject or lead actor that followed.


13 Reasons Why: Season 1 (2017) 77%13 Reasons Why: Season 2 (2018) 28%

DOWN 54%

The show: Hannah Baker (Katherine Langford) commits suicide and leaves 13 tapes for her classmates. As Clay Jensen (Dylan Minnette) listens to the tapes, each one reveals one of the reasons Hannah ended her life.

The ratings: Netflix does not release ratings, but the first season was a water-cooler conversation piece, as well as the center of controversy. Some mental health advocacy groups worried it glamorized suicide. But season 2 remained a trending topic on social media, and on Wednesday, Netflix announced that 13 Reasons Why has been renewed for a third season.

What happened: We already found out the 13 reasons in season 1. Season 2 tried to add more reasons, and stretch out the story with the civil trial Hannah’s mother (Kate Walsh) filed, but it was obvious to fans and critics that the story had naturally concluded. ScreenRant’s Kevin Yeoman wrote, “Right away it becomes clear this season’s narrative foundation is built on sand, which is worsened by a lack of forward momentum and over-reliance on rehashing the past.”

Trying to tackle gun control only gave critics more reasons to grouse about the show’s handling of sensitive issues. “It is bleak and depressing, scarringly graphic and stupidly glamorizing in its treatments of guns and ideas of vengeance,” wrote Siena Yates of the New Zealand Herald.

This week in TV news, Louis C.K. pulls a fast one, Supergirl will meet The Flash, HBO’s Anita Hill biopic sets an air date, and more!


HBO’S ANITA HILL BIOPIC STARRING KERRY WASHINGTON HAS A RELEASE DATE

anita hill

HBO announced this week that Confirmation, its Anita Hill biopic starring Kerry Washington, now has a release date of Apr. 16. The screenplay by Susannah Grant (Erin Brockovich, Ever After: A Cinderella StoryPocahontas) is directed by Rick Famuyiwa (Dope, Talk to Me) and will also star Wendell Pierce as Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, Treat Williams as Ted Kennedy, Grace Gummer as Kennedy aide Ricki Seidman, and Greg Kinnear as Joe Biden.

At the Television Critics Association winter press tour, Washington divulged how terrified she was at the prospect of playing a real, live person. As part of her research, she met personally with Ms. Hill, and also attended sexual harassment orientation prior to production.

WAS MELISSA MCCARTHY NOT ASKED TO JOIN THE GILMORE GIRLS REUNION?

melissa_mccarthy_tv_talk
After TVLine broke the news last week that the Gilmore Girls reunion was officially a go, there has been much speculation about which cast members will be returning. Series leads Lauren Graham (Lorelai) and Alexis Bledel (Rory), as well as regulars Kelly Bishop (Emily), Scott Patterson (Luke), Sean Gunn (Kirk) and Keiko Agena (Lane) have all been confirmed. But where was Melissa McCarthy as Lorelai’s best friend Sookie? McCarthy tweeted that she was not asked to return to Stars Hollow. However, according to Variety, series creator Amy Sherman-Palladino says she was in talks with McCarthy’s people and that, “She’s really f—ing busy… But the thing I have said [to her team] is, ‘Look, if Melissa is available and has an afternoon free, I’ll write her a scene. Melissa was one of us, if she has a spare moment to run over [to the set] — even if for just a cameo — we would be totally game. And if it’s a last-minute thing, I would write her in and we would figure it out. That’s the way we left it.” As Oprah would say, what is the truth?

LOUIS C.K. PULLS A BEYONCE AND RELEASES SECRET TV PILOT FOR HORACE AND PETE

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Louis C.K. pulled a Beyonce last Saturday and dropped a brand new unannounced TV series on his website, LouisCK.net. Written and directed by C.K., Horace and Pete is a 67-minute dramedy with a definite theatrical feel, and stars Steve Buscemi, Edie Falco, Alan Alda, and Jessica Lange. Episode one is available for $5, and the website appears to be setting aside room for three more episodes, but no one knows when they’ll be available.

CASTING NEWS FOR WAYWARD PINES, MARVEL’S LEGION, AND BRAINDEAD

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Wayward Pines season two has a doctor in the house. TV Line reported that Jason Patric has been tapped to star in Season 2 of Fox’s mind-bending drama, the network announced Thursday. Patric will play newcomer Dr. Theo Yedlin; a confident, driven surgeon whose leadership skills become invaluable to Wayward Pines’ residents. Season two of Wayward Pines will air this summer on Fox.

Leading the pilot news is Marvel’s announcement that Dan Stevens, Aubrey Plaza, and Jean Smart have joined the cast of the pilot for Legion, the story of a troubled young man. Legion is the latest project from Noah Hawley and John Cameron, two of the Executive Producers of the award-winning FX series Fargo. Stevens (Downton Abbey), Plaza (Parks and Recreation), and Smart (Fargo) join Rachel Keller (also Fargo) in the pilot, which will begin production in March.

Award-winning actor Tony Shalhoub has joined the cast of BrainDead, a new comic-thriller set in the world of Washington, D.C. politics. The series comes from Robert and Michelle King, creators and executive producers of The Good Wife. Shalhoub will play Red Wheatus, a hard-drinking, fun-loving Republican senator who has spent decades in Washington making deals, until a radical transformation turns him into a health-conscious extremist who would rather destroy the government than compromise. BrainDead is scheduled to air this summer on CBS.


SUPERGIRL GETS A VISIT FROM THE FLASH

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DC Comics’ superheroes are joining forces for an epic crossover. Grant Gustin’s Barry Allen aka The Flash will be racing from his CW show onto fellow superhero, Supergirl‘s show on CBS. The particulars of their joint adventure are yet to be announced, but the episode will air on Monday, March 28th (8:00-9:00 PM, ET/PT) on CBS.

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