May 5, 2012 9:08 PM   Subscribe

Battleground is hulu's first exclusive scripted original series. A mockumentary drama/comedy depicting a Senatorial campaign in Wisconsin, the show has a run of 13 episodes this season, 12 of which are already available on hulu (the season finale will be released May 8). Happily, the first six episodes are also available on YouTube. 1: The Pilot, 2: Who Is Claire Villareal, 3: Hold The Whipped Cream, 4: The Comment, 5: They'll Burn Your Eyes, 6: Polls Close At Six

Cast largely with unknown actors, the series does feature a recurring guest spot by Ray Wise (Twin Peaks, Reaper).

For those interested, there are apparently instructions on how to watch hulu outside the US without a proxy, but they may be a bit techie for the uninitiated.
posted by hippybear (20 comments total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
The pilot, while necessary for establishing characters, is easily the weakest of the season. I encourage you to watch the first three episodes before passing real judgement.
posted by hippybear at 9:09 PM on May 5, 2012

I've been enjoying it quite a bit, though I wish the episodes were a full hour. The half-hour format seems prone to "gotcha" endings.

A buddy of mine who worked for the Obama campaign told me that he thinks Battleground is the most realistic TV show he's seen about politics.

I'm debating how spoilery to get in this thread. There are some questions I'm very eager to get answered on Tuesday.
posted by roll truck roll at 9:53 PM on May 5, 2012 [1 favorite]

Okay fine, here's my biggest question, ROT-13ed: Vf Pbyr va wnvy?
posted by roll truck roll at 9:56 PM on May 5, 2012

There are some questions I'm very eager to get answered on Tuesday.

You and me, both.

Frankly, I'm glad to see a show this engaging being the first effort by an online video provider for original content. I can see why networks might have passed on the series, but it's really good, and has an authentic feel about it with regard to politics which I think is often overlooked or done wrong (Veep, I'm looking at you.)

I hope it's been popular enough to earn a second season. This is a setting which hasn't really been used much before, and I like it.
posted by hippybear at 9:56 PM on May 5, 2012 [1 favorite]

For some reason, I thought this was a futuristic sci-fi series about war.

Now that I know it's politics, I'll probably watch.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 10:17 PM on May 5, 2012 [2 favorites]

Okay fine, here's my biggest question, ROT-13ed: Vf Pbyr va wnvy?

That's what it looks like to me. It will be interesting to see if it's related to what we found out about his history and where he wasn't supposed to be as a result or whether it's the romantic triangle or something else.
posted by willnot at 10:29 PM on May 5, 2012

ROT-13ed: Vf Pbyr va wnvy?

Don't think so. At least not yet.
posted by special-k at 1:25 AM on May 6, 2012

I'm hoping the next half of the season shows up on YouTube for us outside of the Hulu web soon. Parks and Recreation can get stuffed, Battleground is where its at.
posted by cerulgalactus at 5:27 AM on May 6, 2012

Wow, that pilot was pretty damn good. Thanks, hippybear; I'd heard of it but hadn't taken the plunge yet. It had quick wit, likeable characters (though the son is a little too ridiculous), Gandalf and hit point jokes for the geeks and a smart, realistic little story arc. Politics junkies, this is right up your alley.

Seriously, I'm impressed. It's the kind of thing I'm inclined to like on general "open the possibilities for content" grounds, but I didn't expect it to be this interesting. Looking forward to watching more later.
posted by mediareport at 7:17 AM on May 6, 2012

Oh, and I really liked how the candidates themselves are almost an afterthought. Really nicely done.
posted by mediareport at 7:17 AM on May 6, 2012

Those instructions are probably outdated. I just tried following them, and they don't work for any site I tried.
posted by svenni at 7:22 AM on May 6, 2012

The instructions were possibly outdated, but they pointed in the right direction. I managed to figure out what to do, and I'm a staunch Luddite.
posted by fredludd at 10:46 AM on May 6, 2012

A little known fact about Battleground is that most of the writers and producers of the show all met at an indie improv-comedy theater in Los Angeles (aka, not The Groundlings, or Second City, or UCB). The theater doesn't exist anymore, but the Wikipedia page does, and lists JD Walsh (creator of Ultimate Improv) as its founder. JD is the director and writer of Battleground.

I love this little show so much! Can't wait for Tuesday.
posted by Faithless327 at 1:30 PM on May 6, 2012

Thanks for a great Sunday treat!
posted by willF at 11:14 PM on May 6, 2012

I absolutely loved The Thick Of It but the first two eps of Veep are just not working for me. I'd go as far as to say Battleground is a better US version of The Thick Of It. With all apologies to Armando Iannucci who is otherwise a genius.
posted by meech at 2:02 AM on May 7, 2012

The Hulu instructions don't seem to work for me. What else should I be doing, in addition to the instructions? Tore through episodes 1-6, this is awesome!
posted by the cydonian at 7:50 AM on May 9, 2012


I found the last episode pretty satisfying, but it definitely made me hungry for a second season, as it was obviously intended to. Sometimes I think that the Sopranos ending has become too much of a template for TV show endings. We've gotten so used to the idea of a black screen in place of the final dramatic blow-up that it's not really surprising or jarring anymore.
posted by roll truck roll at 10:43 AM on May 9, 2012

Man, politics drama is not really my thing, but I just burned through the whole season and I really liked it. Thanks Hippybear.

The smallness of it, both of the campaign itself, the shows production and the unknown actors really worked for me, which proves that the genre of mockumentary (I really don't like when they fall away from the premise that the cameras of the doc crew are the only ones there- it's noticeable especially in the scene where they are running to get to the Obama rally and you can watch the camera crew run past a static shot- breaks all kind of Bressonian rules for me) still has something in it, which is fascinating in an of itself - mugging to the camera is going to have to become a class in acting school.

Anyway, good stuff.
posted by Divine_Wino at 12:15 PM on May 9, 2012

Just finished the final episode tonight. Thanks for posting, Hippybear, otherwise I'd have never known it existed. It really shows the potential that online content has to offer, and that quality wise, can compete with tv. I really hope the word gets out and it gets a second season.
posted by [insert clever name here] at 9:28 PM on May 15, 2012

Must credit Wedge.
posted by Jimbob at 2:58 PM on May 16, 2012

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