When I first heard that Alison Haislip was joining the cast of Hulu’s very first original scripted series Battleground, I was incredibly curious what it would be about. With a name like Battleground, I was fully expecting the show to be about ninjas, robots, or perhaps ancient Roman gladiators. Much to my surprise, Battleground ended up being about the very messed up world of American politics.
Plot: Battleground is centered around a group of young campaign workers who are doing everything in their power to help a Democratic dark horse candidate get elected to the U.S. Senate (hello Wisconsin!). While shows about American politics may not be your thing, Battleground manages to make the show more about the people and less about the inner machinations of the political machine. Note: Political machines are scary and probably comsume children for fuel. With sharp dialoge, likable characters, and some great chemistry, the pilot episode was much better than I was expecting. It is no coincidence that Battleground decided to premiere during an election year when even non-political Americans pay attention to what’s going on with the donkeys and elephants.
Characters: As with any pilot, a little time is spent with each character and we get to learn a bit about their history and personal motivation. The male lead “Tak”, played by Jay Haden, has a long history of failure as a campaign manager, and carries himself like a grown up Zack Morris. Quite possibly the most enjoyable character in the pilot is the incredibly eager and naive Ben, who will do absolutely anything to be a cog in the aforementioned political machine. We’re introduced to the cutthroat world of politics and political manipulation through Ben’s goofy eyes, and it’s damn funny.
Does Hulu have a hit?: If this is sign of things to come in terms the level of quality of Hulu’s original programming, then we’re all in luck. The world of television changing for the better. It’s good to see that the days of wasted channels (the ocho) and junk-food television consumption are coming to an end. If more companies like Hulu and Netflix start to provide quality material like Battleground, we’re on the way to some real television Democracy… And that’s just awesome.