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The Binge-Watch List: Deadbeat shows signs off life

Monty Ashley | April 28, 2014
It's not hard to find TV shows to watch these days. But finding good ones to watch amid all the streaming video services fighting for your attention and your eyeballs? That's more of a challenge. Every other week, we'll help you separate a would-be House of Cards from the rest of the pack, as we look at which streaming TV shows are worth your time.

It's not hard to find TV shows to watch these days. But finding good ones to watch amid all the streaming video services fighting for your attention and your eyeballs? That's more of a challenge. Every other week, we'll help you separate a would-be House of Cards from the rest of the pack, as we look at which streaming TV shows are worth your time.

If you've ever wondered what would happen if a medium ditched all the flowing robes, crystal balls, and incense in favor of just sitting around on a couch smoking weed all day, you may well be in charge of green-lighting shows for Hulu. Because that's essentially the idea behind Deadbeat, a new original series available on the streaming video service.

What it's about

Deadbeat stars Kevin Pacalioglu (played by Tyler Labine, who you might recognize from a number of television shows including Reaper and the movie Tucker & Dale vs. Evil), a fat, lazy stoner who talks to ghosts. His only friend is his drug dealer, Roofie (Brandon T. Jackson, from Tropic Thunder and the Percy Jackson movies), and he's engaged in a feud with Camomile White (Cat Deeley, the host of So You Think You Can Dance), a successful medium who's everything he's not: tall, attractive, blonde, a woman, and a fraud. In each episode, Kevin has to take care of a ghost's unfinished business, which allows the ghost to stop haunting people. It's rude to haunt people, ghosts.

Season One debuted with all ten episodes becoming available simultaneously on Hulu Plus earlier this month. Each one takes about 23 minutes, because that's how much show there is in a 30-minute network television show after you take out the commercials.

What makes it interesting

Kevin exists in a very low-stakes environment. His medium fees are on the order of $25, which is a pretty good deal for an exorcism. And wacky hijinks inevitably ensue. For example, he might run across the ghost of a competitive eater whose stomach was transplanted into someone else. The ghost wants the new owner of his stomach to enter a hot dog eating contest, but the recipient turns out to be a rabbi who would prefer to stay kosher. Complications pile upon complications until everything gets resolved.

With Kevin on his own so much, the supporting cast doesn't do a great deal of supporting, but they're good at what they do. Roofie is probably the nicest drug dealer in the world, because he not only loans Kevin money but actually gives him a job, letting Kevin run his newsstand.

And I can't say enough about how much fun it is to see Cat Deeley, who's unfailingly friendly and nice as she hosts a televised dance contest, portraying an evil, scheming villain. She's fairly convincing as a threat, because her great height allows her to loom over Kevin. And while Labine looks like a normal out-of-shape guy, Deeley is significantly more attractive. So it's natural that he starts out admiring her as a famous, successful medium. But almost as soon as she shows up, it turns out that she's not even a real medium. Camomile uses techniques like cold reading to bilk people out of their money, but she puts on a better show than Kevin, who just stands there and talks to ghosts.

 

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