Hulu has been looking for ways to compete with Netflix’s original series and the first clip of its upcoming Marvel show, The Runaways, is an example of how the streaming service is planning to do that.
Hulu released the clip during its upfront presentation in New York earlier today, where the company also confirmed it had ordered to series a new show from House of Cards creator Beau Williamson and announced it would become the exclusive home to FX’s Atlanta. On top of ordering a new season of The Handmaid’s Tale and announcing its live TV service was live, one of the biggest exclusives Hulu wanted to showcase was its Marvel series.
The Runaways follows a group of seemingly normal teenagers who come to the fateful realization that their parents are a team of gnarly super villains. Acting out as any teenager would, this group of kids decides to rebel against their decidedly uncool parents by not becoming one with the dark side. The show is being produced by Josh Schwartz, best known for his work on teen dramas like The O.C. and Gossip Girl, and stars a relatively unknown cast.
The Runaways is more than just a Marvel show for Hulu, though. This is Hulu’s first major show with a top-tier publisher like Marvel. The show is set to debut at a time when Hulu is looking more promising than ever and the infrastructure is in place for the company to support a network of high-profile original series. Unlike The Mindy Project or The Path, which received some attention from critics, The Runaways and The Handmaid’s Tale are set to become a part of the conversation at large in the same way Jessica Jones or House of Cards did for Netflix or Transparent and Bosch did for Amazon.
“As we continue to expand our strong slate of original programming, The Handmaid’s Tale is exactly the type of gripping and thought-provoking storytelling we want to bring to viewers,” Hulu’s head of content, Craig Erwich, said in a press release. “We can’t wait to explore the world of Gilead and continue Margaret’s vision with another season on Hulu.”
On top of The Runaways and The Handmaid’s Tale, Hulu has The Looming Tower, Future Man, The Mindy Project, I Love You, America, National Treasure, Casual, The Path, Difficult People, Shut Eye and Chance. Like Netflix, Hulu is looking to increase the number of original series it can offer as exclusives. Along with a new deal to exclusively carry certain FX series — like Donald Glover’s Emmy Award-winning Atlanta — the next few months will mark Hulu’s first big push to really compete with Netflix and Amazon.
In 2015, Hulu’s head of marketing, Jenny Wall, told Variety “Netflix’s subscriber base is incredible — does that mean we are giving up? Absolutely not. There’s plenty of room for both players.” It’s a sentiment that Erwich echoed, adding that the only way to beat out competition from Netflix and Amazon is to invest in creators and original series.
“We’ve got to have the hits,” Erwich told Variety. “It’s a hit-driven business. It always has been and always will be.”
With The Handmaid’s Tale cementing the first real success story Hulu has had, The Runaways will be the next step forward in seeing if the network can actually go up against Netflix and Amazon — both of which have far larger subscriber bases.
The Runaways will debut this winter.