Hulu’s biggest benefit for most is next day television for dozens of TV networks and hundreds of TV shows. It’s as close to a cable replacement that we’ve found, mostly just missing CBS as well as live sports and news. With their ad-free option, they’re now also saving us all precious time during our nightly entertainment.
But as Netflix continues to draw more press for their massive dive into original content, Hulu has been attempting to find that ‘House of Cards’ original series moment that will drive growth for their subscription numbers. As the list of SVOD ‘original shows‘ continues to grow, the PR angle seems to slowly be deteriorating, meaning these services have to make some bigger and bigger bets in order to get the attention they’re after.
Enter Hulu’s latest original series, ‘The Path,’ the most fascinating and risky show yet, following key members in a cult based out of New York, starring Aaron Paul (Breaking Bad) as Eddie Cleary, Michelle Monaghan (True Detective) as Sarah Cleary and Hugh Dancy (Hannibal) as Cal Roberts, the interim and projected future leader of this group. The trio share a unique and complicated chemistry mixed with their varying levels of loyalty to “Meyerist teachings” and ascension of a metaphorical ladder, all in hopes of reaching “the garden” as a reward for their faithfulness.
The most interesting dynamic is a growing distrust between both Cal and Eddie, as there is a power struggle obvious from the start, portrayed through their individual relationships with Eddie’s wife Sarah. It is also revealed rather quickly that Eddie is having severe doubts about the Meyerist teachings, causing turmoil in his relationship with his family as well as with Cal.
‘The Path’ is Hulu’s best original series yet, with plenty of twists and turns to keep us as loyal followers the whole way through.
The cult itself is certainly a star of the show as well, between mysterious trips to Peru, visions (or hallucinations), isolation as punishment, and some sort of biometric test similar to something one might associate with Scientology, some of the best moments of the show are when the cult itself is in the limelight. ‘The Path’ does a great job making this cult believable in a lot of ways, as one might not think too much different about the individual members if they were to come across them in public, but wonder why something seemed just slightly off about them.
So with that in mind, the show doesn’t rely on being too ham-fisted here either, which gives it an authentic feel. Viewers aren’t beat over the head with “EVIL DOOMSDAY CULT” sentiment with people on street corners shouting about the end of the world. The cult and its members, after-all, appear to be interested in improving their own lives and the lives of those around them. There’s an honesty in their belief that can be appreciated.
But a cult is still a cult with plenty of injustices, so as law enforcement gets involved, and Cal appears backed into a corner by both prosecution as well as his own family struggles, the show starts to find its legs, creating some high quality, intense drama well worth the price of admission.
Sure, there are moments where the interactions between the cult membership and the outside world seem a little ridiculous, and sometimes the show can stretch itself to create unwarranted conflict, but these sins are easily forgiven as the overall story is great. ‘The Path’ is Hulu’s best original series yet, with plenty of twists and turns to keep us as loyal followers the whole way through.