First Netflix debuted its so-so Norwegian comedy-drama Lilyhammer. Today brings us Hulu's original series response: Battleground, a well-timed political 'dramedy' (ugh) that takes us behind the scenes of a fictional Wisconsin Senate campaign. It's very almost good!
An original, scripted series from Hulu that follows the plucky campaign staff of an underdog Wisconsin Senate candidate. A new episode debuts each Tuesday, each with a run time of just over 20 minutes. It's shot in faux documentary style, if you love/hate that sort of thing.
People who aren't so maxed out on the actual campaign drama of the next several months that they can't abide another 20 minutes a week of fake campaign drama with a patina of forced humor. Also fans of that one guy who's in all those commercials. He stars.
Chris "Tak" Davis struggles to balance managing an underdog campaign, a burgeoning love triangle within said campaign, and an indefensibly twee nickname.
The first episode of the series is already up on Hulu; you can watch from your computer now or on one of your Hulu Plus devices if you're a subscriber. The show moves along briskly, and the bones of the plot are engaging; what's less so are the occasionally forced jokes (the nerdy kid says/does way too nerdy things, the doofus guy says/does way too doofus things. It sounds like a minor point, but having cartoons mixed in with the verite stylings of the rest of the cast and the overall tone of the show is jarring.
In between bouts of forced dialog and buffoonery is a plot that, two episodes in, keeps you hooked enough that you may well become a regular.
Battleground is like watching two shows at once that don't play nice to each other. Hopefully, as the storyline gets more serious—and all indications are that it will—the series will, too, about itself.
Yes, you should. Especially if it manages to find surer tonal footing, Battleground will be a tidy counterpoint to watching the real-life pols duke it out until November.
• Episodes: 2 (and counting)
• Starring: Jay Hayden, Teri Reeves
• Price: Free online, $8 for Hulu Plus
• Giz Rank: 3 stars