One of the first things Seth Meyers and Michael Shoemaker realized they had in common when they met at Saturday Night Live in 2001 was a love of comic books. They always thought it’d be fun to do an animated show for adults about superheroes, and around 2006, the idea for The Awesomes began to crystallize. But it didn’t become a reality until they found the 10-episode series a home at Hulu, where it will premiere Aug. 1 (after a planned screening and panel at Comic-Con in July). The story revolves around the greatest superhero team in history, The Awesomes, and what happens after all the most powerful members leave. Those remaining are led by Professor Doctor Awesome (a.k.a. Prock), voiced by Meyers, who’s attempting to fill his father’s shoes. Meyers and Shoemaker, now a producer at Late Night With Jimmy Fallon, spoke to EW to give us a rundown of the characters seen in our exclusive image above.
After that, we’ve got premiere dates for more of Hulu’s recently announced original programming (like Eva Longoria’s animated Mother Up!) and exclusive series (such as Chris O’Dowd’s British TV hit Moone Boy).
The Awesomes, from left to right:
The Impresario, a.k.a. Austin Sullivan (voiced by Kenan Thompson): “He’s a fashion plate who also has the ability to conjure whatever he can imagine using this magical jewel in his head,” Meyers says. “He has mother issues so unfortunately, he only conjures different versions of his mother – also voiced by Kenan, which is pretty great.”
Frantic, a.k.a. Zip Danger (Taran Killam): “Comic books always have this speedster character, who is someone who has super speed. No reason to make it any more complicated than that,” Meyers says. “That’s what Frantic is, but he’s a redneck who, because of his superpowers, was an outcast of a family full of outcasts. He’s the fame-hungry member of the team. His goal is not to be a superhero, but to get his own reality show because he’s a superhero.”
Sumo, a.k.a. Tim (Bobby Lee): “Tim is a little boy, but when he gets angry, as all little boys do, he transforms to a giant Sumo wrestler,” Shoemaker says. “So that’s the embodiment of pre-teen angst.”
Muscleman, a.k.a. Harry Strong (Ike Barinholtz): “He’s Prock’s best friend, who he’s known forever. He’s sort of like the golden retriever of superheroes,” Meyers says. “[Barinholtz] in real-life happens to be one of the most loyal friends I’ve ever had. It’s more based on his loyalty than his strength and intelligence.” Adds Shoemaker, “He’s very strong, very dumb, but really the core of the team.” He’s also, Meyers says, “the kind of guy you don’t want to work out next to at the gym. He would be like 10 percent sweatier and 50 percent hairier than anybody you’d want at the machine one over.”
Concierge (Emily Spivey): “She’s the team’s assistant,” Shoemaker says. “Her power, sort of, is super resourcefulness. She can get what you want when you want it.”
Prock, a.k.a. Professor Doctor Awesome (Meyers): “He’s an amalgamation of Shoemaker and I, which is a guy who is a classic overthinker. Father issues is more me that Shoemaker,” Meyers says, laughing. “He’s a guy whose dad was the greatest superhero ever and now he’s trying to follow in his footsteps without any of the powers.” Correction: “He has an ability to stop time and use that time to come up with a plan. But more often than not, he stops time and emotionally spins out while he goes over his options,” Meyers says. So that counts as a power, Shoemaker says. “But like in a fight, he’s very useless.” His arch-villain is Dr. Malocchio (not picture. Bill Hader), who was the nemesis of Mr. Awesome (Steve Higgins), Prock’s father. “Now that Mr. Awesome has left Earth, Malocchio realizes there’s no one who’s smart enough or strong enough to stop him,” Meyers says. Prock is also in a love triangle with Hotwire (not pictured, Rashida Jones) and Perfect Man (not pictured, Seth’s brother Josh Meyers). “Hotwire is dating Perfect Man, who was the perfect superhero and Prock’s dad’s favorite,” Shoemaker explains.
Gadget Gal (Paula Pell): “She was a superhero back in the ’40s, and she aged, but then she was hit with a rejuvenation ray. So now she has the hot body of a 25-year-old, but she talks like a crazy, 85-year-old lady,” Shoemaker says.
Other news announced at today’s Hulu upfront:
• Moone Boy, the semi-autobiographical series written by and starring Bridesmaids’ Chris O’Dowd, will premiere July 10 on Hulu. Having already aired on British TV (and been greenlit for two more seasons), it’s the story of Martin (David Rawle), a young boy growing up in a chaotic and creative household in late 1980s Ireland, and his imaginary friend (O’Dowd). “The imaginary friend is essentially how Martin sees himself in 20 years time,” O’Dowd tells EW in an email. “Which is a clueless mid-level insurance salesman.” Finding Rawle was “pretty magical,” O’Dowd says. “It’s weird, but I’m not sure we realized what a risk it was to make our central character an 11-year old until we started watching some pretty dodgy casting tapes. Then David came in and killed us.”
• Quick Draw, a half-hour Western from Nancy Hower and John Lehr, will premiere this summer. The eight-episode Hulu original is set in 1875, when a Harvard-educated sheriff (Lehr) tries to introduce the emerging science of forensics to an unruly Kansas town. Nick Brown costars as his reluctant Deputy, Eli.
• East Los High, a high school-set drama featuring an all-Latino cast, director, writers and creators, will premiere June 3. The 24 episodes center on a love triangle between teenage cousins, Jessie, a 16-year-old virgin, and Maya, a troubled runaway, and Jacob, a popular football player. Per Hulu, “More than 15 leading public health organizations such as Advocates for Youth, Voto Latino, California Family Health Council and Legacy LA, among others, advised on the scripts and content to address teen issues related to relationships and sexuality in a meaningful way.”
• Mother Up!, an animated comedy starring Eva Longoria, who also serves as an executive producer, premieres this fall. Longoria voices Rudi Wilson, a disgraced former music executive who finds herself ill-equipped to raise her two kids in the suburbs.
• Behind the Mask, premiering this fall, will follow four mascots. And they are: Lebanon High School’s Rooty the Cedar Tree, UNLV’s Hey Reb!, minor league hockey mascot Tux the Penguin, and Bango of the Milwaukee Bucks.
And there were no new updates about The Wrong Mans, a co-production with the BBC, but since it’s co-written by and co-starring Tony Award-winner James Corden and Mathew Baynton – as two office workers who get caught up in a deadly criminal conspiracy after one of them answers a ringing phone at the scene of a horrific car crash – let’s watch that trailer again. The six-episode series premieres this fall.