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Introducing Rick Steves’ Europe

August 14th, 2009 by Andy Forssell Acting CEO and SVP of Content

I’m really happy to be able to introduce a fantastic new series on Hulu, Rick Steves’ Europe. There are a lot of travel experts and a lot of travel shows out there, and although there are many good ones, Rick really stands out for a couple of reasons. First, he’s amazingly prolific. Amazon lists 74 travel titles with Rick as the author, and those are just the 2008/2009 versions, with new updates for most coming out every year. Beyond books, Rick has a number of TV series, specials and podcasts. It’s an amazing volume of work, and it always seems to be expanding. We’re really excited to launch Season 4 of Rick Steves’ Europe on Hulu today, and we look forward to offering more and more over time as Rick continues his travels.

The second reason Rick stands out is more important, and that is how passionate he is about all the places he visits. He loves the history, the interesting details, the small out-of-the-way places … and it all comes out in his books and TV shows in a way that really makes you eager to go explore. Rick lives in the U.S., but he’s spent more than 30 summers in Europe, searching for all those interesting nooks and crannies that aren’t so easy to find unless you have a guide like Rick. A good sign that a travel writer really lives and breathes the places he describes: My wife and I bought our first Rick Steves book a few years ago for a trip to Italy, and we actually ran into Rick and his cameraman while walking on the shores of Lake Como. Hard to believe, but here’s the snapshot to prove it:

Rick Steves

I think these kinds of run-ins must be a common occurrence for Rick. Notice that he didn’t ask the professional cameraman standing next to him to take the picture, but instead snapped the picture himself by holding the camera out and pointing it back at us. Nice technique, and very gracious. The crazy thing about this is that I’m not even the only member of the (relatively small) Hulu family to randomly run into Rick in Europe. The wife of a friend here at Hulu saw him in Venice. It’s a good sign that a travel expert is dedicated and passionate if you can hardly avoid running into him whenever you travel. :)

If you love to travel, I have no doubts that you’ll love this show. Here’s a sample in which Rick visits Tuscany and makes us all want to reach for a suitcase.

Andy Forssell
Hulu’s Intrepid Explorer

Now Boarding: Oceanic Flight 815

August 3rd, 2009 by Rebecca Harper Editor

Grab your boarding passes: Oceanic Flight 815 is taking off on Hulu. The journey starts with the entire run of Lost Season 1, plus several episodes from last season (Season 5), and a number of clips from this year’s Comic-Con in San Diego.

Now fans can flash back to Season 1 to see the castaways’ first harrowing days on the beach as they fight to survive and discover there are “Others” on the mysterious island. We once again see step-siblings Shannon and Boone and father and son Michael and Walt, as well as the now-familiar Jack, Sawyer, Charlie and Claire. This also is the season where Locke discovers a mysterious hatch and we learn about Kate’s life on the run.

I’m looking forward to revisiting these “vintage” episodes now that some — emphasis on “some” — of the island’s mysteries have been answered and I’ve seen what comes to Jack and Kate and the other passengers over the course of the next four seasons. After all, with the final season approaching (it returns to ABC in early 2010), why not go back and see how it all began?

Who are your favorite Lost castaways, past and present? Tell us about them in the comments section.

Rebecca Harper ()
Hulu’s Castaway

Last comment: about 12 hours ago 6 Comments

For the Honor of Grayskull

July 30th, 2009 by Rebecca Harper Editor

Growing up, we all had our after-school staples. For me, it was a bowl of cereal, my homework and today’s Hulu Days of Summer selection, She-Ra: Princess of Power.

For those who didn’t waste spend precious hours of their youth watching this classic cartoon, She-Ra, twin sister to Eternia’s He-Man , is the alter ego of Princess Adora. She’s part of a great rebellion that is trying to free her home planet, Etheria, from the evil forces of Hordak. Her beloved horse, Spirit, helps with her efforts, transforming into a flying unicorn (no wonder I loved it!) named Swift Wind when the princess calls on the power of Grayskull. As She-Ra, the princess has superhuman strength and agility, a healing touch, and the ability to speak to animals. What more does a girl need, really?

So pull up a beanbag chair, make yourself a giant bowl of Cheerios, and settle in for 26 episodes of She-Ra goodness. And if that’s not enough, there’s plenty of He-Man, too, as well as a new anime series: Slam Dunk. It’s about a social outcast who joins the high school basketball team — to impress a girl, naturally — only to realize he’s an all-star player on the courts.

Rebecca Harper ()
Defender of Hulu’s Crystal Castle

Last comment: Nov 25th 2015 1 Comment

Giving You Your ‘Spaced’

July 23rd, 2009 by Rebecca Harper Editor

To anyone who tuned in to watch the antics of Jack, Chrissy and Janet on Three’s Company, the concept of roommates willing to pull one over on a landlord to get a decent apartment isn’t all that foreign. But that’s about all today’s Hulu Days of Summer title, Spaced, has in common with that silly 1970s romp.

After a chance meeting in a coffee shop, Tim (Simon Pegg, fromStar Trek and Shaun of the Dead) and Daisy (Jessica Hynes [formerly Jessica Stevenson]) find themselves searching for an apartment together. But upon realizing the best, most affordable apartments are only leased to professional couples, they have a brilliant idea: to pose as a couple in order to get a halfway decent place. As you’d expect, they run into all sorts of mishaps as they try to pull off the rouse for their drunken landlady whenever she stops by. (Mr. Roper, anyone?) But this U.K. import — written by Pegg and Hynes themselves — also combines its premise with wonderfully surreal moments and rapid-fire edits (much like another British comedy, Green Wing).

Best of all, each episode is jam-packed with pop culture references that target everything from Star Wars and Wolverine to Pulp Fiction and The Matrix. It’s the kind of show you want to watch again and again to catch all the insider jokes — and fortunately, all 14 episodes (2 seasons) are up on Hulu, making it easy to do just that. And, please, make sure you stick around for the next-to-last episode for a peek at Ricky Gervais before he went on to do The Office (the original series).

What’s your favorite pop culture reference in Spaced? Tell us in the discussions board for the series.

Rebecca Harper ()
Pop Culture Junkie

Last comment: Jul 24th 2009 1 Comment

Hulu Days of Summer: Brothers and Sisters; Great Museums

July 15th, 2009 by Rebecca Harper Editor

Today we launch two new shows as part of the Hulu Days of Summer. In the first, ABC’s Brothers and Sisters, a close-knit family copes with the devastating loss of a father, only to discover dear old dad was living a double life. Enter a mistress, a long-lost heir and a headstrong mother and you have serious drama. We can currently offer the five episodes most recently aired on television (reflecting summer repeats), so you’ll find a selection of episodes from the end of the third season.

In addition, we’re happy to welcome Great Museums to the Hulu family. Underwritten by the Eureka Foundation, this in-depth series delves deeper into some of the country’s most iconic museums (plus a special look at Cuba’s museums). We asked the series’ Executive Producer, Marc Doyle, to tell us more about the show. Check out his post below. — Rebecca Harper (), Editor

The Great Museums project started in 1997 on a small cable network, but it really took off when the principals of the Eureka Foundation decided to underwrite the re-creation of Great Museums for the public television world. Our underwriters are committed to the educational power of television and new media and recognized that Great Museums was educational television at its best

The series itself was the brainchild of my wife and business partner, Chesney Doyle — or, as she quite accurately recalls, we had the crazy idea that as newlyweds, we should also be partners in a new business venture. Upon hearing our plans, a wise man told us “That’s like driving a race and learning to drive a race car at the same time.” But we didn’t listen and now, thanks to the support of the Eureka Foundation, we’re still on the course.

In the beginning, we basically asked ourselves two questions: First, if we were going to create a project from scratch, one that we were going to spend the rest of our working lives developing and building, what would we really enjoy working on? Second, we asked ourselves if there was a social or civic need for inspirational information that could effectively be communicated through the power of television and new media.

Our answer: Great Museums.

Each of the 43 episodes we’ve produced thus far has been based on the premise that our nation’s great museums house the DNA of the American experience. We feel that the keys to the American identity, and to finding our own place in the American story, are in our museums. We think of museum experiences as having the power to bring us together, on common ground, as opposed to separating us on the basis of differences. That’s why we talk to the indefatigable Margaret Burroughs, the founder of the first African American museum in the U.S. in “Riches, Rivals and Radicals:” her vision provided a way for all Americans to celebrate and preserve black culture.

The Great Museums episodes are not “tours” of museums. We instead use the museum’s collections and its expert curators to tell the museum’s many stories. It is a storytelling style that is more conversational — a bit more spontaneous. It is a less rigorous way to tell stories and pass on information, which we think makes viewers feel like they’re walking the museum and enjoying its treasures right along with us. There is nothing that can replace a real visit to a museum and the experience of seeing “the genuine article.” However, few of us can personally visit all the great museums in America.

We want Great Museums‘ viewers to experience the transformation that happens when you enter a museum. We also hope our films stimulate you to recognize the important role that museums play in our world and the great value they offer, both on an individual level and to our society. One way to start is to watch one of our featured episodes, “Riches, Rivals and Radicals.” This episode tells the story of the history of museums in America. It’s a fascinating story with many interesting characters and lots of plot twists. It’s a living story and there is no ending. In an interview, David Rockefeller talks about Colonial Williamsburg, which his parents actually founded. Now having this personal connection, an in-person visit to Williamsburg gives you an even greater sense of American heritage and history.

We hope it brings the museum world alive for you and inspires you to enjoy all the other Great Museums episodes, to visit www.greatmuseums.org, and to visit and support the great museums in your own backyard. — Marc Doyle, Executive Producer, Great Museums

Last comment: Jul 21st 2009 3 Comments