From the comedic minds of Seth Meyers (SNL) and Michael Shoemaker (Late Night With Jimmy Fallon) comes Hulu’s first animated superhero comedy, The Awesomes. The series will premiere in August and will follow the story of Prock (Meyers), the not so superhero son of Mr. Awesome (Steve Higgins), who decides to take on the task of assembling a new team made out of subpar superheroes after his father’s retirement. The series will feature the voice talents of Meyers along with other fellow SNL alumni and comedians like Bill Hader, Taran Killam, Bobby Moynihan, Bobby Lee, Rashida Jones, Kenan Thompson, Cecily Strong, Paula Pell, and Ike Barinholtz.
The cast and crew behind the show were at this year’s Comic-Con. Hit the jump to read a recap of the panel along with a review of the series first episode.
Chris Hardwick’s trademark high energy was on full display again as he did a great job moderating another Comic-Con panel. Hardwicke asked Seth Meyers where the idea for The Awesomes came about and Meyers answered by saying that he has always had a love for comic books along with series co-creator, Mike Shoemaker. They started the idea back in 2006 and it was until 2011 when they talked with Hulu that the series became a thing that they could actually do. Hardwick followed this up by asking if TV would murder or change an idea like this and got a simple “Yes.” from Meyers. Meyers then went on to talk about how Hulu has given the freedom to do the series that they want to do and how they could not get that experience by doing it on TV. The cast and crew then took some questions from the audience.
Someone asked Kenan Thompson and Taran Killam how it was like to transition from kids sketch shows like All That and The Amanda Show to SNL. References to both shows got a big crowd reaction and Thompson answered the question by saying, “Nickelodeon was a great platform to know what a camera is, but the comparison isn’t close.” He then went on to say that he and Killam had maybe only shook hands before working together on SNL. Killam and Thompson talked about how SNL always felt like something that couldn’t ever happen and how it is a dream job to be on the show.
Hardwick then brought up how it was like when Samuel L. Jackson dropped an F-bomb during the “What’s Up With That?” sketch. Meyers answered the question by saying, ““I was shocked, but you can’t tell him that because he is a bad ass.” He then added that it’s hard to say that he was actually shocked or couldn’t believe that Jackson would drop an F-bomb since he is Samuel L. Jackson after all.
Meyers also talked about how one of his favorite things about working on SNL is seeing sketches that have crazy costumes get cut after someone brought up The Avengers sketch that they did the night Jeremy Renner hosted the show. Moynihan and Killam wrote the sketch but had to rewrite it after they noticed how they had spent more time deciding which costumes they wanted to wear and which characters they wanted to be rather than making it funny.
Meyers also talked about how the process of recording the voices for The Awesomes works out. The audio is recorded at 30 Rock—Meyers brings people down from SNL when they are free to record a couple of episodes at a time. This led someone to ask if The Awesomes could be meta and have his own late night show make an appearance within the show. “Yeah, but the animators would have to work so fast.” answered Meyers.
The panel ended with Hardwick congratulating Meyers on his new Late Night gig and asking him if he is going to stay with SNL. Meyers said that he will be staying with SNL until the fall and that his Late Night show is only in the pre-production period as of now. Meyers went on to say that it will premiere after the Winter Olympics in February and that he is happy that the show will be staying in New York at 30 Rock.
Thoughts on the first episode of The Awesomes:
The first episode of The Awesomes follows the standard “Getting the team together” storyline as we see Prock (voiced by Seth Meyers) take over his father’s superhero team after his retirement. We follow Prock as he meets a series of superheroes that were originally rejected by the team for various reasons. We meet characters and get to know why they were rejected by the original Awesomes as Prock tries to create another iteration of the team after the original members leave following their leader’s departure. As expected, each character has a certain comedic flaw that will certainly become strengths as the series goes on. The funniest of these flaws belonging to The Impresario (voiced by Thompson), who is a Green Lantern-esque character with mother issues to the point where everything he conjures takes on the form of his mom in some way.
The main problem with The Awesomes is that the series doesn’t nearly live up to the amount of talent that are involved with the show. The show isn’t terrible by any means, but that the series is so mediocre and lifeless is disheartening. The episode played before the panel to a big audience and although there were chuckles here and there, the lack of any big laughs was noticeable. The series also seems to have an odd tone to it. Meyers and Co. have created a lighthearted show with goofy, if a bit predictable, gags but when the characters drop some crude language for laughs, the sudden adult edge does not match the style or tone to the show at all.
This was just the first episode and one has to imagine that this was the series pilot that Meyers and Shoemaker pitched to studios and Hulu. There is a fun concept to the show and the voice talent involved with the show is incredibly impressive. If the series just suffers from a weak first episode (as a lot of shows do) is still unclear but, as of now, the episode does not give enough hope that there will be something excellent and hilarious waiting in future episodes. The Awesomes is slight, light, and just funny enough to make it a good time killer, though. It’s fitting that the series will be on Hulu where watching an episode could be a very welcome time killer while stuck at work or while you’re at the gym. If the series will become a must watch thing every week is something that we will just have to wait and see.