The Awesomes Is Kinda Awesome

New Hulu original echoes Arrested Development, Family Guy

Saturday Night Live veteran Seth Meyers' Hulu-exclusive creation The Awesomes is an homage to Saturday morning superhero cartoons—but for adults. With a world built in the vein of The Incredibles—except that the animation style more closely resembles other adult-animation shows such as Family Guy—The Awesomes marries the best of comedic writing with pop culture's current obsession with superhero movies and TV.

Hulu’s latest and arguably its highest profile original (the cast just appeared at Comic-Con) tells the story of The Awesomes—an Avengers-like team of superheroes—whose leader Mr. Awesome (Steve Higgins) decides to retire. Much to his chagrin, his chosen successor Perfect Man (Josh Meyers) declines the job and his son Prock (who is both a doctor and a lawyer with very limited superhero powers) steps in.

However, as soon as Prock takes the job, the other Awesomes quit, leaving he and his buddy Muscle Man (Ike Barinholtz) to assemble a new ragtag crew—before the government pulls the plug on their funding. The new Awesomes—Frantic, Impresario (SNL's Kenan Thompson), Gadget Girl, Sumo (Mad TV's Bobby Lee), and Hotwire (Parks and Recreation's Rashida Jones)—are assembled from a combination of rejected former applicants and the results of open auditions (or tryouts, since they are superhero wannabes). They set out to fight super-villains including their main nemesis, the recently escaped Dr. Malocchio (Bill Hader), with the guidance of their handler/personal assistant Concierge (Emily Spivey, creator of NBC's defunct Up All Night). They are not always very successful, given their limited collection of powers.

The dynamic of this odd collection of misfits that make up The Awesomes is very much akin to the Bluth family from Arrested Development. The show has heart despite the characters' ridiculous flaws (Impresario's mommy issues rival that of Buster Bluth's), and yet the heart it displays doesn't sacrifice any of the comedic potential that comes from their interactions and their failures. And Dr. Malocchio, while not the most efficient of super villains, does super-villaining the right way. Eating high-grade sushi while he waits for his plan to pan out…pure evil genius.