The Walking Dead is good, but there’s a lot of heavy drama in there about power and relationships. Why can’t the zombie apocalypse be a little more fun? Hulu is going to lighten up the fight for survival with Freakish, a 10 episode show which pits high-school students against mutants after a meltdown at the local chemical plant. The series comes from AwesomenessTV, a multi-platform content provider targeted toward teens.
According to The Hollywood Reporter the show will boast a fairly large cast made up of traditional actors like Leo Howard (Conan the Barbarian), Liza Koshy (Boo! A Madea Halloween), Adam Hicks (Zeke and Luther), Aislinn Paul (Heroes Reborn), and Tyler Chase (The Walking Dead), and social media stars including Hayes Grier, Melvin Gregg, and Meghan Rienks. Production is currently under way.
AwesomenessTV was founded in 2012 by Brian Robbins (Varsity Blues, Smallville) and Joe Davola (MTV’s Remote Control, One Tree Hill, Spin City) as a YouTube channel during the website’s Original Programming Intiative. The channel quickly became one of the most popular created during the project, and within a year the company expanded into a multi-channel network. The AwesomenessTV Network is now comprised of more than 90,000 user created YouTube channels with individuals uploading content worldwide. In 2013 the company launched an eponymous sketch comedy series on Nickelodeon.
By 2013 DreamWorks acquired AwesomenessTV and continued expanding it. It now includes a consumer products division, talent development division, publishing, and a music label.
The company’s original scripted series are well-produced and definitely hearken back to the teen shows enjoyed by every generation. The YouTube channel hosts scripted series on family, dating, dancing, friendship and more – all moving at the frenetic pace of Aaron Sorkin and volume of, well, youth. News clips are uploaded constantly on the latest about Taylor Swift, or how Kylie Jenner’s lips broke Twitter. Yet amidst it all is the familiar current of being a teenager; while style and issues may change, people haven’t. Just the first 30 seconds of this episode of their series Foursome could fit into any number of classic teen movies:
Freakish may be a bit different, with a darker look and different pacing but it will no doubt still be fun. Acquiring it is part of Hulu’s effort to expand offerings for teens and young adults. They’ve recently purchased streaming rights for two other projects from AwesomenessTV: Snervous is a documentary about YouTube star Tyler Oakley, and Janoskains: Untold and Untrue is a concert special and mockumentary from the Australian comedy group. They’re also developing two shows – Rocketjump: The Show, and Dimension 404 – created by Freddie Wong, a former competitive gamer and early YouTube star.
Head of scripted shows at AwesomenessTV, Shelly Zimmerman, said, “Our Gen Z audience craves binge-worthy, on-demand entertainment, which is why we’re excited to be in business with Hulu. Brian Robbins and I have had a long-standing relationship with Craig Erwich, and we look forward to collaborating with him and his team to bring Freakish to Hulu.”