Streaming service Hulu is premiering a couple of maybe-check-them-out series this week: Superhot, a reality show about spicy food, and closed-room whodunnit series Death and Other Details. There’s also awesomely creepy cult documentary series Daughter of the Cult, Fargo, and more.
Daughters of the Cult
I’ve been fascinated with cults for a long time, so I can’t believe I had never heard of Ervil LeBaron until I watched Daughters of the Cult this week. LeBaron was a next-level-evil cult leader. Dubbed “The Mormon Manson” during his reign of terror in the 1970s and ’80s, Ervil ran a heretical, polygamist cult like a ruthless gang boss, straight up gunning down the leaders of rival polygamist groups. Daughters of the Cult tells this “wait, that actually happened?” story through interviews with some of his 50 children, who provide insider looks at a nightmarish religious cult that started with polygamy and ended up fully off-the-rails.
Death and Other Details
There’s been a resurgence of top-quality, closed-doors mysteries coming out of Hollywood lately—Knives Out, Glass Onion, Haunting in Venice—and Death and other Details aims at that rarefied air. According to many critics, it’s a swing and a miss, but mystery-hounds, like all genre-fans, are forgiving. They can find something to like in even the worst examples of their obsession, and Death and Other Details is far from the bottom of the mystery barrel. Think of it as Agatha Christie-lite: It has a mysterious murder, an exotic location (a glamorous cruise ship), wealthy suspects, and even a wish.com version of Hercules Poirot in the form of Mandy Patinkin’s super-detective Rufus Cotesworth.
Superhot: The Spicy World of Pepper People
“Let’s look at people who like spicy food” might seem like a thin premise for a TV show, but these folks really like spicy food, and examining their subculture reveals an unseen world of inspiration, obsession, beauty, and controversy. Plus, you get to see people sweat a lot as they consume inhumanely spicy peppers. What’s not to like?
I’m not huge into game shows, but I love Fox’s The Floor. It pits self-proclaimed experts in various niche subjects like “cereal” or “bugs” against one another in rapid fire trivia duels, giving viewers the chance to match their own knowledge against “experts” while rooting for (and wagering upon) their favorite geek-testant. A territory-taking meta game adds yet another level to The Floor, and host Rob Lowe holds it all together with impressive game-show-host chops.
The Floor also streams on FuboTV, Tubi, Sling TV, and YouTube TV.
The competition for a new streaming series is brutal. New shows not only compete against every other current show, but also against almost every series that has ever been on TV. So it’s encouraging that Hulu’s This Fool has survived streaming’s merciless culling process long enough to get a second season. Set in a working class Latino neighborhood in L.A., This Fool’s second season sees sensitive Julio (the titular fool), his ex-con cousin Luis, and Julio’s eccentric former boss Minister Payne trying to open a coffee shop together. This Fool has been available on Hulu for a few months, so it’s not new-new, but it’s among the smartest, funniest shows on TV right now.
Fargo, Season Five
Fargo’s fifth season mixes up a stew of evil criminals, oddball characters, slapstick humor, and extreme violence, seasons it with a touch of the supernatural, then sets it in the frozen wastelands of our forgotten central-northern states. The series has gotten a little “on-the-nose” in its maturity, but Fargo is still among the best shows on TV.
Fargo is also streaming on FuboTV, YouTube TV, and Sling TV.