I recently started a 2 month trial of Hulu Plus. Because I’m a TV addict, Hulu Plus didn’t really offer me anything worth the price of the monthly subscription. I watch most shows live, or on DVR, so I really have no need to catch up on shows using Hulu Plus. While browsing for something to watch this week I found something spectacular: The Booth at the End.
One of the great things that Hulu is doing to gain more traction is developing original programming. The Booth at the End is a show that is perfect for the service (It should be noted that the first season originally aired on Canada’s CityTV but season 2 will air on Hulu). It is cheap to make (the entire 5 episode first season takes place at said booth in a diner) and it plays with a concept that no network (over the air or cable) would ever think about. Here’s the synopsis from Hulu.
A mysterious Man sits at a booth at the end of a diner. People approach him because they’ve heard The Man has a gift. He can solve their problems: A parent with a sick child, a woman who wants to be prettier, a nun who has lost her faith. The Man can give these people what they want. For a price. The Man makes a proposition. In exchange for realizing their desires, these individuals must complete a task, return to The Man, and describe every step in detail. The trick is that these tasks are things that would normally be inconceivable to them. But The Man never forces anyone to do anything. It’s always up to the individual to start – or stop. The Booth at the End asks the question: How far would you go to get what you want?
I was hooked during the first episode. The series opens up with a man in a booth and a stranger inquiring about his services. Each episode cycles through a group of characters that make a deal with the man to get what they want and as the series progresses you find out what lengths they will go to in order to get their end of the deal.
Warning: Minor spoilers below
As you continue through the series you find that the task assigned to one person may (but not always) be related to the task of another. While it wasn’t exactly a surprise that this would happen, it was interesting to see how it all played out. I kept coming back to each episode wanting more and more. Some of the actors in the show weren’t really convincing. Matt Nolan, who played James, was the worst of the bunch. He seemed to overact throughout much of the season, but the man himself, Xander Berkeley, was superb. At times he came off as a nice man that really could deliver anything you wanted. At others, he comes of cold and mean; someone you regret making a deal with.
Throughout the series you are engrossed in a story of murder, bombings, shootouts, romance and drama, but you don’t see any of it on screen. That, in short, is what makes the show brilliant.
Even though you don’t see any of the tasks take place on screen, you are still wrapped up in the story as if you have seen all of it. I found myself picturing what the characters were doing while they were discussing the details of the tasks with the man. Sometimes letting the viewer fill in the gaps is even better than spoon feeding them everything.
The only downside to the first season was that it was only 5 episodes. I was left wanting more, which is good for Hulu’s bottom line. The upside is that season 2 premieres this Monday, August 6th(and new episodes premiere each following Monday). Unfortunately, the first season originally premiered a year ago, so after season 2 airs, I’m afraid I will have to wait another year for a possible season 3.
I could go on and on about this show, but I don’t want to spoil it for you. The only way to truly experience how unique and great this show is is for you to watch it for yourself. Make sure if you love great TV, you sign up for Hulu and give it a shot. If you decide to sign up now, you can get two weeks free, which will be plenty of time for you to get caught up on season 1 and begin season 2.